• Not in Biden's plan but we will lead the world in High-Speed Rail . . . yeah right!

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

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by scratchyX1
 
GeorgeR wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:44 am
eolesen wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:02 pmOh, just about everything... Everyone fawns over how there's high speed rail outside the US, but that was largely built by governments who didn't have to worry about following environmental laws, honoring private land ownership, paying taxes, or finding workers. In China specifically, there's no shortage of slave or conscripted labor to build rail.
While this is a valid point regarding mainland China, other countries with big networks relative to the countries' size and population are France, Spain, Germany, Japan and South Korea.
Not to mention Morroco, malasia , israelí, the UK.
  by bostontrainguy
 
GeorgeR wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:44 am While this is a valid point regarding mainland China, other countries with big networks relative to the countries' size and population are France, Spain, Germany, Japan and South Korea.
And I would guess even more congested and physically restricted than we are here in the USA.
  by electricron
 
GeorgeR wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:44 am While this is a valid point regarding mainland China, other countries with big networks relative to the countries' size and population are France, Spain, Germany, Japan and South Korea.
Size of nation matters very much.
France area is 248,573 square miles
Spain area is 195,364 square miles
Germany area is 137,988 square miles
Japan area is 145,914 square miles
South Korea is 38,691 square miles
For comparison, two states - Alaska and Texas - are as large as the largest nations on this list, and 38 states are as large as the smallest nations on this list.

You could drive across any of the other nations on this list within 10 hours (Calais to Toulouse) , to drive across Texas on Interstate 10 (Anthony to Orange) it would take per Google 12.75 hours to drive the 880 miles. So size matters when discussing the length of train trips.

The United States has an area of 3.797 million square miles. Per Google it would take 46 hours to drive 3,096 miles from San Francisco to Boston.
  by wigwagfan
 
One of the issues I have with a certain high speed rail backer in the Pacific Northwest is that high speed rail is being sold as literally all things to all people, when in fact many of the things sold, high speed rail can't deliver on.

High Speed Rail is not a commuter train. In most countries, HSR competed with short-haul air travel, NOT highway travel. And since most highway travel, even on the Interstate system, is fairly localized most of the stated benefits just aren't going to materialize.

On top of that, in the markets I'm familiar with - specifically the I-5 corridor between Vancouver, BC and Eugene, Oregon, there's already very low intercity transit service available. Why? Because there isn't the demand for it. While Seattle-Portland is fairly strong, Amtrak still struggled to fill up its four daily trains. The early morning trains were typically full, but the midday trains almost always had plenty of capacity right up to train time except during busy holiday weekends. The problem is Seattle and Portland are close enough for a day trip, but using Amtrak makes a same day trip next to impossible unless you take that early morning train. Meanwhile, Portland to Salem, despite having a strong commuting travel pattern, has just one Amtrak train that is somewhat usable for commuting, and a small handful of buses - most of which don't connect the two cities, but end up in Wilsonville (the southernmost suburb of Portland) and force a connection to Wilsonville's transit system, which in turn forces a connection to TriMet in Tualatin or Tigard.

If we can't even manage to attract enough ridership to fill up a 40 foot bus every hour (or two, or three), how are we going to manage to attract enough people to ride a 400 foot long train every hour? So far induced demand hasn't worked for Amtrak Cascades or WES Commuter Rail, much less Flixbus, Bolt Bus, Greyhound, the numerous airport shuttle buses, or Cherriots and SMART, or POINT.
  by electricron
 
