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Old 04-22-2015, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa1984 View Post

Australia, United States, Canada and basically any wealthy nation that has abundant land.
Every case is different though.. In Toronto, the city is basically forced to densify and urbanize more and more because of the greenbelt surrounding the city which contain some of the most arrable land in Canada.. So even though Toronto is in Canada there are unique geographical aspects to our location that is forcing us to embrace more PT based/urbanized/higher density living and shed the more sprawly mentality that we used to have. There are very few developments over the last decade in the Greater Toronto Area that are low density - they are either medium or high density infil development.
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Old 04-23-2015, 03:20 AM
 
Location: FIN
888 posts, read 1,591,051 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa1984 View Post
The problem with this like I mentioned earlier in this thread is the US isn't set up for passenger rail service across the nation. The US went to freight rail where as Europe went to passenger rail both have there pros and cons about them. However to build up a massive passenger rail network like they have in Europe in the United States is going to run into the trillions if you want the whole high speed rail connecting every major American city with vast regional rail networks as well. From what I've gathered Europe is running into the opposite problem trying to figure out ways to move more freight by rail and is debating about spending trillions to do so. I think it was Germany that debated spending trillions to build an underground freight rail system...not quite sure if it was Germany or another country that had that idea.
Salt Lake City metro area in the recent years has wasted no time and done a fine job developing commuter and light rail network that runs on or parallel some heavily used freight lines. For practical purposes, it's of course beneficial to have the different modes use dedicated tracks, but not necessary (see BNSF Racetrack or other Chicago commuter lines), and the huge benefit for publicly-owned commuter lines having freight running on them is they can collect trackage fees, from trains that can be made to run at times when the lines would otherwise not be at full capacity.

Correct me if i'm wrong, since i'm not at all too familliar with the city in particular, but while Atlanta has plenty of tracks radiating from it all around = plenty of options for establishing commuter routes on already existing active rail lines, what they really lack is an affordable and practical option for a centrally located railway station where such services would terminate.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:43 AM
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Location: Western Massachusetts
45,983 posts, read 53,447,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunno what to put here View Post
Culturally? Nothing - public transport isn't really 'culture'. It's just nice to have the convenience of public transport. People in European cities drive - most own a car - but the option not to drive exists, because public transport is so widely available, even in suburban areas. Many American cities are the same too. In places like Atlanta, public transport is considerably more limited and not as extensive, so driving is often necessary to get from A to B. These cities could easily expand their public transit. Is there a downside to doing so? Might reduce traffic.
Public transport gives a different experience — you see the people who live in your area who you may not encounter otherwise. If the riders are obnoxious or it's overcrowded it's unpleasant but IMO, there are some positives.

Quote:
I've never been on a bus or train when someone threw up. Does that happen a lot where you live?
I've never seen it either.

Quote:
Somehow I doubt that. St Louis and New Orleans are two of the most crime-ridden cities in the Western world, let alone the US. Would people really prefer live there over New York? I think most people would prefer to live in New York if cost of living was no factor.
Going by housing prices and other economic factors, it's clear there is more of a demand to live in New York than in the cities of St. Louis or New Orleans. Of course plenty don't like New York City, but there are enough that do; and neither St. Louis or New Orleans shows signs of high demand.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:56 AM
 
62 posts, read 122,274 times
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@vic vega In regards to Atlanta I believe you are right that "they really lack is an affordable and practical option for a centrally located railway station where such services would terminate." I wonder how effective subways, light rail, commuter trains can be in such a sprawled out metro.

Good for Salt Lake City, that sounds like a great start. I can tell you that Chicago has a ton of rail that is underutilized (see maps below). I wonder how feasible it would be to use more of these lines to interconnect more suburbs to eachother and the city. For full scale real high speed rail, I believe new tracks would have to be built. Currently the state is building 110 mph rail from Chicago to Saint Louis....however, this isn't really high speed and that speed was reached back in the 30s. It think most of the rail upgrades for high speed rail are beneficial to passengers, but really is a way to improve freight train shipping.

Maps
1. Metra(commuter) and Cta lines(subway/el)
https://danielhertz.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/regional-train-map.pdf

2. all cta, metra, and suburban freight rail lines. https://danielhertz.files.wordpress....rail-map-2.png

I noticed that map 1 and 2 leave out much of the South Shore line which is a profitable commuter line serving the south side of the city and more industrial Chicago suburbs in Northwestern Indiana. I know for a fact though that this line not only shares track with freight, but the freight is much much more profitable and thus given priority.

