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(Telegraph)   Japan unveils new maglev train capable of speeds in excess of 300mph. America's only high speed train capable of 1/3 that speed, but hey America is going to build a true high speed train any day now.....any day   (telegraph.co.uk ) divider line
    More: Cool, magnetic levitation, Nagoya, high-speed trains, Japan  
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2052 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Nov 2012 at 4:49 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-27 01:01:11 AM  
None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient. So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line. We can't even support regular rail speeds without a subsidy.

Republicans: we have to raise taxes for this. Democrats: we have to cut other services for this.

Americans: is this a good use of our money?
 
2012-11-27 01:09:32 AM  

Lsherm: Americans: is this a good use of our money?


I would be thrilled if they would fix the damned potholes and bumps on the roads, so that my 15 year-old car can last a little bit longer. The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

But that's just me.
 
2012-11-27 02:12:18 AM  

Fark Me To Tears: The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.


If the economics ever make sense, it will get built, but they don't make sense yet. If you could take a train from DC to central Manhattan in an hour, it's hard to see why anyone of means would opt for the airport or the roads. The problem is one of insufficient capacity in the system to get prices to a level that could recoup investment, not demand. My guess is you could sell maglev tickets at 1.5 times airfare and still handily win the demand war. But that price point is probably still way too low.
 
2012-11-27 02:26:43 AM  

Triumph: Fark Me To Tears: The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

If the economics ever make sense, it will get built, but they don't make sense yet. If you could take a train from DC to central Manhattan in an hour, it's hard to see why anyone of means would opt for the airport or the roads. The problem is one of insufficient capacity in the system to get prices to a level that could recoup investment, not demand. My guess is you could sell maglev tickets at 1.5 times airfare and still handily win the demand war. But that price point is probably still way too low.


Like solar and wind energy, it won't really get going until gas hits $5 per gallon.
 
2012-11-27 03:24:40 AM  
Because Japan and America are exactly the same in geography and population density.
 
2012-11-27 04:53:37 AM  
When that happens you could fly your car to the train station
 
2012-11-27 04:57:22 AM  
we also don't have this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjJ3g_wv8H0
when this happens we will build that.
 
2012-11-27 04:57:46 AM  
the state-of-the-art trains are scheduled to go into use in 2027

Know how I know Subby didn't read the article?
 
2012-11-27 05:18:34 AM  

ShawnDoc: Because Japan and America are exactly the same in geography and population density.


You're right. We have much better geography for it, and at least 4 possible routes with similar population.
 
2012-11-27 05:22:33 AM  
In before ICP

/farkin maglevs
 
2012-11-27 05:26:33 AM  

FishyFred:

Like solar and wind energy, it won't really get going until gas hits $5 per gallon.


Or enough people get sick of the TSA's shiat.
 
2012-11-27 05:27:12 AM  

Bob Down: When that happens you could fly your car to the train station


I tell you three times gay deceiver.
 
2012-11-27 05:29:05 AM  
JR Tokai points out that bullet train technology will be 60 years old by 2025, while maglev technology is less polluting than flights that presently link the cities.

I don't think so. No one flies from Tokyo to Nagoya. First, only Narita supports flights to Centrair. That's an hour train ride out of Tokyo to begin with. Then it's another half hour to get from the Centrair airport to downtown Nagoya. In this time you'd have already reached Nagoya by bullet train, not including actual flight time.

A faster high speed train between Tokyo and Nagoya would be nice but to think that it's alleviating pollution due to flights between the two cities is misguided at best.
 
2012-11-27 05:31:57 AM  
The reason I voted for Obama was because I wanted high speed rail. But America is so incredibly devoted to being ass backwards, I'm surprised we haven't ditched our cars for horses instead.
 
2012-11-27 05:44:35 AM  

BalugaJoe: Bob Down: When that happens you could fly your car to the train station

I tell you three times gay deceiver.


You don't know how freaky that is.
 
2012-11-27 05:48:57 AM  
Hey, you know what would be really cool? A high-speed horse-and-buggy. Trains are for olden times, when there weren't many places to go. Who cares about a really fast train? It's still a train. You still have to go to a station, wait until one happens to be going in the general direction you want to go, and ride it with a bunch of losers who also can't afford cars. It's barbaric. Trains, used for their intended purpose of hauling cargo, are fast enough already. Focus on making better cars, dammit. Fark trains.
 
2012-11-27 05:58:42 AM  

Lsherm: Americans: is this a good use of our money?


If you adapt it to also handle freight as well as passengers, the answer will be "yes."

Rail is very efficient compared to long-haul trucking and is less expensive already, but it's slower so the extra cost of trucking makes economic sense. Speed up freight rail, trucking becomes a local affair and everybody (except the long haul truckers, I guess) wins.
=Smidge=
 
2012-11-27 06:01:39 AM  

untaken_name: Hey, you know what would be really cool? A high-speed horse-and-buggy. Trains are for olden times, when there weren't many places to go. Who cares about a really fast train? It's still a train. You still have to go to a station, wait until one happens to be going in the general direction you want to go, and ride it with a bunch of losers who also can't afford cars. It's barbaric. Trains, used for their intended purpose of hauling cargo, are fast enough already. Focus on making better cars, dammit. Fark trains.


In Japan, they have a high-speed running-man-and-buggy. But it is a little more expensive than the Shinkansen.
 
2012-11-27 06:18:07 AM  
What is it with all this distance traveling, anyway? Why can't people just live within walking distance of necessities?
 
2012-11-27 06:29:12 AM  

Bob Down: I tell you three times gay deceiver.

You don't know how freaky that is.


You think that's freaky? I've got a Number of the Beast birthmark on my head.
 
2012-11-27 06:29:25 AM  

Lsherm: So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line.


It would come out of the DOT budget -- less money for highways. We've got commuters jamming 6-lane highways in rush hour, all going in the same direction. That's way too much money going toward a particularly inefficient mode of transportation. The problem with high speed rail isn't the viability so much as the scale. You can't dink-n'-dunk a project like this. It's controversial, but high-speed rail should really go straight through the hearts of major urban areas, be implemented on a massive scale and (here's the hard part) politically supported at the expense of other transportation programs, not compete with them. Any piecemeal, short-term approach is doomed to fail, which suits the politicians just fine. They can shiat all over the project and then blame the public for not buying in.

ShawnDoc: Because Japan and America are exactly the same in geography and population density.


It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.
 
2012-11-27 06:30:08 AM  

Larva Lump: What is it with all this distance traveling, anyway? Why can't people just live within walking distance of necessities?


I do now, but I had to travel 8000 miles to get here.
 
2012-11-27 06:45:24 AM  

dragonchild: It's controversial, but high-speed rail should really go straight through the hearts of major urban areas, be implemented on a massive scale and (here's the hard part) politically supported at the expense of other transportation programs, not compete with them.


Or, we could do it at the expense of something else. Personally, I'd rather spend tax dollars on high speed rail than on bombs.
 
2012-11-27 06:45:36 AM  
Europe has ~200 MPH trains (Eurostar in the UK, Thalys in France, ICE in Germany come to mind) that appear to use standard heavy rail infrastructure. I'm sure maintenance is higher than for a standard train, but it's got to be only a fraction of the cost of maglev.

Anyone know if the European high speed lines are near self-sufficient?
 
2012-11-27 06:53:06 AM  

Baryogenesis: dragonchild: It's controversial, but high-speed rail should really go straight through the hearts of major urban areas, be implemented on a massive scale and (here's the hard part) politically supported at the expense of other transportation programs, not compete with them.

Or, we could do it at the expense of something else. Personally, I'd rather spend tax dollars on high speed rail than on bombs.


