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Old 01-21-2009, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
5,915 posts, read 7,086,025 times
Reputation: 948

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
And given the choice between growing food and not flying or starving but flying, which choice makes the most sense? (Granted, that's an extreme point - but you see the underlying flaw in their logic).
Yeah extreme and inaccurate since the Boeing research is on algae based biofuels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
High Speed Rail, or any electrified rail, has a substantial fixed cost.

However, delaying the transition to an electrified rail system because we "may" have alternatives that allow for the fuel wasting automobile and airplane to stretch out the dwindling supplies of hydrocarbon fuels is contrary to reason.
Reason would dictate that we take the low cost renewable path. You have not made any argument at all that nationwide high speed rail makes any economic sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
And population density is not a deterrent to rail. In fact, reviving the old ROWs will reinvigorate the many small towns that went dormant with the demise of rail, following the 1960s and 1970s.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What would be the economic basis of these 'reinvigorated rail'? What would the people do for a living?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
Based on a finite amount of fuel / power, budgeting that fuel to move the most cargo and passengers for the least amount of fuel makes sense.
No the technology that provides the lowest total cost including capital, operating and externality costs.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:39 AM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,117 posts, read 9,205,456 times
Reputation: 8988
Quote:
Originally Posted by rlchurch View Post
1. Yeah extreme and inaccurate since the Boeing research is on algae based biofuels.

2. Reason would dictate that we take the low cost renewable path. You have not made any argument at all that nationwide high speed rail makes any economic sense.

3. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What would be the economic basis of these 'reinvigorated rail'? What would the people do for a living?

4. No the technology that provides the lowest total cost including capital, operating and externality costs.
1. Okay - I was using the corn conundrum as my example for bio-foolishness.

2. "Low cost" in money or energy consumption?
I am basing my comparisons on this site. (http://strickland.ca/efficiency.html - broken link)
High speed rail (faster than 100 MPH) is still more energy efficient per cargo or passenger mile than aircraft.
After reading many suggestions and reviewing older rail lines, it is important to segregate slow heavy freight from fast light passenger trains. And also kick the Federal Railroad Administration in the arse.

3. Inexpensive transportation of goods and services always enhances trade and builds prosperity. For example, land locked Atlanta was a railroad hub for many rail lines. There was little else to recommend it as a candidate for a "big city". As you trace the rail lines outward, you will see town, after small town. Before the rise of the automobile, these train towns were the economic centers of their areas. Shopping districts, professional offices, freight distribution, and so forth.

Some of the poorest areas of NE Alabama (ex: Fort Payne) are on old train ROWs. I suspect as rail comes back into preeminence, those forgotten towns will regain some measure of prosperity.

4. "Lowest cost" can be a deceptive measure - especially when "finance" (usury) is involved. Before 1910, electric rail was the rising star. It was the most cost effective means to implement moderate speed passenger service - especially the interurbans. After 1914, and the imposition of income taxation, and then "cheap and plentiful petroleum" nibbled away at the "economics" of electric rail.
Now? We know that "cheap and plentiful petroleum" is gone. And if we can cut back on taxation, we may be able to afford rebuilding our rail network.
I would rather not give public funding to rail, and just grant it ZERO TAX LIABILITY. Let private enterprise invest and implement mass transit to serve the most passengers, and maximize profits at lowest cost.

19th Century solution for 21st century problem
" Especially for long-haul freight, steel wheel on steel rail is a far superior technology, and its eclipse by rubber wheels is mostly the result of special interest politics, ill-considered public policies, and other factors that have nothing to do with efficiency."

Interurban Electric Rail Service
" In the early 1900s, interurban transportation was very popular in both rural areas and cities. Electric cars offered greater acceleration and lower cost with higher frequency and more stops than mainline steam."
(Diesel-Electric Locomotives did not come into mainline service until after 1940s)

Interurban Essay
" In many cases, a permanent role for the interurban as a public service could have been found. However, the fixed costs represented by the investment in land, roadway, electrification and equipment, coupled with the fact that taxes, often heavy, had to be paid on all these facilities, made the enterprise unremunerative, and so there was no incentive for private capital to undertake the job. This has remained the case, and there is now no comparable public transport that is not tax-supported and heavily subsidized, including all transit even within cities, by rail or road. There is now no rural public transport at all, private or tax-supported, except for very thin bus services on main highways."

Inspiring photos of rail

P.S. - I forgot one thing about a nationwide high speed rail network - UPS and FedEx would be customers from Day One. Especially since their business is sensitive to jet fuel price increases.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:07 AM
 
4,089 posts, read 4,597,840 times
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Two words: Population Density.

The rest is just chatter.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Washington DC
5,915 posts, read 7,086,025 times
Reputation: 948
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewMexicanRepublican View Post
Two words: Population Density.

The rest is just chatter.
Absolutely. We need to do a better job of high speed rail in this country, but thinking that a European style system makes sense here is just naive.

The east coats and west coasts are fertile areas for expanded transit, but the truth of AMTRAK today is that they make their money on the northeastern corridor and **** away all the profit serving Midwestern cities. They would do much better to focus their efforts on the two coasts.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:29 AM
 
113 posts, read 154,481 times
Reputation: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by backfist View Post
That article's perfect. And it's precisely what I'm talking about.
The link by sukwoo that's in basckfist's post, about rail transportation efficiency, is a real mind opener. It should be required reading for every American! Will that happen? Given the scale of upheaval we may yet experience, anything's possible, right? I hope.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,520 posts, read 11,972,763 times
Reputation: 3820
Quote:
Originally Posted by thotful1 View Post
The link by sukwoo that's in basckfist's post, about rail transportation efficiency, is a real mind opener. It should be required reading for every American! Will that happen? Given the scale of upheaval we may yet experience, anything's possible, right? I hope.
Yeah, its one of the most enlightening articles on transportation that I've read in quite a while.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:38 AM
 
1 posts, read 964 times
Reputation: 10
High speed rail is good to everyone.
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
2,290 posts, read 4,947,388 times
Reputation: 784
Quote:
Originally Posted by rlchurch View Post
Absolutely. We need to do a better job of high speed rail in this country, but thinking that a European style system makes sense here is just naive.

The east coats and west coasts are fertile areas for expanded transit, but the truth of AMTRAK today is that they make their money on the northeastern corridor and **** away all the profit serving Midwestern cities. They would do much better to focus their efforts on the two coasts.
I'm thinking that expanded transit efforts on the east and west coasts is focusing efforts on regions that probably can't sustain additional growth. It's the interior portions of the country that could benefit from expanded transit. In other words, build it and they will come.
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
5,915 posts, read 7,086,025 times
Reputation: 948
Quote:
Originally Posted by backfist View Post
I'm thinking that expanded transit efforts on the east and west coasts is focusing efforts on regions that probably can't sustain additional growth. It's the interior portions of the country that could benefit from expanded transit. In other words, build it and they will come.
Our east and west coasts are a fraction of the density of Europe and Asia. There are huge tracks available.
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Old 01-23-2009, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,556,197 times
Reputation: 35864
Years ago, I picked up a really nice coffee-table book off a remainder table, 'The Railroad Atlas of the World". One thing I remember from it: The USA has the reputation for having the worst-maintained tracks and rail bed in the world.
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