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The US Congress

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  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    Outside of the Northeast corridor a lot of that service isn’t very meaningful, though.

    Like I used to live in Raleigh, NC, I have ridden the train from Raleigh to Selma (a small town that just happens to be on I 95 and be where the lines that run parallel to I 95 and I 40 meet, which should in theory be the biggest lines in North Carolina.) and back for shits and giggles or to meet up with friends that lived along I-95 and could pick me up there.

    You would think if someone actually lived around that area that would be a decent way to get to work. It would not be.

    On a station sitting near the intersection of two of the busiest highways in the nation there was literally two trains running through a day, one morning and one afternoon. IIRC there were a couple of other express lines that didn’t stop. On top of that, in my experience the trains tended to be 30 to 45 minutes late.

    So what would that take to be functional?

  • MazzyxMazzyx Comedy Gold Registered User regular
    Outside of the Northeast corridor a lot of that service isn’t very meaningful, though.

    Like I used to live in Raleigh, NC, I have ridden the train from Raleigh to Selma (a small town that just happens to be on I 95 and be where the lines that run parallel to I 95 and I 40 meet, which should in theory be the biggest lines in North Carolina.) and back for shits and giggles or to meet up with friends that lived along I-95 and could pick me up there.

    You would think if someone actually lived around that area that would be a decent way to get to work. It would not be.

    On a station sitting near the intersection of two of the busiest highways in the nation there was literally two trains running through a day, one morning and one afternoon. IIRC there were a couple of other express lines that didn’t stop. On top of that, in my experience the trains tended to be 30 to 45 minutes late.

    So what would that take to be functional?

    Pretty sure that is what the yellow lines on the map are talking about. The goal to make some of the non-Northeast Corridor areas more useful.

    u7stthr17eud.png
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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I love trains so much. And if it were easier to take trains into the center of the country, it wouldn't be regarded as "flyover country" so much.

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    I love trains so much. And if it were easier to take trains into the center of the country, it wouldn't be regarded as "flyover country" so much.

    No, it still would be.

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  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

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  • kaidkaid Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    Yup unless it was as cheap as bus faire the only reason to take a train ride like that is you want to experience a train ride like that.

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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    If you could even get to the point where train travel times were similar to driving it'd be nice

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  • MazzyxMazzyx Comedy Gold Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    u7stthr17eud.png
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  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    Outside of the Northeast corridor a lot of that service isn’t very meaningful, though.

    Like I used to live in Raleigh, NC, I have ridden the train from Raleigh to Selma (a small town that just happens to be on I 95 and be where the lines that run parallel to I 95 and I 40 meet, which should in theory be the biggest lines in North Carolina.) and back for shits and giggles or to meet up with friends that lived along I-95 and could pick me up there.

    You would think if someone actually lived around that area that would be a decent way to get to work. It would not be.

    On a station sitting near the intersection of two of the busiest highways in the nation there was literally two trains running through a day, one morning and one afternoon. IIRC there were a couple of other express lines that didn’t stop. On top of that, in my experience the trains tended to be 30 to 45 minutes late.

    So what would that take to be functional?

    Pretty sure that is what the yellow lines on the map are talking about. The goal to make some of the non-Northeast Corridor areas more useful.

    Maybe? But here’s what you would need to make train travel in NC reasonable (which is a large to medium sized, fairly urban state on the eastern seaboard, not Wyoming or North Dakota).

    1. Multiply train service on main lines by a good 5x at least. The lines from Raleigh to Charlotte have 3 trains running in a day. 3!
    2. Run trains on time. May require building lots of new track so passenger lines don’t get bogged down by freight traffic.
    3. Electrify the whole damn thing so you can actually run modern efficient locomotives on them.
    4. Implement an actual light rail, shuttle bus, and tram system in urban areas so you can actually get places on the train (if I’m going to work on a train I might be ok with driving to the train station but I’m not going to rely on taking an uber from the station to work. Same for going to the mall, airport, or whatever.

    You could probably easily spend the national budget on a single state and not have enough. European and Asian countries have been building this stuff out for a century, we aren’t just going to drop 80bn and wake up one day with a functional mass transit system.

