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FINALLY! Government planning on high speed rail

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Copzilla, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. dsl987

    dsl987 Member

    Underground is always very expensive. Most of the European tracks I saw were elevated and the roads crossed underneath.
  2. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Amtrak's primary source of revenue is the heavily populated Northeastern corridor betwee, say, Washington D.C. and Boston, MA.

    I like the idea of high speed rail but before we spend one red cent on it, I think a hard look needs to be taken at why rail service in its "native environment" has failed so miserably in the U.S.
  3. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    I think it has to do to crappy management, and competition between cargo and passenger service for the same rails. The cargo-running railroad companies own the rails, and so their stuff gets priority.
  4. jfcjrus

    jfcjrus Veteran Member

    Good Points.
    Rail is competing with ITSELF (Cargo vs. Passenger)!

    They need to COMPETE, not simply co-exist, with Trucks and Airlines!
    They have no marketting.
    (Of course, they currently have very little to market.) :shake:

    IF they expanded on their alternative to Trucking costs, I think they'd be profitable.
    IF they developed a real alternative to the Airlines costs, I think they'd be profitable.

    But that's never going to happen until they stop thinking and operating as they did in their prime, 100 years ago. ;)
    Other countrys have helped their railroads realize a vision of what they can be.
    The USA has not.

    And that's too bad.
    Because that gives us no alternative other than Interstate Trucking and sitting on the taxiway for 4 hours, going nowhere.
  5. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    I'm not sure I buy the cargo/passenger competition bit. Pre-WWII, rail thrived, serving both cargo and passengers. In fact, it was the only method available for transporting large quantities of either (on land). Increasing access to automobiles, following WWII, cut the passenger traffic to practically nothing. Increasing use of tractor trailer trucks helped bite into the cargo traffic (as did airplanes for low-weight, high-value shipments). Anyway, a lot has changed over the years, to be sure, but there was a time when cargo and passengers thrived quite nicely on our nation's railroads, as they continue to do in Europe. Why can't we get it right today?
  6. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    At least trains aren't going to get hijacked to Cuba! ;)
  7. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

  8. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Surprised it doesn't go from Moscow to Siberia instead. You'd think they'd want those disidents out of their hair that much quicker. :eek: :D
  9. Arc

    Arc Full Member

    I hope their engineers overall have a better rate of sobriety on the job than their commercial pilots.
  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

  11. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

  12. Morg

    Morg The ultra-moderate

    Back when Cuba was a popular destination for skyjackers, one dude hijacked a Greyhound bus and insisted he wanted to go to Cuba. :nut:
  13. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Well, like the health care issue, if we hadn't blown a trillion dollars on pure crap, parks, soccer fields, all other manner of worthless pork, subsidizing failing auto makers, we probably could have done something of substance with intercity mass transit.

    Eight billion committed to this project is just nothing. It's barely getting some groundbreaking. Houston is putting in commuter rail, and its a one billion dollar project for like 30 something miles of light rail. Granted, it's more expensive to build in the city, but this at least gives you a perspective. 8 billion committed to a national system is just planning stage, honestly.

    If we really wanted to commit funding to something that would have boosted economy with its construction while providing a longterm energy solution, this was it. But we don't have *another* trillion to float to it now. We've blown this opportunity on pork, IMO.
  14. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    It's not the time to add more expensive projects to America's charge account. We're already over the limit by far.

    Meanwhile there's still talk about building high speed rail between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I can't imagine the purpose would be to encourage and facilitate more gambling junkets. That would be good for Las Vegas but I don't see how Los Angeles is going to benefit in any meaningful way. I could be wrong but I think the heaviest commerce between LA and LV is tourism. Of course LA is a big tourism destination too, although it's hard for a LA native to appreciate that.

    There's also talk of LA-SF or LA-SJ which at least makes more sense due to the heavy business travel between the two cities.
  15. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

  16. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    I live in the "3-C" corridor (Cleveland - Columbus - Cincinnati). Ohio is supposedly getting about 4/5 of the money we need to re-establish passenger service. But they're saying the average speed is only going to be about 40 MPH given stops and speed limits. We'll see.

    My biggest question is who's going to run it, and will it be affordable? Right now, if we were to try and take a train to Seattle, it'd cost us an arm and a leg, with some funky travel times. Who wants to get on a train at 0110?

    Oh, and because we have a large family, "Our fare rules provide that no more than two children per adult may travel at the children's discounted fare. Children exceeding that 2:1 ratio must travel at the standard adult fare." Um, WTF?
  17. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Saw the same image on the news a day or so ago. And even here in tree hugger land, the general consensus is too little too late.

    Here's why.

    1. The railroads don't even have the land to create a straight track run for high speed rail. Purchasing said land will run far more than what any of the existing estimates call for.

    2. Even if such a project were to get the land and tracks installed, it's not a guarantee that it will be self sufficient. Everyone looks to Europe as a shining example of how railroads should work, and they're mostly subsidized by their governments.

    And let's say they do manage to get this one right and it all comes together perfectly and it's self sufficient (I gotta sober up!), what good is it going to do without the public transportation infrastructure being in place. Oh crap! We need more money!

    This whole "high speed rail" thing is 30-40 years too late. If they'd yanked their collective heads from their backsides back in the 60s, we'd most likely see an efficient, well run, government subsidized system that Europe currently enjoys.
  18. Arc

    Arc Full Member

    I am expecting that:

    1. The United States will have a successful functional practical high speed rail system.

    2. I will forever.

    Vegas bookmakers in placing odds on the which of the two is most likely to happen have made my living forever the heavy favorite.
  19. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    In high density areas, I'm all for better rail service.

    For example, in my neck of the woods, we're getting some of this money for two project.

    1. To improve/expand the service from Milwaukee to Chicago. I'm full on-board with that, as it is a great line and one that many,many people use every day.

    2. To build a high speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison.

    WHAT?????? That's absolutely ridiculous. There is not the population density in either city to warrant and/or pay for such a system. According to reports, it will save you a whopping 10-15 minutes of travel time, at a cost of $25 each way, and will drop you off at the Madison airport which is really isn't near anything in Madison.

    Sure, we get "free" Federal money to build the system, but guess who gets to pay for it forever? Yep, us Wisconsin tax payers because there is no way in hell that it even has a chance to pay for itself.
  20. jfcjrus

    jfcjrus Veteran Member

    Hummm, so this is just MORE of Obama's "throw money at, in the hope it stops bugging me" plan?
    Has this not been the attitude and implementation of his administration for the past year?

    This is getting pretty sad.

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