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  #1421  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 5:35 AM
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  #1422  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:12 PM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post

...

Germany's area is 137,988 square miles, the USA area is 3,797,000 square miles.
If, to make this size comparison simple, we made both countries squares in shape, each side of that square would be (x) miles long.
Germany (x) = about 370 miles
USA (x) = about 1945 miles
Using one side of this imaginary square is a close approximation of traveling from one side of a country to the other side.
A fast train averaging 100 mph could travel 370 miles in 3.7 hours within Germany
The same fast train averaging the same 100 mph could travel 1945 miles in 19.45 hours within the USA. Alas, the long distance trains in America do not even average 50 mph.
Here's the question most Americans ask before taking a trip:
Would you ride a very fast train for 19.45 hours and the over 40 hours with our slow trains,
or fly on a plane averaging 500 mph for less than 4 hours?
And so many around the world wonder why the US government and private industry invests so much on airlines and so little on trains?
Whoa...........

You're using very misleading statistics there.

At the minimum, could we please remove the State of Alaska from the US area figure, since no one is contemplating train service connecting the 'lower 48' to Alaska, at any speed?

That slashes the land area from 3,700,000 sqm to just over 3,000,000 right there.

If we equally acknowledge that 'Hawaii isn't getting served either', and nor is Big Sky Country getting more service, and has very few people anyway (Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas etc.)

Then we have a much more accurate picture of where the majority of Americans live, and where serious rail service might contemplated.

By the time we're done, were looking at 2,700,000sq miles tops; and even that's a very expansive area for consideration, much of which would not be proposed for serious rail investments in the next 25 years.

Yes, what's left is still about 20x the size of Germany, but also has about 4x the population.

That does make some markets less serviceable than others; but doesn't paint the picture of this chasm-like gap in viability.

In point of fact, the US. North-East Corridor has a population density of over 900 per sq mile; which is almost 50% higher than Germany!

The Bay area, combined with Southern California achieve similar densities, albeit with a lower-density connecting area through Central California.

There are real reasons why the US can't have high-speed rail to everywhere.

But let's not oversell those to the point where the concept isn't viable in some key sub-regions, which collectively represent 1/3 of the US population.
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  #1423  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2019, 12:53 AM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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So it seems like we have come to an agreement that we don't need rail in Montana and that the NEC and California are the two prime places for this type of rail in the US. Alright, sounds good.
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  #1424  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2019, 6:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Northern Light View Post
Whoa...........
You're using very misleading statistics there.
There are real reasons why the US can't have high-speed rail to everywhere.
But let's not oversell those to the point where the concept isn't viable in some key sub-regions, which collectively represent 1/3 of the US population.
What misleading statistics, if anything I downplayed the distances in America to what they really are using that square analogy.

I agree not everywhere in America is ripe for HSR. I thought I made that clear with my east coast to west coast city pair example.

I read about people complaining about the 6.5 hours it takes an Acela train to travel between Boston and D.C. Most of the way it can attain speeds more than 125 mph, imagine what the elapse time would be if the max speed was limited all the way to just 79 mph. It's 394 miles along the NEC. If it averaged 45 mph, about what Amtrak averages elsewhere within the USA, it would take almost 9 hours. That 6.5 hours it takes now does not look bad, does it?
Could it be faster? Yes, but only if you are willing to throw too much money at it.

Another misleading fact I also read is that Interstate Highways killed intercity passenger trains in America all by themselves. Considering the fat that freight railroads still compete against interstate truckers, that can not be the whole truth. Passengers started switching to airliners in the 1950s when 10,000+ DC3s, capable of max speeds of 200 mph, became war surplus and airlines could buy them cheap. Then jetliners became available in the 1960s with max speeds approaching 600 mph. The better truth is that expanding airline services killed most intercity passenger train service.

The point I did not get across to you is that in Germany the distances between every possible city pair can be successfully bridged with a train service, just like Boston to D.C. Why, because that is the same distances that exists in Germany.

