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Old July 30th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #1841
G5man
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This has been needed for a long time. Hopefully they will use more elegant designs that also use CEM.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 12:13 AM   #1842
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Facial View Post
According to Wikipedia, 65% from fare revenue.
I would have guessed lower than that. Not bad. According to the figures, the Empire Builder runs 515,400 passengers in a year. Assuming four trains a day (two in each direction, one each to Seattle and Portland), that makes for 353 passengers on each trip. Pretty good, actually.

IMO, Amtrak can't really hope to compete with the airlines on speed, which means on their long-distance routes such as the Empire Builder, they'd be better to make taking the train an experience in itself. Not so much going to your destination, but making it part of the vacation, so to speak. The aforementioned service improvements are long, long overdue. But they should only be step one, if you ask me.

Here is my idea. When you buy tickets on Amtrak, you buy a package deal - meaning the ticket price includes the cost of sleeping accommodations, your meals and snacks and everything else. Yes, that would make it more expensive than an airline ticket, but Amtrak could easily point that out at the ticket counter, or if you buy online. (If that isn't already possible, it should be made so, pronto.) Airliners aren't all that comfortable things, especially on long flights, and airline meals almost universally suck ass. Set up the schedules so that on picturesque routes such as the Empire Builder you go through them in daylight, so everybody gets nice pictures. When you receiver dinner, it's real food, good food that is cooked on the train, made when you want it, served on China plates with glasses and silverware, none of this plastic cutlery crap. You drop into the lounge car after dinner, where you can use your laptop on the internet, watch a movie or simply enjoy a drink with friends or family.

This Amtrak train would be made up of this consist:

3 diesel locomotives (GE P42DC)
1 fuel tanker/utilities car (including internet connection and small diesel engine for HEP as needed)
2 crew accommodations cars
1 baggage car
1 laundry/dishwasher/cleaning services car
1 kitchen car
1 restaurant car
2 lounge cars
1 observation car (with glass roof to give great views of surrounding scenery)
1 alternative lounge car (with private movie theatre, coffee bar, alternate meal service, et cetera)
2 coaches
2 large-room sleeping cars (all with full bedrooms or family bedrooms, which can sleep up to four, and with at two accessible bedrooms)
3 sleeping cars (all roomettes, except for three accessible bedrooms on lower level)
1 kitchen car
1 restaurant car
2 lounge car
1 observation car
1 alternative lounge car
2 coaches
3 sleeping cars
2 large-room sleeping cars
1 family-bedroom sleeping car
1 lounge/rear observation car

Now, this is a LONG passenger train (3 engines and 33 cars), but one could add or remove pieces as needed. I set up this one for cases where there is high demand, and one could split this train into two sections for routes like the Empire Builder which have two destinations, but still keep all the amenities. The idea is that these trains would be more like liners on rails. IMO, if Amtrak wants to beat the airlines, they can do it this way.

I am envisioning all of these cars being low-floor double-deckers in the mold of the Bombardier Bi-level, with various trains having different paint jobs for the routes they are being used on. All rated for higher speeds, allowing speeds of 90-100 mph along the way (agreed on the rewrite of FRA rules), allowing for (relatively) fast travel.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 12:31 AM   #1843
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33 cars? I doubt stations can deal with such long cars as from today. You are proposing, essentially, a touristic train. It is fine, but then get the government the hell out of operating it! Let some private operator take car and charge fares accordingly.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 01:38 AM   #1844
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33 cars? I doubt stations can deal with such long cars as from today. You are proposing, essentially, a touristic train. It is fine, but then get the government the hell out of operating it! Let some private operator take car and charge fares accordingly.
I actually agree with you on this one , hench why we should get rid of the cross country routes. And focus on regional networks. Most Stations here in the Northeast are being upgraded to 20 cars lengths. They usually have ppl exit and board form a max of 10 cars.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 02:35 AM   #1845
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
33 cars? I doubt stations can deal with such long cars as from today. You are proposing, essentially, a touristic train. It is fine, but then get the government the hell out of operating it! Let some private operator take car and charge fares accordingly.
The problem, which the free marketeers keep on not getting, is that nobody operates passenger trains for a reason. It struggles to be economical, because highways and airlines are substantially subsidized, and forcing them out without subsidy would put them under real fast. That's why Amtrak came in the first place - the subsidized airlines and interstates put passenger rail effectively out of business. You want to remove subsidies for highway travel and airlines? Good luck with that.

