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jcl653

Most federal rail grants probably will bypass Texas

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All this squabbling over a lousy $8 billion is pathetic. You would never know we have 4 times the GDP of China. Spending $20 billion per year to build HSR in three or four places at once, is pocket change in this economy.

 

The reports now are that POTUS is going to go to Florida to grandly announce some rinky-dinky program to pay CSX for a rail upgrade so we can run trains at about 2/3 the speed of what the Turks have, that is, when CSX isn't too busy moving freight.

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All this squabbling over a lousy $8 billion is pathetic. You would never know we have 4 times the GDP of China. Spending $20 billion per year to build HSR in three or four places at once, is pocket change in this economy.

 

Turn that around: we choose not to go the direction of things like HSR and we end up with an economy four times bigger than China. You sure we should start sucking that "pocket change" out of the economy to be more like them?

 

In the end this squabbling arises from the Feds pulling the money out and then dangling it over the states like a thief who takes your car and then offers to sell it back to you. If Texas isn't interested in HSR (and other similar efforts) then let it keep its money to spend on things it DOES want. Let states who do want HSR spend their money on HSR without it being divided up to other states.

 

The squabbling is symptomatic of the process, not of the goal.

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All this squabbling over a lousy $8 billion is pathetic. You would never know we have 4 times the GDP of China. Spending $20 billion per year to build HSR in three or four places at once, is pocket change in this economy.

 

Turn that around: we choose not to go the direction of things like HSR and we end up with an economy four times bigger than China. You sure we should start sucking that "pocket change" out of the economy to be more like them?

 

In the end this squabbling arises from the Feds pulling the money out and then dangling it over the states like a thief who takes your car and then offers to sell it back to you. If Texas isn't interested in HSR (and other similar efforts) then let it keep its money to spend on things it DOES want. Let states who do want HSR spend their money on HSR without it being divided up to other states.

 

The squabbling is symptomatic of the process, not of the goal.

 

Well, I think the emergence of the US as an economic superpower came before any nation had high-speed rail. So I don't quite know if that's a valid point. I'd frame the debate about whether we will invest in the infrastructure that will continue to allow us to continue our international economic dominance.

 

On your second point, is this substantially different than the way that funds were divided to initially build the interstate highway system? But I agree, if Texas doesn't want the money, send it elsewhere. If the people of Texas want HSR, they can elect politicians that support it. The downside is that Texas is a huge state, and the voices of those who would benefit may get drowned out by those who live in the rest of the state. But I suppose a big state is much better positioned to roll out HSR than a small state like mine that will probably never see it (though we are on a designated HSR corridor!).

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Texas: don't hold your breath for HSR funds. From The Dallas Morning New:

 

The federal government is about to hand out a river of cash to states willing to build a network of bullet trains, as the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress seek to slowly ease the country's dependence on automobiles and airplanes to make short trips between its biggest cities.

 

It's the nation's first major investment in true high-speed rail, and among its most significant pushes to locate trains of any kind far from the East Coast.

 

But while the federal grants won't be announced until later this month, or early February, word already has emerged that Texas' chances of snagging much of what it has requested are slim.

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dw...il.3fb19e9.html

 

Further down, without providing a source, the article states: "The first $8 billion of what could be several times that much money over the next five years is expected to be awarded in the next several weeks."

 

 

 

CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED CHANCES ARE GREAT( I GOT HTE INSIDE WORD)

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All this squabbling over a lousy $8 billion is pathetic. You would never know we have 4 times the GDP of China. Spending $20 billion per year to build HSR in three or four places at once, is pocket change in this economy.

Actually, in 2008 China had a GDP of around $7.9 trillion while the US GDP was around $14.2 trillion. China's GDP was about 55% of the US in 2008. With China still growing in 2009, while the US GDP only started to barely grow in the 3rd quarter of 2009, the ratio will be higher for 2009. The general range of projections has the China GDP overtaking the US GDP somewhere in the 2020 to 2030 range.

 

I agree that $8 billion is not that much money in the bigger picture of funding for transportation and infrastructure. Just a modest down payment for HSR and intercity rail at best. But the $8 billion and the flood of applications for the funding has resulted in a change in the political landscape for intercity passenger rail. Not every proposed project will get built, but there will be a lot more money available for intercity rail projects than have been seen in decades.

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Weve discussed this for several years here in Texas, and a couple of times on this forum . With the current political climate in Texas (read T-Party yahoos

get all the scared politicicos to their hate fests!), and the Leg and our Senior Senator against a Transportation corridor (a rural version of NIMNBY), and mixed with Southwest Airlines opposition to a high speed rail corridor between our major cities the chances are slim and none as we say down here!

