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Japanese JR-Maglev  (Source: Yosemite)
Government funnels $45M into maglev proposal.

President Bush signed a transportation bill that will help fund a high speed maglev train between Disneyland and Las Vegas. The initial $45M investment will be used for environmental studies to evaluate construction impact on one portion of the proposed maglev route.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., showed support of the project and said the maglev train "will safely and efficiently move people between southern California and Las Vegas."

As more nations begin to roll out maglev train systems, critics in the U.S. grow increasingly frustrated over the lack of support of organized high speed trains in the United States.

With speeds up to 300 MPH, the maglev train will be able to transport passengers between the two locations, about 250 miles apart, in less than two hours. Most drivers who go from the Los Angeles or Anaheim area to Las Vegas are forced to take Interstate 15, but the highway routinely is clogged with gridlock during rush hour.

Congress must now choose the maglev system over other train projects under consideration by the government, including a diesel-electric train that was proposed after a 2005 funding mishap that delayed the Disneyland-Las Vegas line. Japan was the first nation to launch a diesel-hybrid train system, but the train was twice as expensive to build as a regular train.

The United States Maglev Coalition (USMC) is an organization wanting to develop maglev technology in the U.S. The group helped the federal government fix a September 2005 report that "unfairly and erroneously criticized maglev's costs while ignoring its benefits."

Maglev trains are extremely expensive to create, so $45M could easily lead to a multi-billion dollar investment. The Shanghai maglev train network cost almost $30M per mile to create, and a proposed route in Japan is estimated to cost up to $82B to complete.

Germany, Canada, England, China and Japan are included in the small selection of countries that either have working maglev systems or are testing maglev technology.



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It's a small world afterall
By 457R4LDR34DKN07 on 6/8/2008 11:10:08 PM , Rating: 3
A train ride from one tourist trap to another... that's a great idea.




RE: It's a small world afterall
By Googer on 6/9/2008 12:54:34 AM , Rating: 1
How about changing the route so that every day people can benefit instead of tourists? I believe the impact would be much greater and profitable. Make the maglev train circle LA and relieve some congestion.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By Nik00117 on 6/9/2008 1:51:38 AM , Rating: 5
Because maglevs are meant for long distance trips, not around one city.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By spluurfg on 6/9/2008 4:08:34 AM , Rating: 5
If there really is such a vast quantity of people moving between Disneyland and Vegas, I can see how this would be a great idea, but in my mind (and without the benefit of reading a case study done by professionals) the issues would be:

(1) it'd be very seasonal... there won't be any commutors whatsoever taking advantage of this, so the cost basis would need to be justified averaging the ridership throughout the year, yet the project would still need to meet peak-season capacity

(2) the benefit would be largely limited to Disney and Vegas to replace flying routes -- Socal is very much a driving oriented area, so if you intend to go anywhere else, you'll want to rent a car, which may dent the convenience factor somewhat

I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but I would want the case to be made to me from a cost/benefit analysis standpoint considering the huge capital required for maglevs. But gosh... $45m for just the environmental analysis of a portion of the route?

On an unrelated note, United States Maglev Coalition? Couldn't they have chosen an acronym that isn't the same as the United States Marine Corps? I believe one is fairly well established....


RE: It's a small world afterall
By BladeVenom on 6/9/2008 7:25:37 AM , Rating: 2
There use to be a train route there and it went out of business.

My questions are why they think this will do better, and why do they need to do another environmental study?


RE: It's a small world afterall
By therealnickdanger on 6/9/2008 7:35:07 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
why do they need to do another environmental study?

What if the train route crossed near the burrows of the rare Kolangi Spitting Spider? Would you want that on your conscience?

Yeah, that's what I thought.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By Samus on 6/10/2008 2:13:20 AM , Rating: 2
There is also a great deal of lead and mercury involved with the JR, I'm sure our implementation won't be much different. That can have environmental impact during construction.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By masher2 (blog) on 6/9/2008 10:39:00 AM , Rating: 5
> "But gosh... $45m for just the environmental analysis of a portion of the route?"

And some people still don't believe me, when I say environmental restrictions are strangling new construction and economic growth in this country.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By noxipoo on 6/9/2008 10:45:20 AM , Rating: 3
unrestricted growth will get just as many people yelling about the pollution that comes. china isn't exactly clean these day, first hand experience.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By masher2 (blog) on 6/9/2008 11:01:02 AM , Rating: 4
This maglev train will cut pollution, not increase it. That "environmental study" takes all of 30 seconds to perform.

The $45M being spent here is not to study pollution, but the effects of construction on the millions of animal species which lie somewhere along the route.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By Lifted on 6/9/2008 11:55:28 AM , Rating: 4
In Washington these environmental studies are simply used to put a project on the back burners for a while, so the politicians can tell the airlines, Detrioit, or whoever else they are pandering to that they have done good.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By TomZ on 6/9/2008 2:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
Forget about it. This project is pure "pork" - a small government handout of taxpayer dollars for no good reason (except to the recipient).

Besides, we're never going to have a maglev linking those two cities because the idea is completely stupid. The reason it is stupid is because of the cost to build (50-100 billion!?!) - it is a complete and total waste of money, whether it be taxpayer dollars or private dollars.

After all, if it even remotely made some sense, it wouldn't be hard to find investors willing to put up the money, and the thing would have been built years ago.

People who think we need maglev in the US haven't thought it through... Just wishing for cool toys doesn't make them make any sense economically.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By spluurfg on 6/9/2008 3:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
After all, if it even remotely made some sense, it wouldn't be hard to find investors willing to put up the money, and the thing would have been built years ago.


