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Old 02-04-2009, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,763 posts, read 9,877,999 times
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Here's a plea suitable for internet connected people.
In your town, county or state, can you find out what was the maximum mileage of track for streetcars, interurbans, and heavy rail? And if you can add any other pertinent data, such as the names of the private rail transit companies.

If the data is on the net, give the link, too.
======================
Ex:
The Columbus Dispatch : When streetcars ruled
"In streetcars' heyday in the 1920s, more than 700 miles of track crisscrossed the region."

Location: Columbus, Ohio. Track: 700 miles.

=======================


What's the goal?
[] Education - learn the details of what was the major mode of transportation before the rise of petroleum.
[] Scale - how much track served a specific area and population.
[] Vision - imagine how much we lost, and how much we need to rebuild.
[] Accounting - what damage to our serenity, health and safety we endured in exchange for the loss of the streetcar.

And if we come to a consensus that rebuilding a robust electric rail mass transit system is desirable, we can better inform our legislators and administrators of the people's will.

Assuming that a streetcar line costs $1 million per mile, how much "stimulus" can we build? One estimate is that streetcar systems totaled 34,404 miles by 1907. For $34.404 Billion, we can rebuild them. Of course, the nation has grown. So let's double the mileage - and the pricetag to $69 Billion. That's a pittance compared to the 800 Billion that Congress is arguing about. And the long term benefits are outstanding - cut back on petroleum imports - reduce air pollution - eliminate traffic congestion - reduce resource consumption - reduce highway construction - improve the environment - and generate employment.

( We only want government's help to build and maintain the track. Let private companies operate the trains. That would level the field - since government subsidizes the roads used by cars, buses, and trucks. And no common carrier could monopolize a route or prevent competition.)

Before petroleum's rise, there were boats and railroads.
After petroleum's demise, there will be boats and electric railroads.
We must plan accordingly.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:53 PM
 
5,116 posts, read 4,637,611 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
Assuming that a streetcar line costs $1 million per mile...
If it was only one million dollars per mile...

The actual cost for light rail starts out at a minimum of 15 million dollars per mile, with Seattle's cost topping out at $179 million per mile. The average cost for light rail in the United States (excluding Seattle) actually works out to $35 million per mile.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,763 posts, read 9,877,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
If it was only one million dollars per mile...

The actual cost for light rail starts out at a minimum of 15 million dollars per mile, with Seattle's cost topping out at $179 million per mile. The average cost for light rail in the United States (excluding Seattle) actually works out to $35 million per mile.
I concur. "Gold Plated" light rail isn't in the same league as el cheapo streetcar track, on the road, not in segregated ROWs.

An example of "real world" pricing for an interurban by a civil engineer:
Transportation Electrification, electric transit, electric railways - Light Rail Now
"I got ten miles of electrification, signals, and new rail for $2.5 million thanks to LTK's prudent estimates with my limitation on how fancy they could get. For example, I told them to use wood poles, but Reading demanded steel on the main line. I got wood on the single track.

As I've noted, it cost $2.5 million. Today, it would be approximately six times that - perhaps $15 million for ten miles of catenary, new rail, and signals. "
That's roughly $1.5 million / mile.

With today's new automated tools and track laying machines, the cost would probably be even lower for a large project with economies of scale.

I will stipulate that teeny stretches of track, laid with boutique trim, and hostage to politicians, will be an elephant built to mouse specifications.

If BHO was "serious" about "stimulus", instituting a nationwide program to build 69,000 miles of urban streetcar tracks would create jobs galore, provide the alternative transportation mode for when petroleum is too expensive / unavailable, and improve the environment.
Shucks, we might start prospering when we stop importing 70% of our oil.
Let's not forget electrifying mainline railroads, and improving navigable waterways.


Why we can't "drill our way to the solution" ...
In 2007 consumption rates
1 million barrels of oil = one hour U.S. consumption
1 billion barrels of oil = one month U.S. consumption
1 trillion barrels of oil = one human lifetime ...
The ANWR field in Alaska, for example, has about 20 billion barrels, or 20 months of supply for the U.S.
The U.S.A. has the legacy of being a big country that was once "king of oil". Problem is, although the U.S.A. lost the crown in the 1970s, 30 years later, it still has not lost the mindset. And now we import 70% percent of our oil. We can't afford to remain oil junkies. And there is no alternative that can supply the equivalent of 24 million barrels / day 'habit'.
($1.2 Billion / day @ $50 / barrel is bad, but when the oil hits $100 / barrel - - - oh my)
That leaves us few options - convert to electrified rail ASAP - or self destruct.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:42 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,325 posts, read 7,001,392 times
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Agreed. You make an interesting point, jet. And yes, the average light rail costs are skewed because they are usually overbuilt. A bare bones system with no bells and whistles (figuratively, not literally) would bring down costs tremendously. But...is that what people would want?
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:35 AM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,763 posts, read 9,877,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by projectmaximus View Post
Agreed. You make an interesting point, jet. And yes, the average light rail costs are skewed because they are usually overbuilt. A bare bones system with no bells and whistles (figuratively, not literally) would bring down costs tremendously. But...is that what people would want?
http://www.city-data.com/forum/6960665-post1.html

I think people would want a robust streetcar, interurban, and heavy rail network, powered by domestic electricity. I have yet to hear of any widespread negative criticism regarding the European or Japanese rail mass transit systems.

The problem is that many proposals for light rail are puny "demonstration" showcases that don't offer the service coverage that the old streetcar systems provided. And most are designed from the point of view that automobiles will be dominant, and therefore yield to them. Such plans should be scrapped.

