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  #81  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 3:44 AM
Iktomi Iktomi is offline
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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
I love how everyone on here is quick to mention defense spending yet ignores the much larger portion of entitlement spending.
Thats because entitlement spending is mandatory, meaning the government has to spend that much by law, and usually by formula or eligibility requirements, while defense spending is discretionary so congress says it gets this much funding this year. Not to mention the different ways the two get passed.

Its also important to note that about half of mandatory spending is Social Security (the fabled third rail of American politics), which is currently self funding, a third is for medical & health programs, which indirectly pays for itself since sick and uninsured people cost the government more through lowered productivity (and thus taxes) and increased ER use. So reducing funding for those programs is very unpopular with the public, see congress' recent attempts to replace Obamacare. And before it gets brought up entitlement fraud is low enough that its negligible at the amounts were talking about.
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  #82  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 4:26 AM
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well said
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  #83  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2017, 4:36 AM
Sun Belt Sun Belt is offline
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Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
For reference, there is this:


It is very old and there have been some changes, but it is a decent starting point.
That north south line from Barstow to Vegas to SLC to Boise would be nice.
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  #84  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2017, 5:04 AM
SFBruin SFBruin is offline
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Originally Posted by Iktomi View Post
Thats because entitlement spending is mandatory, meaning the government has to spend that much by law, and usually by formula or eligibility requirements, while defense spending is discretionary so congress says it gets this much funding this year. Not to mention the different ways the two get passed.

Its also important to note that about half of mandatory spending is Social Security (the fabled third rail of American politics), which is currently self funding, a third is for medical & health programs, which indirectly pays for itself since sick and uninsured people cost the government more through lowered productivity (and thus taxes) and increased ER use. So reducing funding for those programs is very unpopular with the public, see congress' recent attempts to replace Obamacare. And before it gets brought up entitlement fraud is low enough that its negligible at the amounts were talking about.
This thread is getting off topic. Can we please stick to discussing cities and trains?
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  #85  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2017, 11:23 PM
NikolasM NikolasM is offline
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Here it goes:

Google Map Link
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  #86  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2017, 3:15 AM
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Originally Posted by NikolasM View Post
Here it goes:

Google Map Link
A very comprehensive map, to be sure.

Several of the connections you envision are being discussed already. In the Midwest specifically, the FRA is working with the DOTs of the Midwest states to assemble a new 40-year rail plan. The new plan will prioritize which routes in the region need to be developed as well as the type of service a given route might require. It's not binding and is looked upon as a Tier 0 study, a step before the first step.

Now called high-performance rail, service is classified into three types:

1) Emerging - speeds up to 90MPH, diesel powered, on shared tracks with freights, up to 8 trains a day.

2) Regional - speeds 90-125MPH, diesel or dual-mode power, partially on dedicated tracks, partially on shared track. up to 16 trains a day.

3) Core Express - speeds greater than 125MPH, electrified, dedicated tracks only, up to 24 trains a day.

Among the highlights-

1) Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison-Twin Cities is looked upon as a natural fit for Core Express. Adding Rochester, whether as a regional train to the Twin Cities alone, or part of the Core Express mainline, is seen as costing the same either way. They project that 75% of all passengers in Rochester would head to the Twin Cities, so the impact of routing on ridership is minimal.

2) Chicago-Detroit is seen as doable as Core Express provided a)the route goes through South Bend, b)the often-discussed Coast2Coast route in Michigan is ditched in favor of feeder trains into the Core Express mainline - Grand Rapids connecting at Kalamazoo, Lansing connecting at Battle Creek, c)a Regional or Core Express train from Toronto to Windsor connecting to Detroit is established, and d)a Chicago-Cleveland route goes through Detroit and Toledo, and not via Fort Wayne and Toledo (a direct Core Express route Chicago-Cleveland was ruled out). Connecting Fort Wayne to the Core Express mainline at South Bend is seen as a possibility.

If some of these conditions aren't met, Chicago-Detroit would likely run as a Regional train, not Core Express.

