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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 12:14 AM
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High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (USA)

High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program




Read More: http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/31

Quote:
The Administration has placed a new emphasis on building high-speed and intercity passenger rail to connect communities and economic centers across the country. A fully developed passenger rail system will complement highway, aviation and public transit systems.

With the successful completion of the original phases of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) Improvement Project offering Amtrak's maximum 150 mph Acela train service between Washington, New York, and Boston, efforts to develop high-speed intercity passenger rail service have expanded beyond the NEC. However, just as the Interstate Highway System took 50 years to complete, the true potential of a fully integrated high-speed intercity passenger rail network will not be achieved or realized overnight.

* 150 MPH at top speed but the entire trip has an average speed of just 70 MPH for Amtrak, as opposed to an average of 175 MPH for the French TGV.

So if high speed is only going to refer to it's top speed only and the average speed would end up being a regular speed it kind of makes this a joke.





Interactive HSIPR Project Map - Click regions for details


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PDF Route Map, Present & Future
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 1:40 AM
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" just as the Interstate Highway System took 50 years to complete, the true potential of a fully integrated high-speed intercity passenger rail network will not be achieved or realized overnight."

That's disgustingly disingenuous IMHO. When it was proposed, the Interstate Highway System had an adequate and dedicated funding mechanism--the gas tax. That's what HSR lacks. As things are, it depends on the triennial transportation bill passed by Congress and nobody seriously believes that will be generous to HSR in the out years if the Republicans take over Congress. HSR needs to have what the Interstate System had--funding that's reliable and adequate.
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 2:20 AM
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I think you sort of answered your own comment. The gas tax. Raise it, and use the extra to fund HSR. American's are adaptable, they'll gripe at first and then when they see and/or use the benefits, they'll learn to live with it.
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  #4  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 2:57 AM
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Quote:
I think you sort of answered your own comment. The gas tax. Raise it, and use the extra to fund HSR. American's are adaptable, they'll gripe at first and then when they see and/or use the benefits, they'll learn to live with it.
If we raised the gas tax and used some of the revenue to pay for a significant expansion of transit and high speed rail, it is likely that you'd see a significant --and sustained-- real estate boom with creating housing at all of the new stations. The higher gas tax would also encourage the purchase of more efficient vehicles, including plug-in electric vehicles (http://cta.ornl.gov/trbenergy/trb_do...sion%20538.pdf ). These are estimated to be nearly 30% of market share by 2030. Additionally, there could be mandates with the new and expanded transit systems funded by the higher gas tax to use a certain percentage of their energy from renewable sources such as wind or solar, thereby providing guaranteed markets for renewable energy, allowing them to achieve the scale to be competitive with coal or other sources of energy.

I could go on and on but we could significantly reduce (perhaps by half) our consumption of oil if we made a few choices and decided to price the externalities of consuming oil.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 5:24 AM
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edit: nevermind
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  #6  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 3:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
If we raised the gas tax and used some of the revenue to pay for a significant expansion of transit and high speed rail, it is likely that you'd see a significant --and sustained-- real estate boom with creating housing at all of the new stations. The higher gas tax would also encourage the purchase of more efficient vehicles, including plug-in electric vehicles (http://cta.ornl.gov/trbenergy/trb_do...sion%20538.pdf ). These are estimated to be nearly 30% of market share by 2030. Additionally, there could be mandates with the new and expanded transit systems funded by the higher gas tax to use a certain percentage of their energy from renewable sources such as wind or solar, thereby providing guaranteed markets for renewable energy, allowing them to achieve the scale to be competitive with coal or other sources of energy.

I could go on and on but we could significantly reduce (perhaps by half) our consumption of oil if we made a few choices and decided to price the externalities of consuming oil.
It would be politically impossible to do at the federal level though.

As for the Interstates, remember they do not raise revenue at all (except for toll highways).
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  #7  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 5:39 PM
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FEBRUARY 16, 2010, 10:00 A.M. ET
JR Central Chairman Aims to Bring Shinkansen to U.S.
By MARIKO SANCHANTA And YOSHIO TAKAHASHI

TOKYO—The chairman of Central Japan Railway Co. said the company is aiming to work with U.S. companies such as General Electric Co., as part of an aggressive bid to see its platypus-billed shinkansen whiz its way through the state of Florida . . . .

