Another wrong-way HSR proposal

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Another wrong-way HSR proposal
Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 6:33 AM

First Chattanooga, now Columbus.  Anybody have a spare $3B laying around?

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/proposed-high-speed-rail-would-run-through-georgia/646968116

Not a fan of these "tail-wagging-the-dog" proposals.  The right way to do this is to figure out which projects get you the most bang for the buck. For $3B you could build out an entire commuter rail network in Atlanta - and perhaps 100,000 trips a day off the busiest roads.  

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by A McIntosh on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:30 AM

If they are a success, this sounds like something Brightline would do, provided there is enough of a real estate portfolio. 

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Posted by D.Carleton on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 10:44 AM

Has there ever been a right-way HSR proposal in this country? When I attend conferences and this, that or the other group lays out their HSR ideas the European and Asian operators of true HSR listen politely but when we're all together afterward at the social (with a little lubrication) they're laughing their heads off. They call us "naive" and "childish" for thinking we are going to build and run high-speed trains when we cannot run the passenger trains we already have effectively. At least some politico gets some press out of this.

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Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:28 PM

D.Carleton

Has there ever been a right-way HSR proposal in this country? When I attend conferences and this, that or the other group lays out their HSR ideas the European and Asian operators of true HSR listen politely but when we're all together afterward at the social (with a little lubrication) they're laughing their heads off. They call us "naive" and "childish" for thinking we are going to build and run high-speed trains when we cannot run the passenger trains we already have effectively. At least some politico gets some press out of this.

 

Second verse, same as the first...

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by bratkinson on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 10:10 PM

These days, the NIMBYs can and have defeated nearly all proposals for true high speed rail due to everything from protected lands and critters to loss of aestetic 'beauty' of the land, and on and on and on.  They're still fighting Brightline in Florida! 

I hate to sound like a pessimist, but in light of the anti-everything 'new' these days, it looks like the USA will continue to stumble along with very minimal increments to train speed.

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Posted by JPS1 on Sunday, November 19, 2017 9:13 AM

D.Carleton
 They call us "naive" and "childish" for thinking we are going to build and run high-speed trains when we cannot run the passenger trains we already have effectively. 

Amtrak does a pretty good job on the NEC.  From 2012 through 2016 the Acela’s had an 84.6 percent on-time average at their endpoints and 84.6 percent at their intermediate stations.  The numbers for the NEC regionals were 80.4 and 82.3.  These times compare favorably with the performance records of Amtrak’s competitors along the NEC.
 
Amtrak has become the dominate commercial passenger carrier between New York and Washington.  It has bested the airlines for several years running.  It must be doing something right!
 
The State Supported trains also have a decent on-time performance record.  From 2012 through 2016 they were on-time an average of 78.5 percent at their endpoints and 82.2 percent at their intermediate stations.  
 
Run effectively involves more metrics than just on-time performance.  But being on time is important for most customers, I suspect, and on this score at least Amtrak does a respectable job.  It’s the long distance trains that make Amtrak look ineffective. 

If overseas visitors put up the money to improve our passenger rail system, I will pay them some mind.  Or if the majority of the OECD countries put up the same percentage of GDP for defense that the U.S. puts up or has put up for their benefit, I will bow to their views regarding passenger rail in the U.S.  Otherwise, they can keep it to themselves.   

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, November 19, 2017 11:04 AM

What is very wrong with this pproposal is the lack of understanding the route from ATL airport to Columbus.

Now at ATL airport there is plenty of room for a terminal under the people mover from the airport to the rental car facility.  an elevator would be needed however.  But making a connection to MARTA would involve  a long walk either at the airport or at East point station. 

The CSX  ( A&WP ) ROW predates the civil war and as such CSX has a Max operating speed of 50 MPH maybe due poor sub grade.  WE are aware that CSX is fighting NY State over HrSR Albany west. Expecting anything different south of Atlanta has no chance.   The ROW is also curvy and has lots of grade crossings including many private.

From Newnan where the route would join the NS  ( C of GA ) that route is very crooked to  Raymond.  Route is single track and would require  new and higher bridges on I-85 for clearances over the route.  From Raymond to Columbus the line has been abandoned by SOU and NS except for a small section that was transferred to CSX after a large bridge got washed out.  $3.0B ?  more like $5.0B.

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Sunday, November 19, 2017 2:45 PM

Streak,

The Mayor of Columbus may not know, but you certainly should, that is is physically impossible to run a 220 MPH train on a pre-civil war snake-like alignment. It would have to be from scratch every foot of the way.

