Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

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Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Galen » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:56 am UTC

This guy thinks the US can and must.

Sounds lovely (I despise flying almost as much as I disdain pat-downs), but is it actually feasible?

Seattle to Chicago by Amtrak costs $150 and takes 45 hours. Seattle to Chicago by plane costs $200(inc. tax) and takes 6 hours including two hours for check-in and security. On High Speed Rail, it'll cost at least as much as a plane and take at least 9 hours (based on 200mph avg speed for ~1700miles).

Another option would be only shorthaul routes (less than 5 hours). NY to DC, DC to Atlanta. Seattle to Sacramento, Sacramento to SD. With airport time, Seattle to Sacramento is 4 hours. Train stations are often downtown while airports are on the periphery, so trains are likely more convenient.

I live in Korea where HSR takes you from one end of the country to the other in 2.5 hours. It costs 45000 heavily subsidized KRW (22GBP). Or for 20000KRW (10GBP) you can go the same distance on a bus in 4 hours. A lot of people take the bus.

Is it worth it? Will people ride it? Could this be a profitably stimulating expenditure for the US govt?
Jahoclave wrote:It's not a matter of practicality. It's a matter of sticking it to France. We should have the fastest damn train on the planet. It doesn't matter if it goes from Utah to nowhere.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:15 am UTC

This briefly came up in Obama Cuts the Bullshit, and I think I'll have to stand by my claims that this is not feasible in the United States. If we extrapolate the San Francisco - Los Angeles rail costs off the recently passed Prop 1A (at around $20 billion for 380 miles of rail, not counting likely cost overruns) then a Seattle-Chicago line would cost over $100 billion dollars just to connect two cities. The United States has around 60% of Europe's population yet over twice the landmass, high speed rail just isn't a practical solution for us.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Dream » Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:26 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote: If we extrapolate the San Francisco - Los Angeles rail costs off the recently passed Prop 1A (at around $20 billion for 380 miles of rail, not counting likely cost overruns) then a Seattle-Chicago line would cost over $100 billion dollars just to connect two cities.


But... doesn't that actually mean that the seaboards are perfect candidates for high speed rail? The distances and population centres are perfectly arranged for it. Sure, it wouldn't be a Europe style network, but it would serve the various cities very very well. Crossing the plains might be a bit useless, but the US is big enough that regional rather than national rails are feasible.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Jahoclave » Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:55 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:This briefly came up in Obama Cuts the Bullshit, and I think I'll have to stand by my claims that this is not feasible in the United States. If we extrapolate the San Francisco - Los Angeles rail costs off the recently passed Prop 1A (at around $20 billion for 380 miles of rail, not counting likely cost overruns) then a Seattle-Chicago line would cost over $100 billion dollars just to connect two cities. The United States has around 60% of Europe's population yet over twice the landmass, high speed rail just isn't a practical solution for us.

And I believe my stance supersedes his. It's not a matter of practicality. It's a matter of sticking it to France. We should have the fastest damn train on the planet. It doesn't matter if it goes from Utah to nowhere.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby william » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:03 am UTC

What Dream said. We should run a train system through the East Coast and one through the West Coast.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Azrael001 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:05 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:And I believe my stance supersedes his. It's not a matter of practicality. It's a matter of sticking it to France. We should have the fastest damn train on the planet. It doesn't matter if it goes from Utah to nowhere.
I like the way you think.

Also, wouldn't longer distances mean that faster trains are better, not worse? I suppose they'd be more expensive...
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby wisnij » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:43 am UTC

Dream wrote:But... doesn't that actually mean that the seaboards are perfect candidates for high speed rail? The distances and population centres are perfectly arranged for it. Sure, it wouldn't be a Europe style network, but it would serve the various cities very very well. Crossing the plains might be a bit useless, but the US is big enough that regional rather than national rails are feasible.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby william » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:35 am UTC

wisnij wrote:
Dream wrote:But... doesn't that actually mean that the seaboards are perfect candidates for high speed rail? The distances and population centres are perfectly arranged for it. Sure, it wouldn't be a Europe style network, but it would serve the various cities very very well. Crossing the plains might be a bit useless, but the US is big enough that regional rather than national rails are feasible.

The BAMA, it calls to us!

Huh? Obama? Where?
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Jahoclave » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:16 am UTC

Azrael001 wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:And I believe my stance supersedes his. It's not a matter of practicality. It's a matter of sticking it to France. We should have the fastest damn train on the planet. It doesn't matter if it goes from Utah to nowhere.
I like the way you think.