"we would make the cars in America and operate a factory in Florida," said Mr. Kasai. "We could partner with American firms, such as General Electric, and engage in technology transfers—these would be 50-50 joint ventures ' . . . .

Mr. Kasai is vying to export the N700I version of the Japanese shinkansen to the U.S. If his bid is successful, it would mark the first time its total system—including the track, rolling stock, signal equipment and railway management systems—would be used outside of Japan.



Mr. Kasai said he wants to do so in the spirit of what could be called shinkansen diplomacy, or fostering better ties between two nations due to technology transfers and joint infrastructure development projects. "Japan and the U.S. should pursue a free trade agreement or an economic partnership agreement—people should be able to move freely between both countries," said Mr. Kasai. "As a private company we want to improve U.S.-Japan relations."

A big U.S. contract could also be good for the firm's bottom line. The shinkansen remains one of Japan's enduring technological icons and is renowned for its punctuality—trains arrive to the minute—and its efficiency. JR Central's high speed connection between Tokyo and Osaka is one of the few profitable train routes anywhere in the world, and accounts for 80% of the company's revenue . . . .

Mr. Kasai said that close to a dozen firms in Japan would benefit if JR Central won the bid to build its bullet train in Florida, including Nippon Steel Corp., Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Nippon Sharyo Ltd., which makes rolling stock, Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. . . .

JR Central is marketing two types of trains in the U.S.: the shinkansen, which travels as fast as 330 kilometers per hour; and the magnetic-levitation, or maglev, train, which can run up to 581 kph, but is more expensive and in only limited use so far. JR Central has already spent more than $1 billion developing the technology behind it.

Mr. Kasai said a maglev link between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., would result in a journey between the two cities of less than 10 minutes. But the cost to construct the line would be exorbitant, totaling several of billions of dollars . . . .
Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...myyahoo_module
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  #8  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 6:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
I could go on and on but we could significantly reduce (perhaps by half) our consumption of oil if we made a few choices and decided to price the externalities of consuming oil.
But it's difficult to base your funding around that. You tax gasoline more heavily, over time people will switch to more efficient cars, and you will see diminishing returns from the gas tax, despite the growth of driving. Taxing externalities is a good idea, but you really can't use the tax revenue as a sustainable income source because the tax changes behavior greatly.

The gas tax worked as a consistent funding mechanism for so long because Americans weren't pushing very hard for efficient cars, and Detroit wasn't about to spend serious money developing the technology when they could make more money offering new designs and new amenities. This meant that fuel efficiency stayed the same for decades, and the gas tax revenue grew in direct proportion to the growth of auto travel, allowing highway construction to keep pace with the demand for highways.

But now that fuel-efficient cars are the new norm for personal vehicles, it will be difficult to choose a tax rate that can support the demand for new highways and transit without placing a heavy, heavy burden on those that have not or cannot switch to fuel-efficient vehicles, like small businesses and trucking companies.
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  #9  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 3:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
I think you sort of answered your own comment. The gas tax. Raise it
I was simply trying to point out the lack of predictable, reliable funding.

Here at SSP, these threads often go astray as people propose their own ideas for solutions that may or may not have any relation to reality or to what is politically possible or likely. I agree with you that raising the gas tax would be a very desirable way to provide HSR the funding it needs. I also think raising the gas tax has benefits regardless of how the money is used (less use of imported oil, less pollution etc). But I don't know if that is the most politically acceptable solution. If HSR is to happen, it needs whatever funding source the politicians can put together and I think it's kind of pointless here to argue what we wish they'd do. The real question is what can they do and what are they likely to do?
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  #10  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 4:39 AM
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Superfast ‘Maglev’ Trains Coming to the US


Jan 26, 2010

Read More: http://www.breakitdownblog.com/super...ing-to-the-us/

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/01/ff_fasttrack/2/

Quote:
The Obama administration has agreed to an $8 billion dollar infusion into the development and deployment of the fledging infrastructure in the US hoping to encompass California, Texas the Midwest, Northeast and Florida with maglev-based train networks.

