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Ziv

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  1. Eminent domain in China is (or was) pretty much the government says "You must leave by such and such a date and you may or may not get compensation." They even have a certain symbol that they spray paint on the walls of the condemned area that is a public announcement of the status. Once the spray paint hits the wall everyone has 3 months to get out. Chinese people/families have the right to the use of a piece of land or an apartment, but it sounds like they only have that right for 70 years, it doesn't sound like they own it outright. Maybe comparable to owning the air rights of a piece of land in the States. So if the Chinese government wants to develop a hutong and the people/family living there have been there for 40 years, they may only get 30/70th of the value. Or so it seemed when I was talking to people in Beijing, but half wouldn't talk to me. I visited Beijing a couple times about 10 years ago and spent a lot of time walking on back streets just soaking up the city. I had a hard time understanding the system because everyone seemed to have a different explanation, but it really came down to, if the government wants your land, they will take it and you may or may not get any money, and if you do get money, it won't be much.
  2. More gas, less coal. We are on the right path with that part of the equation. And we need to keep growing the wind and solar contribution. But if we really want to reduce our CO2 emissions, nuclear power is the best form of base load out there. Nuclear power plants cost so much in part due to the lawfare used to try to keep them from opening. Waste disposal is a red herring. A single waste disposal site would be able to handle any radioactive waste generated but again, the anti-nuke groups have made it nearly impossible to achieve. If we really want to reduce our CO2 emissions, a strong and growing nuclear power industry would be a huge help. Natural gas would be cheaper, but it is still going to emit a lot of CO2. Renewables are great, but you really need a solid base load energy source.
  3. The ironic thing about this issue is that the US government is loudly saying they won't be a part of the treaty. But it is the only G-7 nation that is anywhere close to meeting the CO2 emission reductions that the treaty calls for. And it wasn't mainly due to renewables, it is due to switching from coal to natural gas at many of our electrical generation plants. If we really wanted to reduce CO2 emissions, we ought to be building more nuclear power plants, as well as more wind generation. But switching to natural gas instead of coal is a pretty good first step. " Between 2005 and 2017, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fell by 12.4% on an absolute basis and by 19.9% on a per capita basis. " https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2017/10/24/yes-the-u-s-leads-all-countries-in-reducing-carbon-emissions/#5327fb135355
  4. Sea level rise is an issue that needs to be addressed, but the sea level has been rising since the end of the Little Ice Age by about 0.8"/20mm per decade. This isn't going to be a huge issue anywhere outside of Bangladesh and some of the smaller island nations in the next decade. I think we can plan to accommodate a 2mm per year increase in sea level since we have been been doing so successfully for over a century. Look at the London Tidal Barrier. It appears that in the last 20 to 30 years that sea level rise has accelerated to around 1.2"/30mm per decade. We can keep ahead of an increase of 1.5"/38mm per decade pretty easily. If it accelerates to 2"/50mm per decade it will be a bit tougher to deal with. But given the utter incompetence of the predictions regarding the temperature impact of increasing CO2 levels over the past 40 years, it seems highly unlikely that this time the same groups will be right about how fast and how disastrous sea level rise problems will be. We have been 10 years from the global warming cataclysm for 40 years. Odd how the cataclysm keeps moving to the right... Any areas that are currently close to problematic during storm surges should receive funding for weather defense engineering over the next 10 to 20 years. It isn't like it is going to rise more than a couple of inches every 10 years. https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/climate-change-evidence-causes/question-14/
  5. Ah. So it was the Sunset Limited. Thanks for the reminder, Jis. I just assumed that the Vimeo was using current train dispositions. My Dad used to have a phrase about the perils of assuming stuff. ;-) Sad to see an entire section of Amtrak coast to coast service lost.
  6. What was the Amtrak train that traveled between Florida and New Orleans? Is there such a thing? I saw two icons make the journey and I thought that was a thing of the past.
  7. I think the elevator part of the concept is the weakest part. No wait, the skates are the weakest part. On third thought the training wheels are even worse! But it may be true that his company can build a 14' bore tunnel very inexpensively. And that, all by itself, would be the gem in a pile of dross.
  8. The claim is that TBC built 1.14 miles of 14 foot bore/12 foot finished tunnel for $10mn. If that is true, that is a huge reduction in price per mile. They did it by using a lot of new techniques, including increasing the power supply to the drill, building the tunnels concrete shroud while the drilling is ongoing, reducing the fill dirt waste disposal problem by pressing the waste dirt into usable bricks and other things that other companies had never tried all at the same time. Is Musk puffing Godots capabilities? Probably yes, but if the price per mile was twice what he claims it is still a great achievement.
