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Old March 25th, 2009, 10:57 PM   #901
dachacon
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so i got invited to a wedding in Atlanta. and im planning to get there by train. and i mapped out the route. i leave Los Angeles Union Station Sunday take the Sunset Limited to New Orleans, stop for an overnight layover in New Orleans, leave the next morning on The Crescent, and arrive Wednesday night in Atlanta. any comments??
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Old March 26th, 2009, 05:07 AM   #902
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philvia View Post
i dont think the US needs a nation wide network of HSR - its too big and too expensive. Before anyone says anything, i'm a HSR ADDICT, i love fast trains... going to school to hopefully one day be in charge of constructing them but I think that they should only serve regional cities that have good mass transit... with airplanes connecting the longer distances.
No one is advocating HSR lines connecting New York with LA or LA with Seattle.

But there are many regions within the country that would be well served by HSR.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 05:12 AM   #903
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Originally Posted by hans280 View Post

You're of course right that HSR is tageted to replace short haul flights - but, unlike cars, flights are much faster than trains. Again, the whole argument hangs on railway stations being much more conveniently located than airports. In Europe this is generally the case: our cities are so concentrated, and only the smallest hillbilly cities have not at least 5-6 metro lines. Therefore, people like the train: City centre to city centre is the best possible kind of transport. Only....

...I'm not sure it will work in Texas. People can take a cap from the airport every bit as well as they can take a cap from the (highspeed) railway station.
HSR is just as fast as air travel over relatively short distances because the train takes you from city center to city center, and not the airport 20 miles from DT. Also, the security clearance process is much shorter and less onerous than it is at airports. And trains don't get delayed by bad weather the way airplanes do.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 05:23 AM   #904
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People who think interest groups from Detroit and some supposed American love for cars is behind the lack of high speed trains are clueless.

There are very good reasons that high speed rail is hard to obtain in the USA. Here they are:

1) Federal rules for safety require enormous cushions of space between passenger trains and freight trains. This means there will be significant disruptions to freight rail if you try to run passenger trains on rail lines also used for freight. High speed passenger service also requires upgrades to the rail lines such as grade separations and curve corrections. This is bad because of the next point.

2) Existing rail ROW is owned by private companies who want nothing to do with passenger rail because freight rail is more profitable. They will not allow the use of their existing tracks for such purposes or even consider the use of space next to their tracks since construction there would interfere with their freight operations.

3) Property values are generally high and this means that buying up the ROW for a HST rail line is prohibitively expensive. This also often leads to court challenges since no one wants to live near a railroad and most of the legal precedents set by environmentalists in opposing road construction can be applied to opposing rail construction as well.

4) Anti-tax lobbies try to kill any government spending on infrastructure and often use the people in point #3 to accomplish this.

5) Large airports are numerous and are generally seen as adequately handling the passenger travel over medium to long distances.


Now I support HSR, and am upset that Palo Alto is trying to kill the one in California because of their blatant NIMBYizing, but blaming the problems the USA has in getting HSR on a love of cars is just missing the point.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 05:44 AM   #905
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Correct.

However, HSR consumes FAR less right of way than a highway and produces negligible pollution, especially when using electric engines. The freight companies have no passenger service, as they are FREIGHT RAIL companies. The government has bought track from the freight companies before in order to create passenger rail service and that can happen again in the future.

And considering that there is sufficient rail infrastructure already in existence in major cities, HSR can be routed onto those corridors (perhaps adding an extra track or two to relieve congestion) with minimal interruption.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 05:46 AM   #906
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dachacon View Post
so i got invited to a wedding in Atlanta. and im planning to get there by train. and i mapped out the route. i leave Los Angeles Union Station Sunday take the Sunset Limited to New Orleans, stop for an overnight layover in New Orleans, leave the next morning on The Crescent, and arrive Wednesday night in Atlanta. any comments??
Have fun, you will see a lot of the country and pass through many cities. Also, the Amtrak station in Atlanta is a few miles north of the DT area and is not accessible via MARTA rail.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 06:40 AM   #907
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Quote:
Property values are generally high and this means that buying up the ROW for a HST rail line is prohibitively expensive.
They're a lot higher in most of Europe or even Canada, and much, much so in Japan. This is a non-argument.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 05:24 PM   #908
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
Correct.