Same here. Also, more commuter trains. I love JR in Tokyo. I can go from one end of the city to the other and never see a red light. The only thing I wish they'd change is stopping the train for suicides. Someone dies legit? Stop the train, get some EMTs or something. See if we can save 'em. But if someone jumps on purpose? Spray him off to the side and get him off the tracks after rush hour. People wouldn't keep jumping in front of trains if we disrespected their poor judgement more appropriately.
 
2012-11-27 06:53:43 AM  
To follow up on my own post, it looks like European high speed rail operates with a very slight profit (~$35M last year), if the UK's service is anything to go by.

Source
 
2012-11-27 06:54:08 AM  

Triumph: Fark Me To Tears: The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

If the economics ever make sense, it will get built, but they don't make sense yet. If you could take a train from DC to central Manhattan in an hour, it's hard to see why anyone of means would opt for the airport or the roads. The problem is one of insufficient capacity in the system to get prices to a level that could recoup investment, not demand. My guess is you could sell maglev tickets at 1.5 times airfare and still handily win the demand war. But that price point is probably still way too low.


The TSA would make it take 4 hours.
 
2012-11-27 07:04:46 AM  

digistil: To follow up on my own post, it looks like European high speed rail operates with a very slight profit (~$35M last year), if the UK's service is anything to go by.

Source


Profit isn't measured best in straight dollars. Go to Europe or Japan, ride the trains, tell me you wouldn't fire the whole TSA and pay your back taxes to get that going in your town.

So much better than car travel. Just sit back, crack a bottle of wine or a beer... It's great.
 
2012-11-27 07:10:05 AM  
Lower population density to some point is an issue in the US but it is made 100 times worse by politicians getting in the way. One of the proposed routes was Buffalo to New York, which would actually be really popular if it existed. You could rail into the city, spend the day doing whatever and head home at night. The trip is 380 miles, and a high speed rail should get you there at a conservative 2.5 hours. The issue was that the planned time was nearly 5 for the 'high speed' rail because the train was going to stop in every hamlet between Buffalo and New York. Local politics forces additional stops, then you have all the people complaining against noise, and the endangered dwarf 2 toed red eared frog from in a creek the tracks will cross.

The Northeast Megalopolis is probably the place that would stand the most to benefit from a high speed rail network. However you'd need to look at a market and then build a network to serve the demand, not every politicians self interested motives. Keeping in mind the lower travel times increase the demand and lower times decrease it. Ideally you would want a system that could handle smaller trains in higher quantity to better fit demand. Fit the train size to demand and then run direct as much as possible to reduce travel times. Rather than a 12 car train with 3 stops, run 3 different 4 car trains direct.
 
2012-11-27 07:13:29 AM  
Driving sucks.

If anyone has ever lived in a large city with good public transit, cars suck.
 
2012-11-27 07:14:45 AM  

Triumph: Fark Me To Tears: The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

If the economics ever make sense, it will get built, but they don't make sense yet. If you could take a train from DC to central Manhattan in an hour, it's hard to see why anyone of means would opt for the airport or the roads. The problem is one of insufficient capacity in the system to get prices to a level that could recoup investment, not demand. My guess is you could sell maglev tickets at 1.5 times airfare and still handily win the demand war. But that price point is probably still way too low.


Or the problem is we don't have actual socialist governments, as most of northern europe and japan, who just invest in things like this for the betterment of the public and the common good. Sure they give a sweetheart deal to vendors who deliver it, but thats true of building more roads or putting in another runway at the airports, too.

The main reason we are so ass backward in America is we're full of right wing idiots and we let them set the agenda for progress.

America lost its way around 1980 on this one, and has never looked at fixing it, not yet.

The Northeast Corridor already has population base equal or greater to what Japan had when it installed its original bullet trains. Somehow doing that didn't hurt Japan's auto industry. But lordy be, you try that stuff here, you got lobbyist screaming and derp media screaming.
 
2012-11-27 07:16:14 AM  
One big problem is that the Amtrak system only borrows track, they don't "own" it. They
play second fiddle to the freight train traffic on most of the lines. There would almost need
to be a new right of way set aside just for Amtrak traffic.The cost of that would be pretty outstanding
to do all at once..It would do the U.S. a lot of good, and the world at large as well, to get away from
truck transport and use rail more. But again, the U.S. in general needs to just slow down.
Not everything needs to be 24/7/365 and not every delivery needs to be overnight..Some things
need faster transport, by truck, such as perishables. We don't need to keep shipping cheap plastic
Chinese tchotchkies (sp) across the country that way.
 
2012-11-27 07:16:45 AM  

Coelacanth: The reason I voted for Obama was because I wanted high speed rail. But America is so incredibly devoted to being ass backwards, I'm surprised we haven't ditched our cars for horses instead.


Teabaggers don't want the competition from any other sources of horsesh*t.
 
2012-11-27 07:21:00 AM  

doglover: digistil: To follow up on my own post, it looks like European high speed rail operates with a very slight profit (~$35M last year), if the UK's service is anything to go by.

Source

Profit isn't measured best in straight dollars. Go to Europe or Japan, ride the trains, tell me you wouldn't fire the whole TSA and pay your back taxes to get that going in your town.

So much better than car travel. Just sit back, crack a bottle of wine or a beer... It's great.


Could not agree more. You provide much better reasons than profit to pull the trigger. My point was that the thing isn't even a money sink. It's profitable. So what's the hold up??
 
2012-11-27 07:23:55 AM  

Lsherm: None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient. So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line.


We could cut subsidies to oil companies and airlines.
 
2012-11-27 07:26:50 AM  
Let's just send the money to Africa, subby.
 
2012-11-27 07:29:03 AM  
i3.kym-cdn.com
 
2012-11-27 07:30:22 AM  

Lsherm: None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient.


I haven't found any evidence of that
 
2012-11-27 07:32:06 AM  

digistil: Europe has ~200 MPH trains (Eurostar in the UK, Thalys in France, ICE in Germany come to mind) that appear to use standard heavy rail infrastructure. I'm sure maintenance is higher than for a standard train, but it's got to be only a fraction of the cost of maglev.


The new ICE tracks were (all?) laid specifically for high speed trains. Quite some impressive overpasses and a shiatload of tunnels in the hilly countryside around here.

However, when I have the choice of taking the car or the train and I am looking at roughly the same time due to the autobahn, I am still driving, even when fuel is at $10/gallon around here. Sitting on a train is nice and all and lot of people prefer to be able to do something in the travel time, but I still prefer the positive stress from a jaunt down the autobahn.

However, on my upcoming visit to Japan, I will extensively travel by rail. Highspeed rail is nothing new to me, but damnit, it looks more efficient there (and cleaner and more space in the trains)
 
2012-11-27 07:33:37 AM  
Forgot to add that cargo trains do not use the rail lines from the high speed trains. We have those in addition to the old railways.
 
2012-11-27 07:35:56 AM  

Old enough to know better: Or enough people get sick of the TSA's shiat


Any high speed train would get TSA screeners. The government finds a way to make anything burdensome.
 
2012-11-27 07:36:07 AM  

digistil: Anyone know if the European high speed lines are near self-sufficient?


I don't understand why self-sufficiency is a requirement of rail. The auto infrastructure isn't self-sufficient. The auto industry is dependent on the government to build and maintain roads and give huge subsidies to the oil companies. Don't forget a good chunk of our military is deployed to defend the flow of oil from around the world. Airlines aren't self-sufficient either, most carriers have been bailed out by the government a couple times in the last 25 years. They also get huge tax breaks and a lot of tax dollars.

Since auto and air travel aren't self- sufficient, why is it a requirement for rail travel to be self- sufficient?
 
2012-11-27 07:37:18 AM  

Lt_Ryan: The issue was that the planned time was nearly 5 for the 'high speed' rail because the train was going to stop in every hamlet between Buffalo and New York.


Mr. Shabooboo: One big problem is that the Amtrak system only borrows track, they don't "own" it. They play second fiddle to the freight train traffic on most of the lines. There would almost need to be a new right of way set aside just for Amtrak traffic.


