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Old April 2nd, 2009, 04:46 PM   #961
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
Amtrak runs through Montana on a line that connects Seattle with Chicago.
Your right, Seattle to Chicago is an impotant route and it probably should run through Montana. But if there is a route that long there is really no sense in running a conventional train on a freight track. The trip would take over a full day. I agree on building a high speed line in that corridor that could bring the trip down to 7hrs maybe, but until that is built there really no need to run a Seattle to Chicago line.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 11:38 PM   #962
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdbarber View Post
Your right, Seattle to Chicago is an impotant route and it probably should run through Montana. But if there is a route that long there is really no sense in running a conventional train on a freight track. The trip would take over a full day. I agree on building a high speed line in that corridor that could bring the trip down to 7hrs maybe, but until that is built there really no need to run a Seattle to Chicago line.
I agree, and should note that the Amtrak line does not run through the major Montanan cities, it is located in the far northern part of the state, near the Canadian border, where there are hardly any people. If the line ran along I-90 connecting Missoula, Butte, and Billings before paralleling I-94 and connecting Bismarck and Fargo, many more people would use it.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 12:27 AM   #963
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Some of you need to read up on Amtrak ridership in Montana and how important it is to the state.

The Empire Builder which runs between Seattle and Chicago is Amtrak's most popular long distance train and provides a vital transportation link to many people in Montana.

Higher prices boost Amtrak's ridership

Missoulian: Now is the opportunity to bring back rail
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 03:34 PM   #964
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdbarber View Post
Your right, Seattle to Chicago is an impotant route and it probably should run through Montana. But if there is a route that long there is really no sense in running a conventional train on a freight track. The trip would take over a full day. I agree on building a high speed line in that corridor that could bring the trip down to 7hrs maybe, but until that is built there really no need to run a Seattle to Chicago line.

I cant believe someone would make an opinion based comment on a forum and not even bother to do the most basic research. The Seattle-Chicago line is in service and is called "The Empire Builder". It runs once daily and in Spokane,Wa it splits into 2 trains with one going to Portland. It has 12 stops in Montana including Glacier National Park, and it takes 2 days to get from Chicago to Seattle thus the use of "sleeper cars"

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...21887&ssid=133
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 04:42 PM   #965
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Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs View Post
I cant believe someone would make an opinion based comment on a forum and not even bother to do the most basic research. The Seattle-Chicago line is in service and is called "The Empire Builder". It runs once daily and in Spokane,Wa it splits into 2 trains with one going to Portland. It has 12 stops in Montana including Glacier National Park, and it takes 2 days to get from Chicago to Seattle thus the use of "sleeper cars"

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...21887&ssid=133

Really who is gonna take a 2 day train ride when flying takes 3hr 45min. The price is about the same. And no disrespect to the people of Montana there really isn't that many people there to warrant 12 rail stops. The money for Amtrak should be allocated for populated areas of the country. Rail has to be built to be competitive with other forms of transportation but instead it is domintated by earmark projects by legislators.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 07:16 PM   #966
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I agree with you. I have taken that train to Portland from Chicago and it was delayed ten hours. Ten hours!!! Unfortunately I have heard that is not all that rare. It and a few other lines that take 40-48 hours are basically tourist/leisure cars that the government shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing as the service is so inadequate. At that juncture perhaps bus service should just be the preferred method of travel since it is competitive with such service.

Now, depending on the cost if they could upgrade such cross continental trips from Chicago-LA/SF/Seattle to go 100-115mph with predictable travel times then I could see the merit in such service continuing and even subsidized somewhat. When you are talking about multi-days trips with half day delays though it is time to overhaul the service or perhaps kill it.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:46 AM   #967
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomarandlee View Post
I agree with you. I have taken that train to Portland from Chicago and it was delayed ten hours. Ten hours!!! Unfortunately I have heard that is not all that rare. It and a few other lines that take 40-48 hours are basically tourist/leisure cars that the government shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing as the service is so inadequate. At that juncture perhaps bus service should just be the preferred method of travel since it is competitive with such service.

Now, depending on the cost if they could upgrade such cross continental trips from Chicago-LA/SF/Seattle to go 100-115mph with predictable travel times then I could see the merit in such service continuing and even subsidized somewhat. When you are talking about multi-days trips with half day delays though it is time to overhaul the service or perhaps kill it.
Yes I agree. I would recommend overhauling the service and building new track paralleling I-90 so that all of Montana's major cities are connected.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #968
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You can't travel from Atlanta to Miami without first going through Washington D.C.!!
Wow, I just checked this and you're right. How shocking.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #969
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From an efficiency perspective, the only way that long-distance trains would earn money is if they are packed full of people. It is impossible nowadays, with the superior speed of airlines.

