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(The Day)   Amtrak outlines $151 Billion plan for new tracks and high speed rail in the Northeast Corridor. This sounds like a lot until you realize it's only about $200,000 per passenger annually   (theday.com) divider line 350
    More: Asinine, Northeast Corridor, Amtrak, Connecticut River, Thames River, groton  
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6289 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jul 2012 at 12:46 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-10 01:20:27 PM  

Fooby: Also, it sucks when you get to your destination, and you have no car. What are you supposed to do, rent a taxi to go anywhere? This whole project is stupid, and Amtrak hasn't got a clue.


-------------
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Route_C&pagename=am %2 FLayout&cid=1241245666320

Ride the Auto Train with Your Car

The Auto Train transports you and your car (or your van, motorcycle, SUV, small boat, jet-ski or other recreational vehicle) nonstop from the Washington, DC area to sunny Florida, just outside of Orlando. This IS the best way to drive I-95. And remember, you can pack your car as if it were your suitcase.

Save 900 Miles of Driving, Gasoline and Wear and Tear on Your Car

But bring it with you! Leave the worries of long-distance driving behind. Onboard the Auto Train, you'll enjoy a stress-free journey by rail, skipping the traffic congestion on I-95. Put your feet up. Read a book. Take in the scenery. While you and your family travel in comfort, your vehicle rides along in an enclosed auto carrier. And now, our auto carriers offer even greater capacity to better accommodate your SUV or van.


You take public transportation. Millions of people live in Boston, NYC and DC without a car you can go a week on your vacation.
 
2012-07-10 01:20:39 PM  

Phinn: Ah, yes, the Fark Yankee brigade -- as always, they're so generous with other people's money.

When do we get to wall off New Yawk from the civilized world, like they did in that awesome documentary with Kurt Russel?


I would happily start a new country from some decided upon location north of Massachusetts (perhaps even up to Montreal) and as far south as Washington, DC, and as far west as perhaps Pittsburgh. I'd assume California would like to do something similar.
I'd miss Chicago, but someone would have to prop up the new inland country's economy.
 
2012-07-10 01:20:41 PM  

HotWingConspiracy: John Napkintosh: HotWingConspiracy: John Napkintosh: Amtrak is so great. It only costs nearly twice as much and takes about ten times as long as a comparable air route. No wonder people are clamoring to give Amtrak money.

Yeah I should head to the airport when I want to get to Manhattan from Connecticut.

Maybe not a bad idea if the lines are short. Your 1 hour flight might get you there faster than the 2.5hr train ride or drive. Though the airfare admittedly is a bit higher in this specific example.

Yeah I'm sure the flight will be on time. I'm sure we won't circle LaGuardia or JFK for a while. I'm sure it won't take another hour to actually get in to the city from the airport.

It superior in every measure. Nobody flies that distance unless they own a helicopter.


Oh, then its good to hear that trains are immune to any possible delay. Are trains also able to travel in a straight line to get to their destination where it's suitable? That probably explains why a ride from Orlando to Birmingham goes through Washington DC.
 
2012-07-10 01:20:50 PM  

Phinn: Ah, yes, the Fark Yankee brigade


www.clangrant-us.org

Ah... yes?
 
2012-07-10 01:21:31 PM  

Fooby: Also, it sucks when you get to your destination, and you have no car. What are you supposed to do, rent a taxi to go anywhere? This whole project is stupid, and Amtrak hasn't got a clue.


-------------
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Route_C&pagename=am %2 FLayout&cid=1241245666320

Ride the Auto Train with Your Car

The Auto Train transports you and your car (or your van, motorcycle, SUV, small boat, jet-ski or other recreational vehicle) nonstop from the Washington, DC area to sunny Florida, just outside of Orlando. This IS the best way to drive I-95. And remember, you can pack your car as if it were your suitcase.

Save 900 Miles of Driving, Gasoline and Wear and Tear on Your Car

But bring it with you! Leave the worries of long-distance driving behind. Onboard the Auto Train, you'll enjoy a stress-free journey by rail, skipping the traffic congestion on I-95. Put your feet up. Read a book. Take in the scenery. While you and your family travel in comfort, your vehicle rides along in an enclosed auto carrier. And now, our auto carriers offer even greater capacity to better accommodate your SUV or van.


