America's Trains

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America's Trains

Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:34 am

Why Liberals Love Trains

Washington, disdaining the decisions of Ohio and Wisconsin voters, replied that it will find states that will waste the money.

California will. Although prostrate from its own profligacy, it will sink tens of billions of its own taxpayers’ money in the 616-mile San Francisco–to–San Diego line. Supposedly 39 million people will eagerly pay much more than an airfare in order to travel slower. Between 2008 and 2009, the projected cost increased from $33 billion to $42.6 billion.


I don't like George Will much but I have to say he gets this right. He is quite correct to say that the impulse behind these projects is a collectivist one: Obama and his men want you on trains because they think it's selfish to drive cars. It is safe to surmise that Ayn Rand would not approve.

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Re: America's Trains

Postby piqaboo » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:29 pm

There are a few places that trains make sense in CA.

San Diego to San Francisco/Napa is one. The time spent in airport rituals, plus flight time, is enough to make a train a better option.
Right now its train to LA, bus to Santa Barbara, train north - the changes and bus lose the benefit over flying.
So, a little extra track capacity in that area would be good. I dont know that 'high speed' is needed. BUt perhaps a couple trains a day that arent locals. If they skip a stop or two, they can make a lot of extra time.
Where we have the current track, high speed rail would probably be a killer. Enough folks get caught on teh tracks each year as it is, now that trains are so quiet, and whistles forbidden so many places, and earbuds so popular.

Another one, that is currently not served at all, would be along the I-15 corridor. Currently there's the bus, and that's about it if you want to go North and inland.

I suspect that Sacramento to the Bay Area is another useful corridor. Its not a bad drive, but the train allows one to work or relax instead of driving.
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Re: America's Trains

Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:54 pm

Piq,

You make a good argument but would you be willing to spend more on a train ticket than an airline ticket? I suspect the unions are already itching to get those new TSA guys into public unions and you'd see the same level of assault to get on a train as you get to fly today, reducung that advantage trains have now.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: America's Trains

Postby dai bread » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:57 pm

I found Amtrak's North-East Regional service very good when I used it to go from Washington to New York, and then from NY to Windsor, CT. That last bit is mostly in trees, unfortunately, so there's no view. It seems to me that a high-speed link could go in there very readily, though I suspect it would have to use the existing right-of-way, which poses problems in laying the track without disrupting the existing service.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: America's Trains

Postby Shapley » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:26 pm

The United States limits ground-level trains to 100 MPH, which they call 'high-speed rail'. The Chinese are running about three times that fast, but we're wimps about such things. Given that you can legally go 70 MPH in most of the country, 100 MPH trains seem like an expensive undertaking, and I can't see people abandoning their autos for them. The auto takes you where you want to go, the train takes you only where the tracks are. 99 44/100% of the time, you still need an auto or a bus to complete your journey, anyway, so it makes little sense to leave your behind.

If we're going to do high-speed rail, we've got to serious about it. The fact that only government is talking about it indicates that there's most likely no profit in it.
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Re: America's Trains

Postby dai bread » Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:38 pm

Japanese Shinkansen fares are on a par with air fares, and in some cases higher. No hassle though, and no need to check in half an hour or more beforehand.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: America's Trains

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:02 am

From Will's editorial:

Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute notes that high-speed rail connects big-city downtowns, where only 7 percent of Americans work and 1 percent live. “The average intercity auto trip today uses less energy per passenger mile than the average Amtrak train.” And high speed will not displace enough cars to measurably reduce congestion. The Washington Post says China’s fast trains are priced beyond ordinary workers’ budgets, and that France, like Japan, has only one profitable line.