All that might mean nothing if the Austin rail project wasn't beset by delays and cost overruns. Considering that Austin is the capital, it's got to be hard for the legislators to ignore it.

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Southwest Airlines has a lot of political clout in Texas and the last thing they want is competition from HSR. I think Southwest is the only profitable airline at the present time.

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Southwest Airlines has a lot of political clout in Texas and the last thing they want is competition from HSR. I think Southwest is the only profitable airline at the present time.

 

Just so you all know, Southwest hasn't publicly stated they are against high speed rail in the state this time around. Back in the early 90's they were, but now times are different. Plus I think Texas is more likely to have higher speed rail in existing corridors sooner than any bullet trains. We must remind ourselves and others that higher speed competing with air travel is no comparison. But competing with the single occupant automobile is what we should be concentrating on right now. These days, the public aren't exactly happy with airlines. If Southwest were to oppose HSR, they would have to be very careful about it. I'm sure many HSR supporters are also their passengers.

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Guest MikefromCrete
Why not just cut Southwest in on the deal? Make them part of the solution rather than the problem.

That's a great idea. Southwest is certainly the best run airline right now and their expertise in passenger handling would go a long way to establishing HSR as a viable alternative to short haul airline travel. I've ended up on a lot of Southwest flights in the past few years and have found their personnel to have a great attitude in dealing with the public. I've never encountered a grouchy employee and everyone seemed determined to make passengers enjoy their trip. I don't know what kind of training they give their employees, but Amtrak and other airlines could cetainly benefit from Southwest's model.

Obviously Southwest has never actually operated a train, but there are plenty of companies who could handle that aspect of HSR, from Amtrak to Herzog to SNCF. It's a new day for passenger trains, time for new thinking.

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Why not just cut Southwest in on the deal? Make them part of the solution rather than the problem.

That's a great idea. Southwest is certainly the best run airline right now and their expertise in passenger handling would go a long way to establishing HSR as a viable alternative to short haul airline travel. I've ended up on a lot of Southwest flights in the past few years and have found their personnel to have a great attitude in dealing with the public. I've never encountered a grouchy employee and everyone seemed determined to make passengers enjoy their trip. I don't know what kind of training they give their employees, but Amtrak and other airlines could cetainly benefit from Southwest's model.

Obviously Southwest has never actually operated a train, but there are plenty of companies who could handle that aspect of HSR, from Amtrak to Herzog to SNCF. It's a new day for passenger trains, time for new thinking.

 

 

Not wanting to start a flame war here, some posters mistakenly think that unions mean a job for life and that leads to poor customer service. Southwest Airlines is very unionized, more than some other larger air carriers. Perhaps their management style and the treatment of employees leads to the "great attitude in dealing with the public." Southwest believes that their biggest asset is not their aircraft, but their employees.

 

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

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Why not just cut Southwest in on the deal? Make them part of the solution rather than the problem.

That's a great idea. Southwest is certainly the best run airline right now and their expertise in passenger handling would go a long way to establishing HSR as a viable alternative to short haul airline travel. I've ended up on a lot of Southwest flights in the past few years and have found their personnel to have a great attitude in dealing with the public. I've never encountered a grouchy employee and everyone seemed determined to make passengers enjoy their trip. I don't know what kind of training they give their employees, but Amtrak and other airlines could cetainly benefit from Southwest's model.

Obviously Southwest has never actually operated a train, but there are plenty of companies who could handle that aspect of HSR, from Amtrak to Herzog to SNCF. It's a new day for passenger trains, time for new thinking.

 

 

Not wanting to start a flame war here, some posters mistakenly think that unions mean a job for life and that leads to poor customer service. Southwest Airlines is very unionized, more than some other larger air carriers. Perhaps their management style and the treatment of employees leads to the "great attitude in dealing with the public." Southwest believes that their biggest asset is not their aircraft, but their employees.

 

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Aloha

 

When management knows labor is not the enemy, but a company asset, then the relationship between management becomes one of co-operation and progress. The last sentence by oldtimer2 is the key ingredient, Japan once was this way, now the copy us and have our same problems.

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Why not just cut Southwest in on the deal? Make them part of the solution rather than the problem.

That's a great idea. Southwest is certainly the best run airline right now and their expertise in passenger handling would go a long way to establishing HSR as a viable alternative to short haul airline travel. I've ended up on a lot of Southwest flights in the past few years and have found their personnel to have a great attitude in dealing with the public. I've never encountered a grouchy employee and everyone seemed determined to make passengers enjoy their trip. I don't know what kind of training they give their employees, but Amtrak and other airlines could cetainly benefit from Southwest's model.