It does need to be that long (as I pointed out in the post), either. I know that most stations don't have platforms that long. You assemble the train then after the passengers get on, as is done with the Auto Train.

@Nexis: What do you do for more isolated areas, or cities such as Denver or Salt Lake City which are too far away for a regional network? You let them go without and force them to use airlines? The whole reason many of us support long-distance passenger trains is to ensure the service is there.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 03:03 AM   #1846
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The problem, which the free marketeers keep on not getting, is that nobody operates passenger trains for a reason. It struggles to be economical, because highways and airlines are substantially subsidized, and forcing them out without subsidy would put them under real fast. That's why Amtrak came in the first place - the subsidized airlines and interstates put passenger rail effectively out of business. You want to remove subsidies for highway travel and airlines? Good luck with that.
I'll get to repeat the same argument: you can't compare apples to oranges. The government may subsidize the highways, airports, air traffic control etc., but Greyhound is private, as are all airlines (save, of course, the military transporters, but that is another history).

I'd not oppose a government-owned agency that manages (build, maintain, operate) TRACKS and STATIONS. However, I DO oppose public involvement with train operations. Indeed, passenger transport is 40 years behind air and road passenger transport in the way of segregate and completely separate the infrastructure issues (ownership, financing, maintenance) from vehicle operations.

I think Amtrak should manage tracks only, even build some high-speed tracks. Then, let private operators run trains over them. Exactly like air or road: govt' builds an airport, and wait for traffic to come, it builds an interstate, and cars and trucks then come.

You don't need to match tracks and vehicles operations, this is utterly anti-competitive. Guess what would happen if a private operator wanted to run some services on NEC... there is absolutely no framework for Amtrak to let its infrastructure (tracks) be used by other train operators.

Quote:
It does need to be that long (as I pointed out in the post), either. I know that most stations don't have platforms that long. You assemble the train then after the passengers get on, as is done with the Auto Train.
You lose much time in this operations. Geez, it is like in the 1910's. Still, there is no point for gov't to get into the business of running leisure services. There are other priorities on rail transport, more serious one than running a handful of weekly mammoth money-losing trains so Amtrak can proud itself on "connecting all lower 48" - for instance.

Quote:
@Nexis: What do you do for more isolated areas, or cities such as Denver or Salt Lake City which are too far away for a regional network? You let them go without and force them to use airlines? The whole reason many of us support long-distance passenger trains is to ensure the service is there.
Exactly! Denver and Salt Lake City are perfect examples of cities to/where long-distance rail is not a priority at all... Because rail is a secondary system, it doesn't have to have extensive coverage like air or road transport. Nobody "needs" rail in its doorstep or a station within a couple hours. Rail is a good competitor in key routes, provided the right conditions exist.

The more-than-right conditions exists, for instance, for a high speed link from Boston to Richmond. There are few areas that are better candidates for such a dedicated, segregated and new HSL. But only thing we hear are facelift projects: a new bridge here, new cantenaries there...
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 03:18 AM   #1847
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMann2000 View Post
The problem, which the free marketeers keep on not getting, is that nobody operates passenger trains for a reason. It struggles to be economical, because highways and airlines are substantially subsidized, and forcing them out without subsidy would put them under real fast. That's why Amtrak came in the first place - the subsidized airlines and interstates put passenger rail effectively out of business. You want to remove subsidies for highway travel and airlines? Good luck with that.

It does need to be that long (as I pointed out in the post), either. I know that most stations don't have platforms that long. You assemble the train then after the passengers get on, as is done with the Auto Train.