Also, wouldn't longer distances mean that faster trains are better, not worse? I suppose they'd be more expensive...

Frankly, I won't be satisfied until we can launch our trains into orbit.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:31 am UTC

I was under the impression that New England has decent trains, I remember hearing that Biden managed to get between Delaware and DC in about 3 hours on a regular basis. As the the west coast, I still don't know if it would be worth it. Los Angeles and San Diego could certainly use a mass transit system, but the amount of private land you'd have to aquire to make it effective makes it somewhat impractical. When you get down to it, Seattle and LA don't have a ton to do with each other; we don't need a $100,000,000,000 rail system just so people can vacation in neat looking trains.

I propose a compromise; how about no trains but a moon base?

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Jahoclave » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:01 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:I was under the impression that New England has decent trains, I remember hearing that Biden managed to get between Delaware and DC in about 3 hours on a regular basis. As the the west coast, I still don't know if it would be worth it. Los Angeles and San Diego could certainly use a mass transit system, but the amount of private land you'd have to aquire to make it effective makes it somewhat impractical. When you get down to it, Seattle and LA don't have a ton to do with each other; we don't need a $100,000,000,000 rail system just so people can vacation in neat looking trains.

I propose a compromise; how about no trains but a moon base?

I propose a better compromise; how about trains to a moon base?

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Galen » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:11 am UTC

Being that LA and San Diego already have plans to link with the Bay Area, what about the idea of linking the rest of the coast north of San Francisco / Sacramento?

Seattle to San Francisco in 5 and a half hours. I'd ride that. Even better, Vancouver to San Francisco via Seattle and Portland. Those cities are some of the innovation, technology and fringe-culture centers of North America.

Bubbles McCoy wrote:Los Angeles and San Diego could certainly use a mass transit system, but the amount of private land you'd have to aquire to make it effective makes it somewhat impractical.


The Feds/States already own a huge corridor on the West Coast: I-5. There's a median/easement wide enough for elevated rail the whole way down. (Except Portland. I don't know what to do about Portland besides go around... so, many, bridges.) I thought they were actually doing this a couple years back when they started construction in the middle of I-5 from Federal Way to Tacoma. Turns out they were just adding a lane for about 10 miles. Great use of money. They could have linked light rail from Tacoma to Seattle via that corridor, but they made more space for cars instead.

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Jahoclave wrote:It's not a matter of practicality. It's a matter of sticking it to France. We should have the fastest damn train on the planet. It doesn't matter if it goes from Utah to nowhere.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby EvilDuckie » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:51 am UTC

I've used the trains between New York (Penn Station and Newark Airport) and Philadelphia a couple of times, not on the high-speed Acela though but using NJ Transit/SEPTA. That's a pretty decent connection but the mandatory change of trains in Trenton is a bit of a hassle.

I think there's certainly room for high-speed train connections in the US, but it'll be easiest in the more densely populated parts, so New England is a prime market for it. If it can work in Europe (different signalling and security systems!) it can work in the US. If the airlines would get involved in it. Over here, KLM/Air France is a partner in the high-speed train organisation, which means the pricing/timing of the Amsterdam-Paris trains (which also link up Schiphol Airport with Charles de Gaulle Airport) are generally less and shorter than taking a plane.

I remember seeing a programme on Discovery that basically was a race between 2 people from the White House to the Empire State Building. One person went by train, the other by plane. In the end it was closely tied, so that proves that if prices are compatible, it's a very viable alternative.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:02 am UTC

Galen wrote:Being that LA and San Diego already have plans to link with the Bay Area, what about the idea of linking the rest of the coast north of San Francisco / Sacramento?

Seattle to San Francisco in 5 and a half hours. I'd ride that. Even better, Vancouver to San Francisco via Seattle and Portland. Those cities are some of the innovation, technology and fringe-culture centers of North America.

If we again extrapolate the 1A figures, we're still looking at expenses that can easily reach $100 billion dollars to connect what, 40 million people (15 million households)? That comes out to an initial investment of $7,000 per household. I'm not sure if I'd want that expense just so taking a jaunt up to Seattle is more plausible, I'd have to be making quite a few trips to actually save money on such a sizeable investment.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Dream » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:40 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:
Galen wrote:Being that LA and San Diego already have plans to link with the Bay Area, what about the idea of linking the rest of the coast north of San Francisco / Sacramento?

