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Old April 14th, 2010, 01:50 AM   #1701
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
They should adopt a network-wide profitability study. Without disregard of any network effect (a feeder train that albeit non-profitable itself brings profitable traffic to other segments and services), they should cut unprofitable trains. I doubt those 2-day long routes from Chicago to West Coast yields any profit. They should be cut partially or entirely outright if not proven to be profitable themselves or capable of offset own losses with feeder impacts on other services (unlikely that a Denver-Chicago passenger will have any relevant feeder impact on a regional route there).

AMTRAK should give up its "tourist" services through the Rockies, where they are just a fancy thing running amidst pristine landscape.
Amtrak ridership is up 5-10% on all lines since last year and is making profits on at least 10 lines. Why are you so Anti-Rail? Anti-American?
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Old April 14th, 2010, 02:27 AM   #1702
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i just saw the government nationalizing rail service in the US. Thats the dumbest thing i have seen. The government cant even maintain the frikkin road system and you want it to nationalize rail.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 03:07 AM   #1703
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Corey- View Post
I preffer to travel on a plane than a train.
Same here.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 03:43 AM   #1704
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i just saw the government nationalizing rail service in the US. Thats the dumbest thing i have seen. The government cant even maintain the frikkin road system and you want it to nationalize rail.
Where did you hear that ? We need to hold our Freight Companies to higher standards. I doubt will see a national company....they need to have toll roads in every state. To help pay for the roads. Amtrak has finally starting making profits on lines outside the Northeast.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 03:52 AM   #1705
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Why do you feel America's railway network is pathetic?

He's using its own system, does not all have to be the Germanic U-Bahns!


I believe it's a very nice system.

Also, not everyone taking the rails!
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Old April 15th, 2010, 12:23 AM   #1706
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Originally Posted by LosAngelesMetroBoy View Post
i just saw the government nationalizing rail service in the US. Thats the dumbest thing i have seen. The government cant even maintain the frikkin road system and you want it to nationalize rail.
Either that or privatize Amtrak. Either one. Amtrak cant make progress if it has to keep paying to use the tracks.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 02:25 PM   #1707
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Either that or privatize Amtrak. Either one. Amtrak cant make progress if it has to keep paying to use the tracks.
Some Amtrak lines are Profitable now , like i said on the other site it isn't entirely Amtrak's fault.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #1708
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Considering Amtrak has never had any real funding to start with, it's amazing how much they do make.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
They should adopt a network-wide profitability study. Without disregard of any network effect (a feeder train that albeit non-profitable itself brings profitable traffic to other segments and services), they should cut unprofitable trains. I doubt those 2-day long routes from Chicago to West Coast yields any profit. They should be cut partially or entirely outright if not proven to be profitable themselves or capable of offset own losses with feeder impacts on other services (unlikely that a Denver-Chicago passenger will have any relevant feeder impact on a regional route there).

AMTRAK should give up its "tourist" services through the Rockies, where they are just a fancy thing running amidst pristine landscape.
The Empire Builder (Chicago to Seattle) is frequently very busy. A few times I've looked it's been sold out.

Edit: It is in fact the busiest overnight train service. And I found a chart comparing it to the Hiawatha:
http://www.unitedrail.org/category/commentary/

Last edited by He Named Thor; April 19th, 2010 at 09:12 PM.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 10:56 PM   #1709
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From your same source:

F.Y. 2007 Empire Builder Hiawatha
Total Revenue $53,177,800 $10,230,000
Passengers 505,000 593,000
Avg Trip Length 773.9 80
Revenue per Passenger-Mile $0.1361 $0.2148

Been "busy" doesn't mean it's breaking even. If you price tickets lower enough, you can sell out trains, yet not recoup their costs, which would be bad public policy, like if the government were giving free gas.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 12:56 AM   #1710
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
From your same source:

F.Y. 2007 Empire Builder Hiawatha
Total Revenue $53,177,800 $10,230,000
Passengers 505,000 593,000
Avg Trip Length 773.9 80
Revenue per Passenger-Mile $0.1361 $0.2148

Been "busy" doesn't mean it's breaking even. If you price tickets lower enough, you can sell out trains, yet not recoup their costs, which would be bad public policy, like if the government were giving free gas.
The Keystone , Northeast Regional , Acela (semi) ,Cascades , Vermonter are breaking profits some , above the need for subsides. Amtrak is about to overhaul there fleets , fares are already lowered , And Trains on the Busy Corridors are selling out. You & The Korean are very critical of the US Rail system , how about giving ideas on improvements , instead of bashing post after post. Btw those are old figure's , you need to get the 2009 figures.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 01:11 PM   #1711
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis View Post
how about giving ideas on improvements
Well, my suggestion to any developed country in regard of intercity rail travel is:

- set up a Federal authority to manage and operate stations, tracks, signals etc (the infrastructure)

- let private train operators buy/lease, set timetables and operate trains at their wish, at the price they want to charge. If demand for a given sector is higher than available paths, sell annual or semi-annual paths there to the highest bidders.

Free market in train operation and a lean state authority to maintain tracks and stations is the way to go. Then, all non-profitable routes will be cut off automatically, without any political consideration, whining form local House Representative etc.

In other words, make intercity rail transport like air transport: government owns (most) airports, provides traffic controls, but private airlines manage the aircrafts, set up schedules, decide prices etc.