The Pacific Northwest HSR line would not be interconnected with a national HSR network of services even if it were built. All the individual proposed HSR projects in the USA are being planned as separate projects, not as a network of projects. Texas Central has no plans in the future to extend its' line, or build a network of lines. Neither does California HSR have plans to extend its' lines beyond the state line, it is relying upon others to do so. The USA us going to end up with a hodgepodge of HSR lines using different technologies scattered across America - assuming all the proposed projects gets built. One line does not make a network. We did not build one Interstate Highway, nor one airway corridor - we built a vast network of both of them.
Spain's HSR "network" is considered the largest in Europe, at 2,010 miles of HSR lines as of 2017. The lines go out in almost every compass direction from a central hub in Madrid. They planned and built an interconnected network of HSR, not just one line. You can ride them all the way across the country over 2010 miles of HSR tracks over several different routes. That same 2010 miles of HSR corridors would not span all the way across the USA even once. Shucks, few would pay almost airline fares do so even if you could ride a HSR train all the way from NYC to LA, it would just take too long because the distance is too large.
Amtrak's plan is not a national HSR plan, it is an expansion of the existing intercity plan with hopefully slightly faster speeds.
  by kitchin
 
How to even define HSR is not clear to me. As late as 2015, North Carolina's plan defined it as 110 mph, in the still current DOT state roundup here: https://railroads.dot.gov/rail-network- ... n-guidance Then in 2016 the Obama plan defined HSR as 125 mph ("core express" vs. "regional"), and left Atlanta off the map: https://railroads.dot.gov/elibrary/high ... highlights Like this thread says, 2021's Connect Us doesn't mention HSR. A somewhat deeper article than the Yahoo News one may be this one: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/tr ... lan-492348
  by Ken W2KB
 
electricron wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:27 pm Size of nation matters very much.
France area is 248,573 square miles
Spain area is 195,364 square miles
Germany area is 137,988 square miles
Japan area is 145,914 square miles
South Korea is 38,691 square miles
For comparison, two states - Alaska and Texas - are as large as the largest nations on this list, and 38 states are as large as the smallest nations on this list.
Well said! Reminded me of this old joke, A Texan and a Rhode Islander met at a bar. The Texan said, "a train in Texas takes over 10 hours to travel from one end of the state to the other". The Rhode Islander replied, "we also have some slow trains in Rhode Island". :wink:
  by electricron
 
Ken W2KB wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:36 am Well said! Reminded me of this old joke, A Texan and a Rhode Islander met at a bar. The Texan said, "a train in Texas takes over 10 hours to travel from one end of the state to the other". The Rhode Islander replied, "we also have some slow trains in Rhode Island". :wink:
Check the Sunset Limited's schedule again,
Beaumont Texas 3:48 pm (CT) at mile 281
El Paso Texas 1:22 pm (MT) at mile 1178
Elapse Time approximately 22 hours and 24 minutes (22.4 hours) including the time change over 897 rail miles, averaging 40 mph.
22.4 hours is more than twice as long as the 10 hours in your old joke. The elapse time for the Texas Eagle between El Pao and Texarkana is even longer over an even longer distance. The old joke makes Texas look smaller than it is, sad!

If you wanted a train to compete with a plane between El Paso and Beaumont, shooting for that magically 3 hour sweet spot, the HSR train would have to average 299 mph. I'm not even sure a maglev train could average speeds that high over that far a distance.

At some point, HSR advocates will have to recognize that there is a limit on distance for HSR to be price (fares) competitive with airlines.
When the trip takes longer than 3 hours, most passengers start looking at faster alternatives, especially when the fares between HSR trains and planes are similar.
  by west point
 
Eletricron: You are making a mistake. Of course some will go with your 3 hour post. Others will not. Others will have separate limits. Personally I will not fly to any location that I can drive in 6 - 7 hours or less. If I can take a train I will if I have to drive more than 3-1/2hours. So people are different .
  by eolesen
 
As someone who did consulting with Japanese and Chinese airlines for five years, that three hour benchmark is close enough to what they used to determine when HSR was worth competing with on price....

They also have more captive audiences given how low of a percentage of the population own cars, and rail was their only serious competition.

In the US, 6 hours driving or 400 miles seems to be the breakpoint to where the curve flips towards flying.

