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Old 06-07-2021, 03:55 PM
 
3,756 posts, read 2,764,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recycled View Post
Amtrak's main problem is they don't own or control the tracks used by the trains, except for along the northeast corridor high traffic route. As a result, they are subject to delay by the freight trains whose owners (like UP, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CSX etc) determine who gets priority. Also, the quality of the tracks is a mixed bag, resulting in side to side swaying and generally rough rides in the cars, which also limits the speed the trains can travel.

Amtrak should focus on working with states that have enough population density to support regional routes that can compete with plane travel for customers. Focus on high population intercity routes that are short enough to compete against one to two hour airplane trips. Forget about long distance routes across vast distances for now.

Good examples they should focus on are like:
DFW-Houston-San Antonio/Austin
Miami-Orlando-Tampa/St Pete
Atlanta-Charlotte-Raleigh-Durham (and other Carolina cities)
Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati
Amtrak gets priority by law, but there are practical considerations, like sidings being too short for certain freight trains. Ultimately, track needs to be upgraded to fit its purpose.


Chicago is another hub that should be a high priority for HSR. The distances to other midwestern cities are pretty much perfect use cases for HSR.
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Chemnitz, Germany previous in AZ, CA, AL, NJ,
3,588 posts, read 8,789,815 times
Reputation: 6877
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankMiller View Post
Amtrak gets priority by law, but there are practical considerations, like sidings being too short for certain freight trains. Ultimately, track needs to be upgraded to fit its purpose.


Chicago is another hub that should be a high priority for HSR. The distances to other midwestern cities are pretty much perfect use cases for HSR.
I agree about Chicago as a HSR midwestern hub. The other advantage (in addition to distance) is terrain. The midwest terrain has some hills, but no big mountains. This means HSR routes can run fairly straight and level, allowing trains to run at higher speed.

Here in Germany, I have ridden some ICE trains, which are semi high-speed, up to 240 kph (150 mph). I have watched the speedometer visible in the passenger compartments, and they usually hit those high speeds only on the flat terrain with long, straight runs of track such as in northern and eastern Germany.
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:51 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
11,145 posts, read 6,114,383 times
Reputation: 21071
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban_Guy View Post
I think I've only ridden Amtrak once in my life, a very long time ago when I was a kid for a brief interstate route.
Too bad.

I am looking forward to a much improved and expanded passenger rail system. I do not think that the proposal will get us there but it is still a step forward. There needs to be a complete replacement of the leadership and dead end thinking at the top. We have had airline execs trying to run a passenger railroad system that competes with airlines. The basic concepts behind the system and its operation and profitability need to be reconsidered. The ridership would greatly increase, would have already increased, if there were decent schedules and routes. Having to go through Chicago to get from Denver to Albuquerque or El Paso or Dallas, or St. Louis is insane. God help you if you have to go to Atlanta. Forget about Phoenix.
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Crook County, Hellinois
5,475 posts, read 2,669,745 times
Reputation: 7567
I'm a staunch ____, who don't have a reputation of being pro-rail. Even so, I fully support Amtrak, although I'm biased by the virtue of being a railfan. Driving is full of hassles. Sure, the "open road freedom" is all well and good---when the interstate isn't full of orange cones, and your car is running fine. But what if you get flat tire or the "check engine" light comes on in the middle of nowhere, and you're alone? Or when you end up stuck in 10-mile backup, because the governor's friend or nephew wanted a road construction project. Doesn't feel so freeing now, does it?

The deregulation of airlines in 1970's was America's stupidest mistake in transportation history! Airlines used to provide a pricey but reliable and comfortable service. Now they're glorified cattle cars, with power-crazy flight attendants and negligent baggage handlers, nickel-and-diming pricing structures, and unreliable flights that get delayed or canceled at the drop of a hat. In the end, the airline gets away with everything, while the passengers get screwed over.

