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View Full Version : High speed rail in the NE


Spin
05-29-2019, 03:04 PM
I never understood why there is not a high speed rail system between Washington, D.C. and Boston, with stops in the important cities in between. The roads, the airspace and the airports in the NE are very congested. It could reduce significantly the number of cars and flights between those cities. I know it's very expensive, but it makes a lot of sense. It would make life easier to a lot of travelers. Other countries have it. Why not here?


saxman66
05-29-2019, 03:08 PM
I know it’s not Europe or Japan but there is the Acela that’s somewhat high speed. The northeast corridor is pretty curvy though.


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BobZ
05-29-2019, 03:37 PM
Other countries have a lot of stuff we dont.

Thank goodness.


2StgTurbine
05-30-2019, 07:57 AM
Because millions of people don't want to sell their homes to the government, thousands of businesses don't want to relocate, and no one wants to spends hundreds of millions moving the congested urban infrastructure that has built up over the last century in order to lay the straight track lines that high speed rail needs.

Europe had the "luck" to have most of its urban centers bombed to oblivion right as mass transit technology exploded.

Excargodog
05-30-2019, 08:58 AM
The state of California couldn’t afford to build high speed rail on agricultural land between Bakersfield and Merced due to land cost, tunneling cost, environmental protection laws, NIMBY obstruction, and political pay to play contracting, and you expect a better result in the most densely packed and expensive areas in the US?

You dreamer you. :D

tomgoodman
05-30-2019, 09:09 AM
Any proposal for high-speed rail that might compete with air travel would be immediately quashed by our powerful pilot unions. :p

Excargodog
05-30-2019, 09:39 AM
Any proposal for high-speed rail that might compete with air travel would be immediately quashed by our powerful pilot unions. :p

SARCASTIC COMMENT OF THE DAY, if not week, month, year, decade, etc.

rickair7777
05-30-2019, 11:06 AM
Because millions of people don't want to sell their homes to the government, thousands of businesses don't want to relocate, and no one wants to spends hundreds of millions moving the congested urban infrastructure that has built up over the last century in order to lay the straight track lines that high speed rail needs.

Europe had the "luck" to have most of its urban centers bombed to oblivion right as mass transit technology exploded.

This.
.........

Spin
05-30-2019, 02:21 PM
The state of California couldn’t afford to build high speed rail on agricultural land between Bakersfield and Merced due to land cost, tunneling cost, environmental protection laws, NIMBY obstruction, and political pay to play contracting, and you expect a better result in the most densely packed and expensive areas in the US?

You dreamer you. :D

But I think in California it doesn't make much sense; San Francisco and LA are too far apart, and no big cities between them.
In the NE it's a different story. It is a necessity. Sooner or later they'll have to do it.

Flyinhigh
05-30-2019, 02:27 PM
But I think in California it doesn't make much sense; San Francisco and LA are too far apart, and no big cities between them.
In the NE it's a different story. It is a necessity. Sooner or later they'll have to do it.
Who is "They" and how will "They" pay for it?

Excargodog
05-30-2019, 04:59 PM
But I think in California it doesn't make much sense; San Francisco and LA are too far apart, and no big cities between them.
In the NE it's a different story. It is a necessity. Sooner or later they'll have to do it.

This is a sample of the terrain and property between Bakersfield and Merced. There are approximately 2 million people in the south Central Valley.

If the state of California COULD NOT AFFORD to build high speed rail on flat, dry, relatively cheap agricultural land, explain to me how you expect the Northeast to be able to afford to build it one on the Boston Washington corridor where you have rivers, bays, roads, towns, freeways, historic landmarks, and a population of 53 million?

galaxy flyer
05-30-2019, 07:03 PM
But I think in California it doesn't make much sense; San Francisco and LA are too far apart, and no big cities between them.
In the NE it's a different story. It is a necessity. Sooner or later they'll have to do it.

They can’t even widen the highways and the governments own the land. It’s might be a necessity, but it ain’t happening ever. Too much land to buy, too many buildings and houses to destroy.

GF

rickair7777
05-31-2019, 06:08 AM
Progessives, lovers of NIMBY, protest, and plaintiffs attorneys, are really getting hoist on their own petard on this one. They'll have to ban obstructionism which delays their agenda... first amendment was never intended to be manipulated to delay PROGRESS of course.