Outside of BOS-NYC-PHL-WAS, no airline takes Amtrak into serious consideration on pricing.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by electricron
 
west point wrote: Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:47 pm Eletricron: You are making a mistake. Of course some will go with your 3 hour post. Others will not. Others will have separate limits. Personally I will not fly to any location that I can drive in 6 - 7 hours or less. If I can take a train I will if I have to drive more than 3-1/2hours. So people are different .
Market share I'm discussing is between trains and planes - not cars. Cars throw an entirely different competition into the mix because they are private vehicles and do not report fares nor seats sold. DOTs may count the number of axles at a given point in a freeway, but unless the bean counters stop and ask every car and truck where it was driving from and where it is going, pretty difficult to count specifics.

Let's ask Google how many drivers drive the 239 miles of I-45 between Dallas and Houston.
Not interested in crashes and fatalities, so guess what pops up on page 2? Texas Central web page.....
http://www.texascentral.com/wp-content/ ... ochure.pdf
Realize these statistics are being used to gather popular political support for the HSR train.
"Each year, roughly 14 million journeys are made between Greater Houston and North Texas. Calculated using a variety of data sources, including traffic count data from TxDOT, Bluetooth data from TTI and cell phone data, this estimate includes all flights, bus journeys, and non-commercial/non-freight road traffic. Research indicates most journeys are made for personal reasons, nearly half of which are to visit friends and family. Other reasons for travel across the region include taking a vacation/weekend trip, going to a game or shopping. Trips for business are common, representing nearly 20% of all journeys, while students also represent a significant portion of the travel market between Houston and North Texas. More than 90% of journeys between Houston and North Texas are made by road, typically using Interstate-45 or the Western alternative route, which consists of a series of interstates, state highways, and farm to market roads. Drive times can range from 3.5 to 5.5 hours."
(Note: They are supposedly not counting semi-trucks on the freeway.)

So, 90% of 14 million calculates to 12.6 million journeys drive every year while only 1.4 million fly per Texas Central.
I have no idea when taking the slow trains or fast planes gets the majority market share over cars. It would be nice if there was a statistic showing that, can anyone find such a link?

How about this link? https://nypost.com/2019/05/17/why-three ... er-flying/
"The average American would happily add 6.5 hours to their travel time if it meant they could drive to their destination instead of flying."

So that means the sweet spot for driving market share wise is twice as long as riding a train, 6.5 hours vs 3 hours. How do you feel about that?
  by electricron
 
eolesen wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:56 am I think I already said 6 hours driving or 400 miles is the breakpoint to where the curve flips away from driving and towards flying... ;)
Yes, you gave your own personal opinion earlier. I think I found a real study that found many saying basically the same. Never-the-less, it is a study on what people say they will do, not a study on what they actually do. I still have not found that one, although I stopped looking after finding the study I did find.
The last time I drove over 6 hours in a single day I got a flat tire. Lost two to three hours putting on the spare and replacing with a new tire at the next tire store in the next city. Driving can be hassle free, but hassles can arise to ruin the trip. But hassles can occur with every mode of transit.
  by eolesen
 
electricron wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:02 am
eolesen wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:56 am I think I already said 6 hours driving or 400 miles is the breakpoint to where the curve flips away from driving and towards flying... ;)
Yes, you gave your own personal opinion earlier. I think I found a real study that found many saying basically the same.
Glad that you found a study to back up what I've learned the hard way after 35 years working in and for the airline industry and looking at raw data. ;)
  by Ken W2KB
 
eolesen wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:56 am I think I already said 6 hours driving or 400 miles is the breakpoint to where the curve flips away from driving and towards flying... ;)
In addition to this, there is another factor which I experienced in my career. When fellow employees flew round trip from Newark, NJ to Washington, DC for meetings, I asked why not take Metroliner/later Acela like I do since Newark Penn Station is only a 5 minute walk from the office, and most meetings were in DC within walking or short cab ride of Union Station. The universal answer was that they wanted to accumulate the frequent flyer miles for use with their family for vacations. When I responded that Amtrak has a similar rewards program, the answer was why would I spend [20 or whatever] hours on the train when in 3 or so hours I could fly and have an extra day or two at the beach/resort/local tours, etc. After 911 security enhancements, the TSA and other pre-clearance or similar programs were paid for by the employer so there was far less need to arrive very early at the airports.