  • daveNYCdaveNYC Why universe hate Waspinator? Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    The problem isn't that it's not practical for a long trip, it's that it (for various reasons) is pretty horrible for short and medium length trips. The Boston - NYC - DC corridor should be primo Take A Train territory, but it's neither fast nor cheap. The shuttle flights out of LGA to DC were better on both counts, and that was post-9/11 with all the extra security.

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  • kaidkaid Registered User regular
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    It is a chicken and egg problem. People don't see train travel because it is not really viable in a lot of areas now so nobody invests in it because its not viable so it can't ever become viable.

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  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited April 1
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    I think it's because airplanes are way faster, dude. Though I agree with you for TX intercity, there's just no world in which cross-country travel is viable by train. Who would spend 2 of their vacation days just getting to the destination?

    Southwest will do $50 on-way hops from Dallas to Houston and it takes you under 3 hours from lot to lot. Is Amtrak going to be able to beat that?

    Edit: I guess my point is that I'm not sure the proposed map we're looking at makes any sense outside some regional areas, and I'm not sure about them either.

    spool32 on
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    High speed rail is the best choice for trip lengths that are between ~200-500 miles. Below that and either normal speed regional rail or driving makes more sense. Beyond that flying makes more sense.

    That 200-500 mile circle describes... basically the whole of the Midwest and a lot of the Coasts. It doesn't describe every city pair. (Pittsburgh to Minneapolis would still be a flight even if Pittsburgh to Chicago makes more sense by train.) But it does describe an awful lot of them that currently are wasting airport gates and taxiways that should be used for truly long distance travel rather than puddle jumpers because we have no practical alternative.

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  • Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia Registered User regular
    I love trains so much. And if it were easier to take trains into the center of the country, it wouldn't be regarded as "flyover country" so much.

    “train through” country

  • Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia Registered User regular
    Also I always suspected Chicago was the veiny butthole of the country

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  • DoodmannDoodmann Registered User regular
    If you could even get to the point where train travel times were similar to driving it'd be nice

    It's an either or thing, it either needs to be as fast as driving or it needs to be way cheaper. Currently it's neither.

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  • MonwynMonwyn Registered User regular
    moniker wrote: »
    What Amtrak can do with $80bn

    b24h86on7go8.jpg

    I have, like, 6 quibbles with the map. Plus frequency is key to any sort of meaningful service being useful and used. (There is currently a train from Chicago to Grand Rapids via St Joe's. I would love to take it and meet up with West Michigan friends for a cheap beach vacation/ long weekend. There is only one single train to get us home, though, and it is at 08:00am in the goddamn morning.) But on the whole... this is pretty great for not a lot of money.

    Need to connect Memphis to like Birmingham and Little Rock so there is an east/west route in the middle of the country.

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    If the cost were near equivalent or cheaper I wouldn't hesitate to take a longer train ride than a plane.

    It's nicer in every conceivable fashion and I'd rather spend three hours in comfort than a half hour being shuffled along in a tin can.

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  • MazzyxMazzyx Comedy Gold Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    I think it's because airplanes are way faster, dude. Though I agree with you for TX intercity, there's just no world in which cross-country travel is viable by train. Who would spend 2 of their vacation days just getting to the destination?

    Southwest will do $50 on-way hops from Dallas to Houston and it takes you under 3 hours from lot to lot. Is Amtrak going to be able to beat that?

    Again this is based on our current system.

    A high speed rail trip from Tokyo to Kyoto takes about 2 hours. No issues with security or having to get anywhere an hour or two early. You just go to the station and take the train.

    Tickets round trip are 100-200 dollars.

    The train runs every hour in the middle of the day.

    This is one of the oldest train lines in Japan.

    This is a private-public partnership.

    Flights are cheaper but with airport time take twice as long.

    They are building a mag-lev to do the same route in about 45 minutes.

    So yes you can make it as fast as a plane, easier to travel, and a good price.

    Hell I live in the area where commuter rail exist in the US with the VRE.

