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Old February 4th, 2009, 03:46 AM   #821
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http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/...ies/index.html

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• $850 million for Amtrak.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 05:40 AM   #822
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Can anybody provide the % of electrified lines compared to non electrified lines in the US? Also the % of passenger lines compare to freight lines? Or at least an approximation?
As for electrification, I think the only intercity lines are the NEC from Boston to DC, and a line from Philly to Harrisburg. So it is an exceedingly small percentage of US track, less than 1%.

Basically, other than the NEC, there are no passenger-only intercity rail lines. (disregarding short tourist trains that are scattered about) The rest of our intercity Amtrak trains share track with freight. The vast majority of that track is owned by the freight RRs and that is the root cause of Amtrak's bad time-keeping.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 06:10 AM   #823
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Minor improvements done to the track will only serve for maintaining a state of good repair. It is time to go beyond that, and think outside of the box.
Given that <1% of North America's rail system even has electricity, I'd say that stringing wires on them will be much more than a "minor improvement". We don't need to waste money on gadgets when there are more efficient use of the resources.

That list sounds a lot like the nuclear reactor-powered automobiles that Ford proposed in the 50s. Don't laugh, it really existed!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Nucleon
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Old February 9th, 2009, 12:10 AM   #824
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electrification is viable and would be a great first step towards change
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Old February 9th, 2009, 04:53 AM   #825
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Given that <1% of North America's rail system even has electricity, I'd say that stringing wires on them will be much more than a "minor improvement". We don't need to waste money on gadgets when there are more efficient use of the resources.

That list sounds a lot like the nuclear reactor-powered automobiles that Ford proposed in the 50s. Don't laugh, it really existed!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Nucleon
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Old February 9th, 2009, 04:57 AM   #826
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The GOP is generally very unsupportive of Amtrak funding. However you do see a few sensible people like LaHood or the co-sponsor of the recent Senate bills.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 10:32 AM   #827
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Originally Posted by Kramerica View Post
As for electrification, I think the only intercity lines are the NEC from Boston to DC, and a line from Philly to Harrisburg. So it is an exceedingly small percentage of US track, less than 1%.

Basically, other than the NEC, there are no passenger-only intercity rail lines. (disregarding short tourist trains that are scattered about) The rest of our intercity Amtrak trains share track with freight. The vast majority of that track is owned by the freight RRs and that is the root cause of Amtrak's bad time-keeping.
I think it's more. Most of long Island Rail Road is electrified, all metroNorth, all NJtransit, upstate NY is also electrified.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #828
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As for electrification, I think the only intercity lines are the NEC from Boston to DC, and a line from Philly to Harrisburg. So it is an exceedingly small percentage of US track, less than 1%.
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I think it's more. Most of long Island Rail Road is electrified, all metroNorth, all NJtransit, upstate NY is also electrified.
LIRR, MetroNorth, NJT, and Chicago's Metra Electric are not intercity lines, but commuter RRs. That's why I did not count them. There are also many light rail lines around the country that are electrified, too.

I'm not sure if the line from NYC to Albany is electrified or not.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 11:01 PM   #829
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Anyway, 99% of lines not electrified, lets see it as an opportunity to develop green fully clean technologies.

Today, there are possibilities to run trains on long distance completely clean, without investing in overhead electrical lines and forgetting complety fossiles energies. It is a huge market. And we could develop this new technology in USA. Europe is too electrified for this technology and Russia wants to use its fossil fuel. It is not nuclear, nor hydrogen... Would run between 100-120 mph, Fits more for passenger trains now, but later, I guess it would be applicable for goods too and for higher speeds (but less autonomy)
Requires only around 10-20 millions $ to develop the technology and the prototype of the train. A bargain when you know how much costs one train.

Do you know any serious contact for this?
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Old February 10th, 2009, 04:34 AM   #830
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Originally Posted by Micrav View Post
Anyway, 99% of lines not electrified, lets see it as an opportunity to develop green fully clean technologies.

Today, there are possibilities to run trains on long distance completely clean, without investing in overhead electrical lines and forgetting complety fossiles energies. It is a huge market. And we could develop this new technology in USA. Europe is too electrified for this technology and Russia wants to use its fossil fuel. It is not nuclear, nor hydrogen... Would run between 100-120 mph, Fits more for passenger trains now, but later, I guess it would be applicable for goods too and for higher speeds (but less autonomy)
Requires only around 10-20 millions $ to develop the technology and the prototype of the train. A bargain when you know how much costs one train.

Do you know any serious contact for this?
Finally, someone who realizes the call for R&D. Here we can have something completely new.

I'm still all in for battery-electric, with some sort of energy recapture that I proposed earlier.

Also try running the diesels on SVO. Installing a filter and heater isn't very expensive at all. There's an overwhelming surplus of waste vegetable oil in the US, so that option should be even cheaper than diesel if given the right circumstance.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 04:41 AM   #831
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For those who are less passionate, let me elaborate on the latter:

Dynamic rheostatic braking systems are found on most locomotives. They are used when a train needs to stop for just about most non-emergency situations. But that's a huge amount of energy that's being put out as essentially thermal waste, entropy, whatever you want to call it.

The coils can be used to heat vegetable oil instead!

