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Article from retired NH engineer

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 27, 2018 8:10 AM

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 27, 2018 9:09 AM

Overmod
But the argument he's making is that it isn't the minutes separating you from air that matter here; it's the minutes separating the high-speed timing from the practical and less expensive rail competition. (There are also a number of buses that run from a street location near Penn Station to a variety of Washington final locations in about three hours for $30; when you factor in Metro time and delay these can actually be competitive with the train for that destination pair.)

Joe wrote: To attain a true high-speed system on the Northeast Corridor, there must be a dedicated and exclusive infrastructure built as straight as the geography will allow. The cost and environmental impact of such an undertaking would be astronomical given the real estate values in that portion of the country.

I said at the end of my post that high-speed rail yes or no is a political decision. When you go high-speed you compete with other modes of transportation. With airlines it is time, price, comfort; with bus it is price. Times on a bus are unpredictable with traffic jams.

For that you don't need a true high-speed system. The German high-speed routes are 2,900 miles long. 1770 miles are rebuilt old existing lines upgraded to a max. speed of 125 mph or 143 mph. Newly built were 1130 mile, 350 miles of them to 155 mph standard, the balance to standards of 186 mph.

Overmod
And very, very few people are going to pay a major difference for six minutes or so unless they have expense accounts supervised by people who don't care. Or haven't looked carefully enough at time management or money management.

On Acela Express (AE) business travel and commuting account for 61% of the travellers, on Northeast Reginals (NR) this are 32%. So you are partly right. I have looked in the schedules and the AE is about 25 minutes faster than the NR on the relation New York to Washington DC, and about 30 minutes on the relation Boston to New York.

Overmod
The only thing that 'wins' for Amtrak between Boston or NYC and Washington is the congestion and security issues regarding practical destination-to-destination time net of security and road access; the airplane has always been dramatically faster in time.

You can mourn this as long as you want, that are the facts. And with the USA's paranoia about terrorism it won't change. Sure it needed these delays to make trains competetive on longer routes.

If you would put the Acela passengers back on flight the airports and people would complain about the congestion.

Overmod
With the permissible speeds for more conventional equipment rising too, and in the absence of functional tilt ... you do know the Acela tilt is disabled for most of the run, right? ... keeping the time disparity limited until significant portions of the track are good for 150+mph undisturbed running. And that sure isn't true of a great deal of the corridor.

The AE's tilt system comes from the lightweight LCR and was designed in the 1970s. The Avila Liberty's should be state-of-the-art and I see no need to disable it.

If the Avila is needed and worth the money only time can tell. Perhaps it is a way to pressure Congress to provide money for upgrading the NEC. The trains are already here.

Overmod
Quite frankly, what happened back in February in this respect, at 124mph, was quite bad enough for me. Not much of an advertisement for Bombardier permanent coupling, was it?

If a pin breaks after 17+ years I would put it Amtrak's maintenance.
Regards, Volker

 

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 27, 2018 9:42 AM

243129

 

 
VOLKER LANDWEHR
Something alike happened to the rail network. Only 5000 miles were destroyed beyond repair. Needing a transportation system desperately the existing, damaged track was repaired as fast as possible.

 

Were not areas that formerly had curvature rebuilt straight because bomb damage had 'removed' obstructions i.e. buildings, factories etc. ?

 

The short answer is no. At least not with the intention of higher speeds. The priorities were different. First it was fast repair of the existing track to get a transportation system working, than better comfort and then higher speeds.

As I said before German Railway arrived back at 100 mph only in 1967.

High-speed started with rebulding of old routes to 125 mph standard. In 1978 revenue service with 125 mph started on these rebuilt sections. In 1991 traffic commenced on the first newly built high-speed track with speeds up to 175 mph.

Factories were rebuilt in their old places, when ever possible with modern facilities on old foundations.Here happened what Overmod already described and you assumed for the rail network.

My parents moved me into an appartment in a newly built appartment house in Hamburg in 1950. It was built on the foundation and basement of a bombed out building. Not only "our" house was built this way, but the whole quarter and city.

They were rebuild with recycled bricks from destroyed houses where ever possible.

Where an office building was built from the foundation up it was on an before occupied lot.

So there were no new free lanes for the railroad. The cities were rebuilt with the same street grid.

