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Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Heineken » Sat 03 Apr 2021, 08:17:15

I wonder if anyone has studied the potential CO2 generation of Biden's massive infrastructure program. I know that some of the initiatives (like the sadly overdue fixup of the nation's wrecked passenger-rail system) are designed to curb emissions over the longer term, but what will be the CO2 contribution of trillions of dollars' worth of construction work and all the associated economic activity? It is exactly this sort of conflict, between Biden's well-intentioned Green program and his equally well-intentioned infrastructure program, that is going to continually deep-six any real progress on global warming. We spew vast clouds of greenhouse gases just trying to fight global warming.
Despite all the talk and hand-wringing and wheel-spinning, every year the atmospheric CO2 concentration rises further. And as any good POer knows, it probably doesn't even matter now whether levels are rising, falling, or staying put. The die is cast and our goose is cooked. Geoengineering is the only rational, faint hope, at huge risk.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 03 Apr 2021, 09:44:47

Heineken wrote: We spew vast clouds of greenhouse gases just trying to fight global warming.


Although it may have a degree of futility there is no stopping nations from attempting to address that which inherently cannot be fixed. The imperfection of the attempt is however still worthy IMHO
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 03 Apr 2021, 10:35:28

Heineken wrote

I know that some of the initiatives (like the sadly overdue fixup of the nation's wrecked passenger-rail system)


Unfortunately that is exactly the kind if Green Washing waste you note later in your post.

The wee bit I read of the proposal it merely extends passenger service over other companies rail lines to new towns. It also gives some money to the NEC. But not enough to fix anything substantial, just more of the idiotic “capital maintenance” program.

It would have been very moderately helpful if concentrated on the NEC.

Endless studies have shown that extending low capacity train ridership over existing lines is very energy INefficient. The ridership does not justify the investment, nor does it save any CO2.

It is the same with running a 40 passenger bus 10pm and with 3 passengers, very inefficient.

We need more agility.

What it effectively does is spread money to congressional districts. Plunder.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Heineken » Sun 04 Apr 2021, 05:36:37

Wow Newfie, you've actually read some of those zillions of pages of verbiage? Impressive. Like 99.99% of people, I haven't read any of the primary source. What little I know I've absorbed by osmosis from the news media. Who knows how much of it is even accurate.
Both my parents were born in Altoona, Pa., home of the Horseshoe Curve, a famous railroad feature of those times. My dad's dad worked in "the shops" repairing locomotives. I was steeped in railroad lore growing up, and also in the great sad death of the railroads (passenger service esp.) as the automobile and the Interstate Highway System crushed them into obscurity.
Having lived in Europe for 5 years and seen what rail is like there, it's hard for me to think of rail as inefficient. But I suppose it could be in the US, where we manage to mess up everything these days.
Of course, at its core, rail is just another part of the PROBLEM, along with all other human industrial activity. Consider the mountains of coal and seas of oil that have been combusted to propel trains.
Ibon, I agree that doing something is better than doing nothing when it comes to GW, if only for humanity's mental state. To provide a sense of hope. However, I am also in the camp that says we've passed the threshold for action that will avert the most dire consequences. I also believe that we are incapable of such action. No such measures can survive the US political system, especially now, in such a profoundly fractured country. As I've said all along, in an age of gigantism, even our problems have become too big to solve.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 04 Apr 2021, 08:18:06

Naw, I just picked up an article on the Amtrak bread crumbs. And spent a career working in mass transit including a fair amount of work for Amtrak. I was Project Manager for the electrical work supporting the replacement of 7 SEPTA bridges in Philadelphia. In that case we shut the railroad down for 3 month stretches twice. That was relative low speed and small highway bridges. All the preliminary work was done and the new bridges were constructed next to the old bridges and then rolled into place.

Obama’s big shovel ready infrastructure bill. We did studies and cost estimates and spent all the money doing studies and cost estimates. I did get to see some new sections of California. But nothing got built.

The NEC has never been properly funded. There is a lot of crumbling infrastructure. While there have been good improvements there is still very much more to do. They would have been better to concentrate the money there. And it is a small amount if money, under a billion total. That would be one good size bridge.

