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Old 11-25-2008, 11:14 AM   #1
Weasel420
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High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

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WASHINGTON, D.C. ? Today, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced a bill to create new jobs by updating the nation?s crumbling infrastructure. The High-Speed Rail for America Act of 2008 would transform America?s outdated and underfunded passenger rail system into a world class system
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This would help finance the California proposed corridor and make needed improvements to the Northeast corridor. The legislation provides $5.4 billion over a six-year period for rail infrastructure bonds. The Federal Rail Administration has already designated ten rail corridors that these bonds could help fund, including connecting the cities of the Midwest through Chicago, connecting the cities of the Northwest, connecting the major cities within Texas and Florida, and connecting all the cities up and down the East Coast.

Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/bott...and-spect.html
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:40 AM   #2
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

Drop in the bucket.

Truly paltry.

But better than nothing.
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:45 AM   #3
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

Well, with Obama pushing domestic infrastructure projects, everyone trying to go green, and the airline industry teetering on collapse... this seems like the ideal time to catch up with the rest of the world and build a high speed system.

I'm hopeful.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:11 PM   #4
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

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Well, with Obama pushing domestic infrastructure projects, everyone trying to go green, and the airline industry teetering on collapse... this seems like the ideal time to catch up with the rest of the world and build a high speed system.

I'm hopeful.
How do you figure the airline industry is teetering on collapse? Are you thinking about the U.S. auto industry? Oil is now well below $100 a barrel. If it were $190-200 it would be a different story.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:44 PM   #5
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

But oil isn't going to stay down. We need to be thinking about the infrastructure needs for the next 50 years. Oil is running out and we need to have alternatives in place before we are totally screwed.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:46 PM   #6
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

Oil will be below $100 a barrel for a short time, and due only to deflation, not because of traditional economic forces.

Although the airline industry is not teetering per se, it is for sure in trouble and in need of restructuring, as is the auto industry.

This is an optimal time to invest in the nation's rail system, and should be the easiest for the government since they control the nations rail system (Amtrak).
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:55 PM   #7
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

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How do you figure the airline industry is teetering on collapse? Are you thinking about the U.S. auto industry?
How about if I rephrase?

The airline industry, should it be confronted with competition from a high speed rail transit system, will probably shed much of it's business.

I have no economic knowledge/background/info other than being a flyer for the better part of my 30 years on earth. So it's a personal belief call more than a statement of fact.

I travel to DC quite regularly, and if I can take a high speed train (no, accela does not count) and make it there in 4 hours while avoiding the airports, I will do so.
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:03 PM   #8
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

Funny--I'd been talking about this with a friend all week. Here's what I got:

This is the current proposal for HSR in the US:


I thought it wasn't really enough, so I put it through paint a bit, and came out with this:


Any comments? I've already been chided for drawing a branch from Miami to Key West, so ignore that part unless you think it would be useful.
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:45 PM   #9
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

The fragmentation of the corridors is a bit bizarre. Wouldn't there be a fairly big market for Houston-Dallas? And why not link Pittsburgh and Cleveland for a through route between New York and Chicago? (Meanwhile, Columbia, SC and Portland, ME get special spurs!?)
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:06 AM   #10
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

Yeah, what is the deal with the fragmentation? Would regular-speed trains keep running across the gaps in the high speed network?
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:18 AM   #11
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

This is a fantasy map taken from a blog but it is an interesting idea:

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Old 11-26-2008, 08:24 AM   #12
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

Why not Boston to Chicago via Cleveland?
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Old 11-26-2008, 01:20 PM   #13
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

It's actually a cartographical representation of a mathematical array problem, rather than a vision based on logic.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:16 AM   #14
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

I really like how the Jenkins' maps have trains from North Station to Montreal. Having to take a train from South through NY to Montreal (believe it's 12 hr trip) is a bit absurd when it?s a 5/6 hr. drive. Montreal is a great city and I think greater exposure to it would benefit Boston in many ways.
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:54 PM   #15
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

I've always been surprised that the Montreal high speed line plans include Boston but not New York.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:45 PM   #16
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

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I've always been surprised that the Montreal high speed line plans include Boston but not New York.
Because there is already a line to NYC, and nothing to Boston?

Why can't America have a national high-speed rail network, similar to the interstate system? 3 west-east routes (Seattle to Boston, SF to DC, LA to Atlanta), 3 north-south routes (Seattle to San Diego, Chicago to Houston, Boston to Miami). Then you could connect most major and minor cities via high-speed, and connect minor cities via regular lines.
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:49 PM   #17
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

National high speed rail would not ever be competitive with airlines. While there's a plausible case to be made that a 6 hour rail trip between DC and Boston works out at roughly the same time when you take into account getting to their airport, through security, etc., you lose a lot more time on a longer trip. That's why high speed proposals have always been for relatively short corridors or regional hub-and-spoke systems.

As for Montreal - it has a line to New York because there's a larger market for rail travel between the two, so it seems to make more sense to upgrade it to high speed.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:19 PM   #18
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

I was just trying to justify it, I don't actually believe that Boston-Montreal deserves high speed rather than NYC.
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:38 PM   #19
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

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National high speed rail would not ever be competitive with airlines. While there's a plausible case to be made that a 6 hour rail trip between DC and Boston works out at roughly the same time when you take into account getting to their airport, through security, etc., you lose a lot more time on a longer trip. That's why high speed proposals have always been for relatively short corridors or regional hub-and-spoke systems.
I suspect that high-speed rail would actually be pretty competitive with air travel, especially, as you pointed out, over shorter distances. What I doubt is the ability of any study to prove this--it would really be a case of build it and see.

Luckily, the construction of such a system would in itself be a huge boon to the country, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and pumping up the economy. If the system were started on smaller, high-traffic corridors (like those in the DOT map), then I think it would naturally expand to a much larger network over time, as more and more cities try and put themselves on the list (turning into something like my map).
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:45 PM   #20
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Re: High Speed Rail (Boston to... Texas?)

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I only meant that extremely long-distance (read: coast to coast length routes) would never really be competitive. Even in Europe no single high speed line is longer than Paris-Marseille, which does not begin to compare to, say, Boston-Seattle. I think New York-Chicago is the longest line that could really be competitive in the US.

(On a sidenote: on short distances, high speed rail is so popular in parts of Europe that it actually killed flights. You can no longer fly between Paris and Brussels, for example. But on long distance routes Europe experienced a renaissance of air travel from the 90s on.)
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