Print 43 comment(s) - last by mmcdonalataocd.. on Dec 28 at 11:11 AM

The company will not see financial benefits from the endeavor until the late 2020s

Central Japan Railway, better known as JR Tokai, recently announced it will fund a major $45 billion magnetic levitation (Maglev) railway system between Tokyo and Chukyo.  Even though the announcement is further commitment to the developing technology by JR Tokai, it caused a 9 percent drop in the company's stock on the Japanese financial market on Tuesday.

Maglev trains will slowly phase out the famous Shinkansen "bullet" trains, while also keeping people from flying a lot of the same distances Maglev routes will cover.  The trains operate above the ground using an electromagnetic pull that accelerates the train's speed by reducing friction between the train and track.

Japan remains dedicated towards a fully functional Maglev rail service in the country by 2025.  Japan, China and Germany are at the forefront of Maglev technology, with Shanghai being the only city that has a fully operational line.  It is likely a second route will be constructed between Nagoya and Osaka, though Tokyo and Nagoya remains the most important goal.
JR Tokai currently owns the the speed record for a Maglev train after a three-car test run in 2003 reached 581 KPH (361 MPH).

As current generations of trains expire, and countries look towards future railway technologies for transportation, some people believe Maglevs will begin to expand to other nations.

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Sounds great
By FITCamaro on 12/26/2007 1:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
Now if only a US company would step up and do something like this here in America. I would ride a commuter train system if it would take me where I wanted to go for work and back. Like when I was living in Orlando, FL and working in Melbourne, FL. A high speed rail system like this would have been great.

RE: Sounds great
By quiksilv3r on 12/26/2007 2:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, what about LA to the Bay Area?

RE: Sounds great
By Spuke on 12/26/2007 4:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
High speed rail to either would be fantastic and I would use it in a heartbeat.

RE: Sounds great
By FITCamaro on 12/26/2007 6:35:25 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure one could be used there but since I don't live there and never have or will, I didn't mention it.

RE: Sounds great
By theflux on 12/26/2007 7:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
That would be fantastic. There is plenty of land around Interstate 5 for the track to be laid in a straight shot.

The big problem with rail in America is that it doesn't aim to do what Japan's bullet train does, which is to say it doesn't attempt to replace flying. Sure we have Amtrac, but I can drive to a place substantially faster than I could riding the train for about the same price so whats the point. Flying is about the same, but you go so much faster. A bullet train from LA to SF would be a great compromise.

RE: Sounds great
By Jedi2155 on 12/26/2007 8:19:39 PM , Rating: 3
I hate driving, and the attention needed by it. During a train ride, I could read a book, do homework, watch a movie, or do some work on a laptop.

RE: Sounds great
By darkfoon on 12/27/2007 1:29:22 AM , Rating: 2
There is plenty of land around Interstate 5 for the track to be laid in a straight shot.

That land around Interstate 5 is mostly farm land. I do not recommend wasting it on a train.

I've seen a lot of "imminent domain" land acquisitions in my area, and I've seen most of them waste the land and destroy property values while boosting urban sprawl. It's disgusting.

Now, if the train could be built above the center median, then that would be a good use of land. But an expensive engineering nightmare.

RE: Sounds great
By Janooo on 12/27/2007 1:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
Too risky due to earthquakes. East cost is safer for this kind of investment.

RE: Sounds great
By ninjaquick on 12/27/2007 8:37:26 AM , Rating: 3
Japan gets way more earthquakes than the west coast does.

RE: Sounds great
By afkrotch on 12/27/2007 10:47:44 AM , Rating: 2
Lived in Japan for 2 years. They get like 3000 earthquakes a year. Majority of them couldn't move a 1 ounce pebble by 1mm. The only time you feel an earthquake is if you are on the like 8th floor of a building. You can feel the building sway. Course wind does the same thing.

RE: Sounds great
By Ringold on 12/26/2007 3:23:12 PM , Rating: 2

I'm with Avery Brooks, before he got to the software part. Forget the light rail. I'd rather have my flying cars. :P

Sadly, that was about the last time I've seen Brooks on screen. According to imdb, nothing since 2001.. shame, I thought he was good.

