On Sun, 30 Mar 2008 09:42:54 -0700 (PDT), " email@example.com"
What is the real average speed? 100? 150? What path will the train
have to take? 3500-4000 miles? so it only takes 24 hours.
Still not much of an option
Who will buy the land? How much do you figure that ticket is going to
Trains make sense in urban environments but when you start getting out
in the boonies they don't attract many passengers. You can't confuse
things that work in Europe where countries are the size of
congressional districts here with what works in the US.
On Sun, 30 Mar 2008 16:29:19 -0500, gfretwell wrote:
You don't actually need a maglev train. The TGV travels at 320 km/h (200
mph), using traditional train tracks. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV
. And they've been running since 1974, the maximum speed they have
reached was 515 km/hr.
I'm not denying it would be a major engineering and legislative feat, but
it wouldn't be any bigger than the U.S. interstate system. Such projects
have been very beneficient in the past.
I live in Europe, where traveling by train is an option. I have to travel
to scientific conferences and such, which is paid by the university. So I
don't worry about whether the train or the plane is more expensive (It can
go either way, but only because air travel is so heavily subsidized).
Train travel uses less energy and less labor to deliver people, so on an
even playing field, train travel is cheaper.
Now, here is my algorithm for deciding which to take:
0. Can I take a train?
Obviously I can't take the train everywhere. So if I'm going to
the US or sardegnia, I fly.
1. Less than 6 hours by train?
-take the train. It's less hassle with the security, and for
works out to be time and energy saving, since I have to add
arriving 2 hours early at the airport, plus the time to travel to
the airport, etc. Also the trains are WAY more comfortable than
2. More than 8 hours: Is there an overnight train? Then take the train.
For travels of 8+ hours on the train, I can get a sleeper car, and wake up
refreshed at my destination. Usually for the price of a plane ticket.
Otherwise I take the plane.
So even in a world where energy isn't YET massively expensive, the train
is a valuable alternative to have. Now, if you incorporate the rising
costs of energy production the train becomes a more and more viable
How fast do they really run?
I know the Metroliner DC-NYC always talked about fantastic speeds, it
ran about 70 most of the time.
You couldn't build the interstate system today. It would never get out
of the environmental impact phase.
Trains make sense here where the right of way already exists, the
track is in reasonable condition and the population centers are very
close together. That eliminates about 90% of the US geography.
The reality is the US has a lot more airline infrastructure in place
than railroad infrasructure. I doubt we have really laid any new track
on new right of way since WWII. Except for some passenger rail in the
NE corridor, most of the track in place is the old bolted rail, not
the precision welded rail you need for fast trains. Whenever we have
really tried fast trains they end up crashing and the US citizens have
little tolerance for crashes.
I doubt security would be much different than the airport as soon as
the first guy blows up or derails a train.
yeah but not near 90% of the metric that is important.. number of
trips. Most interstates are mostly populated by area residents not by
people going large distances. You could (at least in theory) take many
people off the road with a good system. Also some interstate. I'd love
to be able to get to Louisville or Cincy or Chicago from Indy by other
than car or plane.
Go to the area, but few go on downtown. Although the other problem is
that the major players (CSX, NS, etc) generally view passengers as more
trouble than they are worth. Even if someone else was going to run it,
the RR that owns the track still has to crew it (at least that was the
case a few years when I was involved with a museum that also ran steam
loco trips). They have to work the newbie around their regular trains
(hard enough to get them to do for singleton trips, I can only imagine
the gnashing of teeth associated with multiple trips). Insurance. All
sorts of reason.
I spent 3 months in Europe on a Eurail pass in 1986. I never got on the
high speed trains, but the typical commuter train ran about 80 in
between stations. Express trains didn't go much faster, they just
didn't stop as often. The real advantage of rail travel over air is the
comfort. Air travel is an ordeal, rail travel is a pleasure.
In areas with expanding population, they are building new freeways all
The USA is still running on the remnants of 19th century rails. I
believe about 40% of the rail lines that existed in 1900 have been
abandoned. Even the main rail corridors are, in many places, a single
pair of rails.