True, but that's partly due to the burden of being the first market entrant. Since there isn't much maglev construction, there are very high capital costs. The argument is that if the Government fosters some projects, the industry will develop and building lines will be cheaper. Commercial aviation, for example, benefited from aircraft development during WW2. There's a similar idea being employed for commercial wind farms -- they get tax breaks so that as volume of large windmill blades increases, for example, cost per part decreases and commercial viability increases.

Whether maglevs will work out anyway -- anybody's guess.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By TomZ on 6/9/2008 3:49:05 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but in the case of WWII, there was a compelling need for that investment. In this case, the government funding something like maglev seems to have very few benefits to the taxpayers.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By FITCamaro on 6/9/2008 4:23:01 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. You're basically making everyone pay for a system that only a small fraction of people will use.

If I want lunch, should I be allowed to go take a dollar out of the people around me's wallets?


RE: It's a small world afterall
By spluurfg on 6/9/2008 6:22:58 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Exactly. You're basically making everyone pay for a system that only a small fraction of people will use.


Well, the flipside is that if the government never stumps up for anything, certain technologies will take longer (or may never) get momentum. If they can get the maglev industry going to the point where the cost per mile of track drops significantly, it could become economically sensible for a much larger number of projects throughout the US, thus potentially benefiting many.

quote:
If I want lunch, should I be allowed to go take a dollar out of the people around me's wallets?


Nope, that'd be stealing. Is this really the same?


RE: It's a small world afterall
By androticus on 6/10/2008 10:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
previous poster's comment equating stealing lunch money from others with govt appropriations for things like maglev
quote:

Nope, that'd be stealing. Is this really the same?


It never fails to amaze me the degree to which people will evade the nature of an act and mindlessly sanctify any and all forms of government appropriation under the rubric of "democracy" or whatever they think justifies it. And then when you try to push it a bit and ask if "democratic" victimization or discrimination are ok, they get all huffy and scream "that isn't the same thing."

No, it is never the same thing, is it?

The only *moral* act of a government is one that protects its citizens' rights to their lives and property. Anything else is just the mob justifying its immoral use of force under the cowardly rubric of "democracy".

Yes, I would favor a PRIVATELY FUNDED maglev. No, I will not accept that taking people's hard-earned money by force to pay for a government funded maglev, is ok.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By spluurfg on 6/12/2008 5:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It never fails to amaze me the degree to which people will evade the nature of an act and mindlessly sanctify any and all forms of government appropriation under the rubric of "democracy" or whatever they think justifies it.


quote:
Yes, I would favor a PRIVATELY FUNDED maglev. No, I will not accept that taking people's hard-earned money by force to pay for a government funded maglev, is ok.


Who's sanctifying it? I think it's obviously different from stealing, I didn't say that it's the best use of tax money. That's up to feasibility studies such as this one to determine, so that elected officials can make an informed decision.

quote:
The only *moral* act of a government is one that protects its citizens' rights to their lives and property. Anything else is just the mob justifying its immoral use of force under the cowardly rubric of "democracy".


So are you opposed to your tax money going to any and all infrastructure projects? Should the US highway and transportation appropriations be $0 per state? Should minicipal and state run education systems be abolished?

You may feel that the maglev lies outside the boundaries of sensible use of tax dollars -- if so, write to your local representative. However, I encourage you to be realistic about the way that public services must function.


By Mojo the Monkey on 6/13/2008 3:53:32 PM , Rating: 2
what a narrow view you have. people in the area have been begging for this kind of system for years. A station in Anaheim will service people from the north LA valleys down to San Clemente - many millions of people. This project will also serve as a test platform for other highly traveled, long distance routes in other parts of the country.

quote:
You're basically making everyone pay for a system that only a small fraction of people will use.


Yeah, programs like handicapped access, closed captioning for the def, braille on signs for the blind, federal funding in the limb prosthesis research... ALL A CRIME ON THE TAXPAYER, right? [sarcasm]. Because by your definition, this tiny, insignificant portion of the population who will benefit is just robbing your wallet.

Public works are expensive in the short run, but the idea is progressive ongoing benefit to the general population's quality of life. If you only worked on projects for the absolute majority every time, woe unto you if you ever fall outside the curve.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By teldar on 6/9/2008 6:50:04 PM , Rating: 3
I dont' know that there wouldn't be benefit to a whole lot more people if the technology matured.

Imagine 8 maglev trains in the country. One north and south bound on each coast and one east and west bound across the middle and south of the country. 5 stops per train per route or less.

NY to Florida in 5 hours including stops on the way.

8 hours from NY to Portland or SF with stops in St Louis Denver and Salt Lake City.

Jacksonville to LA with stops in New Orleans, Houston, (or dallas or austin) and phoenix.
It would be worth it for cross country travel alone.

T


RE: It's a small world afterall
By Jedi2155 on 6/10/2008 9:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
But you forgot about Ogdenville, North Haverbrook, and Brockway!!!!


By Mojo the Monkey on 6/13/2008 3:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
...and it sure put them on the map!

monorail, monorail, monorail


RE: It's a small world afterall
By Machinegear on 6/10/2008 2:42:35 PM , Rating: 2
If people want a high speed train, the government needs to give citizens back their tax dollars so they can build it. The government is not in the rail business, or any business at all. The only function our US government currently serves is:

1.) Confiscate citizen wealth
2.) Start a war (pick a country that can't fight back)
3.) Divert citizen wealth under domestic "programs/projects"

(repeat steps 1 - 3 every year)

These so called projects the government releases to the public are insulting. They have no substance. They are only the latest working title given to an old scam.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By Ringold on 6/9/2008 3:03:37 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
That "environmental study" takes all of 30 seconds to perform. The $45M being spent here


30 seconds

45 million

I'm clearly in the wrong business. :P


RE: It's a small world afterall
By bespoke on 6/9/2008 6:04:09 PM , Rating: 3
There is a huge need for a high-speed rail link between LA and Vegas. Around any major holiday, I-15 is a parking lot. In ideal conditions (now no longer possible, due to constant congestion), the car trip from LA (Anaheim area) to Vegas would take 5 hours. On a regular day, I think it now takes 6 to 7 hours, and on a three day weekend, well, you're looking at 10 hours.

