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Old 01-08-2009, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,553 posts, read 9,469,819 times
Reputation: 2462

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Mike Horrell partially quoted:

> > Operational numbers are also going to be much more expensive.
> > ... rather than using national standards to make things cheaper.)

> ... Didn't you just supply the reason why LR *might* actually be
> "operationally" equivalent?

No. That is a reason that operational costs could become lower
for light rail.

They will never be equivalent for the other reasons I stated, but you
didn't quote those.

It's not like I think that operational costs should be the only driver.
If you already have a rail line in place or you can put it in a greenfield
site like Mesa del Sol or you intend to operate it as a HIGH SPEED
line, then go for rail.

Fixed costs while from an accounting standpoint are amortized over
some fixed time, are actually amortized forever.

If you spend $100 million to put in light rail down Central for whatever
distance, then the entity who paid for it does without the money forever.

Say the city had $100 M and used it on a Central Ave light rail line then
that's $5 M or so that they don't have to spend on busses or light rail
some other place that year, the next year, and the next year - forever.

That $5 M is part of your operational cost because had the $100 M *not*
been spent in the first place it would be available to earn interest and
pay for other stuff that the city has to pay for elsewhere.

Last edited by mortimer; 01-08-2009 at 04:04 PM..
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Old 01-08-2009, 03:54 PM
 
1,764 posts, read 3,825,501 times
Reputation: 736
Much of the discussion here seems to be centered only on $$$. There are other tangible benefits to trolley/rail/light rail.

In modern urban planning, efforts are often made to design communities that pull people onto the streets, and result in more human interaction. If you look at that picture Mike posted, I’ll bet when the light rail ran through there, that street was a lot more active. People were probably coming and going, meeting, forming friendships, talking on the trains, etc. Instead of being isolated in their cars, in temperature-controlled, hermetically-sealed environments, angry at that guy in front of them who’s just not turning…they were getting that single thing that, believe-it-or-not, makes people happy: Human contact.

Granted, money considerations are important. But they are not the only consideration, and decisions based solely on $$$ may not be in the best interest of a city, or a community. Life is not an economic equation.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
3,059 posts, read 6,285,189 times
Reputation: 1033
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Rankin View Post

Granted, money considerations are important. But they are not the only consideration, and decisions based solely on $$$ may not be in the best interest of a city, or a community. Life is not an economic equation.
I agree, Tim.

My argument is that any rail system is worthless (and pouring $$$ down a rathole) if no one is going to ride the trains. To me that is the PRIME consideration.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,553 posts, read 9,469,819 times
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Poncho_NM doubted:

> ... the Rail Runner will ever be self paying for a long time, ...

I don't imagine that there are any rail systems/lines that are self-paying.
(Maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it.)

There are just varying degrees of losses being incurred on an ongoing basis.

> we can hope that there will be continued Federal funding to make it affordable.

It would be better if the Feds didn't fund such local projects, but they do.

GregW admitted:

> .... I need some constraint but I won't accept any restraint on my
> thinking and writing.

That would make this forum much less fun.

> I am willing to be wrong instead of quiet.

I am willing to point out when you are.

(Or, at least, have fun arguing.)

( .... or making cheap shots ... )
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,553 posts, read 9,469,819 times
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Tim Rankin observed:

> Much of the discussion here seems to be centered only on $$$.
> There are other tangible benefits to trolley/rail/light rail.

I'm only interested in bang for the $$$.

You said "trolley/rail/light rail" which to me means that you don't include busses as something that offers "tangible benefits."

Many people depend on mass transit. Much support for rail appears to
me to be a plaything for people who would only ride such things for fun.

I'm opposed to spending money to serve a route that already is served
by the bus and would not be served any better than it is already.

I'm totally in support of serving a route that is untenable the way it is:

Riding a bus in from deepest darkest Rio Rancho is a very impractical way
to commute. It's way over an hour to travel what would take half the time
using an automobile.

If a rail route could be established between RR's downtown and ABQ's
downtown such that the total ride, with stops was only thirty minutes,
then you have your "tangible benefits."

I'll argue against wasting $$$ to replace a perfectly good bus line with rail every time.
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:12 PM
 
1,764 posts, read 3,825,501 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Towanda View Post
I agree, Tim.

My argument is that any rail system is worthless (and pouring $$$ down a rathole) if no one is going to ride the trains. To me that is the PRIME consideration.
Agreed Towanda, no money for ratholes!!!!