The impetus to rebuild US rail structure will not come from passenger
service. Long haul motor trucking is convenient, but uses several times
as much energy and labor as rail shipping. At current energy prices,
motor freight is only surviving because rail capacity is not available.
Terminals were designed for men using hand trucks, and switching yards
are a congested mess where cars can get lost for a month at a time.
When the system gets rebuilt to handle freight efficiently, adding
passenger service will be a minor upgrade.
For email, replace firstnamelastinitial
with my first name and last initial.
We took the "Chunnel" across the channel to/return Paris/London in '99 I
believe was last time.
It runs max of 100+ but on the time we were on had speed restrictions of
<30 for track conditions in an area (I forget just where). So, even
there they still have maintenance issues...
That is the big problem with trains. Air travel only requires
maintaining a couple miles of runway per airport and the plane itself.
Rail travel requires maintaining the train plus maybe a million miles
of track if you really want to go where the planes can go. Planes fly
over most weather, trains go right through the middle of it.
Trains work fopr relatively short trips between population centers on
well established rail routes, that is why they are so effective in
Europe. People just don't want to spend a day or two on a train here
in the US when they can hop on a plane, for less money and get there
in hours. If we were really willing to spend more money, they would
make the plane ride more pleasant. I generally fly first class and
they treat me fine.
On Sat, 12 Apr 2008 10:57:02 -0700, aspasia wrote:
A first class train ride will cost a lot more than a first class plane
The discount price on a train will be more than the discount price on
a plane and you will be in the cattle car for 3 days to get across the
country. I'm sure Americans who think the microwave is too slow will
be linng up for the train.
On Apr 12, 7:44�pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
no a mag lev train can rival the speed of a aircraft. run with no
grade crossings etc.
it can be completely computer controlled with individual cars leaving
for different places continually........
like every hour 39B leaves for chicago with just 2 stops.
pay more for reservations or just show up and take next avaliable
all powered by electric for minimum pollution
speeds of 350 MPH have been achieved.
Per Amtrak, a round trip from Cleveland to Chicago Union station is $118
and you start and end up downtown.
Per expedia, a tourist flight from Cleveland to Chicago O'hare is $137,
plus fees, and you start and end up in a field far removed from downtown.
Per expedia, the first class flight is $1102, from cowfield to cowfield,
so with either flight you have additional time and cost to get downtown.
The train is slower, but the seating and accommodations are superior to
any plane, including first class.
It is true that there are more expensive tickets on the train, such as
if you want a bedroom or suite (but none as expensive as a first class
airline ticket), but I think generally a train is a better bargain for
all but very long trips. And with fuel prices soaring and airlines
falling out of business, this should be even more true in the future.
So if I want to go to Chicago, I'll take the train. If I want to go to
San Diego, I'll fly, although there is something to be said for the
adventure of taking a transcontinental train, which is probably why the
Canadian transcontinental is consistently oversubscribed.
The main problem with train travel in this country is that routes are so
limited. In other countries, they have better train services, due no
doubt to their very high cost of gasoline and cars, and very limited
Most of the time on the outbound trip you are substituting a trip
from your cornfield to another for a trip from your cornfield to
downtown. So, I am not all that sure that trains save you anything on
that part. Although this is not always a viable alternative, probably a
comparison with flights to Midway (downtown) would be better.
I'm sure he will say you take commuter rail downtown, then get on the
train. Hope you didn't have too much luggage.
That brings up the other problem with trains, not only do you need to
buy thousands of miles of right of way, you also need parking near the
station with some kind of shuttle to the train. Suddenly this "quick
trip" starts becoming more complicated and pretty soon you are back
with all the problems you had at the airport.
If it is hard to find parking out in the cow field, imagine how tough
it will be in the city.
On 04/13/08 12:42 pm email@example.com wrote:
Perhaps they could do what the Makro stores (German or Dutch Costco-like
stores) did in Taiwan: build multi-story parking above the store
proper -- reduced the air-conditioning costs too. IOW, build parking
structures above the train stations.
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