This shit ain’t cheap. You cant shut down the NEC. To run even the medium speed of the NEC you need a straight alignmnent. That means the new bridge needs to be exactly where the existing bridge is or you need to ho a loooong way back to smooth the curve. And you cant shut the service down. So you build a temporary reroute bridge, tear down and replace the existing, then reroute back. OR you build a new bridge and a mile or so of new 4 track approach on either side including new catenary and them have to cut it over one track at a time.

According to the article I read, assuming it was correct (always doubtful), most of the money was to be spent not in the NEC but in extending rail service to outlying locations. That means running Amtrak diesel trains on someone else's track. First you need to buy the train sets, then the trackage rights, then set up stations. So you typically end up with a train a day picking up and discharging a handful of passengers. It might be better in the realization but it would be a first.

A blurb on that SEPTA job noted above. baker was a design consultant, I was a contractor.

Michael Baker also was instrumental in SEPTA’s RailWorks Mainline Improvement Program that involved the complete reconstruction of 4.5 miles of SEPTA's four-track, elevated commuter rail corridor in North Philadelphia. Our team focused on the bridge rehabilitations, civil construction, and associated rail and catenary structure work, and included the replacement or rehabilitation of 25 street crossing bridges, replacement of all electrical and track components at interlockings; replacement of track with eight miles of new, continuous-welded rail, ties and ballast; complete construction of a new station at Temple University; replacement of four miles of overhead catenary wire and rehabilitation of catenary structures and installation of more than 10 miles of new signal cables to link trains with control centers at Wayne Junction and Market East.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 04 Apr 2021, 15:08:43

Well I was wrong above. I had read the Amtrak funding as 80 Million, it is 80 Billion. Big difference.

That IS enough to make some significant improvements to the NEC.

The new tunnel into NYC was running over 13 Billion when Governor Christy pulled his support. Replacing the old Baltimore tunnels was roughly 5 Billion 6 years ago.

Then you have the Susquehanna Bridge, Metuchen curves, various CT bridges, and conversion from direct fixation to constant tension catenary as much needed projects. 40 BILLION could make a significant dent in that work list. But that is all maintenance and minor speed upgrades, not true High Speed Rail.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 06 Apr 2021, 14:36:14

Newfie wrote:Heineken wrote

I know that some of the initiatives (like the sadly overdue fixup of the nation's wrecked passenger-rail system)


Unfortunately that is exactly the kind if Green Washing waste you note later in your post.

The wee bit I read of the proposal it merely extends passenger service over other companies rail lines to new towns. It also gives some money to the NEC. But not enough to fix anything substantial, just more of the idiotic “capital maintenance” program.

It would have been very moderately helpful if concentrated on the NEC.

Endless studies have shown that extending low capacity train ridership over existing lines is very energy INefficient. The ridership does not justify the investment, nor does it save any CO2.

It is the same with running a 40 passenger bus 10pm and with 3 passengers, very inefficient.

We need more agility.

What it effectively does is spread money to congressional districts. Plunder.


I have taken the Amtrak round trip from Toledo twice, once to Boston and once to Washington D.C. On both trips the departure and arrival schedule was awful departing in OH Dark Thirty and arriving back in late evening. IMO one of the biggest reason for low ridership on passenger service is how things are run, Toledo has count them, 2 departures both in the early AM and two arrivals late in the evening. Well technically if you are headed west the two late evening trains are departures and the two very AM trains are arrivals but no matter which direction you travel the timing is bad and the costs are about the same as flying in many cases, for which you can get a more conveniently timed flight to boot.

The way I see it trains pass through the station frequently pulling freight. If it were mandated that some percentage of freight traffic had to have a passenger car up front behind the engine and stop at stations as it passed through for 10 minutes to drop and collect passengers you would be able to get a ticket to move down the line at a much cheaper price and on a much greater frequency of schedule. Point being rail is so fuel efficient that even an empty passenger car wouldn't add much to costs and throwing a dozen passengers on the Toledo to Chicago run and back every 30 minutes would make touristing a lot more convenient. Driving into Chi-town stinks on ice, speaking from experience.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 06 Apr 2021, 18:30:50

Tanada,

Stopping those trains to let passengers on and off would really badly hurt their efficiency. Freight trains do not like to stop, both for efficiency and because it puts additional stresses on the train and rail components. Unless you are talking about local delivery trains, and then the passengers have to sit while the train is shifting cars. No one would ride that.