3. Map of large rail yards and connecting freight lines in city/suburbs
http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/documen...f-0a846f7ac3c4

@fusion 2 "In Toronto, the city is basically forced to densify and urbanize more and more because of the greenbelt surrounding the city which contain some of the most arrable land in Canada.." Is the government mandated/regulated or is the market (as in the arable land is to valuable to turn into suburbs) determining this increased urbanization? Do you believe this helping drive the cost of living up overall for the Toronto area? Do you believe this is a good or bad thing?


@CWA "The problem with this like I mentioned earlier in this thread is the US isn't set up for passenger rail service across the nation. The US went to freight rail where as Europe went to passenger rail both have there pros and cons about them. However to build up a massive passenger rail network like they have in Europe in the United States is going to run into the trillions if you want the whole high speed rail connecting every major American city with vast regional rail networks as well. From what I've gathered Europe is running into the opposite problem trying to figure out ways to move more freight by rail and is debating about spending trillions to do so. I think it was Germany that debated spending trillions to build an underground freight rail system...not quite sure if it was Germany or another country that had that idea."

I remember hearing Germany discuss building high speed freight as well, anyways I couldn't agree more with your assertion that the US is built for freight rail not passenger rail. I actually believe the billions being spent on "high speed" rail currently in the US is actually in reality just a way to improve (and subsidize) freight rail in the US. I have no problem with that really as I believe infrastructure is the backbone for the economy. However, do you really think it would cost trillions of dollars to bring high speed rail to portions of the US? I mean I don't think much of North America outside of Ontario, Quebec, Great Lakes region, and Northeast is ready or suitable for high speed at this time. I would say there should be 3 interconnected major hubs to begin with in N. America. They are Chicago, Toronto, and New York City. From these hubs lines would radiate out to other cities.

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/spa...york-elevators
According to this article Amtrack thinks it will cost $150 billion just to bring high speed to the Northeast corridor, that is about 440 miles of track, so about $341 million per mile or "150 million euros per kilometer." Meanwhile in Spain it costs somewhere in the ballpark of $10-25 million per mile or " million euros per kilometer (for the Madrid-Seville line, opened in 1992) to nearly 19 million euros (for the Madrid-Valladolid one)". I think the exchange rates are off at this point, but regardless how can it cost so much? Laying Track from Chicago to Detroit to Toronto is largely flat/small hills, it must be cheaper. The chunnel alone cost 70 million euros a kilometer. That required building a giant tunnel under the ocean. How is it North America is so expensive?
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
23,766 posts, read 29,034,674 times
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I refuse to follow the prescribed "rules" when entering a traffic circle and signal my intention of "coming thru!" by waving my oversized American flag from my oversized extended cab of my oversized truck...Yeee Ha...make a HOLE!
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:20 PM
 
Location: FIN
888 posts, read 1,591,051 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno View Post
@vic vega In regards to Atlanta I believe you are right that "they really lack is an affordable and practical option for a centrally located railway station where such services would terminate." I wonder how effective subways, light rail, commuter trains can be in such a sprawled out metro.
They have MARTA, which i believe is a subway system and also light rail. Someone from or more familiar with Atlanta could tell you more about how well it actually works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno View Post
I can tell you that Chicago has a ton of rail that is underutilized (see maps below). I wonder how feasible it would be to use more of these lines to interconnect more suburbs to eachother and the city.
Chicago has a ton of rail, but calling it underutilized is kind of ironic. In fact, it's utilized by freight, commuter, and passenger trains so well, it's been a legendary national rail bottleneck for who knows how long. Adding parallel tracks, eliminating at-grade crossings, and such is a rather densely packed urban area is always very expensive, not to mention the years and years of legal battles. And downtown is complicated, creating additional terminal space for additional trains isn't the easiest task.. trains terminate at 3 dead end stations, and number 4, Union Station has a whopping 2 tracks that are run-through, rest are also dead-end. I could go on pages and pages about the various issues it faces, but in short the Channel Tunnel project is a walk in the part compared to the hassles that would be needed to fix Chicago. And let's not forget, it's also in Illinois, out of all the states.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno View Post
For full scale real high speed rail, I believe new tracks would have to be built. Currently the state is building 110 mph rail from Chicago to Saint Louis....however, this isn't really high speed and that speed was reached back in the 30s. It think most of the rail upgrades for high speed rail are beneficial to passengers, but really is a way to improve freight train shipping.
Where i live, the bulk of rail passenger travel is in trains that travel about 80-125 mph. And i can't imagine it's really that different in most other places, maybe excluding Japan. In most countries, the "true" high-speed trains are not much more than a showpiece, an expensive one too, that in reality serves a very tiny percentage of the actual market. 110 mph service is already level which competes with air travel, so it doesn't matter at all when it was first achieved, and it's not cost-prohibitive to build lines to suit those speeds, not at all compared to 220 mph or such. I firmly believe rail lines and services should be established and maintained strictly based on hard facts and numbers, which in fact happens a lot more in the US than probably any other country, and not because some people with low self-esteem whine how "Mommy, daddy, they have those kind of toys and we don't!!" [/quote]
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Old 04-23-2015, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Toronto
15,102 posts, read 15,862,695 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno View Post