    Proper investment and development allows these systems to function in efficient ways. On top of the fact trains are much less polluting per mile traveled than air or car.

    u7stthr17eud.png
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  • ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    You can take Amtrak from NYC to DC and get there in 2 hours for like $50 because that is literally the only stretch of their trains that is properly funded. But if I want to take it to Chicago from Indy it takes almost twice as long as driving.

    Locomotive travel doesn't have to be like this. It was made this way on purpose.

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    I think it's because airplanes are way faster, dude. Though I agree with you for TX intercity, there's just no world in which cross-country travel is viable by train. Who would spend 2 of their vacation days just getting to the destination?

    Southwest will do $50 on-way hops from Dallas to Houston and it takes you under 3 hours from lot to lot. Is Amtrak going to be able to beat that?

    Again this is based on our current system.

    A high speed rail trip from Tokyo to Kyoto takes about 2 hours. No issues with security or having to get anywhere an hour or two early. You just go to the station and take the train.

    Tickets round trip are 100-200 dollars.

    The train runs every hour in the middle of the day.

    This is one of the oldest train lines in Japan.

    This is a private-public partnership.

    Flights are cheaper but with airport time take twice as long.

    They are building a mag-lev to do the same route in about 45 minutes.

    So yes you can make it as fast as a plane, easier to travel, and a good price.

    Hell I live in the area where commuter rail exist in the US with the VRE.

    Proper investment and development allows these systems to function in efficient ways. On top of the fact trains are much less polluting per mile traveled than air or car.

    Ditto the MARC up in Maryland. A proper commuter train is incredible in regards to QoL and it's going to be what I miss most of all living out here.

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited April 1
    spool32 wrote: »
    Southwest will do $50 on-way hops from Dallas to Houston and it takes you under 3 hours from lot to lot. Is Amtrak going to be able to beat that?

    If given funding to build a standard high speed rail line? (Nothing fancy, literally 40 year old off the shelf parts) Yes.

    It would likely do it in 90 minutes from downtown to downtown. As much as you can describe any part of Houston as 'downtown' anyway.

    moniker on
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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    I think it's because airplanes are way faster, dude. Though I agree with you for TX intercity, there's just no world in which cross-country travel is viable by train. Who would spend 2 of their vacation days just getting to the destination?

    Southwest will do $50 on-way hops from Dallas to Houston and it takes you under 3 hours from lot to lot. Is Amtrak going to be able to beat that?

    Again this is based on our current system.

    A high speed rail trip from Tokyo to Kyoto takes about 2 hours. No issues with security or having to get anywhere an hour or two early. You just go to the station and take the train.

    Tickets round trip are 100-200 dollars.

    The train runs every hour in the middle of the day.

    This is one of the oldest train lines in Japan.

    This is a private-public partnership.

    Flights are cheaper but with airport time take twice as long.

    They are building a mag-lev to do the same route in about 45 minutes.

    So yes you can make it as fast as a plane, easier to travel, and a good price.

    Hell I live in the area where commuter rail exist in the US with the VRE.

    Proper investment and development allows these systems to function in efficient ways. On top of the fact trains are much less polluting per mile traveled than air or car.

    Ditto the MARC up in Maryland. A proper commuter train is incredible in regards to QoL and it's going to be what I miss most of all living out here.

    Metro-North, for all of its flaws, was great for commuting into NYC.

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  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited April 1
    Traveling to other countries really highlights how poor our infrastructure is. The bullet train I took from Chengdu to Beijing (~900mi) was a really nice ride. It took about 9 hours in total including some delays due to flooding in one of the provinces.

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  • MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited April 1
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    MrMister on
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  • IlpalaIlpala Just this guy, y'know Texas booniesRegistered User regular
    If I could never have to deal with an airport again, what with standing in security and having to hike like a mile to a gate at the very ass end of the terminal, I would gladly take even slightly longer train rides.

    Also slightly more on topic I hope a bigger focus of the infrastructure bill is EV charging. Whether it's the sci-fi "as you're driving on certain roads" shit or just more, better charging stations.