Rama
05-31-2019, 08:32 AM
The Honolulu Rail project is years behind schedule and doubled in budget. It is projected at $10Billion and nowhere near completion.
Prime example of political projects gone awry.

Excargodog
05-31-2019, 10:43 AM
The Honolulu Rail project is years behind schedule and doubled in budget. It is projected at $10Billion and nowhere near completion.
Prime example of political projects gone awry.

That’s for a 20 mile line of LIGHT RAIL that will have a top speed of 40mph but with starting and stopping at 21 stations will average average less than 20 mph.

https://projectcostsolutions.com/lessons-from-honolulu-rail-project/

IF they get it finished and get their projected annual ridership it will carry approximately 1% of the traffic along that route. By the time this is finished this project will have cost $13,700 for each citizen of Oahu and will cost each citizen an additional $180 annually in taxes to maintain it. Plus fares, the price of which hasn’t yet been decided.

tomgoodman
05-31-2019, 01:57 PM
If new railroads are impossible, how about giant busses? :D

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bPpBGsFddao

JohnBurke
05-31-2019, 02:04 PM
Who cares about high speed trains, airplanes, or automobiles?

Powered pogo-sticks is where it's at. (at the end of the dangling participle and or preposition, but I digress).

Spin
08-21-2019, 03:31 AM
A high-speed rail service would make a lot of sense between Houston and Dallas.

https://www.railway-technology.com/features/texas-high-speed-railway/

rickair7777
08-21-2019, 08:37 AM
A high-speed rail service would make a lot of sense between Houston and Dallas.

https://www.railway-technology.com/features/texas-high-speed-railway/

Probably, distance is about right. There are some niche markets like that. And the land is very flat and mostly rural, and TX can probably easily evict anyone who doesn't want their house torn down in the name of progress (can't do that in CA... ).

atpcliff
08-21-2019, 10:14 PM
We already HAD high speed rail in the NE US, and all over the country, starting in the 1920s. They went the same speed as the Acela does today...it is slow speed.

High speed rail is the most efficient people transportation from about 150-650 miles. For maximum efficiency in Our Economy, we SHOULD have high speed rail in a number of corridors.

Japan is planned maglev from Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka. It turned out it would cost $1B USD per mile. They are ALREADY building it. They ran the numbers, and it showed that spending that massive amount of Federal money, would drastically help the economy, overall.

We are stupid. We gave up our lead in high speed rail. We gave up our lead in Solar, Wind, Electric cars, steel, etc., etc. Now, instead of building high speed rail in the US, we will be forced to buy it from another country. Now, instead of Mexico having us build a massive solar facility, they are having China do it.

Our Government decided that letting GM, Standard Oil, and Firestone destroy Our US rail system, was a good idea. It wasn't. And now, we don't have high speed rail anywhere in the US, and Our Economy is suffering because of it...

galaxy flyer
08-22-2019, 05:55 AM
We already HAD high speed rail in the NE US, and all over the country, starting in the 1920s. They went the same speed as the Acela does today...it is slow speed.

High speed rail is the most efficient people transportation from about 150-650 miles. For maximum efficiency in Our Economy, we SHOULD have high speed rail in a number of corridors.

Japan is planned maglev from Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka. It turned out it would cost $1B USD per mile. They are ALREADY building it. They ran the numbers, and it showed that spending that massive amount of Federal money, would drastically help the economy, overall.

We are stupid. We gave up our lead in high speed rail. We gave up our lead in Solar, Wind, Electric cars, steel, etc., etc. Now, instead of building high speed rail in the US, we will be forced to buy it from another country. Now, instead of Mexico having us build a massive solar facility, they are having China do it.

Our Government decided that letting GM, Standard Oil, and Firestone destroy Our US rail system, was a good idea. It wasn't. And now, we don't have high speed rail anywhere in the US, and Our Economy is suffering because of it...

Tin foil hat on too tight today? That’s the oldest conspiracy theory in the land along with the carburetor that gets 60mpg.

Just try to bulldoze a HSR corridor thru the NE.

GF

atpcliff
08-22-2019, 09:00 AM
Tin foil hat on too tight today? That’s the oldest conspiracy theory in the land along with the carburetor that gets 60mpg.

Just try to bulldoze a HSR corridor thru the NE.

GF

We already have a rail corridor in the NEUS. All we have to do is replace the existing rail corridor with a high speed system, but we will have to buy it from a foreign country.