Mac

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Posted by D.Carleton on Sunday, November 19, 2017 5:22 PM

JPS1
D.Carleton
 They call us "naive" and "childish" for thinking we are going to build and run high-speed trains when we cannot run the passenger trains we already have effectively. 
Amtrak does a pretty good job on the NEC.  From 2012 through 2016 the Acela’s had an 84.6 percent on-time average at their endpoints and 84.6 percent at their intermediate stations.  The numbers for the NEC regionals were 80.4 and 82.3...
 
The State Supported trains also have a decent on-time performance record.  From 2012 through 2016 they were on-time an average of 78.5 percent at their endpoints and 82.2 percent at their intermediate stations.

Those numbers are laughable. Respectable looks like this: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/17/japanese-rail-company-apologises-train-20-seconds-early
 
Effective passgenger train operation entails much more than timeliness but that would be a good place to start.

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Posted by aegrotatio on Monday, December 04, 2017 9:58 PM

Nobody actually wants high-speed rail.  They want more frequent versions of today's rail.  Class 8 track is already expensive.  Class 9 is an infinitely deep money hole.

Nobody cares if their 3:20 trip is now 3:05.

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Posted by Gramp on Monday, December 04, 2017 11:11 PM

I'm still hoping and pulling for Texas Central. In my book, the only chance for world-class rail passenger service anywhere in the U.S.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, December 04, 2017 11:27 PM

PNWRMNM

Streak,

The Mayor of Columbus may not know, but you certainly should, that is is physically impossible to run a 220 MPH train on a pre-civil war snake-like alignment. It would have to be from scratch every foot of the way.

Mac 

MAC:  Absolutely.  Half the A&WP tracks would require realignment ATL - Newnan.  All of Cof GA from Newnan to Raymond and about 35% Raymond - Columbus.  The biggest passenger loads would come from Fort Benning.

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 3:25 AM

aegrotatio

Nobody actually wants high-speed rail.  They want more frequent versions of today's rail.  Class 8 track is already expensive.  Class 9 is an infinitely deep money hole.

Nobody cares if their 3:20 trip is now 3:05.

 

   Ah, the voice of reason.   The obsession over top speed is just for bragging rights.  You're not going to compete with the airlines for speed.   The length of time your trip takes starts from the time you are ready to start.   If you have to wait four hours till the next train leaves, your trip takes (using your example) 7:20 or 7:05.   With hourly service, the maximum time your trip takes is 4:20 or 4:05.   Ideally, service would be so frequent that you wouldn't bother looking at a schedule.   Just show up and hop the next train.

_____________

   My mind's made up.   Don't confuse me with the facts.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 9:58 AM

There are practical reasons for HSR.  Other countries have/build it not for "braggin' rights" or some other ridiculous reason.  Opponents of HSR for the US on here oppose because they fear their taxes might be used or increase and that the freight railroads will suffer.  An up-to-date infrastructure is an important component in a prosperous economy and national security. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 7:44 PM

aegrotatio

Nobody actually wants high-speed rail.  They want more frequent versions of today's rail.  Class 8 track is already expensive.  Class 9 is an infinitely deep money hole.

Nobody cares if their 3:20 trip is now 3:05.

 

And yet Amtrak's Acela supports a premium priced service that is incrementally faster, just so as your example.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 8:11 PM

All the route from Columbus to Atlanta would need is MAS 110 MPH with no slow sections.  That would mean :59 minutes for the trip which would only need 3 train sets to maintain hourly service. + spare set.  Much less costly and up and running less calendar years.

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 9:48 PM

Mrs. Mayor is quite clear she wants 220 MPH. If you want a train an hour all day, even at 110 MPH, you are going to have to either build a new line or steal the current line from its owners as that frequency of passenger trains will preclude any freight MOVEMENT on the existing line.

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Posted by JPS1 on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 10:45 PM
The article is a testimonial by the few people interviewed by a news reporter regarding their experiences.  No valid system-wide statistical data for an extended period, which is what the Amtrak numbers represent, is presented.  Without system-wide data it is difficult to know how the Japanese system, as an example, stacks up against other countries.
 
The Amtrak numbers that I presented represent five years of data for the whole Amtrak network as well as its major components.  What would be interesting would be the dispersion from the "late" mean for the trains that are late.  Knowing the percentage of Amtrak's trains that were late by one minute, two minutes, five minutes, etc. could clarify the statistics. 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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