I can see your desire, it just does not work in reality.

Hell, the NEC was created for a mixed freight/passenger use. Amtrak ran the freight off. In the early ‘70’s the fastest trains were the Tropicana trains. They just blasted on through stopping for nothing. They even sounded different. The cars were very well maintained, hence the bearings were relatively quiet. They just “shooshed” on by.

But freight and passenger do not mix well. Express freight just wants a single open road with no stops. Passenger wants to go fast but stop all over the place. Planners use something called “string charts” to lay out how the trains utilize tracks in time and space. Calculations are moderately complex and require inputs for grade, breaking, the traction between the wheel and rail, how fast a train can “take up” slack (free movement in the couplers) and the engineers reaction time. Generally you can optimize for freight or passenger, mixing them is very tough.

I never did the modeling but worked with folks who did. Generally they were pretty strange birds.

Here is a link that you may find interesting.

http://sp.rail.transportation.org/Docum ... ORT_SU.pdf
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Tue 06 Apr 2021, 19:01:10

Tanada wrote:I have taken the Amtrak round trip from Toledo twice, once to Boston and once to Washington D.C. On both trips the departure and arrival schedule was awful departing in OH Dark Thirty and arriving back in late evening. IMO one of the biggest reason for low ridership on passenger service is how things are run, Toledo has count them, 2 departures both in the early AM and two arrivals late in the evening. Well technically if you are headed west the two late evening trains are departures and the two very AM trains are arrivals but no matter which direction you travel the timing is bad and the costs are about the same as flying in many cases, for which you can get a more conveniently timed flight to boot.

Agreed, re the principal of the cost and the inconvenience making such service not worth it.

It reminds me of the bus service in my city. On the outskirts the buses run infrequently and are unreliable re being on time. And sometimes to save time the bus drivers cut X blocks off the route, screwing anyone waiting for the bus, randomly, where they take such shortcuts. And then you have needing to switch buses downtown for many routes, which can be quite slow, so it can easily take HOURS of hassle for an unreliable trip, vs. 15 to 30 minutes, very reliably and comfortably by car.

Little wonder ridership is so low, and then of course, they want more government funding / subsidies, vs. running the bus system more competently.

In a big city, such a system can be pretty decent if there are LOTS of buses or subway trains or combinations, to make it a reasonable deal in terms of time and money. (And of course, some cities screw that up like NYC and the horrible subway system re both reliability and cost).

Public transport is often depicted as reliable, clean, convenient, etc. in much of western Europe. Is this somewhat true, or just empty P.R. for folks living there with experience?
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 06 Apr 2021, 19:30:23

Mass transit can be reliable, clean, and efficient. But it is not easy. Remember that these systems are generally run buy a big city political structure. Those are seldom really good. SEPTA/Philadelphia was about the best I saw and that is a mixed bag.

My personal take is that it would make sense for cities to look at mass transit the same way a manufacturer would look at a big production plant. It is a huge capital outlay that you want to work efficiently. You want people to ride it to take stress off the streets and parking. You want it to hive the disadvantaged an opportunity to get to work and back. You want it to generate taxable income from residents and tourists. In short I think it should generally be FREE.

Encourage its use to the maximum extent possible to get the largest possible return on the capital expenditure.

But also dont run the whole plant when you dont need to. Off hours usage should/could use alternative solutions. Mini vans and some form of subsidized Uber when it makes sense to run a small vehicle gs a full size bus. Maybe, for Tanada’s cities, you run mini vans or small busses until there is enough demand for something bigger.

