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A comparison of high speed rail on different countries

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This was an interesting article. It focuses on Japan, China, S. Korea and Russia. It doesn't discotheque high speed services in Europe.

 

I rode superfast bullet trains in China, Japan, Korea, and Russia, and one is better than the rest - via Laserlike.https://www.businessinsider.com/worlds-best-bullet-train-japan-china-korea-russia-2018-7/

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Amtrak's Acela Express, which travels from Boston to Washington, DC, is the closest thing Americans have to a high-speed train. But with a speed that tops out at 241 kilometers per hour (150 mph), it pales in comparison to train systems in China and Japan, which are both faster and more extensive.

 

Wait, there's more expensive high-speed trains than Acela Express, that charges at least $126 for the 225 miles between NYC and DC?

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Amtrak's Acela Express, which travels from Boston to Washington, DC, is the closest thing Americans have to a high-speed train. But with a speed that tops out at 241 kilometers per hour (150 mph), it pales in comparison to train systems in China and Japan, which are both faster and more extensive.

Wait, there's more expensive high-speed trains than Acela Express, that charges at least $126 for the 225 miles between NYC and DC?

Extensive, not expensive. Though you’re probably right about cost-per-mile comparisons.

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Wait, there's more expensive high-speed trains than Acela Express, that charges at least $126 for the 225 miles between NYC and DC?

They said extensive! Extensive I tell you! Don't worry. Those other high-speed trains are way LESS expensive.

Edited by cpotisch

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Woops, my mistake! Sorry about that.

It's all good bro! ;)

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Yeah, I did a cost/speed was between the Shinkansen original route from Tokyo to Osaka and compared it to Acela. They are similar in distance, but that's it. Shinkansen way faster and modestly cheaper. No food other than pay to eat trolley service. I'll try to reproduce later today...

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Last year when I rode Sapsen from St Peterburg to Moscow and back, the seats were the most uncomfortable that I've ever sat in. I saw many people including myself standing around and stretching their backs.

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As promised. Here is a comparison to the first Shinkansen timetable and the first Amtrak timetable to where we are today. Now, the Shinkansen didn't start all the way to Hakata. Had to change trains, so the total time assumes a fifteen minute dwell in Shin-Osaka then taking a traditional Limited Express. Of course, Acela didn't come on the scene until December, 2000. Anyway, here are some comparisons to they way they were in 1964/1971 vs today.

 

I think that the most interesting part is that the Shinkansen is almost 1/4 of the cost per mile vs Acela. Now, there is no fancy meal or booze included on the Japanese train. Probably because it's so fast, there's no time. :)

 

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Edited by VentureForth

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As promised. Here is a comparison to the first Shinkansen timetable and the first Amtrak timetable to where we are today. Now, the Shinkansen didn't start all the way to Hakata. Had to change trains, so the total time assumes a fifteen minute dwell in Shin-Osaka then taking a traditional Limited Express. Of course, Acela didn't come on the scene until December, 2000. Anyway, here are some comparisons to they way they were in 1964/1971 vs today.

 

I think that the most interesting part is that the Shinkansen is almost 1/4 of the cost per mile vs Acela. Now, there is no fancy meal or booze included on the Japanese train. Probably because it's so fast, there's no time. :)

 

 

Also, just to put a little perspective, JNR which was the government agency which originally built the Shinkansen went bankrupt because of the high debt.

 

 

 

By 1987, JNR's debt was over ¥27 trillion ($280 billion at 2009 exchange rates) and the company was spending ¥147 for every ¥100 earned.[3] By an act of the Diet of Japan, on April 1, 1987 JNR was privatized and divided into seven railway companies, six passenger and one freight, collectively called the Japan Railways Group or JR Group. Long-term liabilities of JNR were taken over by the JNR Settlement Corporation. That corporation was subsequently disbanded on October 22, 1998, and its remaining debts were transferred to the national budget's general accounting.[4] By this time the debt has risen to ¥30 trillion ($310 billion in 2009 dollars).

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Yeah, but JNR was the whole Nationalized rail system, including many local municipal lines, probably about the equivalent to today's Amtrak + ALL commuter lines. I don't think that the development of the Shinkansen directly resulted in the mountain of debt they acquired. Shinkansen, particularly the Tokaido and Sanyo (which were the primary lines along with the Tohoku and Joetsu when JNR was privatized) kept the system from totally crashing. JR was the best thing that happened to JNR. Rolling stock was almost immediately updated, then more frequently. More Shinkansen lines were built. And each of the 7 companies (the smallest of which is the Freight, lol) have varying degrees of profitability, so much so that these now private companies are paying off JNR's debt.

 

I truly think that the biggest obstacle to US high speed rail is the reluctance to dig. Virtually no tunnels through mountains or under cities. Yes, it's expensive, but it's also the best way to draw a straight line while protecting a LOT of private land.

Edited by VentureForth

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Also going with it, reluctance to use long high viaducts. This is how Asia is managing to build literally thousands of miles of grade separated low and high speed lines all over the place. Something that is done in spades for highways in the US, but not so much for rail.

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Also going with it, reluctance to use long high viaducts. This is how Asia is managing to build literally thousands of miles of grade separated low and high speed lines all over the place. Something that is done in spades for highways in the US, but not so much for rail.

Also the case with highways. They seem to tunnel straight through the mountains rather than winding up and over a pass.

