Satty

Ultra-fast trains ordered

33 posts in this topic

Linkypoo

By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune reporter

July 18, 2009

New passenger trains capable of exceeding 200 m.p.h. will operate from Chicago to Milwaukee under a purchase agreement that Wisconsin officials announced Friday.

The $47 million deal with the Spanish train manufacturer Talgo includes two sets of 14-car passenger trains.

The trains will be assembled at plants in Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle said.

Each train, outfitted with large windows and passenger comforts, could accommodate more than 400 riders, depending on the seating configuration, officials said.

The deal marks the first train order as part of plans to build high-speed rail corridors across the Midwest using federal stimulus money and investment by states.

Amtrak's Chicago-to-Milwaukee line has experienced strong ridership growth in recent years. Plans call for increasing top train speeds to 110 m.p.h. from the current 79 m.p.h. and extending the high-speed rail corridor to Madison, Wis., and up to Minneapolis by about 2015.

High-speed trains would knock 45 minutes off the current 1-hour, 40-minute trip from Chicago to Milwaukee, after track improvements are made to facilitate faster speeds. The trains leaving Chicago would not throttle up significantly until somewhere north of the Glenview station.

Illinois plans to study the feasibility of eventually ramping up train speeds to a maximum of 220 m.p.h. on corridors from Chicago to St. Louis, Detroit and other cities.

Hopefully the first step in a large high-speed rail network in the U.S.

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Oh, and built in Wisconsin, think that town is thrilled with the stimulus?

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I'm sure that they are.

Hell, its the first part of that whole mess that I'm happy about.

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This is really good news and really where we need to be heading as a nation.

WOW!

Chris

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Linkypoo

Hopefully the first step in a large high-speed rail network in the U.S.

Yeah, but once the NIMBY people start popping up, they'll have to reroute the trains so that they still take the same time as the slow trains.

Maybe they'll have the sense to put the tracks underground.

Unfortunately, 200 mph trains can be noisy on the outside.

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Yeah, but once the NIMBY people start popping up, they'll have to reroute the trains so that they still take the same time as the slow trains.

Maybe they'll have the sense to put the tracks underground.

Unfortunately, 200 mph trains can be noisy on the outside.

This is happening in California in the SF Peninsula. They don't want the train. It makes no sense to me, they have a dedicated corridor for the train already (CalTrain).

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Hold on here. The stimulus only offered up $8billion for high speed rail, which isn't enough to do any significant work on any high speed line. These new trains may be capable of going 200 MPH, but I would put money on the fact that the track is not suitable for such speeds. High speed rail track needs to be 1) electrified 2) fitted with concrete ties instead of wooden ones and 3) very, very, very straight, with no level crossings. Things like the TGV in France and the Shinkansen in Japan got all new track with very gentle curves, and overpasses for every road. It will be quite a long and expensive slog in this country before there are any real high speed trains.

Also, the stimulus bill defines travel at 110 mph to be "high speed", whereas the average speed on the TGV network is 150 mph and trains top out at over 180 mph, with faster trains and more high speed track on the way.

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Acela seems to be doing pretty well with an average speed of around 70mph.

High_Speed_Rail_07-09-2009.JPG

Thats a nice start, but I think if they want sustained success, they'll have to put high-speed rail through the "empty" states to connect the midwest and west coast. A true trans-continental high speed rail line would be wonderful.

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Acela seems to be doing pretty well with an average speed of around 70mph.

High_Speed_Rail_07-09-2009.JPG

Thats a nice start, but I think if they want sustained success, they'll have to put high-speed rail through the "empty" states to connect the midwest and west coast. A true trans-continental high speed rail line would be wonderful.

The trick is not the existence of one, but frequency, timeliness and a viable competition against cars and airplanes.

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Acela seems to be doing pretty well with an average speed of around 70mph.

I just took Acela on Monday. The train is fine, comfortable seats, but the track is laid out in an impossible way and goes around many many tight curves and it doesn't go nearly as quickly as it should. Also, it's not cheap at $90 each way, it's only slightly less expensive than flying. In its favor is good legroom and you emerge at Penn Station (which is a total dump btw) instead of Laguardia, but it needs to be much faster. I like California's high speed rail plan: in order to accommodate future population growth, it is a cheaper plan than expanding airports and widening/adding Interstates and other roads. For places that already have a good highway network and airports, this isn't nearly as pressing.

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Acela has shortcomings, but ridership is up. Even if the travel isn't as fast, its a lot quicker to get on a train than it is to get on an airplane. I'd love to see dedicated tracks laid out in the proper fashion, but this is America and we do things quickly then realize 30 years later it was a terrible idea and completely change it.

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Neat, now how much money is this going to lose?

I'm all in favor of laying more rail down though.

depends if states operate it, the feds keep it, or if it's privatized..... but i'm sure you were thinking that...

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In California, almost all passenger rail that remains inside of our borders is operated by the State Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and not AMTRAK. Caltrans also has thruway motor coaches to reach more destinations and our trains are some of the busiest in America. If we had high speed here, it would help out so much.

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In California, almost all passenger rail that remains inside of our borders is operated by the State Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and not AMTRAK. Caltrans also has thruway motor coaches to reach more destinations and our trains are some of the busiest in America. If we had high speed here, it would help out so much.