Like I said, you can't dink n' dunk this sort of thing. The solution is to have regular lines running the same routes for local traffic, express lines doing their thing, and then super-express lines all running in parallel. That's a minimum of SIX NEW parallel tracks. The result:
High-speed rail passbys
. . . Mind you, that train was well under full speed to safely pass through the station.
 
2012-11-27 07:45:01 AM  
After living in Europe these past two years, I would fully support a high speed rail system, especially cross country. Even at the expense of the interstate budget.

It's more efficient, faster, and a lot easier. I can sleep, read, play around online, and less of a TSA worry to deal with.
 
2012-11-27 07:46:43 AM  

Triumph: Fark Me To Tears: The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

If the economics ever make sense, it will get built, but they don't make sense yet. If you could take a train from DC to central Manhattan in an hour, it's hard to see why anyone of means would opt for the airport or the roads. The problem is one of insufficient capacity in the system to get prices to a level that could recoup investment, not demand. My guess is you could sell maglev tickets at 1.5 times airfare and still handily win the demand war. But that price point is probably still way too low.


It would still take three hours because it would stop twenty times. I love the acela, but it's not much faster than the normal train.
 
2012-11-27 07:47:19 AM  

dragonchild: Lsherm: So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line.

It would come out of the DOT budget -- less money for highways. We've got commuters jamming 6-lane highways in rush hour, all going in the same direction. That's way too much money going toward a particularly inefficient mode of transportation. The problem with high speed rail isn't the viability so much as the scale. You can't dink-n'-dunk a project like this. It's controversial, but high-speed rail should really go straight through the hearts of major urban areas, be implemented on a massive scale and (here's the hard part) politically supported at the expense of other transportation programs, not compete with them. Any piecemeal, short-term approach is doomed to fail, which suits the politicians just fine. They can shiat all over the project and then blame the public for not buying in.

ShawnDoc: Because Japan and America are exactly the same in geography and population density.

It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.


If you're going to write a post supporting massive gov't funded transportation projects, the one word you must avoid using in your post is "Boston".
 
2012-11-27 07:51:00 AM  

Mrbogey: Old enough to know better: Or enough people get sick of the TSA's shiat

Any high speed train would get TSA screeners. The government finds a way to make anything burdensome.


I would imagine it would be a hell of a lot less of a worry, though. It's not like you're going to hijack a train and crash it into a building. At worst, the people on the train are at risk, but since there isn't a worry of using the train itself as a weapon like a jumbo jet full of fuel has with it.
 
2012-11-27 07:57:52 AM  

foo monkey: It would still take three hours because it would stop twenty times. I love the acela, but it's not much faster than the normal train.


Stops between Detroit and Chicago add about an hour to the trip compared to driving. I think there are 12 stops. The additional hour for travel is FAR less of an inconvenience than driving in Chicago and paying for parking. I wish there were a line that went east out of Detroit.
 
2012-11-27 08:08:44 AM  

Lsherm: None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient.


As opposed to .... America's entire "private" airline industry? Guess we got to get rid of air travel.

Pssst ... not everything has to turn a profit to be a valuable service to it's citizens . Pass it on.
 
2012-11-27 08:11:13 AM  

Lsherm: None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient. So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line. We can't even support regular rail speeds without a subsidy.

Republicans: we have to raise taxes for this. Democrats: we have to cut other services for this.

Americans: is this a good use of our money?


Are the roads you drive on self-supporting? The highway system? The municipal snow plows?
 
2012-11-27 08:15:42 AM  

foo monkey: It would still take three hours because it would stop twenty times. I love the acela, but it's not much faster than the normal train.


The Taiwan HSR has parallel tracks so you can have trains that don't stop at every station. Most trains stop at all stops, but if you want to go from Taipei (in the north) to Kaoshiung (south), you can get on a direct train that takes way less time.
 
2012-11-27 08:18:55 AM  

scanman61: If you're going to write a post supporting massive gov't funded transportation projects, the one word you must avoid using in your post is "Boston".


Because what? Because some governments are corrupt and inefficient? That's one thing I don't get about America. We endure mediocrity from sports teams in the hopes they'll eventually improve. We dismiss business failures all the time. When it comes to government or individuals, though, we claim to have low expectations but demand absolute perfection. The MBTA sucks. Hiding that fact isn't going to change reality, and if I don't bring it up then someone else will. If anything, I'm a strong advocate of public transportation because Boston's MBTA sucks. It's about as badly run as any system could be, yet in spite of all its problems the extent to which commuters rely on it is visibly obvious. This shiat is too damn important to get complacent about, as energy independence is rapidly turning into a security issue. Yet for new ideas, if the slightest thing goes wrong the public's first instinct isn't to fix it but to give up.

Japan isn't some public transportation never-never land either. Every Fark thread has some idiot who thinks cutting high-speed rail through Japan's mountains is a piece of cake because (god this is so bizarre) running rail across thousands of miles of uber-flat farmland is somehow harder. JR almost went bankrupt building up the Shinkansen. They had horrible corruption issues within JR, and as a result it was eventually broken up and privatized. Didn't cause people to give up on trains altogether. If there's a difference, the effort Japan put into its rails despite all the corruption and cost overruns was matched by Boston's dedication to the Big Dig -- a highway project.

Boston is, if anything, a teachable moment. Somehow, a single city put up with a 25-year project costing $15 billion (and continues to bleed money to this day) to ease auto congestion in a major urban area. There was a lot of eye-rolling and grumbling, but it got done. The subway, meanwhile, is largely unchanged from its original 100-year-old rails. Obviously, failure of government, limited resources or short-term thinking doesn't stop us from throwing mountains of money at inefficient transportation as long as it's not public.
 
2012-11-27 08:21:36 AM  

dragonchild: Because what?


Very well said.
 
2012-11-27 08:22:06 AM  

Enemabag Jones: Driving sucks.

If anyone has ever lived in a large city with good public transit, cars suck.


I'll keep living in the suburbs. Thanks, anyway.
 
2012-11-27 08:28:09 AM  
Hey, Illinois is proud of 1/3 that speed available in a few years. Yeah, innovation is really not one of our stronger talents.
 
2012-11-27 08:38:16 AM  
If we get high speed rail in the US, does it come with TSA anal rapings?
 
2012-11-27 08:39:03 AM  

Lsherm: None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient. So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line. We can't even support regular rail speeds without a subsidy.

Republicans: we have to raise taxes for this. Democrats: we have to cut other services for this.

Americans: is this a good use of our money?


The average American thinks the highway system is self-sufficient. This person and people like him are why we do not have a modern transportation system.
 
2012-11-27 08:40:20 AM  

Shadowknight: I would imagine it would be a hell of a lot less of a worry, though. It's not like you're going to hijack a train and crash it into a building. At worst, the people on the train are at risk, but since there isn't a worry of using the train itself as a weapon like a jumbo jet full of fuel has with it.


They screen for bombs and weapons on ships because terrorism still likes mass casualties even if they're just the ones on a transport. See Pan Am bombing... See Achille Lauro hijacking.
 
2012-11-27 08:40:51 AM  

pkellmey: Yeah, innovation is really not one of our stronger talents.


We still lead the world in innovation. The problem is teabagger bullshiat where we want something for nothing from government whereas investment in public transportation is heavily front-loaded. The Internet is a great example of technology first built up with government resources; eventually it was handed off to private businesses that continue to improve delivery. Same with GPS. We almost have to trick the public into funding government innovation, namely by turning the DoD into a huge slush fund for experimental infrastructure projects. Nuclear power is used extensively by the Navy, for example, while we still mostly use coal & gas for private electricity demand. But it's kind of hard to hide something like high-speed rail because of all the eminent domain issues involved.

I guess the only way high-speed rail gets built is if we first use it to move around soldiers.
 