You're right, now we need to install a whole subway system in these major cities!
 
2012-07-10 01:21:36 PM  

Phinn: swahnhennessy: America desperately needs infrastructure. Government spending can help end the recession. Two birds with one stone. However, that is deemed unpatriotic these days. Better to privatize everything (while keeping its risk public), and dream of the how great America used to be, ignoring the fact that those Golden Years were built on the federal projects of Roosevelt and Eisenhower.

It's amazing -- everything you said was wrong. It's almost a new Fark record.

Those "golden years" were built on artificial credit, which was the source of the waste and losses that were later revealed when the credit contracted again, as it always does.

Also, they were especially golden in the immediate post-war period because government spending dropped by 60%. That is what was a de facto "stimulus" to the economy -- temporarily reducing the rate of destruction caused by government interference.

It also helped that the USA's European competitors recently had the crap bombed out of them.


Big fan of conservapedia here.
 
2012-07-10 01:21:38 PM  
I'm playing OpenTTD so I'm getting a kick out of these replies.
 
2012-07-10 01:21:45 PM  

Nana's Vibrator: The coolest thing about the Acela is standing right behind the yellow line and watching it barrel practically right at you and then speed by at 100+ mph.

Sadly, about 2-3 times a year in my town, people decide they don't want to be behind the yellow line anymore.


It would massively improve service if trains were allowed to barrel right along past anyone dumb or suicidal enough to get on the tracks. That goes for regular old slow freight trains, too. Your stupidity and desire to leave earth shouldn't ruin the days of everyone else in town, even if that's what you wanted.

KellyX: Thankfully infrastructure investments like this don't start to break even and then earn profit years later.

The other cool thing is historically freight trains don't have a lot of people on them, so they don't pay Amtrak ANYTHING for using them. Amtrak and other railway companies ONLY make money off passengers.

/True story!!


Sadly, outside of the Capital corridor Amtrak largely doesn't own any of their own lines. They just piggyback off of existing freight lines, which means they're at the mercy of every single slowdown or freight traffic through the single-tracked areas. I've ridden several times where we had to crawl along behind a freight train going 20 mph until the tracks split again.

Rent Party: So, this is one of those areas where the government should privatize. The fed should set standards for track width and switching technology, provide land grants to companies that want to compete to build and operate this thing, and then get out of the way.

/ Hippie market liberal.


What land grants? Every square inch of property where anyone would want to build tracks anymore is privately owned now. I'd sure be glad to subsidize corporate profits even more, too.

/I know you're drawing comparisons to the railroad land grabs of the 1800's.
 
2012-07-10 01:23:13 PM  

mbillips: The Northeast corridor has 10 million passengers per year. The $151 billion will cost $15 billion per year (that's how infrastructure bonds work). So $1,500 per passenger per year. Cheaper and faster than a car, and with REAL high-speed rail., faster door-to-door intercity service than a plane for anything under 300 miles.

What's the problem again?

/LOL at people who won't use public transportation, while happily taking commercial air, which is a MUCH more annoying experience.


I would love it if we had more public transit here. Whenever I visit my cousin in Boston, I get such a sense of relief that I don't have to rely on a car. She goes to New York and I bet she would love to take a high speed train there. I have taken the T around the Boston area, the commuter train out for a day-trip to Salem, and the Down Easter train to Maine when visiting up there.

There is practially no public transit here in the New Orleans area where I live, though. I love my little once-rural, now-suburban town (except for the suburban sprawl around it) but the commute is killing me. I love to take a train. I could relax and read or Internet (if it had WiFi).
 
2012-07-10 01:23:16 PM  

John Napkintosh: HotWingConspiracy: John Napkintosh: HotWingConspiracy: John Napkintosh: Amtrak is so great. It only costs nearly twice as much and takes about ten times as long as a comparable air route. No wonder people are clamoring to give Amtrak money.

Yeah I should head to the airport when I want to get to Manhattan from Connecticut.