- Initial plans for the United States networks put completion dates for most of the projects in roughly 2020-2025 timeframe at an average of $20 billion each (California’s “ultimate” plan of Sacramento to San Diego tops out at $45 million). This won’t be a cheap project and during tough economic times could prove to be big red targets for lawmakers being pushed to cut budgets.

- The reality is that the United States has been sorely lacking a sufficient mass-transit system for years; and understandably so. The US is huge, sprawling anything across it at the tune of $12 million per mile is either never going to happen or take half-a-century to build out.




California Maglev Deployment Program PDF



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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 5:28 PM
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Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
Who are the idiots who seem to assume that HSR is going to be all Maglev? AFAIK not a single solitary public HSR cent is going to be Maglev...
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 6:10 AM
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Mark, I don't get it. The article you provided claims it is a maglev system that's getting built, when we all know it's standard HSR that's getting built in most of the planned routes.
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  #13  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 6:47 AM
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California HSR won't be maglev.
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  #14  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 6:50 AM
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They're really wrong on that article.
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  #15  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 12:23 PM
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Looks like the Acela's and the NEC will get upgraded to handle speeds of 190mph. And the NEC will have new feeder routes branching off with speeds 100-140mph. Like the Lackawanna Line PA-NJ, I-91 Corridor in CT-MA, or the Keystone line upgrades to 140mph. Along with new routes like the Empire corridor in upstate NY & Boston-Montreal corridor (100-130mph) So HSR has a bright future in the NE , but outside the NE , the light is dimming. I also think alot states in the NE will put more pressure on the FRA to loosen there stupid rules.

~Corey
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  #16  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 4:34 PM
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^

I did some research on average speeds of a couple of train routes (with lower top speed than the Acela) in Europe, and this is what I came up with. Distances are from Google Maps, so the average speed isn't entirely accurate, but it's a rough estimation. Train times are from the operator's websites.

London, UK to Liverpool, UK (Virgin, Pendolino)
Top speed: 125 mph
210 miles
2h 8m
Average speed: 98 mph

Stockholm, Sweden to Gothenburg, Sweden (SJ, X2000)
Top speed: 125 mph
292 miles (468 km)
3h 2m
Average speed: 96 mph

Krakow, Poland to Warsaw, Poland (PKP, Express Intercity)
Top speed: 100 mph
183 miles (293 km)
2h 31m
Average speed: 73 mph

For comparison:
Boston, MA to Washington, DC (Amtrak, Acela Express)
Top speed: 150 mph
457 miles
6h 32m
Average speed: 70 mph

So the average speed of the Acela is lower than a train with a top speed of 100 mph.
The average speed is what really matters, Amtrak really needs to fix all those slow areas...

Last edited by Mad_Nick; Feb 17, 2010 at 4:46 PM.
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  #17  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 5:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad_Nick View Post
So the average speed of the Acela is lower than a train with a top speed of 100 mph.
The average speed is what really matters, Amtrak really needs to fix all those slow areas...
There would have to be separate lines built to be able to reach it's highest speeds for the longest period of time to not have to share it with other trains but that would mean new tracks, stations, bridges, and overpasses.

I suppose if new lines were built it could be Maglev but it wouldn't have the flexibility for the fast trains to extend into additional routes or have other trains sometimes share segments of the high speed tracks if need be.
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  #18  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
So HSR has a bright future in the NE , but outside the NE , the light is dimming.

~Corey
What?

The CHSR already has more than a quarter of the funds it needs, which is amazing to me.
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  #19  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 6:51 PM
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Not just upgrade the old tracks but the high speed being hindered by other trains clogging up the routes. Amtrak has delays but it's not really their fault when it comes to hold ups with freight trains and stuff.
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  #20  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 9:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
Not just upgrade the old tracks but the high speed being hindered by other trains clogging up the routes. Amtrak has delays but it's not really their fault when it comes to hold ups with freight trains and stuff.
I'll agree with you for most locations in the USA, but not for the Northeast Corridor that Amtrak owns. If there's too many trains on the corridor to unleash Amtrak's fastest trains to full speed, it's time to expand the corridor or reduce the number of trains on the corridor. I'd start first with freight trains, followed next by commuter trains, the last trains Amtrak should reduce on the corridor are their own.
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