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Old November 21st, 2008, 12:30 AM   #681
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Sen. Sessions is a ******* moron. Plenty of our tax dollars go to things that certain segments of America do not "use."

And considering that the areas of the country that use passenger rail also are the wealthiest and pay the lion's share of taxes, there is every reason to fund it at a national level.

I am sure that plenty of my tax dollars go to fund road projects I will never use and security at airports I will never use.

THe areas that don't see benefits from direct AMtrak service could easily start receiving service if enough funding was secured to expand the coverage.

And it's ironic that a senator from Alabama, a state served by TWO Amtrak routes, is opposed to national passenger rail.

And we are really talking about a tiny amount of money to have decent inter-city rail compared to how much money is thrown at the military and homeland security with negligible oversight?

Why is it that Republicans are opposed to any use of tax dollars that go to invest in America? Oh well, **** them, they are minority party now.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 09:29 PM   #682
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It's because Long-distance slow-speed passenger rail doesn't necessarily serve any purpose anymore except domestic tourism by people who like riding trains, and the way it is run now makes it a waste of money.

Personally I would study the fact that the train while not profitable on its own, might be squeezing a greater amount of outside tourist dollars, and study ways to maximize this. Amtrak can have such a utilitarian feel, I think there should be a greater push by the agency to be a vacation option, primarily to 2 main demographics: families with kids, and urban dwellers. One way to do this is to create high-quality trains that are mostly point-to-point, running on scenic routes between tourist destinations, and to add Auto-Train service onto these routes. I think it might be a good idea to put stations in nicer suburban areas, have room for long-term parking as well as auto-train loading ramps.

For regional rail, there has to be a way to "Europeanize" our current services. Get Siemens or Bombardier to design a FRA-compliant DMU unit, then buy 100s of em and put to work on local lines that make no sense with a huge locomotive pulling double-decker sleeper cars. Finally, contract services out to private businesses that can actually make it profitable(those prickly equipment and track costs covered by the gov).

Last edited by zaphod; November 23rd, 2008 at 09:43 PM.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 08:21 AM   #683
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Quote:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/bott...and-spect.html

Kerry and Specter push for more high-speed rail

There's been a lot of talk in Washington and the media lately that one way for the federal government to give the economy a boost would be to start making massive investments in the nation's infrastructure. Such spending would both create jobs in the short term and give the U.S. the kind of infrastructure to build its economy around in the future.

In that vein, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would allow bonds to be issued to raise more than $23 billion for high-speed rail projects around the country. Some of that money -- it's not clear exactly how much -- could be used on the proposal to build a high-speed rail line in California. Here's a link to a story about the bill in the Boston Globe.

That is interesting, of course, since voters here earlier this month approved Proposition 1A, which allows the state to issue $9.95 billion in bonds to plan and construct a high-speed rail line. It's not nearly enough to finish the proposed line from Anaheim to San Francisco -- the California High Speed Rail Authority said recently the cost will be $33 billion; critics say it will be much more.

Still, the federal bill is worth watching. If it passes, it would arguably be a boost for passenger rail along some Amtrak corridors after decades of the nation making heavy investments in the nation's airports and highways.

The press release from Kerry's office is after the jump.

--Steve Hymon


Quote:

.........The press release on the Kerry-Specter high-speed rail bill:

Kerry-Specter Bill Would Create Jobs, Stimulus, Infrastructure Investment

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Ed Rendell Applaud National High-Speed Rail Initiative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced a bill to create new jobs by updating the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The High-Speed Rail for America Act of 2008 would transform America’s outdated and underfunded passenger rail system into a world class system.

“At a time when our economy desperately needs a jumpstart, we need an effective national investment that puts Americans back to work,” said Sen. Kerry. “A first-rate rail system would protect our environment, save families time and money, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and help get our economy moving again. The High-Speed Rail for America Act will help fix our crumbling infrastructure system, expand our economy, and match high-tech rail systems across the globe.”

“We must continue to focus our energies on building and maintaining a strong national passenger rail system in order to ease congestion of air and highway corridors connecting high-growth markets, as well as to meet energy and environmental goals,” said Sen. Specter. “The High-Speed Rail for America Act is an investment in our nation’s infrastructure and has the potential to provide tremendous economic opportunities throughout Pennsylvania and the nation.”

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Joe Lieberman (I-CT.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), cosponsored the legislation.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell both voiced their support for the high-speed rail initiative.