We were #1 in high speed rail R&D, Production, Installation and Operation. Then we gave all of the above up, and let other countries take the lead. We could still be the high speed rail leader, and be selling our trains all over the world, and employ lots of workers in the industry. We are stupid.

rickair7777
08-22-2019, 09:59 AM
We already have a rail corridor in the NEUS. All we have to do is replace the existing rail corridor with a high speed system, but we will have to buy it from a foreign country.

Common fallacy. That corridor is designed for 60 mph trains, not 300 mph trains. You'd have to grab both ends, pull hard, and straighten it out the curves a bit.


We were #1 in high speed rail R&D, Production, Installation and Operation. Then we gave all of the above up, and let other countries take the lead. We could still be the high speed rail leader, and be selling our trains all over the world, and employ lots of workers in the industry. We are stupid.

We suffered from a generation of accountant/MBA managers with a myopic focus on short-term market performance. That's not compatible in most cases with long-term vision and investment, which is often required to execute large, innovative projects.

But the other problem with rail is we like our cars. I for one am not taking a train or bus. Only take a plane if it's free or it's a long trip. I might end up driving a battery powered car, but no trains or buses.

Slaphappy
08-26-2019, 12:20 PM
I can't wait for the highspeed rail from the us mainland to Hawaii that the green new deal calls for.

Macchi30
09-02-2019, 05:46 AM
From what I understand, high speed service between DC-Boston begins in 2021..

https://youtu.be/WH-3FsmU6KQ

Excargodog
09-02-2019, 06:19 AM
From what I understand, high speed service between DC-Boston begins in 2021..

https://youtu.be/WH-3FsmU6KQ

Reminds me of Stefan Zweig’s comment about Brazil, that it was the land of the future - and always would be.

HORNELL, N.Y. -- The future of American high-speed rail is sitting in a building older than the Battle of Gettysburg: a cavernous factory that holds the first shells of a $2 billion fleet of Amtrak Acela trains due to begin running from Washington, D.C., to Boston two years from now.

Even as Congress moves toward renewed debates over the future of both Amtrak and high-speed rail, the first of 28 new Acela train sets are starting to take shape here. They are the first new generation of passenger trains on the railroad since the Acela's debut in 2000.

For Amtrak, that means a chance to relaunch a service that has been both a commercial success and a procurement headache -- and still the nearest approximation in the U.S. to the high-speed trains that whisk travelers among major cities in Europe and Asia.

Amtrak is buying 28 new sets of power cars and passenger coaches from French manufacturer Alstom SA, which is assembling the trains at its complex of plants in New York's Southern Tier. The train model, known as Avelia Liberty, is from a family of trains already in use in France and Italy, Amtrak executives say.

The new trains will be slowly entering the existing Acela service and will have a top speed of 160 miles an hour, up from 150 miles an hour on the current fleet. The trains will be built to tilt up to 6.3 degrees, allowing trains to run faster in curves and save energy by avoiding braking for some turns.

Average speeds will be much lower, since the Acela will still run on the Northeast Corridor, whose curves will limit trains to top speed in just a few spots. And unlike high-speed trains in Europe and Asia, the Acela shares tracks with commuter trains and freight lines, requiring it to reduce speeds. The new trains will be capable of going up to 186 miles an hour if tracks are later upgraded, Alstom says.

Alstom says the Amtrak contract is helping seed new expertise in their industry.

Mr. MacDonald noted the example of TTA Systems LLC, which has worked with Alstom in Hornell for years. TTA Systems is now building the tilting "bogies" -- the crucial assemblies that connect to train cars and carry their wheels.

"They've overhauled 30-year-old bogies for years that are on a metro car that's going 30 miles an hour," Mr. MacDonald said. "This is going to 170 miles an hour, and it's going to tilt. It's a different animal."



https://www.marketwatch.com/story/amtraks-next-generation-acela-cars-taking-shape-2019-05-12

Improving parts of a process that ARE NOT THE LIMITING FACTOR makes trivial if any improvement in process throughput. The ability to travel at 160 mph rather than 150 mph for the five to ten minutes you are on track actually capable of allowing you to go at either speed results in a truly trivial difference in trip length speed and the increased speed permitted by the tilting bogies is similarly limited, affecting operations only in those very few areas where cornering is the limiting factor.

And this is being paid for by a $2 Billion LOAN which must be paid for with NEC revenue.

