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Manny T

High Speed Rail Proposed for United City-States of America

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3) The additional overhead associated with stopping at a hub enroute is two hours. I just made this up as well, based loosely on the many hundreds of hours I have spent in DFW and other airports over the decades.

 

Under these assumptions, obviously taking the train will be quicker for short trips and flying will be quicker for long ones, with a "crossover distance" at which the times are equal, with the crossover distance varying with train speed and number of airplane stops. We can make a little table of the results (I hope the formatting works!):

 

Crossover distance (flying is quicker if the distance is longer than this)

Number of stops enroute by air 0 (nonstop) 1 (stop at hub)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Train average speed 77 mph 240 miles 430 miles (77 mph is the average speed of an Acela between NYP and WAS)

100 333 600

150 600 1000

 

So, sure, 500 miles is about the right cut off with the caveats mentioned above. If we could build true high speed rail in the US, though, or if we were connecting non-hub cities with few or no nonstop flight connections, a longer distance might be time-competitive with flying. Memphis-San Antonio (625 miles by air, 727 by road), to pick a pair of random non-hub cities: 11 hours driving time, 8 hours flying (according to my assumptions above), but would only take six or so hours by 100 mph high speed rail.

 

So given higher speeds and non-hub cities, the threshold where air takes over might be significantly higher.

 

Ainamkartma

Apparently experience from France shows that in situiations where train and plane are about equivalent in terms of door to door speeds, people still prefer the train, with more people using trains athan planes.

 

And even in cases where the train is actually slower than the plane, there is a tolerance band where the train still leads the market. It's only when flyng can save you three hours or more that the market share of trains falls off rapidly.

 

I think this is down to such factors as perceived comfort, more generous carry-on allowances, no harrasment by security etc.

Edited by cirdan

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Apparently experience from France shows that in situiations where train and plane are about equivalent in terms of door to door speeds, people still prefer the train, with more people using trains athan planes.

 

And even in cases where the train is actually slower than the plane, there is a tolerance band where the train still leads the market. It's only when flyng can save you three hours or more that the market share of trains falls off rapidly.

 

I think this is down to such factors as perceived comfort, more generous carry-on allowances, no harrasment by security etc.

 

 

I agree with all this, but I would add that there is also some evidence supporting your position from the US: for NYP to WAS, where at least there is a common perception that flying and rail are time equivalent, rail beats air for mode share by about two to one. But for NYP to Boston, where there is no such perception, air beats rail by about 1.5 to one. (And for Boston-Washington, over your three hour difference cut off, the rail share is a tiny fraction of air, although I have no source to back this up.)

 

Source for the NYP to WAS and BOS assertions.

 

Ainamkartma

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Apparently experience from France shows that in situiations where train and plane are about equivalent in terms of door to door speeds, people still prefer the train, with more people using trains athan planes.

 

And even in cases where the train is actually slower than the plane, there is a tolerance band where the train still leads the market. It's only when flyng can save you three hours or more that the market share of trains falls off rapidly.

 

I think this is down to such factors as perceived comfort, more generous carry-on allowances, no harrasment by security etc.

 

 

I agree with all this, but I would add that there is also some evidence supporting your position from the US: for NYP to WAS, where at least there is a common perception that flying and rail are time equivalent, rail beats air for mode share by about two to one. But for NYP to Boston, where there is no such perception, air beats rail by about 1.5 to one. (And for Boston-Washington, over your three hour difference cut off, the rail share is a tiny fraction of air, although I have no source to back this up.)

 

Source for the NYP to WAS and BOS assertions.

 

Ainamkartma

 

 

On p. 38 of the report:

 

"Amtrak’s intercity trains carry 46,000 people on average each day in the NEC Region, making up 54 percent of all Amtrak intercity rail trips in the U.S. Amtrak estimates it captures 75 percent of air-rail travelers between New York and Washington and 54 percent of air-rail travelers between New York and Boston."

 

So for New York-Boston, rail beats air, not the other way around. No data for Washington-Boston.

