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Obama has handed out the first round of grants to try to promote rail in the U.S.  (Source: Progress Ohio)

Critics, though, accuse the administration of handing pork barrel grants to Amtrak to improve aging lines.  (Source: AP Photo)

House Republicans were broadly opposed to the rail grants.  (Source: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder broke with his party, becoming the only Republican governor to put his weight behind a rail plan. Michigan is receiving funds to upgrade a line between Chicago and Detroit.  (Source: Flickr/RickForMI)
Grants aim to usher in new era of transportation, but disappointingly fall back on outdated technology

Over a century ago, the U.S. government gave land and loans to railroad companies that would amount to billions in today's money.  The U.S. subsequently transformed into an increasingly influential superpower.  Today, in the modern era, the government is looking to use similar incentives to yet again push our nation's transportation efforts forward.

The Obama administration this week announced $2B USD in grants, marking the first round in a program looking to push high-speed rail across the U.S.

I. Great Expectations

With increasing fuel costs being witnessed, rail is viewed as an increasingly attractive alternative to air travel.  While the new program looks to ease the country forward towards high-speed rail, it still illustrates how far behind its international peers the U.S. is in terms of public transport.

Only $300M USD of the $2B USD will be applied towards the construction of true high-speed rail that is present across much of Europe and Asia.  That money will go towards creating a 220 mph line between two of California's major metropolitan areas -- San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The remaining money will be applied to increasing speeds of standard lines.  The government hopes to boost a Washington-Boston-New York line from 135 mph to 160 mph with the help of $795M USD in grants.  Another $404M USD will be applied to upgrades to a 110 mph track between Detroit and Chicago.  That money will be applied to boosting speeds along portions of the route, upgrading signals, and modernizing the track.

The applications of the remainder of the funding are diverse.  Funding will go to building a train station in Ann Arbor, Mich.  Texas gets money to conduct engineering studies.  Rhode Island will be spending funds on improvements to its train platforms.  And Washington State will be looking to build a short stretch of elevated track.

II. High Speed, Where Art Thou?

Some politicians on both sides of the aisle are less than thrilled with the final results of the program -- even among those who support high-speed rail.  They complain that hardly any money is going towards actual high speed rail, with most going directly to pork-barrel projects by rail giant Amtrak (The National Passenger Railroad Corporation), who holds much lobbying power in Congress.

Rep. John L. Mica (R-Florida), who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, stated, "Once again, the administration has scattered funding to numerous slower-speed rail projects, and allowed Amtrak to hijack 21 of the 22 grants."

Part of Rep. Mica's complaints may arise out of disappointment at not receiving funding.  Florida lost its funding for rail projects when Governor Rick Scott (R) cut matching funding to a high speed rail line from Orlando to Tampa.

Representatives from states that are getting funded seem much more enthusiastic.  States Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), "We must take our passengers off the short-run airplanes. No one in a properly functioning transportation environment should take a plane from New York to Washington, or for that matter from Boston to Washington."

To an extent Rep. Nadler is correct -- the funding will make a seemingly positive impact.  For example a $295M USD to the much-used Long Island Rail Road in N.Y. State will allow trains to bypass the Harold Interlocking, a busy junction in the New York City borough of Queens.  This in turn will decrease delays and increase the speed of rides.

On the other hand the funding fails to fix other notorious problem spots like two Amtrak-owned tunnels under the Hudson River, which are aging and congested, or an ancient 100-year-old stretch of line in New Jersey.  Both areas were originally slotted for repair or upgrades, but the plans fell through when Gov. Chris Christie, a New Jersey Republican, pulled out.  He complained the matching funding could put his state in danger of budget overruns.

The dispute has largely boiled down to partisan bickering.  Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Michigan) complained about his state's project, commenting, "If President Obama and Congress insist on piling more debt on our kids and grandkids, they should at least let us decide how to spend it. We need to fill potholes and improve roads, not shave 50 minutes off a train ride from Detroit to Chicago."

Gov. Scott and Gov. Christie stand together with two other Republican governors – embattled Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin), who ditched $810M USD in funding for a high speed line between Madison-to-Milwaukee, and Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio), who rejected a $404M USD proposal to connect Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus with a slower train line.

All four governors scrapped projects that had been set into motion by their Democratic predecessors.  

Michigan governor Rick Snyder thus far has been the only Republican governor to back a rail project, having done so after much deliberation

III. Ugly Results

"If they don't want it, we need it. We'll take it," complains Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York), "Florida's loss is New York and New Jersey's gain."

That may be true to some extent, but the partisan division on the issue of rail is creating a situation where everyone loses.

At the start of Barack Obama's presidency in 2008 only a handful of states were looking for high speed rail funding versus many states fishing for traditional rail funding.  While the high-speed projects arguably bore more merit than bloated budgets for traditional rail, ironically they were some of the first to go do to partisan politics.

The result is the kind of bastard child program that will frustrate many.  Republicans, some Democrats, and high speed rail supporters alike will wonder why so much money is being poured into Amtrak while so little is being applied to actual high speed rail at a time when the U.S. is already so far behind.

The speed of traditional lines is fundamentally limited, even if congested sections of track can be upgraded.  Current generation Acela trains -- used by Amtrak -- can only reach a top speed of 150 mph.  And currently such speeds are only available in select sections of track in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Upgrades to the track and power lines may increase speeds, put that fundamental ceiling will not be able to be broken with current generation engines.

Amtrak is promising that next generation Acela trains will reach 160 mph.  But that's still drastically slower than the 200 mph + trains in Asia and Europe.

"[Traditional rail travel is] too much of a waste of time," comments Matthew Konopka, a 30-year-old economist from Washington and frequent flyer to Boston, "I would be doubtful that they'd ever be able to get it fast enough."

Other citizens are slightly kinder to Amtrak.  States Jim Moeller, a 46-year-old geographer from Fredericksburg, Va. who rides the line between Washington and New York monthly, "I actually do business on the train. It's a lot nicer than an airplane. [The new funding is] throwing money at something that's actually a good thing."

America's greatest economic rival China is experiencing struggles of its own in its ambitious deployment of high-speed rail.  In China's case laying the rail isn't the problem -- it's dealing with corruption and quality control issues that endanger passenger safety and budgets.  

The U.S. is grappling with its own unique problem -- the fact that partisan bickering has killed the majority of high-speed rail and the fact that it's throwing lots of money at an aging rail system that -- no matter how you slice it -- is far behind modern high-speed designs.

It remains to be seen whether either project will truly leave the station and reach its intended stop.



Comments     Threshold


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High speed rail is the way forward.
By Amiga500 on 5/10/2011 2:05:02 PM , Rating: 5
No journey under 500 miles should be done on aircraft. The numbers simply do not add up.

[I say this as an aeronautical engineer who is heavily involved in short range commercial aircraft at the minute]




RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By MrBlastman on 5/10/2011 2:22:26 PM , Rating: 4
I actually agree with you on this. About the only exception I can think of is if you have a private pilot's license, your own plane and transportation to the takeoff field and away from the landing field. But--most people don't have that. Even with your own plane there are the maintenance and storage costs to consider...sooo unless if it is used often, then forget it.

The amount of time wasted by the TSA and just getting through the terminal, boarded on the flight and waiting for takeoff is astounding on commercial airlines. Then you have to consider the time to and from the airport which adds up to even more time--sometimes 45 minutes to an hour each way.

With a train, you don't typically have all these problems. Trains can have multiple stopping points with far lower costs associated with them. Large swaths of land aren't needed for airports, huge parking lots also aren't needed as there are more points to board them at.

Then there are the fuel costs. With trains, you can even eventually get them on the grid--with stronger Nuclear support, this would be a huge win.

Trains could save us all time and money while giving us more convenience. We won't even need to experience an "enhanced pat-down" to ride them.


By JediJeb on 5/10/2011 3:07:45 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
rains could save us all time and money while giving us more convenience. We won't even need to experience an "enhanced pat-down" to ride them.


Until some idiot decides to blow one up, the rail travel will be just as bad as air travel as far as security lines are concerned.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By wookie1 on 5/10/2011 3:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
You don't think that we'd soon have TSA in the train stations? Also, why are you so sure that the train station would be closer than the airport? Trains need much larger swaths of land than air travel, since airplanes just fly over the land and you don't need to seize anyone's land for the travel routes.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Etsp on 5/10/2011 4:23:47 PM , Rating: 5
You can begin stopping a train as soon as a situation arises. On a plane, you have to find a suitable place to land and the pilots have to survive until the plane lands.

The train engineer can just hit the brakes.

You cannot take control of a train and use it to crash into a building (some minor exceptions to this).

You cannot have law enforcement board a plain mid-flight. Not a problem with a stopped train. (I have no idea about boarding a moving train, but I somehow doubt that SWAT is trained to do that...)

A hijacked plane can travel anywhere within the range of its fuel supply. A train has limited options.

There are a TON of reasons why trains don't need to have the same amount of excessive security that plains do. As far as its worth as a target of terrorism, planes are a much larger target.

Not that there shouldn't be security, but it doesn't need to be as restrictive.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 4:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You cannot take control of a train and use it to crash into a building (some minor exceptions to this).


No but it's damned easy to derail one. Much easier than crashing a plane by far.

Just being Devil's advocate.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2011 4:36:48 PM , Rating: 3
Also much easier to bomb an airport. What exactly is your point? If it was all about human lives then there are far easier and better places to bomb than a train or an airplane.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 4:37:55 PM , Rating: 1
No, it's actually NOT easy to bomb an airport. Not today anyway.

quote:
What exactly is your point?


None. Hence the "Devil's Advocate" disclaimer :)


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Iaiken on 5/10/2011 5:03:22 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
No, it's actually NOT easy to bomb an airport. Not today anyway.