But wait, maybe it is possible.
To overhaul, just stop at the cities/metropolitan areas with 1M+ inhabitants.

What if you can raise the speed limit to 110 mph? That means a 2000-mile trip, roughly the distance between LA and Chicago, will take about one day, if there are no pathetic freight delays. Actually that's not bad if ...

1. The food is superior (trains can have full kitchens, back in the private days)
2. The chairs are comfortable enough to sleep in (not like airlines' seats!)

Or actually, Amtrak should be able to time this train more wisely; a massive survey can be circulated, and various responses with what times people prefer for travelling between LA and Chicago. The mode response will probably be somewhere between Friday and Monday. Then Amtrak can try a weekly train that can embark on just that day of the week. The railfans and seniors will still be there too.

Moreover, Amtrak can create a robust system where a massive cancellation or 48-hour delay of airlines can create some sort of "ad hoc" train to transport the otherwise would-be air passengers, ie, in bad weather. I say this because trains tend to be more robust against bad weather.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #970
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Perhaps they should learn from China in this case.

Just 15 years ago the rail system was what you expect from a backwards state.

Then they identified key long distance corridors, most important being Beijing - Shanghai for obvious reasons. It has been gradually upgraded to 200 km/h, and now there are overnight high speed trains designed to allow people to board in the evening in Shanghai, and wake up in Beijing in the early morning in 10 hours.

Work is under way on a proper HSR line with 350 km/h speed to allow the trip to be done in 5 hours, and it promises to be a vast improvement.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #971
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Re the idea that Americans won't use a HSR train. This assumes that the target market for rail services is very small, that the target market is the existing rail users. It isn't. The target market for HSR is motorists and air travellers. We're looking at creating a modal shift here, not just improving facilities for people who already use the mode.

There are many areas of the States where HSR would be viable, paricularly on the east and west coasts. This is because cities there are usually a bit denser and have reasonably well developed public transport networks.

I crunched some numbers once and for journeys less than 500 mi/800 km, HSR is faster than flying, measured as an end-to-end journey. In response to the point that driving to a train station can often take as long as driving to the airport, in cities like LA, there will be several stations so that people don't have to go too far. In any case train stations are usually centrally located whereas airports are on the outskirts.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 08:55 PM   #972
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacetweek View Post
I crunched some numbers once and for journeys less than 500 mi/800 km, HSR is faster than flying, measured as an end-to-end journey. In response to the point that driving to a train station can often take as long as driving to the airport, in cities like LA, there will be several stations so that people don't have to go too far. In any case train stations are usually centrally located whereas airports are on the outskirts.

Yes, but... spacetweek, I'm very much in favour of HSR, but I think you skip a few essential points: you seem to assume that most people are travelling to and from city centres. That will certainly be the case if we discuss auto/air/train traffic between London and Paris, or Madrid and Barcelona, or I suppose Dublin and Belfast. But many of the US agglomerations (leaving the old cities of the north east aside for a second) are like "30 suburbs chasing a city". In that kind of urban environment the advantage of arriving at a downtown railway station as opposed to a surburban airport may be marginal. Which being so, people may remain alert to the fact that the flight from SF to LA takes an hour and the train ride takes three. - Of course, as you say the train could stop several times in northen LA, but then...

...the highspeed concept is punked and the whole thing takes signficantly more than three hours.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 04:19 AM   #973
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Miami Intl.
Miami Central
|
Ft.Lauderdale Intl.
|
West PalmBeach Intl.
|
Sebring
|
Hayes City
|
Orlando

= 400km /255miles

High frequency comuter railway OrlandoKissimee = 20 miles/32km = double track electrified railway (at up to 100mph / 160km/h) ...

WPB-Kissimmee = 160 miles / 260km of completely undeveloped neighbourhood ...

2x Miami-WPB railways = 67miles / 107km ... how do you feel about a 100km long viaducto over your summer village ???

Miami-Daytona = 400km /250 miles ... completely build up ...