We're past the point where rail has to "prove" itself worthy. And unless there is some technological breakthrough, petroleum dependent transportation is going to scale back - a lot. In fact, we should assume that in five years, automobile usage will be down 20% if not more. That translates into a lot of potential passengers who will need alternative transport. (230 million cars in operation reduced to 184 million cars).

I would be very pleased if we cut out all petroleum imports. That would save America at least $306 billion per year in foreign exchange. But that would mean that automobile use would scale down to 68 million equivalent cars or less for over 300 million people. (Assuming domestic oil production can keep up.)

Obviously this drop in demand is going to bring down "Big Auto" - which may be blessing in disguise. The petroleum fueled automobile is an endangered species, whether gasoline, diesel or hybrid. The Age of Oil is about over.

We are about to re-enter the electric rail age. Streetcars, light rail, interurban, funiculars, cog wheel, and any other variation that will move people and cargo for the lowest cost in resources.

Frankly, to really do it right, would require parallel efforts at rebuilding urban networks, electrifying heavy rail, and high population density development near streetcar rights of way. Such a comprehensive program will take decades to fully implement. Which would make it ideal for long term economic stimulus.

Since politicians are incapable of intelligent behavior, it's up to us to spread the word and change direction before it's too late.

strickland.ca - transportation energy efficiency (fuel consumption) (http://strickland.ca/efficiency.html - broken link)
" A transportation system that relies on a "non-renewable" resource is bound for collapse - the only question is whether we adapt in time, not whether we need to adapt. "
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Greater PDX
1,018 posts, read 3,731,366 times
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Rail transit: Progress through regressing 100 years.

Coming next, Conestoga wagons.
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,763 posts, read 9,877,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Shaft View Post
Rail transit: Progress through regressing 100 years.

Coming next, Conestoga wagons.
LOL
Don't misunderstand my laughter. I, too, assumed that America stopped using "old fashioned" rail transport because of "progress".
But according to the laws of Physics, steel wheel on steel rail is the optimal land transport mode. Lowest coefficient of rolling resistance (less energy wasted) and takes up less surface area. Electrified rail is the best, for efficiency, performance, speed, and capacity.

I also agree that the bureaucracy of the Federal Railway Administration has regressed American railroads, in contrast to other nations.

This site has some cogent info, from a European perspective, on America's dilemma.
Passenger Rail for the Shasta Route: Table of Contents

The Age of Oil or more accurately, the Age of Cheap and Plentiful Oil, encouraged solutions that were more wasteful of energy. Now, we're facing the remainder of the 21st century with the difficult task to examine our past solutions that were frugal BECAUSE there was no cheap and plentiful fuel.

I sincerely wish that we could find a renewable resource to replace the potent chemical energy contained in petroleum, but I don't see that happening - not at the consumption rates that we're accustomed to... 12 billion barrels / year - and rising, if we're to accommodate economic growth.
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,763 posts, read 9,877,999 times
Reputation: 9897
Location: ATLANTA, GA Track: 200 miles
New Streetcar Plans Dust Off History - 11Alive.com | WXIA | Atlanta, GA (http://www.11alive.com/news/article_news.aspx?storyid=110435 - broken link)
"Streetcars reached their peak in Atlanta in the 1920s with more than 200 miles of single track."

Guesstimating 600 miles for the 'new' streetcar network, at 2.5 million / mile, need to budget 1.5 billion Federal Reserve Notes.

Hmmmm. That's a bit out of the range of the local budget.
Now, if only we could use that $306 billion that we'd save on not buying imported oil...
(Approximately $1000 per capita)

Atlanta Metro population: 5,278,904 (2007)
Atlanta's share of the cost for imported oil: $5,278,904,000 for ONE YEAR.
5.2 BILLION
If that money was kept "at home" and paid for an electrified rail mass transit system...

[D'Oh!]

If everyone paid $84 / month for "fare free" mass transit, I think Atlanta Metro might afford a robust mass transit system.

Last edited by jetgraphics; 02-05-2009 at 09:06 PM..
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
2,405 posts, read 7,781,826 times
Reputation: 3626
I spent my youth in San Francisco in the 1950s-1970s, and it is one of the few cities in the US that has preserved nearly all of its municipal railway system that started up in the late 1800s. Although cable cars are the most famous part of the old transport system, the extensive street car lines that fan out from Market Street to many city neighborhoods are mostly intact. Along with streetcars SF has one of the largest electric trolley bus systems in the USA. I loved the trolley buses because they hum along almost silent and spew no pollution. The SF transportation system has saved countless millions of fuel expenses with the electric streetcars and trolley buses, compared to diesel bus based transport systems in other parts of the US.

Ever wonder what happened to the thousands of electric trolley buses made by the Marmon company in the 1940s and 1950s? Most are alive and well in Mexico City, where they have been rebuilt several times in the past decades and still roll along clean and quiet. Some of them have logged more distance than any other vehicles ever built, countless millions of miles, but the records are not perfect so they are not officially recognized. Too bad we can't build any more trolley bus lines here in the US, far cheaper than light rail or streetcar, but much quieter on city streets and more economical to run. Note: you would not want to live next to a streetcar line due to the noise. I lived along a trolley bus line and they are quieter than your car.
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:09 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,763 posts, read 9,877,999 times
Reputation: 9897
Quote:
Originally Posted by recycled View Post
Note: you would not want to live next to a streetcar line due to the noise. I lived along a trolley bus line and they are quieter than your car.
Do you happen to know what kind of streetcar was noisy?
Some have resilient rubber inner wheels that damp wheel noise (ex: PCC car).

On YouTube videos of European Trams, most were quiet, except occasional metallic screech from the wheels going around a sharp bend.
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