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High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Yonnipun » Sat 02 Mar 2019, 02:37:53

That's pretty cool, how are they going handle the snow up there, I imagine the winters are pretty fierce ?

never thought about the gravel issue, guess I am not a big consumer.


The winters here are not like they use to be 30 years ago. It is getting warmer year by year.

The amount of gravel , sand etc that is needed is so big that they have to open many new mines to satisfy the need. I think it is safe to say that for a lay person the price will skyrocket. Maybe I am wrong because they can use only the best quality materials and there will be a low quality material overload.
btw, is this train gonna run to talinn to Riga ?


According to the map it is. I certainly will use it to travel to germany , france etc. Of course if the price is suitable. Overall it will be a cool thing but the other side of the coin is the damage to the nature it causes.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 02 Mar 2019, 06:35:07

The ballast used in any rail ROW has to meet specific criteria that VT can explain better. In shorty it needs to be of a specific size and have flat faces, not round, and it can not be pancake shaped.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 02 Mar 2019, 07:34:08

Newfie wrote:The ballast used in any rail ROW has to meet specific criteria that VT can explain better. In shorty it needs to be of a specific size and have flat faces, not round, and it can not be pancake shaped.

That is pretty much it. Hard durable crushed stone with fractured faces to resist rolling under load.
56Office of: Vice President—EngineeringCSX TransportationStandard Specifications for Private SidetracksSeptember 15, 2016D)BALLASTMaterial shall be limestone, dolomite, or granite material free of loams, dust, or other foreign particles. Material shall be designated as AREMA. #4A or #5, in accordance with gradation chart shown below. The size of ballast to be used shall be AREMA #4A in main tracks, lead tracks, and sidings. AREMA #4A ballast will also be used between the top of the subballast and the bottom of crossties in industrial tracks, spurs, and yard tracks. AREMA #5 will be used to fill the cribs and shoulders in industrial tracks, spurs, and yard tracks (see drawing 2602 on page 20). Ballast shall conform to the grading requirements as shown in Table 7. Table 7: Track Ballast Gradation RequirementsPERCENT BY WEIGHT PASSINGMAINTRACKWALKWAYScreen SizeAREMA 4AAREMA 52 ½”100%290-100%1 ½’60-90%100%1”10-30%90-100%¾”0-10%40-75%½”15-35%3/8”0-2%0-15%No.40-5%E)
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 02 Mar 2019, 07:44:16

The sub ballast layers below the ballast layer are also crushed granite or limestone only with a one and a half inch maximum size and less then twelve percent silt content. Both products are easily made in a rock quarry with modern crushing and screening equipment.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby evilgenius » Sat 02 Mar 2019, 11:49:55

vtsnowedin wrote:
evilgenius wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:The cost of a charging station being much less then the EV itself I see no problem matching the number of charging stations to the number of EVs sold. There are already multiple installed at interstate rest areas most sitting unused at present.
Urban parking problems will remain as always difficult, but there is no reason charging stations can't become as ubiquitous as parking meters are now and technologies like self driving Uber cars (EV of course) may dramatically reduce demand for urban parking of all types.

That's not going to be the case when every car is an electric car, and they take hours to charge. .

The average USA commute distance is 16 miles each way so most of the available models will only need to charge once a week. Also commuters spend more then ten hours a day at home eating and sleeping and the car can top off every night. Of course commuters with short commutes and garages or car ports at home will be the first adopters but there are about fifty million of those to build cars for before you start on the harder half. As I said there are already factory parking lots with solar panels over the parking spaces with some charging stations provided.
In total it is a big project and expensive but well within American industries abilities to provide as and when needed.
At present there is not the cost incentive to switch but let gas get above $6.00/gallon from carbon taxes or oil becoming scarcer and just a few years might make American highways majority EV.

We'll see what kind of actual distance per week the various models provide when there are various models to choose from. It is such an early adopter stage of production right now. I know I am getting ahead of everything. And I am saying that many people will be traveling farther than the 16 mile average when they may well travel less. It's way too early to predict what AI will do to commuting distance as it takes people's jobs. I can see a potential bottleneck that I don't think it will be as easy to traverse as capitulating to the fleet model would be. I don't really like the idea of widespread adoption of the fleet model. I like the fleet model in the place where taxis have always been relative to all other transport, or maybe a little larger. I'm not sure what it means about the people's way of life if they can't just get around without having to pay somebody when there is no balance between private ownership of transport and fleet model ownership. Of course, other things, like the degree of socialism in any given country, would have a bearing as well. Socialism could make transport so expensive as to cause the fleet model to be relatively cheaper, especially if it comes with an antagonistic attitude towards private ownership. In the US, it would mean a drastic change. I can see the fleet model being able to agitate for taking park space within cities in order for their fleets to charge, for instance. They may even be able to claim the right to use privately owned charging spots in certain neighborhoods, as long as they pay for the electricity. I don't know, it's good to talk about potential impact. I hear you about assuming it will be ok.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 02 Mar 2019, 12:11:58