2012-11-27 08:41:08 AM  

dragonchild: It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.


America was at one point a world leader in light rail with a system that was often the envy of lots of European countries. Then came GM and Standard Oil who bought up all the light rail lines and put them out of business. LA's public transport system was better 100 years ago than it is today thanks to GM.

Just look at how successful the Madrid to Barcalona line is doing in Spain. You can start your day in Madrid, get a train within walking distance of your office, have meetings in Barcalona and be back in Madrid before leaving time. The same for London-Paris, Munich-Berlin etc. Do the same between Boston, NY, DC, Philly etc.

But then the Airlines would get out their chequebooks and try and stop it even though it would be good for America.
 
2012-11-27 08:49:18 AM  

dragonchild: Lsherm: So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line.

It would come out of the DOT budget -- less money for highways. We've got commuters jamming 6-lane highways in rush hour, all going in the same direction. That's way too much money going toward a particularly inefficient mode of transportation. The problem with high speed rail isn't the viability so much as the scale. You can't dink-n'-dunk a project like this. It's controversial, but high-speed rail should really go straight through the hearts of major urban areas, be implemented on a massive scale and (here's the hard part) politically supported at the expense of other transportation programs, not compete with them. Any piecemeal, short-term approach is doomed to fail, which suits the politicians just fine. They can shiat all over the project and then blame the public for not buying in.

ShawnDoc: Because Japan and America are exactly the same in geography and population density.

It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.


I'd love to see massive investment into producing the worlds' greatest mass transit system here in America. Among the measures I'd have enacted or at least considered, would be government supplied seed money to start-up production facilities so that trains could be built here. Maybe in the rust belt? I'd like construction of the system to be part of a massive veterans work corp. End the wars, bring our people home, and shift them directly into highly constructive work building Americas' new transit system among other projects. I'd like to see, as a first stage of construction, Americas' most populous cities connected. No, Amtrak style meandering through the countryside because that's the way old, white people like to vacation style boondoggle. It would be about moving people between business and political centers super fast and with great efficiency. Later stages might, for instance, loop in the nations' largest military bases, universities, and health research centers. I suppose eventually you'd have to include every state capital or hear no end to the whining out of states like Wyoming.
 
2012-11-27 08:51:42 AM  

digistil: To follow up on my own post, it looks like European high speed rail operates with a very slight profit (~$35M last year), if the UK's service is anything to go by.

Source


i truly think that is irrelevant. I will argue over whether a mass transit system is profitable when our highway system turns a profit.
 
2012-11-27 08:54:40 AM  

Mr. Shabooboo: One big problem is that the Amtrak system only borrows track, they don't "own" it.


That's why we need a veterans' work corp laying new track where required. In some areas, there should be double track so that one train can run non-stop between major destinations while another stops at every town large enough to have a single Dairy Queen.
 
2012-11-27 08:55:13 AM  

Lsherm: None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient. So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line. We can't even support regular rail speeds without a subsidy.

Republicans: we have to raise taxes for this. Democrats: we have to cut other services for this.

Americans: is this a good use of our money?


It's a better use of money than half the defense budget.

The problem with building rail once demand has been created is that by then towns and cities have been built for cars as the primary mode of transportation. Retail ends up in strip malls surrounded by giant car parks, Offices end up in low rise low density office parks dotted along highways and residential ends up as suburban sprawl, often even without sidewalks. All this makes eventual transition to mass transit much more difficult and much more expensive.

When you build rail ahead of development the development that follows gears itself towards mass transit. Of course the lack of good mass transit in many metro areas makes high speed rail considerably less useful - a good start to preparing for the eventual switch would be to actually invest in transport system in major cities and then go to construct high speed rail, relying on ordinary speed rail between cities in the meantime.
 
2012-11-27 09:01:56 AM  
Lsherm:
None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient.

DarnoKonrad:
I haven't found any evidence of that

Something to remember when looking at Japan's rail "profits": they're paying off a severely reduced debt from the second time they went broke (yes, they've basically done so twice in the last half-century). The only reason they make a profit now is that they didn't have to pay off the massive amount of money they lost from their initial land purchases. (It's a lot more complicated than this - there are multiple holding companies involved, but the result is still "Japan lost a huge pile of money on Shinkansen and wrote it off")

It's easy to pay off a debt when 2/3 of it is wiped out. It gets easier when the government makes it illegal for the airlines to compete with your trains on their highest-profit routes.

Europe has a similar situation - they got a lot of land for the French rail system on the cheap after WWII, took a lot more with (effectively) eminent domain, and they keep airlines from directly competing with TGV (limiting schedules and the like). Even with that, they've been a money-losing proposition for years - the reason they currently "make money" is freight haulage on their non-high-speed tracks... and selling TVG tech and holiday booking scheduling software to other countries. The high speed lines don't actually make money by themselves.
 
2012-11-27 09:02:06 AM  

Lt_Ryan: endangered dwarf 2 toed red eared frog from in a creek the tracks will cross.


There's no reason our new mass transit system can't be environmentally friendly. Done right, it could be much more environmentally friendly than the system of roadways we currently have. Elevate the track above that creek with the red eared from. In other areas, have our hypothetical veterans' work corp build a tunnel or fake hill which serves as a dedicated wildlife crossing. In some cases, it might be possible to create wildlife underpasses as well. Similar accommodations might be made for automobiles and/or pedestrians.

While we're at it, let's acquire narrow strips of land, running along waterways or flood zones if possible, that connect the various federal and state wildlife parks. Designate them federal wildlife transit zones. Restrict construction around these areas and require that any transit, be it a road, a train, or something else all together, that crosses these zones; is constructed in a way to allow the free, unendangered passage of wildlife.
 
2012-11-27 09:07:49 AM  

dragonchild: pkellmey: Yeah, innovation is really not one of our stronger talents.

We still lead the world in innovation. The problem is teabagger bullshiat where we want something for nothing from government whereas investment in public transportation is heavily front-loaded. The Internet is a great example of technology first built up with government resources; eventually it was handed off to private businesses that continue to improve delivery. Same with GPS. We almost have to trick the public into funding government innovation, namely by turning the DoD into a huge slush fund for experimental infrastructure projects. Nuclear power is used extensively by the Navy, for example, while we still mostly use coal & gas for private electricity demand. But it's kind of hard to hide something like high-speed rail because of all the eminent domain issues involved.

I guess the only way high-speed rail gets built is if we first use it to move around soldiers.


Yes, I should amend my suggestion of a first construction phase connecting the 100 most populous cities to a first construction phase that connects the 100 largest military bases. Then it would be unpatriotic to oppose high-speed rail.
 
2012-11-27 09:11:23 AM  

Norfolking Chance: dragonchild: It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.

America was at one point a world leader in light rail with a system that was often the envy of lots of European countries. Then came GM and Standard Oil who bought up all the light rail lines and put them out of business. LA's public transport system was better 100 years ago than it is today thanks to GM.

Just look at how successful the Madrid to Barcalona line is doing in Spain. You can start your day in Madrid, get a train within walking distance of your office, have meetings in Barcalona and be back in Madrid before leaving time. The same for London-Paris, Munich-Berlin etc. Do the same between Boston, NY, DC, Philly etc.

But then the Airlines would get out their chequebooks and try and stop it even though it would be good for America.


You describe one of the reasons I was bitter about GM being bailed out for a second time in my lifetime. I do agree that as many jobs should have been saved as possible. In an ideal world, all company executives and stockholders would have been cut out with no compensation and full ownership of the company and all its' assets would have been assigned to GMs' domestic workers with value being equally distributed among them.
 
2012-11-27 09:13:52 AM  

cirby: The high speed lines don't actually make money by themselves.


Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.
 
2012-11-27 09:17:20 AM  

cirby: The high speed lines don't actually make money by themselves.


