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disturbman

US High Speed Rail

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disturbman

With all the things going on in the US about stimulus package and HSR plans the SNCF just presented a comprehensive plan for the "Texas T-Bone".

 

You can read SNCF's Rail Plan (240 pages) here and get some quick informations here.

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disturbman

In fact the SNCF proposal for Texas is part of a bigger proposal envionning four HSR corridors. The plan SNCF submited to US authorities is 1000 pages and was the only complete proposal, except the one from CHSRA, to answer FRA call for submission.

 

More on the subject in this article.

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Guest ___

It's a trap. ^_^

 

But seriously, is SNCF still state run or are they private now?

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disturbman

I can't see why it could/should be an issue here. SNCF is a public company that sought to open/secure new businesses.

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bikkuri bahn

SNCF has a history with Texas- I believe they had a hand in plans for an earlier HSR scheme there, which was unfortunately killed by conservative forces.  SNCF certainly has gumption- history has a tendency to repeat itself...

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disturbman

Yup, that's the famous Texas TGV scheme. I still remember the TV journal pieces.

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Guest ___

I can't see why it could/should be an issue here. SNCF is a public company that sought to open/secure new businesses.

 

Because historically the federal government does not allow foreign governments to run for profit cooperation with in the the US boarders. Same reason why you don't see Amtrak running trains in France.

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disturbman

Yeah. But the SNCF is not the French government. It's a public company there is a slight difference in the terms. We don't see Amtrak trains running in France because - that's in fact a complicated issue - because, well, Amtrak doesn't try and also because until next year the passenger traffic is closed to competitors.

 

But comptetition exists on the freight market. And the DB, wich is still very own by the German Government, is one of the biggest haulers. The SNCB also runs freight trains in France. Nobody seems to really care.

 

And if I remember correctly EDF might participate in the building of new nuclear reactors on US soil. And EDF is still partly (~85%) owned by the French State. I should have thought that nuclear infrastructure was much more sensible than railway. I might have been wrong...  :grin

 

Anyway, I don't think the SNCF have big hopes about running everyhting by herself. She will none the less think about a way to get a piece of it.

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qwertyaardvark

If you are anything like me, you've been keeping some sort of tab on the HSR stimulus bill and it looks like Florida will be the big winner this round of funds being awarded. Not sure how I feel about about a place like Florida getting HSR (i had placed my bets on California), but nonetheless I support any HSR being developed in the US. We'll find out for sure who gets the money in coming few days.

 

Upon reading news articles, I stumbled across this: U.S.-Japan High Speed Rail. It appears to be a US based subsidiary to JR Central and hoping to market the N700 (numbered N700-I in the US) and complete railroad system to competing corridors (while complying with the funding restriction of manufacturing to within the US). Very nicely laid out and interesting site. Needless to say, I am hoping and praying with all my might that the Japanese win out.  :grin

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disturbman

Why? I think that any possible out come (meaning French, German, Japanese, Canadian...) will be great for the US.

 

And I don't think Florida will be the big winner, that's not because Obama is coming down there that it mean that Florida will get a bigger part than any other State. I think more than two or three project will size a good deal of this stimulus bill but others will get what is left of it. Will see. The answer is coming soon.

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Mudkip Orange

Needless to say, I am hoping and praying with all my might that the Japanese win out.  :grin

 

Full-size mock-ups would help a LOT in this regard; Shinkansen are actually wider than most U.S. passenger trains, whereas the ICE-3 and other trainsets are built to the smaller European loading gauge.

 

N700 is better suited to Americans' fat posteriors. Consider: I'm actually eating a big bowl of Kroger-brand queso blanco AS I TYPE THIS.

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to2leo

The food is not really my cup of tea.  In fact, I am full already just by looking at it!

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qwertyaardvark

Why? I think that any possible out come (meaning French, German, Japanese, Canadian...) will be great for the US.

 

On a personal level and pretty obvious by this forum, I had a positive experience with the Japanese trains and feel comfortable with their looks, interior and exterior.