But America is huge. Honolulu to New York City is 4959 miles, and you can catch a flight that takes less than 10.5 hours between them. Anchorage to New York City is 3370 miles, and you can catch a flight that takes less than 7 hours between them. and both of them are significantly farther than the 1945 miles of my imaginary square of my earlier post.

The USDOT spends $17.452 billion on air corridors, and as I wrote earlier $5.152 billion on rail. All transit, including what was spent on rail, received $13.460 billion from USDOT. Many midwest, western, and southern states are considered fly over states, but every city in America has an airport with commercial airline service, and many towns have airports. There are towns in Alaska that can only be reached by air or by foot. There are 19,700 airports in the USA; 5,170 of these airports are open to the general public and 503 of them serve commercial flights. The airplane is the only means of transport that's universal throughout America; from the furthest north, south, east, and west; you can get there in less than one day. Few, if any, taxpayers complain about airline subsidies. Amtrak serves 500 stations or so nationally, and you can not get to all of them within one day. That's the point I've been trying to make for several posts. Passengers trains are not universal or fast enough to become America's top choice. Passenger rail proponents are always proposing ways to make passenger trains faster, no matter how much it costs. This truth should be obvious since the US Post Office stopped renewing mail carriers contracts with railroads and started to sign mail contracts with air carriers. The Postal services was doing so because trains were and are still too slow. When one branch of the government recognizes a truth, you should too.

Meanwhile in Germany, there are a total of 103 airports with 50 of them being served by commercial flights. There are 5,400 railway stations in Germany that are owned and operated by the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB. Should we be surprised that Germany invested more in trains than planes? Size and distances matter.

I've been trying to point out why I believe America has not invested heavily in intercity passenger rail. It was not based upon the donkey vs the elephant politics. It was not based upon public vs private enterprise, although the fastest existing intercity passenger rail service was built by private enterprise over 80 years ago, my argument was based upon time, distance, and geography.

Last edited by electricron; Aug 11, 2019 at 1:22 PM.
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  #1425  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2019, 7:35 AM
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The NEC is the prime place for high speed rail in the US. I am split on California's being a second option.
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  #1426  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2019, 5:11 PM
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Amtrak considers extending Wolverine line from Chicago to Toronto

Amtrak considers extending Wolverine line from Chicago to Toronto

Aug 9, 2019 / 11:49 AM EDT

"EAST LANSING, Mich. — Amtrak is considering a proposal that would extend the Wolverine line’s rail service from Chicago to Toronto.

The proposal was discussed on Thursday during the Michigan Rail Conference at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The idea was first brought up in March in an Amtrak grant request.

Amtrak says the idea would involve construction of a border processing facility and upgrades to existing train stations along the way..."

https://www.woodtv.com/news/national...go-to-toronto/
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  #1427  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 2:40 AM
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I don't understand this "America too big" thing. This is just a yarn that right wing oil apologists throw out to dismiss HSR in the US, because it's not in their local interests.


There are only a couple of places where HSR makes sense, maybe 4 if you stretch things. But, nobodies looking to link Denver with Chicago or whatever. The coastal corridors are as dense as Spain or maybe approaching Germany (NEC), so there is no problem building them there. Spain is building 8 lines of HSR and it is a lower density piece of land than California (also bigger in land area).

Last edited by urbanview; Aug 13, 2019 at 4:56 AM.
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  #1428  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 4:50 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanview View Post
America? Bow your head in shame. It only has a 20 mile segment somewhere in New England, that's nothing. Oh, America is too big and low density? That's a BS augment from oil apologist Republicans looking out for their wallets. America is enmaord with the car, but they can't even do roads.
Wow! What tribe!
When the privately owned Pennsylvania RR electrified the NEC between New York City and D.C. back in 1930s, it was the first electric powered 100 mph max speed train line in the world. See Wiki GG1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsy...road_class_GG1
Amtrak has been upgrading sections of the NEC a little bit at a time since 1971.

