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Old 02-14-2011, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 89,279,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pirate_lafitte View Post
What infrastructure costs?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pirate_lafitte View Post
Even if it is kind of expensive, the system currently in place is outdated and wouldn't be helpful for me.
Public policy doesn't revolve around what's helpful for you personally.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:15 PM
 
551 posts, read 997,852 times
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I think America should implement HSR but I think it is only feasible on the Bos-Wash corridor and only between major cities like NYC, Philly, Boston, Washington DC.

One thing though that might get in the way is that if we are talking about high speed rail, I think it would cost less if they used a maglev train and the maintanence costs would be less than steel rail.

One problem I think though for high speed rail is that if there is a very heavy train carrying 2000 passengers going 300 mph, I don't think that would be good if it actually stopped in a big city like NYC proper because what would happen if the train malfunctioned and it is a runaway train that won't stop? Many tons of steel smashing into Manhattan's buildings at 300 mph will not be very pretty, it would probably do more damage than an airplane did on 9/11. So they would have to make it stop just outside of the city to prevent collateral damage then take another train into the city core that goes at a slower speed. So I am not sure if it will be as fast as it seems but then again taking a taxi from any airport to their respective cities still takes a long time too and still may be faster to just use HSR to get to your destination overall than it takes to do the whole airport business.

It wouldn't work to do a cross country HSR. Only certain areas but I think the most feasible is the Bos-Wash corridor. I don't even think a California one would work very well since it sprawls too much.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:18 PM
 
Location: The City
22,341 posts, read 32,197,706 times
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It would be underground if built through the major urban areas - but love the idea of getting from CC Philly to the center of Manhattan in 40 minutes

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Old 02-14-2011, 08:43 PM
 
551 posts, read 997,852 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
It would be underground if built through the major urban areas - but love the idea of getting from CC Philly to the center of Manhattan in 40 minutes
If the transit stop for the HSR was built underground in NYC, did they consider what would happen if a full speed crash of a full length and weight train would do to Manhattan? Or if two full speed trains crashed head on (unless it is not single tracked and there are never more than one train on any track anywhere at the same time) underneath Manhattan? I really hope that wouldn't case a massive earthquake and cave-in that leads to terrible death and destruction far worse than 9/11.

I like the idea of going to Penn station directly, but I just hope if the absolute worst case scenario of having an underground train crash at full speed head-on will not be absolutely catastrophic to cause something bad that would devestate Manhattan or any other city on the route.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:57 PM
 
Location: The City
22,341 posts, read 32,197,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKFire108 View Post
If the transit stop for the HSR was built underground in NYC, did they consider what would happen if a full speed crash of a full length and weight train would do to Manhattan? Or if two full speed trains crashed head on (unless it is not single tracked and there are never more than one train on any track anywhere at the same time) underneath Manhattan? I really hope that wouldn't case a massive earthquake and cave-in that leads to terrible death and destruction far worse than 9/11.

I like the idea of going to Penn station directly, but I just hope if the absolute worst case scenario of having an underground train crash at full speed head-on will not be absolutely catastrophic to cause something bad that would devestate Manhattan or any other city on the route.

The trains are already underground in NYC
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:12 AM
 
3,263 posts, read 4,677,534 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
Because those tracks aren't just there to serve Amtrak. They're there to carry freight around the country. Not only do those Amtrak trains have to share rail space with freight trains, but the freight trains have priority. True HSR needs its own track/right-of-way, and it makes the most sense where there is short-ish distances between major population centers. That's why it works well in Japan and Korea and much of Europe but doesn't make much sense in the interior West.
Also, let's not be at all unclear about the importance of freight rail transportation: it's by far the most efficient way of transporting goods overland, America has probably the most efficient and environmentally-friendly freight distribution system in the world (Canada is good too), it is already running profitably with absolutely nothing in the way of operating subsidies, and it would be severely threatened by HSR that isn't on dedicated tracks.

In a country America's size, if you were given the alternative and chose HSR over freight rail, you should be fully aware you are NOT doing it to advance any environmental benefit, but rather to satisfy your own personal preferences.
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:28 AM
 
41 posts, read 80,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKFire108 View Post
One thing though that might get in the way is that if we are talking about high speed rail, I think it would cost less if they used a maglev train and the maintanence costs would be less than steel rail.
Maglev would be far, far more expensive to develop and install. It's not a tech that is ready for primetime right now, and even if we did spend decades developing it, we don't know what the operating costs would be. Steel on steel is proven.