Macchi30
09-02-2019, 07:11 AM
Improving parts of a process that ARE NOT THE LIMITING FACTOR makes trivial if any improvement in process throughput. The ability to travel at 160 mph rather than 150 mph for the five to ten minutes you are on track actually capable of allowing you to go at either speed results in a truly trivial difference in trip length speed and the increased speed permitted by the tilting bogies is similarly limited, affecting operations only in those very few areas where cornering is the limiting factor.

And this is being paid for by a $2 Billion LOAN which must be paid for with NEC revenue.

But I thought that since this train is able to tilt on the rail, that it can actually sustain higher speeds for longer periods of time

Excargodog
09-02-2019, 07:31 AM
But I thought that since this train is able to tilt on the rail, that it can actually sustain higher speeds for longer periods of time


It can, but it is a Theory of Constraints issue. The ability to corner at speed is the limiting factor on only a tiny part of the system. Being able to go marginally faster on only a tiny part of a train trip yields an almost imperceptible improvement in speed.

Now the increased car passenger carrying capacity can add to the number of passengers that can be carried - and that’s perhaps a good thing - but adding one extra car to the old train sets would have accomplished the same thing.

https://www.tocinstitute.org/theory-of-constraints.html

On Amtrak’s forty-mile run between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, for example, trains run as fast as 125 mph on some segments. But because all trains on the line must spend a long time creeping through the yard at Washington’s Union Station and through antiquated tunnels under Baltimore Harbor, the average speed of even the fastest scheduled train, the vaunted Acela, is only 83.4 mph. Increasing speeds on the slowest segments of the line would do as much or more to shorten travel times as making the fastest speeds faster, and wouldn’t require an expensive new right-of-way or new equipment.

The top speed obtained by any train is 150 mph, and that happens only in a brief segment of Rhode Island. The average speed is much lower, even to the point that the schedule today between New York and Boston is only nineteen minutes faster than that achieved by the New Haven Railroad’s “Merchants Limited” in 1954

rickair7777
09-02-2019, 07:37 AM
But I thought that since this train is able to tilt on the rail, that it can actually sustain higher speeds for longer periods of time

There are three ways to handle curves at high speed...

1. Veeeery shallow curve, so you hardly feel the G's. Problem here is you have to move buildings, roads, mountains, lakes, etc out of the way in order to lay the track along the desired route.

2. Banked curve, but the bank only works at the speed it was intended for, too slow or two fast and it's uncomfortable for pax and at some point the train will tip over. I don't think a stationary or very slow train could sit upright on a tight curve banked for 200 mph, pretty sure it would tip over. That's a problem if you have to slow or stop unexpectedly.

3. Wheel system that locks onto the rails, like a roller coaster. But this adds cost and complexity to both the wheels and rails, and would very uncomfortable for pax. They'd be in four-point harnesses and the ride would resemble, well a roller coaster. You could in theory combine this with a cabin which swivels to the appropriate back angle to curve (like a plane in coordinated flight) to eliminate side forces for the pax, but you'd still get every bit of the G's in the down direction. A tight curve at speed would be too many G's for pax safety.

Slaphappy
09-02-2019, 08:05 PM
Flying is cheaper,
More efficient,
Safer,
Faster,
and just more practical that HSR.

I can't imagine anyone picking a train over a plane in the US to go more than a couple hundred miles.

Rayeli
09-03-2019, 03:53 AM
Flying is cheaper,
More efficient,
Safer,
Faster,
and just more practical that HSR.

I can't imagine anyone picking a train over a plane in the US to go more than a couple hundred miles.

Pretty much every single one of those points are wrong. It’s definitely not cheaper, definitely not more efficient (moving up to 500 people at once instead of 76 per hour on an E175), safety is debatable, but flying is definitely not faster in the grand scheme of things (going from downtown to downtown and of the distance of the NE corridor except maybe BOS-DCA). When you factor in traveling to/from the airport, going early for security, etc.

For example in France, Paris to Lyon is roughly the same distance as Boston to Philadelphia. Air France blocks the flight as 1 hr 5 min ($128). The train (from downtown to downtown) is 1 hr 57 min ($52). Which would you take?