America is huge, and when it comes to intercity cross country travel, the airplanes and airliners won. USDOT spend over $17 billion on airways last year while spending over $5 billion on railways.

One can fly the 4957 miles between New York City and Honolulu in 10.5 hours. You can not take a train nor drive between these two cities, it is impossible to do so.

One can fly the 3321 miles between New York City and Anchorage in less than 6 hours. There is no train the entire way, but you can drive it over 4431 miles of highway in 76 hours or so, give or take an hour depending upon traffic.

Yes, those are extreme examples, but I can not think of any city pairs within any western European country where it takes up to 76 hours to drive where a highway exists.

Oh, that's not fair using cities in Alaska and Hawaii. okay, let's just look at the distance between the USA's largest cities, It's 2789 highway miles between New York City and Los Angeles, it would take 42 hours to drive give or take an hour depending upon traffic. You can fly it in less than 5 hours on any jetliner.
Using the Lake Shore Limited and Southwest Chief, you can ride a train that takes 80 hours 55 minutes total elapse time assuming the trains run on time.

Which would you choose, less than a 5 hour flight or almost 81 hour train ride?
Tic, tock, tic, tock.
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  #1429  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 5:34 AM
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You're either trolling or clueless.. Nobody here is talking cross country trains, EVER. I don't understand why you keep repeating the same old story. Do you think we're all 5 years old and we don't know American geography? Just stop.

Last edited by urbanview; Aug 13, 2019 at 6:50 AM.
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  #1430  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 6:10 AM
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Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
The NEC is the prime place for high speed rail in the US. I am split on California's being a second option.
I highly agree. America has 2 or 3 places that is should focus on when it comes to implementing HSR. Thus far, it has failed spectacularly compared to countries in Europe and Aisa which are light years ahead. American railways have been left in the dust.

It has two coastal corridors, (BOS-WASH, and SFO-SAN) where HSR makes perfect sense. They are the right density and distance, and the right economic make up to make use of HSR services. These areas are just as dense or more so than many areas in Europe which have had lines for decades now. DECADES. Currently Spain, an area that is lower density than California, is building another 8 lines on top of what it already has. America has failed to fund one proper HSR line, and that's disgraceful.
That's how bad the US is at implementing 1970's era technology in places where it would be very valuable. The political will has not been there. We know why. Oil money, car culture and parochial politics. It has to change if we are going to see a beautiful AVE style train streaking past at 220 mph in Philly or Fresno.

Last edited by urbanview; Aug 13, 2019 at 6:32 AM.
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  #1431  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 6:34 AM
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Is Spain's High Speed Rail profitable? That, to me, is a chief concern before using it as an example of a system that should be emulated.

Also, I feel that corridor densities, rather than region densities, are the most important metric when deciding whether to build high speed rail or not.
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  #1432  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 6:53 AM
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Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
Is Spain's High Speed Rail profitable? That, to me, is a chief concern before using it as an example of a system that should be emulated.

Also, I feel that corridor densities, rather than region densities, are the most important metric when deciding whether to build high speed rail or not.

"Representatives from state-owned operator Renfe have repeatedly said that AVE trains do sell enough tickets to cover operating costs without requiring a government subsidy. In March this year, the company announced that it had achieved a net profit of €70macross its services in 2017, with a large factor in this being a record number of passengers."

https://www.railway-technology.com/f...-speed-railway
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  #1433  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 9:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
Is Spain's High Speed Rail profitable? That, to me, is a chief concern before using it as an example of a system that should be emulated.