I live on a hill five miles from the nearest paved road and that five miles turns to eight inch deep mud during the spring thaw cycles. Also when I work the round trip commute is a hundred miles plus mileage I put on around the project. I will not be a first adopter of an EV. and I will not consider one until a model has a track record of being good in mud and snow. But I'm not the average commuter by any means. My wife on the other hand has only a sixteen mile round trip down to the village so range for her would not be an issue as long as the car could go in snow and mud.
I doubt rural people will ever give up ownership as they want their car in the driveway when they want it and will never want to wait for an Uber to show up. Inner cities are quite another matter with the cost of parking etc. so I see that as the place self driving EV Uber cars will take hold especially when the cars begin communicating with each other and a central server and smooth out traffic flows as they will be aware of when the lights will turn green.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 02 Mar 2019, 13:33:07

And that’s one of the problems with a lot of proposed legislation; it is created by urban folks who have no knowledge of folks who don’t live in a city. There world view encompasses what they know and nothing more.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby lpetrich » Sat 20 Apr 2019, 18:51:33

Zarquon wrote:
KaiserJeep wrote:We can do so because there are no border crossings, customs, medical exams, etc.

How many customs officers do you think you're going to see on the route Málaga - Madrid - Barcelona - Nîmes - Lille - Amsterdam? Or Amsterdam - Berlin - Warsaw?

Schengen Area - Wikipedia, Schengen Area - Visa Information for Schengen Countries - there is a common stereotype of Americans that states that they know hardly anything about the rest of the world (American stereotypes: The worst ones I heard traveling the world - Business Insider).

The Schengen Zone was agreed on in 1985, and it now includes most of Europe. Of the European Union's 28 member nations, 22 of them are in that zone, with the exceptions being the UK, Ireland, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. Three non-EU nations are also in that zone: Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 21 Apr 2019, 05:20:25

This is something Cruisers are painfully aware of. You get 180 days in a 365 day period, then you have to leave. But where do you go on your boat? Croatia, being ex-schengen And Turkey and Tunis are the few options in the med.

Anyway, just an aside to the thread.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 21 Apr 2019, 12:26:36

When I was living in Europe without a residence permit I used to go over to the UK every two months or so. The UK border agents will stamp your passport when you enter the UK and it would get stamped again when I returned into the Schwengen zone. Problem solved.

I also went across Switzerland to Italy several times by train, but they didn't do passport checks at all when you entered by train. I guess Switzerland is part of the Schwengen agreement even though its not part of the EU?

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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 21 Apr 2019, 17:30:08

Switzerland (and Lichtenstein?) were for a while outside Schengen. Driving thorough a cornfield about 15 years ago some guy with a gun steps out of an outhouse and stops me. I was at the Lichtenstein border with Germany. Showed him my passport and moved on. I don’t recall a border check going back into Germany. Lichtenstein and Switzerland had their own free border crossing, but not with Schengen countries.

But now it seems Switzerland has joined Schengen. And I guess Lichtenstein as well.

Anyway there are a number of overlapping agreements, it gets complicated.

F4535F96-9BD5-4EC2-85F6-16332926BB0F.png


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby lpetrich » Sat 08 Jun 2019, 04:31:28

vtsnowedin wrote:I doubt rural people will ever give up ownership as they want their car in the driveway when they want it and will never want to wait for an Uber to show up.

That's where cars are the most useful.
Inner cities are quite another matter with the cost of parking etc. so I see that as the place self driving EV Uber cars will take hold especially when the cars begin communicating with each other and a central server and smooth out traffic flows as they will be aware of when the lights will turn green.

Except that a large number of such cars will cause big traffic jams. Yet one can reduce these traffic jams by making some of the cars carry several people. Eek! I have just reinvented the bus.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 08 Jun 2019, 04:42:17

In the Caribbean islands they use small busses, 12-16 passenger. They run frequently. Number of busses goes up and down with demand. I think the drivers make a portion of the take. It’s a very flexible system. Don’t know how it would scale.

Running full size busses 20pm for 3 riders is very inefficient. Bu companies try to adapt by having split schedules; a driver may work from 6a-10a and then 3p-7p. But it’s hard making it work and unions, who are protecting the worker, make it harder. Route scheduling is a constant adjustment to fit resources to need while meeting demand and making sure all folks are accommodated.