THEY'RE NOT THERE TO MAKE MONEY!

What's so hard to grasp that the point of infrastructure isn't to turn a dime, it's to get dimes to places where they can turn freely.

If I can take a shinkansen instead of a plane, I will. I'll even pay more to avoid airports. Bonus: the shinkansen comes to the same train stations as the local train, serves beer en route, and is just about superior in every way to planes except a few minutes' time difference over most medium distances.

It would be worth a loss each year to have it in place.
 
2012-11-27 09:30:15 AM  
Lunaville:
Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.

They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees. The surplus pays for things like mass transit subsidies.

Didn't you know this?

Some jurisdictions have additional taxes they threw in to "pay for roads," but there's more than enough brought in from direct taxes and fees to pay for the whole system. The big problem is from politicians shifting money from the highway budgets to pay for other things - like local bus service and Amtrak. This leads to new taxes to "pay for roads" that should have been paid for in the first place.
 
2012-11-27 09:39:12 AM  
The distances and density in Japan work far better than they do in the states where it makes it more practical. Comparing Japan to the US is essentially comparing the Northeast Corridor, between Boston and DC.

Guess what, we have high speed rail there, and it actually makes a profit. It would be nice if it was a little faster, sure, but I'm not going to pay an extra $100 a ticket to shave an hour off my train ride to boston or DC. There are few other places where you would be able to compete with air travel unless you got your train speeds up to airplane speeds.
 
2012-11-27 09:45:08 AM  

cirby: Lunaville:
Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.

They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees. The surplus pays for things like mass transit subsidies.

Didn't you know this?

Some jurisdictions have additional taxes they threw in to "pay for roads," but there's more than enough brought in from direct taxes and fees to pay for the whole system. The big problem is from politicians shifting money from the highway budgets to pay for other things - like local bus service and Amtrak. This leads to new taxes to "pay for roads" that should have been paid for in the first place.


The Highway Trust Fund has run a shortfall of $35B over the previous three years. No matter how you parse it, the fuel taxes and user fees are not sufficient to keep the road system self-sustaining.
 
2012-11-27 09:46:28 AM  

cirby: Lunaville:
Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.

They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees. The surplus pays for things like mass transit subsidies.

Didn't you know this?

Some jurisdictions have additional taxes they threw in to "pay for roads," but there's more than enough brought in from direct taxes and fees to pay for the whole system. The big problem is from politicians shifting money from the highway budgets to pay for other things - like local bus service and Amtrak. This leads to new taxes to "pay for roads" that should have been paid for in the first place.


Please, someone, who is calmer and more patient than me, jump in here and deal with this statement.
 
2012-11-27 09:46:48 AM  

Moopy Mac: cirby: Lunaville:
Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.

They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees. The surplus pays for things like mass transit subsidies.

Didn't you know this?

Some jurisdictions have additional taxes they threw in to "pay for roads," but there's more than enough brought in from direct taxes and fees to pay for the whole system. The big problem is from politicians shifting money from the highway budgets to pay for other things - like local bus service and Amtrak. This leads to new taxes to "pay for roads" that should have been paid for in the first place.

The Highway Trust Fund has run a shortfall of $35B over the previous three years. No matter how you parse it, the fuel taxes and user fees are not sufficient to keep the road system self-sustaining.


That $35B was actually for 2008-2010. So it was probably even higher after 2011-2012.
 
2012-11-27 09:55:07 AM  
They should use Rearden Steel

pileusblog.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-11-27 09:55:49 AM  

dragonchild: it's kind of hard to hide something like high-speed rail because of all the eminent domain issues involved.


The eminent domain issues could be minimized by paralleling and/or piggybacking on the interstate system. The interstates already connect the 100 largest cities (as another farker suggested) and the land is already owned and maintained by governments. Things only get tight when you get inside the major cities.
 
2012-11-27 09:59:49 AM  

Muta: foo monkey: It would still take three hours because it would stop twenty times. I love the acela, but it's not much faster than the normal train.

Stops between Detroit and Chicago add about an hour to the trip compared to driving. I think there are 12 stops. The additional hour for travel is FAR less of an inconvenience than driving in Chicago and paying for parking. I wish there were a line that went east out of Detroit.


You can drive on down to Toledo for that.
 
2012-11-27 10:00:42 AM  
As long as the TSA is not involved, count me in.
 
2012-11-27 10:09:50 AM  
Moopy Mac:
The Highway Trust Fund has run a shortfall of $35B over the previous three years. No matter how you parse it, the fuel taxes and user fees are not sufficient to keep the road system self-sustaining.

...except you missed the part where the Highway Trust Fund isn't just paying for highways and roads (I did mention that). Take the billions of dollars in public transportation and other non-highway expenditures out of it (including a huge chunk for "deficit reduction" that I didn't mention), and it has a large surplus, year after year.
 
2012-11-27 10:13:09 AM  

LineNoise: There are few other places where you would be able to compete with air travel unless you got your train speeds up to airplane speeds.


I disagree. You need to commuting to the airport (which are usually on the outskirts of major cities), going through security, and getting out of the airport to your destination, when weighing the value of rail. It is easier for rail hubs to be built in population centers so commuting times can to and from the hub are reduced. Security concerns are fewer for rail as well. A one hour flight turns into a 3 hour event. Any flight of about 1 to 1.5 hours would be more efficiently handled by rail. From Detroit (where I live) that means to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati and St. Louis would be reasonable destinations by rail if done right.
 
2012-11-27 10:21:16 AM  

Generation_D: Triumph: Fark Me To Tears: The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

If the economics ever make sense, it will get built, but they don't make sense yet. If you could take a train from DC to central Manhattan in an hour, it's hard to see why anyone of means would opt for the airport or the roads. The problem is one of insufficient capacity in the system to get prices to a level that could recoup investment, not demand. My guess is you could sell maglev tickets at 1.5 times airfare and still handily win the demand war. But that price point is probably still way too low.

Or the problem is we don't have actual socialist governments, as most of northern europe and japan, who just invest in things like this for the betterment of the public and the common good. Sure they give a sweetheart deal to vendors who deliver it, but thats true of building more roads or putting in another runway at the airports, too.

The main reason we are so ass backward in America is we're full of right wing idiots and we let them set the agenda for progress.

America lost its way around 1980 on this one, and has never looked at fixing it, not yet.

The Northeast Corridor already has population base equal or greater to what Japan had when it installed its original bullet trains. Somehow doing that didn't hurt Japan's auto industry. But lordy be, you try that stuff here, you got lobbyist screaming and derp media screaming.


================

Japan currently has a population density of 840 people per square mile. New Jersey has a population density of 1,190 per square mile. The population density on the Boston to DC corridor is at least as high, if not higher, than in Japan. The Acela has proven that people will use rail if it's reasonably fast and efficient, and the Acela wouldn't even qualify as high speed rail in any country outside the US. Wanna see a high speed rail line become a success in the USA? Build a true high speed line from Boston to DC and watch as people line up at the stations.
 
2012-11-27 10:24:21 AM  

LazarusLong42: Muta: Stops between Detroit and Chicago add about an hour to the trip compared to driving. I think there are 12 stops. The additional hour for travel is FAR less of an inconvenience than driving in Chicago and paying for parking. I wish there were a line that went east out of Detroit.

You can drive on down to Toledo for that.


True, but then you have to drive to Toledo ;)

Seriously, the drive from some of the northern suburbs to Toledo takes you past major centers like Detroit and Dearborn or Ann Arbor if you are more to the west. It is absurd to drive past those stations to get to a station that goes in the direction you want.

Side note -- it is also absurd that there's no train stop at Detroit Metro Airport. I'd gladly pay $5/person to take the train to the airport instead of paying to park my car there.
 
2012-11-27 10:26:03 AM  
Lunaville:
Please, someone, who is calmer and more patient than me, jump in here and deal with this statement.

