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Old 04-20-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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Yes, we used DC's Metro subway a lot. It's the only way to go as far as getting around DC.

To some extent, we added extra time to our commuting schedule as it takes longer to walk to the bus stop, take a bus to the subway stop, get a train, then transfer to another train to get to the desired stop. For one person it's cheaper to take the subway, and if one lives in DC proper, it can negate owning a car, as the subway does in Manhattan for at least 25% of that population.

The real issue for the USA is that we have to really "build rail build now" if we are to be ready for that day when oil becomes too scarce and pricey to use as auto fuel, though I do hope that battery-powered cars come along a lot sooner.

IMO it will take 50 years to rebuild a viable national rail passenger/subway network in this country, one that can get you from DIA, into Denver, thence along the Front Range from Cheyenne to Pueblo, and up into the High Country. Not to mention building the Denver RTD out to areas that are now just a glimmer in the eyes of our planners. Then do that for all of our major cities and corridors. Fifty years to do it right. In the process we'll put millions to work on building it. Every dollar spent will churn 7-fold through our economy.

If we don't do this, we face a form of impoverishment and indentured servitude at the hands of the automobile.
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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A high-speed or other commuter train system from the Springs to Denver would be awesome if done right. I wouldn't be so hesitant to check the Denver are job market or transfer to a position up there if there were a train system. That I-25 commute by car just isn't going to happen for me unless I got laid off and absolutely couldn't find a job here in CS. I'm sure a lot of folks who live here or Castle Rock, whatever, would jump at a system like this.
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
I have been on a train and I hated it.

If I want to travel 5 hours or less I will drive anything over that I will be on a plane. Its so much faster and easier. Why would I want to spend 16 or more hours on a train to Florida when I can be there in less then 4?

That being said I would support local train service to say Denver or Salida from Pueblo but that is all I would consider using a train for. Even then that is only if I have a cabin in Salida and am able to keep a car there that I can use when I go.

As far as how long planes will be the preferred mode of transportation, nothing is forever. That being said, until something is developed that is faster most Americans will still fly.


If you prefer the train great! Have fun on your train, I will wave from my window seat as I fly past you!
That is b/c rail in the US pretty much sucks. Thus the reason behind this post and discussion
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
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Originally Posted by bproven View Post
That is b/c rail in the US pretty much sucks. Thus the reason behind this post and discussion
I take more of a holistic view as I am for mass transit as long as it works with the automobile and planes. I just don't see it overtaking the car or the plane as the primary source of transportation for the majority of Americans, at least in my lifetime.
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bproven View Post
That is b/c rail in the US pretty much sucks. Thus the reason behind this post and discussion
That's true, but even in most of Europe, driving is usually quicker, easier, and sometimes even cheaper than taking the train. Haven't been to Germany or Switzerland though, so that may be a different story.

I'm not putting down rail travel, but so far very few, if any countries, have really gotten it right, so it may not be as easy as 'just build a better rail system'. It's worth trying though and I'd ride it if it was viable.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by treedonkey View Post
I'm not putting down rail travel, but so far very few, if any countries, have really gotten it right, so it may not be as easy as 'just build a better rail system'. It's worth trying though and I'd ride it if it was viable.
That's wrong. There was a country that pretty much "got it right." It was the United States. Then we let the highway and automobile lobbies and their attendant bureaucracy kill what was then the best passenger rail system on the planet.

If we had a passenger rail system in this country as convenient and as extensive as what was available in, say, 1920-1940, it would be the envy of the world--and that would be without expensive high-speed rail corridors. James Kunstler's blog this week addresses this ( James Howard Kunstler ):

Quote:
If Mr. Obama doesn't get with a better program, then we are going to face a Long Emergency as grueling as the French Revolution. One very plain and straightforward example at hand is the announcement last week of a plan to build a high speed rail network. To be blunt about it, this is perfectly ****ing stupid. It will require a whole new track network, because high speed trains can't run on the old rights of way with their less forgiving curve ratios and grades. We would be so much better off simply fixing up and reactivating the normal-speed track system that is sitting out there rusting in the rain -- and save our more grandiose visions for a later time.

I don't like to be misunderstood. With the airlines in a business death spiral, and mass motoring doomed, we need a national passenger rail system desperately. But we already have one that used to be the envy of the world before we abandoned it. And we don't have either the time or the resources to build a new parallel network.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:32 PM
 
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If I were king, a lot of "rail trails" that we now use for enjoyment would be taken back and returned to active railroading.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
10,306 posts, read 11,759,798 times
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Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
That's wrong. There was a country that pretty much "got it right." It was the United States. Then we let the highway and automobile lobbies and their attendant bureaucracy kill what was then the best passenger rail system on the planet.

If we had a passenger rail system in this country as convenient and as extensive as what was available in, say, 1920-1940, it would be the envy of the world--and that would be without expensive high-speed rail corridors. James Kunstler's blog this week addresses this ( James Howard Kunstler ):
That was before the plane and car. Why would anyone want to take a train from Colorado Springs to Orlando when you can take a plane in a fraction of the time?
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:43 PM
 
17,328 posts, read 24,408,950 times
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Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
That was before the plane and car. Why would anyone want to take a train from Colorado Springs to Orlando when you can take a plane in a fraction of the time?
I wouldn't go to Orlando for any reason, but I'd take the train to the west coast in a heartbeat.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:55 PM
 
8,124 posts, read 16,029,596 times
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Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
That was before the plane and car. Why would anyone want to take a train from Colorado Springs to Orlando when you can take a plane in a fraction of the time?
Because, like so many brainwashed Americans, you don't understand the tradeoff. Air travel became feasible as a mode of middle-class transportation because Americans were willing to trade speed for fuel-inefficiency. That was an OK tradeoff when fuel was cheap. Now, despite massive direct and indirect government subsidies, the American airline industry is going bankrupt. It faces the insurmountable problem that if it charges enough to make a profit, it can't attract enough passengers; if it charges little enough to attract enough passengers, it can't make a profit.

The tradeoff with the automobile was convenience versus fuel inefficiency--plus a massive taxpayer-supported infrastructure. Again, that sort of made sense (but not really) when fuel was cheap and the infrastructure was new. Now, fuel is no longer cheap, the infrastructure is old, crumbling, and nearly impossible to maintain--and these problems will only get worse.

Rail, on the other hand, is much cheaper to build and maintain (compared to roads), is several times more fuel efficient, and can use fuel sources that air--in particular--can not. Moreover, it uses technology that is well-tested and can be deployed right now, not some pie-in-the-sky technology that may take years or decades to develop.

As I posted earlier, you act like you may have a choice in the future. You may not--it may be take a train or don't go at all.

The other reason is purely aesthetic, and one that few automobile/airline brainwashed Americans get: The journey is as important and enjoyable as the destination. So what if it takes awhile to get there--getting there is half (or more) of the fun.

I saw this in a travel agency years ago:

Quote:
There are three ways that you can travel--fast, cheap, and good. You may pick any two.

You can travel fast and good, but it won't be cheap.

You can travel cheap and good, but it won't be fast.

You can travel cheap and fast, but it won't be good.
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