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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 28
    More: Cool, magnetic levitation, Nagoya, high-speed trains, Japan  
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2045 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Nov 2012 at 4:49 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-27 07:36:07 AM
4 votes:

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 08:18:55 AM
3 votes:

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 08:08:44 AM
2 votes:

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 07:13:29 AM
2 votes:
Driving sucks.

If anyone has ever lived in a large city with good public transit, cars suck.
2012-11-27 06:29:25 AM
2 votes:

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 06:36:24 PM
1 votes:

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 06:03:10 PM
1 votes:

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 05:47:06 PM
1 votes:

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


the $500 bn Pentagon budget
2012-11-27 04:41:26 PM
1 votes:

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 02:39:35 PM
1 votes:

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 10:31:08 AM
1 votes:

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 10:21:16 AM
1 votes:

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 09:55:49 AM
1 votes:

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 09:45:08 AM
1 votes:

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 08:41:08 AM
1 votes:

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 08:40:51 AM
1 votes:

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 08:15:42 AM
1 votes:

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 07:46:43 AM
1 votes:

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 07:45:01 AM
1 votes:
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 07:37:18 AM
1 votes:

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 07:35:56 AM
1 votes:

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 07:23:55 AM
1 votes:

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 07:14:45 AM
1 votes:

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 06:54:08 AM
1 votes:

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 06:53:06 AM
1 votes:

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 06:45:24 AM
1 votes:

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 06:18:07 AM
1 votes:
What is it with all this distance traveling, anyway? Why can't people just live within walking distance of necessities?
2012-11-27 03:24:40 AM
1 votes:
Because Japan and America are exactly the same in geography and population density.
 
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