“Creating a national high-speed rail network is an ambitious goal, but one that gets more urgent by the day,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Investing in modern infrastructure is vital to the nation’s long-term economic and environmental health - and in the short-term, it would help put more Americans back to work. Many countries in Europe and Asia are investing in high-speed rail, and if our economy is going to remain competitive, we have to start catching up. Greater investment in our railways is a top goal of Building America's Future, the infrastructure coalition that Governors Rendell and Schwarzenegger and I created. I applaud Senator Kerry for tackling the issue head-on, and I strongly support his efforts to create the high-speed rail network our country needs.”

“This long-overdue national investment in high-speed rail would help to stimulate economic recovery while creating good jobs that cannot be outsourced,” said Gov. Rendell, one of the founding co-chairs of the Building America’s Future coalition. “Expanding our nation’s critical rail infrastructure will make our transportation network more efficient, reduce traffic pressure on our already busy interstate highways, and improve the environment.”

The High-Speed Rail for America Act of 2008 builds upon the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 which reauthorizes Amtrak and authorizes $1.5 billion over a five-year period to finance the construction and equipment for eleven high-speed rail corridors. It provides billions of dollars in both tax-exempt and tax credit bond and provides assistance for rail projects of various speeds. The bill creates the Office of High-Speed passenger rail to oversee the development of high-speed rail and provides a consistent source of funding.

Specifically, the High-Speed Rail for America Act of 2008 provides $8 billion over a six-year period for tax-exempt bonds which finance high-speed rail projects which reach a speed of at least 110 miles per hour It creates a new category of tax-credit bonds – qualified rail bonds. There are two types of qualified rail bonds: super high-speed intercity rail facility bond and rail infrastructure bond. Super high-speed rail intercity facility bonds will encourage the development of true high-speed rail. The legislation provides $10 billion for these bonds over a ten-year period. This would help finance the California proposed corridor and make needed improvements to the Northeast corridor. The legislation provides $5.4 billion over a six-year period for rail infrastructure bonds. The Federal Rail Administration has already designated ten rail corridors that these bonds could help fund, including connecting the cities of the Midwest through Chicago, connecting the cities of the Northwest, connecting the major cities within Texas and Florida, and connecting all the cities up and down the East Coast.
..
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Old December 6th, 2008, 09:45 PM   #684
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The Ten Busiest Amtrak Stations in 2007


Moral of the Story: Rename your station to Union or Penn Station if you want more people to take intercity rail.

I'm kind of surprised that Albany has the tenth busiest station.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 02:50 AM   #685
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Are those passenger numbers per year/day/week?

The numbers seem very low - I expected them to be ten times that!

Gare du Nord handles 180m p/year - Waterloo handles 165m p/year - I expected the American numbers to be more around that number.

(the Gare du Nord & Waterloo numbers also include connecting metro/tube stations - I assume the American numbers do as well)
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Old December 7th, 2008, 03:08 AM   #686
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Quote:
Originally Posted by city_thing View Post
Are those passenger numbers per year/day/week?

The numbers seem very low - I expected them to be ten times that!

Gare du Nord handles 180m p/year - Waterloo handles 165m p/year - I expected the American numbers to be more around that number.

(the Gare du Nord & Waterloo numbers also include connecting metro/tube stations - I assume the American numbers do as well)
hell no, the NY Penn #'s are only for Amtrak... you didn't really think it only handled 8million people per year in total did you?
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Old December 7th, 2008, 03:11 AM   #687
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Those figures don't add commuter rail totals though, only Amtrak. The commuter rail (NJT and LIRR) definitely dwarf Amtrak, and counting the NYC subway station, it has to be around 40-50 million, if that. I could not find data for the NYC subway or LIRR, but services for NJ transit alone were around 20 million.

The figures overall have to be higher for Chicago, Boston, and DC as well.

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Originally Posted by vgcpapa View Post
I'm kind of surprised that Albany has the tenth busiest station.
Well, it seems like it's odd, but Albany sees some decent service and is a major transfer station between NYC, Montreal, Boston, and other Upstate NY cities, with 5 Amtrak lines going through the station. So it definitely gets more than many other cities do, which see like one or two trains a day.

Having good service helps build better passenger numbers.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 03:37 AM   #688
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hell no, the NY Penn #'s are only for Amtrak... you didn't really think it only handled 8million people per year in total did you?
lol - I was wondering how the f*ck an enormous rail terminal like Grand Central was only handling 8 million p/year.

Somewhat releiving to know that it handles tens of millions more.

So what would the overall figure for Grand Central be? How many different rail companies use it?
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Old December 7th, 2008, 03:55 AM   #689
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Only one rail company uses Grand Central: Metro North.

I can't find data on the figures on how much people use it yearly, but Wikipedia says that 125k people use it daily.