Because in US most trackage is private, the Federal authority would manage to negotiate with the freight companies the conditions of track sharing, leveling the field for all private train operators.
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Last edited by Suburbanist; April 20th, 2010 at 01:24 PM.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:52 PM   #1712
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
Same here.
Not if a volcano thousands of miles away blows its top and grounds every plane on the continent...
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 08:13 AM   #1713
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Because we use airplanes for passengers and trucks for cargo.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 08:50 AM   #1714
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
In other words, make intercity rail transport like air transport: government owns (most) airports, provides traffic controls, but private airlines manage the aircrafts, set up schedules, decide prices etc.

Because, obviously, no airports are subsidized in the US.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 09:18 AM   #1715
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Well, my suggestion to any developed country in regard of intercity rail travel is:

- set up a Federal authority to manage and operate stations, tracks, signals etc (the infrastructure)

- let private train operators buy/lease, set timetables and operate trains at their wish, at the price they want to charge. If demand for a given sector is higher than available paths, sell annual or semi-annual paths there to the highest bidders.

Free market in train operation and a lean state authority to maintain tracks and stations is the way to go. Then, all non-profitable routes will be cut off automatically, without any political consideration, whining form local House Representative etc.

In other words, make intercity rail transport like air transport: government owns (most) airports, provides traffic controls, but private airlines manage the aircrafts, set up schedules, decide prices etc.

Because in US most trackage is private, the Federal authority would manage to negotiate with the freight companies the conditions of track sharing, leveling the field for all private train operators.
In other words, exactly how it's been going on in Britain for over a decade: regular train crashes until the government was forced to take control of the infrastructure, soaring fares, deteriorating services, and even more taxpayer subsidies than when the railways were under government control.

The irony is that the French and German state-owned railways are in the process of acquiring railways in parts of Britain.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 09:45 AM   #1716
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Good point.

The private sector messes up at least as often as "the government".

It wasn't the evil government that brought the world economy to its knees......but it was the gov't (i.e. taxpayers) who bailed out the private sector after it messed up. Again.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 10:14 AM   #1717
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanfan89 View Post
In other words, exactly how it's been going on in Britain for over a decade: regular train crashes until the government was forced to take control of the infrastructure, soaring fares, deteriorating services, and even more taxpayer subsidies than when the railways were under government control.
That the privatization of rail in Brittain led to an decrease in safety and an increase in crashes is simply not true. The railways in Brittain have been getting safer and safer over the years (as everywhere else) and this process has not been interrupted during the privatisation.
That a lot of mistakes were made during the privatisation is a fact. But it's not all bad. The experience certainly doesn't prove that rail shouldn't be run by private companies.
Services have increased quite substantially in the UK, more trains, newer trains, and reopening of formerly closed stations and lines...
The UK saw the largest increas in rail passenger numbers of any country in Europe, so the railways must be doing something right.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 10:17 AM   #1718
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrNogatco View Post
Good point.

The private sector messes up at least as often as "the government".
However messed up companies can be liquidated. Try that with a messed up country.
Quote:
It wasn't the evil government that brought the world economy to its knees......but it was the gov't (i.e. taxpayers) who bailed out the private sector after it messed up. Again.
Quite a few governments actually made money on the bank bailouts. So it turns out that the taxpayer isn't footing that much of the bill after all.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 10:24 AM   #1719
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Free market in train operation and a lean state authority to maintain tracks and stations is the way to go. Then, all non-profitable routes will be cut off automatically, without any political consideration, whining form local House Representative etc.
The problem is that train services often have large positive externalities.
For example: The Zürich S-Bahn has a fare recovery of 65%. So it can not be run on a purely commercial basis. However if the trains were to stop operating the cost to the Canton of Zürich would be higher than the subsidy it currently pays. So it makes sense economically to subsidize the S-Bahn.

Externalities should be part of economic calculations, however companies can't/don't always internalize externalities, and this is where there is a role for the government to punish negative externalities and reward positive externalities.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 10:27 AM   #1720
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Food for thought

Back on topic...here is an interesting link comparing European high speed rail with what is being proposed in the United States.

http://www.theworld.org/2009/09/03/e...gh-speed-rail/

Some excerpts:

SCHALCH: The trains also feed passengers into Europe’s extensive local mass transit systems like the Paris Metro. Many US cities don’t have such networks. And Michele points out another key difference – the public’s willingness to pay for the system. Bullet trains like the ones in Europe and Japan are pricey. They require smooth tracks, special switches, security systems, and under or over passes at crossings to keep cars off the tracks. European’s have been willing to tax themselves to make these investments on the order of tens of billions of dollars a year.

CLEMENT MICHELE: It’s kind of known throughout Europe that an entire train system cannot rely only on private money. You have to get subsidies at least for building the tracks, maintaining the tracks, and then the train-operating companies can sometimes be profitable.
....

SCHALCH: That’s on 800 high-speed trains a day. And that’s just in France. The US isn’t planning anything on this scale. The bulk of the $8 billion in stimulus money will help upgrade a few existence routes and roughly double top speeds to up to 110 miles per hour. That would be a big improvement but still far slower than European-style bullet trains. Only California’s plans call for a true high-speed system between Los Angeles and San Francisco and its share of the stimulus money wouldn’t begin to cover its costs. There’s no telling if the US will ultimately muster the resources needed to follow Europe’s example. And of course there are many who argue that it shouldn’t – that the US is just too different for high-speed rail to succeed. Meanwhile though other countries continue to streak ahead. Spain plans to spend $140 billion over the next 10 years to create Europe’s biggest high-speed network. China plans to spend more than twice that much. French rail CEO Mirelle Faugere says Europeans clearly prefer high-speed rail to the alternatives – more congestion on the roads and in the skies and more pollution. For all but the longest trips she says, riding trains is more efficient and better for the climate.
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