There was even a thought of high speed rail. We or better my parents' generation had other concerns. We needed to survive. Luckily I was born shortly after WWII so I didn't have to live through it and I have only little recollection of the hard ship in the years directly after. But I remember the rebuilding effort as he went on in our quarter into the late 1950s.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by 243129 on Thursday, September 27, 2018 3:46 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
The German high-speed routes are 2,900 miles long. 1770 miles are rebuilt old existing lines upgraded to a max. speed of 125 mph or 143 mph. Newly built were 1130 mile, 350 miles of them to 155 mph standard, the balance to standards of 186 mph.

Are you telling me that of the 1,130miles of "newly built" railroad that no curves were eliminated?

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, September 27, 2018 4:05 PM

He has no factual basis for his notion that the Marshall Plan, etc. rebuilt the German rail lines to new standards, eliminating many/most curves.  Obviously he has never ridden on many/any German rail lines.

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Posted by 243129 on Thursday, September 27, 2018 4:36 PM

charlie hebdo

He has no factual basis for his notion that the Marshall Plan, etc. rebuilt the German rail lines to new standards, eliminating many/most curves.  Obviously he has never ridden on many/any German rail lines.

 

Post some facts to prove me wrong.

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Posted by 243129 on Thursday, September 27, 2018 4:49 PM

daveklepper
The Metroliners did take people off roads and .and put them on trains. Acela and Acela 2 arent promising much faster trips, just more of them, less maintenance costs, and grezter reliability.

Yes the Metroliners did take the people off the roads.

Acela and Acela 2 having less maintenance costs and greater reliability is not so. Parts and labor are more expensive than for conventional trains. Reliability? They are not rain and snow friendly.

daveklepper
My imression was that Acela and Acela2 are not articulated, and that a single coach can be removed from a specific train -- or added.

This can be accomplished only at a maintenance facilty not enroute.

daveklepper
, there are places that could be upgraded to even 200moh running, Boston Switch (near Pautucket, norht of Providence - Route 128 and Readville

Impossible on the existing roadbed. What about East Jct. , Sharon Station, Canton Jct.?

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Posted by Backshop on Thursday, September 27, 2018 4:50 PM

243129

 

 
charlie hebdo

He has no factual basis for his notion that the Marshall Plan, etc. rebuilt the German rail lines to new standards, eliminating many/most curves.  Obviously he has never ridden on many/any German rail lines.

 

 

 

Post some facts to prove me wrong.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_Germany

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Posted by 243129 on Thursday, September 27, 2018 6:19 PM

Backshop
rebuilt the German rail lines to new standards, eliminating many/most curves.

That is not what I said.

Backshop
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_Germany

Proves nothing.

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Posted by 243129 on Thursday, September 27, 2018 6:48 PM

Backshop
First of all, you put something as my quote that I didn't post.

Point that out please.

Backshop
You're the one that said the German railways eliminated tight curves, etc., after WW2 with money from the Marshall Plan. YOU prove it, or shut up and leave (please).

This is what I said:

With nothing in the way, the Marshall Plan and SCAP — with an eye on the future — rebuilt the railway systems as straight as practicable.

Dispute it.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, September 27, 2018 9:08 PM

Now now, retirees need to eat too!

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, September 27, 2018 9:28 PM

Bombing may flatten buildings, but it doesn't flatten hills.  Topography and watercourses are the main constraint to railroad alingment.  I am going to take the word of the person who was there, that the German railroads were largely rebuilt on the existing ROW.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, September 27, 2018 9:57 PM

Amtrak's big HSR study showed the proposed NY to Boston alignment to go thru Hartford and then straight to Boston.  When Providence saw this, they effectivly killed any plan that does not pass thru their city.  So any new route would not have much of a mileage advantage.

So then Amtrak seemed to figure they would have to just improve the existing NEC.  They looked at straightening some Shoreline trackage, but when the residents of these waterfront towns heard about it, they reacted with outrage. Their CT Senator told Amtrak that they were not even going to get to do the study on it.  I presume this is what the OP was refering to as the high real estate values making it hard to create HSR there.

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Posted by cx500 on Friday, September 28, 2018 12:45 AM

243129
Are you telling me that of the 1,130miles of "newly built" railroad that no curves were eliminated?

Those are newly built lines, so no existing curves were eliminated.  The historic lines continue to be used for the regular train services. These newly built lines are used only by the high speed rail service, and are in general the only areas where their maximum speeds are possible.