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Also going with it, reluctance to use long high viaducts. This is how Asia is managing to build literally thousands of miles of grade separated low and high speed lines all over the place. Something that is done in spades for highways in the US, but not so much for rail.

Also the case with highways. They seem to tunnel straight through the mountains rather than winding up and over a pass.
Texas Central and CalHSR are all going to use large amounts of viaducts. So I think we're seeing some changes in this attitude. To be fair, in the USA, elevated anything (roads and rail) usually gets a lot of opposition as unsightly. The difference is highways usually have the political will to overcome the objections.

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Texas Central and CalHSR are all going to use large amounts of viaducts. So I think we're seeing some changes in this attitude. To be fair, in the USA, elevated anything (roads and rail) usually gets a lot of opposition as unsightly. The difference is highways usually have the political will to overcome the objections.

These still fall in the category of "I'll believe it when I ride it."

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I didn't have any problems on the Red Arrow train from Moscow to St. Pete. Of course we were going half as fast and I was horizontal and sleeping nearly the entire time....

 

Last year when I rode Sapsen from St Peterburg to Moscow and back, the seats were the most uncomfortable that I've ever sat in. I saw many people including myself standing around and stretching their backs.

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Tunneling in the US has been expensive, slow and prone to lengthy holdups. I wonder if the Boring Company can trigger a change in that. It wouldn't take much of a reduction to make tunneling a much less onerous plan. Baltimore has slowly been moving forward with the new Baltimore and Potomac tunnel study, but if the cost was even 1/3 lower, it probably would already be under construction. But you don't shake $4.5Bn out of the cushions on your couch.

 

Yeah, but JNR was the whole Nationalized rail system, including many local municipal lines, probably about the equivalent to today's Amtrak + ALL commuter lines. I don't think that the development of the Shinkansen directly resulted in the mountain of debt they acquired. Shinkansen, particularly the Tokaido and Sanyo (which were the primary lines along with the Tohoku and Joetsu when JNR was privatized) kept the system from totally crashing. JR was the best thing that happened to JNR. Rolling stock was almost immediately updated, then more frequently. More Shinkansen lines were built. And each of the 7 companies (the smallest of which is the Freight, lol) have varying degrees of profitability, so much so that these now private companies are paying off JNR's debt.

 

I truly think that the biggest obstacle to US high speed rail is the reluctance to dig. Virtually no tunnels through mountains or under cities. Yes, it's expensive, but it's also the best way to draw a straight line while protecting a LOT of private land.

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Texas Central and CalHSR are all going to use large amounts of viaducts. So I think we're seeing some changes in this attitude. To be fair, in the USA, elevated anything (roads and rail) usually gets a lot of opposition as unsightly. The difference is highways usually have the political will to overcome the objections.

These still fall in the category of "I'll believe it when I ride it."

 

 

Well you had better start believing for CHSRA, they have enough money in the bank to complete the 119 mile central valley from Bakersfield to Madera (connecting to Amtrak) 29 miles north of Fresno. And to upgrade the Caltrain tracks to allow HSR to traverse them to SF. This next two quarters they will be releasing RFPs for bed and track, overhead, systems, and trainsets (preliminary released two years ago). First train on tracks (initial system testing in about 2 and 1/2 years.

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From Salzburg Hbf---

 

Austria does not have HSR (300kmh), but apparently they plan such "one of these days". Their premium Railjet (on which I just missed to go to Innsbruck - more interest talking to hotel's Gen Mgr - superb - and patting dogs, so DARN; have to wait an hour for the next) moves at 250km where it can over their incrementally improved ROW.

 

But, from what the paying passenger sees, the incremental improvements can be. To avoid arduous traffic and change of direction moves approaching Vienna (think accessing Chicago any route except BNSF) they dug a 6km "cut and cover" tunnel. Now, as reported in TRAINS, they are boring a 25km tunnel to replace the Semmering Pass on the Graz - Vienna route.

 

While I claim not to know of the politicking involved, they know how to build over here.

 

Finally, while riding Graz to Vienna, I met a "thirtysomething" Polish girl who is with FedEx and of course speaks English. Mentioning to her how all we do Stateside is politik on rails, I also told her about the Hudson River tunnels. I said to her they are 100 years old and handling three times the traffic they were built for. If one of 'em springs a leak, travel between Boston and Wash as well as hundred of thousand commuters from the West will be disrupted. If both of 'em spring leaks?? "Uh my dear, let's not go there".

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From Salzburg Hbf---

 

Austria does not have HSR (300kmh), but apparently they plan such "one of these days". Their premium Railjet (on which I just missed to go to Innsbruck - more interest talking to hotel's Gen Mgr - superb - and patting dogs, so DARN; have to wait an hour for the next) moves at 250km where it can over their incrementally improved ROW.

It looks like Railjet actually goes a maximum of 230 kmh, however that still counts as high speed rail. It's just not nearly as fast as some of the other European high speed trains.

Edited by cpotisch

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Exactly, Railjet trainsets can reach a maximum speed of 230 kph, which is also the maximum speed of ICE trains in Austria, although some line sections in Austria are build for speeds up to 250 kph.

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Waitaminnit... Acela goes 150 MPH which is 240 kph, but people say it's not "real" HSR. ;)

 

My generic family sedan can reach 120MPH under ideal conditions, but I'd have to be incredibly ignorant or deceitful to call it a "real" sports car. In my experience the Acela averages around 65MPH from origin to terminus, which places it firmly in the conventional rail speed segment for the year 2018.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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