Um... you want to know the best place to bomb in the airport?

Try the line of 50-200 people waiting to get their prostates checked by the TSA.

Why would you waste your time trying to get through security when security has already provided you with a perfectly good group of innocent people to blow up

Hell, even then there are now 10 documented cases of TSA screeners failing to detect explosives on investigative reporters who had handled explosives and been selected for random screening.

More than anything else, this incompetence bothers me the mos. If you're going to invade peoples privacy, it should at least be effective.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Jeffk464 on 5/10/2011 7:35:42 PM , Rating: 3
The purpose of TSA is to make the general population feel safe enough to fly.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By MrBungle123 on 5/11/2011 2:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
Why not have 1 out of every 100 passengers (rounded up) be a sky marshall on all domestic flights? Work out some similar security situation for international flights.

You could probably increase security further by allowing concealed carry permitt holders to carry on aircraft as well.

Do that, say "Allahu Akbar!" on a plane and watch about 18 guns get pointed at you.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By DrSpaceman on 5/11/2011 5:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
Thats the stupidest thing I've ever heard... Next thing you know, and some dumbass has shot a hole in the side of the plane...


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By MrBungle123 on 5/11/2011 6:31:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Thats the stupidest thing I've ever heard... Next thing you know, and some dumbass has shot a hole in the side of the plane...


In an attempted hijacking situation? Small price to pay.

Just an FYI: A giant hole will not open up in the side of the plane and suck half the items in the passenger compartment out into the sky if a bullet passes through the fuselage. Snakes on a plane is just a movie, that won't happen in real life I promise.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By DrSpaceman on 5/11/2011 10:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously...

I guess small price to pay when you have several people lying on the ground wounded, unable to get to a mask as the plane has now depressurized... Or the fact that putting more guns on planes would just give a terrorist access to several guns that didn't exist in the first place...

I don't know, seems like theres a better solution...


By MrBungle123 on 5/12/2011 10:49:53 AM , Rating: 2
I honestly cannot see what is so terrifying about being on a plane with a law abiding citizens who have gone through background checks and courses to be able to concealed carry... You likely walk by or come in close proximity to many people every day who have a gun on them and you don't realize it, this would be no different. The exception being that if someone did try something on the plane the innocent passengers would have some sort of chance at defending themselves.


By MScrip on 5/10/2011 7:41:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Try the line of 50-200 people waiting to get their prostates checked by the TSA. Why would you waste your time trying to get through security when security has already provided you with a perfectly good group of innocent people to blow up


If you just wanted to blow up 200 people.... there are plenty of easier place to do that...

Sports stadiums, mall food court on a Friday night, movie theaters...

Crap... I don't want to go through security to see Norbit 2 in the theater...


By RjBass on 5/11/2011 10:18:34 AM , Rating: 2
You have obviously never been to Kansas City International then.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By interstitial on 5/11/2011 1:51:08 AM , Rating: 3
Except modern Trains can be stopped remotely and actually require destruction of the tracks to derail. A modern High speed line has thick, strong tracks that would require a large explosion to damage. So the train is no more of a high risk target than say, a fairly well known building.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By ekv on 5/11/2011 4:58:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
would require a large explosion to damage
IED?


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By JediJeb on 5/11/2011 2:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
A few nice big chunks of steel and a portable welder could easily derail a train with a couple minutes work done pretty much undetectable.


By MrBungle123 on 5/11/2011 2:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
unless every inch of track is monitored for such things.


By YashBudini on 5/12/2011 4:05:45 PM , Rating: 2
So why didn't the omnipotent judges rate you down? They hate hearing stuff like that.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 4:58:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The train engineer can just hit the brakes.

Please tell us the average braking distance for a 50 car freight train.
And consider viewing "Bridge on the River Kwai" sometime.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 5:18:23 PM , Rating: 2
I think he is referring to high speed rail, not 125-car long freight trains.

In either case, the average stopping distance of a freight train at 55mph is about 1 mile, and anywhere on the track. This is definitely better than 50 mi+ distance of the plane.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 5:21:52 PM , Rating: 1
Uh, when coming around a blind curve and finding a section of track missing it's not going to matter much if the stopping distance is 1 or 50 miles. It's not quick, which was the point.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By OCedHrt on 5/10/2011 6:40:12 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, most HSR implementations are aware of it's rail topography. Meaning, if a segment of rail is missing the rail operator would know without having to see it. This is mainly for earthquake protection but it would provide the same in this scenario as well.


By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 7:03:12 PM , Rating: 1
So then it may or may not be implemented in areas not prone to earthquakes?

Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a good idea, I just expect a lot more to be taken for granted here than in say Japan.


By bjacobson on 5/10/2011 7:28:21 PM , Rating: 1
dude, it's called a timed bomb that goes off when the train is scheduled to cross that section of track, you can't seriously be thinking trains are any safer from terrorists or TSA than airplanes.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Jeffk464 on 5/10/2011 7:33:13 PM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty sure the bullet train has had zero fatalities and has been operation for what 50 years. You can't beat that record sitting in front of your TV.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 7:40:58 PM , Rating: 1
There are natural disasters and there are man made disasters.

I think Japan's nuke record was pretty good until recently, no?


By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 12:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
Let us all pray that the narrow minded dimwit that voted the prior comment down doesn't end up in a national security job. That would be the same one who supplied links to back up their opinion.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Bateluer on 5/10/2011 8:02:14 PM , Rating: 2
You expect me to get on a trail ride for 500mi at 55mph? :P Unless the rail trip IS my vacation, a land cruise, nuts to that. I'll take a plane, get to my destination, enjoy myself, then fly home while you're still chugging along in BFE on the train.


By Jeffk464 on 5/10/2011 8:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
Na, high speed tends to be 150 to like 180mph.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By MojoMan on 5/10/2011 10:49:33 PM , Rating: 2
*sigh... Oh please... This is the United States of America. We are becoming a police state, and trains are no exception. Stop arguing and read this: http://blog.tsa.gov/2011/02/screening-of-passenger...

TSA grope downs coming to a train near you!


By Dorkyman on 5/11/2011 2:13:28 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Big Brother is watching you more and more. Unless there is a MASSIVE rebellion by a significant fraction of the voting public, we sheeple will get exactly the kind of environment we deserve. I'm hoping the Tea Party is the beginning of the revolution.

I had to laugh at the earlier comment about how trains would be better because we could bypass all that TSA stuff. As if the feds wouldn't do exactly the same thing in train stations. And anyway, the way to bypass the TSA stuff is to eliminate or greatly reduce it. One word--"profiling." Very little need to x-ray or fondle 99.9% of the public.


By JediJeb on 5/11/2011 2:16:15 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't there also a something found in the Bin Laden information from his house that mentioned they were thinking of attacking US trains for the 10th anniversary of 9/11?


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By kattanna on 5/10/2011 2:43:40 PM , Rating: 2
while i agree, i seriously doubt america will be able to do such.

the $300 million for the california high speed rail project isnt even enough for the government to fund a study on how best to screw it up long term, much less do anything useful.

and thats before the myriad lawsuits that will be filed against any new construction by the vast hordes of environmental groups wishing to save their precious insect or animal that no one else could care less about.

until the government can stand up to the environmental lobby, i fear the days of america building anything new or grand are over.


By StanO360 on 5/10/2011 5:20:59 PM , Rating: 2
And you don't even mention the cost of maintenance. All of the figures drummed up for these projects are phony, and when I say "these" I mean all of them across the globe with the exception of about 3-4 alignments (in the US only DC-NY generates current revenue) across the globe make any economic sense.

Would you open a business without figuring in the cost of building the factory? The LA-SF is a joke that will go half empty, be grossly overpriced and still be subsidized by the taxpayers, just accounting for annual costs, not even including the cost of building the infrastructure, and certainly not the interest.

Why? For whom? Rail is awesome . . . for freight! Who's going to ride LA-SF or LA-Vegas, Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando (tourists), Chicago to Detroit? Only individuals without significant luggage and no need of transportation at the destination will ride them, other than that the numbers don't crunch. Poor people will never ride these boondoggles, it will be way to expensive, when you can drive a 15 year old Civic for half the cost!


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By bupkus on 5/10/2011 7:37:11 PM , Rating: 1
Right. Never mind Congress and its lobbyists. Never mind a Republican party in panic mode that will rail against anything a democrat says or does regardless of merit.

Of course, it must be the environmental lobby that is destroying America.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 8:26:39 PM , Rating: 2
Never mind a Democrat party in panic mode that will rail against anything a Republican says or does regardless of merit.

Fixed it for you......


By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 8:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah, like that's a 1 way street Mr Objectivity.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By jjmcubed on 5/11/2011 3:55:55 AM , Rating: 2
Please look up the filibuster record for the past 10 years. Sorry to say, but you have it opposite.

http://newsjunkiepost.com/2010/03/02/republican-ob...

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2007/07/20/18218/senate...

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/the-ris...

I'm an independent, so don't have a horse in this race. Both parties need to stop just throwing out all ideas if it didn't come from their party. We need cooperation and level heads if this nation is ever going to be pulled out of this recession.

Apologize for not having more recent information. If you can find the Dem's doing the same now, please link the info so I can check it out.


By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 12:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
Don't be surprised with your rating in this political motivated fan base. Note also how nobody asked the guy you responded to for any links. Big surprise there.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By ekv on 5/11/2011 5:16:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
it must be the environmental lobby that is destroying America

http://www.planetizen.com/node/38017

I suspect it was realized how stupid environmentalists looked since now the projects are greasing the skids to get everybody on-board.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topaz_Solar_Farm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Plains_Ranch

though there are still, get this, major concerns over the Giant Kangaroo Rat.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Chaser on 5/10/2011 2:51:10 PM , Rating: 1
And I'm a business traveler. How do you experts propose I travel 500 miles one way and back in one day to a smaller city that will never get a high speed rail stop? I could care less what some of you claim to be.

