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High speed train travel on the Northeast Corridor is not feasibile


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#21 Casey Jones

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 11:11 AM

 

 

I have demonstrated previously that (a) the eastern (single-level) long-distance trains are all profitable, in the sense that cutting them would COST more money each year than running them, except the Cardinal; (b) the Auto Train is also profitable; and © the maximum amount you could possibly save by cutting the remaining trains is about $59 million, plus the cost of operating New Orleans Union Station, if you closed that too. In fact, it appears that it would also *cost more money* to cancel the Cardinal, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, or Empire Builder, due to the loss of connecting traffic. In reality you could probably save no more than $46 million.

The key point is that most of the published "losses" are just allocations of overhead, which wouldn't go away if you cut a train, it would just get reallocated to another train.

Further, of that putative $46 million, it is concentrated in three trains: Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, and California Zephyr, amounting to $38 million. Most of the putative savings would come from shutting down staffed stations and crewbases. If you ran trains in the summer, you couldn't get these savings. Skilled railroad workers don't want to be furloughed every winter and you'd have to pay them year-round to do something.

More importantly, Mr. Jones, you have completely failed to understand the market for people riding on these trains: they're mostly not sightseers. They're oil workers going from Williston ND to Chicago, or people from Chicago visiting family in Denver. Et cetera.

Basically, Mr. Jones, you don't understand the economics of railroading. It's all about scale. Do you know how little you'd get for $38 million / year in a short corridor train? I'm not sure you could run one at all!

The long distance trains are actually *more profitable* than the corridor trains, and always have been. This is becuase they are really a string of corridors overlapping, but with economies of scale by only running one train the whole way.

The transcontinentals suffer from having a few weak segments. I was all in favor of rerouting the Southwest Chief from Albuquerque to Topeka via *Amarillo and Wichita*, rather than via the tiny towns it goes through now. I would also be in favor of rerouting the Sunset Limited back through Phoenix, rerouting the California Zephyr through Moline and Des Moines, etc.

I think you've fundamentally missed that these trains are in fact city-center to city-center trains; I took one from Chicago to a convention in Kansas City not so long ago, and from Chicago to a convention in Denver,...

What do you base your money prognostications on? Are you privy to the inner financial workings of Amtrak or are you speculating? I stand by my statements that Amtrak can only compete in the 500 mile and under market and that  transcontinental trains are dinosaurs and should be operated only in the summer(warmer) months.

You are correct when you mention "weak segments". The "center to center trains" can be operated with the equipment that is not being used on the transcontinentals. Crossing the Rockies and the Sierras in the winter/spring months is an exercise in futility and a waste of money. We should heed the lesson from the Donner party disaster.

Chicago to Denver (1000 miles) airlines win in that market. That is an overnight trip and more expensive than the airplane.

Chicago to Kansas City(500miles) the automobile wins . Folks are apt to drive this relatively short and low traffic density (in between) area on their own schedule. Again less money.

 

 

The long-distance (LD) trains lose money (on fully allocated costs), anything further is just speculation and guesswork based on limited access to (possibly inaccurate) financial data which paint an incomplete and thus misleading picture.  In fairness, however to those making the calculations, I am anxious to see the breakdown of Short Term Avoidable Costs (STAC) when that methodology is available.  Done fairly and equitably, we should have a much clearer picture of just how the LD services are performing.  

 

It has already been demonstrated that the (approximately) 500-600 mile market is exactly where Amtrak's LD services are primarily competing.  If Chicago to the Bay Area were actually the market in which the California Zephyr were competing you might have a point, but the intermediate point business represents the passenger trains' true potential.  This is true, to an extent, even in the Northeast Corridor.  

 

 

Chicago to Denver (1000 miles) airlines win in that market. That is an overnight trip and more expensive than the airplane.

Chicago to Kansas City(500miles) the automobile wins . Folks are apt to drive this relatively short and low traffic density (in between) area on their own schedule. Again less money.

 

It's not a race; No single mode of transport 'wins' anything.  Prospective passengers chose a mode of travel based on a host of factors, and not just which is quickest or least expensive.  You have people flying the 225 miles from Washington to New York while others drive (or take the train or bus) for trips over 1,000 miles.  There further remains the matter of matching capacity to demand; You don't need much of a market share to sell out one train a day - a few hundred seats at prevailing market prices (I would have thought that last part went without saying, but apparently not).  

