Green Swedes shun holiday flights for lure of the train...

Discussion in 'Freight, International and Other Rail' started by caravanman, Apr 7, 2019.

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  1. Apr 7, 2019 #1

    caravanman

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  2. Apr 7, 2019 #2

    oregon pioneer

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    Oh, my, those trips make me want to go Europe again. Unfortunately, I'd have to fly to get there, so instead I will take Amtrak next winter... kudos to the Swedes for being climate conscious.
     
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  3. Apr 7, 2019 #3

    sttom

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    I would like to take the Amtrak more place, but there is a 750 mile rule to deal with and rail advocates seem to be married to it for...reasons. But if there was a budget sleeper option and more, better timed trains I would use them to go places. I personally don't like flying or driving. I see them more as a necessary evil rather than my preferred way to get around. And a lot of Millennials have similar opinions on that.
     
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  4. Apr 8, 2019 #4

    caravanman

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    I am unfamiliar with the 750 mile rule you mention?
    In Europe we are lucky to have an extensive rail network, the main bar to rail travel here for me is the cost. So much cheaper to fly, but by booking far in advance, some longer rail trips are within my grasp.

    Ed
     
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  5. Apr 8, 2019 #5

    cirdan

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    There are ways to mimimze the air portion. I haven't done this myself yet but am toying with the idea for a futuire trip. Just about the shortest flight is Shannon (Ireland) to Boston. And then you can plan long long rail trips (plus a ferry to cross the Irish Sea) on either side of that. Book well in advance to get good deals on price.
     
  6. Apr 8, 2019 #6

    E60JPC

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    Or one can do what v v did and sail across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2.
     
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  7. Apr 8, 2019 #7

    dlagrua

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    One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2- 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. Airline pollution is massive. Another reason why we only took one flight in 20 years. The sad news is that the airports are still full of people every day. People who just want/need to get there in a hurry and could care less. There won't be much change going forward as the airline lobby is very powerful. Trains are the Green alternative way to travel but try to convince the American public. They have become addicted to airline travel.
     
  8. Apr 8, 2019 #8

    oregon pioneer

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    I'm with you. I did fly to France for a working farm trip with my sister in 2015, and I flew back east for my 50th high school reunion last summer. I can't actually picture what will make me want to get on a plane again (or justify the carbon pollution for me), but I will probably do it again some day when given a strong enough incentive. I was amazed at all the people in the airports, like you said -- they are full. Every plane was full. I guess everyone's incentive threshold is different.
     
  9. Apr 8, 2019 #9

    daybeers

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    Apparently now it's closer to one ton of carbon dioxide per person, but that's still a huge impact.
     
  10. Apr 9, 2019 #10
  11. Apr 9, 2019 #11

    sttom

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    Federally supported Amtrak routes must be 750 miles in length at minimum. A lot of people on here are against having federal money support lines primarily serving one state cause...reasons...
     
  12. Apr 9, 2019 #12

    caravanman

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    Oh, I guess the "United States" is not quite as united as expected when it comes to helping a different area's needs?
     
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  13. Apr 9, 2019 #13

    cirdan

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    There is that of course.

    Other alternatives include ceratin cruise ship companies who have their ships in the Caribbean in the winter and the Mediterraean in the summer need to transfer those ships between seasons. Typically it isn't a proper cruise and so the on-board amenities and entertainment are reduced to below the normal level. But it's a good way to get across if you can adapt your travel plans to their sailing schedules and take plenty of books to read.

    Another way is to go on a freight ship. Many freight ships take up to about 5 passengers and there are websites that list anticipated sailing times and can book them for you. Basically you are eating in the staff canteen and there is no form of entertainment whatsoever other that watching clouds and waves and watching the seamen go about their various duties, so again you need to take plenty to read. But I have heard from people who did this that they absolutely enjoyed the atmospehere of a working freight ship and would do it again.
     
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  14. Apr 12, 2019 #14

    sttom

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    When it comes to roads or food stamps (This on with shame) the answer is yes, when it comes to trains the answer is no.
     
  15. Apr 14, 2019 #15

    MARC Rider

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    Heh, Heh, welcome to U.S. Politics 101. For background google "Connecticut Compromise." Remember that when we told King George III to take a hike back in 1776, we considered ourselves 13 independent states. There's wording in the Declaration of Independence about "United States," but I think the concept was more about the states' attitudes concerning King George and Parliament (and willingness to fight to get rid of them) than some sort of aspiration for a centralized Federation.