As for air travel, the 4 airports of the greater LA area do have literally hundreds of flights per day to Vegas, but once again, on holidays those flights are incredibly booked, plus everyone knows what a hassle it is to go to the airport these days.

Yes, this could be considered a government handout, but the without government handouts, this series of tubes we're using would not exist.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By JonnyDough on 6/10/2008 1:39:36 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Do we really need to be super-commuting people into the desert to gamble? Couldn't we get Mexico and Canada on board this idea and have a north/south train that makes a few major stops so that we don't have to fly so much between these NAFTA countries? What would this do for trade? Wouldn't it be a lot more efficient than airplanes? If we could send international postal freight from Panama to Canada we could eliminate the need for a few small jets I'm sure, plus cut down on emissions. Now if they would just get smart and build it above the ground on concrete pillars with wire mesh protection and safety features (like a tiny zip-lev to go ahead of the train and check the track).


RE: It's a small world afterall
By ccmfreak2 on 6/10/2008 4:32:11 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
1) it'd be very seasonal... there won't be any commutors whatsoever taking advantage of this, so the cost basis would need to be justified averaging the ridership throughout the year, yet the project would still need to meet peak-season capacity


On this basis ALONE I am against this idea. There are plenty of other things our tax dollars can be spent on than an environmental study of a train system promoting tourist routes. If this maglev is going to go through, then the affected parties (Disneyland and the City of Las Vegas) needs to be the one flipping the bill. I'm sick of watching Washington waste our money!


By Mojo the Monkey on 6/13/2008 3:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
If this thing goes through, I can pretty much guarantee you that less than 5% of the commuters on the train would be "disneyland tourists". The locals in a 60 miles radius are chomping at the bit for this thing. It will also relieve traffic on the 91/15 and the 10 as far west as Los Angeles and Riverside.

As to the other half of your argument, I agree. On the Nevada side, the Casinos are surely the main benefactor and should be prompted to pay something.


By Oregonian2 on 6/9/2008 3:28:27 AM , Rating: 2
Is it literally from Disneyland or was that just poetic license by a news guy to give spice to the news article?


RE: It's a small world afterall
By Anonimous on 6/9/2008 5:31:05 AM , Rating: 4
Why not use "conventional" technology and combine it with the proposed High-Speed Train System (http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/)?

It would save a lot of money and get profitable faster.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By GhandiInstinct on 6/9/2008 12:05:23 PM , Rating: 2
Could any physics experts calculate the death probability of impact at 300mph?


By geddarkstorm on 6/9/2008 12:38:46 PM , Rating: 5
Why, do you feel like playing chicken with a maglev? Word of advice: generally speaking, getting hit by a train at most any speed is going to be bad for your health.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By FITCamaro on 6/9/2008 4:03:07 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't take a physics expert to say you wouldn't want to be on board if a train going 300 mph crashed.


RE: It's a small world afterall
By JonnyDough on 6/10/2008 5:12:24 AM , Rating: 2
Or a car, or a jetliner, or a freaking rocket ship. The point is that we're making better use of our time, doing it more economically, and showing the world that we don't suck.


This idea has been around since 1979...
By Doormat on 6/9/2008 12:34:24 AM , Rating: 5
I grew up in Vegas, and I can remember the idea of a mag-lev train between here and LA ever since I was a little kid. It was always around the corner.

The idea for Vegas is that half of our visitors come from Southern California. And with gas prices going to $5, $6, $7/gal, people aren't going to be able to afford the tank of gas needed to get back and forth between LA and Vegas. If you cut off half of the tourist base for Vegas, it will fall apart.

The other issue is that we can stop spending so much money on fixing and improving I-15. Granted its still less to widen I-15 to 5 lanes in each direction than to build a mag-lev rail between LV and LA. China spent 1.3B on their mag-lev rail in Shanghi and its only 19mi long, or about 64M/mi, in China, where labor is plentiful and cheap. In the US I could expect costs to be around 100M/mi if not more, or about 25B for the entire 250mi project. Even if you were to cut costs in half due to economies of scale, its still 12.5B, or about the cost of building an entirely new 8-lane highway along the corridor.

Then you have to look at how profitable (or not) it would be. At around 20B for the entire project, at 5% over 40 years, excluding operating costs, it would need to earn 100M/yr, or $273,000/day. If the train could hold 250 people and ran 4x/day in each direction, the cost would be around $273/person each way, or over $500/round trip. Gas is going to have to get really really expensive to compete with that. Even if you expand it to 60 years, it only goes down by about 15%.

Its a great idea and I'd love to see it built (I'd love to hop on a train and go to a baseball or basketball game), but the build cost would need to come down dramatically before its possible. And to be blunt, its likely that if construction costs came down enough, the alternatives (like building more roads) would come down as well.




RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By Oregonian2 on 6/9/2008 3:40:56 AM , Rating: 1
Only a thousand people go from Southern California to Vegas a day? Las Vegas has over 124,000 rooms (http://govegas.about.com/cs/faqs/l/blfunfacts.htm)

Certainly not all full nor all from LA, and all won't take the train (depends on prices though...) but still that only may be a few percent of the rooms.