RE: Sounds great
By saiga6360 on 12/26/2007 3:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
Better yet, how about flying trains? Galaxy Express anyone? :)

Avery Brooks was alright. Maybe a bit over-the-top sometimes but then again, it is Trek material after all.

RE: Sounds great
By Sebec on 12/27/2007 4:15:59 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Sounds great
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/28/2007 11:11:23 AM , Rating: 2
I will go back into the practice of law when flying cars are a reality. Problem with them is the expense of upkeep, the high rate of fuel burn, and strict liability.

If you are in a flying car and there is an accident, then the negligence of one or both parties comes into play, as with a car accident. Simple to manage the liability issues.

The problem with aircraft is, if you are on the ground, and a flying car does damage to you or your property, then the owner of the aircraft is liable, no matter what. No negligence to argue over. Did the vehicle cause damage? If so, how much. Easy cases to win.

This is the same issue with any aircraft, I know, but with flying cars, there would be so many more of them, and the accidents would come fast and furious.

They won't ever be a reality anyway. Do you know how much it costs to buy and properly maintain and fuel a private aircraft? Not to mention the expense of licensing. Yeesh.

Pie in the sky, as it were.

RE: Sounds great
By HrilL on 12/26/2007 4:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
One of the companies I work for who has been mentioned on Daily tech before is working on this as well. They are called Launch Point technologies. I can't really say more about what they are doing since it is not public info.

RE: Sounds great
By Samus on 12/27/2007 12:30:27 AM , Rating: 2
Keep dreaming about the United States ever evolving. When you consider we spend $4000 a second in Iraq, and have been for 4 years, it isn't hard to see why we are THREE generations behind the technology they're talking about.

We don't even have bullet trains here yet. And most of the engines we use are still 30-year old deisel-electric technology.

RE: Sounds great
By rudy on 12/27/2007 6:14:15 AM , Rating: 3
Doubt this has anything to do with it. The real issue is that the US is fundamentally different from most other countries. We invented the cheap automobile and it supplanted trains because it gave us freedom to move unrestricted as we pleased. We could do this and it was advantageous because we have lots of land, this allows us to really use it. This also gives America a flexibility most nations lack. If a new store springs up people can goto it with out a problem. In other countries it needs to be within a certain distance of some center of interest where the public transportation takes you. Playing the Train to bus to taxi game gets old. American's also value their time heavily time spent waiting for public transportation and walking long distances is money lost. I think with the internet and more and more jobs no longer requiring people to goto into work the chances of a train system doing well in this country just keep getting worse. Simply put the US system runs well on the automobile trains are not fast here because they do not need to be, they just hull heavy supplies to factories. We have a ton of land and attempting to put in place a decent train system to connect our major cities is a massive undertaking and would probably cost trillions, and in the end all we would get out of it is less flexibility.

RE: Sounds great
By chick0n on 12/27/2007 12:46:05 AM , Rating: 1
Your dream will never come true.

Hell in NYC we're still using Metrocard. Wow, what a fuxking outdated Piece of shxt. and you have to slide it yourself? wow what a fuxking joke !

They used to have those *metrocard thinggy* in Hong kong like almost 20+ years ago ! and back then you dont need to slide it like a retard in NYC, you put it into the machine. it will auto *insert* it for you and auto *eject* it back to you.

Not to mention they've been using Smart Card device Since 1997, You dont even need to take your *card* or whatever out, just tap your wallet, and go.

US will never catch up in anything. I feel sorry that I live in NYC for so long.

RE: Sounds great
By irev210 on 12/27/2007 8:28:50 AM , Rating: 3
I love how people say "Yes, I would love to take the train, it would be so much better"

You guys make me laugh... you are whining about $3+ a gallon for gas but that lets you go between ~15-50 miles.

I ride the train every day here in Boston. I go about 5 miles and it takes me roughly 30-40 minutes. It costs 4 dollars round trip. The service is horrible, the trains are 20+ years old... the list goes on.

