High Speed Rail - Imitate France?

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polycarp2

QUOTE:

"Even a rocket-like super train will be slowed to a snail's pace when it runs on poor quality tracks and has to stop too often. Even a Ferrari can't muster up much more than a leisurely pace when it travels on a dirt road."

"France, with its spectacularly speedy travel times, has proven that progress is truly not a matter of just producing more and more high technology. The country has Europe's oldest and most attractive high-speed train system. The TGV, with its thoroughly solid, venerable old Alstom trains, travels from Paris to Marseille -- 661 kilometers (411 miles) as the crow flies -- in just three hours. Even the most modern ICE takes five and a half hours -- nearly twice as long -- to cover the shorter distance between Hamburg and Munich."

"The super-high-speed, three-hour service from Paris to Marseille, for example, passes through Lyon and Avignon without stopping. This is the only way for a train to have unparalleled speed on this line -- and three hours is a travel time that allows train travel to beat even flight."

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,699847,00.html

On my last train trip across the Mojave Desert...on a straight-run track, we slowed to 5 m.p.h. The conductor informed me the tarck was so bad, if we went any faster we'd de-rail. If we ever develop high-speed trains...we'd have to build high-speed track to accomodate them..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Comments

Leman Russ
Leman Russ's picture
The entire Country of France

The entire Country of France is Smaller then the State of Texas. Until High speed Rail gets into the 200MpH rage is it useless in the US. With the exception of Northeast area of the US with High density populations.

polycarp2
Leman Russ wrote:The entire

Leman Russ wrote:
The entire Country of France is Smaller then the State of Texas. Until High speed Rail gets into the 200MpH rage is it useless in the US. With the exception of Northeast area of the US with High density populations.

Are you suggesting that under a 2 hour train trip from L.A. to San Francisco is unfeasable? Or a trip from Denver to L.A....breakfast in Denver, lunch in Los Angeles isn't worthwhile? Trains  go city center to city center.

From where I live, it's ten minutes to downtown Denver...soon to be fed by light rail 2 blocks away. It's nearly an hour to the airport. Airport hastles at each end...would make train travel preferable...and just as fast. With proper track, trains can more than exceed the 200 mph you mention..

QUOTE:  "....the Munich-based company which aimed to challenge its French competitor Alstom, a company with a glowing industrial reputation for its successful high-performance trains. Alstom holds the world record in rail travel with a speed of 575 kph (357 mph).

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,699847,00.html

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Leman Russ
Leman Russ's picture
polycarp2 wrote: Leman Russ

polycarp2 wrote:

Leman Russ wrote:
The entire Country of France is Smaller then the State of Texas. Until High speed Rail gets into the 200MpH rage is it useless in the US. With the exception of Northeast area of the US with High density populations.

Are you suggesting that under a 2 hour train trip from L.A. to San Francisco is unfeasable?


Feasable, maybe. the TGV runs 160mph and the Distance is 383 miles. They would have to crank it up a couple notch's.

But a flight from LAX to SFO only takes an hour and costs $193.00 round trip and runs every hour

The TGV round trip cost $183 pounds and has 4 trains a day.

Cost more, Take more time. Less flexable. Infrastructure cost are skyhigh. They do look pretty. Been on the TGV by the way with my Eurorail pass.

Trains are not greener.

polycarp2
And note the newer trains can

And note the newer trains can reach speeds exceeding 300mph. Cutting the time from L.A. to S.F. to a little over an hour. Less than the drive time for most to and from the airports at each end.

If track isn't designed for high speeds....a train capable of high speeds is useless.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Leman Russ
Leman Russ's picture
polycarp2 wrote: And note the

polycarp2 wrote:

And note the newer trains can reach speeds exceeding 300mph. Cutting the time from L.A. to S.F. to a little over an hour. Less than the drive time for most to and from the airports at each end.

If track isn't designed for high speeds....a train capable of high speeds is useless.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"


Being able to go 300 mph is not the same as commericially going 300 mph. As I said TGV goes 160 commercially and China's goes 190. And China's is a Maglift Train.

PeeWee Returns
PeeWee Returns's picture
polycarp2 wrote: Are you

polycarp2 wrote:

Are you suggesting that under a 2 hour train trip from L.A. to San Francisco is unfeasable? Or a trip from Denver to L.A....breakfast in Denver, lunch in Los Angeles isn't worthwhile? Trains  go city center to city center.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

We already have empty Amtrak trains that serve those areas.  I think it would be a smart idea to have faster, higher speed empty trains to serve those areas too.

meljomur
meljomur's picture
I am so much a proponent of

I am so much a proponent of train travel.  It rocks!!

However, Amtrak in the US is pretty awful, mainly because most trains share track with cargo trains.  And when the cargo trains have to get through, guess who has priority... (hint, its not the people train). 

My family and I took a train from Seattle to Portland once, and it took over 5 hours.  Why?  Because we kept stopping for the cargo trains to get through.  At one point we were stopped at a complete standstill for over an hour!  Good lord, in Germany the train driver would be fired if they took that long to go such a short distance! 

There is no excuse for not having better, faster, cheaper train service in the US.  It is far more environmentally friendly if the trains are full (which in Europe they tend to be)

Why is it so impossible?  If anything having a bigger country, should make it far more feasible, not less feasible.  Countries like Russia and China have much better train service than the USA (and both are larger).