However, HSR consumes FAR less right of way than a highway and produces negligible pollution, especially when using electric engines. The freight companies have no passenger service, as they are FREIGHT RAIL companies. The government has bought track from the freight companies before in order to create passenger rail service and that can happen again in the future.
Don't see a whole lot of new highways being built in the USA either. There's just a whole lot of nothing being built.

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They're a lot higher in most of Europe or even Canada, and much, much so in Japan. This is a non-argument.
Uh, in Europe and Japan there were other factors at play.

1) Large nationalized rail systems that were already largely oriented to passenger use.

2) Population concentrations in urban areas.

3) Increased eminent domain powers by the state.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 05:32 PM   #909
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
. Also, the security clearance process is much shorter and less onerous than it is at airports. And trains don't get delayed by bad weather the way airplanes do.
After the first few train bombings that will change and train security will become nearly as cumbersome as airport security.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #910
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Quote:
1) Large nationalized rail systems that were already largely oriented to passenger use.
This is something that needs to be built. You can't have HSR without a good passenger rail system.

Quote:
2) Population concentrations in urban areas.
In case you don't know, this is the same in the US.

Quote:
3) Increased eminent domain powers by the state.
This is a non-argument. If the state can seize land to build roads and airports, it can seize land to build railways, so long as it is for public use.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 05:52 AM   #911
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If HSR becomes popular in California, I think there will be more HSL lines covering the country. Time to shut those rural anti-tax conservative nutjobs up.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 06:08 AM   #912
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I think rail may gain importance after the the recent fuel volatilty in the future. I think it matters upon the population density of connecting cities and the city's public transit to connect to the HSR hubs.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 01:36 PM   #913
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Originally Posted by urbanfan89 View Post
In case you don't know, this is the same in the US.
Big cities in the US are ringed with huge low density suburbs through which it is enormously expensive to build and are filled with residents who will use courts to stop anything from being built.

Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanfan89 View Post
This is a non-argument. If the state can seize land to build roads and airports, it can seize land to build railways, so long as it is for public use.
Different countries, and different states within the US, have different degrees of ease in using it. It is enormously hard in California, for example, to prove, in courts, that a public benefit would be derived from the construction of new infrastructure. The precedent set by anti-freeway activists is that you have to prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the people being affected by the land seizure will absolutely benefit from the new infrastructure and that the degree of benefit will outweigh any costs attributed to the land seizure. Not easy to do.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 03:55 PM   #914
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Originally Posted by nomarandlee View Post
After the first few train bombings that will change and train security will become nearly as cumbersome as airport security.
You're saying that as if there have never been train bombings.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #915
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You're saying that as if there have never been train bombings.
Have there been bombings on HSR going +150mph? I think it is only a matter of time and so will be the reaction.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #916
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I believe a carry on bomb into a cart went off in Spain awhile back killing most of the people in the same cart but it will be difficult to derail the train itself since explosion of a bomb generally travels upwards.
To obtain maximum damage, the boogies will be the primary target to derail the train but that will be very difficult using a suicide bomber.
Other methods will be to blow up the tracks but again unless it is set like a mine ATC will activate before it reaches the damaged tracks.
A cyber attack will probably be more efficient than a bomb if you ask me.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 08:15 PM   #917
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Billions for high-speed rail; anyone aboard?
26 March 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - To Americans, high-speed trains evoke the gee-whiz factor of a trip to Tomorrowland: Ride futuristic cars that zoom you to a destination in a fraction of the drive time -- without having to fight your way through an airport. Read a book, do paperwork, take a nap while you whoosh ahead in high-speed comfort.

To governments, they evoke benefits to the common good -- reduced freeway traffic, lower carbon pollution and more jobs.

But this country has never built a high-speed "bullet" train rivaling the successful systems of Europe and Asia, where passenger railcars have blurred by at top speeds nearing 200 mph for decades.