The MBTA subway here also gets a BIG chunk of sales taxes to subsidse the cost. The employees average 28 dollars an hour to drive a train around and retire after 25 years with full benifits and a full pension until they die.

So on top of the 4 dollars for a round trip to go between 0 and ~20 miles you are paying even more in sales taxes to fund the subway/trains.

Be careful what you guys wish for. You whine and whine about how far behind USA is... but you arent the ones on a crowded overpriced train every day either.

Another prime example is taking the train between New York and Boston.

I can take the electric Acela high-speed train for ~200-300 dollars round trip. (~3.5hrs)

I can take the standard Amtrak train for ~120-200 round trip.

I can take Greyhound for 30 dollars round trip.

What makes the most financial sense here? Should they build an ENTIRE new maglev track and charge $500-1000? Is a ~33x increase in price worth a 2x improvment in transit time? To most americans the answer is no.

RE: Sounds great
By chick0n on 12/27/2007 9:57:01 AM , Rating: 1
What a typical moron speech.

Thats why everything, well, almost everything in US is sooooo behind when comparing to the rest of the world.

NYC's system are OVER 100 years old, it just going to cost more and more to just maintain it. why they refuse to build new ones? Cuz they're lazy and Greedy.

sometimes yea if its aint broke dont fix it. but its already WAY overdue. I mean god people. I got myself a car just because I hate the subway system. Why would I want to pay 2.5 for completely GARBAGE service ? In Hong Kong you pay about the same for service thats 100 times better, faster trains, train comes in every minute when busy, 5 if not busy. In Japan is about the same. In France is about the same. in America ... Every 5-10 minutes cuz they're never on time, Station smells like shit, Looks like shit, Metrocard system stupid like shit. Wow, the list goes on.

RE: Sounds great
By afkrotch on 12/27/2007 12:00:33 PM , Rating: 3
The reason many other countries have a very good public transport, is because they make it a pain or make it expensive to have your own vehicle.

England has their road tax and inspections. Can get expensive to keep your car. Their public transport isn't bad. Trains go to majority of the villages and buses inside the cities/towns.

Korea. Didn't own a car there, but public transport was excellent. Trains to majority of the cities/towns and buses to fill the rest. Traffic is terrible, so the train is usually the better option. Taxis also available and relatively inexpensive. Not as cheap as the train or bus though.

Japan has road tax, inspections, and JCI. The older your car, the more expensive it'll get to maintain. Take an expressway and expect your wallet to break. Traffic is horrendous. A 45 km distance can take anywhere from 1 hour to 6 hours to drive, depending on time of day and traffic. Even out in the middle of nowhere, the traffic can get bad. Pray there isn't an accident. Their public transport is extremely good. Trains to every single village around. Buses to move within them. Even if you live in the boondocks, a bus or train will get you there. I'd say that owning a car or using public transport would end up being about the same price. You either put up with the headaches of traffic and parking or put up with the headaches of tons of ppl on public transport and swapping trains/buses.

Germany. Haven't lived here long, but had an inspection. Don't know if there's road tax. If there is, I didn't pay for it. Traffic is pretty light. Autobahns are free to drive. Wish they'd maintain some of them better. Train system is all kinds of terrible. If you live in a small village and have no car, expect to spend a lot of money on a taxi or walk.

Anyways, a good compromise. Get a motorcycle or scooter. Good on gas and easy to park. Why some of the scooters in Japan don't go to the US, I don't know. I'd rock out a 400cc scooter with a 5.1 stereo, hydralics, and ground effects. ;)

RE: Sounds great
By irev210 on 12/27/2007 5:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
Why do they refuse to build new maglev trains in NYC? Because it is expensive. New York actually operates a pretty tight ship, especially relative to other US and Global transit systems.

NYC tunnels may be 100 years old, but tracks, signals, switching systems and trains are constantly being upgraded.