Maybe not a bad idea if the lines are short. Your 1 hour flight might get you there faster than the 2.5hr train ride or drive. Though the airfare admittedly is a bit higher in this specific example.

Yeah I'm sure the flight will be on time. I'm sure we won't circle LaGuardia or JFK for a while. I'm sure it won't take another hour to actually get in to the city from the airport.

It superior in every measure. Nobody flies that distance unless they own a helicopter.

Oh, then its good to hear that trains are immune to any possible delay.


Nobody said that. You've done nothing to counter what is obvious. Rail is the superior option in this example.

Are trains also able to travel in a straight line to get to their destination where it's suitable? That probably explains why a ride from Orlando to Birmingham goes through Washington DC.

You got some drool on your shirt.
 
2012-07-10 01:24:33 PM  

madgonad: First, it is $151 MILLION, not billion. Second, it is 2100 trains per day.

/go look up the primary source. The article writer is an idiot.


Or a troll. Everything written about AmTrak is a troll these days, in fact nearly everything in the news at all.
 
2012-07-10 01:25:05 PM  

Fooby: Also, it sucks when you get to your destination, and you have no car. What are you supposed to do, rent a taxi to go anywhere? This whole project is stupid, and Amtrak hasn't got a clue.


-------------
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Route_C&pagename=am %2 FLayout&cid=1241245666320

Ride the Auto Train with Your Car

The Auto Train transports you and your car (or your van, motorcycle, SUV, small boat, jet-ski or other recreational vehicle) nonstop from the Washington, DC area to sunny Florida, just outside of Orlando. This IS the best way to drive I-95. And remember, you can pack your car as if it were your suitcase.
.....


If only their prices were a bit cheaper.
Just checked their prices a round trip ticket from DC to FL with 1 auto, 2 adults, 2 children, and 1 regular car is $1,364.00. Its essentially the same price as flying a budget airline then renting a car when you get there.
 
2012-07-10 01:25:08 PM  

duffman13: Living in this DC-Baltimore region and making 4+ trips to NY a year I'm getting a kick.

Granted I know I'm not a commuter, and this would be great for them, but on a pure cost/time basis here is the current state of things for a round trip over a weekend, from BWI to Manhattan:

Air:
$300 gets you: 3-4 hours from airport arrival to manhattan: 45+ mins security bs, 30 at the gate, 1:30 in the air, 15 on the ground at laguardia, 30+ minutes on public transit into the city, or 20 in a cab)

Train:
$150 round trip for a morning ticket, $260 for an afternoon one gets you: ~3 hours on the train to NY Penn Station, subject to all the tracks being clear. None of the flying BS

Bus:
$40ish gets you round trip on the Bolt Bus: 4 hours if traffic cooperates. AC plug and wifi to entertain yourself. Drops you at 32nd street (i think).

If I'm not commuting, I'll take the Bus every time. In my experience it ends up being a time differential of maybe an hour, for less than a third of the cheapest train ticket.


I've driven Boston to DC about a dozen times. Once I got stuck in the Bronx on I95 for over an hour. I didn't dare get off. Twice I've sat on the Jersey Turnpike for 2+ hours due to an accident a few miles ahead and of course there's no way to get off the highway. Twice times I've sat in the DC beltway for over 90 minutes because, well, apparently because 10:00 on a Tuesday still means commuter traffic. Not sure I like those odds.

The NE corridor is so bad now AAA recommends driving over the Tappan Zee to skip NYC and then 75 miles out into PA and I81 to skip all the gridlock in the east if your plan is just to pass through to get to Richmond and points south. The snowbirds I know who winter down in FLA all do this.
 
2012-07-10 01:25:26 PM  
Took the train last year from Boston to Trenton to see my SIL and family in central NJ.

Aside from the Trenton train station being a dump, it was rather good. Power outlets at every seat, plenty of space to stow your luggage, no TSA probes, and cell reception most of the way. Considering we'd have to fly to Philly and take a car from there, the time difference in taking a plane wasn't that far off.
 
2012-07-10 01:25:37 PM  
I'm still a bit pissy that the fat bastard running New Jersey put the kabosh on the tunnel project into NYC.
 