I don't know where he gets those numbers, 7% and 1%, but trains just don't "do it" for most Americans. I've ridden a train just once in the U.S. to go from Washington DC to Newark, NJ. The stations reminded me of the worst bus terminals and the ride took 2 hours longer than driving. I frequently rode trains in the UK and especially Germany and generally enjoyed those experiences but even on my upcoming trip to Britain in May I've already booked a car that's going to cost about $1,000 for three weeks as well as $9 a gal. gas simply for the convenience.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: America's Trains

Postby piqaboo » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:41 pm

Haggis@wk wrote:Piq,

You make a good argument but would you be willing to spend more on a train ticket than an airline ticket? I suspect the unions are already itching to get those new TSA guys into public unions and you'd see the same level of assault to get on a train as you get to fly today, reducung that advantage trains have now.

For certain routes, yes. I'd pay more, to avoid TSA, lost luggage, etc. I occasionally pay to ride the train instead of driving, just to use the time reading or working or sleeping.
Trains are less likely targets for terrorism because they dont redirect well.
Cant aim them at large buildings etc.
Could possibly throw one at a large dockyard, but timing is key. Offsite folks can shunt the tracks, keeping the train from the target.
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Re: America's Trains

Postby lliam » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:31 pm

Hiya piq, I loved the steam days on the railway, for those of you who are interested in Railways how about a little nostalga?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGgxYp66hDw&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLzfd_jU ... re=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8TW3LE3 ... F2025CD0F4

And for my American friends whom I think will really enjoy this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yluE-aIXnxk
Lliam.

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Re: America's Trains

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:56 pm

For fun, I once took a train from L.A. to Santa Barbara. The S.B. train station is just a wide spot near the tracks, and no public trans around. I had to drag my suitcase about a mile to the hotel.
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Re: America's Trains

Postby Shapley » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:08 pm

We took the train from Poplar Bluff, Missouri to San Antonio, Texas, and back, once. It was about four hours late getting to Poplar Bluff, which meant we were left standing on the platform from about midnight until about four in the morning, waiting for the train. Fortunately, there were quite a few people waiting for that train, as I don't think I'd have wanted to wait there alone. The station itself was unmanned. Someone came and unlocked the restrooms about a half-hour before the train was supposed to arrive, then the left. No one was there but us wanna-be passengers.

Once the train arrived, it continued to get further and further behind schedule. We were, at one point, nearly nine hours behind schedule. We had to wait on a siding near the Arkansas-Texas border for several hours so a slow-moving freight train could pass.

Once we passed Dallas, we were able to make up some lost time. We finally arrived in San Antonio about six and a half hours later. That was normal, we were told.

The return trip was not so bad - only about four hours late.

We made the trip from Carbondale, Illinois to Chicago to attend a wedding recently, and it was pretty well on time. They run three trains a day on that route. Some family members took the St. Louis-Chicago train, and I believe they were an hour or so late arriving.

Perhaps Mr. Obama considers himself a Mussolini. He thinks he can make the trains run on time. He'd better do that with the trains we've got, before he drops billions more into a new set of slow high-speed trains.
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Re: America's Trains

Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:49 am

url=http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/06/latest-high-speed-45-mph-rail-project]The latest “high-speed” (45 mph) rail project.[/url]

“Oh, one other thing. Cox reports that there is already luxury bus service, with plugs for laptops and wireless Internet, from Iowa City to Chicago. It’s part of a larger trend for private companies to offer convenient and inexpensive bus service. A one-way ticket on the bus costs $18, compared to a likely train fare of more than $50. And the bus takes only three hours and 50 minutes to get from Iowa City to Chicago. That’s one hour and 10 minutes faster than the ‘high-speed’ train.”


This is a perfect example of the market actually filling a current need rather than the government “anticipating” a need that never materializes
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: America's Trains

Postby dai bread » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:24 pm

Does "luxury" mean passenger space, or just plugs for electronic gizmos? Trains offer space, and you can always use a battery-powered wireless gizmo. Or read a book.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: America's Trains

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:05 am

dai bread wrote:Does "luxury" mean passenger space, or just plugs for electronic gizmos? Trains offer space, and you can always use a battery-powered wireless gizmo. Or read a book.



From "Megabus" website:
megabus.com operates motorcoaches equipped with on board restrooms, power outlets, and free WiFi. Rest stops will be provided on our longer trips.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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