You marvel about Hong Kong and the rest of the world but just look at ridership statistics below. New York City moves almost twice as many people every year vs hong kong. Hong Kong also gets extremely crowded during rush hour just as New York does (and yes, I've been to Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, San Fran, DC, NYC and reside in Boston... I know my subways).

Annual Subway Ridership
1. Tokyo 2.863 billion
2. Moscow 2.603 billion
3. New York City 1.499 billion
4. Seoul 1.466 billion
5. Mexico City 1.441 billion
6. Paris 1.373 billion
7. London 971 million
8. Osaka 880 million
9. Hong Kong 867 million
10. St. Petersburg 810 million

You say "in other countries you pay the same" but that isnt true. What you pay at the fare box isnt all you are paying. These trains and subways are subsided by governments so they can operate.

The bottom line to this discussion as noted by other posters is that the US is

A) Bigger than most other countries. From an infrastructure standpoint, it doesnt make it very cost effective. We see exceptions in densely populated areas such as Boston, NYC, Metro DC and Bay Area.

B) Have an excellent highway infrastructure

C) It is just cheaper to drive

From a pure economical position, you cant really argue that mass transit in the USA is really the best way to spend dollars, reduce pollution or reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Average weekday ridership on the New York Subway system
2007 operating budget $10.36 billion
Average weekday ridership 8,272,117

For comparison here is shanghai-
People using the Shanghai subway system daily - 2.500.000 - 3.000.000

For an average of over 8 million a day... that 100 year old system sure does a lot better at moving people compared to Shanghai, the ONLY city in the world that has deployed maglev commercially. After all, Shanghai has over 20M residents vs New York has less than half that, around 8.5M. While that doesnt count the surrounding area of either city, you get my point that New York does one heck of a job moving people around relative to even the most "advanced" transit systems (being maglev). Besides, maglev in China was deployed as a showcase of Chinese prosperity and growth, not so much economic practicality.

Is This Really Necessary?
By jskirwin on 12/26/2007 1:31:46 PM , Rating: 2
According to various google links, the distance between Tokyo and Nagoya is 163 miles. Total cost of the investment is app. $44 billion. This means that each mile will run about $270 million.

Given that it takes about 100 minutes to travel using the bullet train, even if the maglev could run twice as fast, is it worthe investment to save 50 minutes per trip?

This stinks of concreting rivers/building roads/bullet train lines to nowhere that has cursed public works in Japan for decades.

As a train lover and technofiend, I have to admit it sounds pretty neat. But the economist-inside doesn't care for it.

RE: Is This Really Necessary?
By mWMA on 12/26/2007 1:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
Well upfront the cost is high at the beginning but since japan depends on its bullet trains so much and the fact that they have so many of them now. Maglav is the next step after bullet trains since they have already done so much investment in Bullet trains.

But when comparing that cost you bring up to the cost of additional airports and air routes and overall impact of the pollution cost by airlines... it makes sense to have a train that can try to keep up with the time that a plane takes while using electricity as its clean fuel which could be produced using renewable source such as solar, offshore wind or nuclear.

RE: Is This Really Necessary?
By Ringold on 12/26/2007 2:53:03 PM , Rating: 2
Maglav is the next step

Just because improved technology exists doesn't mean one has to upgrade. Look at the Space Shuttle; the 56 Chevy of aerospace, and we only recently pondered a half-hearted replacement. Cost-benefit analysis must be sane.

ost you bring up to the cost of additional airports and air routes

Rail companies are not governments. They do not care about the cost of additional airports (which is zero, new airports are rarely built, but rather current ones expanded). They might care about the cost the consumer faces for airline tickets over a comparable route, however.

and overall impact of the pollution cost by airlines

Rail companies are not governments. Beyond that, it's something of a moot point because by the time this boondoggle is complete its likely a suitable biofuel replacement will exist for Jet-A. Branson is already working on it, and I've read stories for years of different small university teams around the world working on it. Almost 23 years they'd have to pull off something they're already likely close to doing. On the other side of the biofuel coin, also nearly 23 years to produce biofuels without using farm land -- again, something various scientists are already nearly able to do.