In a related matter, Canada has again raised the possibility of a high speed rail line between Toronto and Windsor. The currently proposed route would go through Kitchener, instead of Hamilton.

3) Chicago-Indy is seen as a Regional Route, with the possibility of upgrade to Core Express. Indy would serve as an aggregator, to Cincy at Regional speeds, and Louisville as Emerging service. Louisville could serve as a regional gateway, connecting to Nashville (and the South), so Chicago-Atlanta service would be more than halfway there.

Whether Indy would serve as a connection to Columbus is in question. The planners claim that Columbus-Chicago would be better served via Lima and Fort Wayne as a Regional train.

4) A Regional train connecting Detroit to Toledo and Cleveland is seen as necessary, regardless of Chicago-Cleveland routing. If Chicago-Cleveland is routed through Detroit, the connection to Toledo and Cleveland could be upgraded to Core Express.

4a) Connecting Cleveland to Buffalo (outside of the 12 state Midwest region) is seen as not essential to the network, and suggests connecting Buffalo to Detroit would be better via Ontario instead.

4b) Conversely, a Regional train connecting Detroit/Toledo/Cleveland to Pittsburgh (also outside the region) is seen as necessary. Pittsburgh could serve as an important gateway connecting the Midwest with the Northeast.

5) Ridership on the 3Cs route would double in a network context, as opposed to a standalone.

6) Regional service between Milwaukee and Green Bay.

Outside the Midwest Rail Plan, Minnesota's DOT is currently developing service between the Twin Cities and Duluth. Looking long term, they are considering Twin Cities-St. Cloud-Fargo-Winnipeg, as well as trains to Sioux Falls and Eau Claire.

Last edited by Mister Uptempo; Nov 2, 2017 at 3:26 AM.
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  #87  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2017, 2:30 PM
Citylover94 Citylover94 is offline
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The route from NY up to Montreal that veers into Vermont for a bit may happen eventually but in the much nearer future there is a plan to extend the Vermonter from its current terminus in St. Albans up to Montreal. It's not high speed but it is happening.

Also for NH there is a chance of the Lowell Line extending up to just outside of Nashua NH soon and it could in the future follow that existing rail line up to Concord and with enough upgrades a Boston to Montreal route could exist running diagonally up through NH/VT with stops likely in Manchester, Concord, White River Jct., Montpelier, and Burlington. This would provide service to the state capitals and largest city of each state. The stop at White River Jct. I suggest because the tracks in the area all have rather sharp turns that would be prohibitively expensive or even impossible to straighten because of the hills, rivers, and existing development in the area. This would be a very expensive route to upgrade to high speed rail particularly while it crosses the mountains in NH and VT, but if it were created it would likely be a highly competitive and successful route.
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  #88  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2017, 8:55 PM
NikolasM NikolasM is offline
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I'll update my map if I agree with any suggestions. My jog into Vermont and back to NY was stupid, now goes through St Albans...
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  #89  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2017, 11:21 PM
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I had trouble seeing how the google-map overlays with the current Amtrak system map. So... I created my own map too.


I only added 9 new routes/extensions:

1) The 3 C's corridor in Ohio, which extends down to Louisville and then cuts over to St Louis. This will hopefully be a corridor train, with multiple departures per day.

2) Combine plans for the North Star Express from Minneapolis to Duluth with plans to add a second Empire Builder departure between Chicago and St Paul. This new train would therefore go from Chicago to St Paul, then into Minneapolis, then reverse out to Duluth (because this is a corridor train, so it would ideally be push-pull or DMU). Again, hopefully there will be multiple departures per day.

3) Extend at least one of the Missouri River Runner departures from Kansas City north to Lincoln, NE, and then follow the route of the California Zephyr out to Denver.

4) Extend the Heartland Flyer from its terminus at Oklahoma City out to Tulsa. Increase frequency to at least three times a day.