2012-07-10 01:26:22 PM  

MindStalker: Fooby:


Opps, I meant 1 car, not 1 auto and 1 car. Ugh,
 
2012-07-10 01:26:42 PM  

Fooby: Also, it sucks when you get to your destination, and you have no car. What are you supposed to do, rent a taxi to go anywhere? This whole project is stupid, and Amtrak hasn't got a clue.


-------------
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Route_C&pagename=am %2 FLayout&cid=1241245666320

Ride the Auto Train with Your Car

The Auto Train transports you and your car (or your van, motorcycle, SUV, small boat, jet-ski or other recreational vehicle) nonstop from the Washington, DC area to sunny Florida, just outside of Orlando. This IS the best way to drive I-95. And remember, you can pack your car as if it were your suitcase.

Save 900 Miles of Driving, Gasoline and Wear and Tear on Your Car

But bring it with you! Leave the worries of long-distance driving behind. Onboard the Auto Train, you'll enjoy a stress-free journey by rail, skipping the traffic congestion on I-95. Put your feet up. Read a book. Take in the scenery. While you and your family travel in comfort, your vehicle rides along in an enclosed auto carrier. And now, our auto carriers offer even greater capacity to better accommodate your SUV or van.


That service is for people who usually travel between the northeast corridor and Florida.

People without a car would either make the trip entirely by train or plane, or they wouldn't travel at all. And it would not be used at all by people who, for what ever reason, don't travel between the northeast and FL (don't want to travel, don't live up there, would sooner cut off their own nose than travel to a state that voted for Obama in 2008, etc.).

Care to explain how, exactly, the Auto-Train is stupid?
 
2012-07-10 01:27:33 PM  
I for one won't be satisfied until America's trains drive on our highways like everyone else. Why do they need special roads just for them anyway? Sounds elitist and snobbish to me!
 
2012-07-10 01:27:38 PM  

HotWingConspiracy: Phinn: Ah, yes, the Fark Yankee brigade -- as always, they're so generous with other people's money.

You sound very upset and jealous of our success.


Jealous? No, I love it when I'm forced to use government paper and call it "money," especially as it's continuously devalued by being funneled directly from the government-sponsored baking cartel into the hands of crony bankers based in New York. I love subsidizing their multimillion dollar apartments and such with their insider currency manipulations.

But, hey, as long as I also get to pay for a socialized train system, too, so that their maids and paper-pushers and sundry hangers-on can get around more easily, it makes my "donation" to the money hole that much sweeter.
 
2012-07-10 01:27:42 PM  

vernonFL: duffman13: If I'm not commuting, I'll take the Bus every time. In my experience it ends up being a time differential of maybe an hour, for less than a third of the cheapest train ticket.

This. Plus, they have cracked down on the Chinese buses that catch fire, so the buses are safer than ever now.


I never heard about that. You have a link?
 
2012-07-10 01:28:13 PM  

HotWingConspiracy: Nobody said that. You've done nothing to counter what is obvious. Rail is the superior option in this example.


You sure implied it when you brought up airport delays. But I'll concede that yes, rail is the superior option in this one example of travelling from Manhattan to some unspecified destination.

As for what is obvious, that seems to be that on every other of the seven example routes I chose to look up before posting, Amtrak is clearly not superior due to $1000+ and 90hour+ routes to places that were sometimes not more than a few hundred miles.
 
2012-07-10 01:28:19 PM  

sweetmelissa31: DON.MAC: How many of those 2,100 travel every weekday

That would be 2100 TRAINS, not people.

It would be amazing to have high speed rail here. It's a high density area with traffic problems and a population progressive enough to support improving our infrastructure.


Seconding this. I've been following the high speed rail thing for years, can't wait to see how this pans out.

/train geek
 
2012-07-10 01:28:40 PM  

Phinn: It also helped that the USA's European competitors recently had the crap bombed out of them.


Tell us about how Euro Rail forced American cities to replace streetcars with diesel buses, Grandpa!
 