So...using their numbers (which can be more or less, it is wikipedia after all) about 45.625 million.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 05:09 AM   #690
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Penn station is busier than GCT -- it has Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit and Subway and GTC only metro north and subway....Wikipedia says Pen carries 600,000 per day...i don't know what that would bring the yearly figures to -- i don't know if that includes weekends

However, GTC is getting Long Island Rail road terminal underground sometime in the next decade which will increase its figures.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 10:49 PM   #691
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Why does the USA find it so difficult to build a 110mph rail link?

I find it so incredibly frustrating (as a USA resident) that they can't get their finances and everything together to build a few lines of what they call "High speed rail" (110mph max).

China has dedicated 789billion dollars to rail -- 789b bloody dollars -- they have built a 1000mile Beijing-Shanghai link done in a paltry ammount of time. In the USA, the rail associations are so weak and they aim so low (i.e, calling a 110mph link HSR) that it is almost a joke... I am incredibly embarrased that they would even use that term - High Speed.

For example, the South East HSR and Mid West HSR from Richomd - Charlotte and Chicago to St. Louis. The web sites has been around for years with nothing happening. The timeline says it would take 10 years to start construction. All this for a slow-ass 110mph train link? This is just upgrading old freight tracks, how difficult could that be?

I thought Sen. Kerry knew what it takes to build a proper rail line in terms of costs, etc.. Then he proposes a tiny figure of 8billion for the entire country. How dissapointing, what a laugh.

WHY are they aiming so low, why are they so afraid to be bold and ask for the realistic sums of money required from the new gov?

WAKE UP USA. WAKE UP RAIL PEOPLE. HAVE SOME BACKBONE, STOP CALLING 110mph RAIL HIGH SPEED, ITS EMBARASSING.

Argentina is about to build a HSR link now, and we are waiting until 2012 to even start construction on the CA HSR....

WHY IS IT SO SLOW HERE? I seriously think that there is a conspiracy against rail in this country from business (taxis, airlines, right wing conservative rural people) and it makes me so incredibly angry and sad to see this country standing still while the rest of the developed and developing world race ahead with ambition.

China is building thousands of kms of HSR --- and here we give into rural or conservative people who have a love affair with the car and the airplane...well, i'm fed up with these idiots.

Last edited by aquablue; December 8th, 2008 at 10:58 PM.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 11:12 PM   #692
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquablue View Post
I find it so incredibly frustrating (as a USA resident) that they can't get their finances and everything together to build a few lines of what they call "High speed rail" (110mph max).

China has dedicated 789billion dollars to rail -- 789b bloody dollars -- they have built a 1000mile Beijing-Shanghai link done in a paltry ammount of time. In the USA, the rail associations are so weak and they aim so low (i.e, calling a 110mph link HSR) that it is almost a joke... I am incredibly embarrased that they would even use that term - High Speed.

For example, the South East HSR and Mid West HSR from Richomd - Charlotte and Chicago to St. Louis. The web sites has been around for years with nothing happening. The timeline says it would take 10 years to start construction. All this for a slow-ass 110mph train link? This is just upgrading old freight tracks, how difficult could that be?

I thought Sen. Kerry knew what it takes to build a proper rail line in terms of costs, etc.. Then he proposes a tiny figure of 8billion for the entire country. How dissapointing, what a laugh.

WHY are they aiming so low, why are they so afraid to be bold and ask for the realistic sums of money required from the new gov?

WAKE UP USA. WAKE UP RAIL PEOPLE. HAVE SOME BACKBONE, STOP CALLING 110mph RAIL HIGH SPEED, ITS EMBARASSING.

Argentina is about to build a HSR link now, and we are waiting until 2012 to even start construction on the CA HSR....

WHY IS IT SO SLOW HERE? I seriously think that there is a conspiracy against rail in this country from business (taxis, airlines, right wing conservative rural people) and it makes me so incredibly angry and sad to see this country standing still while the rest of the developed and developing world race ahead with ambition.

China is building thousands of kms of HSR --- and here we give into rural or conservative people who have a love affair with the car and the airplane...well, i'm fed up with these idiots.
Write to Joe Biden and ask him what concrete steps he is going to take to progress investment in high speed rail from January. 110mph is a start, at least it's much better than 79mph, the speed at which most of the US passenger railroad network runs at.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 11:45 PM   #693
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I've written to everyone and recieved the usual platitudes.

