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View Full Version : U.S. Issues Would you support a National High Speed Rail Program?


dirk digler
08-02-2008, 06:27 PM
I thought this was interesting subject that Obama talked about today at the Urban League Conference and that was starting a National High Speed Rail program to help with the energy costs and make jobs more accessible to outlying areas so they can travel into urban areas to work.

I personally think this is a great idea and I realize he didn't come up with it there was actually some legislation last year being talked about it. But with high speed rail it is all electricity and the rail cars can go 200-300mph/hr which could make traveling to places more convenient than flying while saving on fuel and the environment.

So what is everyone's opinion on this.

Direckshun
08-02-2008, 06:30 PM
I thought this was interesting subject that Obama talked about today at the Urban League Conference and that was starting a National High Speed Rail program to help with the energy costs and make jobs more accessible to outlying areas so they can travel into urban areas to work.

I personally think this is a great idea and I realize he didn't come up with it there was actually some legislation last year being talked about it. But with high speed rail it is all electricity and the rail cars can go 200-300mph/hr which could make traveling to places more convenient than flying while saving on fuel and the environment.

So what is everyone's opinion on this.
I think it's an inevitable option of the future, to be honest. I think it's incredibly forward-looking, and I support some more researching into the idea to see if it's affordable/practical.

Makes me think of "Minority Report" every time it comes up.

'Hamas' Jenkins
08-02-2008, 06:30 PM
No. It's an unnecessary government restriction on the ability of Exxon to make their well-deserved profits.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 06:32 PM
as long as it doesn't become Amtrak.

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 06:36 PM
I think it's an inevitable option of the future, to be honest. I think it's incredibly forward-looking, and I support some more researching into the idea to see if it's affordable/practical.

Makes me think of "Minority Report" every time it comes up.

I agree and I think an investment like this could have a huge positive effect on the economy and add thousands of more jobs.

Taco John
08-02-2008, 06:40 PM
as long as it doesn't become Amtrak.



He said "national," so yes, it would become another Amtrak.

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 06:41 PM
Texas and California are looking into this and what I find interesting is that a car trip from Houston to Dallas would take almost 4 hrs while traveling by high speed rail would only take an 1:50 minutes and that is with 5 stops!

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 06:43 PM
He said "national," so yes, it would become another Amtrak.

I don't think the problem with Amtrak is all national they are limited by several things. Plus if countries like France and pretty much all of Europe can do this there is no reason we can't.

I found this doing a google search and it is from Daily Kos from a year ago talking about the bill that was being discussed. Pretty interesting stuff IMO.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/16/93642/9753

The High Speed Passenger Rail Act - Background
Energy Implications
Passenger air travel in the US in 2005 got about 45 passenger-miles per gallon of fuel [thanks to freelunch for the correction!], emitting 140 million tons of CO2 in total (1). Passenger cars on highways traveled over 1.5 trillion miles with an average of 1.59 occupants, at about 44 passenger-mpg, emitting about 750 million tons of CO2. Both air and automobile are heavily dependent on liquid fuels whose future supply is uncertain.
Successful high-speed rail systems, implemented in Japan and Europe, particularly the French TGV system, run on electricity with an efficiency equivalent to 300 to 500 passenger-mpg. And electric power is the easiest form to generate from new energy sources such as wind and solar energy. High-passenger-load high-speed rail would dramatically reduce the impact of the passenger transportation sector on energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Current US Passenger Rail Status
Mention passenger rail in the US and people think first of Amtrak and its perpetual funding crisis. Amtrak’s total ridership of 25 million per year is dwarfed by the 658 million for air travel and the billions for cars. But commuter rail is widely successful across the country, and "light" inter-city passenger rail has been making a comeback in recent years thanks to state funding to help offset pollution and congestion, for a combined total of 750 million annual trips in 2003 (2). Americans are at least as willing to travel by train as by airplane. The problems with Amtrak are simple to state: unreliability, coupled with high cost and low speed. On some routes, 96% of Amtrak trains arrive late (3). On all but a very few routes, taking the train takes longer than traveling by car because the trains are limited to 79 mph. Yet the cost can be comparable to or even higher than plane fare.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 06:48 PM
Man, nuclear power is the best in civ 4. We should implement it IRL to power this beast. Maybe we can export power to canada and mexico too or something. jk.

Seriously, i think a rail system would be sweet. It would have to be really cheap and really well executed for me to back it.

HonestChieffan
08-02-2008, 06:53 PM
100% support it if the Government has zero to do with how it operates.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:06 PM
as long as it doesn't become Amtrak.

It will because Amtrak is govt run...and this has "national" in it and recommended by a politician running for head bureaucrat. It has central planning failure written all over it.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:07 PM
100% support it if the Government has zero to do with how it operates.

Well, who the heck is going to fund it from the start and implement it?

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:08 PM
I don't think the problem with Amtrak is all national they are limited by several things. Plus if countries like France and pretty much all of Europe can do this there is no reason we can't.

I found this doing a google search and it is from Daily Kos from a year ago talking about the bill that was being discussed. Pretty interesting stuff IMO.

Except we're not a socialist democracy like France and most of Europe which is also tiny, small and compact. This just begs for tax dollars going down the drain in America—a nation that loves the independence and freedom of driving. I'd expect to see something like this over at Kos.

Baby Lee
08-02-2008, 07:09 PM
It will because Amtrak is govt run...and this has "national" in it and recommended by a politician running for head bureaucrat. It has central planning failure written all over it.

Admit it, you're just down on it because Obama goes caa-caa and pee-pee.