 

So you are agreeing that service should be increased because more than a few hundred people a day are traveling between Chicago and Denver and Chicago and Kansas City?



#22 Anderson

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 12:38 AM

I would be supportive of a study as to the costs and feasibility of doing so.  If it looks reasonable, then I would support doing so as part of a broader package of additional service.  I am generally supportive of the idea of adding at least a second CHI-DEN train (generally in the context of adding service via Des Moines and/or in the context of resurrecting the Pioneer or Desert Wind).

However, the question is also where to deploy scarce equipment and resources.  Even if tomorrow morning we had a guaranteed additional $1bn/yr in unrestricted operating grants, some large sum of cash for capital improvements, and four thousand cars of a desired specification mix on the way those resources would still be scarce in the sense that we'd be having honest, ugly arguments over where those trains should go and realizing that some proposed trains chew up too much of the operating grant to run.


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#23 neroden

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 08:40 AM

The long-distance (LD) trains lose money (on fully allocated costs), anything further is just speculation and guesswork

Fully allocated costs are speculation and guesswork. Amtrak has never properly documented its allocation methods, and there's ample evidence that they're arbitrary (i.e. guesswork).

The last time we were allowed access to a real set of numbers, direct costs data, was 2012. I figured out the difference between fully allocated costs and direct costs that year and have been subtracting it from the fully allocated numbers.

based on limited access to (possibly inaccurate) financial data which paint an incomplete and thus misleading picture.

The fully allocated costs are certainly incomplete and misleading.

In fairness, however to those making the calculations, I am anxious to see the breakdown of Short Term Avoidable Costs (STAC) when that methodology is available.

Me too! Amtrak was required to provide that information 9 years ago and haven't done so yet. At this point, I have to conclude they're not going to provide it. I'm not sure whether this is because they're trying to hide something, or because they simply haven't paid their accounting people enough to actually do the work.

One thing is clear: The state services, once you subtract out the state subsidies, are huge money hogs compared to the LD trains, even on the confusing and misleading fully-allocated-costs basis.

Done fairly and equitably, we should have a much clearer picture of just how the LD services are performing.

Yeah, I'd love to see this.
 

It has already been demonstrated that the (approximately) 500-600 mile market is exactly where Amtrak's LD services are primarily competing.  If Chicago to the Bay Area were actually the market in which the California Zephyr were competing you might have a point, but the intermediate point business represents the passenger trains' true potential.  This is true, to an extent, even in the Northeast Corridor.

This entirely.
 

Chicago to Denver (1000 miles) airlines win in that market. That is an overnight trip and more expensive than the airplane.

Tell that to the consistently-sell-out crowds on the train there.

Chicago to Kansas City(500miles) the automobile wins . Folks are apt to drive this relatively short and low traffic density (in between) area on their own schedule. Again less money.

Tell that to the consistently-sell-out crowds on the train there. That's facts, and you're using hypotheticals based on your personal biases.

It's not a race; No single mode of transport 'wins' anything.  Prospective passengers chose a mode of travel based on a host of factors, and not just which is quickest or least expensive.  You have people flying the 225 miles from Washington to New York while others drive (or take the train or bus) for trips over 1,000 miles.  There further remains the matter of matching capacity to demand; You don't need much of a market share to sell out one train a day - a few hundred seats at prevailing market prices (I would have thought that last part went without saying, but apparently not).


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#24 neroden

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 08:43 AM

Have you any data on how many folks do not have cars in Chicago who are in need of increased service? Do you have any data that these trains are crowded to the point that additional service is required?

Yes and yes (though I don't have it available within seconds, I *have* researched this in the past; there is significant unserved demand). Are you remotely interested in seeing data or are you just going to continue with your baseless, evidence-free speculation?

Edited by neroden, 02 April 2017 - 08:45 AM.

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#25 Casey Jones

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 02:01 PM

 

The long-distance (LD) trains lose money (on fully allocated costs), anything further is just speculation and guesswork

Fully allocated costs are speculation and guesswork. Amtrak has never properly documented its allocation methods, and there's ample evidence that they're arbitrary (i.e. guesswork).

The last time we were allowed access to a real set of numbers, direct costs data, was 2012. I figured out the difference between fully allocated costs and direct costs that year and have been subtracting it from the fully allocated numbers.

based on limited access to (possibly inaccurate) financial data which paint an incomplete and thus misleading picture.