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  • MazzyxMazzyx Comedy Gold Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    Read Moniker's post.

    Passenger rail works incredibly well at specific distances. The North East is densely populated and has the right distances. It would work well. A lot of the Midwest with both topography (flat) and with central hubs to move around would incredibly well for rail connections.

    The California coast again would be a great place for high speed regular rail between a large amount of cities and slower local rail for the suburbs.

    Texas again would work exceptionally well for high speed and local passenger rail both with its topography and population density in major urban areas.

    The US is huge but it is an excuse that is used to ignore where rail would be an excellent replacement for puddle jumper flights and for commuting by highway. As it is more efficient than both.

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    The Midwest was literally built by the railways (also driving indigenous people off their land to give it to railways for free...), and as a result nearly all of our major cities are railway appropriate distances apart. They are also at population levels that rival many European cities with far more transportation options between them than we provide.

    Marseille is slightly less populous than Indianapolis and Cleveland. It is more than twice as far from Paris as Indy is from Chicago, and Cleveland is likewise 140 miles closer to Chicago than Marseille is to Paris. It was one of the earliest TGV lines and boasts 16 trains per day between them.

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  • MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    Read Moniker's post.

    Passenger rail works incredibly well at specific distances. The North East is densely populated and has the right distances. It would work well. A lot of the Midwest with both topography (flat) and with central hubs to move around would incredibly well for rail connections.

    The California coast again would be a great place for high speed regular rail between a large amount of cities and slower local rail for the suburbs.

    Texas again would work exceptionally well for high speed and local passenger rail both with its topography and population density in major urban areas.

    The US is huge but it is an excuse that is used to ignore where rail would be an excellent replacement for puddle jumper flights and for commuting by highway. As it is more efficient than both.

    I did read Moniker's post! But he didn't explain why trips of 300-500 miles make more sense via train, or under what conditions that is true, so it's not that easy to assess.

    With respect to the CA coast being a great place for high speed rail, San Francisco to LA does fall within the 300-500 mile trip window. So it would seem to be a good candidate by that measure. And CA did have a ballot referendum authorizing a project to build high speed rail from SF to LA (and eventually to Sacramento and San Diego). However, that project is currently behind schedule, over cost, and the fundamentals are extremely unclear. Projected one way ticket prices have risen from $55 to $85, projected costs have risen from $40 billion to $100 billion, and it is extremely unclear whether existing technology is even capable of delivering the promised 2:30 trip time given physical geography including the need to route through populated areas. Maybe these are CA-specific woes; perhaps it would be much easier to connect Pittsburgh to Chicago. Nonetheless, the difficulties in carrying out the CA project seem to me to indicate that whatever the feasibility of high speed rail, it probably depends on more than just there being two big population centers within a 300-500 mile window of one another.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    Butters wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    You can take Amtrak from NYC to DC and get there in 2 hours for like $50 because that is literally the only stretch of their trains that is properly funded. But if I want to take it to Chicago from Indy it takes almost twice as long as driving.

    Locomotive travel doesn't have to be like this. It was made this way on purpose.

    If you book three weeks in advance. That's fine for comparing to air travel I guess, but to compete with driving it has to be as simple and frictionless as taking the metro.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
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  • MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    moniker wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    The Midwest was literally built by the railways (also driving indigenous people off their land to give it to railways for free...), and as a result nearly all of our major cities are railway appropriate distances apart. They are also at population levels that rival many European cities with far more transportation options between them than we provide.

    Marseille is slightly less populous than Indianapolis and Cleveland. It is more than twice as far from Paris as Indy is from Chicago, and Cleveland is likewise 140 miles closer to Chicago than Marseille is to Paris. It was one of the earliest TGV lines and boasts 16 trains per day between them.

    That's interesting! With respect to this specific example, though, I would guess that Marseille's ability to support a rail line to Paris probably has something to do with it being a major tourist destination (according to wiki, the oldest city in France and one of its most visited). Indianapolis might struggle more in that regard. A closer American parallel might be somewhere like Vegas, and I would not be surprised if high speed rail from LA/SD to Vegas was one of the better links to add.