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At least on the basis of the mass turnover at NYP I am inclined to suspect that the share WAS-BOS isn't very large. I actually remember a few years ago when Southwest pulled out of a few airports, Amtrak noted that they were making an unusual amount of headway in some odd-and-end markets (PHL-PVD and PHL-BOS come to mind from that).

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Apparently experience from France shows that in situiations where train and plane are about equivalent in terms of door to door speeds, people still prefer the train, with more people using trains athan planes.

 

And even in cases where the train is actually slower than the plane, there is a tolerance band where the train still leads the market. It's only when flyng can save you three hours or more that the market share of trains falls off rapidly.

 

I think this is down to such factors as perceived comfort, more generous carry-on allowances, no harrasment by security etc.

 

 

I agree with all this, but I would add that there is also some evidence supporting your position from the US: for NYP to WAS, where at least there is a common perception that flying and rail are time equivalent, rail beats air for mode share by about two to one. But for NYP to Boston, where there is no such perception, air beats rail by about 1.5 to one. (And for Boston-Washington, over your three hour difference cut off, the rail share is a tiny fraction of air, although I have no source to back this up.)

 

Source for the NYP to WAS and BOS assertions.

 

Ainamkartma

 

 

On p. 38 of the report:

 

"Amtrak’s intercity trains carry 46,000 people on average each day in the NEC Region, making up 54 percent of all Amtrak intercity rail trips in the U.S. Amtrak estimates it captures 75 percent of air-rail travelers between New York and Washington and 54 percent of air-rail travelers between New York and Boston."

 

So for New York-Boston, rail beats air, not the other way around. No data for Washington-Boston.

 

 

See figure 14 on page 36 for the daily rail passengers NYC-BOS.

 

The air number in that chart corresponds to the BOS-LGA passengers _only_ from Table 17 on page 42. So the 1.5 to one number that I stated above is (the annual air passengers to JFK, EWR, and LGA from Table 17, summed up and divided by 365) divided by the daily Amtrak ridership extracted from Figure 14.

 

Sorry for not being more clear with the reference.

 

I'm not sure where Amtrak's 54% claim comes from; it is not consistent with any of the other data presented in the report. That doesn't mean it is wrong, though; the report contains plenty of other internal inconsistencies.

 

Ainamkartma

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Well, in the case of Washington, what airport(s) are being used? DCA, obviously, but are IAD and BWI in the mix? BWI is sticky since that "should" also sweep in Baltimore Penn (and BWI) stations in terms of city pair comparison, nevermind New Carrollton and Alexandria. On the New York end, if you throw in EWR, JFK, and LGA, do you also sweep in New Rochelle, Newark Penn, Newark Liberty, and Metropark? And on the Boston end, do you include only South Station or do you also kick in Back Bay and Route 128?

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2) The cruise speed of a plane is 400 mph. I just made this up.

 

 

 

 

According top the flight tracker I accessed during my last airplane trip, our 737 cruised at about 450 mph on the south/westbound leg and at about 550-600 mph on the north/eastbound leg. (This is ground speed, not airspeed.) Takeoff and landings were somewhere between 150 and 200 mph. After takeoff, it took a good 20-30 minutes to to reach cruising speed, and on landing we started slowing down a good 30-45 minutes before actual touchdown.

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(77 mph is the average speed of an Acela between NYP and WAS)

I figured closer to 68 MPH. 457 miles in 6h45m...

 

Interestingly with the jetstream moving from West to East, yes, the groundspeeds can vary by a couple hundred mph depending on direction.

Edited by VentureForth

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(77 mph is the average speed of an Acela between NYP and WAS)

I figured closer to 68 MPH. 457 miles in 6h45m...

 

Interestingly with the jetstream moving from West to East, yes, the groundspeeds can vary by a couple hundred mph depending on direction.

The 68 MPH number is WAS-BOS, 77 MPH is WAS-NYP. The northern NEC is curvier and therefore slower. The trains also sometimes stop in NYP for awhile, which further reduces the average speed.

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Both these figures are very respectful London - Glasgow is 357 miles by train via the west coast main line - an express service averages about 79mph (4 1/2 hrs roughly) but many services average 65mph (5 1/2 hours).

