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Old 06-03-2013, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Boulder Creek, CA
9,197 posts, read 13,985,464 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
But...but...it's supposed to be a super fast train!

Let's face it; this country has never been big on passenger rail service in the first place. A rail map of the US makes it clear; the railroads were mainly built for the purpose of extracting resources from the West to the East, back in the day. And they've hardly been expanded since then. Compared to European countries, that have dedicated passenger rail lines all over, not lines that are shared with freight trains, like the US has.
Here out west, auto companies made sure that freeways would dominate travel, at the expense of all other means of transport.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:05 PM
 
7,150 posts, read 8,782,551 times
Reputation: 3806
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
But...but...it's supposed to be a super fast train!

Let's face it; this country has never been big on passenger rail service in the first place. A rail map of the US makes it clear; the railroads were mainly built for the purpose of extracting resources from the West to the East, back in the day. And they've hardly been expanded since then. Compared to European countries, that have dedicated passenger rail lines all over, not lines that are shared with freight trains, like the US has.
East coast, central Atlantic states, and some of the mid-west around Chicago are LOADED with passenger train travel and commuter trains.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:58 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,204 posts, read 70,164,017 times
Reputation: 76047
Quote:
Originally Posted by nullgeo View Post
East coast, central Atlantic states, and some of the mid-west around Chicago are LOADED with passenger train travel and commuter trains.
Ck out a rail map west of the Mississippi, though. What are we, chopped liver?
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:25 PM
 
7,150 posts, read 8,782,551 times
Reputation: 3806
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Ck out a rail map west of the Mississippi, though. What are we, chopped liver?
"Mmmm, chopped liver ..." -- Homer Simpson

I was responding to your statement:
Quote:
"Let's face it; this country has never been big on passenger rail service in the first place. A rail map of the US makes it clear;"
as your statement has been made in so many other words several times by others in this discussion as well. My point isn't to be nit-picky at all, friend Fact is, a very sizable percentage of this nation's population uses trains and has historically.

Short-hop travel, up to a few hours, is better served by rail than by air ... and often could be better served by rail than automobile. Given a well developed, interconnected system, ridership will be excellent.

I am not commenting on whether this particular plan is well designed -- just the concept of passenger rail travel.
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
12,329 posts, read 7,475,738 times
Reputation: 15912
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
But...but...it's supposed to be a super fast train!

Let's face it; this country has never been big on passenger rail service in the first place. A rail map of the US makes it clear; the railroads were mainly built for the purpose of extracting resources from the West to the East, back in the day. And they've hardly been expanded since then. Compared to European countries, that have dedicated passenger rail lines all over, not lines that are shared with freight trains, like the US has.
We beg to differ; the railroads had near-complete dominance of both passenger and freight markets from (roughly) 1880 to 1920. The only alternatives were lakeships, river boats and barges, and coastal steamers -- obviously, there were many places none of the above could go. And there definotely wasn't much of a market for arbitrary leisure travel in those times, The greatest number of scheduled passenger trains between Los Angeles and San Francisco by the two competitors of an earlier day (Santa fe and Southern Pacific) was about thirty daily trains in each direction, spread over three routes, with provision for "multiple sections" on a few very popular departures. And up until around 1960, the private rail operators usually maintained a pool of older passenger equipment for troop movements, excursions, etc,

With the admittedly-limited exception of oil pipelines, the railroad is also the only major mode of transportation which has to furnish and maintains its own right of way (Yeah ... we've heard a million times about the land grants, but everybody forgets that the land was deeded in alternate sections to prevent monopolization, and that the railroads involved were compelled to haul all government freight at reduced rates -- a restriction that endured until after World War II). So the deal wasn't nearly as sweet as it seems to the uninformed. In the 1890's, the visionary capitalist James J. Hill built his Great Northern paralell to, but about 150 miles north of the land-grant-funded Northern Pacific -- and captured much of its freight traffic on operting efficiency alone.

Unless, like Jeff Bezos or Steven Jobs, you're in a business where you can start out without investing too much capital in physical plant (Bezos rents most of his Amazon warehouses), it doesn't pay to sink your capital in a place where it can't be recovered if the local grafters retreat from their "noble intentions".

Public transportation is a service; the private vehicle is a servant; and the free interaction of human commerce reminds us every day of which one is preferred by those who have the means. Furthermore, highway tractor-semitrailer rigs, farm machinery and Diesel locomotives are all capaple of conversion to Liquified Natural Gas (LNG); two experimental units have been racking up the miles on Burlingon Northern / Santa Fe for quite some time. That frees up more petroleum for other uses, and we haven't even scratched the surface with regard to lighter, more-efficent personal autos geared to shorter distances.