2012-07-10 01:28:48 PM  

sweetmelissa31: DON.MAC: How many of those 2,100 travel every weekday

That would be 2100 TRAINS, not people.

It would be amazing to have high speed rail here. It's a high density area with traffic problems and a population progressive enough to support improving our infrastructure.


I can't believe that we've reached the point where wanting to improve infrastructure is considered a progressive viewpoint. Sadly, if one segment of the population thinks that any government is inherently bad, this will happen.
 
2012-07-10 01:28:51 PM  
Greyhound just quoted me a round trip from Baltimore to Des Moines, two weeks from now, midweek, for $801.00

maybe this will work.
 
2012-07-10 01:29:03 PM  

foxyshadis: Nana's Vibrator: The coolest thing about the Acela is standing right behind the yellow line and watching it barrel practically right at you and then speed by at 100+ mph.

Sadly, about 2-3 times a year in my town, people decide they don't want to be behind the yellow line anymore.

It would massively improve service if trains were allowed to barrel right along past anyone dumb or suicidal enough to get on the tracks. That goes for regular old slow freight trains, too. Your stupidity and desire to leave earth shouldn't ruin the days of everyone else in town, even if that's what you wanted.



My wife takes the Boston commuter train every day. I've sped in to pick her up from some station because of drunks on the tracks, suicides, a couple of break downs and even a crash or two. The #1 problem with public transportation is the public, then #2 is definitely the transportation - specifically with regard to reliability/consistency and efficiency.
Your comment on "stupidity and desire to leave earth" would also somehow do well on the major roadways, too. I'd love to be a fly on the wall watching that legislation being drawn up. It'd turn into a big fight between people with statistics and stopwatches vs. people with sympathy for "victims"
 
2012-07-10 01:29:27 PM  
Chinatown BOS-NYC Bus Fire

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsXdAIL9Nto
 
2012-07-10 01:30:26 PM  

John Napkintosh: HotWingConspiracy: Nobody said that. You've done nothing to counter what is obvious. Rail is the superior option in this example.

You sure implied it when you brought up airport delays. But I'll concede that yes, rail is the superior option in this one example of travelling from Manhattan to some unspecified destination.


There are many more. You can find them in this thread. Though I'm talking about the NE, and you want to talk about Florida for some reason.

As for what is obvious, that seems to be that on every other of the seven example routes I chose to look up before posting, Amtrak is clearly not superior due to $1000+ and 90hour+ routes to places that were sometimes not more than a few hundred miles.

Yeah, it's crazy how hayseed states that are hostile to rail have shiatty rail service.
 
2012-07-10 01:31:12 PM  

Andromeda: Ah, a hi-speed rail tread.

What always impresses me about these are all the people complaining about the huge expense of infrastructure and too bad we can't do it like Europe... well guess what, a few years ago it cost 1.6 billion EURO to build the hi-speed rail network in the Netherlands and connect us to Brussels and Paris.

The difference between the US and Europe really is here people understood the value of getting to Paris in 3.5 hours and built the damn thing, in the US it would never get off the ground.


That's 1% of what we're talking about here. Is there a reason it costs 100x as much here as it does in Europe?
 
2012-07-10 01:31:35 PM  
Thats going to help smuggle a lot of herion, coke, and oxy-meth.
Padon me, boy?
 
2012-07-10 01:31:42 PM  

duffman13: Living in this DC-Baltimore region and making 4+ trips to NY a year I'm getting a kick.

Granted I know I'm not a commuter, and this would be great for them, but on a pure cost/time basis here is the current state of things for a round trip over a weekend, from BWI to Manhattan:

Air:
$300 gets you: 3-4 hours from airport arrival to manhattan: 45+ mins security bs, 30 at the gate, 1:30 in the air, 15 on the ground at laguardia, 30+ minutes on public transit into the city, or 20 in a cab)

Train:
$150 round trip for a morning ticket, $260 for an afternoon one gets you: ~3 hours on the train to NY Penn Station, subject to all the tracks being clear. None of the flying BS

Bus:
$40ish gets you round trip on the Bolt Bus: 4 hours if traffic cooperates. AC plug and wifi to entertain yourself. Drops you at 32nd street (i think).