Mort: Yes, I left out buses on purpose, but only because the discussion was shaping up with mostly pro-rail and anti-rail sentiments. I have nothing against buses though, and have ridden them, albeit more overseas than in the US. I commend you for using them, which I should do more. Buses are just not considered "sexy" in the USA, and are looked on by many with disdain. I mean, why in heaven would someone ride a bus, when they can drive a perfectly good car??? [sarcasm intended]

p.s. For readers of this thread in general, the plural for a bus is buses. The plural for an [electrical] buss is busses. eg. There are city buses and serial data busses.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
33,629 posts, read 28,890,140 times
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Not to mention electrical power busses as opposed to electrically powered buses.

I would rather our government waste our money on domestic transportation and energy projects than destroying some other country to support our failing empire. Just look at how much Europe has developed since they gave up their empires.

I still think narrow rather than standard gauge should be considered as a really flexible light rail solution to commuter transport.

[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,553 posts, read 9,469,819 times
Reputation: 2462
Tim Rankin enlightened:

> ... the plural for a bus is buses. ...

Thanks for that. I like to be corrected by a friend than to go on
and keep making the same error over and over. If I'm going to be
judged a moron, it should be for doing something moronic rather
than silly speeeling errors.

> Buses are just not considered "sexy" in the USA, ...

Unfortunately, you are right. "We" have "chosen" to allow them
to deteriorate into rattling/spewing ugly monsters.

GregW suggested:

> Not to mention electrical power busses as opposed to electrically powered buses.

No. ***DO*** mention it. I would wager that most people don't even
consider the possibility of such things existing. It's obvious when you
think of it ( and see it ), but most people just don't THINK of it.

I grew up in Dayton, Ohio where they continue to run electric buses.
They are still rattletraps and not so clean, but they are quiet and don't
spew and have fantastic pickup which improves service times.

I noticed during the news coverage of Seattle's snow problems that
they too, have electric ( trolly ) buses running on advanced technology
rolling stock ( standard truck tires ).

> I would rather our government waste our money on domestic
> transportation and energy projects than ....

I kept thinking whilst the ( filthy rich ) auto execs were grovelling for
cash in front of Congress, that rather than just hand over cash for
who knows what, enter into contracts to build buses that could just
be given to cities and possibly convert a couple of factories into ...

> I still think narrow rather than standard gauge should be considered
> as a really flexible light rail solution to commuter transport.

.... a standardized rail car designed to run on a standardized narrow
gauge rail line. Giving away track and carriages would go a long way
to developing light rail in the cities of the US.

Last edited by mortimer; 01-09-2009 at 09:27 AM.. Reason: mis-speeeled buses even after getting a clue -- clueless moron, I am
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:12 AM
 
1,972 posts, read 2,822,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimer View Post
.... a standardized rail car designed to run on a standardized narrow
gauge rail line. Giving away track and carriages would go a long way
to developing light rail in the cities of the US.
'zackly............

See my earlier comments.. (or skip 'em as you choose..)

Oh, and by the way, the biggest TECHNICAL drawback to light rail hasn't even
been mentioned so far...

they can't climb anything over a very small grade.


Even the "French", rubber rimmed rail wheels do not supply as much traction
as normal tires. That's why the DC Metro system is so deep; it has to be to
get a relatively flat network. Closer to the surface it would have to rise and
fall to much with the terrain it runs through.

Light rail works in some places and some circumstances; it does NOT work in
even more.
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
33,629 posts, read 28,890,140 times
Reputation: 15527
As I mentioned 2 foot gauge was used in Maine. The D&RG settled on 3 ft gauge. The Cumbres and Toltec and Durango & Silverton use this gauge. Equipment is proportionally sized. These trains are just a hint of what could be done because they are over 100 years old and there been some technical development in railroading since. I think I should start a thread on this topic somewhere. Where should I put it?

Note – there were at least 6 different railroad gauges used in the US before the Civil War. As the Union army advanced it replaced local track with the 4 ft 8.5 in standard gauge.

Boston (OK, Cambridge) Massachusetts still operates an electric bus system using a dual overhead catenary system for power. I am guessing that the system is about 70 years old or more and the newest equipment more than 40. It works but is really showing its age. The Green Line in Boston is a single catenary fed trolley that operates underground and down the center of major avenues. Using the catenary avoids having to separate the passengers from an electrified third rail. This allows the system to operate at street level and cross road intersections. The penalty is less power can be used so the trains cannot carry as many people as fast as a “conventional” third rail subway.

The rest of the Boston system (Red, Orange and Blue lines) is a fine example of an early to mid twentieth century rail mass transit. It would be a great museum except for the half million or more people that use it every day.

FWIW – a major advantage of rubber tired buses is they can climb a much steeper grade than any steel wheel on steel rail set up. The disadvantage is they use more energy per distance-load then railcars. The prime advantage is buses can be routed where ever they are needed without any changes to the roads.
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