$12 billion investment into "high speed rail"

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by quagmire, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #1
    I'm for setting up high speed rail in areas that make sense, but so far the money allocated to help spur the development of it has gone to making the slower trains speed up from 60 MPH to 70-80 MPH saving 10 minutes of travel time......

    This is ridiculous. The NE Corridor could use the investment to improve the tracks and catenaries so the Acela could actually go 150 MPH and develop the next gen train set. CA could use it to setup their HSR between LA and SF. But, nope the money is minimally improving conventional diesel-electric trains.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_t2...-investigation-high-speed-rail-boondoggle.cnn
     
  2. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #2
    There should be bullet trains in this country that exceed 200+ mph that go coast to coast and between major cities. In my state, they are working to speed up the train to Chicago. The time savings for the speed differences are a joke compared to what we could be, should be doing. imo.

    (edit) However, considering the opposition that ANYTHING considered infrastructure improvement gets from the GOP, it's a miracle they were able to get this done.
     
  3. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #3
    I'm not sold on a coast to coast HSR.... HSR should be setup where it's impractical to fly and drive. Like between DC and NYC..... It's a 5-6 hour drive, I-95 traffic, and NYC traffic. It's only an one hour flight in a tin can, but you have to be at the airport 1-2 hours before the flight deal with security, JFK/LGA, etc. Don't have that for trains. Can get to the station at 10:50 am for a 11 am train and still make it. DC to LA, it makes sense to fly. HSR isn't practical for that.
     
  4. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #4
    While I have to agree with you, the politics and costs associated with burning fuel to fly cross country will likely change that equation. An electric, high speed, high efficiency train we develop now could be there when we need it. If we wait until fuel costs skyrocket or the politics change, we will be a decade behind the need.

    We can look forward or we can just wait until the need arises and be behind the curve.
     
  5. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #5
    Given that it is a 6 hour flight, a HSR going 220 MPH would be about a 12 hour train ride. The cost to fly will have to skyrocket to make a 12 hour train ride practical for most people to choose.....
     
  6. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #6
    The 12 hour train ride can be overnight ;).
     
  7. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #7
    True just have to have sleeper cars, etc.
     
  8. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #8
    Some people are still afraid to fly, too. This would be a good alternative too.
     
  9. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #9
    As long as it's economically feasible, and done by a private company, I'm all for it.
     
  10. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #10
    There is a reason the government took over passenger rail...... Without Nixon taking over the industry and creating Amtrak, we wouldn't have passenger rail today.
     
  11. filmbuff macrumors 6502a

    filmbuff

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    #11
    Passenger rail is really underutilized. Most people probably don't even know that they can take a train and it is faster, more comfortable, and not much more expensive than a bus (or driving). Slightly faster trains won't change anything without a huge propaganda campaign to get people to use them, and once they catch on it might be worth investing in some really high speed rail. Imagine how nice it would be to take a ~3 hour train ride from any major city on the east coast right to the middle of Washington DC past all the traffic.

    Likely it will take a whole new crop of politicians before any of this happens because the entire government right now is extremely short sighted. Air travel is expected to increase tremendously between now an 2020 but what are we doing? Delaying NextGen and closing ATC towers because of a budget disagreement. We are so screwed.
     
  12. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #12
    Yeah, the reason was that nobody wanted to pay to ride trains. You second statement isn't necessarily true.
     
  13. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #13
    Due to the airlines offering much faster travel...... It may not be necessarily true, but it was the trend back in the 1970's. Nixon recognizing rail travel is still vital, took over the passenger rail industry. Just like if airline industry started to go bust, the government would reregulate the airlines due to how vital they are.
     
  14. filmbuff macrumors 6502a

    filmbuff

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    #14
    The airline industry has been going bust since 1978 but the government keeps bailing them out and letting them file bankruptcy every few years instead of reregulating.
     
  15. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #15
    True. The number of airlines have been going down over the decades. I meant that the industry would start going the way of the dodo bird like passenger rail did. If/when it gets to the point of repeated bailouts are not keeping the airline industry alive, then I do see the government taking it over like they did rail.
     