Since the 1980s, every state effort to reproduce such service has failed. The reasons often boil down to poor planning and simple mathematics.

Yet President Barack Obama, intent on harnessing new technology to rebuild the devastated economy, made a last-minute allocation of $8 billion for high-speed rail in his mammoth stimulus plan.

It sounds good, but that amount isn't enough to build a single system, or to dramatically increase existing train speeds, transportation experts say.

California is the only state with an active project, and its proposed cost is more than five times the stimulus amount. The $42 billion plan is far from shovel ready -- it's still seeking local approvals -- but it's farther down the track than any other state with an outstretched hand for a slice of Obama's high-speed pie.

There are rail advocates who say anything is better than nothing when it comes to modernizing U.S. train transportation, which needs all the help it can get. Others say the stimulus injection is like adding a teaspoon of water to the ocean and calling it high tide.

------

Roughly six proposed routes with federal approval for high-speed rail stand a good chance of getting some of the $8 billion award, according to U.S. Transportation Department officials. The spurs include parts of Texas, Florida, the Chicago region, and southeast routes through North Carolina and Louisiana.

Officials in those areas have said they'd be happy to take part of the president's offer, even though they don't have high-speed systems to pump money into. Talking with reporters recently, Obama said he'd love to see such trains in his former state of Illinois linking Chicago to Wisconsin, Missouri and Michigan.

The economic benefit is enormous, the president said. "Railroads were always the pride of America, and stitched us together. Now Japan, China, all of Europe have high-speed rail systems that put ours to shame."

New Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman also from Illinois, said developing high-speed rail is the country's No. 1 transportation priority.

"Anybody who has ever traveled in Europe or Japan knows that high-speed rail works and that it's very effective," LaHood said in an interview with The Associated Press.

What exactly is "high-speed"? It depends on the location. The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration says the term applies to trains traveling more than 90 mph (144 kph). The European Union standard is above 125 mph (200 kph).

And many overseas bullet trains -- most powered by overhead electricity lines -- run faster than that. In France, for example, the TGV ("Train a Grande Vitesse") covers the 250 miles (400 kilometers) between Paris and Lyon in one hour, 55 minutes at an average speed of about 133 mph (213 kph). A 25,000-horsepower French train reached 357.2 mph (571.5 kph) in 2007, setting a world record for conventional train systems.

In Japan, which opened the first high-speed rail in the 1960s and carries more passengers than any other country, Shinkansen trains hurtle the countryside at an average of about 180 mph (288 kph). Japan's magnetically levitated train -- different from conventional wheels-on-rails technology -- holds the overall world speed record at 361 mph (577.6 kph).

Super-fast trains also run in Germany, Spain and China, at speeds up to 140 mph (224 kph), according to a 2007 survey in the trade publication Railway Gazette.

The only rail service that qualifies under America's lower high-speed standard is Amtrak's 9-year-old Acela Express route connecting Boston to Washington, D.C.

The trains are built to reach speeds up to 150 mph (240 kph), but only average about 80 mph (128 kph) because of curving tracks and slower-moving freight and passenger trains that share the route. On the densely traveled line from New York City to the nation's capital, the Acela arrives just about 20 minutes earlier than standard service, at more than twice the cost during peak travel times.

For instance, a one-way Acela fare leaving New York at 11 a.m. is $155. The same departure on a regular train costs $72.

"In virtually no way does the Acela Express perform near overseas standards," says author Joseph Vranich, a former Amtrak public affairs spokesman and president of the High Speed Rail Association. In 2004 he wrote a highly critical book titled, "End of the Line: The Failure of Amtrak Reform and the Future of America's Passenger Trains."

He's equally unimpressed with the federal stimulus money.

"Here's what's going to happen: The (Obama) administration will issue these funds in dribs and drabs -- to this project and that project -- and the result will be an Amtrak train from Chicago to St. Louis that takes maybe 15 minutes off the travel time."

Current Amtrak travel time between the two cities is about five hours, 30 minutes.

Trying to make American trains run faster will always go off the rails, Vranich says, as long as planners keep trying to recreate overseas systems. "We're not Europe. We're not Japan. We're looking at shorter travel times, through population densities that are much higher."