 

On a more engineering level, I really like the idea of JR Central to offer a complete package, rolling stock and operation. If i have read correctly (and correct me if i'm wrong) the complete package also includes the design of the rail which would be japan-style: grade-separated tracks. This is something the USA *needs* to get on with and get away from this beating-around-the-bush "incremental" upgrade on tracks shared with freight and cars/trucks (at grade crossings). I am definitely a supporter of simply building new, dedicated tracks and having trains on a timetable, not being run by a freight dispatcher, if there is any hope of wanting to get trains where they need to be.

 

In terms of reliability, if cars are any indication of how reliable a given company/region's manufacturing capabilities are, Japan is usually high up there. Personal experience with Mercedes and BMW tells me European things are high quality, but also higher maintenance than my personal experiences with Honda and Toyota. Now, whether this can pass along into the train industry, look at the SNCF CEO's remark that, based on incidents per million km, the Shinkansen is about 60 times more reliable than the Duplex TGVs.

 

Also, thinking very much in the long run, when it comes time to connect the various corridors, I don't want America to deal with the Japanese system there, the French one over there, and yet another German one over yonder. America has a clean slate, and the last thing I want it to do is start mish-mashing up rail technologies. Because of the above mentioned separated-grade tracking, I prefer the Japanese rail technology. Some have stated concerns of having one company doing everything, namely that if JR suddenly fails us, we have no other suppliers, and that European train companies by default have to deal with the many difference in country-to-country rail standards making them more competitive than the Japanese homebrew technology. I am not an expert on Contracts/International Business, but if European countries are as flexible as they say they are, then surely they are flexible enough to meet Japanese standards and to fill in any gaps that JR Central might unintentionally/intentionally leave. Perhaps if JRC didnt make X number of trains, we could, for example, have the rights to give the blueprints to Alstom, Seimens, etc to fill in the rest of the order.

 

Now, I will state I am only but a college graduate with no real industrial expertise or experience, and i may cite rather sketchy sources like my personal experiences with cars, but think about who votes for this stuff. Certainly not everyone is a passenger rail expert or even a railroad hobbyist; they will draw from personal experiences and public images rather than statistics and fact. For me, I have looked at stats and facts, and they seem to correlate pretty well.

 

That's my two cents. Feel free to rip and shred my arguments for debate's sake. The stronger I can make my arguments, the better I can convince my friends to be pro-high speed rail. :grin

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disturbman

I will... I will!!!  :grin But there is a lot to do.  :laugh:

 

First, I want to adress the reliability issue. We allready spoke about that several times here and, even if I don't have any real numbers on the subject, I've got a hunch saying that the reliability of Japanese technology is not the sole element involved. I clearly do think that the level of service required is far more higher in Japan than anywhere else in the world and that Japanese maintenance (as well as other thing) might be a lot better than it's western counterparts. I know I'm walking on clichés here (and I don't like that) but sadly I think some of them are true. When I see what's expected of some JRs staff, it's quite incredible. I'm not sure you find such high expectations in our euro-american (work) culture.

 

Once this point is made, I can only wonder if JRs trains in the US could be as reliable as the same train in the US or in Europe.

 

Second, you thoughts on possible incompability between the systems. It's not really the role of the JR, SNCF or Siemens to established the requirement for the US system. That's the FTA work (or the US rail regulator) that have to decide what will be the standards (if they don't allready exists, after all California must have set some standards since they are in advance planing). Just look at China they have Japanese, French, Bombardian and German trains running in the same system without any problem. That's not a problem since the Europeans developped an interoperable signaling and control system that's being implemented everywhere in the world (the ETCS) and is actually in use on Chinese HSLs.

 

And as far as subcontracting goes... Japense trains won't be handed over to competitors like that. I'm not sure the Japanese want Alstom or Bombardier or Siemens to see the inner workings of their trains. They are more likely going to build some factories in the US with a technology transfer agreement.

 

Last but not least... "grade spearation"? common! You really think that the japanese are the only one to know how to do that? Every HSL is based on this concept. It's not possible to run HST otherwise. You won't find a HSL in the world run by a freight dispatcher. That's a no go.

 

Japanese might have been the first to build those "Shinkansens" (new lines) but that's mostly because their network couldn't handle higher speed than, say, the regular 130kph. When they built the 0 Series Europeans where allready running IC push pull trains going 200kph. The E3 doesn't run higher than 130kph when they go outside the Shinkansen lines.