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    Read Moniker's post.

    Passenger rail works incredibly well at specific distances. The North East is densely populated and has the right distances. It would work well. A lot of the Midwest with both topography (flat) and with central hubs to move around would incredibly well for rail connections.

    The California coast again would be a great place for high speed regular rail between a large amount of cities and slower local rail for the suburbs.

    Texas again would work exceptionally well for high speed and local passenger rail both with its topography and population density in major urban areas.

    The US is huge but it is an excuse that is used to ignore where rail would be an excellent replacement for puddle jumper flights and for commuting by highway. As it is more efficient than both.

    I did read Moniker's post! But he didn't explain why trips of 300-500 miles make more sense via train, or under what conditions that is true, so it's not that easy to assess.

    With respect to the CA coast being a great place for high speed rail, San Francisco to LA does fall within the 300-500 mile trip window. So it would seem to be a good candidate by that measure. And CA did have a ballot referendum authorizing a project to build high speed rail from SF to LA (and eventually to Sacramento and San Diego). However, that project is currently behind schedule, over cost, and the fundamentals are extremely unclear. Projected one way ticket prices have risen from $55 to $85, projected costs have risen from $40 billion to $100 billion, and it is extremely unclear whether existing technology is even capable of delivering the promised 2:30 trip time given physical geography including the need to route through populated areas. Maybe these are CA-specific woes; perhaps it would be much easier to connect Pittsburgh to Chicago. Nonetheless, the difficulties in carrying out the CA project seem to me to indicate that whatever the feasibility of high speed rail, it probably depends on more than just there being two big population centers within a 300-500 mile window of one another.

    Yes, construction expertise and project management issues that are derived from literally never having done this since the 1940's when we had some of the fastest trains in the world. Spain built out it's HSR over the last ~30 years and went from an omnishambles with a single route to the largest network in Europe and one of the more efficient construction operators. Because they were dedicated to building out a network and we're able to scale up and learn lessons. Meanwhile Japan, Germany, and France mostly got better at maintenance rather than at new line construction and are pricier to build per km than Spain is now.

    Also, CEQA is a horrendous morass that has needed reform for decades.

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  • ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    It's not CA specific woes, it's US specific woes. The cost per mile of functional passenger railway is roughly double what it is in peer nations despite these peers having obstacles the US doesn't like strong union labor and 1000-year-old buildings to navigate around.

    With proper planning and competent government oversight, high speed rail is possible. It's overpriced because the government contracting structure is corrupt as hell and government has to be willing to pay market value for a staff of talented individuals capable of managing these projects.

    PSN: idontworkhere582 | CFN: idontworkhere | Steam: lordbutters
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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited April 1
    MrMister wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    The Midwest was literally built by the railways (also driving indigenous people off their land to give it to railways for free...), and as a result nearly all of our major cities are railway appropriate distances apart. They are also at population levels that rival many European cities with far more transportation options between them than we provide.

    Marseille is slightly less populous than Indianapolis and Cleveland. It is more than twice as far from Paris as Indy is from Chicago, and Cleveland is likewise 140 miles closer to Chicago than Marseille is to Paris. It was one of the earliest TGV lines and boasts 16 trains per day between them.

    That's interesting! With respect to this specific example, though, I would guess that Marseille's ability to support a rail line to Paris probably has something to do with it being a major tourist destination (according to wiki, the oldest city in France and one of its most visited). Indianapolis might struggle more in that regard. A closer American parallel might be somewhere like Vegas, and I would not be surprised if high speed rail from LA/SD to Vegas was one of the better links to add.

    Okay, then let's look at Munich to Berlin.

    Munich: 2.6m metro population
    |
    364 miles
    |
    Berlin: 6m metro population

    18 trains a day

    Cleveland: 2m metro population
    |
    346 miles
    |
    Chicago: 9.8m metro population

    moniker on
  • MazzyxMazzyx Comedy Gold Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    Read Moniker's post.

