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Old 06-19-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukwoo View Post
BTW, here is a relevant article about the advantages of rail transportation, both for freight and for passengers.
Good article. My grandfather was a train man - worked for SP for decades - and oh, how he hated trucks. Used to say that they ruined the freight industry and the freeways at the same time. I tend to agree. It seems like I've heard of more fatal accidents involving semis than anything else, though I have no stats to back that up. I do know that everytime I have to repair or replace my windshield it's thanks to some lame truck. And I can only imagine the damage they do to the roads with all that weight, going 80 mph in the fast lane.
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Old 06-19-2009, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Tijuana Exurbs
4,003 posts, read 10,455,145 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treedonkey View Post
And I can only imagine the damage they do to the roads with all that weight, going 80 mph in the fast lane.
80 mph in the fast lane?!?!? Only in my dreams!

Semis on the I-5 in the California Central Valley go 60 mph with one truck drafting behind the other. Then the one in back decides it's time for it to be in front, so it pulls into the fast lane and at 62 mph ever so slowly passes the other truck to pull in front. In the mean time 15 cars have to slow down to 62 mph to wait for this 5 to 10 minute process to complete itself....


As to the point at hand. As others have said, Rail travel only makes sense over mid and short range distances: The Bos-Wash corridor for example. Though with the expansion of the populations of VA, NC, & FL it probably would make sense to extend it all the way down to Miami. Rail travel might make sense around the Great Lakes with its already large population, and in Texas as it's population is booming, and perhaps in certain areas along the West Coast. However, it would be uneconomical, and time-consumptive to connect these regional networks across the empty expanses of the Intermountain West and the Great Plains. The distances are just too great to ever compete with air travel.

And as a previous poster said, if we would just spend the money to straighten out, and improve the crossings in our urban areas, the trains could go a lot faster and become more time competitive. It would require the building of a lot of infrastructure such as subgrade viaducts for the trains to travel in urban areas. And it would probably require a lot of eminent domain to straighten out the routes. Expensive in the near term, but over the coming centuries probably well worth it.

Last edited by kettlepot; 06-19-2009 at 03:39 PM..
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,522 posts, read 12,295,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kettlepot View Post
And as a previous poster said, if we would just spend the money to straighten out, and improve the crossings in our urban areas, the trains could go a lot faster and become more time competitive. It would require the building of a lot of infrastructure such as subgrade viaducts for the trains to travel in urban areas. And it would probably require a lot of eminent domain to straighten out the routes. Expensive in the near term, but over the coming centuries probably well worth it.
What's also expensive is widening expressways in congested urban areas. Also expensive is expanding airports (especially when you have to fight NIMBYs!)
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,749 posts, read 9,859,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treedonkey View Post
Good article. My grandfather was a train man - worked for SP for decades - and oh, how he hated trucks. Used to say that they ruined the freight industry and the freeways at the same time. I tend to agree. It seems like I've heard of more fatal accidents involving semis than anything else, though I have no stats to back that up. I do know that everytime I have to repair or replace my windshield it's thanks to some lame truck. And I can only imagine the damage they do to the roads with all that weight, going 80 mph in the fast lane.
Road damage is roughly proportional to the fourth power of the axle load. A 20,000 lb axle causes 16 times as much damage as a 10,000 axle, and 160,000 times as much damage as a 1,000 lb axle (wider tires mitigate the effect slightly). 99% of the traffic damage to roads and highways comes from trucks and buses.
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treedonkey View Post
Interestingly, I interviewed my grandmother a few years ago and she told me that her father was a streetcar driver in Pueblo, CO in the early 1900's. When I expressed surprise that even a small town had it's own public rail line. she said, "Oh, of course, that's how you got around town". Cars just weren't a viable option for common folk until the 1920's or so, which is when the old streetcars started going defunct.

That just serves as further assurance to me that nothing will really change about our transit system until independent auto traffic becomes prohibitively expensive for most people.
The Streetcar Conspiracy - How General Motors Deliberately Destroyed Public Transit (http://saveourwetlands.org/streetcar.htm - broken link)
GM killed [public transit] by employing a host of anti-competitive devices, which, like National City Lines, debased rail transit and promoted auto sales.

This is not about a "plot" hatch by wild-eyed corporate rogues, but rather about a consummate business strategy crafted by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., the MIT-trained genius behind General Motors, to expand auto sales and maximize profits by eliminating streetcars. In 1922, according to GM's own files, Sloan established a special unit within the corporation, which was charged, among other things, with the task of replacing America's electric railways with cars, trucks and buses.

A year earlier, in 1921, GM lost $65 million, leading Sloan to conclude that the auto market was saturated, that those who desired cars already owned them, and that the only way to increase GM's sales and restore its profitability was by eliminating its principal rival: electric railways.
------------------

When GM goes out of business completely, the ghost trains will cheer.
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kettlepot View Post
It would require the building of a lot of infrastructure such as subgrade viaducts for the trains to travel in urban areas. And it would probably require a lot of eminent domain to straighten out the routes. Expensive in the near term, but over the coming centuries probably well worth it.
Automobile based urban and suburban design will have to drastically change. For inspiration, look at expansion strategies of the 1890-1910 period. In those days, the STREETCAR created the suburbs - not the automobile.

Streetcar suburb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And contrary to the popular belief that you need high population density to support rail mass transit, in the 1890-1920 period, over 500 urban streetcar systems were in operation in the U.S.A. And in towns that didn't have a dedicated streetcar network, they were often served by interurbans.
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
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Originally Posted by sukwoo View Post
What's also expensive is widening expressways in congested urban areas.
By some estimates, a single railroad track has the equivalent passenger carrying capacity of a nine - lane superhighway.

A four track urban rail corridor is the equivalent to a 36 lane expressway - at a fraction of the surface area.

(NYC's mass transit relies on 4 tracks - two local, two express)
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:40 PM
 
Location: The Land of Reason
13,300 posts, read 10,505,314 times
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Thanks for the input!
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