 

While not true high speed the WCML is one of the most modern lines in the U.K. having had almost $2 Billion invested in modernisation in recent years. The HS2 line (which will run half way only is budgeted £56 billion sterling) and will only shave 20 minutes off the entire journey (if it ever is finished) and is no way value for money!

 

Sorry to ramble on but in short it's not far off comparable routes in Europe with far less investment and as the UK proves shaving minutes off a journey costs billions and takes light years.

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(77 mph is the average speed of an Acela between NYP and WAS)

I figured closer to 68 MPH. 457 miles in 6h45m...

 

Interestingly with the jetstream moving from West to East, yes, the groundspeeds can vary by a couple hundred mph depending on direction.

 

The 68 MPH number is WAS-BOS, 77 MPH is WAS-NYP. The northern NEC is curvier and therefore slower. The trains also sometimes stop in NYP for awhile, which further reduces the average speed.

 

Yes - you are right. Your NYP was misread into my brain as BOS.

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Today, on the Newsy channel (on Roku) they ran a 3 minute piece on "Why not High Speed Rail in America?" and compared travel times from several city pairs to what it would take as compared to travel times on existing high speed rail in China, Japan, & Europe.

 

Their video said that the reasons high speed rail would not take off here, like it has in other countries, was due to infrastructure and right of way costs, and, that Americans love their cars too much.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/03/11/why-doesnt-the-united-states-have-high-speed-bullet-trains-like-europe-and-asia/#5d0fec9ac080

 

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/03/opinions/smart-high-speed-trains-america/index.html

Edited by Rover

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Their video said that the reasons high speed rail would not take off here, like it has in other countries, was due to infrastructure and right of way costs, and, that Americans love their cars too much.

 

That doesn't explain why people fly between many somewhat-close (i.e. drivable) city pairs.

 

19 non-stop flights per day from Atlanta to Charlotte as an example (Delta and American). A four hour drive.

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Their video said that the reasons high speed rail would not take off here, like it has in other countries, was due to infrastructure and right of way costs, and, that Americans love their cars too much.

 

That doesn't explain why people fly between many somewhat-close (i.e. drivable) city pairs.

 

19 non-stop flights per day from Atlanta to Charlotte as an example (Delta and American). A four hour drive.

 

 

Driving in traffic sucks. The 3 1/2 - 4hr drive from Dallas to Austin is Hell. I'm just not a highway road warrior.

Edited by Rover

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So True Rover!

 

I-35 is a Nightmare in Texas, especially from San Antonio to Dallas, so taking the Eagle is an excellent alternative.

 

#22 AUS-DAL = 5 Hours* /#21 DAL-AUS= 6Hours* ( *the Layover in FTW is around an Hour/ you can ride TRE between FTW and DAL to shorten the Layover)

 

Leave the Driving to Amtrak!!😎

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So True Rover!

 

I-35 is a Nightmare in Texas, especially from San Antonio to Dallas, so taking the Eagle is an excellent alternative.

 

#22 AUS-DAL = 5 Hours* /#21 DAL-AUS= 6Hours* ( *the Layover in FTW is around an Hour/ you can ride TRE between FTW and DAL to shorten the Layover)

 

Leave the Driving to Amtrak!!

 

And that time will be shortened whenever the Texas high speed rail lines are built. Maybe after Texas secedes from the Union... :)

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Their video said that the reasons high speed rail would not take off here, like it has in other countries, was due to infrastructure and right of way costs, and, that Americans love their cars too much.

 

That doesn't explain why people fly between many somewhat-close (i.e. drivable) city pairs.

 

19 non-stop flights per day from Atlanta to Charlotte as an example (Delta and American). A four hour drive.

 

 

That's because of the spoke-and-hub model of most airlines, not because there's a huge demand of flights between those two towns organically. Charlotte is a large hub for American, and Atlanta is a large hub for Delta. An Atlanta customer wanting to go to places on American likely will have to go through Charlotte first, and a Charlotte customer on Delta likely has to go through Atlanta. When you're going to have to go through airport security anyways, it doesn't make sense to drive four hours (and paying parking instead of potentially taking a taxi/bus/train to the airport) when the alternative is an hour or so flight and an hour or so layover.

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