Jump to content
disturbman

US High Speed Rail

Recommended Posts

to2leo

News flash, O.bama to address High Speed Rail in Florida tomorrow

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9672336

 

A day after delivering a State of the Union address aimed at showing recession-weary Americans he understands their struggles, President Barack Obama intends to award $8 billion in stimulus funds to develop high-speed rail corridors and sell the program as a jobs creator.

 

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden plan to announce grants for 13 major corridors during a town hall meeting in Tampa, Fla., Thursday, the president's first public appearance following his speech to the nation. It's an attempt by the White House to show that getting Americans back to work is the president's top priority and that he has a plan for how to do it.

 

The president's visit to the region means Florida's proposal for a high-speed line connecting Orlando and Tampa is likely to receive funding. California's proposal for an 800-mile-long rail line from Sacramento to San Diego and a nine-state proposal in the Midwest are also considered strong contenders.

 

The $8 billion in funding for high-speed trains and other passenger rail projects is part of the $787 billion recovery act. Besides the 13 corridors receiving grants, a White House official said several smaller awards will be made for improvements to existing rail lines. Overall, 31 states will receive funds.

 

The official said the projects are expected to create or save tens of thousands of jobs in areas like track-laying, manufacturing, planning and engineering, though there is no time frame for how long it will take for those jobs to develop. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak ahead of the president's announcement.

 

Though the White House is quick to point out that the economy is no longer on the brink of a depression, as it was when Obama took office, stemming the free fall hasn't translated into job growth. The unemployment rate has hovered near 10 percent for several months, while Obama's approval ratings have dropped.

 

With that in mind, Obama will spend about two-thirds of his speech on the economy, telling Americans in specific terms that he understands their struggles. He'll reinforce that message in the coming weeks by laying out a number of job creation initiatives, the first of which will be the high-speed rail grant awards to announced Thursday in Tampa. Trips to Maryland and New Hampshire will follow.

 

n Florida, a swing state Obama carried in the 2008 election, Obama will face a populace where more people disapprove of his performance than approve — 49 percent to 45 percent, according to a new Quinnipiac poll, the first time the numbers there have shifted in that direction since Obama's election.

 

Even experts who favor high-speed rail question whether the awards Obama will announce Thursday can turn into the job generators the administration is hoping for. Because the U.S. has never had the kind of bullet trains found in Europe and Asia, there are no U.S. engineering companies or manufacturers with experience in high-speed rail. Anthony Perl, who heads the National Research Council's panel on intercity passenger rails, said that means much of the technology will have to be purchased abroad.

 

At a rail manufacturing conference last year, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said more than 30 foreign and domestic companies have promised to establish or expand operations in the United States if they are chosen to build high-speed lines.

 

Still, high-speed rail experts say that if the administration spreads the $8 billion among more than a handful of projects, none of the projects will get enough money to get up and running.

 

"If they want this money to have an impact they are going to have to give a lot to a few states," said lobbyist Tim Gillespie, who represents two large French rail companies.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest ___

He promises a lot of things that have not happened, nor ever will.

Share this post


Link to post
Mudkip Orange

Tonight's state of the union address had a whole call-and-response sentence to "building a new generation of nuclear power plants."

 

That's one component of high-speed rail we don't always address... as long as our electric grid is running on coal, the environmental benefits of rail vs. car/bus/plane are moot.

Share this post


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

 

Rolling stock design is a matter of personal taste.  I'm actually liking the E5 more nowadays, especially from the front and three quarters view.  Most European HSR designs are fine in my eyes, except the shovel nose ones (the Spanish one and that one up in the Netherlands)- Japan does shovel nose better, IMO.  But I just can't believe GE unleashed that fugly Class 70 on the poor Brits:

 

Class 70 Freightliner

 

I actually thought it was a Plasser-Theurer track maintenance machine, not a diesel loco, when I first saw it.  Trust in GE to make the most ungraceful locomotives.  They must be using stylists from their home appliance division :laugh:

 

Oh yes, and on U.S. HSR, it looks like Texas was shafted in the grants.  They probably deserved it- wanting to leave the union won't endear you with the feds...