In other words, plans to put a screaming bullet train through American towns with concentrated populations will always face hard challenges.

Which is part of the reason previous efforts failed in Florida, Texas and Southern California -- all of which have approved plans for high-speed train service, then later cancelled them. California has one of the country's most tortured relationships with bullet trains.

In 1982, a hastily written $2 billion bullet train bill sailed through the closing days of the legislative session and was signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, a longtime cheerleader for fast rail. The measure specifically exempted the project from the state's strict environmental review process and allowed California to underwrite tax-exempt revenue bonds to help fund the 125-mile (200-kilometer) route between San Diego and Los Angeles that bragged of nonstop, 59-minute train service.

The system was never built. The project was ultimately abandoned for several reasons, including a barrage of protests from residents near proposed stations and public outcry over exempting it from environmental review.

Fourteen years later, the state legislature formed the California High Speed Rail Authority, charged with planning and developing fast trains between metropolitan areas in the most populous, and arguably most car-conscious state.

After two failed attempts to make the ballot, a $9.95 billion bond measure was approved by voters in November to help fund the first leg of what would ultimately be an 800-mile (1,280-kilometer) system -- service between San Francisco and Anaheim, home to Disneyland -- at a promised travel time of 2 1/2 hours.

The newest plan also faces criticism. Opponents doubt the wisdom of building a gargantuan project that won't move a train for at least 10 years, while California proposes cutting services and raising taxes during a national economic meltdown.

No bonds have been sold yet, and the authority is running out of money. Quentin Kopp, a former state senator who chairs the authority, said he was very encouraged by meeting he held in Washington to try to get at least $2 billion of the federal stimulus money.

But other rail activists think the stimulus money will not go into creating any super high-speed train lines.

"It's very likely that all of the money will go to significant improvements of existing tracks. It's not going to build bullet trains," said Ross Capon, head of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, an advocacy group for rail travel.

------

Associated Press writer Joan Lowy in Washington contributed to this story.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 05:13 AM   #918
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Quote:
"In virtually no way does the Acela Express perform near overseas standards," says author Joseph Vranich, a former Amtrak public affairs spokesman and president of the High Speed Rail Association. In 2004 he wrote a highly critical book titled, "End of the Line: The Failure of Amtrak Reform and the Future of America's Passenger Trains."

He's equally unimpressed with the federal stimulus money.

"Here's what's going to happen: The (Obama) administration will issue these funds in dribs and drabs -- to this project and that project -- and the result will be an Amtrak train from Chicago to St. Louis that takes maybe 15 minutes off the travel time."

Current Amtrak travel time between the two cities is about five hours, 30 minutes.

Trying to make American trains run faster will always go off the rails, Vranich says, as long as planners keep trying to recreate overseas systems. "We're not Europe. We're not Japan. We're looking at shorter travel times, through population densities that are much higher."

In other words, plans to put a screaming bullet train through American towns with concentrated populations will always face hard challenges.
This guy certainly does not know what he is talking about.
Japan is as dense if not denser in population and yet was able to develop present Shinkansen system. In fact population density is one of the factor for successful high speed rail system.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 08:24 AM   #919
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Source : http://www.pbase.com/ki4nak/amtrak



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Old March 29th, 2009, 04:59 PM   #920
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I think your reading it wrong (or maybe I am). I think he is saying that Europe/Asia do have closer distances and higher density city's so as to make HSR more feasible.

Having larger more dispersed metros as we do in NA does lessen slightly the attractiveness of downtown HSR. In many European/Asian city's you are likely to be a 15-20 minute train/subway ride away from catching a HSR train. In many a NA city it will be a half-hour to hour car ride to downtown to catch a HSR train for more people.

As far as expense due to the nature of the built enviroment the expense may equalize out in the end of building through such different metros. In U.S. metros you have to try to attain land and route plan through miles of endless suburbia but there is also less of the uber-expensive acquisition and planning through super dense city's such as Tokyo, Paris, or even smaller European/Asian cities.
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Last edited by nomarandlee; March 30th, 2009 at 07:00 AM.
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