But having raised those points, I still see growth for rail passsenger service in those areas where population density, traffic congestion, and the high cost of new infrastructure will render the personal auto non-competitive. It's just that what evolves isn't likely to resemble the shiny "big Lionel set" that was featured when our current president took his one train ride .... now over four years ago.

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 06-03-2013 at 10:53 PM..
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:07 PM
 
222 posts, read 369,392 times
Reputation: 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by nullgeo View Post
East coast, central Atlantic states, and some of the mid-west around Chicago are LOADED with passenger train travel and commuter trains.
OK, then! Tell 'em to send some of that action our way. I'm down with that!
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:10 PM
 
222 posts, read 369,392 times
Reputation: 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
We beg to differ; the railroads had near-complete dominance of both passenger and freight markets from (roughly) 1880 to 1920..
Who cares, man? This is 2013, el News Flasho! No other country has passenger rail sidelined on a side track, idling, to make way for the freight trains on the tracks, get serious! Europe pulled it off ages ago, why's the US so lame? Switzerland blasts through mountains to build new rail lines. Meanwhile, the US twiddles it's thumbs.

And who's "we", btw?


pffft!
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:18 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,204 posts, read 70,164,017 times
Reputation: 76047
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post

Public transportation is a service; the private vehicle is a servant; and the free interaction of human commerce reminds us every day of which one is preferred by those who have the means. Furthermore, highway tractor-semitrailer rigs, farm machinery and Diesel locomotives are all capaple of conversion to Liquified Natural Gas (LNG); two experimental units have been racking up the miles on Burlingon Northern / Santa Fe for quite some time. That frees up more petroleum for other uses, and we haven't even scratched the surface with regard to lighter, more-efficent personal autos geared to shorter distances.
If there service were there and scheduling convenient (oh, and if the auto and petrol industries hadn't destroyed public transport in key cities and pushed its "America's love affair with the car" propaganda on people), and fares reasonable, people might well prefer train travel. Why drive long distances when you can leave the driving to others, and save gas and wear-and-tear on your vehicle? It only makes sense.

Natural Gas-driven cars (etc.) isn't going to be the solution. The US is so short on gas supplies that it's resorting to fracking. Increasing demand for natural gas exponentially isn't the solution.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:21 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,204 posts, read 70,164,017 times
Reputation: 76047
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZorbaTheGeek View Post
Who cares, man? This is 2013, el News Flasho! No other country has passenger rail sidelined on a side track, idling, to make way for the freight trains on the tracks, get serious! Europe pulled it off ages ago, why's the US so lame? Switzerland blasts through mountains to build new rail lines. Meanwhile, the US twiddles it's thumbs.

And who's "we", btw?


pffft!
lol! This reminds me of overnight train trips I've taken up and down the coast, where I've woken up in the middle of the night to find the train completely stalled. Several times. Only years later did I find out it's because passenger trains use the same tracks as the freight trains, and the freight trains get first dibs. Sounds pretty 3rd-world.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:52 AM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
12,329 posts, read 7,475,738 times
Reputation: 15912
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZorbaTheGeek View Post
Who cares, man? This is 2013, el News Flasho! No other country has passenger rail sidelined on a side track, idling, to make way for the freight trains on the tracks, get serious! Europe pulled it off ages ago, why's the US so lame? Switzerland blasts through mountains to build new rail lines. Meanwhile, the US twiddles it's thumbs.

And who's "we", btw?

pffft!
Tase a loook at a map of Europe, With a handful of exceptions like Switzerland and Hungary, most of Euope has access to tidewater, and the distance between there and the industial haeartland isn't that great; short distances lend themselves more easily to truck haulage; British Rail gave up on most freight after a last try with intermodal service way back around 1970. The cost of transloading wipes out the energy savings.

We are the only major nation for which a 100% privatized rail network moves all our heavy, low-value freight, and moves it efficiently, although our neighbors to the north have shown the good sense to "privatize" Canadian National (and acquire a few American partners) some years ago. Several former Eastern Bloc systems have hired American consultants to counsel their own privatization.

Most of the much-ballyhooed High Speed Rail is either underwitten by the class-conscious structure of European sociey, where motor fuel is heavily taxed as a"luxury". The young and the impressionable are going to find out, one way or another, that their fantasy carries a high prce tag.

Still, I reiterate, in the relativly small areas where population density makes highway development is the best solution. Short-distance Amtrak service in California is a fine example. But the costs of breaking the major obstacles cited in my previous post are very high. In addition to the Tehachapi problem cited previously, the "Coast Route" faces similar problems at both Santa Susana and Paso Robles.

If you want your little HSR toy so badly, why not convince the private sector to finance it? (Oh i know, -- You only accuse someone of "greed" for safeguarding his own assets; but you'll protest lond and long if Big Brother makes plans for any of yours.) It's the pattern for young, naive, spoiled freeloaders everywhere.

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 06-05-2013 at 04:12 AM..
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