Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

gs3

High Speed Rail

81 posts in this topic


This is part of the SouthEast HighSpeed Rail System. This is a map of the system and the red and yellow parts at the only pieces being worked on. Since the Bush Administration has taken office, Federal funding for this line has disappeared and its the VADOT and NCDOT that are funding the only studies that are taking place. In addition the NCDOT continues to upgrade its portion of the ROW because it already operates a state owned train service between Raleigh and Charlotte.

sehsrmap.gif

You can go to this site for a lot more details.

And there is a thread here on UrbanPlanet where this line is discussed from time to time.

I don't expect the line from Charlotte to Atlanta to see the light of day for at least 20 years or more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was a good article. It didnt say very much except that more studies have to be done and that the fed still wants to do this. Perhaps the Democratic majority can get this thing moving and increase funding for transit. If so they may win me over to a more neutral-oriented political alignment :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps the Democratic majority can get this thing moving and increase funding for transit. If so they may win me over to a more neutral-oriented political alignment :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's actually the President that is anti-Amtrak and has expressed desires to disband it. I am not totally against this plan since Amtrak has a terrible track record in providing train service since it was established. If there was ever an institution that should be privatized this is it.

Barring that, the HS rail project through SC and GA isn't going to go far unless both states step up to fund the environment studies, and to protect the ROW needed for this project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's actually the President that is anti-Amtrak and has expressed desires to disband it. I am not totally against this plan since Amtrak has a terrible track record in providing train service since it was established. If there was ever an institution that should be privatized this is it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Both British Rail and Japan Rail were privatized some time ago, and both countries have excellent train service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Both British Rail and Japan Rail were privatized some time ago, and both countries have excellent train service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder if this has to do with mindset, too, as well as development patterns...? Would Amtrack be successful privitized even with the layout of the United States (especially the south) and the American way of life? I don't know, but just food for thought

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's much less expensive to fly in Europe than to ride the train.

If I were to fly from Charlotte to DC, it will take me 35 minutes to get out to the airport, I need to be there two hours in advance to get through the security today, flight time is 1.5 hours, and if I go to Dullas because it is much cheaper than National airport, it will take me another 1.5 hours to get out of that airport and over to downtown DC. Total time = 5.5 hours and a lot of hassle. When the high speed train is finished between Charlotte to DC, it will take 6 hours to go from downtown Charlotte to Union Station in the center of DC. It's very competitive.

Right now that trip on conventional rail takes 8.5 hours and costs just $51 on a walk up fare. Even that is competitive with flying given the above scenerio and certainly competitive with driving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To clarify what "private" passenger trains in the UK are: private operators operate them. However, the government invests heavily in rail infrastructure and subsidizes the private operators as well. Per-capita government spending on so-called "private" passenger trains in the UK is MUCH higher than for passenger railroads in the US.

Thus if what people think of "private" involves companies running railroads without government subsidies, that's not what "privatization" in UK railroads is.

Many commuter railroad lines in the US are operated by private companies under contract to public transit authorities and with government subsidies to the train operators and in infrastructure. Nobody here much calls those commuter trains "private" because they are heavily government subsidized, like UK "private" trains.

So yes, a "private" Amtrak on the UK model would certainly survive, due to significant government subsidies. A truly "private" Amtrak, without any government subsidies or involvement, would not, just as truly "private" trains in the UK and other modes of transportation in the US would not survive as well without government subsidies.

Even in the Northeast, largely due to the costs of maintaining the expensive and deteriorating Northeast Corridor, Amtrak doesn't make a profit, overall (although I believe the Acela Express, counting just above-the-rail costs, is profitable).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder if this has to do with mindset, too, as well as development patterns...? Would Amtrack be successful privitized even with the layout of the United States (especially the south) and the American way of life? I don't know, but just food for thought

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
....The inexpensiveness of the train is very appealing, espacially when you consider that it goes overnight and you can sleep for most of the trip!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Rail service works in Europe because of the centralized nature of the cities. Most nations are the size of American states, but urban areas have been built up for centuries. Land has been too plentiful and cheap in the US for people beyond the northeast for rail service to be efficient enough to justify for personal decisions. In Europe, traveling by rail between urban areas like Brussels and Antwerp or Paris and Lyon makes sense like traveling by commuter rail between New Haven and New York, or Philadelphia and Washington.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One reason trains are popular in Europe is that ticket prices are generally very low.

See for yourself. Go to thalys.com and book a ticket from Brussels to Paris. Then go to amtrak.com and book a ticket from New York City to Washington, DC on the Acela Express. Both trains are very nice (I've ridden on both frequently) high-speed trains that cover about the same distance for those trips.

For a December 15 r/t, the cheapest ticket I found on the Thalys is 81 euros. The cheapest ticket I found on the Acela is $304. Amtrak's slow, infrequent trains aren't particularly expensive in coach (otherwise who would take them?) but the high-speed ones and moderately fast ones in the Northeast are extremely expensive, compared to comparable trains in Europe.