In the end, the markets hath spoken. They see it how I do -- an approximately 23 year massive investment with zero returns until then, just massive cap-ex spending in to a black hole. Many of the investors in that company may not be alive in 23 years, a literal interpretation of "In the long run, we're all dead." If they wanted a zero-coupon bond, they'd of bought one. They don't seem to think it makes sense, so the stock got slammed down 9%.

RE: Is This Really Necessary?
By The I on 12/26/2007 6:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
In the end, the markets hath spoken. They see it how I do -- an approximately 23 year massive investment with zero returns until then, just massive cap-ex spending in to a black hole. Many of the investors in that company may not be alive in 23 years, a literal interpretation of "In the long run, we're all dead." If they wanted a zero-coupon bond, they'd of bought one. They don't seem to think it makes sense, so the stock got slammed down 9%.

When the title says they won't see financial benefits before in 23 years I read it as 23 years being the year they've reached brake-even, that is the future benefits having become as big as the costs.

Whether or not these benefits are discounted or not is another matter...

At least the investor reactions imply they have a different pure time preference (weighting of future benefits against present costs) than the company...

RE: Is This Really Necessary?
By Ringold on 12/26/2007 11:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
If you read the article linked to by DT (which I just did to look for clarification), they state that they want it operational in 2025. That means I happen to of been correct; zero revenue until 2025 at the earliest, with 44 billion sprinkled out between now and then with zero return.

Their annual report is interesting.

They've already got 31.3 billion USD in long term liabilities of various sorts, 1.1 billion in annual net income. They'll be able to pull off the project but they'll have to reverse course possibly on paying down debt, which they'd been focused on apparently since 1991. The opportunity cost is huge even if their plan is sound, and not without risk, thus the response with the stock.

I also can't help but wonder if they accounted for Japan's terminal population decline in terms of riders. :P Entire small towns are being depopulated, and unless they ban contraception any plan looking that far out hopefully does take a look at the issue.

RE: Is This Really Necessary?
By afkrotch on 12/27/2007 12:11:01 PM , Rating: 2
Child birth rates are on the decline and teen suicide rates up, but immigration rates aren't on the decline. It'll just be a Japan with less Japanese and more Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Nigerians, Indians, and so on.

RE: Is This Really Necessary?
By Samus on 12/27/2007 12:37:07 AM , Rating: 2
Up front the cost for anything like this is high. You don't make money for a long time, but that's just how it works, unfortunately. The government usually helps support public transit while they're in the 'making money' phase because they're already in so much debt by the time a projects done, they're usually to broke to operate and maintain it.

Transit funds are usually left up to state governments, who all get some money from the federal pot. However, state taxes help support transit too.

So basically for something like this to happen here, we need substantially higher state taxes, which from Illinois, I support. Our state tax is a fixed 3% (income tax) which is the lowest in the country for big-city states (california/la, new york/ny, etc)

RE: Is This Really Necessary?
By vladio on 12/26/2007 4:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
more economists like 'jskirwin' and we will ride horses

RE: Is This Really Necessary?
By Ringold on 12/26/2007 5:03:47 PM , Rating: 2
The Cirrus SR22 G3 recently came out, price tag $533 - 550k.

Marginal improvement in performance -- redesign of the wing yielded decent improvements in handling, and 11 extra gallons of avgas.

More economists like 'vladio', and we'd be throwing out SR22 G2's of almost equal cost after just a couple years because, damn, it'd be really nice to get that extra hundred miles of range or so we can "slip like it's on rails"*. :P

*Julie Boatman, AOPA

By wingless on 12/26/2007 4:00:52 PM , Rating: 2
We need rail so bad here in Houston. The car dealerships and highway contractors have so many lobbyists they put rail plans on the back burner for over 20 years! I hope a company like JR Tokai can step up and come to the aide of the people here in Texas. I love driving but 93 octane is $3.10 which is relatively a lot here. Keep in mind we drive ~50 miles a day around town. Our gas prices tend to be lower than the rest of the country but its offset by the amount we're forced to drive. If any of you have been here you know what I mean.