We need to be more flexible and use alternatives. Why build rail when there are existing and under utilized highways. How do we move people from single passenger miles to shared miles?
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby JuanP » Wed 07 Apr 2021, 11:38:01

Outcast_Searcher wrote:It reminds me of the bus service in my city. On the outskirts the buses run infrequently and are unreliable re being on time. And sometimes to save time the bus drivers cut X blocks off the route, screwing anyone waiting for the bus, randomly, where they take such shortcuts. And then you have needing to switch buses downtown for many routes, which can be quite slow, so it can easily take HOURS of hassle for an unreliable trip, vs. 15 to 30 minutes, very reliably and comfortably by car.

… In a big city, such a system can be pretty decent if there are LOTS of buses or subway trains or combinations, to make it a reasonable deal in terms of time and money. (And of course, some cities screw that up like NYC and the horrible subway system re both reliability and cost).


That sounds just like Miami-Dade County public transport. It's gotten a little bit better in the past few years thanks to smart phone apps that allow you to track the trains and buses in real time, with ETAs at your stop that are quite accurate, but it still takes 2 to 6 times longer than driving your own vehicle depending on the route and day of the week. We also now have trolleys and minibuses. Ridership is up big time, though, mostly because a lot of people can't afford to own a car, particularly millennials and retirees.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby AdamB » Wed 07 Apr 2021, 14:12:37

JuanP wrote:Ridership is up big time, though, mostly because a lot of people can't afford to own a car, particularly millennials and retirees.


Millennials seem to have a larger majority of not wanting to own one, rather than not being able to afford one.

Additionally, of the respondents who do not own a car, 42% responded it was due to financial reasons, but 58% said it was because they do not need to own one.


The buying volume was down 30% as well. Not sure about retirees, they are as likely to have their cars taken away from them as to suddenly decide to do without..had that happen to 2 in my family. About to happen to a 3rd. Plus Miami/Dade, there must be scads of old farts in that neighborhood. 30% older than 55 years perhaps?
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 09 Apr 2021, 23:28:05

Outcast_Searcher wrote:Public transport is often depicted as reliable, clean, convenient, etc. in much of western Europe. Is this somewhat true, or just empty P.R. for folks living there with experience?


Public transit in Europe is a marvel.

The downtowns are clean and safe.

You take a train from a downtown station in a city to the next downtown. No need to live in the suburbs or travel to an airport on the outskirts of the city and then wait hours for security checks, so the train is quicker.

When you arrive at a train station the bus systems are coordinated so the buses and trams are sitting outside waiting for the train passengers. You get off the train, go outside the door of the station, and find the right bus or tram and off you go to your destination.

And thats not just in the big cities....its the same in small towns. Take a train to some small town and go outside and several buses will be sitting there.

Of course, when you get to the bus level it helps to know the local language....french, german, spanish, greek, Italian or whatever....to figure out what bus you should get on, but usually the local bus drivers speak a little English and will help if they can.

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Take the train to the next city, and when you get off you'll find the local buses and trams waiting for you outside the train station....its VERY NICE in Europe.

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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 10 Apr 2021, 08:48:48

The Caribbean islands generally have some form of mini bus system. They run regular season routes. The driver owns the vehicle, many take great pride in their investment.

So I am on a bus in St. Martin, the driver is a older gentleman. He is quiet, it would be easy to he dismissive of him. But as I sit there and listen to him interact with passengers, giving help and information, in a half hour he speaks: english, Spanish, french, dutch, and at least one creole dialect from Haiti.

Struggle with English.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 10 Apr 2021, 09:23:57

Newfie wrote:
So I am on a bus in St. Martin, the driver is a older gentleman. He is quiet, it would be easy to he dismissive of him. But as I sit there and listen to him interact with passengers, giving help and information, in a half hour he speaks: english, Spanish, french, dutch, and at least one creole dialect from Haiti.

.


Not to mention the glue this driver represents in the sense of community he instills. Self employed. Minimal bureaucracy. A drivers license approved for taxi service, a minivan, a small loan and presto, ready to go.

How many could you employ in the USA along those transportation nodes where Minivans would wait for passengers to depart from trains, metros, buses, monorails, etc?

You could employ millions.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby jawagord » Sat 10 Apr 2021, 09:59:38

Ibon wrote:
Newfie wrote:
So I am on a bus in St. Martin, the driver is a older gentleman. He is quiet, it would be easy to he dismissive of him. But as I sit there and listen to him interact with passengers, giving help and information, in a half hour he speaks: english, Spanish, french, dutch, and at least one creole dialect from Haiti.