  9. I hope Railiner and Jis are wrong about the time-frame of any tunneling, but given their accuracy in the past I would guess my wishful thinking is probably not being realistic. And I am chuckling about keelhauled's link. Hadn't seen that law before but it does tend to sum up the "uncertainty" associated with headlines with question marks. I will continue to hope that the Boring Company can deliver on faster, cheaper tunnels, but I won't hold my breath. But the guy has delivered some home runs in the past, too. Here is hoping he can deliver another one and that it can be used to speed up the NEC. It would also make the expansion of subway systems much more affordable...
  10. Musk announced recently that the Boring Company had reduced the price of tunneling from $1Bn a mile to $10Mn for a 1.14 mile section of tunnel. It is kind of apples to oranges since the tunnels he was comparing to were larger (28'?) than the 14' bore that Godot produces, which when finished yields an interior that is 12' wide and tall. If the Boring Company can build a moderately larger boring machine capable of boring a tunnel large enough for the NEC Regionals and the Avelia Libertys while still keeping the price down to around $50Mn a mile, Amtrak might be able afford to straighten out the 4 or 5 (or more) slowest points on the NEC without exceeding current expenditures by a ruinous amount. I don't know how much tunnel would be needed at Frankford Junction or Elizabeth NJ to straighten out the line enough to allow a faster allowed speed. But if you could take a 2 mile section of moderately tight curves on the surface and turn it into a 1.5 mile section of very gentle curves inside the tunnel with a much higher speed limit, it would seem to be worth doing if it only cost $75Mn and wouldn't interfere with regular operations while the boring was being done. How big of a bore would they need to have as a finished product to leave enough room for tracks, trains and catenary? 17'? 19'? I apologize for the "what if?" nature of the question, just wondering how much time would be saved. I think the amount of time saved would vary greatly, but it seems like it could save you 2 to 4 minutes per slow down area. I think I read that straightening the curves was on the 2010 Amtrak list of Capital Improvements, but it seems like tunneling using Boring Company technology may be able to be done cheaper (in the near future) than straightening the curves on the surface. " Musk put the total price tag for the finished segment at about $10 million, including the cost of excavation, internal infrastructure, lighting, ventilation, safety systems, communications and a track. By comparison, he said, digging a mile of tunnel by "traditional" engineering methods costs up to $1 billion and takes three to six months to complete. "
  11. I thought that the presentation materials said that the present bridge was re-furbed in 2016, so hopefully we won't see traffic being shifted off the existing bridge any time soon. But now that I am looking again, it says that the bridge will need to be renovated soon. Not sure what I read earlier, but I think my first impression that it had been reno'ed may be incorrect. Sorry for the misinformation.
  12. "Mussolini made the trains run on time!" It was a common statement at one time, with a small grain of truth to it, but it is kind of related to the issue of why China can build a world class train system in a relatively short amount of time whereas a more advanced economy like the US stumbles from one problem to another. There is little doubt that a fascist like Mussolini, or an autocracy like the Communist Party of China, can achieve great things if they point their resources at a particular issue. But I doubt most of us would prefer to live there over a seemingly dysfunctional nation like those we have in the West. But building the Italian train system from horrifically bad to moderately effective probably wasn't worth putting up with il Duce. ;-)
  13. I haven't had a chance to ride the high speed rail lines in China, but I did ride on the medium speed night trains, and they were a lot of fun. I think they were Z's with open 4 bed compartments. The food was surprisingly good and the samovar/hot water dispenser for tea was the hotspot for discussing tea options. They put in everything you could imagine, from tea leaves, of course, to what looks like black eyed susan flowers to what i swear was a dried up squid into the little steeping compartment on their tea jugs. I said yes to the flower but no to the squid. The other fun thing about non-HSR in China is the group exercises in the morning. Everyone got up at 7am or so and half an hour later we all were doing standing calisthenics, with a train employee calling out the cadence. This was followed by tea, of course. I think that frequently the less expensive the train, the more fun the people. At least it seemed that way in Thailand and China. Though the really cheap trains, like the 3rd class trains in Thailand with the wooden seats, are kind of a pain.
  14. It seems like PTC is a bigger issue than PPC at this point. Maybe it was a typo.
  15. How reliable is Railway Age and this particular author/editor? Because " Various Amtrak sources have told Railway Age that the brand-new CAF USA-built Viewliner II dining cars—part of a multi-million-dollar-order for baggage cars, sleepers and diners—are having their expensive cooking equipment removed and undergoing conversion into lounge cars. " isn't the same thing as Amtrak stating that they removed the cooking equipment. You can find a source that will say just about anything, and may say it to further their own interests even if they know it to be false. On edit: Did I miss the direct statement by an Amtrak employee?
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