I do think there is an argument for Uber type public transit, it would put more people to work but be much more efficient on equipment and fuel. Unions would have a conniption, planners would freak, Bureaucracy would be paralyzed with fear because all of these groups are seeking some lower base, some reason for being. They would have a very difficult time dealing with self adapting systems.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sat 08 Jun 2019, 13:10:54

Joe Biden aka "Floppy Joe" aka "Old White Joe" has just come out for building a huge high speed rail network across the USA in his 2020 campaign platform.

biden-calls-end-end-high-speed-rail-system-will-connect-coasts

Most likely Biden is just plagiarizing old Obama campaign promises to build high speed rail but nonetheless there he is coming out for high speed rail.

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Biden is a train guy and he supports building a high speed rail system in the USA

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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 09 Jun 2019, 06:01:31

Joe has always been a big AMTRAK supporter. He took AMTRAK a lot as a Senator and would be seen riding with the common folk. It’s a good connection from Wilmington to DC. And if you are a upper middle class person making frequent trips on the DC to NYC corridor it’s a great, if pricey, service. (It would be fat cheaper and greener for 5 people to rent a car and drive between DC and NYC).

At best Joe is looking at his personal experience and extrapolating it to the rest of the country. And it might be a good sales pitch; get people to imagine themselves as successful upper middle class folks hobnobbing with other irrudite folks on the morning commute, not knocking shoulders with the rabble. Might work for the election.

It will NEVER be built, off the top of my head it would cost over a trillion bucks. (2,500 miles at $5 million/mile) To be useful it needs to go to city centers, not to far out airports. That makes those urban segments hugely expensive, think Tunnels.

Technologically it’s doable. Practically we have a better chance of agreeing to fight Climate Change.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 09 Jun 2019, 06:20:02

With respect to passenger rail: He’ll start by putting the Northeast Corridor on higher speeds and shrinking the travel time from D.C. to New York by half – and build in conjunction with it a new, safer Hudson River Tunnel. He will make progress toward the completion of the California High-Speed Rail project. He will expand the Northeast Corridor to the fast-growing South. Across the Midwest and the Great West, he will begin the construction of an end-to-end high-speed rail system that will connect the coasts, unlocking new, affordable access for every American.”


It’s all BS but the highlighted part is El Primo BS. It’s something I know something about. The ONLY way to do that is to build a through tunnel, that’s is what Musk was hawking. And that’s not upgrading the NEC, it’s building something completely new.

But the Capitalists/Consumerist should love this. Think of the money it would inject into the system that would accumulate with the elites.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby lpetrich » Sun 09 Jun 2019, 10:55:57

Climate – Joe Biden for President
With respect to passenger rail: He’ll start by putting the Northeast Corridor on higher speeds and shrinking the travel time from D.C. to New York by half – and build in conjunction with it a new, safer Hudson River Tunnel. He will make progress toward the completion of the California High Speed Rail project. He will expand the Northeast Corridor to the fast-growing South. Across the Midwest and the Great West, he will begin the construction of an end-to-end high speed rail system that will connect the coasts, unlocking new, affordable access for every American.

Let's unpack what he promised.

Increasing the NYC-DC speed by a factor of 2. That will require increasing the top speed from 125 mph to 186 mph (201 km/h to 300 km/h) over much of that route, and it will also require speeding up slow spots like a sizable stretch of tunnel south of Baltimore station.

"New, safer Hudson River Tunnel" - that's the Gateway Program (Northeast Corridor) - Wikipedia Part of that is to build some more tunnel bores underneath the Hudson River to connect Penn station and nearby New Jersey. There are already two of them, and they are showing their age. Building two more will allow the existing ones to be shut down for much-needed maintenance.

"The California High Speed Rail project" - it's currently funded up to building its Merced-Bakersfield segment, as far as I can tell. It is a very ambitious project, and one that requires traversing a lot of mountainous terrain. A burst of funding would help in crossing that terrain: Merced/Madera - Gilroy and Bakersfield - Palmdale - Burbank.

"He will expand the Northeast Corridor to the fast-growing South" - that's Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor - Wikipedia DC - Richmond VA - Raleigh NC - Charlotte NC - Atlanta GA - Savannah GA - Jacksonville FL, with Raleigh NC - Columbia SC - Savannah GA. So one might get at least DC - Atlanta.