Direckshun
08-02-2008, 07:10 PM
Well, who the heck is going to fund it from the start and implement it?
That's what I was thinking. I'm trying to think of a major corporation who'd be willing to part with the half-a-billion just to experiment with the idea.

I think this has a distinct advantage over Amtrak, though:

1. It's more energy-efficient.
2. It's much faster.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:11 PM
Admit it, you're just down on it because Obama goes caa-caa and pee-pee.

Not at all. I've not been a rabid anti-Obama type at all. Although, that had more to do with fp and civil liberties.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 07:12 PM
My concern about amtrak is that it was SUPPOSED to be unsubsidized and self sufficient after three years back when it was founded in the 70s. They just keep coming back for more government subsidies, however. FAIL.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:13 PM
That's what I was thinking. I'm trying to think of a major corporation who'd be willing to part with the half-a-billion just to experiment with the idea.

I think this has a distinct advantage over Amtrak, though:

1. It's more energy-efficient.
2. It's much faster.

It has no advantage because if no corp is willing to take on the whole risk with their own money, it means it's a boondoggle—something govt would take on instead. That's just a market signal if no corp has done it.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:15 PM
My concern about amtrak is that it was SUPPOSED to be unsubsidized and self sufficient after three years back when it was founded in the 70s. They just keep coming back for more government subsidies, however. FAIL.

Yup! If it was not done by govt it would be gone, bankrupt and out of business as it should. I believe it's less expensive to fly than take a train unless you want to tour. Anyhow, if govt starts a new one up, because it's not based on what the market ( the people) is demanding we will be taxed forever even if it's a loser so some folks can keep their jobs. It's called political economics.

Baby Lee
08-02-2008, 07:16 PM
Not at all. I've not been a rabid anti-Obama type at all. Although, that had more to do with fp and civil liberties.

Come now, we ALL need to confront our inner anti-Obamacism.

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 07:23 PM
100% support it if the Government has zero to do with how it operates.

Good luck with that

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 07:23 PM
Except we're not a socialist democracy like France and most of Europe which is also tiny, small and compact. This just begs for tax dollars going down the drain in America—a nation that loves the independence and freedom of driving. I'd expect to see something like this over at Kos.

If you look at some of the plans proposed by individual states they are talking about connecting several of their biggest cities and having multiple stops.

Also the Kos just had the bill details on its web site and I found it via google I don't go there.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:24 PM
Think Big-Dig!

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 07:25 PM
It's tough, especially because the barrier cost of entry would be so high for any corp to take on. Maintenance could be pretty expensive as well. Those unknown variables would make it ludicrously risky for a corporation to take on. That and no one knows how many people would use it, which would be a very important factor in pricing.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:25 PM
If you look at some of the plans proposed by individual states they are talking about connecting several of their biggest cities and having multiple stops.

Also the Kos just had the bill details on its web site and I found it via google I don't go there.

On a state-by-state level it's another matter. That's their business. But you said "national." It may not be right for every state. Every state may not want it or may not want to pay for it. In fact it was rejected in Florida by referendum. It mainly benefitted the loiyers.

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 07:28 PM
It has no advantage because if no corp is willing to take on the whole risk with their own money, it means it's a boondoggle—something govt would take on instead. That's just a market signal if no corp has done it.

Yup! If it was not done by govt it would be gone, bankrupt and out of business as it should. I believe it's less expensive to fly than take a train unless you want to tour. Anyhow, if govt starts a new one up, because it's not based on what the market ( the people) is demanding we will be taxed forever even if it's a loser so some folks can keep their jobs. It's called political economics.

What Direckshun posted was correct and one of the reasons why it has succeeded everywhere it has been implemented. Go look that up and get back to me. Every country that has implemented high speed rail it has flourished and exceeded every measure.

You are correct about no corp willing to take the whole cost on. I just read an article on the proposed CA high speed rail and private investors want the government to put up to 75% of the initial cost before they put their money in.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 07:28 PM
I couple other things: I wonder if they could run it along the present interstate system. It could be so beneficial.... but it could be disastrous as well... hm.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:29 PM
It's tough, especially because the barrier cost of entry would be so high for any corp to take on. Maintenance could be pretty expensive as well. Those unknown variables would make it ludicrously risky for a corporation to take on. That and no one knows how many people would use it, which would be a very important factor in pricing.

Barrier cost to entry is too high compared to what? I would say if enough people would actually use it to compensate those costs, then that wouldn't be a factor because that's the right market signal. This is where central planning by govt goes awry: it cannot calculate so it never distributes such resources efficiently. These things are usually pet projects by special political interest groups which is another reason it doesn't allocate the right resources efficiently. This is why we have so many unintended consequences with such planning.

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 07:31 PM
On a state-by-state level it's another matter. That's their business. But you said "national." It may not be right for every state. Every state may not want it or may not want to pay for it. In fact it was rejected in Florida by referendum. It mainly benefitted the loiyers.

If you are going to interconnect states like Obama was talking about it is going to have to be national.

He was talking about connecting Chicago to St Louis to Dayton, Detroit in that area to all high speed rails.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 07:32 PM
Barrier cost to entry is too high compared to what? I would say if enough people would actually use it to compensate those costs, then that wouldn't be a factor because that's the right market signal. This is where central planning by govt goes awry: it cannot calculate so it never distributes such resources efficiently. These things are usually pet projects by special political interest groups which is another reason it doesn't allocate the right resources efficiently. This is why we have so many unintended consequences with such planning.

oh I agree, for the most part. But the process of buying land all over the country and erecting such rail lines with STEEL (which I imagine is probably pretty expensive now, given china's building frenzy) is a horrendously expensive upfront cost. It's not something that you can really implement gradually and grow, imo.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:35 PM
What Direckshun posted was correct and one of the reasons why it has succeeded everywhere it has been implemented. Go look that up and get back to me. Every country that has implemented high speed rail it has flourished and exceeded every measure.
You forgot to include Amtrak which has not succeeded. And what is your measure for success? I'll bet when the specifics are laid out, that the others are not necessarily what they are cracked up to be. Further, different areas have different needs. So what is successful in one place isn't necessarily in another. That's why a one size fits all national approach doesn't work. It's just glorified national public transportation. And a lack of understanding about market economics.