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Posted by oltmannd on Friday, September 28, 2018 3:15 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

 

 
charlie hebdo

Who can be first to spot the factual flaws (the writing is fine) by our resident retired engineer?  My guess is Volker will be first.

https://www.nhregister.com/opinion/article/Forum-High-speed-train-travel-is-not-feasible-on-11310852.php

 

 

 

You are wrong. I can't even read it. It is not available in my region. Looks like an aftermath of the new EU data protection regulation.

This seems to be a smaller newspaper. The larger ones have overcome this trouble already.
Regards, Volker

 

The cookie thing is really quite annoying while travelling. But it makes me wonder exactly what US web sites are doing with their cookies.

FWIW, I think the Acela 2 purchase is a "keep the boat afloat" strategy. Gotta keep the flagship top notch if you want to win in the court of public opinion.

 

 

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

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 28, 2018 4:08 AM

243129

 

 
VOLKER LANDWEHR
The German high-speed routes are 2,900 miles long. 1770 miles are rebuilt old existing lines upgraded to a max. speed of 125 mph or 143 mph. Newly built were 1130 mile, 350 miles of them to 155 mph standard, the balance to standards of 186 mph.

 

Are you telling me that of the 1,130miles of "newly built" railroad that no curves were eliminated?

 

What is so difficult to understand? Newly built means they were built on a new alignment. The were no curves eleminated, they were built with curves as wide as possible. On upgraded routes curve radii were enlarged and superelevation was increased were necessary.

This was not done when rebuilding track directly after WWII. The dates I gave before.

You are great quoting incompletely even your own text. You wrote in the article:

Comparison to the European and Japanese railway systems cannot be made. Europe and Japan were bombed into rubble as a result of World War II. With nothing in the way, the Marshall Plan and SCAP — with an eye on the future — rebuilt the railway systems as straight as practicable.

Everybody here understood you as saying (limiting it to Germany), Germany had an advantage over the USA because our rail infrastructure was destroyed in WWII, we got help from the Marshall Plan and were able to rebuild the rail system as a high-speed system. And you meant it this way.

And here you are completely wrong.

We weren't even able to make our own decisions after WWII. We were ruled by the victorious powers until 1949 when the Federal Republic of Germany was established.

We had a different advantage, German Railway was government owned. When the idea of high-speed trains was developed it was a political not an economical decision. The goal was to get people of the highways. As side effect rail got competetive to air travel on some relations reducing the number of domestic flights.

The USA had the same chance but choose otherwise.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 28, 2018 4:40 AM

cx500

 

 
243129
Are you telling me that of the 1,130miles of "newly built" railroad that no curves were eliminated?

 

Those are newly built lines, so no existing curves were eliminated.  The historic lines continue to be used for the regular train services. These newly built lines are used only by the high speed rail service, and are in general the only areas where their maximum speeds are possible.

 

One small correction: The historic lines are, where upgrade to 125 mph or 143 mph, used for ICE-train traffic.

Here is a picture showing max speeds: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/ICEtracks.png

And here the ICE routes as schematic: https://www.bahn.de/p/view/mdb/bahnintern/fahrplan_und_buchung/reiseauskunftsmedien/fahrplanmedien-download/mdb_263334_ice_liniennetz_v2_2018.pdf

The German ICE-train network is not true high-speed. It is a mixture of HrSR and HSR.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, September 28, 2018 5:24 AM

Answering 243:  You are correct about the existing roadbeds and the specific interlockings/junctions.  I meant a total rebuilding on the existing alignment without expensive new real-estate. The retired engineer said the alignmen would require replacement.

The greatest use of taxpayer money to improve the NEC, besides modern catenary, would be rebuilding junctions ofr high-speed through operation and attention to station throats.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, September 28, 2018 6:51 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
And here you are completely wrong. We weren't even able to make our own decisions after WWII. We were ruled by the victorious powers until 1949 when the Federal Republic of Germany was established.

And let's not forget about the former DDR (East German) railway, the DR, Deutsche Reichsbahn.  Many of their formerly double-track lines became single track because the Russians removed track as reparations.  Some of those lines are still single track and thus quite slow. But of course the NH engineman spouts off opinions that have no relationship to facts.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 28, 2018 8:47 AM

You are right the GDR (DDR) was even worse of as the Soviet occupation zone.