Most the airlines have contracting subsidiaries that are designed for short haul commuter type routes. Its cost effective, and faster than any alternative.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By seamonkey79 on 5/10/2011 3:17:45 PM , Rating: 1
couldn't care less

Seriously people, it makes no bloody sense if you could care less.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By invidious on 5/10/11, Rating: 0
By Etsp on 5/10/2011 4:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I could care less what some of you claim to be.
I don't know where you got your quote from, but I got mine from this thread.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By omnicronx on 5/10/2011 5:10:23 PM , Rating: 3
The quote was
quote:
I could care less what some of you claim to be
He didn't just screw up the phrase, he has completely changed the point of his statement in doing so.

You can't care less about something that you did not care for in the first place.

I.e He is essentially saying that 'Yes he does care or did care, just possibly not as much'

This is clearly not the point he was trying to make ;)


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Fritzr on 5/10/2011 11:40:58 PM , Rating: 2
I was laughing at this thread :D I suspect the original complaint was from someone who is not an American.

In American English you must take the opposite meaning when a negative is used in that manner. It is common conventional usage in USA.

could care less==could not care less
nobody got nothing==no one got anything

These are just a couple of the normal phrases that I hear daily in person, in print, internet & TV. It just identifies the speaker as very likely being a Yank.


By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 12:04:37 AM , Rating: 1
Our area always said "I couldn't care less." It was never stated as a sarcastic (ie opposite) meaning, it was a clear and concise message. There's no possible lower level of caring than what I have right now.

quote:
nobody got nothing

We all need somebody to make fun of, so making of people that use this double negative makes sense. Don't like it? I couldn't care less. (Just an example.)

But then we never figured out what combination of letters can create an "f" sound in the word lieutenant. So what do we know?


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By JediJeb on 5/10/2011 3:34:36 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. To connect all cities of any fair size that are 500 miles apart, the entire eastern half of the US would be one giant fishing net of railroads. And since the high speed ones could not travel on the regular freight lines, then double lines would need to be placed where almost all current freight lines are now.

If you are going to connect Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, what about the person who needs to travel from Cincinnati to Louisville or Indianapolis? Detroit to Chicago, what about on to St Louis? Even worse what about Pittsburgh to Philly, how well will high speed rail work in crossing the mountains?

I think high speed rail will be the future, but we are a long way from being able to implement it in a cost effective manner. Running one of these lines across the countryside will be a big hassle because if it is done like in Europe we will either have to run all the local roads over or under the high speed rail line or cut them off, since you really would not want anything being able to get onto the tracks at all, even wildlife, so you will need a good fence for the entire run. How many two lane and gravel roads would be impacted by a 300-500 mile stretch of high speed rails? Would we make expensive crossing for all roads, or simply cut off currently close knit communities by dividing them with a rail road they needed to travel 40 miles out of the way to go around? There are a lot of questions that need to be considered before we start laying tracks indiscriminately for this.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2011 5:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
Well, if we spent more money on this like China then we wouldn't have this problem. $2 billion is literally .1% of what China is spending on theirs and it's going to run the whole country. And if I'm not mistaking it's eventually going to be connected to the rail in Europe so that you can travel from London to Beijing on it, if you so desire. This POS rail that we have in the US can hardly be called a railroad let alone transportation.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Jalek on 5/10/2011 9:02:59 PM , Rating: 2
China can afford HSR, they aren't responsible for billions to build infrastructure in other countries after using billions to destroy said infrastructure.


By wookie1 on 5/11/2011 3:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it's looking like they can't. I read that they're cutting way back on HSR, and cutting speed down as well due to the shoddy track quality that was built. Their central bank is very concerned about the massive debt taken on to finance HSR, and I think that the projects are being wound down.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Jeffk464 on 5/10/2011 8:17:06 PM , Rating: 3
No, no, no, high speed rail doesn't share lines with freight. Thats a very bad idea.


By Fritzr on 5/10/2011 11:46:28 PM , Rating: 3
That's what he is saying ... current 2 track corridors become 3 or 4 track corridors to permit HSR & freight. Just think of the screams as property owners along the right of way start losing additional land to make room for the new tracks.

Of course it is for the "Public Good" so the loss of a garden or building to make room for the train is nothing compared to the warm glow of Doing Good :P


By cooperaaaron on 5/11/2011 10:24:05 AM , Rating: 2
They are already upgrading a line from Chicago to St. Louis and building new facilities to server customers.. So, you will be able to go from St. Louis to Detroit.. Now they need to have a connection from Detroit going east to the East coast.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By tng on 5/10/2011 4:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
I will agree here. I have customers who will call and ask that I be on site within 24 hours in most cases or that day. Short haul commuter jets are the answer.

Oh and YES to the person who said that the TSA will show up at train stations. That is already in the works on the East Coast where crowded trains are considered a prime terrorist target. We will soon have to get a pat down just to drive on a freeway....


By Amiga500 on 5/10/2011 5:20:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How do you experts propose I travel 500 miles one way and back in one day to a smaller city that will never get a high speed rail stop?


Point out where I, or anyone else, said air travel should be banned...?

Towns that would not make any economic sense (even long term) to connect to a high speed line can be served by ATRs or Dash-8s.

Although, I'm sure you'd agree there are few towns that exist on the "road to nowhere" so to speak, so a high-speed/low-speed mix for some non-express (but still high speed when tracks permit) trains can be used. The French TGV doesn't operate exclusively on high speed lines for instance. The line from Bordeaux to Toulouse is not high speed, but carries TGV trains.

[Oh, and for the benefit of everyone commenting, I was assuming a pukka high speed train (>200mph), not some half-arsed attempt at ~150 mph]


By myfree on 5/10/2011 6:15:29 PM , Rating: 3
I don't disagree that "currently" there is no better alternative for a 500 mile each way turnaround. But this illustrates an issue that is holding back high speed rail.

Did you know that everytime you take 1 of those commuter flights, the pilots may be making less than someone who has worked at McDonalds and made assitant manager?

I think we all need to look at the big picture and not base all of our decisions and opinions only on our own experience or needs.

So from a societal view, commuter flights are a drain on society. A job that once paid a "livable" wage now is a slum job. I don't know about you but I don't want to be on a plane where the pilot can't focus because he/she is trying to figure out where the nearest Payday loan store is when they land.

That may seem off topic, but we are talking about cost and efficiency here. And in my mind if we have to convert good paying jobs to slum jobs so you and 40 other people can save 1 hour of time - I don't know.

Also, are we suppose to rely on the corps who have no vision unless it involves profit dictate what we as a country should build for the convenience of ordinary citizens. Besides, if we create "livible" wage jobs instead of 2x minimum wage jobs, don't you think tax revenues would go up. So this we can't afford it crap has to stop unless we're going to look at all of those overseas military bases that are no longer absolutely necessary?


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By The Raven on 5/10/2011 2:56:28 PM , Rating: 2
I have no expertise on the matter but am inclined to agree with you.

So if you have the numbers to prove as much, let's get together with some wise investors who like to make money based on hard numbers instead of 'feelings' and make a buttload of cash.

I'm thinking buses. But we may want to go the rail route as well. Or maybe limosines!

Best of luck to you. I hate the airline industry as it is now.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Iaiken on 5/10/2011 3:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have no expertise on the matter but am inclined to agree with you.


Think about it this way, I could pretty much drive from NYC to Boston in the time it took me to clear security, customs, board the plane and fly there.

Cities like these are perfect candidates for high speed rail.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Iaiken on 5/10/2011 3:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know why I included customs... probably because most of my flying is between Canada and the US.


By Solandri on 5/10/2011 4:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
I flew frequently between Vancouver and Los Angeles. Customs is a breeze if you get in one of the government frequent traveler programs (NEXUS for Canada/US). The downside being you have to sell your soul (let them add your fingerprints and iris scans to their database). I usually breezed through customs in less than a minute (there is literally no line for these programs), and ended up waiting 10-15 min for my luggage to show up.

I flew the Boston-NYC shuttle a few times after 9/11. TSA and the airlines seemed to recognize that the people flying the shuttle are doing so for expediency, and did their best to accommodate them. There was a separate check-in and security check just for the shuttle. Took me only 15-20 min to get through. Has it changed recently?


By The Raven on 5/11/2011 12:10:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Think about it this way, I could pretty much drive from NYC to Boston in the time it took me to clear security, customs, board the plane and fly there. Cities like these are perfect candidates for high speed rail.

It seems to me that the same could be said for a HSR train. I doubt these things would take off every 15 or even 30 minutes and who's to say that we aren't just as paranoid about security on a rail? I mean you are basically saying that cities like these are "perfect candidates for" automobiles.

I think that if you can convince people to carpool to any extent whatsoever then you might have a shot at a HSR that is worth the costs. I think this would be profitable in high density areas in close proximity like NJ-->NY from what I know, but DET-->CHI or LA-->SF?? LMAO! You don't need special expertise to tell you that is a stupid idea.

It really grinds my gears when these imbecile politicians think MO is the same as NY and make stupid decisions like this. This is why these sorts of things are best decided on the state and local levels.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By wookie1 on 5/10/2011 3:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
"No journey under 500 miles should be done on aircraft. The numbers simply do not add up."

I agree, at least up to the 6-hour drive or so (however many miles that would be). I would drive for such a trip. I definitely would not bother with a train for this kind of a trip, though. By the time I got to the train station and parked and all, then had to rent a car at my destination, I don't think that any time would be saved.