If I'm not commuting, I'll take the Bus every time. In my experience it ends up being a time differential of maybe an hour, for less than a third of the cheapest train ticket.


Took the Vamoose to NYC recently so I'm getting a kick, etc.

While the bus is cheaper than the train (and more convenient for me than union station), the Amtrak is soooooo much nicer than even the "Vamoose Gold" bus. Smoother ride, no stop-and-go traffic on 95, more bathroom friendly, more comfortable to read on, has a dining car with beer (hooray beer!), is at least an hour faster, and you can get up and walk around.
 
2012-07-10 01:31:58 PM  

indylaw: Don't be ridiculous. Expanding I-95 is free!


Good point, often the choice isn't this or nothing, it's this or something else. High speed rail in California is partly a choice of rail vs expanding a dozen airports and freeways (which makes the high price tag easier to justify)
 
2012-07-10 01:32:32 PM  

Phinn: HotWingConspiracy: Phinn: Ah, yes, the Fark Yankee brigade -- as always, they're so generous with other people's money.

You sound very upset and jealous of our success.

Jealous? No, I love it when I'm forced to use government paper and call it "money," especially as it's continuously devalued by being funneled directly from the government-sponsored baking cartel into the hands of crony bankers based in New York. I love subsidizing their multimillion dollar apartments and such with their insider currency manipulations.

But, hey, as long as I also get to pay for a socialized train system, too, so that their maids and paper-pushers and sundry hangers-on can get around more easily, it makes my "donation" to the money hole that much sweeter.


Take it easy, Ron Paul. In the next thread you'll be calling them job creators.
 
2012-07-10 01:33:31 PM  

HotWingConspiracy: There are many more. You can find them in this thread. Though I'm talking about the NE, and you want to talk about Florida for some reason.


Because I'm talking about Amtrak, which does exists outside of the northeast.
 
2012-07-10 01:33:56 PM  
Any guesses on which state will be the first to pass legislation making it illegal for trains to move faster than (way too slow to be considered "high speed rail")?

My money's on Florida. Rick Scott has already turned down millions in federal funding that would have created thousands of jobs for no other reason than to spite Obama.
 
2012-07-10 01:34:07 PM  

duffman13: vernonFL: duffman13: If I'm not commuting, I'll take the Bus every time. In my experience it ends up being a time differential of maybe an hour, for less than a third of the cheapest train ticket.

This. Plus, they have cracked down on the Chinese buses that catch fire, so the buses are safer than ever now.

I never heard about that. You have a link?


Link

Google "feds bus shut down"
 
2012-07-10 01:34:17 PM  

Gecko Gingrich: 365 days of cool trains, then they raze the whole thing.


Well THAT explains it! Wheeee! SKY TRAINS! COOL!

DON.MAC: Its 17 from Chicago to DC.


Ya know, I had a friend take the train from Chicago to DC. I thought he was farkin' crazy, but after he talked about how nice it was to have a private cabin, nap, walk around, drink, etc, and that it wasn't _that_ much longer than flying... he almost made a case. Seems to be about the outer bound for rational use, though.

clyph: You need a high population density to make high-speed rail feasible, and most of the country just doesn't have it.


Or, in other words, the US is freakin' big, and demand to go from one specific city to another is rarely high. The airlines deal with this by using central hubs... but 12 hours to Chicago, say, to change trains and head another 10 to Omaha, or something, just doesn't work.

In the NE corridor, and maybe -- maybe -- SF to LA, however, they make a lot of sense.

Tom_Slick: I don't get why people use airlines between DC and NY


Indeed. Even the bus (free wifi, comfy seats, per reports from friends who've used them) makes more sense. Of course, the airline competition is artificially hindered by the TSA and other requirements... if we could walk up to the plane and hand over a ticket as we sit down, you'd shave at least two hours from the process.
 
2012-07-10 01:34:28 PM  

John Napkintosh: HotWingConspiracy: There are many more. You can find them in this thread. Though I'm talking about the NE, and you want to talk about Florida for some reason.

Because I'm talking about Amtrak, which does exists outside of the northeast.