Then how do you start it in the morning? How about a tank 30% full of diesel (btw, the fuel tanks are compartmentalized) and start it on that for several tens of miles, while all the stops in between heat the vegetable oil?

It should be pretty close to its flash point by the time the diesel runs out, so when vegetable oil starts to flow its viscosity is comparable or even lower than that of diesel.

So there.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 07:38 AM   #832
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The notion that electrified railways won't work in North America due to long distances is absolutely false. If Russia, China, and India can lay wires over their main lines which stretch for thousands of kilometres, there is no reason why it cannot be done on the North American continent.

We could aim for 30% of the network to have electrification, while the rest can be powered by cleaner forms of diesel. All locomotives should be able to run both on and off electricity. And no ethanol, please. It's a proven scam.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #833
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Ray LaHood's remarks on the stimulus bill

Notice through the middle of the text, that he mentions Amtrak before airplanes and cars. This is a most unusual order of protocol, as most people mention cars and highways first, then airplanes, and then "mass transit" as a sideplate that usually comes last.

I hope this ordering has some indication on what priorities he may have.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 03:05 AM   #834
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The $850 million for Amtrak is a good start but it is analogous to repaving and improving the traffic signals and signage on a two lane road when a new freeway is needed.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:54 AM   #835
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loooooool
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Old February 21st, 2009, 11:21 PM   #836
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Apparently, I should change my tune on Amtrak.

Quote:
New Amtrak President Declares War on Dead End Bureaucrats in His Midst

On CNBC yesterday Jim Cramer was addressing–that is ranting about–the question of bank nationalization. Executive summary: “The government can’t run anything!” Example A: “Look at Amtrak!”

Ah, poor Amtrak. So many haters. If new president Joseph Boardman is to be believed though, the much-abused national rail company isn’t going to take this “hapless bureaucracy” rap sitting down (nodding off, in fact) anymore.

But before he changes any minds, Boardman wants you know that all that stuff is true. In revealing new story from Trains Newswire, he describes Amtrak as being “in worse shape than he thought” and full of hopeless clock-watchers. But he’s promising that change is on the way. Some key points from the piece:

>> There are a lot of dead enders at Amtrak. Boardman refers to them as “people who don’t believe.”

>> Their heads will roll: “he says [any] Amtrak managers… who cannot make the transition from a survival mode to a growth mode will have to find another job.”

>> The previous management, despite the fact that traffic was up 12 percent last year, apparently didn’t order any regular passenger cars as part of their five year plan. For some reason they just asked for odds and ends like “baggage dormitory cars.”

>> That five-year plan was “Secret.”

>> Despite being a secret this five year plan also was “a joke” at Amtrak headquarters. (Only among the cynical burned out types or did “growth mode” people laugh too?)

>> This lack of passenger cars leaves Amtrak in “horrible” shape for America’s new golden era of passenger rail.

>> Everybody loves Boardman — congressman and railroad conductors alike. The former group digs him so much they (might possibly) want to give him more money since Amtrak got kind of stiffed in the stimulus; the latter group threw union support behind him after a jocular hang out session at Union Station on Thanksgiving day.

>> He has put in a request for $1 billion in government loans to buy electric locomotives. Apparently, “electric motive power is in such poor shape that Washington-New York-Boston trains are sometimes canceled for lack of power.”

>> He likes to use the word “train” metaphorically: “People are going to have to get on the train. We will make some judgments very soon.”

It’s a PR effort, of course — adjusting expectations with respect to his own performance and attempting to reposition Amtrak in the minds of people like Jim Cramer. It’s also a part of the real-world, non-PR challenge of defining the agency’s place in a new world where the expansion of high speed rail is a signature issue for a very popular president.
http://www.infrastructurist.com/2009...-in-his-midst/

I will forget any negative thoughts I've had about Amtrak in the past and judge them by what they do from now on...
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Old February 21st, 2009, 11:28 PM   #837
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Maybe there is need to let Amtrak bankrupt or take care only of tracks and let new companies take care of running the cars. Like in the good old days of the gold rush! This would give a good dynamic to the country and focus the budget on infrastructure and let the dynamic fuys run the transport. I know I will have criticism, but if Amtrak is in so desesperate shape... Sometimes, it is better to restart on fresh bases!
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 02:49 AM   #838
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I read that many of the tracks are owned by freight companies. Is this correct? can anyone confirm this?
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:45 AM   #839
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I read that many of the tracks are owned by freight companies. Is this correct? can anyone confirm this?
Amtrak basically only owns [most] of the NEC (Northeast Corridor). They also own a small section of track in SW Michigan, I believe. There may be other short sections of track, especially near stations, that they own.

But basically, Amtrak owns and maintains the NEC, while the rest of their train network is run on tracks owned, maintained, and DISPATCHED* by the freight railroads. (UP, BNSF, CSX, etc.) I don't know what the mileage of the NEC is, but Amtrak owns maybe 5% of their routes.

*That is the bottom line as to why Amtrak trains have awful on-time performance. The freight RRs want their own trains to be on time, not Amtrak's.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:53 AM   #840
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yup Amtrak owns about 20% of the tracks it uses, mostly in the northeast.
the rest Amtrak has to "rent" from the freight companies. as a result cargo trains get priority over passenger trains, leading to delays.
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