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Old 06-16-2009, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,153 posts, read 9,233,328 times
Reputation: 9033

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
Building it and the electrical supply system will just take time, money and resolve..
By some estimates, converting all mainline railroads to electric would only add 2 - 4% to the nation's grid load. (Depends on how much long haul trucking is diverted to electric rail).

Assuming that Americans "get it" and resolve to migrate as much passenger and cargo to electric rail, we would need alternative transportation for 70 - 80% of the automobiles currently in use.

List of countries by vehicles per capita - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
USA > 765 vehicles per 1000 people,
or 234,379,996 vehicles based on the estimated population of the United States : 306,379,081.

We would need to build transportation for at least 187,503,997 passengers.
Assuming 1000 passengers / day, we would need to build or buy 188 thousand passenger train cars to handle the load.

At $1.5 to $3 million / train car, it would cost $562 billions.

Though rail has a high initial cost, its lifespan is far longer than the automobile / road paradigm. If a car lasts ten years, and a train car lasts 50 - 100 - 150 years, it's a no-brainer to choose rail.

50 Year Advantage

On average, a single NYC rail car carries 1000 passengers / day. Assuming worst case: equivalent to commuters in 500 cars doing round trips. Over 50 years, we need 500 cars x 5 (10 yr. lifespan) versus 1 train car. Tracks also last far longer than asphalt and concrete roads.

$25k hybrid car x 500 x 5 (assuming no increase in retail price) = $62,500,000 (spent over 50 years) or approx. $1,250,000 / yr.
[Ignoring the rising cost for petroleum]
That's what an individual pays: $2,500 per year (approximation) for his "freedom"

1 train car = $1.5 million to $3 million
$3 million over 50 years is approx. $60,000 / yr. (or $60 / passenger per year)
If the car lasts 100 years, it drops to $30,000 / yr.

What do you think is the better deal, over the long term?

And if you flip the numbers around, you'll see why the oil-automobile-tire cartel spent time and $$$ to eliminate the electric rail competition, starting in the 1920s.

Reviving American rail would have a double benefit - not only a reduction in petroleum consumption (foreign oil) - but building trains, here, cuts down on imported automobiles, as well. A 70% reduction in automobiles, means a proportional reduction in auto sales. (Which is another reason why the public should not "save" GM nor Chrysler, they're heading for oblivion as the automobile supply contracts even more.)

Electric Rail IS the only viable solution to the problem of moving the most people and cargo, for the least cost in materials and fuel, and requiring the least amount of surface area.

Last edited by jetgraphics; 06-16-2009 at 01:08 PM..
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:56 AM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,153 posts, read 9,233,328 times
Reputation: 9033
From an ad blurb for a book on Electrification of America's Railroads.

For most of the first half of the 20th century the United States led the way in railroad electrification. Before the outbreak of World War II, the country had some 2,400 route-miles and more than 6,300 track-miles operating under electric power, far more than any other nation and more than 20 percent of the world’s total. In almost every instance, electrification was a huge success. Running times were reduced. Tonnage capacities were increased. Fuel and maintenance costs were lowered, and the service lives of electric locomotives promised to be twice as long as those of steam locomotives. Yet despite its many triumphs, electrification of U.S. railroads failed to achieve the wide application that once was so confidently predicted. By the 1970s, it was the Soviet Union, with almost 22,000 electrified route-miles, that led the way, and the U.S. had declined to 17th place.

Today, electric operation of U.S. railroads is back in the limelight. The federally funded Northeast Corridor Improvement Program has provided an expanded Northeast Corridor electrification, with high-speed trains that are giving the fastest rail passenger service ever seen in North America, while still other high-speed corridors are planned for other parts of the country. And with U.S. rail freight tonnage at its highest levels in history, the ability of electric locomotives to expand capacity promises to bring renewed consideration of freight railroad electrification.
===================================

No doubt the book will chronicle the impact that cheap and plentiful oil had on the industry. The change over to diesel-electric locomotives, after 1948, was due, in part, to the complexity of steam locomotives, and the increased horsepower of the new "hybrid" diesel locomotives.

For 2010 and beyond?
Diesel-Electric locomotives will lose their economic appeal, and electrified corridors will regain favor, as time goes on.

Electric trains - mainline, interurban, streetcars, subways, funiculars, and so on, will become the mainstay of American transportation for the remainder of the 21st century.
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Old 06-17-2009, 03:48 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
1,229 posts, read 2,555,160 times
Reputation: 1080
Ummm, in 1885, there was a profit motive, and rail companies in the U.S. were fighting over themselves to get rights of way. Oh, and by the way, for all the "rail is the be all and end all", folks, out there, the major rail corporations in the U.S., right up to the FDR Admin, had literally bought favor from their political masters, while the rail companies allowed the federal government to regulate them, especially in the area of passenger service. Until that great mind of European liberation, Dwight D. Eisenhower, came along, the railroads and sundry fellow-traveler politicians ruled the day, and our highway system sucked.

Passenger service regs were one of the many reasons why the Great Depression lasted as long as it did, in this country (amongst other hare brained socialist rules). Rail was important, back then, but the government made sure the railroads were first in line for subsidies and favors. Government intervention made sure the railroads continued to be a major political force, and benefactor of government intervantion within the U.S. economy. Don't p*** and my back, and tell me it's raining.

Many point to the Erie Canal as being a wonderful form of transportation in 19th C. America, and a major undertaking and public works project. It was.