Don't worry - they can't, without ignoring a big chunk of inconvenient reality.

One of the big non-secrets of highway funding is how the huge amount of gas taxes and user fees (which are, in theory, supposed to only pay for roads and highways) have been shunted into a whole lot of other things. Like mass transit and "deficit reduction" (ha).

You're paying about 50 cents per gallon in gas taxes. More in vehicle registration. Even more in costs due to transport (user fees for trucks). These are all - ALL - supposed to pay for the road infrastructure. Only. Due to political wrangling, however, much of it gets shunted into various pet projects that do NOT have any direct relation to highway and road maintenance and construction.

The original Federal gas tax - something like three cents per gallon, but vastly expanded over the decades - paid for pretty much the entire Interstate highway system.  Local and state gas and usage taxes are more than enough to pay for local roads. It's a LOT of money, and the politicians couldn't just leave it alone, or reduce the taxes to only pay for what it was originally intended to pay for.

Think about it - Federal and state fuel taxes alone are (on average) at least a dollar per American, per DAY (cars, freight trucks, et cetera). More than two billion dollars per week. You think highway and road maintenance and new construction cost more than a hundred billion per year?
 
2012-11-27 10:31:08 AM  

cirby: They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees.


So we collect taxes to pay for the roads, and this somehow translates to the roads paying for themselves. Got it.

LineNoise: Comparing Japan to the US is essentially comparing the Northeast Corridor, between Boston and DC. Guess what, we have high speed rail there, and it actually makes a profit.


I don't see how this comparison makes high speed rail irrelevant. No one's advocating we put down high-speed rail to connect Little Rock and Boise. Chicago-Indianapolis-Columbus-Pittsburgh-Washington is probably viable, meeting Acela at D.C. and criss-crossing branch-offs to Cinci, Cleveland and some economically relevant part of SE Michigan, maybe Ann Arbor.

LineNoise: There are few other places where you would be able to compete with air travel unless you got your train speeds up to airplane speeds.


Over what distance, end to end?? No one in Japan, to my knowledge, takes the train to cross the entire length of the country north-south. The rails go that distance, but they're used for 300-, 400- mile hops where driving is an unproductive use of worker stamina and planes are slower when airport time is factored in. If the above line is hypothetically built; you'd have to be a moron to use it to get from Chicago to NYC. OTOH, a lot of business traffic already goes to and from Columbus and Chicago, where driving is ghastly and flying is basically losing half a day in a cramped three-wide fuselage to spend 1 hour in the air. The train wouldn't be much faster but it's less prone to cancellations and you don't need to check your luggage.
 
2012-11-27 10:49:11 AM  
I guess this means that every state will now be a blue state.
 
2012-11-27 10:56:13 AM  
Fissile:
Japan currently has a population density of 840 people per square mile. New Jersey has a population density of 1,190 per square mile. The population density on the Boston to DC corridor is at least as high, if not higher, than in Japan.

You did some apples-to-oranges stuff there.

Japan (outside of the megalopolises) is fairly sparse in population. The thing about Japan's high speed rail lines is that they connect a few very, VERY large and dense cities that have few road or air options for intercity travel. The Boston-New York-Washington corridor is dense for a US area (931 per square mile), but is effectively a ghost town when compared to the Tokyo-Osaka line (which represents almost half of the total ridership of the Shinkansen system), which has large areas with 30,000+ per square mile...

Remember - Japan is approximately the size of California - with three and a half times the population. Even more so, due to Japan's more-mountainous landscape, that population is pushed to the coasts. That gives you a series of huge, dense population centers, fairly close together, with relatively flat areas in between.

The US is much different. Even our metropolises - Boston, New York, Washington - are relatively spread out, with "metro populations" extending up to 100 miles from city centers. Once you have to take more than an hour just to get to the city center, single train links between cities aren't as effective. Only about twenty percent of the BosNYWash corridor is truly in the high speed rail ridership zone.

The higher-speed Amtrak line that runs from Boston to Washington is a special case. It's better than flying (for many), but if you took out its subsidy (basically, each ticket is more than 100% matched by Federal subsidies, so they're twice as expensive as they seem), ridership would drop like a rock. 

The last thing to consider is... the Internet. People don't need to travel to big cities as much, and we're starting to realize that. For a long time, a high portion of intercity travel was done for business, and a lot of that is going away. Even casual travel is getting away from "going to the big city to shop" because of Internet sales. People are heading to smaller, more-diverse destinations, and concentrated high speed rail is in exactly the opposite direction of that. Look more to small airports with more-efficient commuter-type jets and prop planes. For that, we need to spend money on better air traffic control, not trains that will go to the same places airlines go already.
 
2012-11-27 10:59:45 AM  
dragonchild:
So we collect taxes to pay for the roads, and this somehow translates to the roads paying for themselves. Got it.

Yes, since the road taxes are paid by - wait for it - THE PEOPLE USING THE ROADS.

Amazing how that works out.
 
2012-11-27 11:03:53 AM  

Mrbogey: Shadowknight: I would imagine it would be a hell of a lot less of a worry, though. It's not like you're going to hijack a train and crash it into a building. At worst, the people on the train are at risk, but since there isn't a worry of using the train itself as a weapon like a jumbo jet full of fuel has with it.

They screen for bombs and weapons on ships because terrorism still likes mass casualties even if they're just the ones on a transport. See Pan Am bombing... See Achille Lauro hijacking.


I don't expect no inspection. But an x-ray of your bag and a metal detector would be plenty.
 
2012-11-27 11:13:02 AM  
"The Hyperloop is the code name for [Elon Musk's] plan to disrupt the transportation industry, and maybe to hedge his bets on Tesla (which attempts to do the same in a less revolutionary way), and because of the lack of details speculation runs rampant about what it could be."

Link
 
2012-11-27 11:46:07 AM  

cirby: The last thing to consider is... the Internet.


I think this is by far the largest impact, especially for businesses. I know from several large corporations I've worked with, after the flight issues with TSA security problems, flight cancellations and delays, most large corporations which used to make daily flights to most cities practical, have turned to digital alternatives and like really the change. Now, those flights are no longer being scheduled due to loss of demand. I only see this trend increasing in the future as teleconferences become more frequent. That should really affect the declining requirements for travel between cities in the future.
 
2012-11-27 11:50:40 AM  

cirby: The US is much different. Even our metropolises - Boston, New York, Washington - are relatively spread out, with "metro populations" extending up to 100 miles from city centers. Once you have to take more than an hour just to get to the city center, single train links between cities aren't as effective. Only about twenty percent of the BosNYWash corridor is truly in the high speed rail ridership zone.


This is why we rely on much more profitable forms of transportation like private run airlines and automobiles. Because we've never had to sustain them with taxpayer money, and they always pay their debts.
 
2012-11-27 11:55:58 AM  

pkellmey: I think this is by far the largest impact, especially for businesses. I know from several large corporations I've worked with, after the flight issues with TSA security problems, flight cancellations and delays, most large corporations which used to make daily flights to most cities practical, have turned to digital alternatives and like really the change. Now, those flights are no longer being scheduled due to loss of demand. I only see this trend increasing in the future as teleconferences become more frequent. That should really affect the declining requirements for travel between cities in the future.


I'll see your anecdotal experiences and raise you mine .... that being that the internet has done fark all for alleviating traffic congestion in any of America's major metropolitans, and generally every airplane I've been on in the last 5 years has been completely booked (typically overbooked).
 
2012-11-27 12:02:28 PM  

InmanRoshi: pkellmey: I think this is by far the largest impact, especially for businesses. I know from several large corporations I've worked with, after the flight issues with TSA security problems, flight cancellations and delays, most large corporations which used to make daily flights to most cities practical, have turned to digital alternatives and like really the change. Now, those flights are no longer being scheduled due to loss of demand. I only see this trend increasing in the future as teleconferences become more frequent. That should really affect the declining requirements for travel between cities in the future.