Share this post


Link to post
qwertyaardvark

OUCH - yeah you pretty much shredded my arguments for Japan. touche. :P I still will think the reliability will be better, b/c a Japanese is only as enthusiastic as the orders given to him. Yes, I, too, stereotype the work ethic of the Japanese (and several other asian countries), but the other side of that enthusiasm is good control and guidance; somewhere, some engineer is writing the procedure to keep the trains on the tracks. Likewise, this same maintenance procedure will find itself in American hands if/when the US gets the trains sets.

 

The Japanese don't want to risk tarnishing the reputation they worked hard to earn. As I'm sure that the trains will come with some sort of warranty, they will also with some sort of maintenance program. Under liability, the Company is expected to meet the requirements of at least *trying* to meet the higher standard, Japanese maintenance program, and I think that will go a long way in getting America is care for its trains. (I would be curious to see the reliability of the Taiwan's 700Ts [700] and China's CRH2s [E2-1000] and how they compare)

 

second OUCH... as a Citizen of Texas, I will assure you any attempt to separate from the Union is more or less a playful joke, knowing full well we don't have a fully diversified economy/resources to do so. :P Though it does sadden me that Texas didn't see a lot of it (Fort Worth got a tiny bit for Amtrak upgrades), there is somewhat of a stir among our peoples to work harder for the second round of funding. I am feeling a bit sorry for the NE corridor getting around only $250mil; I would have expected more there. Regardless, much congrats to Florida, Cali, Chicago-St. Louis, Minneapolis-Chicago corridors~  :grin

 

Click here for the High Speed Rail Awards Summary.

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

WOOHOO Bullet trains in the Lou!

 

Too bad I won't still be living here by the time construction starts, let alone when it is complete.

 

Oh wait, they're just "upgrading" the rights of way between here and KC or Chicago. I know what that means. UP's coal trains are not several times longer than the longest sidings on these routes. "Upgrades" means paying for UP to extend the length of the sidings so Amtrak can pass them, rather than vice-versa. Which means the "upgrades" will allow Amtrak to actually run on schedule, instead of several hours behind, because each and every coal train is run as an unscheduled extra.

 

Never mind. :(

Share this post


Link to post
disturbman

Hey hey!!! What did I tell you?! Florida is not the big winner. Hopefully California is going to get the better part and that's normal.

Share this post


Link to post
to2leo

The annoucement mainly talks about 110mph or 177kph on some routes while creating bridges and tunnels over roads.

 

It is a great positive but no bullet trains yet.

Share this post


Link to post
disturbman

It's allready something and that is also what some States applied for. Many were happy with a speed increase and not so much interested in true high speed. If the US end up with a nice 110mph network they won't be so backwater anymore. Postitive thinking is the key.

Share this post


Link to post
bikkuri bahn

It's allready something and that is also what some States applied for. Many were happy with a speed increase and not so much interested in true high speed. If the US end up with a nice 110mph network they won't be so backwater anymore. Postitive thinking is the key.

 

Yes, I think this allocation is the biggest ever commitment to passenger rail expansion.  And indeed, alot of it will go to incremental improvements (so-called "shovel-ready" projects) rather than true HSR.  I suppose true HSR realistically is slated for Florida and California- JR Tokai considers Florida the most likely candidate for true HSR to be implemented soonest.  Though I'm afraid the clueless mass media (TV, newspapers) will label anything over 100mph "HSR" or "bullet trains", even if it's talgo cars hauled by EMD diesels- not exactly state of the art.

Share this post


Link to post
NozomiFan

IMO somebody needs to tell the media that true "high speed" is a Shinkansen, but the public will believe anything.

 

If CNN put a CG generated picture with a alien and a UFO people across the USA would be freaking out.

Share this post


Link to post
to2leo

IMO somebody needs to tell the media that true "high speed" is a Shinkansen, but the public will believe anything.

 

If CNN put a CG generated picture with a alien and a UFO people across the USA would be freaking out.

 

Didn't that happened with a radio show  :grin

 

I wish the upcoming engine and passenger cars renewal by Amtrak will further support this imagination of higher speed trains...well at least get something nicer than what's out there right now...

Share this post


Link to post
disturbman

True, US are in clear need of something more up-to-date. Amtrak should invest massively in DMUs.