.


Not to mention the glue this driver represents in the sense of community he instills. Self employed. Minimal bureaucracy. A drivers license approved for taxi service, a minivan, a small loan and presto, ready to go.

How many could you employ in the USA along those transportation nodes where Minivans would wait for passengers to depart from trains, metros, buses, monorails, etc?

You could employ millions.


Could? Probably not, if your cities are like Calgary. The city stopped this type of micro transport when it was tried by a few small time entrepreneurs. It was competition with the City’s unionized bus and train service and when the unions complained, the city quickly put a stop to it. Driving jobs are set to disappear in the next 20 years as self driving vehicles become the norm.
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby AdamB » Sat 10 Apr 2021, 10:08:09

Ibon wrote:How many could you employ in the USA along those transportation nodes where Minivans would wait for passengers to depart from trains, metros, buses, monorails, etc?

You could employ millions.


This model might work until the usual happens...technology enabled transport wipes out the very need to own a car, or rent one. It isn't as though the American model of anything has been "hey! I've got an idea! Let's do it the way third world countries do!".
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sat 10 Apr 2021, 14:13:20

Ibon wrote:How many could you employ in the USA along those transportation nodes where Minivans would wait for passengers to depart from trains, metros, buses, monorails, etc?
You could employ millions.


Israel uses this system.

You get off the plane in Ben Gurion Airport outside of Tel Aviv and there will be dozens of mini-vans with drivers in the parking garage outside the airport. They pull in, quickly pick up bunches of local people headed for Jerusalem or the Golan Heights or wherever, and then they head off and drop each passenger at the door of their destination, one after another. Its very efficient and its also very safe because they are taking you door-to-door.

Most tourists don't see the Mini=van system because if they come on a tour they get shunted off into special tour buses for their group.

Unfortunately, the mini-van system is very confusing for visitors who don't speak Hebrew because its very informal. Rather then big buses with big signs at established bus stops saying where they are going, there are all these minibuses with little signs in Hebrew propped up on the windshield, pulling in one after another, loading up, and then quickly heading off. I had to watch how this worked for a while before I started asking each van where it was going, because I couldn't read the Hebrew signs. But, as usual, the drivers spoke a little English and eventually I got on the right mini-van to Jerusalem.

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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 11 Apr 2021, 17:01:50

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
Public transport is often depicted as reliable, clean, convenient, etc. in much of western Europe. Is this somewhat true, or just empty P.R. for folks living there with experience?



I lived 10 years in Switzerland, left in 1991 and went back a few times since and have seen the build out of their mass transit system which is truly remarkable.

When I lived there in the 80's we would get off work on Friday afternoons we would take a tram home, quickly grab our skis and get back on the tram or bus to the central Banhof station in Zurich and head out to Graubunden to get off the train at the base of a mountain (not to far from Davos) and take the last ski lift up to a hotel that had a Massenlager room where everyone slept in the same room. Breakfast at the crack of dawn and hitting the slopes skiing all day Saturday and Sunday and doing the reverse back home on lift, train tram or bus all perfectly coordinated. This package and transport included the stay at the hotel with massenlager and two day ski pass. Affordable, no cars needed. The trains had green cars for non smokers and red cars for smokers. We always took the smoking car since back then we all loved smoking reefer coming, going and on the slopes. Our typcial posse was made up of Swiss, Americans, Chileans, Portuguese, other Europeans. It was a great chapter in my life back then and many of the progressive ideals that I often push here on this site regarding a robust social services, public health care and a more equitable distribution of wealth was honed from the decade I lived in Europe.

Already back then in the 80's you would go shopping with reusable shopping bags and bring all your glass yoghurt containers for recycling. This was 30 years ago folks!
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Re: Runaway Global Warming - Has Arrived pt 16

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 11 Apr 2021, 17:25:03

Yup, when I grew up every small town had some homeless type person who peddled around and picked up aluminum cans and deposit return bottles. Then they did away with the bottle deposit to help out the glass industry.

Progress! 8O
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