    Passenger rail works incredibly well at specific distances. The North East is densely populated and has the right distances. It would work well. A lot of the Midwest with both topography (flat) and with central hubs to move around would incredibly well for rail connections.

    The California coast again would be a great place for high speed regular rail between a large amount of cities and slower local rail for the suburbs.

    Texas again would work exceptionally well for high speed and local passenger rail both with its topography and population density in major urban areas.

    The US is huge but it is an excuse that is used to ignore where rail would be an excellent replacement for puddle jumper flights and for commuting by highway. As it is more efficient than both.

    I did read Moniker's post! But he didn't explain why trips of 300-500 miles make more sense via train, or under what conditions that is true, so it's not that easy to assess.

    With respect to the CA coast being a great place for high speed rail, San Francisco to LA does fall within the 300-500 mile trip window. So it would seem to be a good candidate by that measure. And CA did have a ballot referendum authorizing a project to build high speed rail from SF to LA (and eventually to Sacramento and San Diego). However, that project is currently behind schedule, over cost, and the fundamentals are extremely unclear. Projected one way ticket prices have risen from $55 to $85, projected costs have risen from $40 billion to $100 billion, and it is extremely unclear whether existing technology is even capable of delivering the promised 2:30 trip time given physical geography including the need to route through populated areas. Maybe these are CA-specific woes; perhaps it would be much easier to connect Pittsburgh to Chicago. Nonetheless, the difficulties in carrying out the CA project seem to me to indicate that whatever the feasibility of high speed rail, it probably depends on more than just there being two big population centers within a 300-500 mile window of one another.

    Why yes infrastructure development is expensive, prone to issues, and especially so when for the last 60-70 years specific types have been neglected or even actively attacked and removed by the government due to influence by different groups and interest.

    It does take a large amount of invest to rebuild a train infrastructure that we did have and built over 100 years and then demolished in a shorter period of time.

    And yes the high speed rail referendum in CA is a CA specific issue. The fact it is a state run venture with a lot of fingers and politics in the pockets making it a complex and mess situation.

    And at this point the discussion on rail has hit the point that it might need to be its own thread. But yes a Pittsburgh to Chicago line would probably easier as it probably has existing but out of date infrastructure to build on. A shift of resources from roads to rail would be a huge investment but also require a culture change. That this plan is a start of. By the fact it is trying to invest in increasing rail instead of minimizing or just keeping it on life support.

    Also the tech for the CA project exists, it is expensive, and it is mostly owned and researched by Japan. Tokyo to Osaka is 311.9 miles going through mountainous regions and a bit of plains. Japan is actively building a maglev that will do the trip when finished in 67 minutes. LA to SF is 381 miles. With that tech you could easily do it in 2.5 hours.


    Even the standard bullet trains in Japan will closely match that mark. And they are older tech. Tokyo to Kyoto is 318.6 miles and the normal train ride with stops is 138 minutes by the current in use trains.

    So again all of this is feasible and doable. But yes the investment can be high but it is politically worth it due to reduced carbon emissions verse flying and driving, the jobs for construction and maintenance, and in general making transportation a bit more equal as trains can be cheaper and more accessible than driving or flying.

    u7stthr17eud.png
    monikerElldren
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    There are a lot of open areas in the US, but there are a lot of places in the US with European population densities that have shitty infrastructure- its not that North Dakota has a shit-tier passenger rail system, it’s that the midwest from Pennsylvania to Michigan, the south from NC to North Georgia, Florida, East and Central Texas, the Pacific Coast - those all have pretty reasonable population densities even by European standards and they all have shitty bare bones rail systems too.

    mrondeauFencingsaxmoniker
  • TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited April 1
    It's the same wrong excuse used by ISPs for why our internet sucks. The Biden plan also has some good stuff in it for fiber rollouts and such, so the ISPs hate it.

    Tofystedeth on
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  • MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    moniker wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    The Midwest was literally built by the railways (also driving indigenous people off their land to give it to railways for free...), and as a result nearly all of our major cities are railway appropriate distances apart. They are also at population levels that rival many European cities with far more transportation options between them than we provide.