Quote:
One problem I think though for high speed rail is that if there is a very heavy train carrying 2000 passengers going 300 mph, I don't think that would be good if it actually stopped in a big city like NYC proper because what would happen if the train malfunctioned and it is a runaway train that won't stop? Many tons of steel smashing into Manhattan's buildings at 300 mph will not be very pretty, it would probably do more damage than an airplane did on 9/11. So they would have to make it stop just outside of the city to prevent collateral damage then take another train into the city core that goes at a slower speed. So I am not sure if it will be as fast as it seems but then again taking a taxi from any airport to their respective cities still takes a long time too and still may be faster to just use HSR to get to your destination overall than it takes to do the whole airport business.
You're almost getting at one of the most significant benefits of HSR but not quite seeing it:

HSR takes you from city center to city center. Airports are usually located away from city centers, but a rail station can be absolutely anywhere given the space and funding. What you are missing is that HSR does not need to travel at hundreds of miles per hour through cities, it can travel at conventional speeds for those segments of the journey, and then speed up for the less populated spans between city centers.

In CA, the HSR line would slow down when it got to LA proper, and then take you straight to Union Station, which--trust me--is a much better first impression for visitors to the area than LAX. Hopefully enhanced security and ticketing procedures don't spoil its charm :/

Quote:

It wouldn't work to do a cross country HSR. Only certain areas but I think the most feasible is the Bos-Wash corridor. I don't even think a California one would work very well since it sprawls too much.
You're right that it will never work for distances beyond a few hundred miles. I do think, however, that LA-SF or LA-LV are prime examples where HSR would shine.

The question of whether it will ever happen is up for debate. Gas prices will probably dictate the speed of development for alternatives to flying and driving, though I wish car congestion, including in and around airports, also were a bigger factor.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Southeast
4,296 posts, read 6,276,861 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
I still don't understand why rail is the only form of transportation in the US that is expected to run at a profit, or without government subsidies.
I never understood this either. The biggest railroads run operating ratios in the 70-80% range, just 3 decades ago it was as high as 90%. Even the freight haulers have to devote a huge portion of their income to covering operating costs. Passenger trains are even more expensive per unit, not to mention the exponential rise in liability and insurance issues when passengers are transported.

Thus far, the way the federal government has handled HSR has been an epic failure. Back when the stimulus came out, what money was devoted to HSR was divided among 200 pet projects instead of building any dedicated lines. The feds basically expected the states, who were already suffering the worst fiscal crisis in decades, to pick up the remaining tab. Few states were capable of matching the funds, and most projects did not even get off the drawing board.

Look at when the Interstate system was first conceived, the federal government provided 100% of the necessary funding. None of this matching funds from the states nonsense. Had they tried getting the states to pay, there might never have been Interstates in the South or across the Plains states. Funding the new highways would have bankrupted them. HSR must be funded up front by the federal government if there is to be any success in the project, no state matching that caused the initial failure.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Orlando Metro Area
3,599 posts, read 5,850,790 times
Reputation: 2342
Scott says no to $2.4 billion in high-speed rail cash

Florida will not be the first state with HSR, actually based on the idiotic thinking of our state's new Governor, Florida will not get a line until it can "pay for itself." So I guess Obama won't be back down to "ride it" after all, sorry Mr. Pres
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
32,392 posts, read 55,232,782 times
Reputation: 15488
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrlFlaUsa View Post
Scott says no to $2.4 billion in high-speed rail cash

Florida will not be the first state with HSR, actually based on the idiotic thinking of our state's new Governor, Florida will not get a line until it can "pay for itself." So I guess Obama won't be back down to "ride it" after all, sorry Mr. Pres
Is there anything wrong with wanting the system to be self-sustaining?

As Ive stated earlier, public transit everywhere is almost totally subsidized by taxpayers.

I actually think Florida and the NE are the only 2 regions that genuinely have a need for high speed rail in the US, and perhaps Los Angeles-Las Vegas but we need to verify that they are financially viable first.
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