Compare the price/benefit ratio of a Maglev as described as compared to the price/benefit of the nice modern four lane highway already built from Las Vegas to the infinitesimal almost people-free tiny town of Paraumph (albeit the reasons to go there may be different somewhat - wink - wink).

P.S. - My mother lives in Henderson.


RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By Doormat on 6/9/2008 10:52:50 AM , Rating: 2
More than 1000 people leave SoCal for Vegas each day, but how many trains can you run per day? If you figure there is an early morning 6am departure (the first WN flight of the day leaves Vegas for LA at 6), and then one every two hours up until 8pm, thats 8x day. So you're still looking at $273/rt if you could fill each train 100%. Even last minute WN reservations are about $200+taxes/rt.

Though there is the ability to recover revenue through non-farebox methods - you could sell WiFi onboard for $5/trip, ads, high priority (and high priced) freight, etc.


RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By masher2 (blog) on 6/9/2008 11:05:03 AM , Rating: 3
I don't see why they couldn't run a train every 30 minutes or even closer. The route will be bidirectional I'm sure; there's no need for one train to arrive before the next begins.


By Doormat on 6/9/2008 7:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
True, but whats the marginal cost of running each train? Much like with airlines, you don't want too high of a frequency because your load factors fall and you're operational costs skyrocket. Now if the cost of running each train one way is very low, then yea, launch them every 30 minutes, even if you only fill it up 25% you've made money.

If you need 60-70% load factors to make money, then it gets tough to provide that often of service.

Finally, it doesnt even have to be regular. As anyone who travels between the two cities can tell you, starting thursday nights there is a lot more traffic into LV and sunday afternoons are awful, it can take up to 8 hrs to get back to LA from LV. Much like airlines, charge more for peak travel times and adjust prices as the price of gas goes up and down.


RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By Alexstarfire on 6/9/2008 8:04:40 AM , Rating: 2
5 lanes.... HA. If we had a 5 lane, in each direction, highway in downtown Atlanta it'd come to a crawl; though, it still comes to a crawl with 7? lanes, or is it 8?

Anyways, a Maglev would be a lot better if they built it from coast to coast and not on a little piddly 250 miles stretch. Jeez, I could take a round trip and still have gas left over in my tank. If it's going to cost billions of dollars just to put up a maglev on that little stretch... then maglevs certainly aren't the way of the future. Though, if they ran it across the country and had stops in all the major cities on the way, like Atlanta, Birmingham, Dallas, Las Vegas, Pheonix, LA, etc. then it might be a lot better off. Course, you could start it even in Miami and have it go through Tampa, or you could start it in New York. Either way, it'd be much better to do that than just from LA to LV. Course, if they plan to expand then.... you gotta start somewhere.


RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By EricMartello on 6/9/2008 9:16:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Anyways, a Maglev would be a lot better if they built it from coast to coast and not on a little piddly 250 miles stretch


They're building it on a small stretch because they want to study the impact that its construction will have on the environment.

I agree about the $30M / mile pricing making this train a loss leader for the transit authority that operates it...or something that tax payers can expect to pay off over the next 20-30 years. It would seem to me that they need to find a more cost-effective method of producing maglev trains before they become feasible.


RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By masher2 (blog) on 6/9/2008 10:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
> "They're building it on a small stretch because they want to study the impact that its construction will have on the environment"

They're building it over a small stretch because -- at construction costs of ~$100M per mile -- a country-wide maglev would bankrupt the nation. Besides, even at 300 mph, few are going to want to ride all the way from NYC to LA.


RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By EricMartello on 6/10/2008 3:16:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They're building it over a small stretch because -- at construction costs of ~$100M per mile -- a country-wide maglev would bankrupt the nation. Besides, even at 300 mph, few are going to want to ride all the way from NYC to LA.


Bankrupt? Us? What are you talking about, we'll just borrow more money from China.... :)

The ideal place for a high speed train is between two points that are far enough apart to be a hassle to drive, yet close enough together to the point where flying would also be a hassle. Example:

PHL <-> NYC

That might be the most perfect place to put a maglev train, or other high-speed rail. Amtrak tried this with Acela but failed, realizing that they'd have to redo all the tracks to support train speeds of 120-150 MPH.


By The Irish Patient on 6/10/2008 11:54:00 AM , Rating: 2
For those who don't live in the Northeast corridor, Amtrak has a (potentially) high speed train called the Acela running between Boston and Washington, DC. The problem is that speeds are severely limited by the ancient track for most of its route.

I take the Acela occasionally from New Haven, Connecticut to DC. The Acela is no faster than a clunky commuter rail car from New Haven to Metropark, NJ. Then it gets up and flies the rest of the way to DC.

Let me tell you, the Acela is a thing of beauty at sustained speeds of 100+ mph. Trains like this (with track to match) are what this country needs, not some pork barrel maglev project. This is old tech that works. No one would fly between NYC and DC if the track got fixed up all the way. Same thing between NYC and Boston.


waste of money
By TonyB on 6/9/2008 12:01:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
...There is no train on the route — Amtrak's Desert Wind between Los Angeles and Las Vegas was canceled in 1997 because of low ridership.


quoted from the sourced article. if there was low ridership back then, what has changed today to make this route viable? and if it is viable why not just build a conventional route for the fraction of the cost?

this whole deal seems shady.




RE: waste of money
By Jedi2155 on 6/9/2008 12:07:21 AM , Rating: 2
Although a maglev might seem more interesting to those technically inclined and also might get more ridership because it would be easier for tourist to go from one tourist location to another as someone suggested.