You are correct about no corp willing to take the whole cost on. I just read an article on the proposed CA high speed rail and private investors want the government to put up to 75% of the initial cost before they put their money in.
Of course. They're not going to take the risk with their own money. But they will if the market ( the people) were wildly demanding it. That just goes to show even more that there is no correct market signal for it to exist. Hence, the need to have the govt fund it. Such things are always easy when it's somebody else's money. That's why private endeavors are more successful. The market will weed out the bad moves. The govt doesn't because it protects one from the market...which punishes the right people. Something the left hates.

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 07:38 PM
You forgot to include Amtrak which has not succeeded. And what is your measure for success? I'll bet when the specifics are laid out, that the others are not necessarily what they are cracked up to be. Further, different areas have different needs. So what is successful in one place isn't necessarily in another. That's why a one size fits all national approach doesn't work. It's just glorified national public transportation. And a lack of understanding about market economics.



Hello...Amtrak is not high speed. :D It only can go 79mph. High speed = 200-300mph and would be faster than traveling by plane in some cases and definitely faster than traveling by car. Also it will be alot cheaper.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:41 PM
oh I agree, for the most part. But the process of buying land all over the country and erecting such rail lines with STEEL (which I imagine is probably pretty expensive now, given china's building frenzy) is a horrendously expensive upfront cost. It's not something that you can really implement gradually and grow, imo.

If those costs are horrendously expensive, then why should a govt spend it on such over priced items? The same rule should apply to both govt and private endeavors. The idea that it doesn't so the govt should fund it, means it's wasting money on something that is not cost efficient orcost-effective from the get-go. Private endeavors can't get away with such but must find a way to do it cost-effectively. Just look at some of Nasa's projects that have all resulted in cost overruns for little gain compared to private sector ones that were done for far less money and worked better.

And let's not forget, that Lincoln wanted a super high tariff on the south for RR subsidies too. This lead to a civil war as it was not in the interests of the South. Is one of the reasons the Plains Indians were swept away, to make way for RRs. These points have just been downplayed.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:43 PM
Hello...Amtrak is not high speed. :D It only can go 79mph. High speed = 200-300mph and would be faster than traveling by plane in some cases and definitely faster than traveling by car. Also it will be alot cheaper.

Doesn't matter. You nor the govt or any politician can ever defy economic laws which are natural. The market will have the last say.

BTW the US govt program of subsidies for RRs and canals were financial disasters too. States amended their constitution to prohibit taxpayer subsidies to private corporations due to it.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 07:48 PM
If those costs are horrendously expensive, then why should a govt spend it on such over priced items? The same rule should apply to both govt and private endeavors. The idea that it doesn't so the govt should fund it, means it's wasting money on something that is not cost efficient orcost-effective from the get-go. Private endeavors can't get away with such but must find a way to do it cost-effectively. Just look at some of Nasa's projects that have all resulted in cost overruns for little gain compared to private sector ones that were done for far less money and worked better.

And let's not forget, that Lincoln wanted a super high tariff on the south for RR subsidies too. This lead to a civil war as it was not in the interests of the South. Is one of the reasons the Plains Indians were swept away, to make way for RRs. These points have just been downplayed.

The government already has the land via the interstate system. that in and of itself drastically reduces the risk to the government.

The Pedestrian
08-02-2008, 07:57 PM
The idea of a high speed rail, in concept, would be going back in time. We had plenty of passenger trains and such before cars. Granted, these new rail systems would make a lot more stops to open accessibility to more parts of town, you would still see the greedily high prices with the rail as people in the 19th century saw with trains.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 07:58 PM
The government already has the land via the interstate system. that in and of itself drastically reduces the risk to the government.

No it doesn't. Not if enough people don't end up using it to pay back it's costs. And the govt will waste any advantages it has like this by running up costs elsewhere. Always does. Govt is a hamfisted way of doing these things.

You're relying on something like the labor theory of value though. That something is worth what it eventually winds up costing. If no one wants it, as in willing to exchange it's dollars for it, then it's worth nothing. If not enough will use it, then it will wind up permanently subsidized with continued taxation for the few that do because not enough use it to pay for it. It was Mises who shot this theory of value full of holes. He not only showed where Marx was wrong here but where Adam Smith was wrong too. Since Marx relied on Smith originally on the theory of value.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 08:05 PM
The idea of a high speed rail, in concept, would be going back in time. We had plenty of passenger trains and such before cars. Granted, these new rail systems would make a lot more stops to open accessibility to more parts of town, you would still see the greedily high prices with the rail as people in the 19th century saw with trains.

Yup! The massive subsidies to the RRs back then, by selling massive amounts of land at below market value, assured the dynasty of certain American families. But there were a few that built RRs privately with no subsidies. These did not have the same shoddy workmanship with inferior rails and crossties of the govt subsidized RRs.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 08:18 PM
No it doesn't. Not if enough people don't end up using it to pay back it's costs. And the govt will waste any advantages it has like this by running up costs elsewhere. Always does. Govt is a hamfisted way of doing these things.

