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  #1321  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2017, 4:49 AM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
What do you expect? In the USA the two largest metro areas (LA and NYC) are ? miles (? kilometers) apart.
The air travel (bird fly) shortest distance between New York and Los Angeles is 2,451 miles (3,944 km).
If you travel by jet plane (which has average speed of 560 mph) from New York to Los Angeles, it takes 4 hours and 23 minutes to arrive.
If you travel by automobile, Google Maps suggests 2777 miles (I-40, I-44, and I-80 route) and 41 hours (averaging 67.73 mph). You will have to stop for the night at least three times, assuming you'll be exhausted after 12 hours of driving and sleeping for at least 6 hours. That'll add another 18 hours to your drive time, so 41 hours will now be 59 hours. With the 18 hours of sleep, the average speed drops to 47 mph.
If you travel by the existing Amtrak trains, you'll leave NYC at 3:40 pm on day 1 and arrive in Los Angeles at 2:20 am on day 4. (85 hours and 40 minutes later). The rail distance would be 3224 miles, and your average speed would be 37.63 mph.

For comparison purposes for England, the two largest metros (Greater London and West Midlands (Birmingham) are ? miles (? kilometers) apart.
The air travel (bird fly) shortest distance between London and Birmingham is 163 km= 101 miles. The flight time will be around 42 minutes.
If you travel by automobile, it's 117.4 miles via M1 and M6, taking 2 hours and 23 minutes. Your average speed would be 49.32 mph.
If you travel by the fastest train, using the West Coast Main, it's 112 miles (180 kilometers) taking 1 hour and 23 minutes. Your average speed would be 81 mph.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that riding the trains is very competitive at distances around 100 miles. But it isn't at distances between 2400 and 3200 miles. If the trains could average the same 81 mph like they do in England, it would take 39 hours and 48 minutes. Even at HSR train speeds averaging 150 mph, it'll take 21 hours and 30 minutes to travel the 3224 rail miles. I don't think that travel time would ever be competitive with jet planes. Most passengers would still prefer to fly in the USA because the distances are so huge.
This is true. I think that an independent system could exist in the Midwest and do quite well though.
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  #1322  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2017, 1:48 PM
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This is true. I think that an independent system could exist in the Midwest and do quite well though.
As well as England?
Let's look at the geographic area and population of Great Britian (England, Wales, and Scotland) and compare that to the Midwest (in this example, justWisconisn, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan). Maybe we should drop Michigan, but many Amtrak trains head there just like the other included States.

All data per Wiki

Great Britain area 80,823 sq. miles, 60,800,000 population, density 782 /sq mile (I calculate 752 / sq mile but who's to argue with data posted at Wiki), with the largest city (London) 8,615,246 comprising 14%.

Midwest area 256,547 sq. miles, 35,141,600 population, density 137 / sq mile, with the largest city (Chicago) 9,472,676 comprising 27%.

FYI, here's the data for all of the States included above individually.
Wisconsin is 5,778,708 and 65,498 sq miles,
Illinois is 12,801,539 and 57,915 sq miles,
Indiana is 6,633,053 and 36,418 sq miles,
and Michigan is 9,928,300 and 96,716 sq miles.

Great Britain has almost twice the population and almost a quarter of the area as my example States for the Midwest - with six times the population density.
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  #1323  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2017, 4:08 PM
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I actually had not realized that. I had not realized how much more dense Great Britain is than is the Midwest.

I guess it comes down to whether the Midwest could afford high speed rail as an experiment or as a novelty, and my guess is maybe for the first and no for the second.
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  #1324  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2017, 9:33 PM
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I actually had not realized that. I had not realized how much more dense Great Britain is than is the Midwest.

I guess it comes down to whether the Midwest could afford high speed rail as an experiment or as a novelty, and my guess is maybe for the first and no for the second.
A better comparison would be France or Spain.
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  #1325  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2017, 4:31 AM
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A better comparison would be France or Spain.
Really? Let's look at the data......
France's area is 213,011 sq miles, 66,991,000 population, density 268 /sq mile (I calculated 314 /sq mile) with the largest city (Paris) 12,142,802, comprising 18%.
Spain's area is 195,360 sq miles, 46,468,102 population, density 238 /sq mile, with the largest city (Madrid) 6,529,700, comprising 14%.