I bet that a 500 mile trip would take at least 3 hours by HSR as it takes a while to speed up to 200mph and then stop again. So if I add in my trip to the train station, getting there early for the grope-down, 3 hours of train travel, another 30 minutes or more to get the rental car, and then time to get from the train station to the hotel or wherever, it would take longer than just driving in the first place.

So it seems like HSR is a loser to air travel for long trips, and a loser to your car for short trips.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By drothgery on 5/10/2011 4:17:56 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. There's only a very narrow band where HSR is both enough faster than driving to be worth it (having your own car from end to end is a tremendous convenience factor), and not enough slower than flying to be worth it if HSR is cheaper than flying (which it probably will not be). And there are very few cities that are separated by distances in that band with nothing significant in between (any halfway-respectable-sized city along the route will get at least one stop and then the train needs to slow down and speed up again). Both of the HSR lines on earth (one in Japan and Paris-Lyons in France) that don't lose money on operations are propped up by both very high gas taxes and very high tolls on the roads that serve those lines.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By tng on 5/10/2011 4:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
Also the price on those trains (at least the ones in Japan) is not cheap. The last time I was on one was 2 years ago from Nagoya to Fukuyama. Roughly a 3 hour ride with some stops, about $120 one way when I did it in 2009.

Compare that to a trip from Oakland CA, to any LA area airport on Southwest Airlines. Roughly same distance covered, but less time spent from A to B and that same $120 will get you a round trip ticket.


By StanO360 on 5/10/2011 5:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Make it two people and rail becomes nonsense. And it will make less sense every year. Modern, decent sedans (Accord size) now get a minimum of 30mpg on the highway and are quickly ratcheting up toward 40mpg (not to mention hybrids).


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By myfree on 5/10/2011 6:35:31 PM , Rating: 1
You all are not getting it.

The cost structure of flying is about to change and the same for driving. I started traveling to Europe extensively in the early 80's (yea, some of you might think I'm old) and gas was $4.50/gal back then. Now, we may be able to hold off rising prices for 5 more years -- tops!. And since rail projects take time, by the time we start seeing actual HSR systems, it would be by far a very reasonable alternative.

Everyone who has commented about driving being a better alternative is not thinking past that 5 year window.

Stop letting the GOP fool you. We need jobs and building/improving infrastructure is 1 way of doing that. And good paying jobs will boost revenue.

Plus you can't get up and walk around in your car (at least not today). You can be productive on a train with a 3g or 4g modem.

I travel the train often and have a young son - take it any day over a plane.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 6:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Stop letting the GOP fool you. We need jobs and building/improving infrastructure is 1 way of doing that. And good paying jobs will boost revenue.


The only jobs the DNC are creating are Government ones. Which are paid by public tax money. In other words, this hinders the economy not improves it. GOP fooling us? Please explain to me how a Government run and funded project boosts revenues and creates growth when it's paid for by public money? I'm not surprised someone from Europe would say this, but do you have any idea how backwards that statement is?


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Paj on 5/11/2011 8:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, and all these employees getting paid by the government spend their money overseas!

Infrastructure investment leads to employees employed by that investment spreading money throughout the local economy.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/11/2011 12:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes, and all these employees getting paid by the government spend their money overseas!


Oh so now you believe in "Trickle Down"? How ironic...

quote:
Infrastructure investment leads to employees employed by that investment spreading money throughout the local economy.


How so? It's the same money that was taken FROM the economy. When are you people going to understand this; the Government does NOT have any money. Everything they spend, they have to tax from us or borrow. You CANNOT stimulate an economy with government spending, because WE are the ones who have to pay that money back.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Paj on 5/12/2011 9:03:03 AM , Rating: 2
No, I dont believe in trickle down.

No one has money! The only time money is created is through quantitative easing (printing money), which most governments have been doing a lot of lately. Do this too often and the money becomes worthless.

Anyway...

Transport links are proven to vitalise the economy of the area they pass through. The construction of these transport links provide jobs, which provide money to the workers, who then spend that money locally, which flows on to other businesses. New commerce is attracted to the area.


By JediJeb on 5/12/2011 9:50:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Transport links are proven to vitalise the economy of the area they pass through. The construction of these transport links provide jobs, which provide money to the workers, who then spend that money locally, which flows on to other businesses. New commerce is attracted to the area.


Tell that to the small towns where interstate highways were built and no off ramp was included. Many of those towns dried up and no longer exist because taking the traffic away from them killed their economy. It does boost the economy of the few select towns that get the off ramps, but then again many who live there end up hating the changes that come along with the boom in growth like higher crime and rezoning of residential and farm lands into commercial lands.

As for high speed rail, you won't be boost the economies of the towns along the route except for the short period of time which the workers are in the area, because the train will not be stopping at all these smaller towns and cities. If it did stop at every point along the route then it would defeat the purpose of creating it to move you a long distance in a short period of time. Anywhere except in the heavily urbanized areas like NY/NJ/MA corridor these lines would probably kill off even more small towns than the interstates did because if used as planned they would take even more traffic away from them.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Leadoffman on 5/10/2011 8:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's frustrating watching the liberal infatuation with infrastructure. There's nothing about it that creates long-term jobs or economic growth. Robbing Peter to pay Paul doesn't do squat.
Infrastructure is a necessary evil, but don't kid yourself that it is a boon to anything.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Jalek on 5/10/2011 8:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
"infrastructure. There's nothing about it that creates long-term jobs or economic growth"

Businesses can do as well without roads and bridges.
Judging from many bridge inspections, you may have your wish soon.

It's not like we have contractors building new bridges, schools, and roads like people in Iraq and Afghanistan, also done with YOUR money but somehow that's acceptable, or at least it was until the white house job changed hands.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 10:42:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Businesses can do as well without roads and bridges. Judging from many bridge inspections, you may have your wish soon.


That's already paid for, or supposed to be, by taxes. But see, what happens is they rob the road and building funds to pay for their pork projects or whatever. So now they want more "infrastructure" spending. Ok, well what guarantees do we have that THAT money won't be mishandled as well?

I'm tired of the irresponsible spending and politicians coming to us with their hands out with absolutely no explanation or concern about what happened to the LAST huge blank check we voted on.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 12:09:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm tired of the irresponsible spending and politicians coming to us with their hands out with absolutely no explanation or concern about what happened to the LAST huge blank check we voted on.


Ask them what they get paid or what they drive, and they won't be able to remember those facts either.


By Reclaimer77 on 5/11/2011 12:17:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ask them what they get paid or what they drive, and they won't be able to remember those facts either.


Yup quite right. They are rich by anyone's standards, don't pay taxes, vote themselves raises. Exempt themselves from any law they pass for us "commoners" to follow, etc etc.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Amiga500 on 5/11/2011 1:35:09 AM , Rating: 2
Are you actually serious?

It sure would be nice to see how all those businesses would operate without:
- the electricity grid
- roads/railways to get their employees to work
- roads/railways/airports/harbours/telephone lines to get their goods to market (or customers to the goods)

Seriously man. 'Liberal infatuation with infrastructure'...? Your post is that bad it is a good basis for arguing not everyone should be entitled to a vote.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/11/2011 12:22:56 PM , Rating: 2
I love how anyone who is against pork barrel "infrastructure" spending, is always countered with the same old "SO I GUESS YER AGAINST ROADS TOO AND ELECTRICITY!!!?"

That's not even remotely relevant to THIS discussion. Those things were obviously needed, and most of the money back then was actually spent on the project, not over budgeted so pork could be funneled to campaign contributors or whatever the hell else.

This is just a train to nowhere. Not even remotely comparable to what you are talking about.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Paj on 5/12/2011 9:04:00 AM , Rating: 2
Right. Roads and Rail are not remotely similar. In any way.

Right.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Paj on 5/11/2011 8:25:07 AM , Rating: 2
A nice train journey is so much better than flying, its like it belongs to a different age.

Obviously this may be lost on you as it concerns Europe, which is outside of the USA, but HSR runs extensively throughout Europe, not just on the lines you mentioned (Paris to Lyon was the first route back in the 70s). TGV is so succesful that it has expanded to all major routes within France and covers much of Europe.

You can now board a Eurostar train in the middle of London, with minimal security, and arrive in the centre of Paris in 2 hours. It carries more passengers annually than any airline. It is faster, safer, cheaper, more convenient, far more comfortable, and 10 times more environmentally friendly than flying.


By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 3:34:46 PM , Rating: 2
That pretty much lines up with my rule of thumb regarding flying vs. driving out of Atlanta: if the trip can be made in 7 hours or less by car, drive. Anything over that, fly.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 3:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
So put the final nail in the aviation industry in favor of government rail? YAY all we need, more unemployed people. More pork projects, more government growth. An entire private industry ruined.

About the 500 mile journey, well, I'm pretty sure most people would still choose to drive that little, or fly, rather than use a public rail.

The U.S is simply too large to have a viable high speed rail network. Sorry, but that's a fact. Especially this late, it's already 2011. At short distances it can't compete with personal auto's. At large cross country trips, it can't compete with aircraft.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By invidious on 5/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 4:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Please cite one study that suggests that the US is too big for HSR. Hell just cite one reason why you have this crazy belief.


A study? Umm it's called the largest Airline industry in the WORLD. Think that might be a clue?

Again you don't understand where you live. If it was viable, and necessary, we would have ALREADY HAD ONE. Why do you think the government is pushing for this as apposed to a rail company? Nobody would touch such a venture with private money, because it would FAIL.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 4:54:56 PM , Rating: 2
We have the largest airline industry in the world because we've subsidized them since 1928 (!).


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 4:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We have the largest airline industry in the world because we've subsidized them since 1928 (!).


Yes because without it the United States couldn't function as a modern industrialized nation. Not the way it is today.

And this entire rail is going to be government funded. So you can't really play the "Government subsidy" card now, can you?