WE NEED A RAIL SYSTEM IN HOUSTON ASAP! I hope we can hire some Japanese engineers to plan it too.

By darkpaw on 12/26/2007 4:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
Be careful what you wish for, you might end up like Phoenix. Tons of money and they are just working on the first phase of their train to no where. Since the cities weren't designed with rail in mind, it takes tons of money for very, very small lines. I was dumb enough to vote for that project when it was put on the ballot back in 98 (was a stupid teenager then). They still haven't actually finished any of it, and the initial phase goes pretty much no where useful after tearing up the city for years doing construction. I'd really be surprised if they have much in the way of riders when it does open.

When I lived in Phoenix I had a drive commute of 32 miles each way. It took me between 30-60 minutes depending on traffic. I now live in DC and make use of their heavily developed mass-transit system every day. It takes me minimum of 45 minutes to get to work though, which is sad since its only 6 MILES.

Even in DC, which has a very heavy transit/rail bent they can't get any new projects done. The proposed line out to Dulles will cost many factors more then it should for the people that will make use of it. When the gov't tells you the project is far too costly thats really a bad sign.

Personally, I'd love a super high speed rail line like these to someplace out of the main city like Fredricksburg or Richmond. I don't think it'll happen any time soon though, and if it does it'll be way over priced.

By bpurkapi on 12/26/2007 4:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
Rail only works in dense places. Rail almost never works in the west of America because our cities sprawl forever. Japan, Germany are ideal places for rail, not the US. The distance between major cities in Germany is not nearly as great as the distance between american cities. Plus there is little infrastructure for pedestrians to take advantage of. If you take the train you get off and then what? Our public transit also suffers because of sprawl as well. When people talk of trains to nowhere its because Best Buy, Sears and Safeway are the destinations and they all are designed around the car. Rail won't work until our cities are completely redesigned. Im from Portland, OR by the way and we have a large light rail street car system, and it still has its problems even though portland is a bit denser than the average western US city.

By creathir on 12/26/2007 7:48:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, rail works fine in suburban type of places. Chicago (the midWEST) has one of the most effective commuter systems in the world. Granted, the trains go to a CBD (central business district) which is quite dense, but the concepts still work. Places like LA, Seattle, San Diego, San Fransisco, and Pheonix all have distinct CBDs. Almost all major cities do.

- Creathir

By afkrotch on 12/27/2007 1:08:38 PM , Rating: 2
The city needs to either be densely packed or the trains needs to be augmented with a bus system also. That or do like in Tokyo and have the train stop every like 10 blocks.

Majority of cities within the Tokyo region feels built around the trains. Everything is located around the train station. All well within walking distance. If not within walking distance, it wasn't a problem as the buses and taxi cabs were usually just outside the station.

S.Korea does the same thing, so does Britain. Just that their public transportation isn't as all encompassing as Japan. That's mainly due to costs. Japan just keeps running them, but have long wait times before it runs. Like the train from Tachikawa to Fussa is pretty empty after 7pm. So the train will sit at Tachikawa station for like an hour before making it's run. It has the long wait to gather as many ppl as possible. I usually would use that break to grab some food in the udon shop, have a smoke, and mill around the AM/PM on the platform. Other times I'd surf the web on my PSP, if I happen to be going to Akiba that day.

By Belard on 12/26/2007 4:56:28 PM , Rating: 2
Here in Dallas, we have an expanding RAIL system that is heavily used. When I need to go into downtown, I pay $3 or so for a round trip (30miles each way), I bypass the slow traffic on the highway (which we can see from the train), pay NO parking ($3~15), not worried about anyone breaking in my car, etc etc... its great.

Wish there were more lines thou.

By JohnnyCNote on 12/26/2007 8:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
. . . by Jeb Bush managed to have the vote overturned and the project was killed. It was supposed to connect South Florida with Orlando and Tampa, some of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. So instead we have more perpetual construction zones, gridlocked highways, air pollution, crazy drivers, etc, etc, to look forward to (at least until the gas runs out).