But you're crying about spending in the NE.
 
2012-07-10 01:34:54 PM  

Phinn: Those "golden years" were built on artificial credit, which was the source of the waste and losses that were later revealed when the credit contracted again, as it always does.

Also, they were especially golden in the immediate post-war period because government spending dropped by 60%. That is what was a de facto "stimulus" to the economy -- temporarily reducing the rate of destruction caused by government interference.

It also helped that the USA's European competitors recently had the crap bombed out of them.


I love the post-war argument. What a simple and elegant way to justify never building great things on a national level and why the middle and lower classes should be content with taking it up the ass all the time.
 
2012-07-10 01:35:11 PM  
This project is the reverse of the California boondoggle.

The Northeast Corridor is exactly the sort of place we should have high-speed rail: hundreds of miles of reasonably-dense urban areas, in a relatively linear layout. This is good for HSR, since people will take shorter trips on the system, and can catch connections from cities nearby - the California route is mostly just two big cities at either end, with a few secondary destinations scattered along the route.

The single biggest part of the Northeast Corridor price tag is probably the Gateway Project, which could make a huge difference in the long run - it's pretty damned expensive, but it could take more than a few kinks out of the route.

I'm flat-out against the California HSR boondoggle, but a major updating of the rail system along the East Coast is pretty important. A true HSR system from Boston to Washington would be worth riding, I'd think.
 
2012-07-10 01:35:14 PM  

MindStalker: The Auto Train transports you and your car (or your van, motorcycle, SUV, small boat, jet-ski or other recreational vehicle) nonstop from the Washington, DC area to sunny Florida, just outside of Orlando. This IS the best way to drive I-95. And remember, you can pack your car as if it were your suitcase.
.....

If only their prices were a bit cheaper.
Just checked their prices a round trip ticket from DC to FL with 1 auto, 2 adults, 2 children, and 1 regular car is $1,364.00. Its essentially the same price as flying a budget airline then renting a car when you get there.


Great deal for retired snowbirds -- not so great for tourists.
 
2012-07-10 01:36:09 PM  
i.qkme.me
 
2012-07-10 01:36:33 PM  

clyph: The Northeast corridor is the one part of the Amtrak system that actually works well. Anywhere else in the country, it pretty much sucks balls... but aside from California no other place in the country has the same population density as the NE corridor. You need a high population density to make high-speed rail feasible, and most of the country just doesn't have it.


Given how utterly useless AmTrak is here, I wouldn't be surprised if California gets together to take over its 3 routes, the way it built ACE, BART, and LA Metro where AmTrak should have gone... once we're done with this whole muni bankruptcy phase. The regional system just has to connect to the national system at the major departure points, LA and Sacramento. It owuld be no different from regionalizing Acela.
 
2012-07-10 01:37:08 PM  
i love high speed rails threads!

i spent last week in CT along the NEC. the bridge at Old Saybrook over the Connecticut River needs replaced. when teh New Haven (New York, New Haven, and Hartford) built the railroad, it was never meant to be a high speed line and never saw the numbers of trains, both passenger and freight, that the Pennsy saw on it's segment of what is now Amtrak's North East Corridor.

the 2200 trains a day don't travel the entire line from Boston to DC, there are pockets of congestion, mainly between DC and Baltimore, Wilmington and Trenton, Woodbridge and Penn Station, Grand Central and Stamford, and finally Providence and Boston.

Amtrak spent a ton of money to upgrade the NH line from New Haven to Boston, easing some curves, stringing wires, and improving clearances for the Acela. i was in East Lyme and was reviewing the Niantic River bridge which does two things that bridge replacement provides - less curvature and faster running. the Connecticut River bridge is limited to 50mph, not very fast if you consider that many stretches of the PRR built NEC were built to handle 110mph in the 1930's!

Congress needs to either pony up or cut Amtrak loose like they did with Conrail. they are killing it with their yearly budget games.
 
2012-07-10 01:38:01 PM  
Oh, and I am aware that a federally-regulated high-speed railway network wouldn't necessarily have to obey a state speed limit, especially if said federal regulation specifically has a higher speed limit than the state regs. I'm just cynical enough to believe that some GOP-controlled state(s) would waste its time and its taxpayers' dollars just to flip off the Person Who Annoys Them-In-Chief.
 