    Marseille is slightly less populous than Indianapolis and Cleveland. It is more than twice as far from Paris as Indy is from Chicago, and Cleveland is likewise 140 miles closer to Chicago than Marseille is to Paris. It was one of the earliest TGV lines and boasts 16 trains per day between them.

    That's interesting! With respect to this specific example, though, I would guess that Marseille's ability to support a rail line to Paris probably has something to do with it being a major tourist destination (according to wiki, the oldest city in France and one of its most visited). Indianapolis might struggle more in that regard. A closer American parallel might be somewhere like Vegas, and I would not be surprised if high speed rail from LA/SD to Vegas was one of the better links to add.

    Okay, then let's look at Munich to Berlin.

    Munich: 2.6m metro population
    364 miles
    Berlin: 6m metro population

    Cleveland: 2m metro population
    346 miles
    Chicago: 9.8m metro population

    18 trains a day.

    It seems to me that just looking at the endpoints cities doesn't fully capture the relationship between population density and rail feasibility. On the Munich-Berlin route they also go through Leipzig and Nuremburg, which are both cities of half a million people. On a hypothetical Cleveland-Chicago route, you could maybe go through Toledo and Fort Wayne, which are cities of a quarter million. So that's cutting a half a million people out of the service. Maybe that doesn't actually matter that much, if the route demand is almost entirely driven by the endpoints? My impression is that European rail services are typically blended, with the long distance and high speed rail sharing track and stations with local routes, which, if true, indicates that building through established rail systems in cities like Leipzig and Nuremburg makes the projects more feasible. But I am also not an expert!

    And, to be clear, I'm also not anti-rail. I personally love trains, and I would love it if passenger service in the US were cheap and easy. The CA experience does make me hesitant, particularly if it's being sold as something that will obviously work as soon as we commit to it. CA committed, and we're not seeing the "obviously working" part of the story. And, yeah, CA does have its own specific dysfunctions, including its disaster of an environmental review process. But even if all of the relevant obstacles are political, that still strikes me as something you have to "price into" your projections. If there is less US-based technical knowledge and if US government organs have less ability to impose top-down development on states and localities, then these are also important and real features of our situation. In light of them, a more realistic promise might be "rail is going to suck for a while pretty much no matter what, but by building some very expensive and kind of bad services now we can develop the abilities to build better ones later (a la Spain)." As a train fan, that might be good enough for me, but it's also quite different from saying that we just gotta open the federal tap and successful rail lines will rain down.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Amtrak is a fucking joke though. Austin - Boston takes like 50 hours and costs 3x as much as airfare. it's not practical for any extended travel.

    This is because of under development and funding.

    There will be trips that are much more efficient by air but you can make a lot of different trips especially in a place like Texas between major cities fast, cheap, and efficient.

    And again we know this because the rest of the developed world has done it.

    Amtrak stays a joke as long as we don't fund and develop it.

    At the same time, America also has very different physical geography than, say, the EU. Based on the numbers I just googled, the EU has 100 million more people than the US and they're packed into less than half the space, which, yeah, that's great for making passenger rail feasible.

    There are a lot of open areas in the US, but there are a lot of places in the US with European population densities that have shitty infrastructure- its not that North Dakota has a shit-tier passenger rail system, it’s that the midwest from Pennsylvania to Michigan, the south from NC to North Georgia, Florida, East and Central Texas, the Pacific Coast - those all have pretty reasonable population densities even by European standards and they all have shitty bare bones rail systems too.

    The east coast houses 118 million people with a 2100 mile length. There is no good reason we don’t have a high speed maglev train going from Miami to Boston every hour and being priced so people don’t have to drive or fly.

    EinzelmcdermottSmrtnik
  • OghulkOghulk Registered User regular
    The problem with rail/transit investments in the US isn't government contracting it's the fact that if one entity wants to do an investment they have to go through a couple dozen OTHER governments to move utilities/get easements/change zoning/establish permits for construction/etc. Anytime a delay in one of those things happens a delay in another occurs and the cost of that just compounds on itself.

    BigJoeMzepherin
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