XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby george matthews » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:59 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:When I took the TGV from Paris to Milan, it was anything but a quick, high speed journey. We cruised at 186 mph between Paris and Lyon, and then diverged from the high speed line and crawled through the mountains on the way to Italy. I think the trip is like 10 hours.

I would think that not everyone was going all the way. There would be people getting on and off at intermediate stations, especially Lyon. I think a high speed line is planned for the last segment of that route.
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby Chafford1 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:30 am

The FRA have now published the draft Environmental Impact Assessment:


http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/1703

Interesting extracts re: the trains they are proposing to use and the average speeds:

'The Applicant has selected existing European intercity high-speed trains, customized for
the unique setting of the corridor. Both diesel/electric multiple unit (DEMU) and electric
multiple unit (EMU) train sets are being considered as high-speed train technology
options. The Applicant has identified two Bombardier train sets, the Meridian and
Regina, as representative examples of the respective DEMU and EMU technology options.
Meridian DEMU trains are currently operating in the United Kingdom; various
derivations of the Regina EMU trains are currently operating in Sweden and China. The
DEMU train set is projected to operate at a maximum speed of 125 mph. The EMU train
set could have a maximum speed of 125 mph or 150 mph.

Meridian:

Image

Regina:

Image

Detailed train simulations studies for the Applicant’s Preferred Action Alternative
Alignment have been run for 10-car trains. This length was based on the peak travel
demand forecast. Simulation results showed that seven to eight of the train cars would be
powered, although all train cars could be self-propelled. This configuration provides the
high power-to-weight ratio and distributed traction needed to follow the I-15 corridor and
negotiate the steep grades through the two desert mountain passes (the Applicant’s design
criteria limits slopes to a 4.5 percent maximum grade).

However, the EMU trains are wider and longer than the DEMU trains, which enable each
EMU train to carry approximately 41 percent more passengers than a DEMU train. As
previously noted, the EMU option would require the addition of 17 autotransformers and
three electrical substations along the route. The autotransformers would be located at
approximately 10-mile intervals along the rail alignment.

Bombardier, as well as the project Applicant’s independent technology consultants,
Interfleet Technologies Ltd. from the UK, has performed a preliminary analysis and
simulation of the DesertXpress High-speed Rail System using the following maximum
parameters applicable to the EMU operating system:

• maximum cruise speed of 125 mph (and, for the EMU option only, alternate
top speed of 150 mph)
• maximum acceleration rate of 1.8 mph/s (0.75 meters/second)
• maximum deceleration rate of 2.5 mph/s; and
• maximum actual super elevation of 6.0 inches.

Depending upon the direction of travel and the specific alignment and station locations,
one-way travel times are in the range of 84 to 100 minutes for the EMU technology option,
to 116 minutes for the DEMU technology option. DEMU average speeds would be
approximately 100 mph while EMU average speeds would be approximately 112 mph with
a 125 mph top speed. At a top speed of 150 mph the average speed would be
approximately 130 mph.'
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby Matt Johnson » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:33 am

If they're considering non-electric options, they could always get these cheap! (Sorry, had to say it!)
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby Nasadowsk » Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:25 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:If they're considering non-electric options, they could always get these cheap! (Sorry, had to say it!)


Realistically, they'll likely go electric - lower long term costs, higher growth potential. What everyone's missing here is that these casinos are NOT idiots, they're NOT new to huge budget projects, and they're NOT gamblers. If they're proposing this, you can bet the house that they've worked the numbers and are sure it'll work.
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Postby PullmanCo » Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:16 pm

What everyone's missing here is that these casinos are not idiots

Hmm. Original Amtrak service to Atlantic City, and now ACES. No traditional rail service from LA to LV in how long, never mind this very odd HSR attempt? Looks like they're pretty clueless about rail connections altogether.
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby george matthews » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:24 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:
Matt Johnson wrote:If they're considering non-electric options, they could always get these cheap! (Sorry, had to say it!)


Realistically, they'll likely go electric - lower long term costs, higher growth potential. What everyone's missing here is that these casinos are NOT idiots, they're NOT new to huge budget projects, and they're NOT gamblers. If they're proposing this, you can bet the house that they've worked the numbers and are sure it'll work.

That's assuming they are really investing their own money. Would they actually lose money if the service fails to attract enough paying customers? I suspect the overall capital cost for equipping an electrified line for this distance is much larger than they think. Big corporations have a habit of shifting the risk on to others - which is part of the reason for the current financial catastrophe. An electrified line really needs frequent service to make sense. TGV managers now think it was an error to exclude freight (the most recent Rail magazine in Britain has an article on this and says they are advising British planners to have freight as well on new TGV lines).
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby Nasadowsk » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:59 pm

george matthews wrote:That's assuming they are really investing their own money.


Well, their shareholder's money.

Would they actually lose money if the service fails to attract enough paying customers?


IMHO, they expect to 'lose' money on it, period. They don't care. They'll make it up on the Strip.

I suspect the overall capital cost for equipping an electrified line for this distance is much larger than they think.


These guys aren't new to big construction projects. They toss up new casinos all the time in LV and each one seems to gt more ambitious than the last...