  16. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #16
    Sure, but that's essentially a solved problem. Both China and the UK at least have comfortable 100mph sleeper trains, and many countries have 200mph trains so then all you've got to do is put beds into high speed rail carriages.
     
  17. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #17
    That would be awesome:D
     
  18. Huntn, Mar 27, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #18
    I agree. Gas would have to become much higher than it is. Commercial aircraft especially if they ever develop a viable commerical hypersonic jet have no competition from the ground coast to coast. The advantage of the aircraft is no need for 2000 miles of laid infrastructure coast to coast. I say this thinking of some ground based train that runs in a tube. However, I believe freight trains have it all over all other forms of transporting goods, if time is not a factor, and if you can truly 'move 1 ton of freight 400 miles on 1 gal of gas' as they advertise. Hypersonic Plane Could Revolutionize Commerical flight. The key word is 'viable'. ;)
     
  19. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #19
    The disadvantage of planes is the boarding process is a pain, they are unreliable with the weather, airports take up a huge amount of land and cause a huge amount of pollution.

    And even a 1.5 hour flight takes all day.
     
  20. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #20
    What I don't understand is how the rest of the world has been able to build and sustain high speed rail, but the US can't. I'd rather stop bailing out the airlines and build rail if that's what it takes.
     
  21. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #21
    So I guess you prefer cruise ships to Europe, Asia, etc? ;)

    The airlines are just as vital to our transportation system as rail is. Have to keep them both as healthy as possible. But, spending $12 billion in the name of HSR to only improve current slow trains is a farce. Right now HSR is practical for short routes like DC to Boston, LA to SF( and possibly up to SD). Coast to coast is impractical right now. The US is not going to have an extensive HSR network like Europe and Japan due to the US's sheer size anytime soon. It isn't practical right now to have one. But, it's practical to setup HSR in areas where it makes sense.
     
  22. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #22

    I agree. Put it in on highly traveled routes like the NE corridor, LA to SF with a long term plan (not sure we know what that is in the US) of connecting widely used segments in the future. Of course, it's all pork to politicians so I don't expect to ever have a coherent strategy.
     
  23. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #23
    Nah, I'm talking more about eliminating short flights. Most flights are hub to hub, flying only a few hundred miles at a time. The airlines are essential, not questioning that. But flying in those corridors you mentioned just aren't necessary. Fewer flights to fewer destinations would allow the airlines to focus on their core business, not flying empty planes short distances twice daily.
     
  24. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #24
    That would mean regional airlines would die( remember despite the ticket saying United, Delta, US Airways, etc, it's really operated by Pinnacle, Colgan, etc).

    As much as I would love to see the regionals die because the pay is ridiculously low ($20,000 for first officers), it would screw me and other pilots as the regionals are the only way to get to the majors. I think in the end the best way to keep the airline industry healthy is to reregulate them. Though have to figure out how to keep ticket prices low. That is the only good thing to come out of deregulation. Before deregulation NYC to LA cost $1400(one way). Today it can cost as little as $278(one way).
     
  25. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #25
    That's where the trains come in. There's a big shortage of pilots from what I hear, too. Won't that be part of the equation?

    Personally, I've started adding Amtrak into my mix from NC to DC. Flying from my house costs about $600 for my family of 3 so we rarely ever do it. Amtrak costs about $260 and it's actually an enjoyable ride but I gotta drive 2hrs to get to the train. Driving costs about the same as riding the train. The drive is about 7 hrs. and it's miserable. But I do have the car once I get there. We have a pretty nice airport here with quite a few direct flights, but I gotta think if there was better rail service, I'd never drive a car outta my town.

    In NC, there's talk of a high speed line from Raleigh to Charlotte, via Greensboro (I think) which would then go to Atlanta in the South and DC to the North. Additionally, there's chatter about restoring passenger rail from Wilmington to Raleigh.
     

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