    I was once part of an executive training program that included a week on Capitol Hill, where, among other things, we heard from a lady who ran the orientation program for newly elected Members of Congress. Her lessons to the new members apparently stressed the need for these members to make sure that they brought home lots of goodies for their home states and districts, at least if these new members wanted to get reelected and become veteran members. I naively asked her a question about how these Members squared that with their need to serve the national interest. As I said "national interest," she gave me a pitying look that communicated to all the the concept of "national interest" was clearly of secondary importance on Capitol Hill.
     
  16. Apr 15, 2019 #16

    Willbridge

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    The crafting of Amtrak mileage "boundaries" and the divination of state responsibilities could make an interesting story by itself. My understanding is that the draft 1970 bill had a minimum mileage limit that was intended to prevent the new entity from running commuter services and at the last minute it was found that NYP-PHL "clockers" would be excluded. That upset Important People, so 75 miles was pulled out of someone's head, inadvertently picking up CHI-MKE and the Valparaiso commuter. (You win some, you lose some.) States or regional entities could request added service at a cost of 2/3 of the loss incurred. Otherwise, the law permitted Amtrak to add service where it was "economically feasible."

    There were various revisions, climaxing with the PRIIA of 2008:
    http://www.highspeed-rail.org/Documents/Section 209/Sec 209 Apr 20-21 Pt1-History Statutes.pdf

    When Amtrak started, few states were in a position to even ask for added service. As state interest grew, budget hawks became alarmed and the rules kept being changed to further burden the states. Now the state share is 100%. States that were paying noted that some similar routes that stemmed from the formation of Amtrak were being run at no cost to the state they served. A definition of "long-distance" had to be found. Politically, it had to be long enough to exclude almost any California or Texas intrastate train, but not kill the multi-state Palmetto. Someone came up with ten times the 75 mile bottom boundary, 750 miles, and saved the senate votes for the Palmetto (829 miles). If Amtrak wanted to try a "daylight" corridor train without direct state involvement, it could run Chicago -- Jackson (751 miles), but could not run New York CIty -- Toledo (725 miles). Excursion trains and the Northeast Corridor are exempt.

    I'd welcome corrections to this. For foreign readers, this can be condensed to say that the purpose behind all this is to shift the blame for lack of service onto the states, in spite of ever-tightening of federal control through federal laws in 1917, 1920, 1958, and 1970. And if you think this has nothing to do with being 'green' you are right -- Congress and the Executive branch leave that to others.
     
  17. Apr 15, 2019 #17

    junebug

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    It would be wonderful to take the train everywhere. I hope that's a possibility in my lifetime.
     
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  18. Apr 16, 2019 #18

    MARC Rider

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    Does anybody know if there are any good technical analyses comparing the "green" performance of the different transportation modes? The article cited here is based on the "Transportation Energy Data Book" which has the annoying feature of presenting the data as "energy intensity," when what you really want is a comparison of gasoline, diesel fuel, kilowatt hours, etc. actually consumed by each transport mode. Yeah, they have an appendix in the back that converts heat values to actual quantities of fuel, but I've never seen an article that actually does the conversions. There are also a lot of assumptions about fuel economy performance and load factors that aren't discussed, and I imagine that among different modes and individual vehicles and routes within a mode there's variability. Also, greenhouse gas emissions are one thing that can be directly estimated from energy use, but there's also the consideration of emissions of particulate matter and "ozone precursors" (i.e., NOx and VOCs.), not to mention "air toxics" like lead and mercury. An Amtrak with all Tier 4 locomotives will perform much differently than an Amtrak running all Genesis (Tier 0) units.

    Finally, has anyone ever done an actual analysis to scale this up? What's the maximum percent of replacement of automobile/SUV miles that can be replaced by riding intercity, commuter, and transit rail? What percentage of aviation miles could be replaced by intercity rail? What percentage by bus? On the freight side, what percentage of long distance class 8 tractor trailers on the road can be put on flatcars and transported for long distances? Does the improvement in fuel efficiency exceed any additional fuel used in transfers at intermodal terminals that might be a bit out of the way of the final destination?

    In my almost 20 years working in the transportation and environment biz, I've never seen complete analyses of these, or even much interest in discussing it. Or maybe I'm just looking in the wrong journals and going to the wrong conferences.
     
  19. Apr 18, 2019 #19

    v v

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    Basic question but as Amtrak can't go everywhere but a bus can, how does a half full Greyhound stack up against a regional plane or say 10 cars?
     

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