Seattle to San Francisco in 5 and a half hours. I'd ride that. Even better, Vancouver to San Francisco via Seattle and Portland. Those cities are some of the innovation, technology and fringe-culture centers of North America.

If we again extrapolate the 1A figures, we're still looking at expenses that can easily reach $100 billion dollars to connect what, 40 million people (15 million households)? That comes out to an initial investment of $7,000 per household. I'm not sure if I'd want that expense just so taking a jaunt up to Seattle is more plausible, I'd have to be making quite a few trips to actually save money on such a sizeable investment.

You don't weigh it against people saving money on trips. You weigh it against the economic effect of exponentially better transport links between two or more cities. You would also, if you were being very farsighted, weigh in the fact that very fast trains can run on anything that can generate electricity, while aircraft run only on jet fuel that will likely become very, very expesive in the long run.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

What would be some of these economic benefits? I can't imagine that a 5-hour trainride up to Seattle or Porland would do me a whole lot of good from an economic perspective, we will not be transporting goods and the commuting time is too great for any employee to actually consider. I suppose there might be a very slight increase in tourism and a handful of high-skill contractors might commute occassionally, but I doubt either of these will have any notable economic effect.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Dream » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:26 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:What would be some of these economic benefits?
[quote-"Wikipedia"]The Tōkaidō Shinkansen is the world's busiest high-speed rail line. Carrying 375,000 passengers a day, it has transported more passengers (4.5 billion) than all other high speed lines in the world combined.[citation needed] Though largely a long-distance transport system, the Shinkansen also serves commuters who travel to work in metropolitan areas from outlying cities.
[/quote]

It's only a wiki article for illustration. High-speed rail can carry more passengers than you think. I'm not going to get into the economic benefits of transporting hundreds of thousands of people between metropolitan areas every week. That should be obvious.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Garm » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:37 pm UTC

Here's an economic argument for trains. I think using them for a five hour commute is fringe case. Using them to maybe halve the travel time from Seattle to Portland would be a good thing, no?

It costs a lot of money to own and operate a car. AAA pegs it at about 7 grand per year (.pdf). That's close to $600 per month. Living in a place where you can reduce the number of cars per household provides significant savings. Minor changes to development patterns which would open up that up as an affordable possibility for more people would be a good thing.

Many people see owning a car as an inevitable expense. It isn't.



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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Sockmonkey » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:18 am UTC

Would it be more practical if they were air-trains?
(like maglev but with compressed air. Some experimental ones were built back in the 60s or 70s)

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:29 am UTC

I'm not going to argue the potential gains of local mass transit, but as I mentioned earlier I have reservations over how practical it would be to put a full system in Los Angeles. Worth looking at, certainly, but I don't think we will be seeing a great deal of gain by having the entire West Coast connected by rail.

What would air-trains change?

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Sockmonkey » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:27 am UTC

A higher top speed I think, other than that I'm not sure so I asked.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Solt » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:34 am UTC

As a regular commuter between San Francisco and Los Angeles, I am strongly opposed to high speed rail.

There is little economic benefit to be had from a $50 4 hour commute when you can pay that much for a 1 hour plane ride or 6 hour drive ($50 per car, not per person).

There just isn't some massive flux of people between the two regions to justify it. I mean, we are currently served by 2 two lane highways, and a handful of air routes? There's no evident enormous strain on these corridors. There are plenty of people who travel back and forth to see family and friends, but I doubt it would ever be worth $7,000 to them. Economically, there's no real reason to live in LA but work in SF or vice versa. Even if the industries in the two regions were similar (they aren't), both regions have massive amounts of suburban land in the surrounding 50-100 miles. Everyone would be better served if the $50 Billion was spent connecting these suburbs to the cities via light rail. It would make the cities much nicer and prevent a lot more pollution than a passenger route on the inter regional route. I willing to bet that most pollution between SF and LA comes from trucks, which won't even be affected by high speed rail.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Dream » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:58 am UTC

Solt wrote:There is little economic benefit to be had from a $50 4 hour commute when you can pay that much for a 1 hour plane ride or 6 hour drive ($50 per car, not per person).
You think a High-speed train is only 1/3 faster than a US car at the speed limit? The TGV peaks at 574km/h, and new technology on a dedicated line in a new project in the States would only be faster. Wiki has this:
The TGV is in 2007 the world's fastest conventional scheduled train: one journey's average start-to-stop speed from Lorraine-TGV to Champagne-Ardenne-TGV is 279.3 km/h (173.6 mph).[6]
A Eurostar train broke the record for the longest non-stop high speed journey in the world on 17 May 2006 carrying the cast and filmmakers of The Da Vinci Code from London to Cannes for the Cannes Film Festival. The 1421 km (883.0 miles) journey took 7 hours 25 minutes (191.6 km/h or 119 mph).[7]
The record for the fastest long distance run was set by a TGV Réseau train travelling from Calais-Frethun to Marseille (1067.2 km, 663 mi) in 3 hours 29 minutes (306 km/h or 190 mph) for the inauguration of the LGV Méditerranée on 26 May 2001.[8]