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 5:08:33 PM , Rating: 1
I simply corrected your statement because you basically implied that we have the largest airline industry because of free market force.

It wasn't.

But of course, there's no way airline travel will be entirely replaced with high speed rail in the United States due to size. However, like Amiga said, any distance under 500 miles can be replaced by HSR, just like in Japan. The only huge obstacle I see is that Americans are very reluctant in getting out of their cars and push for public transportation. Oh, and the fact that American believe anything associated with "government" is immediately bad.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 5:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I simply corrected your statement because you basically implied that we have the largest airline industry because of free market force.


Of course it's because of free market forces. Subsidies can't be used to completely wipe out the obvious consumer need of air travel, sorry.

The Government has also highly subsidized the car industry. Are you going to sit there and tell me that's not a consumer driven market either? Come on.


By StanO360 on 5/10/2011 5:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
Not totally true. Remember gas taxes pay for roads.


By StanO360 on 5/10/2011 5:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily "bad" but almost never efficient and almost always costing 50% more than they say it will cost. And typically the outcome and the proposal have only marginal relationship to the original intent.

This is true if it's a new school, bridge, community center, whatever. And the farther away from local you get the worse it gets. Find a government project that finished on budget and I will show you a project where the definition of the project changed!


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Iaiken on 5/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 4:28:29 PM , Rating: 2
Dude Boston to New York is 45 minutes by plane. Similarly for the other routes you listed. FORTY FIVE!! Even if you factor in the crap with customs and security, this blows rail out of the water. You actually believe a train can compete with this?

Do you understand ANYTHING about American's? A short trip, I rather take my car. ANY trip that I deem "too long" for my car, I WILL take a plane. I will not take something that's barely faster than my car, and much slower than a plane.

quote:
A single Shinkansen line operates at a profit of more than 100 billion yen while charging pennies on the dollar when compared to flight.


Did you even read the Daily Tech article on China's high speed rail? Yeah, the grass is most certainly NOT greener.

My next trip will be to visit my sister, North Carolina to Arizona. Gee I wonder what I'll be taking to get there...


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Iaiken on 5/10/2011 4:52:14 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I will not take something that's barely faster than my car, and much slower than a plane.


A modern Shinkansen can do 0-350mph in about 9 miles and it's top speed is 6-7x faster than what you can legally do on the highway and there is never any traffic.

Current HSR estimates place the time from from Boston to NYC at 1 hour. For me to fly the same route this January took me 2 hours with security and everything else factored in. The total time from NYC to Washington would be another hour including all the stops. That means you could do Boston to Washington in 2 hours.

Once again Reclaimer, you're so full of s*** that it's spilling back out your mouth and onto your KB. Stop being a moron and go clean yourself up.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 4:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A modern Shinkansen can do 0-350mph in about 9 miles and it's top speed is 6-7x faster than what you can legally do on the highway and there is never any traffic.


But that is NOT the type of train this article is talking about constructing, is it? The U.S rail would be MUCH slower.

Apples to apples please.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Jalek on 5/10/2011 9:00:25 PM , Rating: 2
This story's about Amtrak, which has never earned a dollar of profit and rides on old freight rails.

I don't know why Amtrak is always in HSR discussions, it has nothing to do with it.


By Griffinhart on 5/10/2011 9:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
Because Amtrak already operates HSR from Boston to DC. The Acela Express is the only Train in the US that breaks the 125mph limit. Even still it can only get up to 150mph and averages 80mph for the entire trip due to the regions it has to travel through.

A one way trip averages about $170 and takes 7 hours. On the other hand, a round trip on continental costs about $20 less and flight time is 90 minutes. Even if you add an hour for checking in, etc, There is no contest.

Interestingly enough, The acela line is the only line in the NE Corridor that makes a profit while all other Amtrak lines servicing the area are opperated at a loss, even with massive government subsidies for rail.

Honestly, Rail in the US is best for freight and money spent on the HSR pipe dream should be saved.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By tng on 5/10/2011 5:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A modern Shinkansen can do 0-350mph in about 9 miles
Really? What JR line there has a top speed of 350mph? Don't think that there is one, maybe 350Kph.... or roughly 210mph, but even the new 800 series trains do not run at these speeds even though they can.

The train itself may be capable of higher speeds but even it is limited by track design.


By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 5:03:43 PM , Rating: 2
The actual flight is 45 minutes. This is not including the fact that getting to the JFK from Manhattan is often extremely unreliable (+time), long lines of waiting (+time), and frequent flight delays (+time). In fact, one of my recent trip from JFK to DCA took me almost 4 hours just to get to DC's airport.

On the other hand, Penn station is right in the middle of Manhattan; no security line, very little delay, and very predictable time table. If I went with Acela Express, I would be there at roughly the same time.


By omnicronx on 5/10/2011 5:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
From the time I leave get to the airport in Toronto, to leaving the airport in Montreal we are talking 3+ hours by plane. That does not include taxi rides to and from each airport, neither of which are truly in the city. The trip itself only takes 45min-1hour, but the entire process of going to and from the airport vastly increases this time.

Meanwhile current low speed rail can get you from downtown to downtown in 5 hours.

All in all its around 1 hour faster (a little under) by plane than with current low speed rail when I take everything into account. (and a lot cheaper)

Not saying its the same everywhere (and in the states for that matter), but it does show you in certain situations high speed rail or normal rail for short routes i.e under 400 could make more sense.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 5:30:05 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Dude Boston to New York is 45 minutes by plane.

Isn't that a tad misleading? Factor in the location of the airports and time and transportation costs to and from these often out-of-the-way locations.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 5:34:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Isn't that a tad misleading? Factor in the location of the airports and time and transportation costs to and from these often out-of-the-way locations.


I did mention security and what not after that. But that's impossible to estimate, as you well know, time spent in that line can vary wildly.

Airport location time? I consider that a non factor because weather you go train or airport, you have to get to the station/airport either way. Trains don't pick you up :)

Airports are usually in well placed strategic convenient locations anyway. Train stations? Hell I don't even KNOW where the nearest one to me is.

Let's be honest. Whether you go train or plane, BOTH have delays and hassles you have to go through. But once both start moving, plane's win hands down. It's no contest. Trains, by definition, are NOT more convenient.


By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 5:58:27 PM , Rating: 1
In older cities train stations have better locations, simply because they were there first at a time of high necessity and long before airports. For short travel the two are often a wash. Trains are less affected by weather, but come into unplanned contact with other vehicles more often.

Amtrak should have been sold off long ago. Odds are certain politicians don't want to see that happen, and of those politicians which party probably doesn't factor in, they simply want what's best for them at our expense.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By tng on 5/10/2011 5:01:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A single Shinkansen line operates at a profit of more than 100 billion yen while charging pennies on the dollar when compared to flight.
Huh? Really?

Last several times I was on a Shinkansen (Osaka to Nagoya, Nagoya to Fukuyama, Osaka to Kyoto) the prices were much higher than what I would have been charged for a comparable flight in the US. Maybe it would have been cheaper there with their airlines, but compared to here and say Southwest charging for a comparable distance, the Shinkansen was expensive.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2011 5:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
Huh that's interesting considering he's the one saying stuff like...

quote:
Once again Reclaimer, you're so full of s*** that it's spilling back out your mouth and onto your KB. Stop being a moron and go clean yourself up.


Between him and you, I'll take the word of someone who has actually RIDDEN a Shinkasen. Thank you for clearing up his FUD.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By tng on 5/10/2011 5:49:57 PM , Rating: 2
Just for reference, in 2007 Yen/Dollar values, if my memory is correct, it was about $120 from Nagoya to Fukuyama. You can look up on a map how far that is but for me it is the equivalent to SF area to LA area, where you can get a round trip ticket on Southwest.

It is expensive, but I will also say that if you get a chance to try it, do it.


By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 5:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
About the 500 mile journey, well, I'm pretty sure most people would still choose to drive that little, or fly, rather than use a public rail.

Looking at a mandatory 700 mile trip next week. Considering a 10+ hour travel via roads plus $4/gal gas plus wear and tear I promptly disregarded that form of travel. Train was the cheapest, but also the most inconvenient due to scheduling and travel to/from major stations. Air worked out as best value, based on dollars and convenience, only because Travelocity got me a nice hotel discount.

quote:
The U.S is simply too large to have a viable high speed rail network.

Obviously true for the country as a whole, but there are some highly congested areas where rail can offset a great deal of auto traffic and congestion. The key is objective and sound planning, not who's the best at lobbying and political posturing. Yeah, good luck with that.


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Jeffk464 on 5/10/2011 7:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
2 billion dollars what is that enough for about 50 miles and one train?


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 7:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
I believe Germany saved a ton of money on one of their MAGLEV systems by using convential magnets at the expense of some speed. They certainly got more bang for the buck.

Can't confirm even after reading this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev_(transport)


RE: High speed rail is the way forward.
By Jeffk464 on 5/10/2011 8:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, and if I remember right that technology came from NASA.


By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 8:35:00 PM , Rating: 2
Years ago I purchased a pair of speakers that came with a special letter. It stated that the glues used in the manufacture of the product were created for NASA and that the product would not have been possible without them.

Rather impressive.


By shiftypy on 5/11/2011 8:20:36 AM , Rating: 2
Do you base this on necessity to climb to efficient altitude and then descend?
Or that total travel time is not much better than other means?

Still 500 miles is a very large number


By JW.C on 5/14/2011 8:41:27 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that to take a train anywhere requires a bus ride at some point. For example, take a trip from LA to SF and it costs about $160 for a round trip on a plane. That trip takes about 90 minutes. Take a train on the same trip and it take about about 9 hours and costs $10 less. And you have to take a bus for part of that trip.

Sorry, but in my opinion the plane wins every single time.