I just returned from London. The rail and subway (aka "Underground") system there puts the US to shame. I was able to ride from central London to Heathrow Terminal 4 for 4GBP (about 8 bucks). It took no longer than it would have to travel by car/taxi/bus and couldn't have been more convenient.

There's a similar system connecting JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports, and the BART was extended to SFO, but those are among a small handful of exceptions . . .

By Ringold on 12/27/2007 12:00:12 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure you've been through the area served by those 3 air ports.. You bring that up along with Orlando, with all of 3 decently sized buildings downtown until just recently, and Tampa, still a sliver the size. Not to mention driving from the Northern end of the Orlando area (Sanford) to the docks along the water in Tampa is about a 2 hour drive along I-4 at slightly-faster-than-legal speeds, with not really a ton between the two (except Dinosaur Land and Fantasy of Flight). It makes more sense that the unending East coast megalopolis of the North has a bit more service..

You'd be happy to know that Disney has in fact succeeded on force-feeding light rail on Orlando. They'll get their direct injection of money to their jugular vein, and local tax payers have agreed to pay for this. In theory, it connects Sanford, Lake Mary etc to the North as well, but projections on how much traffic it'll take off of I-4 have not been impressive. This shouldn't be a surprise since it's on the wrong side of town for Disney, but the fastest growing parts of Orlando with a flood of new high-paying jobs, the UCF, Lake Nona and other area's off to the East? Completely, absolutely left in the cold. The 408 today is much more clogged then I-4, and people *pay money* for the 408 as you're probably aware. Not that Colonial is a viable alternative, as fun as it is spending 30 minutes to get through Chinatown.

So why did Jeb scuttle rail when he could? Why did Orlando residents try their damndest to do it a second time after we'd already said no at least one or two other times on ballots? Because apparently slightly less than half of local tax payers didn't see why they should support Disney when the future is clearly in Lake Nona, UCF and the flood of biotech, medical, IT and engineering jobs being added there. There's little future in job growth with Disney.

To be fair, now that everything has been established and Disney can sleep well knowing they've got Orlando to bend over for them, there is idle talk of some sort of unknown east-west rail link; no time frame, no specific type of rail, and no thoughts on how to address the fact there's no money, no existing freight track and no right of way available to them. But hey, it's all good, Mickey Mouse and 5 year olds got what they want; the rest of us can get scraps off the floor.

Jeb Bush was doing us favor.

By JohnnyCNote on 12/27/2007 10:32:42 AM , Rating: 2
Enjoy your Orlando area traffic. Soon enough you'll be like LA - gridlock, smog so thick the air is brown. It's bad enough up here in Jacksonville, but I go out of my way to avoid I4 . . .

Not realistic IMHO
By bernardl on 12/26/2007 7:44:03 PM , Rating: 2
I have been living in Japan for 10 years now, and use their existing Shikansen network a lot.

I have also used the Shanghai Maglev a few times, and find it to be a very impressive technological demonstrator with little practical use. Taking a cab from most parts of Shanghai takes you both faster and cheaper to the airport than the Maglev does. This is of course just an implementation issue.

As far as the JR Tokai Maglev goes, I am not convinced at all that it makes sense on the line they intend to deploy it first. I would personnally love it since it would cut down my travelling time to the Japanese Alps by 1:30 hours, but there is not that much traffic in that direction.

The main impact will be a huge surge of housing cost in Matsumoto, that's it. :-)


RE: Not realistic IMHO
By wrong on 12/27/2007 2:07:38 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder how much land JR Tokai owns in Matsumoto. ;)

By CyborgTMT on 12/27/2007 11:09:31 AM , Rating: 2
A New York to LA high speed rail service would be a god send for me personally. I have to take a few trips every year from one coast to the other and I hate flying. If a rail service could get me there in a day and the costs are around the price of a plane ticket, I'll never fly again. At a 300mph pace the trip would take around 8 hours which is only 2 more hours than the plane takes.

As an added bonus, I'd have things to look at out the windows on the train rather than talking to the annoying person next to me who wants to tell me about every year their child made honor roll.

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