FYI, the Midwest again was 256,547 sq. miles, 35,141,600 population, density 137 /sq mile, with the largest city (Chicago) 9,472,676 comprising 27%.

While the Midwest fairs better in comparison with France and Spain than Great Britain, it's still nowhere near as dense as they are.
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  #1326  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2017, 4:41 AM
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Yeah, I'm not sure that the Midwest should be ground zero for high speed rail exploration in the United States...

It should be noted, however, that California has a higher population density than does Spain.
California has 39,144,818 in 423,970 sq km (97 pp / sq km)
Spain has 46,528,966 in 505,990 sq km (92 pp / sq km)


Perhaps, HSR should, actually, start there.
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  #1327  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2017, 5:08 AM
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Yeah, I'm not sure that the Midwest should be ground zero for high speed rail exploration in the United States...

It should be noted, however, that California has a higher population density than does Spain.
California has 39,144,818 in 423,970 sq km (97 pp / sq km)
Spain has 46,528,966 in 505,990 sq km (92 pp / sq km)


Perhaps, HSR should, actually, start there.
Maybe it should.
Or we can look at the NEC again......
Northeast megalopolis, (2010) 52,332,123 in 181,324 sq miles, density 931 /sq mile, with the largest city (New York City) 18,897,109, comprising 17%

The Census Bureau defined area comprises nine states; New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania - which by the way comprises over 18% of the nation's population within 2% of the nation's total area. Note: it doesn't include Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Including them will skew the data somewhat, but not by much.
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  #1328  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2017, 4:47 PM
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I spent some more time thinking about this, and I've decided that population density isn't the only metric that predicts high speed rail ridership.

For example, if Columbus, OH were to win the Amazon HQ2, then it would gain approximately 50k high wage workers in its downtown area. It would also attract an agglomeration economy, some members of which would be earning a high enough wage to travel to far-off places on occasional weekends.

I think that this would create sufficient demand for a high speed rail line from Chicago to Columbus. Certainly, high wage workers from Columbus would want to visit Chicago (maybe I'm deluding myself), and workers in finance/people trying to break into tech from Chicago would want to visit Columbus.

This line goes through an area with a density of just 223 pp/sm (31,048,965 pp in 139,158 sm) and leaves out most of the major cities in this area, and yet I think could be suitable for high speed rail.

Anyhow, I don't want to hi-jack this thread, so this is probably the last post I'll make trying to sell high speed rail in the Midwest.
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  #1329  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2017, 6:24 PM
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^ Actually, ignore my logic on this one. I'm not sure that such a high speed rail line would make sense, even with Amazon HQ2.
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  #1330  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2017, 6:57 PM
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^ Actually, ignore my logic on this one. I'm not sure that such a high speed rail line would make sense, even with Amazon HQ2.
I think it is warranted because of network affects. Paying for a whole new line to Columbus might not make sense, but paying for a 300 mile line from Chicago to St. Louis via Champaign makes sense. After this, a 120 mile spur from Champaign to Indianapolis make sense, creating 3 major city pairs instead of 2. After this, a 150 mile extension to Cincinnati via Dayton makes sense, creating 4 major city pairs. After this, a trivial 80 mile spur from Dayton to Columbus gives Columbus access not just to Chicago, but to Dayton, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. A HSR line does not exist within a vacuum.
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  #1331  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2017, 6:35 PM
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I think it is warranted because of network affects. Paying for a whole new line to Columbus might not make sense, but paying for a 300 mile line from Chicago to St. Louis via Champaign makes sense. After this, a 120 mile spur from Champaign to Indianapolis make sense, creating 3 major city pairs instead of 2. After this, a 150 mile extension to Cincinnati via Dayton makes sense, creating 4 major city pairs. After this, a trivial 80 mile spur from Dayton to Columbus gives Columbus access not just to Chicago, but to Dayton, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. A HSR line does not exist within a vacuum.
Yes, you are correct stating a HSR line does not exist in a vacuum. But - that’s precisely what you have in Columbus or the central Ohio today - no trains at all.