So basically
By FITCamaro on 5/10/2011 1:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
It goes to providing "free" rail projects to heavily Democrat areas.

If they want it, they can build it themselves.




RE: So basically
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 1:38:30 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't really help when the Republican states consistently rejected these funding (read: FL). After all, these money was supposed to be meant for FL to begin with.


RE: So basically
By The Raven on 5/10/2011 2:37:53 PM , Rating: 2
I think he means the specific cities, and not the states. All the cities (typical of highly populated urban areas) mentioned are heavily Dem. There is no plan for a HSR stop in Pocatello ;-)


RE: So basically
By wookie1 on 5/10/2011 3:21:16 PM , Rating: 3
Florida couldn't afford it. Remember, the feds only provide a portion of the expected cost, and none of the cost overruns. The Florida gov't was worried about their portion and cost overruns would drain them dry and leave their taxpayers on the hook to cover the long-term bond debt for decades.


RE: So basically
By Ringold on 5/10/2011 9:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
Well, Florida could've afforded it, but while the article calls it an Orlando-Tampa line, its true purpose was to solely benefit Central Florida's political heavyweight; Disney. It was effectively an Orlando International Airport - Disney line. Locals here that've looked at it and watched this plan come and go only to return again over the years understood it was a taxpayer funded way for Disney to get tourists from the airport and in to their vacation empire quickly, easily, and at no cost to themselves. I could promise you the MCO-Disney section would be completed quickly, but the rest of the stretch to Tampa I bet would somehow get lost in budget overruns and never finished.

A lot of local politicians went in to a rage at the lost opportunity for photo ops in front of shiny new high-speed pork-lines, but dont personally know any locals upset about it. Money saved during a time when the education budget got a 1.8b cut.

Sorry, Disney, try larger campaign donations next time.

(I believe this same story could be repeated with a big chunk of the other projects, just replace names like Disney with the equivalent local interest)


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 9:43:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
just replace names like Disney with the equivalent local interest

And replace the political party giving them the perk to whichever got the biggest bribes, err, donations.


RE: So basically
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 3:39:20 PM , Rating: 1
Don't forget about the unions and collective bargaining rights that comes with it.


RE: So basically
By jjmcubed on 5/11/2011 4:06:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yes of course. We should just hire Chinese laborers to do this rail line like they did with our initial lines.


RE: So basically
By JediJeb on 5/12/2011 9:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
It sounds bad, but without that many of the original lines would probably have never been built. Had the railroads had to pay equivalent wages then compared to union wages now how many investors would have been interested in the projects?

It is the same reason why China is building HSR now and we are not, they have access to cheap labor to get it done, and won't spend millions of dollars on environmental impact studies and legal fees for acquiring the land.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 5:37:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It goes to providing "free" rail projects to heavily Democrat areas.

If you think only democrats want such funds you live in the same Wonderland with Alice. If strategically planned rail ever were to develope it certainly isn't going to be in the middle of nowhere, is it?


RE: So basically
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 6:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
If you look at the party line, Dem vs. Rep, on the entire HSR idea, you will clearly see the Dems overwhelmingly support it where as the Republicans generally reject it.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 6:23:20 PM , Rating: 1
My point is if it passes you won't be able to differentiate anything like that.

As to being no at the moment except for the military there's nothing they won't say no to, just as W didn't say no to any bill that passed his desk from 2000-2006. Blanket extremism at its finest.


RE: So basically
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 8:25:30 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a good read for you. And again, stop attempting to spin the topic. We are not talking about Bush in 2000-2008. We are talking HSR today and who is supporting it and who is rejecting it...

http://www.newsweek.com/2011/02/27/high-speed-to-i...


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 8:32:05 PM , Rating: 1
I'm talking about every aspect of voting, not just this one.

You're the one trying to spin your way out of the obvious.


RE: So basically
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 8:35:55 PM , Rating: 2
See the title of this article? That's what we're talking about here. If you want to bring up another subject like general GOP voting, then start another blog post.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 8:38:02 PM , Rating: 1
Your party's vote on this issue is partisan based. Your party's record proves it.

If you can't deal with the realities of your party's actions and the First Amendment I suggest you find someplace else to bark.



RE: So basically
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 8:49:47 PM , Rating: 3
Okay I'll say it: anything your beloved liberal Democrat party supports, I generally expect the GOP to reject (and that road goes both ways - it's politics).

With that said, no matter how you cut it, how you slice it, and how you smother it: HSR is and will be a fiscal disaster for the states that support it. And them's the facts.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 9:04:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
your beloved liberal Democrat party

I vote independent. Try chewing on those facts.

If you see zero potential to HSR it's because you've been brainwashed, are predisposed to narrow-mindedness, or both. Finding a group that makes you comfortable in your limited views is the easy way out. Thinking outside the box takes work.


RE: So basically
By The Raven on 5/11/2011 12:38:57 AM , Rating: 3
For someone so independent you seem awfully at ease with how the 2 parties struggle to make each other pay for things that the other doesn't believe in.

You didn't agree with the OP's comment with a, "Yeah that is disgusting...It's just like when the reps did X."

Instead you essentially replied with, "So? The reps do the same thing!"

You may vote independent (whatever that means? Do you change your political beliefs every election? Or do you just like having the 2 parties in power for the entertainingly hypocritical arguments?) but your comments are screaming in defense of the dems.

I see nearly no one here saying that HSR has zero potential. I do however see people saying that the federal grants are folly for much of these United States.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 12:20:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For someone so independent you seem awfully at ease with how the 2 parties struggle to make each other pay for things that the other doesn't believe in.

Hardly, there's a huge difference between acceptability and futility. The political fighting results in exactly what the 2 parties leaders want, the people here simply live up to the politicians exceeding low expectations, and while they should be able to see that they choose not to. No sense getting unwound about that.

quote:
You didn't agree with the OP's comment with a, "Yeah that is disgusting...It's just like when the reps did X."

Here you're just cherry picking. As for what the OP said I did not make him the "first sinner to cast a stone" he earned that status on his own. If he had a leg to stand on then he'd be addressed accordingly. But no let the party brainwashing continue. In the next round the other party will want the spend and the ones that want to spend now will say no, and you and him will not be found anywhere for comment.

quote:
but your comments are screaming in defense of the dems.

Then try reading all the comments, as one is an arse while the other is a gape, where do you see any defending here? Feel free to use an example.

Representatives here want such a train, but I clearly stated I was against it - 5/10/2011 5:03:52 PM. Let me know where you see anything pro-dem in that post.

quote:
I see nearly no one here saying that HSR has zero potential.

That interpretation is your choice of what's been posted.

quote:
I do however see people saying that the federal grants are folly for much of these United States.

And where did I state otherwise? Feel free to quote, if you think you can find it. And oh let's recap how the republicans handle such spending follies:

quote:
Before a congressional hearing, [Amtrak head] Gunn answered a demand by leading Amtrak critic Arizona Senator John McCain to eliminate all operating subsidies by asking the Senator if he would also demand the same of the commuter airlines, upon which the citizens of Arizona are dependent. McCain, usually not at a loss for words when debating Amtrak funding, did not reply.


jjmcubed on 5/11/2011 3:55:55 AM didn't state things much differently than me, plan on addressing his comments as well?

Thanks for all the fair and balanced opinion.


RE: So basically
By The Raven on 5/11/2011 6:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
where do you see any defending here? Feel free to use an example.
Umm... your very first sentence OJ.
quote:
If you think only democrats want such funds you live in the same Wonderland with Alice.

With this you are saying that the fact that this favors dems is ok because the reps do the same thing, no? And you completely stepped right over a key part of my comment that mentioned that this amounted to you saying:
quote:
"So? The reps do the same thing!"
I mean did you or did you not say as much? If you did then that is a defense of the dems behavior.

And you might recall from past discussions that you have had with me that I am a libertarian and don't have a dog in this
'partisan' debate you have going on but you sound rediculous so I had to say something. The other guy isn't much better but when you said you were "independant" that just made me laugh...and cry because you are making people who are (allegedly) outside the 2-party system look like fools.

And no I don't know what jjmcubed said or what you said on 5/10/2011 or what your master's thesis was about. There is a purpose for the little lines that connect the comments it is so we can focus.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 8:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you think only democrats want such funds you live in the same Wonderland with Alice.


quote:
With this you are saying that the fact that this favors dems is ok because the reps do the same thing, no?


No, I'm condemning both. Party hatred and narrow mindedness are what makes people spin that, the "you're either with us or against us" horseblinder viewpoint.


RE: So basically
By The Raven on 5/12/2011 12:40:46 AM , Rating: 2
Ok so you agree with the OP, right? (I mean since he didn't say anything about how the reps would never do such a thing.)

Then why did you say anything in the first place?
quote:
No, I'm condemning both.
If you are condemning both then why don't you CONDEMN BOTH like I said in my previous post?
quote:
You didn't agree with the OP's comment with a, "Yeah that is disgusting...It's just like when the reps did X." Instead you essentially replied with, "So? The reps do the same thing!"

When you don't actually condemn both, then it sounds like you favor one over the other as I tried to point out.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/12/2011 12:59:38 AM , Rating: 2
Written text has no inflection. It doesn't sound like anything, hence its limitations.


RE: So basically
By The Raven on 5/12/2011 11:13:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Written text has no inflection. It doesn't sound like anything, hence its limitations.

Empty moronic replies have no meaning. They don't mean anything, hence you are an imbecile. And I won't dignify any further response of yours since you refuse to do as much for me. I mean answer a freaking question!
quote:
1. Ok so you agree with the OP, right?
2. Then why did you say anything in the first place?
3. If you are condemning both then why don't you CONDEMN BOTH like I said in my previous post?

The little '???' things mean they are questions.