You're relying on something like the labor theory of value though. That something is worth what it eventually winds up costing. If no one wants it, as in willing to exchange it's dollars for it, then it's worth nothing. If not enough will use it, then it will wind up permanently subsidized with continued taxation for the few that do because not enough use it to pay for it. It was Mises who shot this theory of value full of holes. He not only showed where Marx was wrong here but where Adam Smith was wrong too. Since Marx relied on Smith originally on the theory of value.

HELLO?! The government already has the land which drastically reduces the amount of upfront capital that would need to be invested by them as opposed to a corporate entity. This DOES reduce risk for the government. PERIOD.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 08:19 PM
HELLO?! The government already has the land which drastically reduces the amount of upfront capital that would need to be invested by them as opposed to a corporate entity. This DOES reduce risk for the government. PERIOD.

Hello?! You didn't understand my point at all. PERIOD.
I can't believe you claim to support free-markets.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 08:26 PM
Hello?! You didn't understand my point at all. PERIOD.
I can't believe you claim to support free-markets.

I can't believe you purport to have knowledge of anything if you can't see that the government has a strong advantage over corporations in that they have the tracts of land readily available, which reduces the upfront cost of the project. I guarantee you if a group of investors were offered the ability to build the rail alongside the interstate for free, they would jump all over it.

Edit: My biggest point here is that the rail system can be helped out in this way by the government at little to no risk for the government while the company itself remains privatized.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 08:36 PM
I can't believe you purport to have knowledge of anything if you can't see that the government has a strong advantage over corporations in that they have the tracts of land readily available, which reduces the upfront cost of the project. I guarantee you if a group of investors were offered the ability to build the rail alongside the interstate for free, they would jump all over it.

Edit: My biggest point here is that the rail system can be helped out in this way by the government at little to no risk for the government while the company itself remains privatized.

Well the govt can sell them the land at below market value too, just like it was done in earlier RR days....and even then those were financial disasters. I can't believe that you only look at the supply side of the argument and ignore the demand side as well as not understand, as a free-marketer, that not all the right incentives are still in place even if the land is for free use. ( Free lunch?) That is if not enough use it, it's still worth nothing or not enough to pay whatever costs there are. You assume a market.

wazu
08-02-2008, 08:43 PM
Sounds like a great program to replace highways in the year 3000.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 08:44 PM
Sounds like a great program to replace highways in the year 3000.

Well, the flying car is already here. Brought by the free market.
There's an underwater James Bond one too. :D

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 08:45 PM
Well the govt can sell them the land at below market value too, just like it was done in earlier RR days....and even then those were financial disasters. I can't believe that you only look at the supply side of the argument and ignore the demand side as well as not understand, as a free-marketer, that not all the right incentives are still in place including be able to do it for free. That is if not enough use it, it's still worth nothing or not enough to pay whatever costs there are. You assume a market.

I would say there is a market for cheap mass transit, especially across the continental US. Besides, if you offer it up for free and still no one takes it, what is the loss to the government? If a company DOES pick up the contract and does build the infrastructure, it means they believe that it will be profitable. You're still letting the market decide. It is win-win. The government gets a chance to improve its infrastructure at no risk or cost beyond the usage of land that otherwise wasn't being used. The companies (whom i would assume bid for it) decide how much that privilege is worth. The market is still deciding either way; the rail is not nationalized; and everybody wins.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 08:49 PM
I would say there is a market for cheap mass transit, especially across the continental US. Besides, if you offer it up for free and still no one takes it, what is the loss to the government? If a company DOES pick up the contract and does build the infrastructure, it means they believe that it will be profitable. You're still letting the market decide. It is win-win. The government gets a chance to improve its infrastructure at no risk or cost beyond the usage of land that otherwise wasn't being used. The companies (whom i would assume bid for it) decide how much that privilege is worth. The market is still deciding either way; the rail is not nationalized; and everybody wins.
It's not up to you, or I or any politician to make any assumptions if there is a market for anything. It's not about costs alone. It's about human action. This is one of the main reasons many start-up businesses don't make it. It's one or a few people's idea that there's a market. Only well done market research can answer that question so that it's not based on the opinions of the few. The people speak with their dollars as to what is needed and wanted and there has to be enough of them to turn a profit....and for long enough.

Never underestimate the corruption that follows these interactions with govt. There are some great historical readings on these things. Even with govt grants and subsidies.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 08:51 PM
It's not up to you, or I or any politician to make any assumptions about if there is a market. This is one of the main reasons many start-up businesses don't make it. It's one or a few people's idea that there's a market. Onlly well done market research can answer that question so that it's not based on the opinions of the few. The people speak with their dollars as to what is needed and wanted and there has to be enough of them to turn a profit....and for long enough.

Never underestimate the corruption that follows these interactions with govt. There are some great historical readings on these things.

That is why a bid system would work... :spock:

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 08:53 PM
That is why a bid system would work... :spock:

You're still focusing on the supply side...and not the consumer's side. The consumer side IS the market. Have you ever studied Mises?

And even with a bid system, things can get corrupted on the cost side.

It would seem better to me if an entrepreneur approached with the idea in a local area, after doing their own feasibility studies and market research than when the idea comes from the political classes.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 08:54 PM
You're still focusing on the supply side...and not the consumer's side. The consumer side IS the market. Have you ever studied Mises?

The people placing bids have to project the market. That is why a bid system would work....

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 08:56 PM
The people placing bids have to project the market. That is why a bid system would work....