I suppose until gas prices become exhorbitant to most Americans, the demand for rail service will never be too great.  Its a shame, because its an amazing way to travel, and it sure beats the hell out of airport hassle.

polycarp2
Big difference between a 12

Big difference between a 12 hour train ride and one a little over an hour. By the time you drive to the S.F. airport and board a plane, you could be in L.A.

Don't fret. High speed rail in the U.S. is a pipe dream. For starters, we don't have the expertise. We'll keep pouring billions into airports. We know how to pour concrete runways. Most third world countries do....even Haiti.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

 

meljomur
meljomur's picture
Hey poly, I was looking for

Hey poly, I was looking for information on high speed rail, and look what I stumbled upon!  They are building a high speed rail line in Florida, of all places! 

Interesting website too.

drew013
drew013's picture
PeeWee Returns wrote:  I

PeeWee Returns wrote:

 I think it would be a smart idea to have faster, higher speed empty trains to serve those areas too.

Ever ride the Pere Marquette?  I did once.  It was packed.  But yeah, I agree that in most of the country, rail might not be the most effective means of transportation.  But between cities like L.A. and S.F.,  rail might just pick up some traction. The drive between the two sucks big time.  I've done it too many times to remember.  L.A. to Las Vegas by way of Riverside or San Bernardino might work pretty well, too. And there's the Northeastern corridor, which IMO could use an upgrade.

quaestorchickpea
quaestorchickpea's picture
PeeWee Returns

PeeWee Returns wrote:

polycarp2 wrote:

Are you suggesting that under a 2 hour train trip from L.A. to San Francisco is unfeasable? Or a trip from Denver to L.A....breakfast in Denver, lunch in Los Angeles isn't worthwhile? Trains  go city center to city center.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

We already have empty Amtrak trains that serve those areas.  I think it would be a smart idea to have faster, higher speed empty trains to serve those areas too.


I see that again you fail to grasp as to why the things are the way they are. Why do you think the trains are empty.

What we need to do is nationalize the train services as most industrial countries have done especially in Europe like in France, Germany and UK. The efficiency of the state combined with various regulations would solve the ridership and thus the social return on investments.

For starters no more oil subsidies which should rise the price of oil a couple of dollars. Then tax it so that it reflects the true social costs of oil consumption. That should be somewhere around 10 to 20 $ per gallon. Next regulate both driver's licenses and number of cars on the highways. Driver license is a privilege and as such limit the number issued. Along with that limit the number of cars on the roads. Permits are required to own a vehicle even if it does not work and number of cars per household would be greatly limited. That should pretty much force people to take trains.

polycarp2
meljomur wrote: Hey poly, I

meljomur wrote:

Hey poly, I was looking for information on high speed rail, and look what I stumbled upon!  They are building a high speed rail line in Florida, of all places! 

Interesting website too.

I'd like to know who the engineering firms are that are designing the high speed track (we have no experience with that). The German firm, Siemens, has trained  U.S. personnel to lay track for our light rail systems.  Who is going to build the high speed trains when we can't even build  light rail trains?. San Deigo began with U.S. products...and switched to European ones when they didn't work. Denver uses Swiss imports.

At this point, the new French trains are probably the superior ones...with speeds in excess of 300 mph....and it all hinges on the track.

The Calif. high speed rail system is going to break ground in 2012. Hopefully, based on the French model...and a switch to 300+ mph trains vs. the 200+ mph trains  they are contemplating.

Current U.S. locomotives/cars aren't high speed. If we make them ourselves, they have to be designed, engineered, production facilities machine tooled, built....something it took the French and Germans decades to develop.

I know, I know. American exceptionalism will do it in 3 months. Maybe even a working streetcar will come out of it so San Diego can replace its imports..

Sometimes, Mel, I make facetious comments...like not worrying about the U.S. ever building high speed rail. We'll get around to it.

Sooner or later, if  countries can adopt superior technologies, they do. I'm surprised that in high speed rail, China beat us to the punch in adopting the technology.. Until recently, they've relied on steam locomotives made in China. Steam to high speed is quite a leap. China, being a developing country, (albeit a rapidly developing one) will rely on foreign imports for its high speed rail systems for now..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

meljomur
meljomur's picture
I knew you were being

I knew you were being facetious poly.  But I thought it was interesting that Florida of all places is planning a high speed rail link.  But why its not even beginning until 2014, is odd.  And seems a bit too little too late.

I often wonder about the country with so much ingenuity in the early 20th century, now seeming to play catch up with the rest of the world.

Yes, I know America has the capability to blow up the entire planet 100X over, but so what.  Is that the future plan?  If the rest of the world gets too far ahead, the US will just end it for all of us...Now I am being facetious, or am I? ;)

PeeWee Returns
PeeWee Returns's picture
drew013 wrote: Ever ride the

drew013 wrote:

Ever ride the Pere Marquette?  I did once.  

I ride it a couple of times a year.  Convenient as hell if your destination is The Loop.  I don't know about "crowded" though.  It's never crowded when I've been on it.

PeeWee Returns
PeeWee Returns's picture
meljomur wrote: Hey poly, I

meljomur wrote:

Hey poly, I was looking for information on high speed rail, and look what I stumbled upon!  They are building a high speed rail line in Florida, of all places! 

A huge gift for Mickey Mouse.  Beautiful.