 

As far as Florida is concerned, the link between Tampa and Orlando is so small that t could be build quite more easily than the SF-LA route. This could be the famous demonstration line every body was calling for.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest ___

True, US are in clear need of something more up-to-date. Amtrak should invest massively in DMUs.

 

As far as Florida is concerned, the link between Tampa and Orlando is so small that t could be build quite more easily than the SF-LA route. This could be the famous demonstration line every body was calling for.

 

Amtrak should be disbanded, and the entire system needs to be rebooted from scratch, or re-imagined as one person called it. It's never worked to begin with.

Share this post


Link to post
bikkuri bahn

True, US are in clear need of something more up-to-date. Amtrak should invest massively in DMUs.

 

As far as Florida is concerned, the link between Tampa and Orlando is so small that t could be build quite more easily than the SF-LA route. This could be the famous demonstration line every body was calling for.

 

Amtrak should be disbanded, and the entire system needs to be rebooted from scratch, or re-imagined as one person called it. It's never worked to begin with.

 

Hear hear.  Unfortunately, it's probably impossible politically.  As for DMU's, I'm in agreement there too, but the FRA is wedded to the (typically American) thinking that bigger (and heavier) is safer.  No doubt that is in no small part due to influence of the freight railroads on policy.

Share this post


Link to post
disturbman

Unfortunately for them that's not true. They should look at the worldwide statistics. The safest of design is the one made to absorb shocks and you don't obtain that by armouring trains. Maybe once the network is updated to PTC they could forget about transforming trains into abrams tank. If not, they should equiped them with the same canon so trains could pulverized the danger before it hit them.

Share this post


Link to post
qwertyaardvark

I personally wouldn't blame Amtrak if it weren't for Congress trying to siphon what was supposed to be Amtrak funding into other projects. Any program with poor funding will have poor results. If Amtrak had adequate funding, but was still in this condition, then would i find fault in Amtrak.

 

I believe in realm of PTC, where you work to keep trains from crashing in the first place. the FAA didn't work to make airplanes crash-proof, it did its best to keep them from crashing.

 

IIRC, the reason why passenger trains are "armored" has little to do with the rail freight industry influence. It has more to do with the FRA and its safety regulations which are heavily based on America's railroads which is based on freight. I really don't think a light-weight, shock-absorbent passenger train will fare any better, if not worse, than one that is armored. I'm no expert, but it seems to me that the point of the armored trains is to make each train "derail" the other, avoiding a far more deadly accident phenomenon: telescoping. Telescoping of a freight versus passenger car would have far worse consequences then two passegner cars, IMO. The noses on the front of today's Diesel locomotives are designed to push the other locomotive off the tracks so one engine doesn't go ramping up the other. Granted, something like the last Metrolink accident, the Metrolink cars does not have said nose, the nose on the UP locomotive would have done it's job.

 

In conclusion: for the US to adopt what the rest of the world considers safe, 1) get the ETMS system up and running (when is that due to get up and running?) 2) separate passenger and freight tracks so that a freight train could NEVER hit a passenger train. This all going towards the goal of preventing crashes instead of preventing deaths in crashes.

Share this post


Link to post
DarkStar

 

True, US are in clear need of something more up-to-date. Amtrak should invest massively in DMUs.

 

 

Hear hear.  Unfortunately, it's probably impossible politically.  As for DMU's, I'm in agreement there too, but the FRA is wedded to the (typically American) thinking that bigger (and heavier) is safer.  No doubt that is in no small part due to influence of the freight railroads on policy.

 

 

DMUs are definitely a future possibility!

 

Attached is a picture of what I get to ride everyday to/from work. You can read more about the train on its Wikipedia page.

 

Granted, it's a one-of-a-kind train (well, they bought 3 motor units and 1 trailer unit), but when U.S. Railcar gets production going again it might be something Amtrak should consider investing into.

post-240-13569923908255_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
bill937ca

 

DMUs are definitely a future possibility!

 

Attached is a picture of what I get to ride everyday to/from work. You can read more about the train on its Wikipedia page.

 

Granted, it's a one-of-a-kind train (well, they bought 3 motor units and 1 trailer unit), but when U.S. Railcar gets production going again it might be something Amtrak should consider investing into.