Obviously Southwest has never actually operated a train, but there are plenty of companies who could handle that aspect of HSR, from Amtrak to Herzog to SNCF. It's a new day for passenger trains, time for new thinking.

 

 

Not wanting to start a flame war here, some posters mistakenly think that unions mean a job for life and that leads to poor customer service. Southwest Airlines is very unionized, more than some other larger air carriers. Perhaps their management style and the treatment of employees leads to the "great attitude in dealing with the public." Southwest believes that their biggest asset is not their aircraft, but their employees.

 

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Aloha

 

When management knows labor is not the enemy, but a company asset, then the relationship between management becomes one of co-operation and progress. The last sentence by oldtimer2 is the key ingredient, Japan once was this way, now the copy us and have our same problems.

 

You hit the nail on the head on that one.

 

Southwest is very picky when it comes to hiring. Pretty much you have to have a great sense of humor during your interview among other things. From May to September, every Friday, they throw a huge party on their deck of the HQ building. Wish my company would throw big parties every week!

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Southwest Airlines has a lot of political clout in Texas and the last thing they want is competition from HSR. I think Southwest is the only profitable airline at the present time.

 

Just so you all know, Southwest hasn't publicly stated they are against high speed rail in the state this time around. Back in the early 90's they were, but now times are different. Plus I think Texas is more likely to have higher speed rail in existing corridors sooner than any bullet trains. We must remind ourselves and others that higher speed competing with air travel is no comparison. But competing with the single occupant automobile is what we should be concentrating on right now. These days, the public aren't exactly happy with airlines. If Southwest were to oppose HSR, they would have to be very careful about it. I'm sure many HSR supporters are also their passengers.

 

Yep. I think SWA has decided the ability to code through passengers from say, Temple to L.A. which is what will happen if the trains stop at the airports, outweighs the disadvantages.

 

Texas is torn right now between wanting HSR and being opposed to "pork" The good thing though is that being Texans I doubt they will settle for "semi-high speed rail" The Floridians....not so much.

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Texas is torn right now between wanting HSR and being opposed to "pork"

 

I think of Texas as being more partial to beef than to pork. :D

 

HamiltonTxNearTexasLongHorn102004BarclayGibson.jpg

 

No pork here!

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Southwest Airlines has a lot of political clout in Texas and the last thing they want is competition from HSR. I think Southwest is the only profitable airline at the present time.

 

Just so you all know, Southwest hasn't publicly stated they are against high speed rail in the state this time around. Back in the early 90's they were, but now times are different. Plus I think Texas is more likely to have higher speed rail in existing corridors sooner than any bullet trains. We must remind ourselves and others that higher speed competing with air travel is no comparison. But competing with the single occupant automobile is what we should be concentrating on right now. These days, the public aren't exactly happy with airlines. If Southwest were to oppose HSR, they would have to be very careful about it. I'm sure many HSR supporters are also their passengers.

 

Yep. I think SWA has decided the ability to code through passengers from say, Temple to L.A. which is what will happen if the trains stop at the airports, outweighs the disadvantages.

 

Texas is torn right now between wanting HSR and being opposed to "pork" The good thing though is that being Texans I doubt they will settle for "semi-high speed rail" The Floridians....not so much.

 

Part of the problem is that Texas has no unified plan. We have the Texas T-bone. It will run down I-35 and only stop at airports and take up right of way. Lots of people support it though and refuse anything "cheap," ie 110 mph service. In other words if they can't get to Austin from Dallas in two hours, they'll fly or drive. I don't like it either. Texas doesn't even have corridor service to feed into the system, and I keep getting in debates in other transportation forums about this issue. TxARP/NARP and a few other groups support the incremental/emerging high speed rail. It will use existing ROW up to 110 mph, and IMO, will get from DAL/FTW to AUS and SAS in the same amount of time the T-bone would. Mainly because it would actually serve downtown areas.

 

So fellow Texans, which would you rather have?:

 

200+ mph service on totally new right-of-way

$20 to 40 million a mile up front costs, plus new equipment

Stops only at the airports in DFW, Waco, Temple/Killeen, Austin, San Antonio, College Station, Houston- Thats only 7 or 8 stops

Getting to downtown requires another transfer

Implementation could be as soon as 2020 but probably more like 2030.