 

Anyway I'm pretty sure you will not see JR Tokai design all the HSL in the US. It's too big a market for a sole company and the way the system is going to be build (by sgment) will allow for competitors.. well... to compete and win some markets.

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NozomiFan

Why can't we give a 500 a new scheme, ship it, and put it on the track?

America had a great railway service until the 1960's when the Jet was commercially available.

I wouldn't remember it of course....

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bikkuri bahn
Why can't we give a 500 a new scheme, ship it, and put it on the track?

 

That woud be nice, but apparently the 500 series was too expensive a design, not to mention old (relatively in present terms).

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disturbman

Plus, they won't be enough train sets. There is (was?) only 9 complete 500 sets. That's not enought to make a runing HSNetwork. Anyway, by the time the infrastructure work they will be 20 years and more old. That's too much and nobody like to have a toy like that doesn't feel and smell brand new.

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Kabutoni

Also, the 500 Series have quite some technical problems and are (being) withdrawn form the prime-class Nozomi services.

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Mudkip Orange

Honestly all else being equal I'd rather ride in a square train than a cylindrical train. More elbow room if you get the window seat.

 

Any 700-series derivative for California would certainly have a unique nose design - neither Taiwan nor Japan.

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to2leo

Honestly all else being equal I'd rather ride in a square train than a cylindrical train. More elbow room if you get the window seat.

 

Any 700-series derivative for California would certainly have a unique nose design - neither Taiwan nor Japan.

 

Seeing the current patch of train designs from N. America, I don't mind if US is sticking with the foreign designers to build the nose.

 

So when will we find out whether there will be a high speed train or not in US?

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Guest ___

I expect Florida will be the first. Then possibly CA assuming it ever happens at all considering the deficit, states are strapped, and the fed is looking to cut back spending on everything but bare essentials. for railfan that excludes trains, but to the rest of the Congress, new transportation projects are not essential at the moment.

 

There's a lot of noise in the (transport) industry right now about build, build, build, but Congress seems concerned that we're heading in to a double dip recession, and all those shovel ready construction jobs have proven that it had not spurred economic growth. It's going to be hard to say when new HSR projects might actually take a foothold.

 

I'd wait and see what the SOTU address to hear what the administration is up to, but I wouldn't honestly expect transportation funding to get much of a shot in the arm for HSR projects any time soon.

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Mudkip Orange

Seeing the current patch of train designs from N. America, I don't mind if US is sticking with the foreign designers to build the nose.

 

Really?

 

I think the Acela is somewhat better looking then the Thalys, and is a toss aesthetically with most of the TGV stock.

 

Geneshits are, well, geneshits, but both the F59PHI and the MPIxpress are better-looking then equivalent diesels operating in Europe.

 

Obviously Japan has everyone beat in putting different noses and exciting paintjobs on trains that are otherwise very similar mechanically; I often wonder if it's more of a cultural thing, or if it's just the fact that railways in Japan are privatized. UK color schemes have a lot of variety too, they just have WAY TOO MANY BRIGHT AND CLASHING COLORS (not helped by the absurd requirement that all train fronts be bright yellow).

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disturbman
I think the Acela is somewhat better looking then the Thalys, and is a toss aesthetically with most of the TGV stock.

 

Really?

 

Shapes and colors, we should'nt even speak about them... I found the Thalys so beautiful. Better than any other TGV stock.

http://www.thalys.com/img/apropos/rame_pbka2.jpg

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Mudkip Orange

Shapes and colors, we should'nt even speak about them... I found the Thalys so beautiful. Better than any other TGV stock.

http://www.thalys.com/img/apropos/rame_pbka2.jpg

 

To me it just looks like a big, bulbous nose, bolted into the front of the original Sud-Est rolling stock.

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Guest ___
I think the Acela is somewhat better looking then the Thalys, and is a toss aesthetically with most of the TGV stock.

 

Really?

 

Shapes and colors, we should'nt even speak about them... I found the Thalys so beautiful. Better than any other TGV stock.

http://www.thalys.com/img/apropos/rame_pbka2.jpg

 

I like the Acela design, but I hate the color livery. Bombarider's HST Florida test train looks like the Acela only in red.  :cheesy

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