@Nexis: What do you do for more isolated areas, or cities such as Denver or Salt Lake City which are too far away for a regional network? You let them go without and force them to use airlines? The whole reason many of us support long-distance passenger trains is to ensure the service is there.
Networks like I-25 Corridor , I-15 corridor , Denver - Salt line. Theres no reason to have long $$$ wasting cross country routes instead of smaller networks. Amtrak is building and upgrading the Northeast Network which a few bloggers predict will be used by over 550,000 daily by 2020 once all the upgrades and restorations are completed.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 10:15 AM   #1848
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMann2000 View Post
I would have guessed lower than that. Not bad. According to the figures, the Empire Builder runs 515,400 passengers in a year. Assuming four trains a day (two in each direction, one each to Seattle and Portland), that makes for 353 passengers on each trip. Pretty good, actually.

IMO, Amtrak can't really hope to compete with the airlines on speed, which means on their long-distance routes such as the Empire Builder, they'd be better to make taking the train an experience in itself. Not so much going to your destination, but making it part of the vacation, so to speak. The aforementioned service improvements are long, long overdue. But they should only be step one, if you ask me.

Here is my idea. When you buy tickets on Amtrak, you buy a package deal - meaning the ticket price includes the cost of sleeping accommodations, your meals and snacks and everything else. Yes, that would make it more expensive than an airline ticket, but Amtrak could easily point that out at the ticket counter, or if you buy online. (If that isn't already possible, it should be made so, pronto.) Airliners aren't all that comfortable things, especially on long flights, and airline meals almost universally suck ass. Set up the schedules so that on picturesque routes such as the Empire Builder you go through them in daylight, so everybody gets nice pictures. When you receiver dinner, it's real food, good food that is cooked on the train, made when you want it, served on China plates with glasses and silverware, none of this plastic cutlery crap. You drop into the lounge car after dinner, where you can use your laptop on the internet, watch a movie or simply enjoy a drink with friends or family.

This Amtrak train would be made up of this consist:

3 diesel locomotives (GE P42DC)
1 fuel tanker/utilities car (including internet connection and small diesel engine for HEP as needed)
2 crew accommodations cars
1 baggage car
1 laundry/dishwasher/cleaning services car
1 kitchen car
1 restaurant car
2 lounge cars
1 observation car (with glass roof to give great views of surrounding scenery)
1 alternative lounge car (with private movie theatre, coffee bar, alternate meal service, et cetera)
2 coaches
2 large-room sleeping cars (all with full bedrooms or family bedrooms, which can sleep up to four, and with at two accessible bedrooms)
3 sleeping cars (all roomettes, except for three accessible bedrooms on lower level)
1 kitchen car
1 restaurant car
2 lounge car
1 observation car
1 alternative lounge car
2 coaches
3 sleeping cars
2 large-room sleeping cars
1 family-bedroom sleeping car
1 lounge/rear observation car

Now, this is a LONG passenger train (3 engines and 33 cars), but one could add or remove pieces as needed. I set up this one for cases where there is high demand, and one could split this train into two sections for routes like the Empire Builder which have two destinations, but still keep all the amenities. The idea is that these trains would be more like liners on rails. IMO, if Amtrak wants to beat the airlines, they can do it this way.

I am envisioning all of these cars being low-floor double-deckers in the mold of the Bombardier Bi-level, with various trains having different paint jobs for the routes they are being used on. All rated for higher speeds, allowing speeds of 90-100 mph along the way (agreed on the rewrite of FRA rules), allowing for (relatively) fast travel.
This is an excellent idea. A train with 33 cars is long, but more efficient at the same time.

I posted somewhere back in this thread that Amtrak can simply take advantage of an overnight express system, which gives it a 12 hour boost. Trains are quieter and potentially more spacious than airplanes.

The requirement, as you stated, is the 100 mph barrier. We'll wait and see what PTC does for the rail lines.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 12:18 PM   #1849
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There are some Amtrak video on my YouTube page.


www.youtube.com/krnboy1009
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Old August 5th, 2010, 07:57 AM   #1850
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This is how we in the Northeast define , with the except of some politicians. So its only the regions outside of the NE that are lazy and stupid...

Here's what we the Northeast define it as.....

50-90mph = Commuter lines or a Regional Rail lines
90-120mph = Higher Speed Regional Rail / Amtrak lines
130mph+ True High Speed Rail


By 2030 the Northeast Should have ....

