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Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?

  • Yes

    Votes: 410 91.9%
  • No

    Votes: 36 8.1%
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Are you missing some meds? I even explicitly wrote that I was genuinly asking because I don't know. Interestingly enough, afterwards you point out how suburban and unsuitable Florida is for rail... which means Brightline is a success? If this project fails, it's gonna paint a bad picture on rail projects in general.
 

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Florida is a sun belt state. Go there and see if HSR would be worth it right now? No, and the government is republican with Marco Rubio and that idiot governor, they would never ever ever spend a DIME on HSR.

This rail line is basically free for the people, it's all paid for. Florida is not the place for easy HSR builds. It is a suburban area the entire way up the coast, which prevents easy rail building like in Texas for example. Try it before you knock it. It's the first stage of the journey. HSR is not needed in Florida right now, the people are far too car centric. It will take a while before that attitude changes.
I don't think anybody is suggesting putting federal tax money into Florida. Especially since, the state rejected grants from the Obama admin in 2010. The only thing needed is regulatory and viability support from governments at different levels.
HSR or some version of it can succeed. A higher speed (100-150 mph) electrified route with 2 and 4 track sections created on existing ROWs like the NEC can be done between Miami and Orlando. Since this part of Florida is mostly suburban, something that beats freeway speeds will find favor. Not everyone wants to drive and certainly not long distance on a daily basis. Die-hard drivers will also need to use it once in a while. And people using it on a regular basis need not all be urban living yuppies w/o cars. Even suburban families will ride it. Other routes out of Orlando are also fair candidates since it is centrally located in FL.
 

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I still think an objective metric to define "success" could be the financial sustainability of Brightline in the next few years.
If enough people take the train and the company survives I would not call it a loss just because it's not electrified...
 

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At last someone has made an independent video on construction of California high speed rail. Starting with construction package 4, other sections have been promised. Huge props to this guy!

 

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Imagine if that money were going towards new mass transit in LA or SF instead of a literal train to nowhere. At the very least it should have been used to get Caltrain into the transbay transit center (talk about another train to nowhere).
 

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Now it's a useless trunk indeed, but the overall idea is good. A pity that due to the political situation at the time they couldn't start at either end instead as any sane country would have.
 

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Imagine if that money were going towards new mass transit in LA or SF instead of a literal train to nowhere. At the very least it should have been used to get Caltrain into the transbay transit center (talk about another train to nowhere).
This is an objection I often heard in Italy. What if the money went to the commuters, what if the money would be spent for the working class, and so on. While it's undeniable that one can actually calculate and decide priorities between different types of project, the risk of this reasoning is that we end up with some ideological position like "don't do anything called HS until every commuter has his dedicated train". The point is, HS is one type of service and HS lines do have their dignity within a rail network, in parallel with commuter services.

Moreover, HS is not the root of all evils, and it's definitely not assured that canceling CAHSR would result in the same billions being invested into commuter networks. One could as well say "I would prefer the US to tax more the wealthy people and invest in commuter networks" or "I would prefer less investments in space exploration and more in commuter networks" and so on.
 

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Imagine if that money were going towards new mass transit in LA or SF instead of a literal train to nowhere. At the very least it should have been used to get Caltrain into the transbay transit center (talk about another train to nowhere).
Why This Train Is The Envy Of The World: The Shinkansen Story


Apparently the same objection was made in Japan about the Shinkansen during its construction back in 1960....
 

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You people are either not understanding the argument or else being intentionally misleading. The problem with CAHSR isn't the fact it's HSR, it's the fact that it's a massive boondoggle. It's spending billions of dollars just connecting a bunch of small desert towns together. Comparing it to the Shinkansen is ludicrous. That line was approved in 1958 and completed in 1964. Thats 6 years. It's already been 12 years since CAHSR was approved and none of the meaningful construction has even started yet nor is there any plan to start it. At this point you're better off just flushing the money down the toilet.
 

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Connecting some desert towns could be very useful, because it is the easiest and cheapest way to speed up a line. But it only makes sence if trains continue directly to the heart of big metropolises on either side of the line e.a. San Fransisco - Los Angeles. Preferably with maximum one or two intermediate stops (that could alternate per scheduled train). As in all HSR systems the highest speeds are achieved in the middle of nowwhere and not in the urban area's. Just make sure you don't have to change trains in between..
 

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You people are either not understanding the argument or else being intentionally misleading. The problem with CAHSR isn't the fact it's HSR, it's the fact that it's a massive boondoggle. It's spending billions of dollars just connecting a bunch of small desert towns together. Comparing it to the Shinkansen is ludicrous. That line was approved in 1958 and completed in 1964. Thats 6 years. It's already been 12 years since CAHSR was approved and none of the meaningful construction has even started yet nor is there any plan to start it. At this point you're better off just flushing the money down the toilet.
To me, an efficient high speed rail model to apply in the US would be the one of France rather than the one of Japan. By that I mean offering direct connection between remote cities (for instance LA and SF) WITHOUT any stop between both destinations. This is what allows the very high commercial speeds I mentionned in the previous page.