Also, I feel that corridor densities, rather than region densities, are the most important metric when deciding whether to build high speed rail or not.
Are I-5 and I-80 profitable? The criteria used to evaluate the success of high speed rail should be who well it improves mobility. We don’t demand that roads and highways be profitable before spending billions of dollars in auto infrastructure. We only demand this of passenger rail.
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  #1434  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 2:19 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanview View Post

It has two coastal corridors, (BOS-WASH, and SFO-SAN) where HSR makes perfect sense. They are the right density and distance, and the right economic make up to make use of HSR services.
Upgrading Wash > Boston to true HSR will only have incremental benefits, since the existing service is very good. This is the argument against HS2 in England - the existing services it would replace are already B/B+ quality, and the cost of upgrading to A+ is astronomical and won't win many riders.

Meanwhile, HSR makes sense in the areas of the U.S. that have virtually zero passenger rail, like California and the Great Lakes region.

Somehow lost in the intercity rail conversation is the fact that the midwest is mostly flat and will require zero major works of engineering between cities. By comparison, CAHSR will have multiple 10+ mile tunnels and proposed improvements to the Washington-Boston corridor include several large tunnels.
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  #1435  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 4:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
Are I-5 and I-80 profitable?
Not comparable. The goods moved on the freeways need to be accounted for as well. Are we looking at direct AND indirect contributions to the economy as a result of infrastructure?
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  #1436  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 4:51 PM
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Originally Posted by plutonicpanda View Post
Not comparable. The goods moved on the freeways need to be accounted for as well. Are we looking at direct AND indirect contributions to the economy as a result of infrastructure?
And the reduced air pollution and accidents and fatalities avoided by moving people via rail need to be accounted for as well.

Again, rail (and maybe bike lanes) is the only form of infrastructure that we demand be profitable.
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  #1437  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 6:56 PM
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And the reduced air pollution and accidents and fatalities avoided by moving people via rail need to be accounted for as well.
No they don't because we were not talking about that. That is changing the goalposts man.

I do agree with your last sentence however and I think it is ridiculous people act like that. I don't expect rail to return a profit as it is in invaluable asset for the greater good of society.
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  #1438  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 7:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
Are I-5 and I-80 profitable? The criteria used to evaluate the success of high speed rail should be who well it improves mobility. We don’t demand that roads and highways be profitable before spending billions of dollars in auto infrastructure. We only demand this of passenger rail.
I agree if we are talking about city trains. However, HSR that competes with airlines should make a profit, or come close. It doesn't provide the social value that a local train does. Fact is, most poor people don't travel to other cities often and when they do it will be in a car or bus.
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  #1439  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 8:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
I agree if we are talking about city trains. However, HSR that competes with airlines should make a profit, or come close. It doesn't provide the social value that a local train does. Fact is, most poor people don't travel to other cities often and when they do it will be in a car or bus.
That would mean tickets for HSR would likely need in the hundreds of dollars in certain cases and the pricing structure for airlines is far too complex to begin comparing the two. Unless we want government run airlines which I don't support, airfare seems to be subsidized to an extent with airports being paid for by the government with some exceptions.

This to me would mean train companies would need to be private, pay for their own tracks, but the stations paid for by the government leasing platforms to the train companies which wouldn't make sense. Otherwise ticket prices would just be too high and not a very fair market against airlines.
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  #1440  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 9:04 PM
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Originally Posted by plutonicpanda View Post
That would mean tickets for HSR would likely need in the hundreds of dollars in certain cases and the pricing structure for airlines is far too complex to begin comparing the two. Unless we want government run airlines which I don't support, airfare seems to be subsidized to an extent with airports being paid for by the government with some exceptions.

This to me would mean train companies would need to be private, pay for their own tracks, but the stations paid for by the government leasing platforms to the train companies which wouldn't make sense. Otherwise ticket prices would just be too high and not a very fair market against airlines.
Good points. But my overall point is that HSR isn't the same as the MTA or CTA. It serves a different purpose and population(roughly speaking). If we are going to run something without a profit(which is fine) then it better not be to subsidize people who have other options. Running a system to get hundreds of thousands or millions of people to work every day is different(to me) than giving people the option of a train over air travel to travel to different cities for pleasure, business, or whatever.
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