290 Commuter / Regional Rail lines
17 Higher Speed Regional / Amtrak lines
5 True High Speed Rail
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Old August 5th, 2010, 08:26 AM   #1851
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In France, both the high speed rail line between Paris and Strasbourg and the high speed rail line between Lyon and Marseille are operated at a max speed of 350 km/h during commercial service.
I think you're getting ahead of the game. The LGV-Est (Paris-Strasbourg) was laid out for 350 km/h, but is currently used for max speeds not exceeding 320 km/h. (This has to do with the fact that the French do not yet have trains that can do 350 km/h, whereas the Germans do... ) They are testing the line south of Lyon for very high speeds, but to my knowledge it is still operating commercially at 300 km/h - which, incidentally, is also the Vmax of the TGV-Duplex double decker trains which are mostly used in this part of France.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 04:07 PM   #1852
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I think you're getting ahead of the game. The LGV-Est (Paris-Strasbourg) was laid out for 350 km/h, but is currently used for max speeds not exceeding 320 km/h. (This has to do with the fact that the French do not yet have trains that can do 350 km/h, whereas the Germans do... ) They are testing the line south of Lyon for very high speeds, but to my knowledge it is still operating commercially at 300 km/h - which, incidentally, is also the Vmax of the TGV-Duplex double decker trains which are mostly used in this part of France.
The VMax of the duplex is 320km/h and they do this on that section south of Lyon and apparently on some bits of LGV-Sud Est as well.

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Old August 13th, 2010, 03:20 AM   #1853
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One advantage in Europe and Japan that should be kept in when talking about this phenomenon is that european cities and regional traffic is also usually better developed.
If you tavel from Frankfurt to Brussels for example you have several options which are simmilarly comfortrable.

- 1. one can fly, then one has to get out of town to the Airport go through all the security hazzle and then fly over to the other airport, wait for the luggage and then get to town by bus, train or taxi.

- 2. One can take the car and drive over there. Thats stressfull one might get int a traffic jam. And one has to park the car in town which usually costs soem money in bigge cities.

- 3. One can take the train from main station to main station. Those are usually pretty much in the city center.

Or
- 4 one can take a bustrip, simmilar to those Greyhound bus tours.

All these 4 options are fairly simmilarly comfortable, costly and also simmilarly time consuming for most of the typical travelling distances within Europe or European countries.

Within the European cities themselves, especially the bigger ones, the fastest and cheapest way of getting from one place to the other, is are usually by public transportation, bicycle or just walking even.

In the US public transportation is often rather poor in comparison to Europe or Asia. And cities in the US are much more outlined for car traffic. Distances are bigger so walking from the hotel to a mall, then to a hairdresser or a restaurant or museum, a companies office...or whatever is often pretty much inquestionable simply because the distances are to big. In europe its not common to do these things by foot because of the shorter distances and the cities infrastructures.
As a result, if one travels within the US from one city to another by plane or train one would often be renting a car at the airport or trainstation just for comfort reasons or out of necessity to get to the final destination and to be reasonably mobile for the time of the stay. In Europe or Japan that usually simply just wouldnt really be necessary. These local aspects of the city infrastructures in Europe and Asia give travelling by train some advantage over other options in quite a few cases and that surely helps making travelling by train fairly popular.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 05:56 AM   #1854
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In the US public transportation is often rather poor in comparison to Europe or Asia. And cities in the US are much more outlined for car traffic. Distances are bigger so walking from the hotel to a mall, then to a hairdresser or a restaurant or museum, a companies office...or whatever is often pretty much inquestionable simply because the distances are to big. In europe its not common to do these things by foot because of the shorter distances and the cities infrastructures.
As a result, if one travels within the US from one city to another by plane or train one would often be renting a car at the airport or trainstation just for comfort reasons or out of necessity to get to the final destination and to be reasonably mobile for the time of the stay. In Europe or Japan that usually simply just wouldnt really be necessary. These local aspects of the city infrastructures in Europe and Asia give travelling by train some advantage over other options in quite a few cases and that surely helps making travelling by train fairly popular.
Lines are not so clear as your argument might suggest. Downtown-to-downtown travel between two major cities not more than a couple hundred km apart are usually (but not always) faster if done by rail.