The Soviet Union tried to extract almost everything of some worth as reparation from its occupation zone, while the UK, the USA, and with some reluctance France tried to put their zones on own feet as fast as possible.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by 54light15 on Friday, September 28, 2018 11:06 AM

Wasn't the reason for the rebuilding of the US, UK and French zones was to keep them from going communist? Not to change the subject- this sniping back and forth is very entertaining. 

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 28, 2018 11:53 AM

54light15

Wasn't the reason for the rebuilding of the US, UK and French zones was to keep them from going communist? 

 

Yes it was the main reason. But I think the USA would fare better financially with an early recovery of (in my case) Germany. Prosperous countries are better export markets too.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, September 28, 2018 12:26 PM

54light15

Wasn't the reason for the rebuilding of the US, UK and French zones was to keep them from going communist? Not to change the subject- this sniping back and forth is very entertaining. 

Of course, why would we want to stay on topic?Mischief

Rebuilding our former enemies' infrastructure after the war certainly paid off in the long-run, look at Germany and Japan today!  And they are both peaceful allies of ours.

If hadn't done that the stage would have been set for WWIII, just like what happened at Versailles in 1919.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, September 29, 2018 4:39 PM

54light15

Wasn't the reason for the rebuilding of the US, UK and French zones was to keep them from going communist? Not to change the subject- this sniping back and forth is very entertaining. 

 

That was one of the reasons for the Marshall Plan, if not the main reason.  Desperate people will try anything if they're desperate enough.  I'm sure the Marshall Plan may have been a bit controversial at the time (Admittedly I haven't made a big study of it) but in the end, it was the right thing to do, both for practical and humanitarian reasons.

It's also one of the few times the US got post-war planning right.  Sadly, asking the question "After we win, then what?" has never been an American strong suit.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, September 29, 2018 4:51 PM

Firelock76

Sadly, asking the question "After we win, then what?" has never been an American strong suit.

It's more fun to say "Mission Accomplished!" and then go home.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, September 29, 2018 5:57 PM

Firelock is correct. After you win the war you have to then win the peace. While the Nazi military lay crushed under tank treads the population had to be de-nazified. It was an enourmous effort. 

In the East things got ugly. German citizens that 'resettled' into the conquered countries suffered terrible payback. 

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, September 29, 2018 6:54 PM

It was ugly all right.  In a little-known episode of ethnic cleansing all the ethnic Germans were expelled from the Sudetenland by Czech authorities after the war, probably into East Germany.

It's easy to say "Two wrongs don't make a right,"  but I can't say I blame the Czechs all that much, they sure didn't ask for Nazi occupation and what came with it. 

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Posted by 243129 on Saturday, September 29, 2018 8:10 PM

Comparison to the European and Japanese railway systems cannot be made. Europe and Japan were bombed into rubble as a result of World War II. With nothing in the way, the Marshall Plan and SCAP — with an eye on the future — rebuilt the railway systems as straight as practicable.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, September 29, 2018 9:18 PM

Miningman
Firelock is correct. After you win the war you have to then win the peace. While the Nazi military lay crushed under tank treads the population had to be de-nazified. It was an enourmous effort. 

In the East things got ugly. German citizens that 'resettled' into the conquered countries suffered terrible payback. 

The US forgot the winning the peace with Iraq after they destroyed all military and civilian control appratus.  Leave a destroyed country with a power vacuum and what do you have?

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 30, 2018 6:08 AM

I moved to Israel in July 1996.  When it was apparent that the USA was going to move with ground forces in Iraq, I tried to get word to President George Bush Jr., that somehow an Iraq Gevernment in Exile must be formed, a leader chosen, and the Alllied troops include and seemingly be led by a "Free Iraqi" Force.  This was the lesson that Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower taught, even defying the State Department on the choice of De Gaull as leader (State Department wanted Darlan), with the Free French Force leading the march into Paris.

None of my former friends who had the clout necessary to get a message to Bush took this seriously, and one even copied me on his congrantulatory telegram to Bush on victory.

And I cannot say that so far I am doing much better with my ideas with Israel's government, so it be.  But I still try.

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