In such a context, the fact that the countryside is vastly empty in California isn't a problem, but actually an advantage. Indeed, It makes it easier to build the perfectly straight line necessary to reach high speed with maximum commercial competitiveness compared to aircraft.
 
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Ok, but that's the exact opposite of what is actually happening. Instead the small towns are being connected and there is only some vague talk of eventually connecting the major cities (but even then it would be indirectly).
 

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You people are either not understanding the argument or else being intentionally misleading. The problem with CAHSR isn't the fact it's HSR, it's the fact that it's a massive boondoggle. It's spending billions of dollars just connecting a bunch of small desert towns together. Comparing it to the Shinkansen is ludicrous. That line was approved in 1958 and completed in 1964. Thats 6 years. It's already been 12 years since CAHSR was approved and none of the meaningful construction has even started yet nor is there any plan to start it. At this point you're better off just flushing the money down the toilet.
The current construction is part of Phase 1 that will link the Bay Area to Los Angeles. Phase 2 adds San Diego and Sacramento. The reason why they are building what they are building now is because it delivers the maximum distance to prove out the technology in the US and still has a positive BCR - as per their business plan - while still being affordable after the slash of the federal contribution by the current right wing administration. Hopefully that situation now reverses. This is all available on their website, so I would say the one that is being intentionally misleading is you.
 

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Singe the late 00s, I have been strongly arguing that the proposed (so called) 'high speed rail' project between Chicago and MSP was in no way true 'high speed rail' - it is/was at most an 'enhanced speed' restored conventional service. Unless the track is built like it was for the Shinkansen, French TGV or all of those Chinese lines (7 km minimum horizontal curve radius, to start) and has the capability of running trains full-speed 'express' (no intermediate stops) the whole distance between the CHI and MSP terminal stations, there is no way that it will be competitive with airlines between MSP and either ORD or MDW.

Yes, do intermediate station stops for local and regional service trains, but the full 350 km/h track speed MUST be maintained the entire way for express service between the terminals.

For such service it will require an entirely new track grade, including through both metro areas' suburbs. "Your challenge will be to locate such a ROW." If you think that siting and building the original interstates or a new commercial airport was hard (look at the trouble that Amtrak is having with north suburban Chicagoland NIMBYs in just trying to increase the frequency of their CHI-MKE Hiawathas)....

Mike
 

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This is all available on their website, so I would say the one that is being intentionally misleading is you.
Yes, these words are indeed on their website. But that's pretty much meaningless. No actual plan exists to fund or build any of that. At best the "plan" is a vague hope that Congress will pass a large infrastructure bill and California will get a significant chunk of it. Even if that happens the project is likely going to be 20 years later and 10x the original budget. The voters were told that the entire project would be complete this year. Instead it's about 5% complete at best. Surely you have to agree there is a point at which you have to admit this was a failure and cut your losses?
 

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Here is the 2nd part (out of 4) on construction progress of CHSR.


As you can see the southern part of construction package 2-3 is still going through agricultural land with nearly zero population anywhere near. Judging from this at least 90% of land has been acquired (works visible), but several major viaducts have not been started yet. I believe there will be a lot more finished or nearly finished structures in the following two parts since construction started from the north. Still clearly works are ongoing and in the areas shown so far trains will be able to go maximum speed with no issues.

You might say but where is it going to and from? The previous video starts about 10 miles north of Bakersfield (metro population about 800k) and I read elsewhere that the first operating segment would be from Merced (small town) to Bakersfield via Fresno (metro population ca 900k). That's a far cry from LA and SF, but at least worth running some trains to see how it goes.
 

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You people are either not understanding the argument or else being intentionally misleading. The problem with CAHSR isn't the fact it's HSR, it's the fact that it's a massive boondoggle. It's spending billions of dollars just connecting a bunch of small desert towns together. Comparing it to the Shinkansen is ludicrous. That line was approved in 1958 and completed in 1964. Thats 6 years. It's already been 12 years since CAHSR was approved and none of the meaningful construction has even started yet nor is there any plan to start it. At this point you're better off just flushing the money down the toilet.
CAHSR is not meant to connect desert towns, but SF to LA. They are more than big cities to be connected with HSR. There have been mistakes in planning and design, but you cannot get anywhere with insufficient funding. Unless funding is secure, there is no way that CAHSR will deliver to the promises. The only difference with Shinkansen is that in Japan the funding continued, despite the fact budget went spiralling 3 times more than the original plan.