I'm sure that won't be skewed when getting something free is involved.
Also, having to need the govt all but gaurantees that only some companies will be handed a market that cannot allow many others in to compete against them. So barriers to entry would be erected. Mercantilism. I just bet the flying car may beat them out in the end.

Nightfyre
08-02-2008, 08:57 PM
I'm sure that won't be skewed when getting something free is involved.

I evolved my suggestion, just in case you missed that like half a dozen posts ago.

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 09:10 PM
Well the govt can sell them the land at below market value too, just like it was done in earlier RR days....and even then those were financial disasters. I can't believe that you only look at the supply side of the argument and ignore the demand side as well as not understand, as a free-marketer, that not all the right incentives are still in place even if the land is for free use. ( Free lunch?) That is if not enough use it, it's still worth nothing or not enough to pay whatever costs there are. You assume a market.

In Europe by far the biggest complaint among train riders is that there is too much demand and there is alot of over crowding. I could see in the large cities huge demand for high speed train especially in the northeast.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 09:13 PM
In Europe by far the biggest complaint among train riders is that there is too much demand and there is alot of over crowding. I could see in the large cities huge demand for high speed train especially in the northeast.

Well large northeast cities have always had public transportation. There's even supposed to be an allegedly hi-speed train from Boston to NY but I hear it's not as hi-speed as the European ones. BTW I've traveled on some of those Euro trains but as a student.

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 09:18 PM
Well large northeast cities have always had public transportation. There's even supposed to be an allegedly hi-speed train from Boston to NY but I hear it's not as hi-speed as the European ones. BTW I've traveled on some of those Euro trains but as a student.

True. The one between Boston to NY runs top speed 150mph.

Also it is run by Amtrak

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 09:20 PM
True. The one between Boston to NY runs top speed 150mph.

Also it is run by Amtrak

And I believe it still takes awhile. I used to fly to NY all the time when in art school because it was still cheaper. Not to mention faster.

BucEyedPea
08-02-2008, 09:23 PM
I would say there is a market for cheap mass transit, especially across the continental US.

Well, the airlines were getting there on being that. I tried to take a train the days after 9/11 as my mother was dying but it cost 4X what a plane flight cost...and took longer. This really seems better suited to more local or even regional areas that are closer together than something transcontinental.

'Hamas' Jenkins
08-02-2008, 09:39 PM
Do we have enough Chinese people to build this new railroad?

dirk digler
08-02-2008, 09:41 PM
Do we have enough Chinese people to build this new railroad?

No but now that you mentioned it this would be a great way to legalize a ton of illegal Mexicans. Come work on the railroad and you and your immediate family get legal status.

PastorMikH
08-02-2008, 09:51 PM
Do we have enough Chinese people to build this new railroad?



That gave me a chuckle.

Amnorix
08-03-2008, 12:34 AM
Couldn't be nationwide, but from point to point would work. Boston/NY/Philly/DC would clearly work, with a few stops in between (not too many though).

Other point to point connections would also make sense. But to have it go from Boston all the way to Seattle or whatever, with stops along the way wouldn't make much sense IMHO.

Sort of like Acela, but better. I don't kno wabout the rest of the country, but at this point, travel in the northeast is getting alot of complaints due to security issues and how early you need to get ot the airport, etc. Even for shuttle flights to NY it's a pain and people are trying to avoid it. If rail is a viable alternative...

I wouldn't want a permanent government subsidy if it could be avoided, but would be willing to help on research / start up costs to get it off the ground, IF the long term projection was feasible.

Amnorix
08-03-2008, 12:37 AM
You're still focusing on the supply side...and not the consumer's side. The consumer side IS the market. Have you ever studied Mises?

And even with a bid system, things can get corrupted on the cost side.

It would seem better to me if an entrepreneur approached with the idea in a local area, after doing their own feasibility studies and market research than when the idea comes from the political classes.

The biggest problem si the dirt. Without eminent domain, it's exceedingly hard, even outright impossible, to build a new rail line, especially through densely populated areas.

Amnorix
08-03-2008, 12:38 AM
And let's not forget, that Lincoln wanted a super high tariff on the south for RR subsidies too. This lead to a civil war as it was not in the interests of the South. Is one of the reasons the Plains Indians were swept away, to make way for RRs. These points have just been downplayed.

WTF do you get your history? The Civil War did NOT start because of railroad tariffs....

Amnorix
08-03-2008, 12:40 AM
BTW the US govt program of subsidies for RRs and canals were financial disasters too. States amended their constitution to prohibit taxpayer subsidies to private corporations due to it.

Yes, the Panama Canal was a dumb idea... Definitely. :rolleyes:

Some projects can be so difficult as to be impossible for the private sector. If there's enough public need, then sometimes the path needs to be paved. I do agree, however, that the project should be self-sustaining economically once it is up and running.

Ultra Peanut
08-03-2008, 04:57 AM
Sure. Decent public transportation options are sorely lacking in the vast majority of the country, and an initiative like this would help tremendously. A system focused more on allowing people to travel via train on a daily basis would be ideal, and would be a big step towards fixing a lot of problems.

While some think being held hostage by gas companies is an inevitable product of the ~~~FREE MARKET!, being completely reliant on cars isn't a situation that HAS to persist indefinitely.

Man, nuclear power is the best in civ 4. We should implement it IRL to power this beast. Maybe we can export power to canada and mexico too or something. jk.Nukes are awesome aside from the front-end costs and the time it takes to get them in place.

And the NIMBYs, I suppose.

Do we have enough Chinese people to build this new railroad?My friends, if I'm elected, I vow to round up enough gooks to make this idea a reality!