I think these things are much faster and more convenient than you give them credit for.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Solt » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:04 am UTC

Dream wrote:
Solt wrote:There is little economic benefit to be had from a $50 4 hour commute when you can pay that much for a 1 hour plane ride or 6 hour drive ($50 per car, not per person).
You think a High-speed train is only 1/3 faster than a US car at the speed limit? The TGV peaks at 574km/h, and new technology on a dedicated line in a new project in the States would only be faster. Wiki has this:
The TGV is in 2007 the world's fastest conventional scheduled train: one journey's average start-to-stop speed from Lorraine-TGV to Champagne-Ardenne-TGV is 279.3 km/h (173.6 mph).[6]
A Eurostar train broke the record for the longest non-stop high speed journey in the world on 17 May 2006 carrying the cast and filmmakers of The Da Vinci Code from London to Cannes for the Cannes Film Festival. The 1421 km (883.0 miles) journey took 7 hours 25 minutes (191.6 km/h or 119 mph).[7]
The record for the fastest long distance run was set by a TGV Réseau train travelling from Calais-Frethun to Marseille (1067.2 km, 663 mi) in 3 hours 29 minutes (306 km/h or 190 mph) for the inauguration of the LGV Méditerranée on 26 May 2001.[8]


I think these things are much faster and more convenient than you give them credit for.


I think Californians drive much faster than you give us credit for.

On a drive on I-5, you will hold an average speed of at least 70 mph, going as high as 90 for long stretches, depending on traffic.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Amnesiasoft » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:20 am UTC

Solt wrote:going as high as 90 for long stretches, depending on traffic.

Dream wrote:The TGV peaks at 574km/h

I think 574kph is a fair bit faster than 145kph. Nearly 4 times faster.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby ameretrifle » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:39 am UTC

Fun and debatably relevant fact: Florida tried this once. There was a constitutional amendment passed in 2000 mandating the construction of a statewide bullet train system. It went on to fail pretty spectacularly, getting repealed in 2004 due to a massive revision of cost estimates. Apparently they're still trying for it, though. It was a big thing for quite a while around here.

Exactly what this means to the current discussion, I couldn't say. It does, however, imply that a great number of people only care about bullet trains in theory, and balk at actually spending any money on the project. This is Florida, though. Take us as a representative sample at your own risk.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby LuNatic » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:30 am UTC

I wish we could get these in Australia. Perth to Sydney in ~12:20 for cheaper than flying? Hell yes!
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Galen » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:15 am UTC

A thought on another side of the stimulus bill regarding HSR. 8 billion was set aside for the rail system, including high speed rail. How much of that is going to go to the currently commissioned California HSR systems? Perhaps none of this money will end up in NEW HSR projects after all, especially because Pelosi and Reid are from California and Nevada (which would LOVE HSR between LA and Vegas). Is this 8 billion just pork?

As far as practibility: Over large distances, people will favor planes. Past 1500km (1.5 megameters?) a plane's going to be faster, even with airport time. Over short distances, municipal mass transit allows more efficiency. However, over medium distances (150 - 1250km) HSR wins.

It takes me 2.5 hours to drive to Vancouver and about three to drive to Portland. HSR could have me in Vancouver in 45 minutes including boarding time. Portland in an hour. That's about the time it takes me to drive from Seattle to my parents house, or how long I used to commute to high school. HSR would make Vancouver and Portland COMMUTABLE.

Commutability can stimulate the economy by facilitating intermunicipal collaboration / cooperation. I could meet a client in Portland for breakfast, return to Seattle until lunch, meet investors in Vancouver for the afternoon and be home in time to meet friends for dinner. Suddenly the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver areas are accessible and connected.