 

I came across this entry from a US N scale board during a Google search yesterday.  The high platforms are unusual for most US rail lines.  Also interesting is the gantlet track around the platform.

 

http://www.nscale.net/forums/showpost.php?p=122223&postcount=3

Share this post


Link to post
disturbman

When I say DMU I was thinking IC DMU for Amtrak (something like JR Hokkaido Kiha 281/283 or JR Tokai Kiha 85) not a suburban DMU.

 

So now I know how this famous WES service look like. Quite impressive train, the design feels totaly retro, like it's coming from the 80s or something. But I like it, it reminds me some (now) old Dutch trains.

Share this post


Link to post
scott

The high platforms are unusual for most US rail lines.

 

Which is unfortunate. There's something rinky-dink about having to use a stool to get into the train. Not to mention all the accessibility problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Mudkip Orange

it looks like Texas was shafted in the grants.  They probably deserved it- wanting to leave the union won't endear you with the feds...

 

Well truth is I don't trust our current crop of leaders (rick perry et al) to spend federal high speed rail money properly... they'd probably figure out some sort of creative accounting that lets them build more toll roads with "right of way reserved for future rail" or some crap like that. :/

 

But it needs to be pointed out that Texas is a net donor state (pays out more in federal taxes then it takes in). The Yankees wooed us with debt forgiveness (Tejas had run up quite a tab fighting the US and Mexico at practically the same time), but 75% of the USA's oil refining capacity is within a 150 mile radius of Corpus Christi... one would not want to get into a trade war with an independent TX.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest ___

it looks like Texas was shafted in the grants.  They probably deserved it- wanting to leave the union won't endear you with the feds...

 

Well truth is I don't trust our current crop of leaders (rick perry et al) to spend federal high speed rail money properly... they'd probably figure out some sort of creative accounting that lets them build more toll roads with "right of way reserved for future rail" or some crap like that. :/

 

But it needs to be pointed out that Texas is a net donor state (pays out more in federal taxes then it takes in). The Yankees wooed us with debt forgiveness (Tejas had run up quite a tab fighting the US and Mexico at practically the same time), but 75% of the USA's oil refining capacity is within a 150 mile radius of Corpus Christi... one would not want to get into a trade war with an independent TX.

 

Agree completely mudkip, which is pat of why I do not foresee any HSR projects coming online or even shovel breaking any time soon. The biggest HSR project planned for the past decade was the maglev which is still in limbo.

Share this post


Link to post
Mudkip Orange

I really honestly don't see maglev having a future anywhere.

 

The Germans invented straddle-beam maglev, and yet for 30 years no local government was willing to commit. Shanghai finally built a single demo line as a "hey, look at us!" action, but all the extension projects have been shelved in favor of conventional metro or steel-wheel HSR.

 

In theory Japan is the closest with the new Chuo Line, but from my perspective I just see a lot of talk about projects 10 and 20 years in the future. The only way it really makes sense is if you dig a giant tunnel from roughly Kofu Station to Nakatsugawa, but everything I've read has Nagano Prefecture lobbying HARD to push it to the north, more like the existing Chuo line. And those guys seem to have some political clout, considering they won the goddamn olympics.

 

So you have a situation where political forces could shift the cost-benefit enough to kill the project, or at least convince others not to adopt the technology.

 

Ultra-pro-maglev people kind of annoy me, honestly. If I had huge holdings in the oil or rubber industries but wanted to appear pro-transit, I'd totally lobby for maglev... knowing that at the very least I'm delaying the completion date of a high-speed system by a decade or more, and maybe killing it entirely.

 

BTW when I said "our current crop of leaders" I was only referring to TEXAS politicians... I have a decent amount of faith in California's ability to get something built.

Share this post


Link to post
bikkuri bahn

I'm a maglev skeptic too, but JR Tokai seems optimistic enough to test the waters in the U.S:

 

Even more ambitious than the shinkansen is JR Central's plans to lobby for its maglev train in the U.S. JR Central's maglev train is the culmination of years of research and development but no commuter maglev line exists in Japan because of prohibitive costs. Nevertheless, JR Central is pushing the maglev train in such corridors such as Baltimore-Washington and Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tenn.

 

Source:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704762904575024611266446690.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×