HonestChieffan
08-03-2008, 07:46 AM
Rather than kill the idea before it has a chance, what if the question was not related to High speed that only servs long distance travelers, but rather, just restructure rebuild and privatize Amtrack and bring it into the 20th century? Ive traveled on Amtrack from KC to Chicago a number of times and it is really excellent. Whats more, at Holiday times you can't get a seat!

Just fixing rails, cutting subsidies to the trucking industry and getting the trucks off the highways and rebuilding the fright infrastructure on rail would be a great benefit long term. Making rail the prefered form of transport of long distance hauling should be part of any long term energy program and getting semis off the road and getting semis weight limits reduced would be a great benefit.

Chiefnj2
08-03-2008, 08:13 AM
The high speed train on the east is the accela. The rail is only as effective as (a) the cost, and (b) the number of stops. Round trip from NJ to Baltimore probably costs between $225 and $250. The top speed is a bit misleading since the train has to stop so often.

For a high speed rail to work the cost would have to come down a lot and it might work better in the midwest where there might not be so many stops.

BucEyedPea
08-04-2008, 11:08 AM
WTF do you get your history? The Civil War did NOT start because of railroad tariffs....

Nope, Sorry, Lincoln's tariff was a bigger factor than slavery.

Where do I get my history?

Obviously, not from state worshipping historians, like you do. ( I see you want to do another hijack.) I told you where I got it before. Just because you haven't read other sources that give other facts doesn't make it less factual.

The whole tariff side of the Civil War is just plain omitted or scantily covered. And my main source for that again is professor of economics and economic history at Loyola College, Thomas DiLorenzo who has done an excellent job of digging up the facts. Of course statists of various stripes like Hamiltonians and others who prefer a Parliamentary system hate him or any new information that dead agents their neo mercantilist views. (which is what a fed hi-speed train is)

Di Lorenzo has also done some excellent work on how the RRs were built, the one's subsidized by Lincoln ( via hi tariffs that the South did not want to pay). Lincoln was a corporate lawyer. It was these industrial interests that helped get Lincoln into office and wanted a high tariff that would not benefit the south as it benefited northern industrialists by subisidizing their production through public works. And it loomed larger than any other issue.
Genesis of the Civil War (http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/civilwar.html)

Lincoln’s Tariff War-DiLorenzo (http://mises.org/story/952)

Did you know these RRs, subsidized by govt, went bankrupt despite getting land grants from the govt they received. Iirc it was all of them that went bankrupt and their fees were high. Same is true for many of the canal projects. I think someone needs to do their research. great Northern Railway Company owned by Hill didn't go bankrupt which was done private and he bought up all the land he needed. Hill's fees were lower and more affordable. Proof that it can be done with out govt subsidization....as well as more efficiently and with better quality.

The Truth about the Robber Barons—diLorenzo (http://mises.org/story/2317)
This will educate you on how a RR should be built that serves the consumer and not special interests. As opposed to creating massive monopolies by govt that ran roughshod over private farming. Panama Canal was also a fiasco considering what might have been.

BTW, how's the Big Dig up there in Boston? LOL

BucEyedPea
08-04-2008, 11:21 AM
From the The Truth about the Robber Barons—diLorenzo (http://mises.org/story/2317)

The Real History

The lesson here is that most historians are hopelessly confused about the rise of capitalism in America. They usually fail to adequately appreciate the entrepreneurial genius of men like James J. Hill, John D. Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, and more often than not they lump these men (and other market entrepreneurs) in with genuine "robber barons" or political entrepreneurs. ( not free market entrepreneurs)

Most historians also uncritically repeat the claim that government subsidies were necessary to building America's transcontinental railroad industry, steamship industry, steel industry, and other industries. But while clinging to this "market failure" argument, they ignore (or at least are unaware of) the fact that market entrepreneurs performed quite well without government subsidies. They also ignore the fact that the subsidies themselves were a great source of inefficiency and business failure, even though they enriched the direct recipients of the subsidies and advanced the political careers of those who dished them out.

Political entrepreneurs and their governmental patrons are the real villains of American business history and should be portrayed as such. They are the real robber barons.

StcChief
08-04-2008, 12:54 PM
From the The Truth about the Robber Barons—diLorenzo (http://mises.org/story/2317):clap::clap: Gov't has and will destroy any resemblance to tech improvements.

A high speed train venture WITH OUT Gov't intervention would go well. between Major cities NY to Chicago to Dallas to LA etc routes.

Jenson71
08-04-2008, 01:29 PM
Yes, I'm all for it.

markk
08-04-2008, 01:36 PM
I don't think it would get much use.

We need to pursue electric personal vehicles without any distractions like this.

If anything, use the money to upgrade our national power grid to prepare for electric vehicles.

SBK
08-04-2008, 01:43 PM
The pricing would never be far enough under than of an airplane which will get you to your destination faster.....I'd be cool to have, but it's the inferior method of travel.

Are scram jets the one's their working on that use fuel to take off then fly on air once at altitude? That's the ticket right there.

BucEyedPea
08-04-2008, 03:36 PM
The pricing would never be far enough under than of an airplane which will get you to your destination faster.....

That's what I also said earlier. It's basically going backwards in terms of speed.

dirk digler
08-04-2008, 03:43 PM
I don't think it would get much use.

We need to pursue electric personal vehicles without any distractions like this.

If anything, use the money to upgrade our national power grid to prepare for electric vehicles.

I think we need both and I agree we definitely need to upgrade our national power grid and that should be a primary goal.

dirk digler
08-04-2008, 03:48 PM
That's what I also said earlier. It's basically going backwards in terms of speed.