This brings us back to Amtrak. Per the FRA regulations, Class I railroads like Amtrak can operate at 79 mph. That's as fast as most expressway speeds. Except unlike driving, you get a comfortable seat to spread out in, OK food comparable to most roadside diners, ability to space out and/or read, and even alcohol for purchase if you're so inclined. Also, due to where many rail lines were originally laid, the views are a lot better than from most interstates.
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Old 06-13-2021, 06:39 PM
 
12,834 posts, read 16,826,803 times
Reputation: 8879
I calculated the cost per taxpayer and it comes to about $14. Actually somewhat less as much of that goes to salaries which then pay income taxes. Of the thousands I pay each year in income and FICA taxes, it's a bargain. I would love to see more rail service.
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Old 06-13-2021, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Crook County, Hellinois
5,475 posts, read 2,669,745 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
I calculated the cost per taxpayer and it comes to about $14. Actually somewhat less as much of that goes to salaries which then pay income taxes. Of the thousands I pay each year in income and FICA taxes, it's a bargain. I would love to see more rail service.
Your argument is excellent! That said, railroad workers don't just get salaries. Their benefits, both career and retirement, give Mr. President himself a run for his money. So it'll be slightly more than $14, but emphasis on "slightly". Passenger rail is a worthy investment; it's what built America. I'll gladly use Amtrak if it gets as fast and reliable as passenger railroads used to be.
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Old 06-14-2021, 03:33 AM
 
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
421 posts, read 418,414 times
Reputation: 374
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sno0909 View Post
Mod cut. Amtrak is brutal. That horse should be led out to pasture and put down - put it out of it's misery. Amtrak has lost money every single year since 1970 - what other private business is allowed to do that?

$75 billion.....this has to stop...
So what is your alternative?

I think it is very hard to argue that the USA DOESN'T need improved public transit, AND alternatives to flying. Yes the USA is larger than most countries, but it is possible to have fast, modern, high-speed trains that allow people to safely, efficiently travel between states. China is very large too and their rail system is so much better. It doesn't have to be a big failure, it just has to be better managed and it can be cheaper than planes too.

The issue I've noticed with the US is people don't want to do anything unless it is profitable. Profits are the bottom line and it supersedes anything else including but not limited to: how it helps others, and the actual quality. But if tax dollars can be used to help more people move around easier, to me that is even more important than profits and should be subsidized.
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Old 06-14-2021, 06:08 AM
 
7,867 posts, read 4,932,851 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cmusic29 View Post
So what is your alternative?

I think it is very hard to argue that the USA DOESN'T need improved public transit, AND alternatives to flying. Yes the USA is larger than most countries, but it is possible to have fast, modern, high-speed trains that allow people to safely, efficiently travel between states. China is very large too and their rail system is so much better. It doesn't have to be a big failure, it just has to be better managed and it can be cheaper than planes too.

The issue I've noticed with the US is people don't want to do anything unless it is profitable. Profits are the bottom line and it supersedes anything else including but not limited to: how it helps others, and the actual quality. But if tax dollars can be used to help more people move around easier, to me that is even more important than profits and should be subsidized.
You bring up some interesting points, I'm assuming you were born and raised in America and are now living in Serbia, instead of a Serbian who has never lived in America?

There are currently 4 million miles of roads in the US, with 47,622 miles of that being the US interstate road system. I would guesstimate 95%+ of those 4 million miles of roads were built and are currently maintained using subsidies and taxes, be it from local (city), county, state or federal resources.

So unless you're talking toll roads, the US does indeed want to do things which are NOT profitable (i.e. building and maintaining roads) that are for the greater good of moving people and goods around, since all the roads we drive on in the US each and everyday (unless it's a toll road!) were built and are maintained with taxes and the city, county, state, and federal government are making no profit whatsoever!

I feel the whole US passenger rail system or lack there of, has more to do with a certain mindset and priorities, where the US and its explosive expansion was built on the automobile and the road/highway system, which was made possible from tax dollars and subsidies with NO profit.