Big corporations have a habit of shifting the risk on to others - which is part of the reason for the current financial catastrophe


My guess is they're hoping that eventually, they'll be able to shove it off onto California, if the Cali HSR system ever gets around to being built. I'm also starting to wonder what an expansion of the airport in Las Vegas would cost, and take a wild guess who'd end up paying for THAT one.

Look at it this way: The results basically are:

A) The line breaks even and brings in more gamblers. They end up rich.
B) The line doesn't break even, but brings in more gamblers. They make at up at the slots and end up sort of rich.
C) The line's a total flop. They lose a few billion over a few investing firms, but the state takes the line over and it brings in a trickle of gamblers for free, and the ridership eventually builds once a cali HSR connection appears. Hey, wait a second - they make their money back, again....
D) The line's a flop and the state refuses to take it over and it gets abandoned. The ROW gets sold and they write off the rest...
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby Chafford1 » Sat May 02, 2009 1:33 pm

From the Railway Technology website:

http://www.railway-technology.com/news/news54658.html

California High-Speed Rail Draft Approved

A high-speed rail line connecting Las Vegas to California has moved a step closer for implementation, with the Federal Railroad Administration passing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Desertxpress.

The 180-mile line will run on exclusive tracks along Interstate 15 between Victorville, California and Las Vegas if approved.

Trips between states could take an hour and 20 minutes at 150mph, according to reports.

Desertxpress Enterprise – the entity developing the project – is expected to invest $3.5–4bn on the project in addition to the $25m it has already spent on the EIS process.

According to the EIS, DesertXpress is forecast to carry more than 10 million people per year by 2015.

DesertXpress Enterprises' partner and spokesman, Sig Rogich, said: "The project is estimated to reduce up to 360 million pounds of CO2 emissions in the Interstate 15 corridor by greatly reducing automobile travel and replacing it with energy-efficient mass transportation in one of America's most-congested transportation corridors."
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby Matt Johnson » Sun May 03, 2009 4:32 pm

If they're only shooting for 150 mph, why not order Acela Express equipment? If they're planning on non-FRA compliant trains, then I think they will be prohibited from having any shared use tracks even in terminal areas.
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby Nasadowsk » Mon May 04, 2009 1:15 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:If they're only shooting for 150 mph, why not order Acela Express equipment? If they're planning on non-FRA compliant trains, then I think they will be prohibited from having any shared use tracks even in terminal areas.


They've stated that they're going to connect to the cali HSR system. FRA compliance means squat, if that's the case. And if FRA compliance isn't an issue, there's far better choices out there than the Acela. FAR better choices....
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby george matthews » Mon May 04, 2009 1:27 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:
They've stated that they're going to connect to the cali HSR system. FRA compliance means squat, if that's the case. And if FRA compliance isn't an issue, there's far better choices out there than the Acela. FAR better choices....


Proper lightweight trains. Lower energy, less track maintenance.
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby decisivemoment » Fri May 08, 2009 12:53 pm

Perhaps they're looking at using Bombardier's JetTrain, or similar. Several different turbo trains have been able to exceed 150mph on a sustained basis in test. Indeed, both the French and the British were looking at turbo technology, rather than electric, until the early 1970s oil crisis changed their direction. Initial TGV and APT prototypes were both turbo. The turbo APT-E was the first British train to 150mph, using none other than British Leyland gas turbines. If a train can achieve 150mph on an experimental British Leyland powerplant 35 years ago, it can surely do better with modern technology from a non-dysfunctional manufacturer. Indeed, United Technologies still holds the US record for rail speed with close to 171mph for the UAC TurboTrain on the Northeast Corridor. So it's certainly possible to have a non-electric train over 150mph in revenue service, IF it uses turbine technology. What's questionable is whether they can get fuel consumption under control.
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby Nasadowsk » Fri May 08, 2009 7:38 pm

decisivemoment wrote: What's questionable is whether they can get fuel consumption under control.


No, that's not, actually. It's simple - no turbine can match a diesel in rail service. Period. There's been tons of attempts, but none have ever succeeded.

Gas turbines are inherently piggy things. A significant amount of power is needed just to stay spinning. Even modern high bypass turbofans - which are more fan that turbo these days, aren't optimal - the gas generator's stages spin too slowly to be optimally efficient, limited by the fan speed. The next big thing is expected to be geared turbofans.

Turboshafts haven't improved much in 40 years - a few %. They're still below current diesels, even in steady state applications.

Gas turbines as a rail prime mover are dead. They're not coming back, either.
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby David Benton » Sat May 09, 2009 2:53 am

i would think they would be better off persuing high rpm diesel engines , rather than turbines . coupled to a high frequency or dc alternator , then through an inverter . thats the way gensets are going and would provide a lightweight setup .
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Postby kaitoku » Sat May 09, 2009 5:38 am

Hey, I'm all for the DesertXpress to be built- it will be privately funded, after all. And if it fails, it may still help with U.S. HSR infrastructure (specifically California's HSR network)- as in result "C" in Nasadowsk's post above.

As for train design, if they want 150mph trains, they have to go electric- which nowadays means EMU with three-phase traction motors. Diesel may be good for running up to 125mph, but it still uses fossil fuels. With electric, they can get the power from solar panel farms (there's plenty of sunshine out there in the Mojave), or perhaps more realistically, (future) nuclear plants.
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