Again, this is in a corridor where there’s a dedicated high speed train line pretty much the whole way and the train can hit its top speed (186 mph) for the majority of the trip.

galaxy flyer
09-03-2019, 06:06 AM
Pretty much every single one of those points are wrong. It’s definitely not cheaper, definitely not more efficient (moving up to 500 people at once instead of 76 per hour on an E175), safety is debatable, but flying is definitely not faster in the grand scheme of things (going from downtown to downtown and of the distance of the NE corridor except maybe BOS-DCA). When you factor in traveling to/from the airport, going early for security, etc.

For example in France, Paris to Lyon is roughly the same distance as Boston to Philadelphia. Air France blocks the flight as 1 hr 5 min ($128). The train (from downtown to downtown) is 1 hr 57 min ($52). Which would you take?

Again, this is in a corridor where there’s a dedicated high speed train line pretty much the whole way and the train can hit its top speed (186 mph) for the majority of the trip.

When there’s a 186mph corridor from Boston to Phillie, get back to us. When the TGV was built, a dedicated railway was possible, that hasn’t been possible in the NE since about 1930.

GF

Excargodog
09-03-2019, 06:42 AM
Pretty much every single one of those points are wrong. It’s definitely not cheaper, definitely not more efficient (moving up to 500 people at once instead of 76 per hour on an E175), safety is debatable, but flying is definitely not faster in the grand scheme of things (going from downtown to downtown and of the distance of the NE corridor except maybe BOS-DCA). When you factor in traveling to/from the airport, going early for security, etc.

For example in France, Paris to Lyon is roughly the same distance as Boston to Philadelphia. Air France blocks the flight as 1 hr 5 min ($128). The train (from downtown to downtown) is 1 hr 57 min ($52). Which would you take?

Again, this is in a corridor where there’s a dedicated high speed train line pretty much the whole way and the train can hit its top speed (186 mph) for the majority of the trip.

Of course it is cheaper. You have to take into account the capital cost.
The CHEAPEST section of the California high speed rail - the part built mostly over agricultural land 163 miles between Bakersfield and Merced - is now well north of $13.5 billion. That’s $83 million per mile. A high speed rail corridor in the Northeast, or in any of the more highly populated areas of the country, would cost far more per mile. US LIGHT RAIL costs between $15 million and $100 million per mile.


Of course it’s safer. We kill about 300 people a year at railroad crossings in the US. AMTRAK passenger trains, because of their higher speeds, kill a disproportionate share of those.

And of course it’s more efficient. Efficiency is ultimately a function of the mass you accelerate and decelerate. You are moving 76 people using 40 tons of aircraft versus 500 people with 540 tons, the weight of one Amtrak locomotive and six cars.

Now I’ll concede the time issue with security, but it will take only one mass murder on a passenger train to equalize that.

Macchi30
09-03-2019, 06:43 AM
Flying is cheaper,
More efficient,
Safer,
Faster,
and just more practical that HSR.

I can't imagine anyone picking a train over a plane in the US to go more than a couple hundred miles.

I definitely would. Trains are more convenient. They take you right to city center, and you also don’t have to show up to the train station 2-3 hours early for security screenings. I live in the DC area and it would be way easier and cheaper to take the train (if we have true HSR) from Union Station to Penn Station than to fly out of IAD or DCA to LGA or JFK.

Macchi30
09-03-2019, 06:47 AM
.

For example in France, Paris to Lyon is roughly the same distance as Boston to Philadelphia. Air France blocks the flight as 1 hr 5 min ($128). The train (from downtown to downtown) is 1 hr 57 min ($52). Which would you take?
.

To add to that. You’d have to leave very early just to get to CDG 3 hours early with how crazy that airport is. Whereas you could arrive at Gare Du Nord just minutes before train departure and be perfectly fine. So in a way, it’s still less time consuming to use the train

Duffman
09-03-2019, 06:52 AM
HSR definitely has a place in urban design, but the cost can't be justified, which has been explained ad-naseum. For air travel, all you need are two airports and if the route is no longer profitable, you just fly to a different airport. Aviation's big advantage is its flexibility.

To be honest, I don't think HSR will ever catch on in the US because there is too much competition to justify the immense buy-in required to build that level of infrastructure. The entire US infrastructure is designed around Eisenhower-era freeways, which solidified cars/trucks as the US' choice of transportation, probably until we get those people-moving tubes from Futurama. Our cities are built on a hollow, urban core/suburbia model that has made cars a necessity in the vast majority of the US' major cities, whereas Europe and Asia have designed cities in a way that cars are instead a luxury. If people aren't relying on public transit as their sole means, then there goes most of your demand for HSR and then it's just a near-peer competitor for air travel with an obscenely high sunk cost.