The fully allocated costs are certainly incomplete and misleading.

In fairness, however to those making the calculations, I am anxious to see the breakdown of Short Term Avoidable Costs (STAC) when that methodology is available.

Me too! Amtrak was required to provide that information 9 years ago and haven't done so yet. At this point, I have to conclude they're not going to provide it. I'm not sure whether this is because they're trying to hide something, or because they simply haven't paid their accounting people enough to actually do the work.

One thing is clear: The state services, once you subtract out the state subsidies, are huge money hogs compared to the LD trains, even on the confusing and misleading fully-allocated-costs basis.

Done fairly and equitably, we should have a much clearer picture of just how the LD services are performing.

Yeah, I'd love to see this.
 

It has already been demonstrated that the (approximately) 500-600 mile market is exactly where Amtrak's LD services are primarily competing.  If Chicago to the Bay Area were actually the market in which the California Zephyr were competing you might have a point, but the intermediate point business represents the passenger trains' true potential.  This is true, to an extent, even in the Northeast Corridor.

This entirely.
 

Chicago to Denver (1000 miles) airlines win in that market. That is an overnight trip and more expensive than the airplane.

Tell that to the consistently-sell-out crowds on the train there.

Chicago to Kansas City(500miles) the automobile wins . Folks are apt to drive this relatively short and low traffic density (in between) area on their own schedule. Again less money.

Tell that to the consistently-sell-out crowds on the train there. That's facts, and you're using hypotheticals based on your personal biases.

It's not a race; No single mode of transport 'wins' anything.  Prospective passengers chose a mode of travel based on a host of factors, and not just which is quickest or least expensive.  You have people flying the 225 miles from Washington to New York while others drive (or take the train or bus) for trips over 1,000 miles.  There further remains the matter of matching capacity to demand; You don't need much of a market share to sell out one train a day - a few hundred seats at prevailing market prices (I would have thought that last part went without saying, but apparently not).

 

Please produce the "facts"you say you possess on the Chicago to Denver and Chicago to Kansas City services. No bias here just realism.



#26 CCC1007

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 05:42 PM

 

The long-distance (LD) trains lose money (on fully allocated costs), anything further is just speculation and guesswork

Fully allocated costs are speculation and guesswork. Amtrak has never properly documented its allocation methods, and there's ample evidence that they're arbitrary (i.e. guesswork).

The last time we were allowed access to a real set of numbers, direct costs data, was 2012. I figured out the difference between fully allocated costs and direct costs that year and have been subtracting it from the fully allocated numbers.

based on limited access to (possibly inaccurate) financial data which paint an incomplete and thus misleading picture.

The fully allocated costs are certainly incomplete and misleading.

In fairness, however to those making the calculations, I am anxious to see the breakdown of Short Term Avoidable Costs (STAC) when that methodology is available.

Me too! Amtrak was required to provide that information 9 years ago and haven't done so yet. At this point, I have to conclude they're not going to provide it. I'm not sure whether this is because they're trying to hide something, or because they simply haven't paid their accounting people enough to actually do the work.

One thing is clear: The state services, once you subtract out the state subsidies, are huge money hogs compared to the LD trains, even on the confusing and misleading fully-allocated-costs basis.

Done fairly and equitably, we should have a much clearer picture of just how the LD services are performing.

Yeah, I'd love to see this.
 

It has already been demonstrated that the (approximately) 500-600 mile market is exactly where Amtrak's LD services are primarily competing.  If Chicago to the Bay Area were actually the market in which the California Zephyr were competing you might have a point, but the intermediate point business represents the passenger trains' true potential.  This is true, to an extent, even in the Northeast Corridor.

This entirely.
 

Chicago to Denver (1000 miles) airlines win in that market. That is an overnight trip and more expensive than the airplane.

Tell that to the consistently-sell-out crowds on the train there.

Chicago to Kansas City(500miles) the automobile wins . Folks are apt to drive this relatively short and low traffic density (in between) area on their own schedule. Again less money.

Tell that to the consistently-sell-out crowds on the train there. That's facts, and you're using hypotheticals based on your personal biases.