5) Create a new long-distance route between Chicago and Newton, Kansas, along the Southwest Chief's route. Then send it south through Wichita and Oklahoma City down to Fort Worth and San Antonio.

6) Create another new long-distance route from Fort Worth and Dallas east through Shreveport, Louisiana, to Jackson, Mississippi. Then turn south to New Orleans along the route of the current 'City of New Orleans.' Then turn east along the discontinued section of the 'Sunset Limited' all the way to Orlando.

7) Create another new long-distance route from Orlando to Jacksonville along the existing Florida routes, then go north to Atlanta, then Chattanooga, Then Nashville. Then turn west and double-up with either the 'City of New Orleans' or the "Texas Eagle' all the way into Chicago. (I've shown the 'City of New Orleans' route, but either will work)

8) Collaborate with the states of Colorado and Wyoming to establish a new corridor service along the Front Range from Trinidad through Denver up to Cheyenne. As corridor trains, these will be push-pull or DMU trainsets, which will allow them to back into and out of Denver's Union Station (which is a stub-end station post-FastTraks), sort of like the Surfliners do now in Los Angeles. This route will be significant, since Wyoming will cease to be one of two states not served by Amtrak, so there may be some extra political backing for this proposal.

9) Create a new Long-distance route from Los Angles through Las Vegas up into Utah, passing through Provo, Salt Lake, and Ogden. With passenger service restored to Ogden, reroute the California Zephyr to also stop at Ogden by means of the Great Salt Lake Causeway. Then the new train will head north to Pocatello, then west to Boise, then across Oregon to Portland and north to Seattle.

I am assuming that the California and Texas HSR projects are realized; otherwise there will need to be additional lines established between Dallas and Houston, as well as LA and SF.

Overall I think this is very doable and fills in a lot of the empty gaps and loose-ends of the current system. But I still think that the most effective use of Amtrak capitol is to increase frequencies along existing routes - especially in the east coast, which I left mostly untouched.

Last edited by Hatman; Nov 2, 2017 at 11:32 PM.
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  #90  
Old Posted Nov 3, 2017, 1:51 AM
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The defense budget thing is weird because the US underwrites about a third of the world's defense through its own.

One of the few positive things of the Trump presidency has been Europe considering that maybe they need to spend more on their own defense instead of betting that the US basically considers them "too big to fail".
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  #91  
Old Posted Nov 3, 2017, 2:17 AM
Citylover94 Citylover94 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NikolasM View Post
I'll update my map if I agree with any suggestions. My jog into Vermont and back to NY was stupid, now goes through St Albans...
I wouldn't say stupid just impractical and I have the benefit of being very familiar with that area and land there is very expensive and the property owners have a lot of power over any changes in each town. Essentially the typical issues that turn up when trying to do things in New England.
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  #92  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2017, 5:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Citylover94 View Post
The route from NY up to Montreal that veers into Vermont for a bit may happen eventually but in the much nearer future there is a plan to extend the Vermonter from its current terminus in St. Albans up to Montreal. It's not high speed but it is happening.