The idea actually doesn't sound that bad as I would be very interested in going on this train as I live less than 10 miles from Disneyland.


RE: waste of money
By Doormat on 6/9/2008 12:09:02 AM , Rating: 5
Because of the way Amtrak works - they run their trains on tracks owned by others (in this case, the Union Pacific RR), so they're a lower priority. UPRR's freight trains get priority, and that can lead to delays and other problems for the train.

The train also only goes 55mph or so, while the traffic on 15 between LV and LA usually go anywhere between 75 and 100mph (yes, you read that right, 100mph, I've driven between LV and LA many times and its scary to see how fast they pass you at 75mph - and I've also been in a 15 passenger van doing 100mph, and we managed to get back from LA to LV in under 3 hours including a gas/bathroom stop).


RE: waste of money
By EntreHoras on 6/9/2008 10:55:11 AM , Rating: 3
C'mon! 100mph is not that much... if you ask Speed Racer.


RE: waste of money
By WTFiSJuiCE on 6/9/2008 12:21:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
if there was low ridership back then, what has changed today to make this route viable?


Think about how fast conventional trains are versus the cost of gas per gallon in the year 1997 and I think its pretty obvious to understand why there was less consumer interest in train commuting. =\

Gas @ $4+/gallon gets people much more interested in mass transit. Sure Maglev is expensive to invest in but can you really b**** about pricing right now w/ the way oil is going?

All they need is a way to demonstrate Maglev's benefits and hopefully it impresses those w/ connections to big fundraisers cause the current system is teh sux0r. =\


RE: waste of money
By FITCamaro on 6/9/2008 6:29:51 AM , Rating: 2
Even with gas @ $4.00 (well more in California), $30 million dollars per mile does not sound that enticing. Then theres maintenance and I'm sure its expensive. It sounds like a program that will cost billions and take forever to turn any kind of profit. Then theres the fact that a maglev train takes energy and California isn't exactly the energy king. Unless you use natural magnets of course.

To me if you're going to build something like this, you should do it along a route where people have to take it, not they want to. Like a highly congested traffic route people take to work. LA to Disneyland is a tourist gig.


RE: waste of money
By spluurfg on 6/9/2008 6:39:44 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
To me if you're going to build something like this, you should do it along a route where people have to take it, not they want to. Like a highly congested traffic route people take to work. LA to Disneyland is a tourist gig.


I think it'd work great for something like SF, where the terminus has a very well established public transportation system. This area, however, is already well served by the Caltrain and BART, and the 2 hour trainride to San Jose is dictated significantly by the frequent stops.

I'm all for relieving traffic around LA, but the city area is still spread out and very much a driving zone -- an inter-city mass transit system like this would have to be matched by itnra-city public transporation development, or else people wouldn't use it. I think that's the attraction of a Disney-Vegas link -- while it's definitely a tourist thing, while in Disney or Vegas, people can get around on foot or by public transportation. An LA-terminated link could fail because of a failure of municipal transportation.


RE: waste of money
By rykerabel on 6/10/2008 12:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
spot on

local public transit is the only limit to US interstate public transit.

US people have to have their cars and most won't settle for a rental.

so, yes, tourist sites are about the only place that could get away with this currently.


Guess
By jasona111 on 6/8/2008 11:21:00 PM , Rating: 5
I'd imagine this will connect to the Las Vegas monorail, so you can pretty much get from DL to your hotel in one almost seemless hop...




RE: Guess
By Doormat on 6/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Guess
By GaryJohnson on 6/9/2008 3:15:26 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
There might be a transfer station...


That's what 'connect' means in this context. If two different transports share the same port/station they are said to 'connect' there.


RE: Guess
By Fenixgoon on 6/9/2008 7:22:18 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
I'd imagine this will connect to the Las Vegas monorail


Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car monorail!

What'd I say?

Monorail!

What's it called?

Monorail!

That's right! Monorail!

Monorail!...Monorail!...Monorail!...Monorail!

I hear those things are awfully loud...

Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.

Is there a chance the track could bend?

Not on your life, my Hindu friend.

What about us brain-dead slobs?

You'll be given cushy jobs.
Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?

No, good sir, I'm on the level.

The ring came off my pudding can.

Take my pen knife, my good man.
I swear it's Springfield's only choice...
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!

Monorail!

What's it called?

Monorail!

Once again!

Monorail!

But Main Street's still all cracked and broken...
Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!

Monorail!
Monorail!
Monorail!
Monorail!
Homer: Mono... D'oh!


RE: Guess
By VahnTitrio on 6/9/2008 10:48:13 AM , Rating: 3
I've ridden the German ICE's and I can tell you it's pretty seamless, as you just go up or down a level to go from the ICE's to the subway lines.

Well, almost seamless. There's the obligatory 10 minutes staring at the subway map figuring out which train you need to ride and where to get off. There's also an added delay if undercover police officers think you're moving drugs from Amsterdam. No uniforms and a plastic card for a badge? We made them call over a uniformed officer before we showed our passport, which added to the delay.


RE: Guess
By masher2 (blog) on 6/9/2008 11:02:01 AM , Rating: 2
> "We made them call over a uniformed officer before we showed our passport, which added to the delay"

Good for you!


Albeit expensive...
By chmilz on 6/8/2008 11:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think anyone can deny the tremendous opportunity of trains. Bulk transport that is both fuel efficient and rapid might just help us get off our addiction to driving.