Thalys is a LOT cheaper than the Acela Express for a trip of comparable length (distance-wise; Thalys is overall faster since it has a faster dedicated track for much of its route on the Paris-Brussels segment). Governments in Europe see trains as a social service and keep ticket prices low.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Although it's easy to point to this trend of "centralisation" of European geography. it certainly doesn't fully explain why rail travel is popular in Europe. For instance, TGV cross-country trains are a very popular form of transit and it's about 9 hours or 588 miles to Monaco/Nice from paris (a popular route). Compare that to 620 miles between washington and atlanta. Even longer than that are intra-country trains. I took a 14 hour train from Berlin to Milan once and it was full. So I don't think our failings on rail can all be chalked up to our geography, esp when we are talking about Southeast to Northeast train service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sleeper train idea between DC and Clemson sounds like a good idea.

I did a similar route once. Princeton to Clemson. I'd had good experiences around the northeast near NYC and Boston. However, there were a number of things that made a trip into the southeast less than a wonderful experience. First off, you don't sleep well. There are other people poking around and you have to keep an eye on your stuff. It's not like an airplane. People are getting off and on throughout the trip.

Second - once we arrived in DC we had some sort of mechanical difficultly and were grounded for 3 hrs. The good news is we made most of that time up between DC and Clemson so we didn't arrive 3 hrs late. The bad news is this was before everyone had mobile phones. I didn't and couldn't call my ride to let them know we would arrive 1 hr late. Even if I could have, there was no real way to know how much late we'd be. If we hadn't been delayed at all I assume we would have arrived hrs early and I would have sat at the Clemson station from 3am till 5am. I guess in the age of mobile phones this is a smaller problem. But would you really want to call your buddies at 3 am to say, "Surprise I'm two hours early!"

Finally - the Clemson arrival was schedule for like 5 am, we arrived a 6 am (a better time) but my ride had been at the Clemson train station since 5 am. And I HAD to have a ride waiting 'cause like others have pointed out, there is no way to get where you want to go without a car.

All this when flying cost about $200 roundtrip and the train was $150 roundtrip. On paper it looked like a reasonable way to save a little money. But $50 was a big price to pay for all the aggravation.

Sorry for the downer, but I think this experience highlights some of the problems with Amtrak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The overnight train between Clemson/Greenville/Spartanburg and DC/NY also has sleeping cars which are very nice and comfortable although extremely expensive- typically a lot more than a plane ticket. Nonetheless they are often sold out, so they must do a good business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The sleeper train idea between DC and Clemson sounds like a good idea.

I did a similar route once. Princeton to Clemson. I'd had good experiences around the northeast near NYC and Boston. However, there were a number of things that made a trip into the southeast less than a wonderful experience. First off, you don't sleep well. There are other people poking around and you have to keep an eye on your stuff. It's not like an airplane. People are getting off and on throughout the trip.

Second - once we arrived in DC we had some sort of mechanical difficultly and were grounded for 3 hrs. The good news is we made most of that time up between DC and Clemson so we didn't arrive 3 hrs late. The bad news is this was before everyone had mobile phones. I didn't and couldn't call my ride to let them know we would arrive 1 hr late. Even if I could have, there was no real way to know how much late we'd be. If we hadn't been delayed at all I assume we would have arrived hrs early and I would have sat at the Clemson station from 3am till 5am. I guess in the age of mobile phones this is a smaller problem. But would you really want to call your buddies at 3 am to say, "Surprise I'm two hours early!"

Finally - the Clemson arrival was schedule for like 5 am, we arrived a 6 am (a better time) but my ride had been at the Clemson train station since 5 am. And I HAD to have a ride waiting 'cause like others have pointed out, there is no way to get where you want to go without a car.

All this when flying cost about $200 roundtrip and the train was $150 roundtrip. On paper it looked like a reasonable way to save a little money. But $50 was a big price to pay for all the aggravation.

Sorry for the downer, but I think this experience highlights some of the problems with Amtrak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update as of 1/10/2007:

Charlotte, NC to Macon, GA - Further Studies -

Ongoing Volpe study is underway. The Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina Departments of Transportation are continuing to evaluate the overall suitability and costs of developing high speed passenger train service between Charlotte, NC and Macon, GA.

GDOT is overseeing work by the Volpe Center to: 1) recommend rail top speeds and technologies that balance potential ridership and revenues with infrastructure and operating costs; 2) forecast ridership over at least a 25 yr. time horizon; 3) assess whether operating revenues might exceed operating costs and infrastructure maintenance costs; 4) compare this corridor's performance with similar rail corridors in other regions; and 5) determine other quantifiable economic impacts of high speed rail corridor investments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Group to talk about high-speed rail

Results of regional study to be released today

http://greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/...400/1004/NEWS01

The Upstate High Speed Rail Task Force is meeting at 10 a.m. today at McAlister Square to hear the results of the Volpe study of the feasbility of high-speed rail through South Carolina in conjunction with North Carolina and Georgia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Group to talk about high-speed rail

Results of regional study to be released today

http://greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/...400/1004/NEWS01

The Upstate High Speed Rail Task Force is meeting at 10 a.m. today at McAlister Square to hear the results of the Volpe study of the feasbility of high-speed rail through South Carolina in conjunction with North Carolina and Georgia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.