Also for NH there is a chance of the Lowell Line extending up to just outside of Nashua NH soon and it could in the future follow that existing rail line up to Concord and with enough upgrades a Boston to Montreal route could exist running diagonally up through NH/VT with stops likely in Manchester, Concord, White River Jct., Montpelier, and Burlington. This would provide service to the state capitals and largest city of each state. The stop at White River Jct. I suggest because the tracks in the area all have rather sharp turns that would be prohibitively expensive or even impossible to straighten because of the hills, rivers, and existing development in the area. This would be a very expensive route to upgrade to high speed rail particularly while it crosses the mountains in NH and VT, but if it were created it would likely be a highly competitive and successful route.
Basically just follow 89 then? Make sense. It's already a busy route.
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  #93  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2017, 11:57 PM
Citylover94 Citylover94 is offline
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Sort of except with tons of tunnels and viaducts because 89 has some steep grades and sharp curves going through the mountains between Concord and Lebanon. The legacy rail line between Concord and Lebanon is now partially a bike trail and went farther north following US Route 4 instead. Both routes are far to curvy as they exist now so although the ridership probably exists the reactivation of a route from Montreal to Boston via NH is not likely to happen in the near future especially because NH is relatively hostile to rail. The only Amtrak routes that travel through NH currently are the Downeaster and Vermonter which are not supported by NH at all and only run in the state because they have to. Until NH gets more interested in supporting rail transit I wouldn't expect to see the route happen.
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  #94  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2017, 6:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Citylover94 View Post
Sort of except with tons of tunnels and viaducts because 89 has some steep grades and sharp curves going through the mountains between Concord and Lebanon. The legacy rail line between Concord and Lebanon is now partially a bike trail and went farther north following US Route 4 instead. Both routes are far to curvy as they exist now so although the ridership probably exists the reactivation of a route from Montreal to Boston via NH is not likely to happen in the near future especially because NH is relatively hostile to rail. The only Amtrak routes that travel through NH currently are the Downeaster and Vermonter which are not supported by NH at all and only run in the state because they have to. Until NH gets more interested in supporting rail transit I wouldn't expect to see the route happen.
NH marches to the beat of a different drum. Are you in NH or VT? I lived in Peterborough (NH) and spent a lot of time in Vershire (VT) near White River Junction.
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  #95  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2017, 9:16 PM
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^Which is why their imbalanced and dare I say ominous influence on our national elections even more bizarre.
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  #96  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2017, 5:14 PM
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  • Winnipeg to Minneapolis
  • Winnipeg to Calgary
I checked this out over a decade ago. To get from Winnipeg to Minneapolis, you cannot just walk in to Union Station in Winnipeg and hop aboard a train. No. You have to catch a Greyhound bus to Grand Forks, North Dakota.
It arrives there and you have to wait for the Amtrack train at 1:30 in the morning. The train arrives around 9:30 in the morning.


That's not good.


I'd like something like this...


Board the Amtrak (or Via) train in Winnipeg at say, 4 or 5 PM. Arrive in the Twin Cities ~ 8 PM.

This service would run 3x a week, in both directions.

There was talk 5 years ago, about reintroducing such service. But alas, someone must have stopped that from happening or it just wouldn't be "economical".

Winnipeg Free Press
Feb. 18, 2012
Manitoba could join Minnesota in 175-km/h rail link

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/op...139567258.html

Cost would be no more than $150 return.

To put this into perspective, there hasn't been such service since the late-1960s provided by Burlington Northern when I was but a small baby.

Last edited by LilZebra; Nov 22, 2017 at 5:40 PM.
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  #97  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2017, 3:12 AM
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Originally Posted by LilZebra View Post
  • Winnipeg to Minneapolis

Winnipeg Free Press
Feb. 18, 2012
Manitoba could join Minnesota in 175-km/h rail link

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/op...139567258.html

Cost would be no more than $150 return.

To put this into perspective, there hasn't been such service since the late-1960s provided by Burlington Northern when I was but a small baby.
Minnesota's DOT does have a Twin Cities - Winnipeg train in their long-term passenger rail plans, St.Paul/Minneapolis - St. Cloud - Fargo - Grand Forks - Winnipeg. But first they want to establish routes from the Twin Cities to Duluth, Mankato, Eau Claire, and a second train to Chicago.

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/passengerrail/planning.html
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  #98  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2017, 2:54 PM
Citylover94 Citylover94 is offline
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
NH marches to the beat of a different drum. Are you in NH or VT? I lived in Peterborough (NH) and spent a lot of time in Vershire (VT) near White River Junction.
I live in White River Junction at the moment actually and NH really is an odd place. It is always interesting to see how much things change when you cross the river.

The election influence is super weird and not something I like; however, it is fun getting to see candidates when they visit Dartmouth College.
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  #99  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2017, 7:04 PM
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For anyone wanting to create their own fantasy maps, I saw this on the USA High Speed Rail thread, and though it was awesome:
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