I frequently am negative on the gov't and various public figures, but rarely negative toward people on DT. That is why I like participating in the discussion in the comments sections. Congratulations, Moron.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/12/2011 4:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
What exactly is the problem here? The mere fact you need to ask the questions you posed.

When I have pointed you back to answers you refused to go there. who's fault is that? I'm not here to create a private Reader's Digest version of my comments just for you. If you want to hold your breath until you pass out be my guest.

You only see what you want to see, since you show no respect you obviously don't require or want my opinion. Which makes you what for asking?

quote:
The little '???' things mean they are questions.

Sorry you have mistaken me for someone who places any value on what you have to say. Wow, I feel more "liberated" already.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 8:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and cry because you are making people who are (allegedly) outside the 2-party system look like fools.

Actually I've made many condemning statements aimed specifically at those that cling to the 2-party folly. I have no idea where that came from. I'm not sure what 2s you added together to make 4.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 7:06:54 PM , Rating: 1
One wonders how many republicans would have been as eager to say no to the republican-desired Alaskan bridge to nowhere, as they are here today.

If you really expect them to behave the exact same way you need to re-evaluate your conclusions.


RE: So basically
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 8:21:35 PM , Rating: 3
Uhm, we're talking about high speed rail here in the lower 48, not the late Senator Ted Steven's pork debacle in AK which had nothing to do with rail, let alone infrastructure.

I'm spot on with the comment on Dem vs. Rep support over HSR and you know it, so don't deflect the point.


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 8:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not deflecting anything I am flat out saying that whether or not they vote yes or no depends on who's asking for the money. See any "no"s from 2000-2006?


RE: So basically
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 8:33:31 PM , Rating: 2
Again, this is not 2000-2006. This is today.

And again, read on....

http://inhabitat.com/republicans-begin-fight-again...


RE: So basically
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 8:56:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Again, this is not 2000-2006.

Which is your way of agreeing, much as you hate to admit it.


Is it "bickering" or
By Chaser on 5/10/2011 3:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The U.S. is grappling with its own unique problem -- the fact that partisan bickering has killed the majority of high-speed rail and the fact that it's throwing lots of money at an aging rail system that -- no matter how you slice it -- is far behind modern high-speed designs.


Yes it is. Why do private sector investors or businesses have zero interest in projects like these? Where commercial rail for commodities does well nation-wide. One would think that at least one company would be interested in this?

Well it's simple. They are never profitable. Even enough to sustain themselves. The "smarter governors" realize the state and taxpayer will eventually get stuck with the bill while the U.S. will go further into debt.

Sorry Mr. President. If this is such a wonderful idea then use your own money or investors to fund it. Otherwise find some other "legacy" project to immortalize yourself with, and please, without my money?




RE: Is it "bickering" or
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 3:29:56 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Amtrak has never been profitable and never will be. Rail in America as a main stream transportation tool (read: outside of cars and airplanes) is and always will be a pipe dream subsidized by taxpayer dollars to stay afloat.

Amtrak has been around for 40+ years, while consuming almost $40B in federal subsidies. It has never earned a profit and most of its routes lose money. And a majority of Americans are getting tired of seeing their taxpayer dollars wizzed away.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/pol...


RE: Is it "bickering" or
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 11:25:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Amtrak has never been profitable and never will be.

Are you implying it alone has this problem?

Who considered this?

quote:
Proponents point out that the government heavily subsidizes the Interstate Highway System, the Federal Aviation Administration, many airports, among many aspects of passenger aviation. Massive government aid to those forms of travel was a primary factor in the decline of passenger service on privately owned railroads in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition, Amtrak pays property taxes (through fees to host railroads) that highway users do not pay. Advocates therefore assert that Amtrak should only be expected to be as self-sufficient as those competing modes of transit.

So how many roads are built that don't even pay for their own construction?
Ever bother asking yourself that question? What's their total cost to taxpayers?

And what will happen to time traveled and efficiency of existing lines when the following happens?
quote:
Another major reason for the slowness is that fast trains of the 1930s and 1940s were significantly set back by a 1947 Interstate Commerce Commission order which required, by year-end 1951, enhanced safety features for all trains traveling above a 79 mph limit.Since the infrastructure required for cab signaling, automatic train stop and other enhancements was considered uneconomical in the sparsely populated American West at that time, this rule effectively killed further development of high-speed rail outside of the Northeast.....

However, positive train control (PTC) signaling is required to be implemented by 2015 under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, and it is sufficient to remove the 79 mph limit


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak


RE: Is it "bickering" or
By The Raven on 5/11/2011 1:48:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So how many roads are built that don't even pay for their own construction? Ever bother asking yourself that question? What's their total cost to taxpayers?
The key to your question is the word "TOTAL" as in the TOTAL cost for the TOTAL system. The ROTI (Return On TOTAL Investment ;-)) of the TOTAL system of roads in the US is much much higher than that of the ROTI of the TOTAL system of rails (of course factoring in freight usage for both as well).

And guess what? The federal gov't doesn't pay for those roads that are infrequently used (in most cases) as they do with Amtrak.

The fact is that rail will be an insolvent pipe dream until we get the adequate density. And that won't happen until the reps and dems stop giving away money for people to buy houses/cars/gas (looking at you EV tax credits) in the suburbs of the suburbs of the suburbs just so they look like the nice guys who will get voted in again and again instead of letting the problems work themselves out. (It also encourages white flight lol.)

It may happen in New England soon, but in MO where I am now or my native CA it is ridiculous beyond all belief that they are pushing HSR or any rail at all at this point in time.


RE: Is it "bickering" or
By wempa on 5/11/2011 5:40:36 PM , Rating: 2
Your bring up a great point ..... population density. It's funny to see all these people saying "but it's working great in Europe". Well, take a look at the population density maps for Europe and the US. They don't exactly look the same, do they ? On top of that, we've also become accustomed to the ways of life that you mentioned.


RE: Is it "bickering" or
By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 10:36:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
On top of that, we've also become accustomed to the ways of life that you mentioned

So population density never changes? But yeah, spending hours in stop and go traffic is routine in congested cities.


RE: Is it "bickering" or
By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 10:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Your bring up a great point ..... population density

Have a look around and see who brought it up before this point.


RE: Is it "bickering" or
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 5:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
Not entirely true. The reason why investors aren't interested in large projects like these is because the recuperation of investment is very slow.

IIRC, the average years ROI is about 40 years.


RE: Is it "bickering" or
By Nfarce on 5/10/2011 6:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
Ask T. Boone pickens why he got the hell out of the windmill farm nonsense in Texas. It had nothing to do with ROI. It had everything to do with a failed pie in the sky pipe dream that would never materialize as envisioned. Ditto HSR.


RE: Is it "bickering" or
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 11:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
He put a wind farm in a coal state before he resolved how it was going to connect to the grid. That's not a pipe dream, that's outright stupid. Obviously Representative Joe Barton shook Boone's hand and welcomed him to the state of Texas, followed by Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy.


Pork
By MrBungle123 on 5/10/2011 2:05:18 PM , Rating: 3
This is one of those things that would be nice but I don't see it as something that is really necessary right now. The US has a massive deficit/debt problem that should have been addressed years ago and spending hundreds of billions on a separate rail network for high speed trains is not going to generate enough economic activity to beging to close the gap.

Also the only way I can see Americans really using such a system in masse is if it complemented the existing higway/interstate system. It would be nice if it were possible to link major cities along the interstate system via 200+ MPH rail and allow automobiles to use the trains as a type of land ferry to shorten the travel times on long trips.




RE: Pork
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 2:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
I absolutely agree, just like how Euro Tunnel has been done for years.


RE: Pork
By AntiM on 5/10/2011 2:47:31 PM , Rating: 3
You bet it's pork. $795M to increase the speed from 135 mph to 160 mph???? Total BS. Hardly worth the effort I say.


RE: Pork
By SunTzu on 5/10/2011 3:34:59 PM , Rating: 2
That only means you dont understand the economics behind it. Shortening travel times will also make it cheaper, and the added customers will make it even more so.


RE: Pork
By JediJeb on 5/10/2011 3:45:01 PM , Rating: 3
The difference between traveling 500 miles at 135mph and 160mph is 34.7 minutes. So you are saying that if you cut 35 minutes off a 500 mile ride on a train you will increase the ridership enough to repay several hundred million dollars this project will cost? Either potential train riders are very gullible or I don't think the economics behind this project would pay for itself after all.


RE: Pork
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 5:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget they're talking about the Acela Express, which is situated in the dense population of eastern seaboard. We're not talking about laying new tracks in a relatively flat surface like California.


RE: Pork
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 5:11:37 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure if its pork though. As a person who has experience the benefits of HSR, I absolutely understand the practicality of it.


Amtrak is a waste
By Leadoffman on 5/10/2011 2:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
Amtrak is nothing more than a turd on wheels. If you truly want high-speed rail in the US, the best thing to do is keep the money as far away from them as possible.




RE: Amtrak is a waste
By The Raven on 5/10/2011 2:48:11 PM , Rating: 2
Not exactly a defense of Amtrak in particular, but "slow-speed" rail is still a valuable part of the transportation system. Everyone talks about Japan and Europe rail systems like there is nothing but HSR. That is far from the truth. I lived in Japan and from my experience I would wager that HSR is in the minority. I may be mistaken, but the fact remains that it is an integral part of their system.

But I do agree that we should keep (federal) tax dollars (or printed dollars) away from Amtrak... and HSR for that matter.
If NY needs HSR, I don't see why FL needs to (essentially) foot the bill. Let them pay for their own rail, this has no business being a federal issue as is the case with a great many things.


RE: Amtrak is a waste
By tng on 5/10/2011 6:43:48 PM , Rating: 2
One of the things I found in Japan is that you can get almost anywhere by train. Sometimes it was a combo of HSR and LSR, but that and a walk and there you were.