@fusion 2 "In Toronto, the city is basically forced to densify and urbanize more and more because of the greenbelt surrounding the city which contain some of the most arrable land in Canada.." Is the government mandated/regulated or is the market (as in the arable land is to valuable to turn into suburbs) determining this increased urbanization? Do you believe this helping drive the cost of living up overall for the Toronto area? Do you believe this is a good or bad thing?
It is goverment mandated called the Places to Grow act which was implemented back in 2005.. I think this has had a lot to do with R.E prices going up in the city combined with strong population growth in the Greater Toronto Area. Certainly a big factor in the high price of a house is because there is just not enough supply given demand - developers are simply not building low density SFH's in the city anymore.. It is cheaper to buy a condo in Toronto than to buy a house for example.. With that said, there are still affordable options for people who do not want to pay a high price for R.E and that is to rent. Against its large N.A peers, Toronto still has very affordable rental rates.
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
1,386 posts, read 1,557,843 times
Reputation: 946
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic_Vega View Post
Salt Lake City metro area in the recent years has wasted no time and done a fine job developing commuter and light rail network that runs on or parallel some heavily used freight lines. For practical purposes, it's of course beneficial to have the different modes use dedicated tracks, but not necessary (see BNSF Racetrack or other Chicago commuter lines), and the huge benefit for publicly-owned commuter lines having freight running on them is they can collect trackage fees, from trains that can be made to run at times when the lines would otherwise not be at full capacity.
The freight railroads due the same to Amtrak as well...although Amtrak gets a hell of a discount and could actually be considered getting a subsidy from that. As far public ownership of the rail lines outside of cities I'm going to have to give that a big thumbs down because the last time the government really was heavily involved in regulating the rail industry the whole US rail road industry almost went out of business entirely.