I think the Green New Deal created a lot of interest in HSR, but I think very few people have actually read it. Here's the source document; it's not long (https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hres109/BILLS-116hres109ih.pdf). I was a civil engineer before I became a pilot and I think their solutions are vastly impractical and written by people who don't know the first thing about construction. As a moderate, neutral party, it wasn't even a thinly veiled Trojan Horse for socialism to me (Just read page 11-14 in its entirety, it's double spaced with huge margins).

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for sustainability, I just don't think HSR is the answer for the US. But we already have a very cheap, functional system in place, so I think we'd be better off trying to improve what we already have. For example, if we could figure out energy storage, rooftop solar panels could power your house, charge your car, provide hot water, etc. Then we'd be 90% on our way to complete sustainability without really changing the American way. I'm not saying this is THE solution, I'm just using it as an example.

Macchi30
09-03-2019, 07:39 AM
To be honest, I don't think HSR will ever catch on in the US because there is too much competition to justify the immense buy-in required to build that level of infrastructure. The entire US infrastructure is designed around Eisenhower-era freeways
.

Yes but one day this will be forced to change. As our population grows rapidly, there are more and more cars on the road. Eventually our roadways will be so saturated with cars it will be impossible to get anywhere. Where I live I can already see commute times increasing over the past few years. Yeah it’s expensive, but by not “jumping on the train” now, we are just hindering our future QOL when it will be even harder to make these changes.


Futurama transporters would be awesome btw

rickair7777
09-03-2019, 08:09 AM
Yes but one day this will be forced to change. As our population grows rapidly, there are more and more cars on the road. Eventually our roadways will be so saturated with cars it will be impossible to get anywhere. Where I live I can already see commute times increasing over the past few years. Yeah it’s expensive, but by not “jumping on the train” now, we are just hindering our future QOL when it will be even harder to make these changes.


Self-driving cars can accomplish the same thing as local trains, even better. In "local mode" they get you to and from your home/job/shopping mall to the main artery, which you'd need to do with rail anyway.

Then once on the artery (freeway) they can drive a lot more efficiently than human drivers... a lot faster, closer, and without any need for traffic lights. Instead of stop and go, they would simply coordinate with each other (or be centrally coordinated) to go at a speed that maximizes throughput while allowing on/off ramps to function smoothly.

That would buy us a lot of bandwidth. Very long-term, the solution is probably under-grounding most local roads in metro areas, so the surface would be more green and park-like (also frees up real estate for housing). Not cheap or easy, but could be done in the very long haul. Electric vehicles make it more practical (no emissions to ventilate). Such a network could designed from the ground up for smooth autonomous flow. Your garage would be underground, or more likely rather than owning one, you'd just catch the next available pod, so it would work like a train but with individual routing and timing. If not stops at each house, there would be one every block or two.

The challenge to that is that AI is nowhere near ready to replace human drivers in the real world, and nobody even has any idea how to get there. The workout around to that is freeways modified to accommodate self-driving cars operating within set parameters, ie remove the unexpected factors which AI can't cope with. A virtual concrete rail line if you will. Probably require autonomous mode on freeways, at least during rush hour.

You'd probably have to drive manually on the surface streets, AI can't deal with the myriad unexpected factors you find in the local neighborhood (unless you totally ban all pedestrians, kids pets, bikes, scooters, human drivers, etc).

rickair7777
09-03-2019, 09:57 AM
Tesla "autopilot" issues...

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-crash/ntsb-says-autopilot-engaged-in-2018-california-tesla-crash-idUSKCN1VO22E

Slaphappy
09-04-2019, 10:12 AM
Pretty much every single one of those points are wrong. It’s definitely not cheaper, definitely not more efficient (moving up to 500 people at once instead of 76 per hour on an E175), safety is debatable, but flying is definitely not faster in the grand scheme of things (going from downtown to downtown and of the distance of the NE corridor except maybe BOS-DCA). When you factor in traveling to/from the airport, going early for security, etc.


actually it is cheaper, the cost to fly is cheaper on a per mile basis than taking the train is. You're not going to find a train ticket from orlando to Chicago for 100 bucks like you do on many airlines.
Efficiency is more than just the number of people you can haul around, it's also about the time and cost. Again aviation is proven to more than rail. A rail network like and airline network is not possible. It's much easier to create an airline network overnight than it is to plan and lay track for rail route.