It's not a race; No single mode of transport 'wins' anything.  Prospective passengers chose a mode of travel based on a host of factors, and not just which is quickest or least expensive.  You have people flying the 225 miles from Washington to New York while others drive (or take the train or bus) for trips over 1,000 miles.  There further remains the matter of matching capacity to demand; You don't need much of a market share to sell out one train a day - a few hundred seats at prevailing market prices (I would have thought that last part went without saying, but apparently not).

 
Please produce the "facts"you say you possess on the Chicago to Denver and Chicago to Kansas City services. No bias here just realism.
Are you aware of the ridership and other documentation available on the Amtrak website?

The improvement plans from ~2010 included cutoff cars on the CZ to allow for increased capacity Denver to Chicago as well as emeryville to Reno.

#27 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 08:42 AM

High speed rail in the NEC isn't feasible. Too many turfs and loggerheads.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#28 Casey Jones

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 06:14 PM

I have demonstrated previously that (a) the eastern (single-level) long-distance trains are all profitable, in the sense that cutting them would COST more money each year than running them, except the Cardinal; (b) the Auto Train is also profitable; and © the maximum amount you could possibly save by cutting the remaining trains is about $59 million, plus the cost of operating New Orleans Union Station, if you closed that too. In fact, it appears that it would also *cost more money* to cancel the Cardinal, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, or Empire Builder, due to the loss of connecting traffic. In reality you could probably save no more than $46 million.

The key point is that most of the published "losses" are just allocations of overhead, which wouldn't go away if you cut a train, it would just get reallocated to another train.

Further, of that putative $46 million, it is concentrated in three trains: Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, and California Zephyr, amounting to $38 million. Most of the putative savings would come from shutting down staffed stations and crewbases. If you ran trains in the summer, you couldn't get these savings. Skilled railroad workers don't want to be furloughed every winter and you'd have to pay them year-round to do something.

More importantly, Mr. Jones, you have completely failed to understand the market for people riding on these trains: they're mostly not sightseers. They're oil workers going from Williston ND to Chicago, or people from Chicago visiting family in Denver. Et cetera.

Basically, Mr. Jones, you don't understand the economics of railroading. It's all about scale. Do you know how little you'd get for $38 million / year in a short corridor train? I'm not sure you could run one at all!

The long distance trains are actually *more profitable* than the corridor trains, and always have been. This is becuase they are really a string of corridors overlapping, but with economies of scale by only running one train the whole way.

The transcontinentals suffer from having a few weak segments. I was all in favor of rerouting the Southwest Chief from Albuquerque to Topeka via *Amarillo and Wichita*, rather than via the tiny towns it goes through now. I would also be in favor of rerouting the Sunset Limited back through Phoenix, rerouting the California Zephyr through Moline and Des Moines, etc.

I think you've fundamentally missed that these trains are in fact city-center to city-center trains; I took one from Chicago to a convention in Kansas City not so long ago, and from Chicago to a convention in Denver,...

You fail to mention whether the transcontinental trains are profitable. Are they? You took (and argue for) the train because you are a railfan not because it is faster, more convenient or less expensive.Where are the "city-center to city -center" stops after Denver, after Minneapolisor in between the Rockies, Sierras, Cascades etc.?



#29 CCC1007

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 11:56 PM

I have demonstrated previously that (a) the eastern (single-level) long-distance trains are all profitable, in the sense that cutting them would COST more money each year than running them, except the Cardinal; (b) the Auto Train is also profitable; and © the maximum amount you could possibly save by cutting the remaining trains is about $59 million, plus the cost of operating New Orleans Union Station, if you closed that too. In fact, it appears that it would also *cost more money* to cancel the Cardinal, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, or Empire Builder, due to the loss of connecting traffic. In reality you could probably save no more than $46 million.

The key point is that most of the published "losses" are just allocations of overhead, which wouldn't go away if you cut a train, it would just get reallocated to another train.

Further, of that putative $46 million, it is concentrated in three trains: Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, and California Zephyr, amounting to $38 million. Most of the putative savings would come from shutting down staffed stations and crewbases. If you ran trains in the summer, you couldn't get these savings. Skilled railroad workers don't want to be furloughed every winter and you'd have to pay them year-round to do something.

More importantly, Mr. Jones, you have completely failed to understand the market for people riding on these trains: they're mostly not sightseers. They're oil workers going from Williston ND to Chicago, or people from Chicago visiting family in Denver. Et cetera.

Basically, Mr. Jones, you don't understand the economics of railroading. It's all about scale. Do you know how little you'd get for $38 million / year in a short corridor train? I'm not sure you could run one at all!

