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Old 09-17-2014, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
328 posts, read 254,196 times
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The last couple of posts say the same thing: this thing could work regionally. Then, after you have the regional networks up and running, THEN see if you can connect some routes to create a true, national network. But I could see a system where you could have standardized things like a unified website, marketing, tickets, etc...

It can happen. But we do we really want it?
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Old 09-17-2014, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,072 posts, read 16,094,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
While the big question on high speed rail in America is, can it get built? There is a possibility it can. Efforts in CA and TX attempt to do it without Federal funds. But once either one succeeds, who will the riders be? Everyone assumes business and leisure travelers along with rail fans. But I suspect many commuters. When stations 160 km away from job centers become only n hour away, they can become residential. I heard someone talking about a train trip from Florence to Rome, about that distance, and he said it was mostly commuters. Just as commuter trains built the suburbs century ago, it might happen again.
Yeah, look at Spain and the rise of super commuters in some of the small towns that have now become instant burbs. For San Francisco, Gilroy would be within about an hour commute. Of course, Gilroy is already moderately built up as a exurb of San Jose. Bakersfield would similarly be an hour to LA. If the Sacramento/San Francisco segment is built, it would open up both to be commuter towns for San Francisco.

It could also still end up being useful for business travel. LA to SFO is a 90 minute flight, takes about 30-60 minutes from downtown LAX to downtown LA (cab, $46 + tip) and 30 minutes from SFO to downtown SF ($8.65 on BART). So even when it flops and it costs over $100 per ticket and takes 4 1/2 hours like it will in reality, HSR would still be preferable. And that's assuming we got rid of the grave danger that 3.5 ounces of toothpaste represents, which seems unlikely. Although really, just getting rid of irrational paranoia would deliver a lot of benefits and save money, which is probably why it'll never happen.
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Old 09-17-2014, 04:55 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
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4.5 hours would be slower than just about any greenfield HSR. Milan to Rome fastest trains are 2hr55min for about the same distance (well 360 vs 390 miles). And some European HSR is faster (many French TGVs for example). As for getting commuters, depends on price structure. Assuming $50 each way, that's about $2000 / month. Even with a 50% discount for a monthly, that's $1000 for a monthly train ticket. Not many would buy that. Obviously the biggest demand would be not commutes 300+ miles long, but ones that are a stop or two out that are just too far before. Again, monthly discounts would determine how many would do so. High prices won't be as big of a deal if there is a big housing price savings.

Another more likely market is those who could work from home and come into the office once or twice a week. With comfy seats and WiFi, commuters might be able to get some work done on the way, too.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:33 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,267,953 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
I would take the California HSR from LA to the Bay and visa-versa. Driving up the 5 is tortuous and a bit terrifying. Probably some of the worst driving in the world goes down on that stretch of highway - the HSR would be a welcome relief.
The 5 between LA and SF is a pretty brutal inland route by car. The terrain of California's interior is so flat and featureless it resembles the surface of Mars. The opposite of scenic. Kind of like LA actually (sorry couldn't resist). But if the HSR takes a similar path it wouldn't be an improvement, except that your travel time and corresponding misery would be cut by greater than half.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,072 posts, read 16,094,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
4.5 hours would be slower than just about any greenfield HSR. Milan to Rome fastest trains are 2hr55min for about the same distance (well 360 vs 390 miles). And some European HSR is faster (many French TGVs for example). As for getting commuters, depends on price structure. Assuming $50 each way, that's about $2000 / month. Even with a 50% discount for a monthly, that's $1000 for a monthly train ticket. Not many would buy that. Obviously the biggest demand would be not commutes 300+ miles long, but ones that are a stop or two out that are just too far before. Again, monthly discounts would determine how many would do so. High prices won't be as big of a deal if there is a big housing price savings.

Another more likely market is those who could work from home and come into the office once or twice a week. With comfy seats and WiFi, commuters might be able to get some work done on the way, too.
Yeah, but they probably aren't running on the same track as freight trains like CA HSR will. The $50-55 was for LA to SF, so shorter distances would obviously be far, far less. Gilroy to SF if it's just based on straight mileage would be around $12. Or more like $20 in reality since the $55 price is dead.

Not much advantage in Gilroy since it's an exurb of Silicon Valley already. It's maybe 2/3rd the price. Sacramento is about 1/3rd, however. Lots of land out here for instaburbs.
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:20 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,006,214 times
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Yeah, but they probably aren't running on the same track as freight trains like CA HSR will. The $50-55 was for LA to SF, so shorter distances would obviously be far, far less. Gilroy to SF if it's just based on straight mileage would be around $12. Or more like $20 in reality since the $55 price is dead.

Not much advantage in Gilroy since it's an exurb of Silicon Valley already. It's maybe 2/3rd the price. Sacramento is about 1/3rd, however. Lots of land out here for instaburbs.
It'd be a long trip from Sacto to SJ or SF, given the circuitous route south to Pacheco Pass and then northward again. That said, I agree with the general point that HSR will open the central valley to new commute possibilities. Some--I imagine individuals with household incomes between $40k and $70k, ie middle class--might not mind spending an hour on a train each way in exchange for significantly cheaper housing.

Now, I know it's an aside from the OP, but do I think it's a good idea to create a subsidy, which, because I'm cynical, I assume will lead to new low-density, auto-oriented (ie, unfriendly to pedestrian) exurban development?

No. I think that's going to create a lot of debtor cities in the long run--higher ongoing, long-term infrastructure and city-services costs than there are tax receipts from residents--while making some property developers very rich in the short run.

One problem with the biggest projects--BART, HSR, etc--is they don't include much, if anything, to support, incentivize, or require smart infrastructure along or around the project. Cities are left to make these decisions themselves. But, politicians are inclined to make short-term feel-good decisions, like building lots of big, comfy, widely-spaced McMansions and getting schools and libraries built.

For HSR, such exurban development would be self-defeating long term, as upper-middle income families may price out lower-middle income families except at driving distances to stations. 20 minute drive to the station, then hour on the train, then a shuttle to work. Seems like a fundamental flaw to me.
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
328 posts, read 254,196 times
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Quote:
One problem with the biggest projects--BART, HSR, etc--is they don't include much, if anything, to support, incentivize, or require smart infrastructure along or around the project. Cities are left to make these decisions themselves.
The transit organizations are starting to getting into private development (like MARTA) and that might help.

Good post.
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:04 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,956,746 times
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A lot of people think that Europe has this great HSR network that's been around for ages but in reality it has a bunch of regional high speed routes (confined to western europe) that are just now being linked together.

http://www.beyond.fr/picsmaps/rail-europe001b.jpg
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:24 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,956,746 times
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Yeah, but they probably aren't running on the same track as freight trains like CA HSR will.
Sharing track and sharing ROW are not the same. CA HSR won't share track with freight but, for a portion of the route, it will have its own tracks in a freight corridor.

For trains going to the Transbay Terminal - they'll share tracks with Caltrain for part of the way between San Jose and SF. For trains going to LA Union they'll share tracks with Metrolink for part of the way between Palmdale and LA.

In the case of Metrolink where it's really only sharing ROW between Sylmar and Union Station there's plenty of room in the ROW for a 3rd and even 4th track.
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Old 09-20-2014, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,118,020 times
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Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
The 5 between LA and SF is a pretty brutal inland route by car. The terrain of California's interior is so flat and featureless it resembles the surface of Mars. The opposite of scenic. Kind of like LA actually (sorry couldn't resist). But if the HSR takes a similar path it wouldn't be an improvement, except that your travel time and corresponding misery would be cut by greater than half.
LOL it's not the scenery that is the problem.
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