There will still be a need for personal transportation at both ends though. I envision the first car rental company to have some sort of pay-as-you-go car rental package for the avid traveler or commuter with service in all major cities will make a mint. I'm sure public transportation will accommodate the majority in time, however.




RE: Albeit expensive...
By bunnyfubbles on 6/8/2008 11:57:57 PM , Rating: 5
I don't know that I would call it an addiction in a nation this large - its a necessity. Unless we move away from the suburb system and plan far more organized future cities (build them up all at once instead of hodgepodging them together, slapping on new sloppy additions to expand the glut with time) driving will almost always be a requirement.


RE: Albeit expensive...
By murphyslabrat on 6/9/2008 12:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
I have family that lives across the breadth of three states, which means a lot of driving for us to visit any of them. I come from a large family, so traveling by bus/train/airplane would not be cost effective. Airplane is straight out of the question, but if the standard train-fare could buy you a 300MPH trip, then that would mean a two-hour trip to southern Illinois, or a seven hour trip to mid-Florida.

Then, of course, you add that "Maglev" sounds a whole lot cooler than "Electric/Diesel Hybrid" *_^


RE: Albeit expensive...
By s3th2000 on 6/9/2008 7:02:31 AM , Rating: 2
If only it were that simple :p
Ive rode the $30M/mile train in Shanghai, and i can tell you, it is roughly... 25x the price of a normal bus fare. Although its cheaper than if you took a taxi on your own. Because the trains are quite small, you cant fit anywhere near the number of people that a normal train can fit in (and if you did, it naturally wouldn't be able to go as fast). It actually runs from a suburb to the airport, and i was struggling to fit all my luggage in comfortably (i took up 6 seats). But at least it is speedy, cuts an hours drive to like, 20mins.


Things I care more about...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/9/2008 11:41:12 AM , Rating: 2
Than a Maglev train system in the US *makes jerk off hand sign*

1. Watching paint dry.
2. Britney Spears
3. Punching myself in the balls
4. Going outside ( eww )
5. Reality TV
6. The NBA finals ( zzzzzzzzz )
7. Cooking ( yeah right )
8. Making myself throw up just because I can
9. Cleaning out my closets
10. Figuring out if Paris Hilton was ever " hot ".

Seriously, is this the 1930's ? Did I miss something or is there a reason we're trying to bring back passenger trains. Give me a break. Waste of time and money.




RE: Things I care more about...
By Ringold on 6/9/2008 3:18:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Did I miss something or is there a reason we're trying to bring back passenger trains


Environmentalists think trains are sexy, and who ever makes these money-eating horrors will probably be quite happy to make campaign contributions to any elected official that pushes their agenda forward.

But no, didn't really miss anything, I think you knew it.


RE: Things I care more about...
By DanoruX on 6/10/2008 11:09:58 AM , Rating: 2
Commuters think they're sexy too, though given the way MBTA handles its money the Boston area won't be seeing maglev commuter/subway trains any time soon... :)


RE: Things I care more about...
By FITCamaro on 6/9/2008 4:21:07 PM , Rating: 2
Uh some people have long commutes that could be better served by a high speed rail. It reduces traffic congestion, takes less time, and, as fuel prices rise, becomes more economically feasible. If you can drive your car to a station 5 minutes away, park, and take a train for 30 miles in 5 minutes instead of fighting gridlock for 2 hours, you wouldn't do it?

The biggest problem with commuter rail systems is that they take up space. Which means cities have to use eminent domain to seize land. And thats not popular.

But one properly placed and routed can be a great asset. In Florida I would have loved to have one between Tampa->Orlando->Cocoa->Melbourne. I drove from Orlando to Melbourne every day. It would have been great to take a 100+ mph commuter rail to cut down on the time, save money on gas, and relax on my way to work. And my mom could have used one cause there was a job in Tampa she wanted but the driving would have sucked.


By Reclaimer77 on 6/9/2008 4:54:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Uh some people have long commutes that could be better served by a high speed rail


Oh I don't argue that. I would just like to see THEM pay for it.


furries at the bunny ranch
By MRsnufalufagus on 6/9/2008 12:43:45 AM , Rating: 1
i love the maglev idea, but...disneyland to vegas? I see how a room full of people trying to talk louder than one another come up with this stuff. "oh, um we want a destination that people want to go to...um, ok...vegas! or maybe disneyland... well, um, ok we need a place for people to come from...um ok how about we use vegas as the destination and disneyland as the origin, or vice versa! killed two birds with one stone!"

great. one problem, tho. who is gonna wanna blow their wad on hookers and poker and then head over to the theme park to have creepy mickey mouse club songs played while they ride the lonely tunnel of love? psychopaths? suicidal gambling addicts?

Or let me ask it this way. who is gonna wanna take their kids from the theme park, burnt out and whining, puking from shamrock shakes, and head up to the bunny ranch to give their kids an early education on the more disease ridden side of the birds and the bees? more psychopaths? Dateline superstars? Maybe its a pact of pedophiles trying to get this to happen. They do have more disposable income to contribute to pork-barrel candidates since they don't have to spend their money on dates with women who aren't impressed by a happy meal.

good planning dudes.




RE: furries at the bunny ranch
By krwhite on 6/9/2008 5:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
I know what you mean.. What a horrid route. However it has to start with the highest dollar return. There are tons of gambling morons out there.


By masher2 (blog) on 6/9/2008 11:08:24 AM , Rating: 2
> "great. one problem, tho. who is gonna wanna blow their wad on hookers and poker and then head over to the theme park to have creepy mickey mouse club songs played "

If you think there's nothing but "hookers and poker" in Las Vegas, you haven't been there anytime in the last 30 years. Millions of families with children visit Vegas annually; there are entire "family-themed" shows and even hotels.