The long distance trains are actually *more profitable* than the corridor trains, and always have been. This is becuase they are really a string of corridors overlapping, but with economies of scale by only running one train the whole way.

The transcontinentals suffer from having a few weak segments. I was all in favor of rerouting the Southwest Chief from Albuquerque to Topeka via *Amarillo and Wichita*, rather than via the tiny towns it goes through now. I would also be in favor of rerouting the Sunset Limited back through Phoenix, rerouting the California Zephyr through Moline and Des Moines, etc.

I think you've fundamentally missed that these trains are in fact city-center to city-center trains; I took one from Chicago to a convention in Kansas City not so long ago, and from Chicago to a convention in Denver,...

You fail to mention whether the transcontinental trains are profitable. Are they? You took (and argue for) the train because you are a railfan not because it is faster, more convenient or less expensive.Where are the "city-center to city -center" stops after Denver, after Minneapolisor in between the Rockies, Sierras, Cascades etc.?
You seem to be unwilling to bend in even the slightest, but I challenge you to find one community that has Amtrak service that has people in large numbers compared to their populations actively seeking to have Amtrak stop serving their community.

#30 VentureForth

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 08:43 AM

Well, I can almost agree with you in principle, but your rationale doesn't seem to correlate to the conclusion.

I agree that spending money on a new generation trainset is not going to really increase speeds. I don't think that's the point. The Acelca trainsets can go 165 mph in revenue service. The problem is that it only does that for like what? 15 minutes? Total? That being said, I think that even the slowest Viewliner equipped sleeper trains going 115 MPH on the NEC isn't anything to sneeze at. That's still 50% faster than driving. True HSR? Not really. But it's respectable. It is sad that a NE Regional can make the 457 mile trip from WAS to BOS in only 90 fewer minutes - with the section between NYP and BOS only being 30 minutes different on the time table.

I also agree that for TRUE HSR, a completely dedicated ROW is required, with no delays from freight or local traffic.

Now to Japan.

The Japanese began the process of designing and building the Shinkansen well before World War II was over, though serious design didn't begin until the late 50's - about 15 years or so after the end of WWII. Plenty of time for much of the rubble to have been removed and rebuilt.

But here are some interesting facts. Under the government run JNR, there was relatively little development in new routes and rolling stock, with only one major revamp before it's privatization in 1987. After privatization, JR started rapidly increasing routes, and designing multiple new trainsets.

Interestingly, and I'm not 100% certain of this, but I believe all the bullet trains have bogeys on each car, and none are articulated. In fact, none have 'locomotives'. They are all powered cars, distributing the load for rapid acceleration and deceleration with power from only one (maybe 2?) pantographs for a 16-car trainset. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

The biggest difference between Japan and the US is that the Japanese don't fear tunneling through mountains and exercising eminent domain. And, yes, all the lines built after the initial Tohoku line were deep into the 80's and beyond, amongst some of the highest population densities and real estate costs in the world. Probably 30% of the Shinkansen is underground. Finally, as they improved the line, they improved revenue. 16-car trains, with each car capable of carrying close to 100 people on average, and they still took out the buffet car because the train got to where it was going too quickly. No one had time to really enjoy it. Besides, seats make money, not buffets. Though they still do offer trolley food service for all classes. You won't go hungry.

So, my opinion on your opinion is that your premise is right. There will probably never be 200 MPH HSR in the Northeast. And, yes, it's because we won't invest in an all new, straight, exclusive ROW. And it won't happen with new rolling stock. But rest of the article is, well, misleading.

Edited by VentureForth, 04 April 2017 - 08:47 AM.

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#31 saxman

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 11:39 AM

I miss the point? Please give examples of intermediate travel points/cities in North Dakota, Montana, Iowa , Nebraska for starters where intermediate travel warrants a transcontinental train.

 

Minot, ND handled 29,424 passengers in FY2016. Houston, TX only handled 19,499 passengers in the same period. Houston is the 4th biggest city in the US, while Minot is under 50k. Minot's most popular destination is St. Paul, 522 miles away. Chicago is it's second at over 900 miles! Wait, I thought 500 miles was the break even point? Whitefish is 3rd, and a popular tourist destination. It's a day trip and probably easier to take a train than drive on a 2 lane road in in the winter. Flying would take all day too! Williston, ND is an even better example. It's smaller than Minot but handled 38,477 passengers in 2015! (54,324 in 2012 because of oil!) It's most popular destination was Spokane, over 800 miles away! Followed by St. Paul, and then Chicago (again over 1000 miles) I could go on, but you get the gist.