Nice that they have a country the size of CA that is linked by train.


RE: Amtrak is a waste
By The Raven on 5/11/2011 1:16:49 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah it is totally rad. But I didn't pay for the construction so I am a bit biased lol. So I don't think anyone I know is a better advertisement for the potential of HSR/LSR but I disagree with many in my camp of railphiliacs on how such a system should be funded/distributed.

quote:
Nice that they have a country the size of CA that is linked by train.


Here's what else they have... density.
Japan: 873.1/sq mi
California: 234.4/sq mi
Almost 4x the density of the US's 11th most dense (pun intended) state...CA.

So unless ALL of the population of CA is in NorCal (for example) there is absolutely no reason that CA should be thinking of HSR.

Again, these debates to fund or not fund such endeavors should be decided by the states or just the cities/regions (as should be the case with CA) themselves without the feds swaying them with money they don't have.

Also it is MUCH more expensive to drive/fuel/own your car in Japan. So if we are trying to become more like them and create a successful rail program, them we will need a very high gas tax imposed (think 2x+ the current price of gas in the US for starters) and a very difficult/expensive licensing/insurance process that many people completely avoid due to costs and difficulty.

People won't (err...I should say don't) ride the rails as much as they could due to the relatively low cost of driving. Good luck getting those things implemented America. Therefore HSR is absolute folly for most of the US and should not be touched by the feds.


RE: Amtrak is a waste
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 9:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not exactly a defense of Amtrak in particular, but "slow-speed" rail is still a valuable part of the transportation system.

It can difficult to make a solid point with 1 dimensional thinkers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson%E2%80%93Bergen...

quote:
The light rail has been a catalyst for both residential and commercial development along the route and has played a significant role in the revitalization of Hudson County. Many of the stops are sited in vacant or underutilized areas, which are now beginning to see intense residential and mixed-use development

Which in case some of you forgot creates tax revenue.


RE: Amtrak is a waste
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 10:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Amtrak is nothing more than a turd on wheels.

Well clearly not all turds are equal.

quote:
Before a congressional hearing, [Amtrak head] Gunn answered a demand by leading Amtrak critic Arizona Senator John McCain to eliminate all operating subsidies by asking the Senator if he would also demand the same of the commuter airlines, upon which the citizens of Arizona are dependent. McCain, usually not at a loss for words when debating Amtrak funding, did not reply.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak


RE: Amtrak is a waste
By priusone on 5/11/2011 12:45:11 AM , Rating: 2
It always blows my mind how Greyhound is cheaper than Antrak. Granted, greyhound buses can get pretty full, while the Amtrak trips I have taken were largely empty. Lovely Catch-22 Amtrak has: Fewer customers so they have to charge them more, which scares more customers away.

I'm not a "Gotta get there now" kind of individual, so I factor price in at a higher priority to time. That said, Amtrak loses on both counts.


RE: Amtrak is a waste
By sabbede on 5/11/2011 10:16:40 AM , Rating: 2
Amtrack is a complete mess. It can't survive without absurdly high subsidies and I'm fairly certain that the only people who use it are Joe Biden and the woman quoted in the article. I wish I could say I can't believe that we would give them more money. <sigh>
Even with all the subsidies Amtrack is still overpriced. They're a non-functional monopoly. Rail is great for moving freight, but Americans just don't want to take the train. We have cars and we love them. For good or ill.

Light rail will have to be considerably cheaper before even high speed becomes viable.
Cheaper than driving.


RE: Amtrak is a waste
By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 1:10:31 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Amtrack is a complete mess.

Yup, but what's with keeping the least profitable lines? Even Chrysler wasn't doing that crap. As as point out buses are out there as well.

quote:
I'm fairly certain that the only people who use it are Joe Biden and the woman quoted in the article

Uhhhh not quite....
quote:
Ridership increased in the first decade of the 21st century after implementation of capital improvements in the Northeast Corridor and rises in automobile fuel costs. Amtrak set its sixth straight year of record ridership, with 28.7 million passengers for the 12 months ended September 30, 2008

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMTRAK
And that's before $4/gallon gas.

quote:
Light rail will have to be considerably cheaper before even high speed becomes viable.

But how many blanket NOs will it get?


Very simple solution to the problem
By Pirks on 5/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: Very simple solution to the problem
By JediJeb on 5/10/2011 3:56:18 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but there would also need to be put into place better restriction on getting a drivers license or maybe make a special one for driving on one of these high speed interstate highways. You don't want someone who can barely keep their car on the road driving their 73 Pinto at 120mph on one of these.

Finland requires 3 years of training and up to 8 classes on a water soaked skid pad before you can get your drivers license. Also in Germany it can cost you $1500 to get a drivers license last I heard. The Germans take driving very seriously and have much better discipline in obeying the traffic rules than your average US driver. Also traffic fines are much more expensive than here, which helps keep people watching what they are doing.

I would love to see this idea take place, but it will take a major change in most peoples driving habits.


By YashBudini on 5/11/2011 12:12:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Germans take driving very seriously and have much better discipline in obeying the traffic rules than your average US driver

That implies there is any discipline in the US, which is quite a stretch.


By The Raven on 5/11/2011 1:54:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
People will travel in their nice 150-200 mph cars which is plenty fast, and everyone will be happy.
Except Al Gore. That wouldn't be very green lol. ;-)


Missing piece of the puzzle.
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 7:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
There's an area outside of a large city, but it hasn't been developed much. People live there, but not many. There's no fast way to get into the city.

Then all of a sudden getting to the city to go to work drops to a reasonable amount of time. Thousands notice this and the area quickly developes into a thriving suburb, with new homes, new schools, and plenty of economic activity.

Such a chain of events used to be caused by new roads, but congested areas can't rely on that. Rail however, even regular rail, offers many a viable alternative under the right conditions. When it becomes an alternative to a car it could even conceivably reduce overall fuel consumption, especially compared to cars stuck in stop and go traffic. I've seen light rail go up and over intersections and roads, addressing that unused dimension in everyday travel.

But with politicians controlling things it's as likely to be just more pork.

Too bad. Such potential.




RE: Missing piece of the puzzle.
By mmatis on 5/10/2011 8:26:41 PM , Rating: 2
And of course that's why all the rail systems in the US make such great profits on their operations!

Oh, wait! EVERY ONE OF THEM is a giant sucking money pit, leeching off the gas taxes paid by car drivers. But keep on suckin' away, dude!


RE: Missing piece of the puzzle.
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 8:29:37 PM , Rating: 2
Blanket generalizations. I know for a fact that the train that runs from my town to the big city is in fact profitable.

But feel to continue believing whatever you feel comfortable with, and the hell with reality.


Blimpie
By Shadowmaster625 on 5/10/2011 3:51:36 PM , Rating: 2
We should have blimps. Dual bladder design, hydrogen central chambers inside helium outer shell. They would be about as safe as planes, and much cheaper to fly.




RE: Blimpie
By JediJeb on 5/10/2011 4:03:47 PM , Rating: 2
If it can be done cost effectively then I agree completely. Blimps wouldn't need near a large of a airport and could probably make speed of around 100mph or a little more with decent fuel efficiency. Being able to fly more or less directly between cities the trip wouldn't be that much longer than an equivalent high speed rail and much faster than automobile. With the new building materials we have now even the rigid airships could be doable again if they gave better results than the blimps.


It doesn't have to be pork, but
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 5:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
The politicians scrounging for payouts will make it pork if that's what it takes to get that money.

Here there's talking about connecting 2 cities, noplace and nowhere together with high speed rail. Who would ride such trains? Only a handful of politicians. The usefulness of such a route borders on absolute zero, and yet they will press forward to obtain such funds.

It doesn't matter which political party they belong too, they all want their own "bridge to nowhere." But right now all of Obama's flag waiving won't change lead into gold, or pork into something productive.




By Codeman03xx on 5/10/2011 6:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well this is a stepping stone to a better Infrastructure for America. Now we just need to upgrade our Electrical and Water Infrastructures and we would be on the right path.




Is it me?
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/11, Rating: -1
RE: Is it me?
By callmeroy on 5/10/2011 1:45:14 PM , Rating: 2
you must be new...those of us who've been checking out this site for years know better by now...


RE: Is it me?
By Jephph on 5/10/2011 1:59:09 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, must be new. This editor only writes opinion pieces.


RE: Is it me?
By yomamafor1 on 5/10/2011 2:20:58 PM , Rating: 1
I know he only writes opinion pieces, but previously most of his works (or at least I believe) were focused on the tech industry.

Now though, it seems, that he's broadening his opinions to include that of politics.


RE: Is it me?
By geddarkstorm on 5/10/2011 2:42:35 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, trust us, it's been this way for a long time, nothing new here.


RE: Is it me?
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 5:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This editor only writes opinion pieces.

So you're saying he follows the same pattern as Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

What's sauce for the goose......


RE: Is it me?
By kattanna on 5/10/11, Rating: -1
RE: Is it me?
By Chaser on 5/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: Is it me?
By JediJeb on 5/10/2011 3:36:21 PM , Rating: 1
You can only be assured of two things in life, Tech and Politics.


RE: Is it me?
By YashBudini on 5/10/2011 10:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not so sure about tech.


RE: Is it me?
By Azethoth on 5/15/2011 2:11:39 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, are you living in Afghanistan or something similarly stone age?


RE: Is it me?
By foolsgambit11 on 5/10/2011 6:07:11 PM , Rating: 2
It's a science and technology news site. All the things you mentioned are science and technology. I personally prefer having some articles that deal with the practical challenges of rolling out new technology, rather than the site being solely a collection of PR statements accompanying new product releases.


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