Lets also not forget that none of California's passenger rail lines are actually profitable. In fact its generally more expensive to take the train than to drive. Plus its slower than driving. The only upshot is you don't have to drive.

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Lets also not forget that none of California's passenger rail lines are actually profitable. In fact its generally more expensive to take the train than to drive. Plus its slower than driving. The only upshot is you don't have to drive.

I don't know if they are unprofitable. The capital corridor and the san joaquins are always packed. Also not everybody can afford a car or have a car big enough to take the whole family and luggage someplace.

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I don't know if they are unprofitable. The capital corridor and the san joaquins are always packed. Also not everybody can afford a car or have a car big enough to take the whole family and luggage someplace.

I am not arguing the convenience of the train system, i am merely saying that now is not a time to embark upon a venture that has a negative ROI. Especially not in California, which, lets see, has no cash and no means of financing such a venture.

From what i can see, AMTRAK has never once turned a profit, and has only one profitable route back east. Even though the San Joaquin rail has very high load ratings, they still make a loss per passenger.

Now, a high speed rail MAY be able to be profitable since it can make more trips on a given day. However i must wonder how a high speed rail works, is it a dedicated rail or must it be shared with commercial traffic? I cannot imagine that it would be shared since commercial rails tend to go much slower. I would not be supportive of a measure to make existing rail into dedicated high speed rails since that would be an adverse hit to commerce, which is actually profitable.

Then again, the real question is why did the passenger trains fail in the first place, the most obvious answer would be, of course, the government who built up a massive network of interstate highways... slowly leading to the demise of the passenger rail systems.

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From what I have read on the CA HS rail plan, most of the line would be on the UP right of way with its own rails and they would have to eliminate all grade crossings. Thru the peninsula, they would be on the CalTrain right of way (Former SP).

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From what I have read on the CA HS rail plan, most of the line would be on the UP right of way with its own rails and they would have to eliminate all grade crossings. Thru the peninsula, they would be on the CalTrain right of way (Former SP).

The one thing i never understood, are they stealing the rail that goes through Techachapi through the grapevine for this or no? And if so, that's a huge disservice to the far larger Bakersfield that would see more benefits from the rail system. IMO it would make more sense to extend the San Joaquin line down to LA and make that the high speed rail... although that would mean that Kern would have to build overpasses which... well lets face it, Kern only spends the bare minimum on infrastructure, since your from fresno im sure you understand that feeling when you see the KERN sign and the immediately worse quality roads on the 99 or the 5.

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Then again, the real question is why did the passenger trains fail in the first place, the most obvious answer would be, of course, the government who built up a massive network of interstate highways... slowly leading to the demise of the passenger rail systems.

+1

Had we not built the interstates, we wouldn't have these problems.

No rail network in the world is profitable as far as I know for passenger use. However, given the fuel savings, congestion savings, land savings, global warming benefit, etc. I think rail is an excellent idea.

Chris

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+1

Had we not built the interstates, we wouldn't have these problems.

No rail network in the world is profitable as far as I know for passenger use. However, given the fuel savings, congestion savings, land savings, global warming benefit, etc. I think rail is an excellent idea.

Chris

The Hong Kong subway & related lines are profitable. Additionally i believe there is one (1) other country in the world who has a city with a profitable subway & related rail line.

Hong Kong has 2 subway companies, 1 is private, the other is a publicly traded public enterprise (for profit).

Then again, Hong Kong has amongst the highest population density of any city on this planet so its really no surprise.

Fuel savings only works to the extent that fuel prices do not drop off accordingly. If more people used public transit then fuel would be cheaper as there would be less demand for it. Eventually it reaches the point where its cheaper just to drive... which would, in effect, be a government subsidized fuel cost.

Edited by Teh Ricer Civic!
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Someone needs to figure out how to do this right.

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Someone needs to figure out how to do this right.

So long as airlines and highways exist, there will never be a point where rail will be profitable... unless highway systems are not updated.

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The one thing i never understood, are they stealing the rail that goes through Techachapi through the grapevine for this or no? And if so, that's a huge disservice to the far larger Bakersfield that would see more benefits from the rail system. IMO it would make more sense to extend the San Joaquin line down to LA and make that the high speed rail... although that would mean that Kern would have to build overpasses which... well lets face it, Kern only spends the bare minimum on infrastructure, since your from fresno im sure you understand that feeling when you see the KERN sign and the immediately worse quality roads on the 99 or the 5.

Caltrans maintains Highway 99 and Interstate 5, not Kern County. However, Kern County has a very anti-tax mentality. Fresno and Tulare Counties have their half cent sales taxes dedicated to transportation, which is paying for a lot of new projects, including expansion of non-regional State highways and interchanges. Similar measures have failed in Kern County. That's why they have had very limited new infrastructure built, and most has been built using developer fees. Former Congressman Bill Thomas, a Republican, did get his $630 million pork barrel earmarks before he left Congress, and it will pay for a lot of new infrastructure, such as new Highway 178 interchanges and widening, Rosedale Highway widening, and the new Centennial Corridor freeway.

The high speed rail line between Bakersfield and Palmdale will be on its own dedicated track.

I'm not sold on high speed rail yet. I think it will turn the Central Valley into bedroom communities, and it will suck up limited infrastructure funding. The backers claim that it will turn a $1 billion profit each year, but I'm not convinced.

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