2012-07-10 01:38:13 PM  

Phinn: Ah, yes, the Fark Yankee brigade -- as always, they're so generous with other people's money.


The Northeast Corridor consists of only 2% of the nation's area and contributes 20% of its GDP. We've been quite generous to the rest of the country with our money.
 
2012-07-10 01:38:21 PM  
Just under 3 hours from DC / Union station to mid-town Manhattan. On the slow train. Acela cuts that by about 20-30 minutes. If high-speed improves it even more, there is almost NO reason to fly from DC to NY.

...unless the TSA decides that they want to work their magic with rail, too.

There's something nice about just walking onto the train and sitting comfortably, reading, surfing or just napping and getting to your destination. If they had decent service to the Midwest and Florida, I might never fly domestic again. (except to go to Denver or the left coast).
 
2012-07-10 01:38:57 PM  

King Something: Care to explain how, exactly, the Auto-Train is stupid?


It was an ironic joke-post.

I'm just pointing out some more reasons why expanding rail infrastructure is not such a stupid idea after all.

It'd be pretty smart to have auto-train capability everywhere, including on the long-distance high speed rail lines. If you can take your car with you, the arguments against having long distance commuter rail basically evaporate.
 
2012-07-10 01:39:03 PM  

Persnickety: duffman13: Living in this DC-Baltimore region and making 4+ trips to NY a year I'm getting a kick.

Granted I know I'm not a commuter, and this would be great for them, but on a pure cost/time basis here is the current state of things for a round trip over a weekend, from BWI to Manhattan:

Air:
$300 gets you: 3-4 hours from airport arrival to manhattan: 45+ mins security bs, 30 at the gate, 1:30 in the air, 15 on the ground at laguardia, 30+ minutes on public transit into the city, or 20 in a cab)

Train:
$150 round trip for a morning ticket, $260 for an afternoon one gets you: ~3 hours on the train to NY Penn Station, subject to all the tracks being clear. None of the flying BS

Bus:
$40ish gets you round trip on the Bolt Bus: 4 hours if traffic cooperates. AC plug and wifi to entertain yourself. Drops you at 32nd street (i think).

If I'm not commuting, I'll take the Bus every time. In my experience it ends up being a time differential of maybe an hour, for less than a third of the cheapest train ticket.

I've driven Boston to DC about a dozen times. Once I got stuck in the Bronx on I95 for over an hour. I didn't dare get off. Twice I've sat on the Jersey Turnpike for 2+ hours due to an accident a few miles ahead and of course there's no way to get off the highway. Twice times I've sat in the DC beltway for over 90 minutes because, well, apparently because 10:00 on a Tuesday still means commuter traffic. Not sure I like those odds.

The NE corridor is so bad now AAA recommends driving over the Tappan Zee to skip NYC and then 75 miles out into PA and I81 to skip all the gridlock in the east if your plan is just to pass through to get to Richmond and points south. The snowbirds I know who winter down in FLA all do this.


I hear you there, but really have only seen problems on holiday weekends. I used to go to my Aunt's house in Westchester for thanksgiving, and made the mistake of using NJTP and the Garden State Parkway once. Never again, the eastern leg of the PA turnpike is great for that.

And you don't really deal with any borough traffic going into Manhattan from Jersey side. Just hope you don't run into commuter traffic, but coming up from BWI area in the morning gets me there around noon-2 depending on when I leave, so I've never had a problem, going opposite the traffic flow really.

From Boston, I think I'd just fly though. That's like 10 hours in the car if traffic cooperates.
 
2012-07-10 01:39:20 PM  

Magnanimous_J: I love the post-war argument. What a simple and elegant way to justify never building great things on a national level


You know who else built great things on a national level?

Magnanimous_J: and why the middle and lower classes should be content with taking it up the ass all the time.


You honestly think that the insiders who set up and control these government-contractor boondoggles are doing it for the benefit of the middle and lower classes? Really?
 
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