 

OR:

 

90-110 mph service on existing tracks

$2 to 5 million per mile of track upgrades

Serves downtown areas at existing stations

Has many stops such as Cleburne, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Round Rock, Hempstead etc.

Maybe a little bit slower than the T-bone but still faster than driving

Implementation in as soon as 2015.

 

Obviously these are things we to need to work out before Texas will see any actual Fed dollars. And if the Fed doesn't go on a spending freeze starting next year.

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Part of the problem is that Texas has no unified plan. We have the Texas T-bone. It will run down I-35 and only stop at airports and take up right of way. Lots of people support it though and refuse anything "cheap," ie 110 mph service. In other words if they can't get to Austin from Dallas in two hours, they'll fly or drive. I don't like it either. Texas doesn't even have corridor service to feed into the system, and I keep getting in debates in other transportation forums about this issue. TxARP/NARP and a few other groups support the incremental/emerging high speed rail. It will use existing ROW up to 110 mph, and IMO, will get from DAL/FTW to AUS and SAS in the same amount of time the T-bone would. Mainly because it would actually serve downtown areas.

 

So fellow Texans, which would you rather have?:

 

200+ mph service on totally new right-of-way

$20 to 40 million a mile up front costs, plus new equipment

Stops only at the airports in DFW, Waco, Temple/Killeen, Austin, San Antonio, College Station, Houston- Thats only 7 or 8 stops

Getting to downtown requires another transfer

Implementation could be as soon as 2020 but probably more like 2030.

 

OR:

 

90-110 mph service on existing tracks

$2 to 5 million per mile of track upgrades

Serves downtown areas at existing stations

Has many stops such as Cleburne, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Round Rock, Hempstead etc.

Maybe a little bit slower than the T-bone but still faster than driving

Implementation in as soon as 2015.

 

Obviously these are things we to need to work out before Texas will see any actual Fed dollars. And if the Fed doesn't go on a spending freeze starting next year.

 

The Northeast Regional is not really any faster than driving, and it reaches 125 MPH at times. What makes you so sure that a 110 MPH train in Texas would be faster than driving?

 

Are the T-bone folks proposing to run subway like 3 minute headways on the airport connector, or would that leave slots available to run trains into downtowns?

 

If you look at the trains crossing the Hudson River into NYP, I believe there aren't really more than three Amtrak trains an hour in each direction (one Acela, one Northeast Regional, and then the Keystone / long distance trains), while NJT is probably running more than 20 trains an hour in the peak direction, and those NJT trains probably carry double the passengers the average Amtrak train carries. This makes me think focusing on hour long commuter trips produces a project that's easier to justify than focusing on airplane replacement.

 

Austin to San Antonio is about 80 miles. What if you start with that part of the T-bone, and run a train from downtown Austin to downtown San Antonio? At 220 MPH, it would be a little over 20 minutes, but in practice it will probably take longer if it's running on conventional rights of way into each downtown. I don't know if losing 10 minutes on each end to the slower right of way is even remotely accurate, but let's assume for the moment that it turned out to actually be possible for an express train to go from downtown Austin to downtown San Antonio in 40 minutes.

 

Since slots on the 220 MPH track will probably be three minutes each, if a train pulls off the 220 MPH track into a station to stop for passengers to get on and off and let an express train go by and then takes the next slot after the express train, each stop should cause the local train to be 6 minutes slower than an express train.

 

That might mean a single local train could make 5-7 stops in between Austin and San Antonio, which would suggest stops could be spaced every 10-12 miles. (Or if there are multiple trains that each make only some of the local stops, much as the NJT NEC trains do, you could have more stops.) That ought to collect a significant number of commuters from points in between the two cities. Perhaps the airports could have stops that some trains could stop at on their way to the downtown station.

 

It looks like Austin has some conventional speed track heading to the east, and San Antonio has track heading to the southwest and southeast. Perhaps there could be a train that would start 20 minutes east of downtown Austin, making some local stops on its way to downtown Austin, and then run express to downtown San Antonio, and from there continue 20 minutes along the conventional speed track heading southwest or southeast.

 

If that's successful, then look at Austin to Dallas/Fort Worth. It's about 200 miles. If the speed of the trains can be pushed up to 300 MPH, that can probably be about an hour, too. Even if you're stuck at 220 MPH, there are still some parts of Texas that would easily be within an hour by train of both Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth.

 

Once all that's up and running and has plenty of local commuter stops, figure out what to do about connecting Houston to maximize commuter possibilities.

 

Are all of the airports on the airport centric version of the T-bone ones that would continue to have scheduled passenger planes once the T-bone is functional, or would some see all of their passengers migrated to HSR?

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