You know it's late. . .
By Fronzbot on 6/8/2008 11:51:01 PM , Rating: 4
. . . when you see this sentence:
quote:
The United States Maglev Coalition (USMC) is an organization wanting to develop maglev technology in the U.S.


and you think to yourself: Why do the marines want to build a maglev system?




uhh...
By lagomorpha on 6/9/2008 1:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
"including a diesel-electric train that was proposed after a 2005 funding mishap that delayed the Disneyland-Las Vegas line. Japan was the first nation to launch a diesel-hybrid train system, but the train was twice as expensive to build as a regular train."

Regular trains are diesel-electric. No one makes a transmission that will pull a train from a stop.




RE: uhh...
By PrinceGaz on 6/9/2008 3:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
Although diesel-electric is the most common type of diesel locomotive these days, diesel-hydraulic locomotives are also in use which use a torque-converter as the transmission to transfer the power of the engine to the wheels.

The article is misleading in refering to a diesel-electric as a diesel-hybrid though. Diesel-electric locomotives are not really hybrids as the electric energy they generate is not stored to provide power to the wheels independent of the diesel-engine, instead all of the power generated is used to drive the wheels there and then (apart from a small amount which is stored and used to power control systems, start the engine, provide an electric-supply to the train etc much like with a diesel-hydraulic).


Use conventional high speed trains instead.
By Anonimous on 6/9/2008 5:37:17 AM , Rating: 2
Why not use "conventional" technology and combine it with the proposed High-Speed Train System (http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/)?

It would save a lot of money and get profitable faster.
Just do a search on the Spanish high speed rail system and you'll see that it's taken a lot of passengers from the regional flights.




By Bcnguy on 6/9/2008 10:24:28 AM , Rating: 2
Im not an expert (not even close actually) but is my understanding that maglev are more interesting than conventional HSTs depending on distance.

May be not if you just plan to go for 250 miles but my guess is thats just the start. So being US so larger than France or Spain its possible that makes sense to choose maglev instead of a conventional HST tech.

Just as an example, a direct travel from Madrid to my city (Barcelona) means 409 miles and takes 2:38h. Well, to be honest an upgrade to 350km/h (217MPH) is announced for this autumn but dont think conventional HST could reach 300MPH anytime soon, if possible.


How efficient
By slawless on 6/9/2008 8:16:35 AM , Rating: 2
Maglev looks and sounds cool but how efficient is it relative to a conventional train? The one in germany uses electomagnets to elevate the train. That has to take energy. Using permanent magnets to suspend the train has been proposed (from my simplistic point of view that makes the most sense, but there is probably more to it) How efficient is a linear induction motor? powerful and blindingly fast,yes,but how efficient.




RE: How efficient
By Chernobyl68 on 6/9/2008 1:46:08 PM , Rating: 2
Who is John Galt?
By 325hhee on 6/9/2008 11:52:45 AM , Rating: 3
First thing I thought when I was reading the article. I'm wondering why they're not testing this on the East Coast, there are many commuters going back and forth from NYC, Boston, Washington DC.

It'd be interesting to see if the US adopts this method, it's been proven in Japan and other countries. It's clean, it's quiet, it's fast.

Now, this is something no one mentioned.

quote:
The United States Maglev Coalition (USMC) is an organization wanting to develop maglev technology in the U.S.
Do you think the Marines are going to let them use that acronym?




DisneyLand to Vegas?
By Ratwar on 6/9/2008 2:07:48 AM , Rating: 2
Does anyone else find the combination of Sin City and Mickey Mouse funny?

I guess you could drop off the wife and kids before going to blow the brats college fund with a hooker on each arm.




Amazing
By PeterR on 6/9/2008 5:31:48 AM , Rating: 2
The 300 mph train will e able to cover the 250 miles distance in less than TWO hours !

I bet that once they get it streamlined they'll do it within a week !

Peter R.




Yay! ....
By matthiasak on 6/9/2008 10:02:13 AM , Rating: 2
... more taxes!




By Chudilo on 6/9/2008 10:39:15 AM , Rating: 2
MagLev? Can we get the conventional high-speed train thing right first? Look at the mess Amtrak did with that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express
We have the technology already.
Nothing to build except the track and if we get it right, maybe we could fix the Acella line.
This time it would fix both system and actually allow it to go the way it's supposed to (300 km/h or about 180mph).
Europe and Japan have been enjoying these for years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinkansen

Here is the full high-speed page from WIKI
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail

US attempt at high-speed train resulted in trains that are too wide (can't take turns at full speed), we failed to create the track that would allow it to go at high speed for extended periods of time (to actually save some time on going fast)

What makes you think that the MagLev project will work out better. Let get something we already invested in working right first.




a dream come true?
By elfy6x on 6/9/2008 1:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
Being a HUGE fan and supporter of trains, this looks great at first, but overall, I think it's a complete waste of money. Maglev is entirely too expensive at the moment to be very economical. Furthermore, why not use conventional high speed rail? The Japanese bullet trains can travel up to 250mph already and laying high speed rail, which is more expensive than standard rail, is still significantly cheaper than Maglev tracks.

I think we could shave some money off this project and still attain a similar goal. Why not fund the California high speed railway from San Francisco to LA? That could have a lot more benefits, and it really needs to get started. A nice federal grant could help.




No cow pusher?
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 6/9/2008 2:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
How do the existing high speed trains keep wildlife off the tracks? Is the entire track elevated? is it totally enclosed?