For example in France, Paris to Lyon is roughly the same distance as Boston to Philadelphia. Air France blocks the flight as 1 hr 5 min ($128). The train (from downtown to downtown) is 1 hr 57 min ($52). Which would you take?

Again, this is in a corridor where there’s a dedicated high speed train line pretty much the whole way and the train can hit its top speed (186 mph) for the majority of the trip.

Air France also has a monopoly on that route. I also looked on the SNCF website and the cheapest I found was 97 euro. If you also reread my orginal post you would see that I said that over a couple hundred miles is where these advantages are the most pronounced. The thing is we're in the US not in France. France is the size of about texas, if the US population lived in that small of a footprint.

Slaphappy
09-04-2019, 10:20 AM
I definitely would. Trains are more convenient. They take you right to city center, and you also don’t have to show up to the train station 2-3 hours early for security screenings. I live in the DC area and it would be way easier and cheaper to take the train (if we have true HSR) from Union Station to Penn Station than to fly out of IAD or DCA to LGA or JFK.

I wouldn't, I've done both trips one via air and one via the acela and there is hourly service between DCA and LGA and even with dealing with the airport It still was quicker to take a flight depending on the time of day. Amtrak is consistently delayed and late, there always seem to be some kind of construction going on somewhere on the line

rickair7777
09-04-2019, 10:26 AM
Efficiency is more than just the number of people you can haul around, it's also about the time and cost.

Yes. A HUGE factor is the hourly cost of the staff/crew. Airlines actually optimize cruise flight speed to account for the costs of the crew... to the point where the computer might plan a faster cruise speed if the crew is very senior (and has a higher hourly rate). A more junior crew on the same flight might get a slower speed assigned to save fuel.

A train on a 1000+ mile run is going to account for a lot more crew/staff man-hours than a jet.

Excargodog
09-04-2019, 11:09 AM
It’s also largely a function of population density. The US has a population density of 36 people per km^2. France has a population of 118 per km^2. Italy is 217 and Germany’s 240.

You simply CANNOT offset that difference with mass transit of any kind. Passenger trains will NEVER be as cost effective in countries with a low population density as they would somewhere with a high population density even if they are cheaper to build there. Moreover, it is particularly sensitive to both the population and population density of the cities served. With a population of 10.25 million in the greater metropolitan area and a population density of 21,500 per square kilometer, Paris France is a near ideal terminus for high speed rail. By comparison, the greater Washington DC area has a population of six million people but a population density of only 419 per square kilometer. You are comparing apples and oranges.

Which makes California’s High speed rail route between Merced (pop. 83,000) and Bakersfield (pop. 380,000) particularly stupid.

Spin
09-04-2019, 12:01 PM
Yes. A HUGE factor is the hourly cost of the staff/crew. Airlines actually optimize cruise flight speed to account for the costs of the crew... to the point where the computer might plan a faster cruise speed if the crew is very senior (and has a higher hourly rate). A more junior crew on the same flight might get a slower speed assigned to save fuel.

A train on a 1000+ mile run is going to account for a lot more crew/staff man-hours than a jet.

A train on 1000+ mile run doesn't make any sense. It is most efficient on 200 to 400 mile runs between highly populated city pairs.

Spin
09-04-2019, 12:23 PM
Yes but one day this will be forced to change. As our population grows rapidly, there are more and more cars on the road. Eventually our roadways will be so saturated with cars it will be impossible to get anywhere. Where I live I can already see commute times increasing over the past few years. Yeah it’s expensive, but by not “jumping on the train” now, we are just hindering our future QOL when it will be even harder to make these changes.


Futurama transporters would be awesome btw

I completely agree with you, we have to think about the future. In a near future, if not already, roads will be saturated -the air too-, making travel unpleasant and inefficient. We also have to think about pollution.
US politicians sooner or later will have to start thinking about the HSR.

galaxy flyer
09-04-2019, 12:33 PM
I completely agree with you, we have to think about the future. In a near future, if not already, roads will be saturated -the air too-, making travel unpleasant and inefficient. We also have to think about pollution.
US politicians sooner or later will have to start thinking about the HSR.

If you think road and air travel is, or is approaching, unpleasant and inefficient, try an Amtrak trip. I can beat Amtrak in my car, in the Northeast easily.