However, even with the rail infrastructure present in Europe, the 2008 breakdown (source: EUROSTAST/ EU Transp. Comission white papers, just check online on the EUROSTAT databases) for motorized ground transport, e.g., transport that is not done by foot or bike or sail boats, for the EU-15 group (essentially, Western Europe without the "new" ex-communist states), measured per kmXpax, is as follows:

- Private car: 83.5% (of which another study shows 2.3% is carpooling/car sharing/ taxi)
- Rail (subway, trams, light rail, heavy rail, HS etc.): 7.4%
- Bus: 6.4%

The remainder accounts for boat, cable etc.

Even in bigger cities, car usage is widespread in most of metropolitan regions, save for those usually frequented most by tourists and visitors.

Moreover, if you live outside the catchment area of a relevant station, or your destination is not easily reachable from one, car will usually be the mean of preference for journeys below 200km (the threshold increases in the absence of fast high-speed connection by rail).

In America, to add to the challenge, downtowns are usually less populated or are not business center of activity (a good pattern IMO). Hence, to be competitive, a HSR in US *must* be competitive with air, with true high speeds, not just some "upgraded" lines.

If a HSL is fast enough, people will drive, take cabs or rental cars to/from HS stations.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 06:49 AM   #1855
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Not that I am opposed to building HSR, but I have this jaded opinion stemming from a lack of faith of it actually being done here.

But is it just the US? Or most places that aren't France, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, and China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan? There aren't fast trains in Brazil, don't know but doubt India has any, Australia and Ireland have one or two (kinda) fast trains which they had to mount a huge effort to have (and Australia's runs slow over old bridges!). Even in Europe, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia's "high speed rail" isn't super fast. Trains in Switzerland and Italy also have nothing on trains in Spain either. Really, except for China, the maybe half of Japan's shinkansens which are actually as fast as advertised, Korea's dinky dog leg, and maybe 10-15 truly high speed lines in Europe, "high speed rail" around the world really isn't all that different from Acela, is it?
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Old August 13th, 2010, 07:02 AM   #1856
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Isn't the mode of transportation share based on number of km traveled per capita? If that's the case, that of course car will dominate because of massive rural areas that have very low population densities to support mass transit.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 10:15 AM   #1857
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My upgraded Northeast 2030-45 Rail / Transit plan - compiled form all the 2030 Transit agency plans and Freight company's that plan on going back to Passenger service. Edited with Permission......most lines would abandoned Freight lines still in decent shape.

image hosted on flickr


60-120mph Regional Rail , Intercity Amtrak and Commuter Rail
True High Speed Rail 130-250mph
Bus / Rail Rapid Transit , Light Rail , Metrorail
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Old August 13th, 2010, 10:29 AM   #1858
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Even in Europe, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia's "high speed rail" isn't super fast.
HSR is in planning phase all over the eastern half of the continent. This is quite fast pace, consideing the region collapsed economically 20 years ago.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 02:07 PM   #1859
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Isn't the mode of transportation share based on number of km traveled per capita? If that's the case, that of course car will dominate because of massive rural areas that have very low population densities to support mass transit.
It's also based on "How much do you pay for your petrol"... As long as petrol stays 5 times cheaper in the US then in Europe and east Asia... don't expect the petrolheads to take a train.

The only way of getting people into the train is by increasing the taxes on petrol. (God I'm glad I live in Europe and not get shot by my neighbour right now)

The other big problem in the USA is that USA.Ltd is BANKRUPT and just can't afford investments.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 07:01 PM   #1860
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The only way of getting people into the train is by increasing the taxes on petrol. (God I'm glad I live in Europe and not get shot by my neighbour right now)

The other big problem in the USA is that USA.Ltd is BANKRUPT and just can't afford investments.
I don't think taxes directed specifically on car fuel are fair. If a country wants to tax oil per unit of volume, or coal, that is fine. But I fiercely oppose (wherever I might be living) this kind of "targeting exercise" of looking after motorists as cash cows for other projects that do not act on their driving interests.

If gas and diesel are going to be taxed, then so should be all oil fuels, including those used for electricity and those used in farms and those used in airplanes and those used in trains.
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