So, why does the Burlington Northern get short thrift in American history books? They laid track all the way from, I dunno, Minnesota to the Pacific coast, all with private monies, against incredible odds. Oh, that's right, they were a for-profit enterprise and did everything on their own, including purchase of land without the use of eminent domain. Children in NY state public schools are taught the Erie Canal was akin to the Second Coming, and that it was the Irish who built the canal, which is a half-truth. The Burlington Northern, being an EEEEeeevil American corporation, is demonized in the history books. Funny, since they merged with the Santa Fe, some years ago, and appear to be doing fine.

Come on, for profit types and venture capitalists in this country are not falling over themselves, for high speed rail.

By the way, where would most of this publicly subsidized equipment come from, for HSR? Overseas. That's right, chances are not one American would be employed in the manufacture of HSR rail equipment, in our own country.

Sorry, thumb suckers, I'll keep driving and flying, for many years to come, like any other rational American and Westerner.

Show me where a private rail company could make a profit with HSR, electric rail, etc., anywhere in the U.S., and I might support it. Until that time, I'll be cooking along in my truck, comfortably, listening to my music, etc.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:09 PM
 
29,958 posts, read 15,270,291 times
Reputation: 15673
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardRoarke View Post
Ummm, in 1885, there was a profit motive, and rail companies in the U.S. were fighting over themselves to get rights of way.
The profit motive was to a large degree driven by the generous land grants provided on a per-mile-of-track basis by - the government.

Last edited by Dane_in_LA; 06-17-2009 at 02:11 PM.. Reason: Too broad. Replaced "mostly" with "too a large degree"
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:36 PM
 
48,519 posts, read 81,177,591 times
Reputation: 17979
I do thnik that many states are satrting nad will continue to put commuter light rail from the burbs to the centerof many groweth cities. I know that many also will connect larger cities here in Texas. Its almost a must oif cities do not want most business moving further pout from the cities nearer where their workers live especailly technical workers.I really don't see Amtrax being any more finacially sound thyan it is now in the future and may lose funding to commuter rail construction.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,153 posts, read 9,233,328 times
Reputation: 9033
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardRoarke View Post
(no disagreement with snipped parts)

By the way, where would most of this publicly subsidized equipment come from, for HSR? Overseas. That's right, chances are not one American would be employed in the manufacture of HSR rail equipment, in our own country.

Sorry, thumb suckers, I'll keep driving and flying, for many years to come, like any other rational American and Westerner.

Show me where a private rail company could make a profit with HSR, electric rail, etc., anywhere in the U.S., and I might support it. Until that time, I'll be cooking along in my truck, comfortably, listening to my music, etc.
If / when a massive rail restoration initiative is started, you can bet "smart money" will be angling to get a piece of the action.
However, under current socialist policies, I agree that the private sector won't be in the same condition as it was in 1890-1920.

America is littered with 'railroad towns' that declined as rail did. Pennsylvania Railroad's premiere "Train Town", Altoona, PA, is one example. Perhaps they will be part of the rail renaissance. One can hope.

I wish you well, "driving and flying" (burning irreplaceable fossil fuels), but that behavior may well be limited to the next 5 to 10 years. Then 'bump'. When you can no longer afford nor find petroleum products, what alternatives will you rely on?

Regarding the proof of profit, pre-socialist urban rail companies did make profit. Some even became utility power companies, like Georgia Power. Coincidentally, after 1935, many American companies started their slow decline, with marginal ones being driven into bankruptcy, etc.

Frankly, we need to pare back the Federal government spending by about 93%, and then we might see some REAL ECONOMIC progress.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,153 posts, read 9,233,328 times
Reputation: 9033
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
The profit motive was to a large degree driven by the generous land grants provided on a per-mile-of-track basis by - the government.
The Pacific Railway Act of 1862 (based on an earlier 1856 bill) authorized land grants for new lines that would "aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean".

It didn't apply to the nation, as a whole.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:46 AM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,153 posts, read 9,233,328 times
Reputation: 9033
New York Times Article about streetcars
In the second quarter of 2008, use of public transport rose by 5.2 percent, while light rail use jumped 12.3 percent, according to the American Public Transportation Association. As of last year, almost 1,800 miles of tramways were operating or planned in American cities.

A recent survey for the Association of the European Rail Industry by the Roland Berger consulting group forecast annual growth of ... more than 10 percent in North America.


Europeans say their order books (for American streetcars) are growing.

----------------------
YIPPEE!
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Old 06-19-2009, 03:36 AM
 
Location: Pinal County, Arizona
25,107 posts, read 34,402,249 times
Reputation: 4893
Why the opposition to AMTRAK funding?

It simply is not a cost effective way to travel.

Oh, it is a FUN way to travel - if you have the time.

But, for the average traveler - why take DAYS to go cross country when you can do it in hours?

Fact is - train travel is eventually going to go away entirely IMHO>
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,520 posts, read 11,989,877 times
Reputation: 3820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatday View Post
Why the opposition to AMTRAK funding?

It simply is not a cost effective way to travel.

Oh, it is a FUN way to travel - if you have the time.

But, for the average traveler - why take DAYS to go cross country when you can do it in hours?

Fact is - train travel is eventually going to go away entirely IMHO>
The "sweet spot" for trains travel is about 300-500 miles. Less than that distance, and it probably makes more sense to most people to drive. Greater than that distance, and flying makes more sense. Luckily, many corridors exist within that 300-500 mile range which could effectively be linked by rail.

If you look at the proposed HSR corridors, there is no corridor from NYC to LA. NO ONE is proposing cross-country HSR.
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