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Thread: Intercity Railroad

  1. #1

    Default Intercity Railroad

    I'd rather see some reform in DC and a boost in the rail budget, instead of spending the money on sticking needles in airports and juicing them up for additional flights in already crowded skies.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dynamicdezzy's Avatar
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    I agree. The pipe dream of having Real Bullet trains between DC and Boston. While I'm at it.....yes, I'm taking it there - Maglev! I think most of us here wish we could have these luxuries. If the rest of the country wishes to keep expanding their highways and airports and continue to ignore the necessity of high speed rail, why should we suffer?

  3. #3

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    Given the size of the country, I think you overestimate the effect that high speed rail would have. It works in Europe because the cities are closer together. But even high speed rail would be too slow between most of the major city pairs in the US. NY Chicago is never going back to rail. NY-Miami, NY-Atlanta, and lots of others (actually most).

    On the shorter roots, (Boston-NY-Washington), yes, it would work. But that's already covered to some extent.

    Rail competes better with road than air.

    Quote Originally Posted by NIMBYkiller View Post
    I'd rather see some reform in DC and a boost in the rail budget, instead of spending the money on sticking needles in airports and juicing them up for additional flights in already crowded skies.

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    Senior Member Dynamicdezzy's Avatar
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    I always thought it would work within Large metro areas like "Boswash," "SanSan," the midwest, Dallas/Fort Worth-San Antonio-Houston (even New Orleans) and Jacksonville-Orlando-Miami (maybe even atlanta). It makes sense.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
    Given the size of the country, I think you overestimate the effect that high speed rail would have. It works in Europe because the cities are closer together. But even high speed rail would be too slow between most of the major city pairs in the US. NY Chicago is never going back to rail. NY-Miami, NY-Atlanta, and lots of others (actually most).

    On the shorter routes, (Boston-NY-Washington), yes, it would work. But that's already covered to some extent.

    Rail competes better with road than air.
    The US might be ideally suited to non-stop overnight hotel trains, scheduled to leave one city at 6pm, arriving (reliably) at the destination city at 7am. This would allow a business traveler to arrive refreshed after a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast --perhaps preceded by a relaxing on-board dinner the previous evening and a few hours socializing in the club car.

    Some possible routes: New York-Charlotte, Washington-Atlanta, Seattle-San Francisco, Denver-Las Vegas.

    Speeds would not have to exceed 100 mph.

  6. #6

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    Don't overnight trains exist already?

  7. #7

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    Yes, such trains certainly do exist. Amtrak runs routes all over the country. The longest one, before Hurricane Katrina hit, was the Sunset Limited, from Orlando to LA. Unfortunately, b/c of the hurricane, the route has been cut back to New Orleans to LA. New York to Charlotte already exists on a number of lines, mostly the Silver Service(Silver Palm, Silver Meteor, and Palmetto). Washington to Atlanta is the Crescent(New York to New Orleans), Seattle to San Fran is the Coast Starlight I think. Las Vegas used to have service via the Desert Wind, but that route was cut in the 90s I think due to lack of gov't funding.

    Some other overnight routes are Chicago to San Fran(California Zephyr), Chicago to Washington State(Empire Builder, which recently got a MAJOR upgrade, first class all the way now), Chicago to LA(Southwest Cheif), Chicago to New Orleans(City of New Orleans), New York/Boston to Chicago(Lake Shore Limited), New York to Florida(Silver Services), and over a dozen more routes. www.Amtrak.com BTW, don't expect trains to be on time outside of the Northeast Corridor. Freight railroads own those tracks and they don't care about Amtrak, so they'll put an Amtrak train into a siding to let their freight train pass. Delays of anywhere from 2 hours to 12 hours are the norm, not the exception.


    I'd rather see investment in existing infrastructure than start building maglev lines.

    MikeW, you definately undersestimate the possible value of high speed rail. New York to Chicago can EASILY be faster by rail. The distance between the two downtowns is roughly 790 miles. Flying time between the two cities is 3 hours 20 minutes. Add in about 3 hours(and that's being nice) for all the other airport crap, and you have a nearly 6 and a half hour journey from downtown to downtown. All you need is an average speed of 158 miles per hour(HARDLY high speed rail when compared to international standards) to blow that away(158MPH would give you 5 hrs travel time from downtown to downtown by rail). Even 124MPH, which is what the mark is for high speed rail in the US, would beat the overall travel time by flying.

    Anything within 1000 miles of each other can EASILY beat flying, and that's just at US high speed levels. Go European style(which would require a LOT more money to do) and you could have 3 times that.


    If anyone really wants, I wrote an entire essay on this, barely 9 pages. If you want, I can email it to you. It basically calls for a balance of funding between high speed rail, slower intercity rail, and airlines.

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    Senior Member Dynamicdezzy's Avatar
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    i guess the question is, why should we settle for such low speeds. I guess the lack of space makes it increasingly difficult. And any existing rail would have to be upgraded. Plus, no freight allowed. If there was ever a place to experiment, wouldn't it be wise to start here? (Bos-NY-Was)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by NIMBYkiller View Post
    Yes, such trains certainly do exist. Amtrak runs routes all over the country. The longest one, before Hurricane Katrina hit, was the Sunset Limited, from Orlando to LA. Unfortunately, b/c of the hurricane, the route has been cut back to New Orleans to LA. New York to Charlotte already exists on a number of lines, mostly the Silver Service(Silver Palm, Silver Meteor, and Palmetto).
    I'm aware of these, but they're not quite what I'm talking about. These are:
    http://www.kron4.com/Global/story.as...enu130_13_20_1.

    These trains don't stop once underway, just like an airline flight, so there's no midnight banging around in the corridors. There are also no conventional seats, only luxurious little cabins with tiny private baths. The trains also feature high-quality sit-down meals with tablecloths, a bar car and lounge --and most important of all they arrive when scheduled so they're reliable for business travel. No missed appointments due to late trains.

    At 13 hours, such trips are ideally suited to destinations about 800 miles apart at a fairly leisurely 60mph. If the train arrives early you don't have to get off until you've had breakfast.

    Civilized travel.

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    what a cool idea- have you ever taken this train?

  11. #11

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    Venice-Simplon-Orient Express used to operate this way and had nice sleeping cars. Left Paris early evening, arrived Venice at breakfast time. A pleasant trip.

    Don't know if that one still runs, but there are more than enough new hotel trains throughout Europe. The idea is rapidly gaining popularity.

  12. #12

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    They are experimenting with here. Unfortunately, Acela, in my opinion, has failed miserably. Also, I think it'll end up being too expensive to seperate freight and passenger tracks all over the country.

    ablarc, I don't think those would have a chance in the US, especially for business travel. First of all, Europe is more laid back. They're also far more accustomed to rail than we are. The train in Europe is the plane in the US. Also, running on time just isn't possible without major investments, and if you're going to invest so heavily in additional capacity so trains can run on time, then why waste it on such slow trains? Also, direct? Sorry, but no way in hell, especially not at such slow speeds. I just don't see it working here. The comfort can certainly be incorporated into existing intercity services, IE what has been done with the Empire Builder, but it'll have to make intermediate stops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NIMBYkiller View Post
    Unfortunately, Acela, in my opinion, has failed miserably.
    How so?

  14. #14

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    It's WAY overpriced for the service it provides. Then again, it does get riders, so there are people willing to pay. But honestly, if that's supposed to be the model for intercity rail in our country, then we need to step our game up, big time

  15. #15

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    ^ MUCH nicer than the Chinatown bus.

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