 

 

The fact that these are rural in the first place warrants a train that travels a longer distance for better efficiency. You mention 500 miles as being the breaking point for traveller choosing the train or to fly. You're right! Passengers on the LD trains are constantly getting on and off throughout its journey going roughly 500 miles or so. Seats are sold multiple times in one trip. Some days in the summer the Empire Builder can and does sell about 1500 individual tickets in one run from Chicago to Seattle/Portland! That's how much turnover one trip has. That's lots of revenue plus the fact people are willing to shell out hundreds to for premium. Plus these premium passengers usually are traveling much longer than 500 miles. The Empire Builder stops in 44 cities, resulting in dozens of possible city pairs. This doesn't include connections at end points, which are a HUGE portion of revenue to your beloved corridor trains. 

 

Here's the data I used on the NARP website:

 

https://www.narprail...hip-statistics/


Amtrak Miles: 203,395 (as of 9/21/16)

#32 VentureForth

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 07:17 AM

As much as Ryan, jis and I seem to rub each other the wrong way politically, one thing that we all agree on is that research is your friend - not wild-ass guessing.

 

In this forum, we tend to get away with it a lot because we're relatively a small group of enthusiasts.  But I think that personal responsibility in citing references and using real facts - even in an editorial - grows exponentially when published.


Edited by VentureForth, 05 April 2017 - 07:19 AM.

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Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#33 Ryan

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 10:08 AM

Amen, my friend.

Start with the data and see where the facts take you.

Don't start with thoughts and feelings and then maybe try to find some facts to you can stretch your narrative.
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#34 A Voice

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 10:15 AM

As much as Ryan, jis and I seem to rub each other the wrong way politically, one thing that we all agree on is that research is your friend - not wild-ass guessing.

 

In this forum, we tend to get away with it a lot because we're relatively a small group of enthusiasts.  But I think that personal responsibility in citing references and using real facts - even in an editorial - grows exponentially when published.

 

We need that 'like' button again.  Well said.  



#35 VentureForth

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 08:32 AM

(Note: Even the world's worst resource, Wikipedia, debunked much of the article. But Wikipedia isn't half bad if you go into the reference material.)

14,223 Amtrak Miles. Many more to go.
Completed Routes: Capitol Limited, Palmetto
Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#36 grover5995

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:10 AM

Brian_tampa, on 22 Mar 2017 - 10:41 PM, said:

 


 

I did not realize that there was a dedicated forum for High Speed Rail. I had previously posted this link in the discussion forum.
This link is my slant on the feasibility of high speed travel on the Northeast Corridor.
http://www.railwayag...?channel=00Bill

Where to begin...

You say this reflects your 'slant', so own it:

Generation 1 trainsets were equipped with the latest tilt system, yet could only equal, not exceed, the running time of the 1969 Metroliners between New York and Washington D.C.

Why do you omit that tilt systems were meant for the more curvy section between NYC and Boston yet you make the comparison with the relatively straight section between NYC and DC? Tilt trains would never be much benefit for that section of the NEC. Seems like you intentionally chose to highlight the worst possible case to make your argument.

You say this also reflects your 'slant':

Integrated trainsets such as the Acela Express (and the aforementioned “trains of the future”) have proven impractical.

Uh, all over the world most if not all higher speed trainsets are integrated. So are the Brightline trains in Florida. It is a proven concept and technology. Only here in Amurika do we think loose car passenger trains are the norm for 1st world developed countries in the 21st century. How are they impractical if the rest of the world operates 1000's of these integrated trains every day?

You also say this reflects your 'slant':

Comparisons to European and Japanese railway systems cannot be made. Europe and Japan were bombed into rubble during World War II. With nothing in the way, the Marshall Plan and SCAP (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers), with an eye on the future, rebuilt the European and Japanese railway systems as straight and modern as practicable.

Really? Have you been to Germany or France? Do you not know they only recently in the past 25 years built their high speed lines? Same with France since 1980. Wow. HSR has nothing to do with WWII or the Marshall Plan. Alternative facts being presented here.

Japan started their HSR in the early 1960s after seeing how the North Shore line between Chicago and Milwaukee was built.