As far as Chicago goes my problem with Chicago is the fact like you mention later on this topic is that it's a giant massive choke point in the US. That's why I can't ever support using freight rail lines to support growing passenger rail service since if both are going to keep growing and current projections have them both growing well into the future your just going to create congestion problems. Might as well spend the big money segregate freight and passenger rail service in the United States so that way the US doesn't lose it's best in the world freight rail set up and can have a world class passenger rail set up without either system stepping on each others toes like how it currently is in the United States.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic_Vega
Correct me if i'm wrong, since i'm not at all too familliar with the city in particular, but while Atlanta has plenty of tracks radiating from it all around = plenty of options for establishing commuter routes on already existing active rail lines, what they really lack is an affordable and practical option for a centrally located railway station where such services would terminate.
I'd imagine if they did do that it would end up terminating at Five Points. That would be the most ideal place for it to end whether or not it would be practical and/or affordable is another matter.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
1,386 posts, read 1,557,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno View Post
I remember hearing Germany discuss building high speed freight as well, anyways I couldn't agree more with your assertion that the US is built for freight rail not passenger rail. I actually believe the billions being spent on "high speed" rail currently in the US is actually in reality just a way to improve (and subsidize) freight rail in the US.
That's actually not the case at all. Amtrak owns the Northeast Corridor in the US and the Freight Rail roads are perfectly fine with that and prefer Amtrak using it's own lines vs needing to use their lines. If anything the Freight Rail Roads are more likely to fight high speed rail projects in the US if they are going to be using there lines because it would end up interfering with there operations. As far as something like the Northeast Corridor or the planned high speed rail project in California the freight rail roads are perfectly fine with them since those projects don't affect them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno
I have no problem with that really as I believe infrastructure is the backbone for the economy. However, do you really think it would cost trillions of dollars to bring high speed rail to portions of the US? I mean I don't think much of North America outside of Ontario, Quebec, Great Lakes region, and Northeast is ready or suitable for high speed at this time. I would say there should be 3 interconnected major hubs to begin with in N. America. They are Chicago, Toronto, and New York City. From these hubs lines would radiate out to other cities.
Honestly yeah it would in my opinion. If your going to do a European style system in the US with not just major cities connected but also small cities and big towns by passenger rail it's going to most likely run into the trillions because of the insane amount of eminent domain you would have to do at this point for such massive infrastructure projects across the US. Now if you are only going to focus on a few cities than the answer is maybe not. That is also assuming your going to use higher speed rail and not high speed rail. Even trying to use a lot of existing infrastructure using freight lines isn't going to work. Take for example the Keystone Corridor which the Obama administration has put down as a high speed rail corridor. Problem is it's not going west of Harrisburg due to the Horseshoe Curve there is just no way possible you can get a train going 125 mph around that curve safely.



That means to have true higher speed rail from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh you would have to build a tunnel which of course is going to cost a lot of $$$$$$$$$$ so no a lot of current freight rail infrastructure is not set up for higher speed rail and would costs billions to get up to higher speed rail standards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno
https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/spa...york-elevators
According to this article Amtrack thinks it will cost $150 billion just to bring high speed to the Northeast corridor, that is about 440 miles of track, so about $341 million per mile or "150 million euros per kilometer."
Those costs are that high even with Amtrak owning the line...imagine how much that would cost if they were building it from scratch through that area. With the amount of eminent domain you would need to do it could run over 2 billion per square mile being extremely expensive like subway construction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno
Meanwhile in Spain it costs somewhere in the ballpark of $10-25 million per mile or " million euros per kilometer (for the Madrid-Seville line, opened in 1992) to nearly 19 million euros (for the Madrid-Valladolid one)". I think the exchange rates are off at this point, but regardless how can it cost so much? Laying Track from Chicago to Detroit to Toronto is largely flat/small hills, it must be cheaper. The chunnel alone cost 70 million euros a kilometer. That required building a giant tunnel under the ocean. How is it North America is so expensive?
I'm not familiar with the lines you are addressing so I can't give an answer on the price differences because I could don't know all the differences between the two projects which might explain the vast differences in price. It could be anything from differences in laws reducing or removing entirely any legal challenges in court or potential payouts which would cost the Spanish Government a lot less money then it would Amtrak. It could be due to differences in pay with unions. Or the system already being setup in some areas for highspeed rail and just building some tracks to connect the areas where as in the Northeast Corridor it's really not setup for high speed rail and that is were the high costs come in from upgrades. It could be other factors or a combination of factors so I can't give you a clear cut answer why the costs are so different.
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Old 04-24-2015, 07:44 AM
 
62 posts, read 122,274 times
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@cwa1984 Thanks for the all informative responses. You are quite knowledgeable about North American rail and rail in general.

Where do you envision passenger rail in North America 30 years from now?

Do you think California will go through with their high speed rail plans?

Also, I agree that it would not be wise to jeopardize freight rail in Chicago as it is key to the national economy, but I do wonder if something could be done to improve the current Metra system(commuter rail) that exists in Chicago to improve inter connectivity between the suburbs and the major airports .

As for my belief that the high speed upgrades are largely for the benefit of freight, I was thinking of the high speed upgrades occurring between St. Louis and Chicago and Michigan and Chicago, not the northeast corridor which I forgot Amtrak owned. I have used Acela many many times, it is the most efficient train line in the country for traveling between metros.

I am guilty of being envious of Japan, Spain, France, etc.. and their cool toys (trains). After living in Europe for a few years and visiting Japan, I an envious of the efficiency of their mass transportation systems. Whether a similar system is economical or politically feasible in North America remains to be seen.
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