You are also forgetting the sums of cash both Illinois and Michigan have sunk into the existing rail corridors being used by Amtrak today. Neither Illinois or Michigan are going to sink more cash into a new parallel, competitive rail corridor to that which they have already spend hundreds of millions of dollars on. Both states have finished environmental studies and have chosen the existing rail corridor as their preferred alternate to sink public funds into. For the immediate future, the rail corridors between Chicago and St. Louis or Detroit have been settled.

Rails to other cities on other corridors haven’t. Indiana by recent actions has declined to invest to expand existing services to Indianapolis. Likewise Ohio has also declined recently to expand rail services. Wisconsin had decided to invest some in rail expansions, then a new Governor with a new Legislature decided not to proceed - and there are two idle Talgo sets stored in Indianapolis as proof. So what states are left to expand rail services to from Chicago?

The only way I foresee in the immediate future for HSR to advance in the Midwest is for a private company to do it - with possibly a little encouragement from Illinois. I don’t see other neighboring States joining in with much financing.
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  #1332  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2017, 10:52 PM
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So Nippon Sharyo is out, Siemens is in. California and Illinois will not be getting bilevel passenger cars, but instead will use the same single-level passenger cars that Siemens is building for Bright Line in Florida.

http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/...rans-cars.html

This is really cool, but how will this work?

1) Will Siemens design a cab-car for these trainsets, or will these states be forced to use two of their charger locomotives per trainset?

Florida's Brightline will use two locomotives, but they have different circumstances, such as aiming for speeds up to 125 mph. Their trains are short now - 4 cars - but will be able to be expanded up to ten cars in the future. Faster acceleration could definitely be achieved with two locomotives, which could help with schedule-keeping and reliability. Also, since these cars will be single-level cars rather than bilevel, there will need to be more cars to handle the same capacity. The Surfliners already run trainsets with more than 6 bilevel cars, so it isn't unreasonable to think that a single-level train of eight to ten cars would be needed to equal or surpass that capacity. And if that is the case, perhaps there will be no choice and two locomotives will be needed.

2) What about stations? These single-level cars will not be so easily accessible for passengers with disabilities. Also the platforms will need to be longer to accommodate the extra train lengths.

Is it possible that long-term the better solution is to build high-level platforms on either a separate track (like Brightline is doing) or to build a gauntlet track to keep freight trains away from the high-level platform (like SMART in Sonoma Calfiornia)? The alternative is to build wheelchair elevators or something similar at every station, and then to increase station dwell times in order to get all the passengers up and down the stairs into the cars.
I could see this working in phases - like move all the bilevel trainsets to the San Jaquim or Capitol Corridor routes and focus rebuilding stations to hi-level platforms along the Surfliner route. I guess this comes with its own problems as well, such as sharing the corridor with the Coaster and Metrolink lines, but that doesn't necessarily mean it can't be done.

It's cool news. These trains will certainly look very slick with both the cars and the locomotives made by the same manufacturer. And even better, the cars will be delivered within 24-34 months, rather than the 5 years everyone was worried it would take for Nippon Sharyo to complete the bilevel order. I'm very excited.
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  #1333  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2017, 5:20 AM
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So Nippon Sharyo is out, Siemens is in. California and Illinois will not be getting bilevel passenger cars, but instead will use the same single-level passenger cars that Siemens is building for Bright Line in Florida.

This is really cool, but how will this work?

1) Will Siemens design a cab-car for these trainsets, or will these states be forced to use two of their charger locomotives per trainset?

2) What about stations? These single-level cars will not be so easily accessible for passengers with disabilities. Also the platforms will need to be longer to accommodate the extra train lengths.

It's cool news. These trains will certainly look very slick with both the cars and the locomotives made by the same manufacturer. And even better, the cars will be delivered within 24-34 months, rather than the 5 years everyone was worried it would take for Nippon Sharyo to complete the bilevel order. I'm very excited.
Siemens has built cab cars before for European train companies based on cars the Brightline cars were modified to meet US regulations. They should be able to easily reuse and modify the cab designs.