That is not true.

Here is an interesting article about this in Europe going to London - Paris.

Total time to fly 5 hrs

Total time for train 2hrs and 15 minutes.

The price difference is $30 dollars approximately and probably less considering all airlines are now charging for checking in baggage.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/tips/planes-versus-trains/2008/04/04/1207249417544.html

BucEyedPea
08-04-2008, 03:54 PM
That is not true.

Here is an interesting article about this in Europe going to London - Paris.

Total time to fly 5 hrs

Total time for train 2hrs and 15 minutes.

The price difference is $30 dollars approximately and probably less considering all airlines are now charging for checking in baggage.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/tips/planes-versus-trains/2008/04/04/1207249417544.html

London to Paris is 5 hours? Didn't take me that long to fly from London to Amsterdam. Iirc it wasn't even an hour. That sounds bogus. What kind of plane was it?


High-speed TGV trains depart Paris for several French towns including the new St Malo connection in Brittany, Bordeaux and Marseilles (all three hours).
I've taken slower trains to St Malo and Marseilles. That is less time...but look at a map of France....how long is that in a car?
Anyhow, back to what I posted earlier,Europe is closer and more compact. I talking about a trans continental one for huge America with longer distances....from east to west coast. I would think a greater number of stops would also have to be made too.

SBK
08-04-2008, 03:55 PM
I've rethought this a little bit. It could possibly work if it was a way to cut down on shorter flights. For instance if you had a hub in Atlanta for the southeast, and then trains that hit the other cities about 250 miles out or so, maybe up to 500 miles you might have something. The key is might. Outside of New England there's not a lot of the country that works real well for rail.

That being said, the market is moving toward smaller planes out of smaller airports, away from the traditional hub and spoke system. The future will be small, very small planes used like air taxis, with the large international and cross country flights operating out of the big airports today.

dirk digler
08-04-2008, 03:57 PM
London to Paris is 5 hours? Didn't take me that long to fly to Amsterdam. That sounds bogus. What kind of plane was it?

Anyhow, back to what I posted earlier, they Europe is closer and more compact. I talking about a trans continental one for America....from east to west coast. I would think a number of stops would also have to be made too.

5 hours includes getting to the airport, checking in luggage, security etc.

Since there is no security checks IIRC and no baggage check in you leave and arrive faster plus the cost is nominal.

I agree about Europe being more compact and the idea is only to have a high speed rail connecting a few states and their major cities not to go coast to coast. Kind of what they do now in the northeast.

dirk digler
08-04-2008, 04:00 PM
I've rethought this a little bit. It could possibly work if it was a way to cut down on shorter flights. For instance if you had a hub in Atlanta for the southeast, and then trains that hit the other cities about 250 miles out or so, maybe up to 500 miles you might have something. The key is might. Outside of New England there's not a lot of the country that works real well for rail.

That being said, the market is moving toward smaller planes out of smaller airports, away from the traditional hub and spoke system. The future will be small, very small planes used like air taxis, with the large international and cross country flights operating out of the big airports today.

Exactly and this was something Obama talked about the other day is that the airlines are thinking about dropping these shorter flights because of the gas prices and the economy so a high speed rail would work great in these areas. It is a win-win IMHO.

BucEyedPea
08-04-2008, 04:01 PM
5 hours includes getting to the airport, checking in luggage, security etc.

Since there is no security checks IIRC and no baggage check in you leave and arrive faster plus the cost is nominal.

This came up when we discussed such a system in Florida. But one still has to drive to the train station and find parking too. Once that was factored in for most people it wasn't as much a time savings. It saved some but time still had to be added to the ride itself. And there being no security currently may not be a permanent fixture should there be a terror incident involving a train. The criminals may just target something different because all the focus is on planes.

dirk digler
08-04-2008, 04:03 PM
This came up when we discussed such a system in Florida. But one still has to drive to the train station and find parking too. Once that was factored in for most people it wasn't as much a time savings. It saved some but time still had to be added to the ride itself. And there being no security currently may not be a permanent fixture should there be a terror incident involving a train. The criminals may just target something different because all the focus is on planes.

That is a good point but I would say Europe has just as equally tough security since there was a terrorist attack on trains in Spain.

Here is some of that article

But rail travel is fighting back with high-speed services that are improving - so much so that, in some cases, rail travel is quicker than going through airport red tape. And compared to carbon-emission spewing aircraft, electric rail has a a green halo.

Take, for example, London to Paris. Easyjet has a one-way fare from London's Luton Airport to Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport for £22. Pricewise, it's a winner compared to taking the train - Eurostar - where fares start at £59 one way.

But let's look at the convenience factor. Luton Airport is slightly more than an hour by bus from central London (bus tickets start at £10). It is recommended you check in two hours before departure and flight time is one hour and 15 minutes. Add at least half an hour to take the RER train from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the centre of Paris. Total time with Easyjet: about five hours.

In terms of saving time, Eurostar is a winner, with a check-in time of 30 minutes before pulling out of St Pancras International Train Station in central London. Two hours and 15 minutes later, passengers arrive at Paris's Gare du Nord which is a short hop on the Metro to anywhere in the centre of Paris. Total time: about three hours.

Eurostar also has the advantage of there being no need to check in baggage; nor is there a baggage charge. The limit is two large pieces (with no weight limit) and one piece of hand luggage.