Not the place to go trying to build HSR at all ... every little town has it's own regional airport over there so ...
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Old April 11th, 2009, 05:16 PM   #974
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The USA needs at least 180Mph lines as the country is so big...
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Old April 13th, 2009, 05:44 AM   #975
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The USA needs at least 180Mph lines as the country is so big...
/facepalm

it's not about a size you know
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Old April 13th, 2009, 11:07 AM   #976
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The USA needs at least 180Mph lines as the country is so big...
Sorry, Poshie, but I think you're being a bit silly. Even with the fastest trains in the world you'd still need a day-and-half to drive across the United States. Between the coasts, between the Rockies and NY, between Chicago and the South... planes are and will remain the public transport of choice.

The challenge is to fit HSR into some of the more densely populated corridors, many of which have a geography and settlement structure not unlike "Old Europe". The examples include Boston-NY-DC; the Texas Triangle; and Chicago-Detroit. Plus, I tremble to add, San Francisco-LA, which has the most advanced planning of them all even as I would have thought this one of the more unlikely success stories.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #977
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Sorry, Poshie, but I think you're being a bit silly. Even with the fastest trains in the world you'd still need a day-and-half to drive across the United States.
Assuming the rails were there, the fastest trains in the world could get from Los Angeles to New York and back, and then back to New York again in a day and a half.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 03:44 PM   #978
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Trains simply can't compete with planes at such big distances for regular travelling. That's why you have to look at the two as complementary modes of transport, not competitors. For some distances, the train is the best option (if the option is present, which is a problem in many parts of the USA at the moment), but for further distances it makes more sense to take a plane.

So even if you would be able to lay such tracks, it'll be hard to make them economically sound and safe. Short distances between more urban areas will be more profitable and more useful.

Perhaps later on, if it really catches on, you may start combining those new networks and you could take the leap to longer distances, but usually planes will beat trains their due to their speed. But it's better to think small first and then make it bigger if it works out.

Greetings,
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Old April 16th, 2009, 06:10 AM   #979
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Trains simply can't compete with planes at such big distances for regular travelling. That's why you have to look at the two as complementary modes of transport, not competitors. For some distances, the train is the best option (if the option is present, which is a problem in many parts of the USA at the moment), but for further distances it makes more sense to take a plane.

So even if you would be able to lay such tracks, it'll be hard to make them economically sound and safe. Short distances between more urban areas will be more profitable and more useful.

Perhaps later on, if it really catches on, you may start combining those new networks and you could take the leap to longer distances, but usually planes will beat trains their due to their speed. But it's better to think small first and then make it bigger if it works out.

Greetings,
Glodenox

The only reason trains can't complete with planes over large distances in the US is because the infrastructure in the country is around 40 years out of date.

If the governmen't wasn't so short sighted and corrupt during the post world war two era and the 1950s and invested in rail transit like the countries that did, then Americans will be able to see the effeciencies in a well run rail transit network.

Your right though, over some distances air travel have the edge. But that distance should be further than the horizontal cross from the US east cost to the west.

A good example is China.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 09:46 PM   #980
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Quote:
from BBC NEWS
Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 18:14 UK
E-mail this to a friend Printable version
Obama plans high-speed rail in US
US President Barack Obama outlines his high-speed rail plan
President Barack Obama wants less congestion on roads and in the air

US President Barack Obama has announced his "vision for high-speed rail" in the country, which would create jobs, ease congestion and save energy.

He said the US could not afford not to make the investment in 10 routes.

Six of the routes already approved, including California and Florida, could get some of the $8 billion (£5.4bn) earmarked for rail improvements.

Mr Obama said his plan would provide faster journeys, increased mobility and better productivity.

His strategy envisions a network of short-haul and long-haul corridors of up to 600 miles, with trains capable of speeds of up to 150mph (240km/h).

Although super-fast trains in Japan, Germany and China run at more than 220km/h (137mph), the fastest service at the moment in the US averages only 120km/h.

He said: "Our highways are clogged with traffic, costing us $80 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel.

"Our airports are choked with increased loads. We're at the mercy of fluctuating gas prices all too often," he said.

"We pump too many greenhouse gases into the air. What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st Century."

List of potential routes

* California corridor : Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego
* Pacific Northwest corridor : Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver British Columbia
* South Central corridor : Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock
* Gulf Coast corridor : Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta
* Chicago hub network : Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville
* Florida corridor : Orlando, Tampa, Miami
* Southeast corridor : Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Macon, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville
* Keystone corridor : Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh
* Empire corridor : New York City, Albany, Buffalo
* Northern New England corridor : Boston, Montreal, Portland, Springfield, New Haven, Albany
The article states 137mph for Germany, China and Japan (all use at least 186mph) and makes no mention of France.

So... not sure how much you want to believe the 150mph claim!
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