Why maglev?
By PrinceGaz on 6/9/2008 3:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
Maglev is great for high-speed over short distances thanks to its ability to allow rapid acceleration, which is why it was used for the Shanghai airport link as it manages to accelerate to 220mph in just 2 minutes on its way to a full service speed of 268mph. Given that the Shanghai line is just 19 miles long and completes the run in just over 7 minutes, and that roughly 5 minutes of that are spent accelerating and braking quite aggresively (for a train), the high cost of maglev could be justified for reducing the journey time by about a third (and also for propoganda values, probably mainly for propoganda values ;)

For a longer run like the proposed 250 miles, a conventional dedicated high-speed rail link makes more sense unless money is no object. It might not be capable of such a high top speed as maglev (the TGV operates at up to 200mph on the fastest routes) but it's a lot cheaper to build.

The article says the maglev route would complete a journey in under two hours. I should certainly hope so! A dedicated conventional non-stop high-speed line could do it in less than an hour and a half, and a maglev like that in Shanghai could probably do it in about an hour if full speed running is allowed throughout (which as most of it is through desert would almost certainly be the case).

I'd say it would be better to build a conventional line, and use the money saved to extend it to more cities on the Californian end of the route.




On a road to nowhere
By andrinoaa on 6/10/2008 6:34:18 AM , Rating: 2
This is all good boys toys, but with oil hitting $140/barrel, isn't it time the whole transport area was redeisned?
I would have thought a train ride coast to coast would be more fun. lol (better than glowing in the dark, no? )
How can you guys take this seriously? How about a train made up of unsold F150s or Escalades and call it " back to the......", oh sorry, its been done?




What about Mexico City?
By coal2be on 6/14/2008 8:13:09 AM , Rating: 2
Send the 300 mph train down to Mexico City,
that way all the illegal workers can go home
after work every day.

No more immigration problem.

Thankx.




Isn't it fun
By pauldovi on 6/8/08, Rating: -1
RE: Isn't it fun
By MRwizard on 6/8/2008 10:59:59 PM , Rating: 3
i think this is very important. We are getting into the "green" side of things more and more. Atleast bush has done 1 thing good :P


RE: Isn't it fun
By zaxxon on 6/9/2008 2:18:40 AM , Rating: 3
Yes, green in what respect? The train ITSELF emits no fumes or toxic waste, but where do the humongous amounts of electricity come from that it needs during operation (not to speak what it consumes during construction)???

ah, yeah, from the prez' energy alternative... coal...


RE: Isn't it fun
By pxavierperez on 6/9/2008 3:31:28 AM , Rating: 2
good gawd... by "green" he meant "money."


RE: Isn't it fun
By krwhite on 6/9/2008 5:13:06 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't have to come from Coal plants. Solar/Wind infrastructure could eventually be tied into the system. Do you think we will always be so backward? Airplanes however will always burn jet fuel. Don't like it? Ok sir, what's better?


RE: Isn't it fun
By Alexstarfire on 6/9/2008 8:07:11 AM , Rating: 2
Ummm, at the rate we are going... yes, I believe we will be backwards forever. The people who have the power really don't want to change the way we've been doing things the last several decades, because if they did, they'd at least have had some sense to construct a few nuclear plants, but they don't.


RE: Isn't it fun
By FITCamaro on 6/9/2008 6:36:38 AM , Rating: 2
We could build nuclear plants.....oh wait they explode all the time. I think that was proven by the two accidents that have happened in 30 years.


RE: Isn't it fun
By Etsp on 6/9/2008 9:09:24 AM , Rating: 2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_civilian_nucl...

It was more than I expected to see as well, although, many of these were minor and/or were caused by people not following protocol and/or were early in nuclear development.


RE: Isn't it fun
By masher2 (blog) on 6/9/2008 11:54:50 AM , Rating: 2
And even more were in small-scale experimental reactors.

It's important to realize that, in the western world, no commercial power plant accident has ever killed anyone....a rate far safer than coal, wind, or even solar power.


RE: Isn't it fun
By FITCamaro on 6/9/2008 4:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
Do you mean commercial nuclear power plant?


RE: Isn't it fun
By andrinoaa on 6/10/2008 6:56:07 PM , Rating: 2
At least now we have a pattern. Masher2, ringold,fitcamaro.......... guys , your cover has been broken. How much are you paid by the nuclear industry. And how much will they pay me to become a fan boy too?
Every time we get a new idea, out come the "glow boys".
The majority have spoken, we don't want your nuclear power. Stop pushing it at every issue , already


RE: Isn't it fun
By rudolphna on 6/9/2008 10:33:11 AM , Rating: 1
2 incidents in 30 years isnt bad... and weve come a long way since then. We have much more advanced safety systems now. When was the last time you heard about a nuclear incident? Nuclear power is the way forward. We need to have many more built. You know what we do with the nuclear waste?... send it to the sun. "They explode all the time" WTF? Idiot, stfu about things you know nothing about.


RE: Isn't it fun
By JCY on 6/9/2008 7:25:48 AM , Rating: 2
I can’t say how much energy there is needed to power maglev track segment. But in a maglev system like the one used in China and Germany. The line is divided up in a lot of small segments. Only small parts of the track is powered as the train passes over them, so no more than two track segments would be on per train. Cutting the energy needed significantly.


RE: Isn't it fun
By FITCamaro on 6/9/2008 8:59:08 AM , Rating: 2
Thats true. You don't have to have the entire track powered up all at the same time.


RE: Isn't it fun
By onwisconsin on 6/8/2008 11:19:54 PM , Rating: 2
I can think of worse ways to spend money. EG, Think Ted Stevens and "the bridge to nowhere," or any pork-barrel projects for that matter...


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