 

 

Chicago-MILW would be a nice start for a regional network of fast, frequent electric-powered trains running on existing tracks.  This service could be expanded to Green Bay, Madison or Minneapolis and eventually include the St. Louis and Detroit corridors.  A similar route could be operated between Chicago and Cincinnati by way of Indianapolis. 


Edited by grover5995, 24 April 2017 - 10:13 AM.


#37 grover5995

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:30 AM

I did not realize that there was a dedicated forum for High Speed Rail. I had previously posted this link in the discussion forum.

This link is my slant on the feasibility of high speed travel on the Northeast Corridor.

http://www.railwayag...?channel=00Bill

 

 

The newer section from Boston-New Haven includes up-to-date power supply, signals and trackwork.  If similar improvements were added to the rest of the NEC, new Acela trainsets will be able to run closer to their true potential.  This assumes that there will be additional tunnel capacity between NY and Newark and an upgrade of the Baltimore Tunnel which dates back to the Civil War.


Edited by grover5995, 24 April 2017 - 10:36 AM.


#38 VentureForth

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 02:23 PM

I don't know who quoted who here...
 

You also say this reflects your 'slant':

Comparisons to European and Japanese railway systems cannot be made. Europe and Japan were bombed into rubble during World War II. With nothing in the way, the Marshall Plan and SCAP (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers), with an eye on the future, rebuilt the European and Japanese railway systems as straight and modern as practicable.

Really? Have you been to Germany or France? Do you not know they only recently in the past 25 years built their high speed lines? Same with France since 1980. Wow. HSR has nothing to do with WWII or the Marshall Plan. Alternative facts being presented here.

Japan started their HSR in the early 1960s after seeing how the North Shore line between Chicago and Milwaukee was built.

Japan's Bullet Train technically started in the late 50's after dabbling in the idea prior to WWII. However, it was early enough after WWII that much of the ROW in Tokyo was still a bit of rubble. However, much of the right of way along the route was intentionally as straight as practicable - boring through mountains and using many many tunnels. For some reason, in the US, we seem to freak out over having to build a tunnel. Anyway, there was much less private land to buy up.

Edited by VentureForth, 28 April 2017 - 02:25 PM.

14,223 Amtrak Miles. Many more to go.
Completed Routes: Capitol Limited, Palmetto
Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#39 B757Guy

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 04:05 PM

Having dealt this week with the mess created by Amtrak in NYC, I don't see how they can ever pull off true high speed rail. Funding aside, they can't seem to prioritize what needs to be done and where very effectively. Damn shame, I'm still hopeful Wick Morman gets the railroad on the right trajectory, but thus far, not sure what he's been doing.... :( 


I'm an airline pilot with a major US based carrier, and avid lover of trains since the very early days of Amtrak. I fondly recall GG1's zipping along the NEC, and sleeping in a slumbercoach on the Montrealer as a kid. I miss the old heritage cars, the GG1 and the original Budd Metroliners. The new equipment today simply doesn't have the same personality and elegance...


#40 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 04:29 PM

 

I miss the point? Please give examples of intermediate travel points/cities in North Dakota, Montana, Iowa , Nebraska for starters where intermediate travel warrants a transcontinental train.

 

Minot, ND handled 29,424 passengers in FY2016. Houston, TX only handled 19,499 passengers in the same period. Houston is the 4th biggest city in the US, while Minot is under 50k. Minot's most popular destination is St. Paul, 522 miles away. Chicago is it's second at over 900 miles! Wait, I thought 500 miles was the break even point? Whitefish is 3rd, and a popular tourist destination. It's a day trip and probably easier to take a train than drive on a 2 lane road in in the winter. Flying would take all day too! Williston, ND is an even better example. It's smaller than Minot but handled 38,477 passengers in 2015! (54,324 in 2012 because of oil!) It's most popular destination was Spokane, over 800 miles away! Followed by St. Paul, and then Chicago (again over 1000 miles) I could go on, but you get the gist.

 

Give Houston the same level of service as Minot and they would blow them out of the water. Houston probably had way more service before they canceled the Houston leg of the Texas Eagle. It not only game them Chicago service but Dallas service. I guarantee there'd be more traffic Dallas-Houston than Minot-Willston.


Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore Limited (NYP-CHI), , Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL), Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX), California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY), City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/





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