But, in 1964 people didn't know whether HSR scheme would succeed. In 2020, there's more than enough evidence suggesting that HSR works and delivers an unprecedented capacity. When CAHSR comes online, the critics will also fall silent, but until then HSR will suffer from low public support. Do you think that Senate is vital in securing funding for HSR? Why can't Republicans understand the importance of HSR? I hope that Northeast Corridor, Texas Central and CAHSR will be HSR at sometime in the 2030s.
 

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CAHSR is not meant to connect desert towns, but SF to LA. They are more than big cities to be connected with HSR. There have been mistakes in planning and design, but you cannot get anywhere with insufficient funding. Unless funding is secure, there is no way that CAHSR will deliver to the promises. The only difference with Shinkansen is that in Japan the funding continued, despite the fact budget went spiralling 3 times more than the original plan.

But, in 1964 people didn't know whether HSR scheme would succeed. In 2020, there's more than enough evidence suggesting that HSR works and delivers an unprecedented capacity. When CAHSR comes online, the critics will also fall silent, but until then HSR will suffer from low public support. Do you think that Senate is vital in securing funding for HSR? Why can't Republicans understand the importance of HSR? I hope that Northeast Corridor, Texas Central and CAHSR will be HSR at sometime in the 2030s.
Leaving aside the strawman of the cost estimates, the supposed "ballooning" of which have always been wildly exaggerated, as soon as the "train to nowhere" moniker is thrown around, one really just needs to stop engaging: People are either willfully ignorant or somehow aroused at the prospect that anyone responsible for executing this program has at any point acted seriously to position -- and deliver -- this project without the opportunity for interim service, despite a) the Authority being legally and fiduciarily required to demonstrate and meet this condition to even receive disbursement of funds and b) the fact that the Central Valley segment has always been called the "Initial Operating Segment."

The basic business plan the Authority has had for delivering this program hasn't fundamentally changed all that much, other than communities insisting on adjustments to the alignment that changed the entire timeline and basic cost assumptions of that end of the corridor: that is, they didn't "pivot" to the Bay Area, the scope for the LA-Basin component expanded beyond the window of interim operations.

People enter a distortion field whenever this project is discussed (ie. media who insisted Newsom "cancelled" the project, when he neither said nor implied any such thing -- even the reporting linked is rife with mischaracterizations and falsehoods...). Overall, media outlets -- especially, the LATimes -- in this country have been generally bad at covering this project (as they are with most transport infrastructure), and this seems to be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy where people are imagining the project's fortunes are diminishing when, in actuality, no such thing has occurred.

The reality is that the project is and always has been sound -- they would not have advanced out of environmental review and received approvals (and funds) were this not the case. There are long-planned, existing, and possible infrastructure investments that will facilitate perfectly viable interim service as the full system is continually built-out.

Starting in either LA or the Bay Area would not have delivered the project faster; it only would have mooted the advantage of existing bookend infrastructure as there is of yet no wormhole -- or any teleportation device -- to magic trains between San Jose and Los Angeles without passing through the Central Valley...
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Do you think that Senate is vital in securing funding for HSR? Why can't Republicans understand the importance of HSR? I hope that Northeast Corridor, Texas Central and CAHSR will be HSR at sometime in the 2030s.
The elite republicans understand the importance of HSR. Arnold Schwarzenegger a republican, got supported HSR way back in 2008 (after initial opposition). Many republicans also understand the anthropogenic climate change or the importance of infrastructure and other issues as we would understand them. Its just that they are roleplaying or bullshitting to please their voters or donors.
The Senate is vital in the sense that even with a 50-50 situation (VP breaks the tie) or a 51-49 majority (not happening this time) and with the House majority/Democratic President, it becomes far easier to pass budgetary bills with provisions for HSR.
 

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The elite republicans understand the importance of HSR. Arnold Schwarzenegger a republican, got supported HSR way back in 2008 (after initial opposition). Many republicans also understand the anthropogenic climate change or the importance of infrastructure and other issues as we would understand them. Its just that they are roleplaying or bullshitting to please their voters or donors.
The Senate is vital in the sense that even with a 50-50 situation (VP breaks the tie) or a 51-49 majority (not happening this time) and with the House majority/Democratic President, it becomes far easier to pass budgetary bills with provisions for HSR.
Don’t be hypocrite! Everyone in this group now and support HSR!

What we do not support and probably the responsible public services workers are the total irresponsibility with tax money.

Everyone in California knows that the planning was horrible, the budget was totally irresponsible, and the result as a consequence was the decrease of support for the CAHSR. California is known for the biggest state budget in the US and the worst efficiency to put this money in benefit of their citizens.
 
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