His final one I will do in my next post.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby lpetrich » Sun 09 Jun 2019, 14:46:29

I looked at NYC-DC travel times in detail. From the schedules at Amtrak Tickets, Schedules and Train Routes, I find NYC-DC is 3h for the Acela Express, and 3h 30m for the Northeast Regional trains. The Google Maps highway distance is 227 miles, giving an average speed of 76 mph for Acela and 65 mph for NER. Speeding up by a factor of 2 gives 152 mph for Acela and 130 mph for NER, and that seems rather difficult.

Now that last part. "Across the Midwest and the Great West, he will begin the construction of an end-to-end high speed rail system that will connect the coasts," - that's the only unsupportable part. I will consider NYC - LA and SF.

Between NYC and Cleveland OH is a northern route and a southern route. I will consider both of them. The northern route is longer, but it is flatter and less mountainous.

NYC - 152 mi - Albany NY - 291 mi - Buffalo NY - 194 mi - Cleveland OH - total: 532 mi
NYC - 95 mi - Philadelphia PA - 304 mi - Pittsburgh PA - 133 mi - Cleveland OH - total: 637 mi

Now the single-route part.

Cleveland OH - 343 mi - Chicago IL - 298 mi - St. Louis MO - 248 mi - Kansas City MO (I-35) - 605 mi - Denver CO - 519 mi - Salt Lake City UT
East of I-35: 889 mi
West of I-35: 1124 mi

Splitting again.

Salt Lake City UT - 649 mi - Sacramento CA - 88 mi - SF
Salt Lake City UT - 421 mi - Las Vegas NV - 270 mi - LA
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby lpetrich » Sun 09 Jun 2019, 15:25:44

I use I-35 as a boundary because it is a convenient marker for the boundary between the more dense eastern half and the less dense western half of the contiguous US.

East of I-35, this possible route has a length of 1526 mi (northern) or 1421 mi (southern). It looks far too long for a sensible high-speed-rail route, but it has many cities along its length, cities only a few hundred miles apart along it. Its largest separations are Cleveland-Chicago (343 mi) and Philadelpha-Pittsburgh (304 mi). So a high-speed line will get plenty of business from neighboring cities.

West of I-35, the cities become much more sparse until one reaches the West Coast, with separations from 421 mi to 649 mi. These distances are rather great for a sensible HSR line.

So Joe Biden's transcontinental-HSR proposal only works for NYC to I-35. There is a big gap between I-35 and the west-coast areas where HSR is a poor fit.
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Re: High Speed Rail: Pros and Cons

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 09 Jun 2019, 18:08:02

lpetrich wrote:I use I-35 as a boundary because it is a convenient marker for the boundary between the more dense eastern half and the less dense western half of the contiguous US.

East of I-35, this possible route has a length of 1526 mi (northern) or 1421 mi (southern). It looks far too long for a sensible high-speed-rail route, but it has many cities along its length, cities only a few hundred miles apart along it. Its largest separations are Cleveland-Chicago (343 mi) and Philadelpha-Pittsburgh (304 mi). So a high-speed line will get plenty of business from neighboring cities.

West of I-35, the cities become much more sparse until one reaches the West Coast, with separations from 421 mi to 649 mi. These distances are rather great for a sensible HSR line.

So Joe Biden's transcontinental-HSR proposal only works for NYC to I-35.


Its always good to do the math before venturing an opinion.

The ideal use for HSR is for mid-range travel. The math involved is pretty simple. In Europe a high speed rail train reaches speeds approaching 300 KM/hr (ca. 180 mph). Thus you could travel between Cleveland and Chicago in about two hours, from downtown station to downtown station. By comparison, a planet trip would take an hour drive to the airport, two to three hours through ticketing and security lines, an hour flights, and then then another hour on the other end to get to downtown there, for a total of 2 hours for high speed rail vs. 6 hours to go by plane, i.e. the train is 3 times faster.

This math still works for longer inter-city trips in the western USA. Lets try the 421 miles distance you cited as "too far" for a HSR train trip out west. The downtown to downtown by HSR takes 2.5 hours, while the same trip by plane takes 6.5 hours, i.e. you are still more than twice as fast by train. Doing the math has given us the answer.....HSR can work very well in the western USA. Its not only competitive with plane travel---its clearly faster and better.

IMHO Joe Biden is right----a HSR network for the US is a wonderful idea. (1) you build infrastructure, which this country needs (2) you create jobs in the US by building Us instrasture) (3) you reduce CO2 emissions by putting people on EV trains instead of planes or in their cars and (4) travel is faster and more convenient on a train.

The problem I see is Biden appears to have plagarized Obama's old HSR plan, which of course Obama lied about. I'm tempted to back Old White Joe just because of his HSR plan, but I'm concerned he is just lying about supporting HSR the way Obama did.

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