With regards to the US vs China debate on passenger rail or high-speed passenger rail, there have been numerous threads on C-D over the last 5-7 years about this and while yes, China and the US are roughly the same size, there are many differences. The Chinese have been a late adopter of the automobile (as compared to the US) and their prioritizes are different than the US, i.e. high-speed passenger rail.

Also, the cost of everything, labor, materials, land are astronomically cheaper in China than the US, and that's in regards to everything, not just for building HSR lines throughout the country. On top of all that, the US has a ridiculous amount of laws when building things. An environmental assessment for a new highway or rail line, which is needed before any construction can even start, could take years in the US, I'm not even sure China does one!

Remember, not a single mass transit system in the US makes a profit and that includes the busiest one, the NYC Metro system. I feel the US does do many things for the "greater good", which make no profit, roads, buses, light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, etc., it's just that an extensive passenger rail system throughout the US is not a priority and probably will never be.
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Old 06-15-2021, 11:12 AM
 
5,393 posts, read 4,465,241 times
Reputation: 13568
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjseliga View Post
You bring up some interesting points, I'm assuming you were born and raised in America and are now living in Serbia, instead of a Serbian who has never lived in America?

There are currently 4 million miles of roads in the US, with 47,622 miles of that being the US interstate road system. I would guesstimate 95%+ of those 4 million miles of roads were built and are currently maintained using subsidies and taxes, be it from local (city), county, state or federal resources.

So unless you're talking toll roads, the US does indeed want to do things which are NOT profitable (i.e. building and maintaining roads) that are for the greater good of moving people and goods around, since all the roads we drive on in the US each and everyday (unless it's a toll road!) were built and are maintained with taxes and the city, county, state, and federal government are making no profit whatsoever!

I feel the whole US passenger rail system or lack there of, has more to do with a certain mindset and priorities, where the US and its explosive expansion was built on the automobile and the road/highway system, which was made possible from tax dollars and subsidies with NO profit.

With regards to the US vs China debate on passenger rail or high-speed passenger rail, there have been numerous threads on C-D over the last 5-7 years about this and while yes, China and the US are roughly the same size, there are many differences. The Chinese have been a late adopter of the automobile (as compared to the US) and their prioritizes are different than the US, i.e. high-speed passenger rail.

Also, the cost of everything, labor, materials, land are astronomically cheaper in China than the US, and that's in regards to everything, not just for building HSR lines throughout the country. On top of all that, the US has a ridiculous amount of laws when building things. An environmental assessment for a new highway or rail line, which is needed before any construction can even start, could take years in the US, I'm not even sure China does one!

Remember, not a single mass transit system in the US makes a profit and that includes the busiest one, the NYC Metro system. I feel the US does do many things for the "greater good", which make no profit, roads, buses, light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, etc., it's just that an extensive passenger rail system throughout the US is not a priority and probably will never be.
Also worth noting that the first cross-country railroad was built using subsidies: the RR companies were given land grants adjacent to the rails that they were then free to sell or lease. It cost the government nothing, and gave the RR's an incentive to build.

The problem today is we're highly litigious, too many NIMBY's, regulations, very high labor costs, unions and strikes, etc. None of which is an issue in China. It's a wonder we get any public works done in this country given all these obstacles.
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Old 06-20-2021, 06:52 AM
 
15,648 posts, read 4,335,589 times
Reputation: 10358
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sno0909 View Post
Mod cut. Amtrak is brutal. That horse should be led out to pasture and put down - put it out of it's misery. Amtrak has lost money every single year since 1970 - what other private business is allowed to do that?

$75 billion.....this has to stop...

Instead of putting money into 19th century transportation systems. Wait until we get self driving cars up to speed and have fleets of these vehicles available to take people wherever they want to go. Not saying I would want this to be done but we could probably give away 2 million electric self driving cars for the money Amtrak wants.
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