I'll see your anecdotal experiences and raise you mine .... that being that the internet has done fark all for alleviating traffic congestion in any of America's major metropolitans, and generally every airplane I've been on in the last 5 years has been completely booked (typically overbooked).


Actually, that fits the discussion. Only those flights that have heavy usage (makes sense economically) are still being scheduled. A lot of the daily flights are no longer available because they no longer make sense economically.
 
2012-11-27 12:05:01 PM  

Fark Me To Tears: Lsherm: Americans: is this a good use of our money?

I would be thrilled if they would fix the damned potholes and bumps on the roads, so that my 15 year-old car can last a little bit longer. The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

But that's just me.


No one would use? A HSR system connecting Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin would get used a WHOLE LOT. The thing that doesn't make much sense is when we talk about public transportation in large urban sprawls. No matter how much public transportation you put in it doesn't change the fact you still need a car or personal vehicle in most cases.
 
2012-11-27 12:14:02 PM  

dragonchild: ShawnDoc: Because Japan and America are exactly the same in geography and population density.

It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.



the mountainous terrain is what makes high speed rail logical in japan.
there wasn't much room flat room to build on, so the population is concentrated in massively dense cities on the coasts, all fairly close to one another, that all happen to be in a line. a megalopolis. 20% of the nations entire population is in Tokyo alone. that would be like NY city with a population of 64 million. plus they purchased a lot of the right of ways in the 1950-60s.

we need electric cars that drop you off at your destination, and trains for cargo.
 
2012-11-27 12:14:44 PM  

pkellmey: Actually, that fits the discussion. Only those flights that have heavy usage (makes sense economically) are still being scheduled. A lot of the daily flights are no longer available because they no longer make sense economically.


Exactly. If you're based in Chicago and you're meeting suits from Dallas you very well might book a flight, but if the businesses aren't located in major airline hubs, the video conference is an attractive alternative to wasting two full days just for travel.
 
2012-11-27 12:16:01 PM  
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-11-27 12:31:49 PM  

Fissile: Japan currently has a population density of 840 people per square mile. New Jersey has a population density of 1,190 per square mile. The population density on the Boston to DC corridor is at least as high, if not higher, than in Japan.


20% of the u.s. population doesn't live in newark. 85% of the u.s. population doesn't live in the northeast corridor.
the problem is you are using a train line in another country that serves the vast majority of an entire nation as an analogy because what you want this nation to subsidize your regional solution to a regional problem.
 
2012-11-27 12:40:27 PM  
and I'm not gonna even look in your profile,
but what are the odds you are in a location that would be well served by a federal grant of say 50 billion for high speed rail in the northeast corridor instead in another part of the country where 85% of u.s. citizens reside?
 
2012-11-27 12:55:37 PM  

relcec: Fissile: Japan currently has a population density of 840 people per square mile. New Jersey has a population density of 1,190 per square mile. The population density on the Boston to DC corridor is at least as high, if not higher, than in Japan.

20% of the u.s. population doesn't live in newark. 85% of the u.s. population doesn't live in the northeast corridor.
the problem is you are using a train line in another country that serves the vast majority of an entire nation as an analogy because what you want this nation to subsidize your regional solution to a regional problem.


===============

You wanna talk subsidies? New Jersey only gets back 61 cents on every dollar paid in federal taxes. Almost all of the red states get more from DC than they pay in federal taxes. Almost all of the transportation, water, electric and communication infrastructure in red states was built in whole or in part with federal subsidies.

BTW, the rail alignments where the Acela runs in Jersey were laid out in the 1840's and paid for with private dollars.
 
2012-11-27 02:00:25 PM  

Fissile: relcec: Fissile: Japan currently has a population density of 840 people per square mile. New Jersey has a population density of 1,190 per square mile. The population density on the Boston to DC corridor is at least as high, if not higher, than in Japan.

20% of the u.s. population doesn't live in newark. 85% of the u.s. population doesn't live in the northeast corridor.
the problem is you are using a train line in another country that serves the vast majority of an entire nation as an analogy because what you want this nation to subsidize your regional solution to a regional problem.

===============

You wanna talk subsidies? New Jersey only gets back 61 cents on every dollar paid in federal taxes. Almost all of the red states get more from DC than they pay in federal taxes. Almost all of the transportation, water, electric and communication infrastructure in red states was built in whole or in part with federal subsidies.

BTW, the rail alignments where the Acela runs in Jersey were laid out in the 1840's and paid for with private dollars.


A lot more ground to cover in those red states. While other people can drive a couple of hours in be in different states, I am still pretty much in the same city.
 
2012-11-27 02:04:34 PM  
We aren't going to build high speed trains because nobody wants them.

Show me the use case that justifies their existence. It has to be a point-to-point need (Boston to NYC for example) that justifies the cost...not some general "lots of people would use it" justification that requires the entire country be outfitted with high speed trains, which will NEVER be cost-effective.

People far too often discount the argument of "America is a frickin huge place".
 
2012-11-27 02:39:35 PM  

DontMakeMeComeBackThere: We aren't going to build high speed trains because nobody wants them.

Show me the use case that justifies their existence. It has to be a point-to-point need (Boston to NYC for example) that justifies the cost...not some general "lots of people would use it"


Your reason not to build them is a general "nobody wants them" yet you refuse to accept the "lots of people would use it" argument for them. Lots of people use them to go from Detroit to Chicago. The train was almost full every time I've taken the trip. Since lots of people were on the train, your thesis that 'nobody wants them' can't be true.

The time it takes to use a train to go between the two cities is comparable to driving with far less aggravation (driving downtown Chicago) and cost (gas, parking, tolls). The train is the most efficient way to go between the two cities. I'd argue that rail, if properly implemented, is the most efficient way to go between any two large cities that are less than a 1.5 hour flight away.
 
2012-11-27 02:54:29 PM  

Triumph: Fark Me To Tears: The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

If the economics ever make sense, it will get built, but they don't make sense yet. If you could take a train from DC to central Manhattan in an hour, it's hard to see why anyone of means would opt for the airport or the roads. The problem is one of insufficient capacity in the system to get prices to a level that could recoup investment, not demand. My guess is you could sell maglev tickets at 1.5 times airfare and still handily win the demand war. But that price point is probably still way too low.


The economics are kinda skewed in that gas prices (which determine cost of travel by air or car) are subsidized by various levels of government.
 
2012-11-27 03:25:47 PM  

DontMakeMeComeBackThere: We aren't going to build high speed trains because nobody wants them.


www.mapsofworld.com

Draw a circle with a diameter equal to the "500KM" reference mark. Anyplace you can put that circle with two or more cities in it would benefit from high speed rail. Most of the Northeast, for example...
=Smidge=
 
2012-11-27 03:43:01 PM  
Also, people shouldn't think of high-speed rail as a replacement for cars; they should think of it as a replacement for flying.
 
2012-11-27 03:57:00 PM  
The big thing I think everyone is overlooking is that Americans are very, VERY individualistic. We like having our cars, which are more than any other country an extension of us. Where other countries, particularly Europe, enjoy their cars it is more just a mode of convenience. We treat it like a second home.

We like to have our space, be able to get htere when we want to, stay as long as we want and leave when we want to. We like to control our own music, how the surrounding area smells, and not rely on anyone for anything. For these reasons, we can't even get a real good carpool system set up half the time. Look at your average restricted carpool lanes and it's vast open spaces.

We are too introverted as a nation to ever want to share our personal space and time during our commute to anywhere to ever support a high speed rail. And we are poorer for it.
 
2012-11-27 04:41:26 PM  

Shadowknight: The big thing I think everyone is overlooking is that Americans are very, VERY individualistic. We like having our cars, which are more than any other country an extension of us. Where other countries, particularly Europe, enjoy their cars it is more just a mode of convenience. We treat it like a second home.