110mph is a start, yes. The question is, why hasn't it started yet? From reading the SE HSR site, it is incredibly sad that it would take such an effort to begin construction on a rather average rail line (they estimate 10 years from planning to ground breaking). In 3-5 yeras the Chinese will have built a High Speed Rail line of 1000 miles or more. This country has to start now. They are just upgrading some old tracks with no electrification plans. It also is ridiculous that they are calling it HSR, from a global perspective it is just crazy. Are they just asking to be mocked? Do they presume that we are all ignorant of what a proper rail link should look like?
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Old December 9th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #694
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Maybe politicians are in favor of airlines over high speed rail like I am. I think high speed rail in the metro areas are a great idea with airlines linking the country is the best option. I'm also biased because I LOVE to fly. It's not really a good reason but flying seems to make more sense than high speed rail. The only infrastructure that needs to be taken care of is the aircraft and the airport.

I find it ridiculous to spend 3 hours to get from your home to take off for 3 hour flight. Then again driving the distance of that 3 hour flight would be much more than 6 hours anyway.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #695
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For most people HSR would be a more pleasant experience than the hassle of commercial aviation today... It also helps to encourage sustainable urban living and helps reduce sprawl. This mindset of cars and planes in this country has led us to what you see today; hardly any urban streetlife and dead city cores. I for one do not want to see the mistakes of the last 40 years repeated. However, politicians and citizens with stunted vision only seem to care about keeping things the way they are. Well, they should never complain about the lack of streetlife in their cities and dehuminizing sprawl then if they are unwilling to try a new approach to transportation. The USA should not fall behind the rest of the world in creating a more varied transportation system because of silly ideology, tradition, financial conservatism, fear of failure or NIMBYism. Our planning has not been sustainable and the evidence is all around us. Oil is not sustainable and it is a political risk to rely upon it. It is time we turned to other sources of power like clean generated electricity (nuclear, wind, etc) to generate clean transporation (electric rail, trams, metro) and used rail to create dense cores around stations.
Air has its place of course, but airports are becoming too congested.

Last edited by aquablue; December 9th, 2008 at 12:35 PM.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #696
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As for the speed of construction, my guess is that the US would have a smaller workforce with higher safety standards, meaning it'd take a lot longer to complete.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 05:47 PM   #697
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I'm lucky to be British, and to have been a child in the '70s, when we were blessed with the HSTs, which are still thrashing up and down the country 30+ years later at 125 mph. And, I suppose, Jimmy Saville, to compensate. Can anyone name a diesel train to compare, in terms of comfort, and style? and the smell off the brakes?

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Old December 9th, 2008, 08:51 PM   #698
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
Maybe politicians are in favor of airlines over high speed rail like I am. I think high speed rail in the metro areas are a great idea with airlines linking the country is the best option. I'm also biased because I LOVE to fly. It's not really a good reason but flying seems to make more sense than high speed rail. The only infrastructure that needs to be taken care of is the aircraft and the airport.

I find it ridiculous to spend 3 hours to get from your home to take off for 3 hour flight. Then again driving the distance of that 3 hour flight would be much more than 6 hours anyway.
That makes sense

The main difference of United States respect Europe (excluding Russia) is having long distances between cities (often a distance of 1000 km between two main cities could be considered 'avarage'), so airplane fits better
Anyway I think that HSR service could be built to link quickly East Coast cities as in California as well... on distances of less of 800 kms HS is competitive with plane: that's why in Europe or in Japan it works

Maybe there is even a penalization due to internal flights low fares in US
But today 'internal' flights in EU are also cheap thanks to low cost companies: infact in these years internal (and not only) flights passengers increasead a lot; that, anyway, didn't have any efects on HSR passengers or web which keep increasing
I think then the challenge in US is all to find out someone who wants to put his money

Maybe the Govt. with Obama's new 'new deal'?

Anyway I hope they're going to build electrified lines with a maximum speed at least of 150 mph (110 mph is not considered HS in Western Europe and Japan) to have 'appeal' enough 'against' the plane
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Old December 9th, 2008, 09:54 PM   #699
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Like Loci mentioned, Obama has proposed a massive new infrastructure project in the form of his own "new deal" of sorts. That could mean more railroads to go along with the new highways and bridges. Maybe we'll finally see something concrete get started during Obama's first or second term.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 09:55 PM   #700
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Amtrak NEC

Ideas on possible future upgrades to the NEC to reduce trip times from D.C to NYC to BOS.

1) Bypass Connecticut coastal rail line in favor of a new inland line along curent major highways through Hartford. There is no room for improvments on the coastal lines and they are jammed. Only a new inland land along a major highway would be suitable. Help Hartford revitalize with new growth.

2) Build a new line along NJ turnpike with a suburban station for Philadelphia (connected to rail into CITY CENTER). No room for upgrades of existing track in NJ or Pennsylvania.

3) Build elevated maglev line along existing ROW's (highways, amtrack)

There is no room to add new track along the current ROW.
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