Post by Han Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Not so much. Take a look at traveling from Boston to say
Washington DC by Amtrak. Their fastest train today costs
about the same as an airline ticket and takes 6 1/2 hours.
The plane? hour and a half. And that is with Amtrak losing
money, subsidized by the govt, etc. It would take a HUGE
investment to upgrade the tracks due to all the grade crossings,
etc to get that time down. And even then, at best it would still
be longer than a plane. You can do the trip today for $200
bucks on a plane. What would Amtrak have to charge for
a ticket to cover the cost of the billions for the high speed
trains? So, where is this compelling advantage for
oh we could just take the direct and indirect subsidies that Nuclear
Power gets/will get and put that money into fixing all those tracks,
sort of just like when we built the interstates
Or in the case of harry and the Britts, take a look at Eurostar,
their fastest train,between London and Paris. The tickets are
about the same as an airline ticket. The train takes an hour longer.
the difference being that you don't have to take a car to/from either
airport to get to/from the city...kind of makes the train safer than
driving your car on those dangerous roads/motorways
North Jersey suburb to Somerville, MA door to door
(i.e New York City area to Boston area)
Car ~4 1/2 hours driving. Cost: gas + tolls end result: have car
available at all times (watch out for Boston area parking tickets)
Bus: Walk to train station, train to Penn Sta (~45 min); Bus (4 hr); T +
walk another 45 min
total including waiting 6 hours (advantage very cheap, I don't have to
drive, disadvantage bus is less comfortable)
Train: same as bus, but quite a bit more expensive (depending on train
chosen, time of day), much more comfortable
Plane: 45 min to Newark airport (drive yourself, cost of parking, cost
of limo, or cost of train (then it takes longer than 45 min because of
transfers). TSA etc 1 1/2 hours. Flight 1 hr; transportation in Boston,
1 hr. Total time 4 1/2 hours (estimate, never done it). Cost: Close to
or more than cheaper Amtrak, depends on fare conditions.
Btw, I think Amtrak makes money on the Boston to Washington corridor,
certainly on the Acela which is a nice train if it has no problems
Trains have much less subsidy than airlines do.
That depends entirely on how you look at it. If you look at
it in strictly dollar terms, then it's probably true. If you look at
it in terms of how many passengers are moved, then Amtrak
is getting huge subsidies per compared to the airlines. It's
about the VOLUME.
>Certainly for the middle
Post by Han
distances trains should be much more economical (taking ALL costs into
account) than cars or planes. But who can truthfully account for all
costs. Having ridden high speed trains in Europe, I would reallylike
them here too, but the costs and the NIMBY would be very high since true
high speed trains require special tracks and rights of way without same
level crossings. This works in Europe because, despite population
densities similar to the Washington-Boston area, there is still much more
land available for rights of way (towns are much more compact with
agricultural and recreational lands between). And especially in the
early era, the French rail development just said we need the land.
I agree. The folks that think you could easily put in a high speed
train between Boston and DC for example, have no idea what that
would entail. Like all the grade crossings. You want a 250mph train
going through those? Of the turn radiuses that support 100mph. What
happens when you have to widen them out for a mile? All the homes,
businesses, roads, highways that are in the way? All the
studies, issues that come into play. harry keeps bringing up China.
mostly open space, and if the commies want to take your hut, they give
you $1000 and bring over the bulldozer. Oh, and unlike the Chinese,
have to pay union wages and benefits for all the labor, etc.....
I road the fastest train in the world. It connects Shanghai to the
It's only like 20 miles. It reached 260mph. They have a speedometer
display so you can see it, like the Concorde did. Yes, it gets you
We were staying at a hotel and they wanted to know our flight so
they could pick us up in a car. Yes, that's right, a car. We said
we wanted to experience the train, and they didn't like that idea
at all. They couldn't even seem to grasp why one would want to
try the train. In the end, they insisted on sending a car to the
to greet us and escort us to the train. They were worried we would
have trouble finding it. That's kind of funny, considering it's a
nice modern airport and the world's fastest train. So, that's what
we did. They met us and escorted us over to the train, which
wasn't hard to find at all. We took the speedy 20 mile ride.
At the other end, the train ended kind of in a crummy neighborhood
part of Shanghai, not a transportation hub, subway center, or
anything like that. Another one of their cars was waiting and took
us to the hotel. Given that people have luggage, want to get
to their hotel direct without having to get on a train, off a train,
into a taxi, etc, and that car transportation is cheap in China,
I can see why the train doesn't make much sense.
Oh, and despite the fact that it was afternoon, there were few
people on it. Probably because the cost was about $10 or so,
I suspect the locals can get a bus or similar to the airport for
a lot less. Also, it only hits that 260mph speed for one brief
period on straight track..
That is an experimental maglev train. Not very practical at the
moment, But maybe a pointer for the future.
There is even a proposal for a sub Atlantic train. I don't suppose
we'd see that fora few years.