GF

Spin
09-04-2019, 12:42 PM
I'm not talking about Amtrak, that's not HSR. I mean real high speed rail, like in other countries.

rickair7777
09-04-2019, 01:05 PM
A train on 1000+ mile run doesn't make any sense. It is most efficient on 200 to 400 mile runs between highly populated city pairs.

Not according to certain politicians :rolleyes:

I agree there's a hypothetical niche for it in the US in a few high-density areas. But good luck seizing all of that land and evicting people from their homes to make way for the infrastructure.. that is simply NOT happening in the US today, people are way too entitled and the system coddles them. It's a real biatch just to build something on land you ALREADY own... You'd need a really big paradigm shift (like a small nuclear war or a massive and sustained economic depression that would shame the Great Depression).

galaxy flyer
09-04-2019, 02:36 PM
I'm not talking about Amtrak, that's not HSR. I mean real high speed rail, like in other countries.

HSR ain’t happenin’, so Amtrak what you have and will have for a long time.

GF

saxman66
09-04-2019, 04:47 PM
A train on 1000+ mile run doesn't make any sense. It is most efficient on 200 to 400 mile runs between highly populated city pairs.

A 1000+ mile route stops in dozens of cities along it's route though, creating dozens of possible city pairs to travel between or make connections to other services. Most pax don't travel from end to end but make shorter trips on the possible city pairs, many being 200-400 miles apart. Therefore one single seat will sell multiple times on one single run. This way, many smaller towns can be served too, where it is often very expensive to fly.

Of course, there are outliers where each route does have pax travel the whole distance or most of it; over 1000 miles. It depends on the route, of course, but on one of the New York to Miami runs, more than 20% of its riders go over 1000 miles. Of it's 33 station stops, the most popular city pair is between New York and Orlando.

tomgoodman
09-04-2019, 05:34 PM
I completely agree with you, we have to think about the future. In a near future, if not already, roads will be saturated -the air too-, making travel unpleasant and inefficient. We also have to think about pollution.
US politicians sooner or later will have to start thinking about the HSR.

Cheaper solution: hire ad agencies and spinmeisters to convince people that they are better off staying where they are. :D

rickair7777
09-04-2019, 05:51 PM
A 1000+ mile route stops in dozens of cities along it's route though, creating dozens of possible city pairs to travel between or make connections to other services. Most pax don't travel from end to end but make shorter trips on the possible city pairs, many being 200-400 miles apart. Therefore one single seat will sell multiple times on one single run. This way, many smaller towns can be served too, where it is often very expensive to fly.

Airlines gave up on multi-stop flights a long time ago because pax don't have the patience for it. Nobody doing DC to ORD wants to stop at 27 small towns along the way. Defeats the point of "High Speed".

saxman66
09-04-2019, 05:57 PM
Airlines gave up on multi-stop flights a long time ago because pax don't have the patience for it. Nobody doing DC to ORD wants to stop at 27 small towns along the way. Defeats the point of "High Speed".

I don't think anyone would suggest an airliner make 27 stops in small towns aside from a handful of EAS routes that make two stops. Completely different mode.

galaxy flyer
09-10-2019, 07:46 AM
Anyone who wants to understand the problem of HSR in the NE needs to read this study. Cars are still, by huge margins, the travel mode of choice.

http://nec-commission.com/app/uploads/2018/04/2015-09-14_NEC-Intercity-Travel-Summary-Report_Website.pdf

Excargodog
09-10-2019, 08:25 AM
Airlines gave up on multi-stop flights a long time ago because pax don't have the patience for it. Nobody doing DC to ORD wants to stop at 27 small towns along the way. Defeats the point of "High Speed".

It REALLY does defeat high speed. On my last (and if I have anything to do with it FINAL) Amtrak experience we stopped at dozens of little whistlestops to drop off or pick up one to three passengers. Having to bring a million pound train to a complete stop and then reaccelerate it took enough energy to more than offset the putative efficiency of rail travel, while every smoker aboard jumped out to get a “quick” smoke, oftentimes delaying their boarding to the point where we missed our “slot” between north and southbound trains traveling on the same rails and had to sit along a siding.

We were 14 hours late on what was advertised as a 23 hour trip.

What makes high speed rail work - in the countries it does work - is nonstop travel between exceedingly large and population dense city centers that are within a few hundred miles of each other up far enough apart to make the speed necessary. We simply don’t have that here.