A huge part of mobility is psychological. I've been to New York and Washington DC more times than I've been to Portland or Vancouver. A two to three hour drive one way is a bit hefty. But a relaxing, productive train ride. Sure. As a bonus, I don't have to deal with parking.
Jahoclave wrote:It's not a matter of practicality. It's a matter of sticking it to France. We should have the fastest damn train on the planet. It doesn't matter if it goes from Utah to nowhere.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby netcrusher88 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:22 am UTC

Galen echos my thoughts in another thread, though my example there was DC-Pittsburgh-NY-Boston. HSR could tie together a Portland/Seattle/Vancouver (BC, even? If CBP and Canada collaborate to accelerate screening for passengers, maybe pre-boarding or on the train) metropolis in the way that the freeway just can't, and Amtrak can't even come close to, playing second fiddle to BNSF on the tracks.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Galen » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:37 am UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:BC, even? If CBP and Canada ...


That's the Vancouver to which I refer. I should have specified. In my mind's map, Vancouver, WA is a very large suburb of Portland. :P
Jahoclave wrote:It's not a matter of practicality. It's a matter of sticking it to France. We should have the fastest damn train on the planet. It doesn't matter if it goes from Utah to nowhere.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby netcrusher88 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:21 am UTC

Galen wrote:
netcrusher88 wrote:BC, even? If CBP and Canada ...


That's the Vancouver to which I refer. I should have specified. In my mind's map, Vancouver, WA is a very large suburb of Portland. :P

I thought as much, I just wanted to make sure.

EDIT: More (potential) news on the bullet train/HSR, via Huffington Post et al: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/1 ... 67804.html (Direct link to FRA site: http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/203)

Looks like both the Eugene(!)-Vancouver and DC-Boston (plus the rest of the east coast) are designated as corridors to be studied. I want to know why Gulf Coast and South Central aren't connected though.

Notably missing: LA-LV. I personally think it would have been a bad idea anyway - already great flight coverage, lack of stuff in between (except mountains). Opinions?

EDIT 2: This doesn't appear to actually have anything to do with the stimulus, having been updated last October - the corridor pages talk about upgrading existing track to use it to its fullest potential, mostly. So Northwest for example, actually using those nice trains Amtrak and Washington State bought for the Cascades run to go faster than a car. I personally would love to see 2:30 Seattle to Eugene (intended time, according to corridor page), it'd be a massive improvement on the 3 hours or so from Seattle to Portland by train now.
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby lesliesage » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:56 pm UTC

I insist on posting the visual.

The lolcat-esque font makes me feel like Ray LaHood is playing a trick on me. I'm already desperate to connect up Orlando and Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Dallas and Houston.

Image

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Garm
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Garm » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:26 pm UTC

I'm sad to see that the Rocky Mountain states and their neighbors have been left out of the train building. I can understand why. It's just a touch disappointing. I guess we have a modern airport out this way (DIA) so maybe we don't need the trains.
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Solt
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Solt » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:26 pm UTC

It's 2008 people, why are you still excited about trains?
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clintonius
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby clintonius » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:11 am UTC

We probably wouldn't be if we'd kept up with European transit systems.
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Bubbles McCoy
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:43 am UTC

So, coming in at 8800 miles of rail there, we're looking at a rather conservative price estimate of $500 billion for that system... I think there's a reason we didn't keep up with the Europeans there, Clintonius.

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Dream
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Dream » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:35 am UTC

Soooo... Half a bailout then? Not bad for a nationwide transport network that the entire world would envy, I think.
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Galen
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Galen » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:49 am UTC

Especially since a project of that size will Create JobsTM. At least 10.

I want to know why they didn't link Orlando to Jacksonville, Houston to Dallas, and Cleveland to Pittsburgh. The corridors are already extensive and expensive: why not at least connect them to each other?
Jahoclave wrote:It's not a matter of practicality. It's a matter of sticking it to France. We should have the fastest damn train on the planet. It doesn't matter if it goes from Utah to nowhere.

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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby frezik » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:16 am UTC

Solt wrote:It's 2008 people, why are you still excited about trains?


Because going a significant fraction of Mach 1 while still on the ground is awsome.
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Bubbles McCoy
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Re: Bullet Trains: Can the US Pull it Off?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:53 am UTC

This being "half a bailout" (closer to two thirds, but oh well) doesn't somehow justify this; massive, wasteful spending doesn't somehow justify even more massive, wasteful spending.

Creating jobs is a poor argument, letting the economy put along without random government spending is normally considered better. "Creating jobs" is only a function of government during a recession, and seeing as national non-train infrastructure is as poor as it already is and the need for green energy investment I don't think $500+ billion train system for vacations needs to be added to the list.


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