We like to have our space, be able to get htere when we want to, stay as long as we want and leave when we want to. We like to control our own music, how the surrounding area smells, and not rely on anyone for anything. For these reasons, we can't even get a real good carpool system set up half the time. Look at your average restricted carpool lanes and it's vast open spaces.

We are too introverted as a nation to ever want to share our personal space and time during our commute to anywhere to ever support a high speed rail. And we are poorer for it.


===============

Here we go again, the old Mush Limpblow American "exceptionism" story. In a word, bullshiat. The reason we don't have high speed rail is because vested business interests don't want it. BTW, almost all of those businesses are suckling at the public teat.
 
2012-11-27 05:20:01 PM  

Lunaville: digistil: To follow up on my own post, it looks like European high speed rail operates with a very slight profit (~$35M last year), if the UK's service is anything to go by.

Source

i truly think that is irrelevant. I will argue over whether a mass transit system is profitable when our highway system turns a profit.


Know how I know you've never tried to explain something to a Reaganite?
 
2012-11-27 05:22:34 PM  

Smidge204: DontMakeMeComeBackThere: We aren't going to build high speed trains because nobody wants them.

[www.mapsofworld.com image 800x542]

Draw a circle with a diameter equal to the "500KM" reference mark. Anyplace you can put that circle with two or more cities in it would benefit from high speed rail. Most of the Northeast, for example...
=Smidge=


"benefit from" does not equal "pay for"

Let's say you drive 30 minutes to work each day
Will you pay $1 a day to get there in 5 minutes? (I'm guessing you would)
Will you pay $20 a day to get there in 5 minutes? (I'm guessing at that point you say: "That's not worth it.")

What I'm saying is that the cost of going between two cities (any two cities) in the U.S. would be so high that the riders would say "That's not worth it." - just to get to their destination a faster. And good luck trying to get ALL the inhabitants of a city to pay for the rail line most will never use (or all of the U.S. to pay for some people in two cities to travel between them faster). That's what "nobody wants them" means.
 
2012-11-27 05:28:09 PM  

imgod2u: Also, people shouldn't think of high-speed rail as a replacement for cars; they should think of it as a replacement for flying.


If people don't understand this, they really shouldn't be in the discussion.
 
2012-11-27 05:40:18 PM  

Fark Me To Tears: Lsherm: Americans: is this a good use of our money?

I would be thrilled if they would fix the damned potholes and bumps on the roads, so that my 15 year-old car can last a little bit longer. The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

But that's just me.


Just use a 3D printer to make plugs that fir the potholes exactly.
 
2012-11-27 05:47:06 PM  

Lsherm: So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line.


the $500 bn Pentagon budget
 
2012-11-27 06:03:10 PM  

relcec: 20% of the u.s. population doesn't live in newark. 85% of the u.s. population doesn't live in the northeast corridor.


Well, OK. Maybe you're under the impression the Shinkansen is the be-all end-all of Japan public transportation. FYI, that "85% of the population" in Japan that would be apparently required (in your mind) to support a SINGLE high-speed railway actually rides this, overlaid on this, NOT including private lines/subways or special lines (such as tour lines, overnight trains and the Narita Express). They also have tons of buses and two major airports.

You have it EXACTLY backwards. 20% of a country's population living in one metro area isn't a minimum requirement for a high-speed rail; the single high-speed rail we're talking about is nowhere near enough. There are actually no less than FOUR high-speed rail lines originating from or passing through Tokyo, each with multiple parallel lines for smooth operation, and that's NOT including countless "local" express lines that travel as fast as 60-80mph to handle midrange traffic.

For the love of god, stop being intimidated by what is by no means an innovative or grand idea in the 21st century. One thing going for the U.S. is that high-speed rail shouldn't incur much R&D costs because all the technology is already invented. This isn't a goddamn suborbital; it's a type of train that's quite common in developed nations these days.
 
2012-11-27 06:04:08 PM  

dragonchild: FYI, that "85% of the population" in Japan


Actually, only the 20%. Derp.
 
2012-11-27 06:36:24 PM  

DontMakeMeComeBackThere: Let's say you drive 30 minutes to work each day


Let's not, because it's farking retarded to compare a 30 minute commute (which is, at best, 40 miles or so) to any trip requiring a commute between cities.

Let's instead say you live in Philadelphia and commute to Washington DC. That's about three hours by car, give or take. Probably closer to four. You can take a commuter plane which takes about an hour (not counting absurd boarding times and security lines) and will set you back roughly $300 or so.

Or you can take Amtrak which takes about 2 hours and costs roughly $80.

Remarkably some 75% of people who commute from NYC to DC take the train. That costs about $100 for a 3-hour trip. Faster than the same trip by car and since you aren't driving you can get in a decent nap or catch up on leftover paperwork or whatever. By the time you're done with tolls and gas it might be cheaper, too.

Now imagine if you could cut Amtrak's travel time in half. Think you could charge an extra $50 a ticket out of that? Bet ya could, easily. You'd likely attract more customers, too, since it's now closer to flying at still a fraction of the cost and hassle.
=Smidge=
 
2012-11-27 09:17:36 PM  
One thing that would also make an investment in high speed transport an overall good idea,
would be to include stops at or very near the major National Parks/Forests/Historic Sites.
For example, A spur to the northwest from Denver to Cheyenne would stop at/near the entry to
Yellowstone then go on to Boise, Portland,Seattle. The same could be done in California.
On a line from San Diego to San Francisco to Sacramento to Seattle there could easily be included stops near or at Big Sur / Monterrey ,Humbolt Redwood / Trinity National Forest. Obviously stops would need
to be limited. But those example put stops about half way along routes of large cities. Improving
access and also limiting car traffic into the National Parks would be a huge boost. Giving the public
fast access from across the country to the great western parks and eastern historic sights would be
a real selling point IMHO..No more flying/anal probes, no more rental car BS..
 
2012-11-27 10:32:00 PM  
how about we get rid of crappy local monopolies for transport and infrastructure- and make it so it's economically reasonable to telecommute? I mean, ffs- there are few positions outside of manufacturing, health, and hard research that could not take place via telecommute. The benefits to the environment would be much greater than a HSR.

Co-op Internet Service Providers- get rid of the corporations that refuse to expand, upgrade, let alone MAINTAIN data infrastructure because "the next big thing" or "I can't do it because the stockholders wouldn't like it"
 
2012-11-28 12:18:40 AM  

dragonchild: dragonchild: FYI, that "85% of the population" in Japan

Actually, only the 20%. Derp.


You have rocked in this thread. Thank-you.
 
2012-11-28 09:00:10 AM  

Fissile: Shadowknight: The big thing I think everyone is overlooking is that Americans are very, VERY individualistic. We like having our cars, which are more than any other country an extension of us. Where other countries, particularly Europe, enjoy their cars it is more just a mode of convenience. We treat it like a second home.

We like to have our space, be able to get htere when we want to, stay as long as we want and leave when we want to. We like to control our own music, how the surrounding area smells, and not rely on anyone for anything. For these reasons, we can't even get a real good carpool system set up half the time. Look at your average restricted carpool lanes and it's vast open spaces.

We are too introverted as a nation to ever want to share our personal space and time during our commute to anywhere to ever support a high speed rail. And we are poorer for it.

===============

Here we go again, the old Mush Limpblow American "exceptionism" story. In a word, bullshiat. The reason we don't have high speed rail is because vested business interests don't want it. BTW, almost all of those businesses are suckling at the public teat.


Um, I think you're confusing my argument. I think we should have high speed rail, and would be willing to pay the tax for it. And I agree, it's vested business interests that have convinced Americans to be this way.

Regardless of ow we got there, though, we ARE there. We Ned to break that mindset before we can convince people to pay.
 
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