With Easyjet, you pay £5 for each item of checked-in baggage (to a maximum of 20 kilograms); and £16.50 for each item of sports equipment. Ryanair has a limit of 15kilograms and charges £6 per bag and a hefty £7.50 a kilogram for excess baggage

dirk digler
08-04-2008, 04:06 PM
http://www.airguideonline.com/airguidemonthly/airguide9711.htm

Air Travel Versus High-Speed Rail
For Short Trips Is the High-Speed Train a Better Choice?
The new generation of high-speed trains is setting the pace for business travel within Europe. Why fly when you often can get more comfortably, conveniently and faster by high-speed train, sometimes for a third of the of the cost of a business-class air ticket?
The train can beat the plane and the automobile from center to center on trips up to 650 km/400 miles. On short flights, flying time can be as little as 20 percent of the total journey time. The time-distance equation is shifting in favor of high-speed rail versus air travel, but bear in mind that comparisons usually cite departure to arrival times for air travel but does not include the time it takes you to get to the train station and then to your final destination for rail trips.
But as high-speed trains become even faster, business travelers will be able to save time on longer trips, which may make the airline option less attractive. What counts with rail travel is the quality of the time. Going by plane, the time is fraught and fragmented, allowing more time that you need to get to the airport, checking in an hour before, standing in line, getting on and off the plane, taking a taxi at the other end. And high-speed trains offer superb comfort, especially first class where you can expect airline-style seating and service worthy of long-haul business class, with wide seats, plenty of legroom and meals and drinks served at your seat, plus the run of executive lounges at major terminals, all in the price of your ticket. Take your laptop and mobile phone and do a pile of work in peace.
The patience span for the business travelers seems to be about three hours for train journeys; if it is much longer than that they will struggle out at the airport according to travel agents dealing with corporate travelers. Eurostar, which takes three hours from London to Paris is a roaring success. But London-Brussels which takes over three hours is not seen to be worth it. Three hours seems to be the critical cutoff point. People catching Eurostar from work or go to work on Eurostar. If they start their journey from home, they are more likely to go to the airport. There is an enormous temptation for people in the City of London who need to go to Paris just to go to Waterloo and get on the Eurostar rather than trying to get out of Heathrow.
Eurostar with services between London and Paris and Brussels has proved a winning formula since it ran the first trains through the Channel Tunnel in 1994. More than 25 trains a day among the three cities will carry 6 million passengers this year. Eurostar claims that its market share between London and Paris is 60 percent of air and rail travelers. The London-Brussels share of 50 percent is expected to rocket with the opening of a new high-speed line between Lille and Brussels las Sunday, which cuts the trip time between London and Brussels by 30 minutes to two hours and 30 minutes.
Other high-speed links in Europe and city center to city center time:
Destination: Train/Air:

Geneva-Paris 3:36 /3:05
Geneva-Zurich 3:00 Regular train 2:50
Geneva-Milan 3:40/3:15
Paris-Brussels 1:26/2:50
Brussels-Amsterdam 2:40/2:50
London-Cologne 5:30/3:35
Paris-Cologne 4:00/2:55
Brussels-Cologne 2:30 soon will be 1:45


By 2003:
London-Paris 2:20
London-Brussels 2:00

Eurostar has pitched fares to compare with airlines. Premium First is interchangeable with British Midland business-class tickets between London and Paris or Brussels. So your can take the train one way and fly back or vice versa. If you take the train both ways, you get a free Standard Class ticket. The round trip from Paris to London costs a little less than the air fare. You are allowed a 10 minute check-in, a limo transport from Waterloo station to central London, a taxi from Gare du Nord to any central Paris address, and other frills. A regular first-class and Second Plus budget business round-trip fares cost up to 40% less than full-fare economy round-trip airline ticket.
It's not easy.
Rail travel, however, is not always easy to book. The problem is that travel agents find it hard to call up railway schedules on their screens. Even rail experts have problems. One can book airlines around the world on a screen, but you can't do that with rail. The rail reservation systems do not have their act together, especially for cross-border travel. Airlines computer reservation systems are not displaying rail schedules, at least not at a place where you can easily find them. So they don't come up as an option to agents on the screen. We can issue about 60 percent of rail tickets across Europe on the screen, but it is a nightmare.
One of the best features in favor of rail travel remains the fact that one has ample undisturbed time to work or to rest. If the total travel time from city center to city center is three hours, the train gives you as much as 2:30 minutes of undisturbed time, where on a similar trip by air will only give you thirty minutes to one hour due to the fact that the traveler has to take several modes of transport to get to the airport and also walk quite a bit to get the aircraft. Even though air travel gives the impression of speed, it seems doubtful that is as rapid and comfortable as a high-speed train for trip of three hours or less.

BucEyedPea
08-04-2008, 04:07 PM
That is a good point but I would say Europe has just as equally tough security since there was a terrorist attack on trains in Spain.

Here is some of that article

Then there are security checks afterall?

BucEyedPea
08-04-2008, 04:10 PM
Geneva-Zurich 3:00 Regular train 2:50
I flew from Geneva to Zurich in under an hour. Time at airport wasn't more than 45 minutes. That's 1.5 hours. I guess it depends on how far one has to drive from to the airport. So some of those numbers sound off. Again, I have no problem with short distances determined by local areas—not by our national govt. They can fund it themselves too.

dirk digler
08-04-2008, 04:20 PM
Then there are security checks afterall?

I guess not according to Eurostar

To check in, all you have to do is insert your ticket into the machine (which will hold onto it exactly long enough for you to start to panic, just a little bit) and then walk through the gate with your baggage. Easy. If you need help, our staff are always around, and we’ll be glad to check you in ourselves.

BucEyedPea
08-04-2008, 05:26 PM
I guess not according to Eurostar

I only asked that because you listed it in your post #78 above.

BTW, are we done paying for the Big Dig?