Most of these stations have to keep their low platforms for other trains. Instead of modifying the platforms, Siemens might modify one of the cars with lifts and ramps, i.e. specifically the cab-baggage-coach (combination) car. Once the wheelchair passenger is on the train, they should be able to wheel down the entire train with wide aisles. Time will tell what they will do to meet ADA regulations.
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  #1334  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2017, 5:05 PM
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I guess you're right. Siemens was the party responsible for the RailJet trainsets, weren't they? Those would look pretty cool here in the states:



However, I'm very worried that any attempts to build cab cars to a North American crash and safety standard will result in more 'Mater' designs, like what the Cascades service currently has to suffer:



That would be severely disappointing.
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  #1335  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2017, 11:33 PM
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Maybe it should.
Or we can look at the NEC again......
Northeast megalopolis, (2010) 52,332,123 in 181,324 sq miles, density 931 /sq mile, with the largest city (New York City) 18,897,109, comprising 17%

The Census Bureau defined area comprises nine states; New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania - which by the way comprises over 18% of the nation's population within 2% of the nation's total area. Note: it doesn't include Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Including them will skew the data somewhat, but not by much.
Even when counting the whole Northeast the density of 345 people per square mile is greater than France and Spain. That is including even the almost unpopulated portion of Northern Maine and the very low density areas of NH, VT, PA and NY.
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  #1336  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2017, 12:25 AM
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That would be severely disappointing.
Siemens would never put they're name on something so hideous. I think the Talgo program was a bit of anomaly and I think they would have agreed to almost anything to get the contract. Siemens on the other hand has a long history of good industrial design/styling so I think we're in very good hands.
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  #1337  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2017, 2:53 AM
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Siemens cab car

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  #1338  
Old Posted Nov 16, 2017, 4:13 PM
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Well, that's a relief. It doesn't look hideous!

(And, strangely enough, the render shows a high-level platform... hummmm.... I going to assume artistic license.)

I think it will actually look pretty cool, having the Charger cabs on both ends of the train. And it will certainly look better than having the Chargers attached to bilevel cars, using that short inclined plate at the end to make up the difference in height:


These are going to be some pretty slick lookin' trains in a couple o' years. I can't wait.
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  #1339  
Old Posted Nov 16, 2017, 5:09 PM
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Amtrak Posts Lowest Operating Loss in Decade

Amtrak Posts Lowest Operating Loss in Decade

16 November 2017
Wall Street Journal
By Paul Berger

"Amtrak recorded its lowest operating loss in decades this year, as the national passenger railroad pushes to one day break even.

In financial results released Thursday, Amtrak broke passenger and revenue records for the year ending Sept. 30, helping to narrow its operating loss to $194 million.

"I think these numbers demonstrate that the effort we've been going through over the last several years to try to strengthen the company and make it a more efficient enterprise is showing results," said Anthony Coscia, chairman of Amtrak's board of directors.

Amtrak says it now covers 95% of operating costs through ticket sales and other revenues..."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/amtrak-...ows-1510793592
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  #1340  
Old Posted Nov 16, 2017, 8:31 PM
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Well, that's a relief. It doesn't look hideous!

(And, strangely enough, the render shows a high-level platform... hummmm.... I going to assume artistic license.)

I think it will actually look pretty cool, having the Charger cabs on both ends of the train. And it will certainly look better than having the Chargers attached to bilevel cars, using that short inclined plate at the end to make up the difference in height:


These are going to be some pretty slick lookin' trains in a couple o' years. I can't wait.
I'm not sure about the rendering regarding artistic license vis as vis the platform height. One more thing I'm not so sure about is whether the roof of the Charger engine will still be taller than the roof of the coaches, thus pissing all over our excitement that the rake is going to be sleek, streamlined, sexy and in general an anomaly for Amtrak: displaying thoughtful and sophisticated design. The rendering above shows the cab car which is styled just like the engine sans the actual power plant obviously, so it's unclear if the locomotive is of the same dimensions/specs. The Brightline trainset obviously does match up but if you do a quick image search you will see that the existing heritage and Amfleet coaches are clearly shorter than the locomotive, so I suppose we'll see how it interacts with the Siemens Viaggio coaches. FINGERS CROSSED.

As for the "aerofoil" or whatever they may have named that fiberglass scoop bodywork, Caltrans was the only state that ordered them. Cascades, Wisconsin and midwest all intended on operating at 110mph with a three foot metal wall, and all the sheer forces and drag that entails, rising above the top of the Charger. Thank goodness that won't be reality.
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Last edited by Busy Bee; Nov 16, 2017 at 10:44 PM.
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