Author Topic: Trains  (Read 1509 times)

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Online imref

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Trains
« Topic Start: May 13, 2015, 09:03:21 AM »
I'm a train buff, so it's ironic that I was reading this yesterday just before the news broke of the Amtrak derailment outside of Philly.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/05/where-did-amtrak-go-wrong/393137/

As a regular rider on the NE Regional and Acela between D.C. and NYC it's always been inexplainable how the US lacks a modern rail system that rivals or exceeds what is available in Europe, Japan, and China.  The Atlantic piece does a pretty good job explaining why passenger rail has stagnated in this country.

The key point, IMHO, is that passenger rail operates under a different set of rules from other mass transit systems - nobody in Congress demands that the FAA turn a profit, or that roads are profitable, but they bash Amtrak for not being able to turn a profit.

Offline dracnal

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Re: Trains
« Reply #1: May 13, 2015, 09:24:43 AM »
I think it's a function of size, imref.  Europe is tiny so a good quality train can get you to where you want to go in a decent clip. In the States, a cross country train ride would be unfortunate. We're also generally pretty big on owning cars. That whole American individualism, need for space and love of independence that can't be had when you're stuck in a box on rails stepping over someone's knees to get to the restroom you'll share with five other people.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Trains
« Reply #2: May 13, 2015, 10:43:55 AM »
I think it's a function of size, imref.  Europe is tiny so a good quality train can get you to where you want to go in a decent clip. In the States, a cross country train ride would be unfortunate. We're also generally pretty big on owning cars. That whole American individualism, need for space and love of independence that can't be had when you're stuck in a box on rails stepping over someone's knees to get to the restroom you'll share with five other people.
the entire USA is not populated with even density.  The northeast corridor is obviously one stretch where passenger rail makes sense. DC - Philly is too short to save time flying, and rail is a bit faster than the drive (under 2 hours station to station, even without using the Acela).  Philly - NYC is another stretch where the train makes sense.  More or less, you need dense cities, close together, to make short hauls make sense. 

Online imref

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Re: Trains
« Reply #3: May 13, 2015, 11:40:22 AM »
I think it's a function of size, imref.  Europe is tiny so a good quality train can get you to where you want to go in a decent clip. In the States, a cross country train ride would be unfortunate. We're also generally pretty big on owning cars. That whole American individualism, need for space and love of independence that can't be had when you're stuck in a box on rails stepping over someone's knees to get to the restroom you'll share with five other people.

yeah, the article points to the density of Europe, but here high-speed rail between D.C. and Boston makes a huge amount of sense.  I think the bigger issue is that the airlines have more political sway, and so they oppose anything that cuts into their business. You could also make a good argument for NY to Chicago, and of course the SFO-LA line that's currently under construction, but yeah, nationwide high speed rail doesn't make any sense.

worth noting that back in the 1950's-60's, the bus building lobby and bus building companies successfully killed a lot of light rail systems in the country (e.g. the old WO&D line in Virginia).

Online imref

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Re: Trains
« Reply #4: May 13, 2015, 11:41:41 AM »
the entire USA is not populated with even density.  The northeast corridor is obviously one stretch where passenger rail makes sense. DC - Philly is too short to save time flying, and rail is a bit faster than the drive (under 2 hours station to station, even without using the Acela).  Philly - NYC is another stretch where the train makes sense.  More or less, you need dense cities, close together, to make short hauls make sense. 

I always take the train from D.C. to anywhere between here and NYC.  I've even taken it once to Boston as bad weather cancelled my flight, but that's a long ride (around 5.5-6 hours on Acela).   I will never fly to a NYC-area airport from D.C. if I can avoid it.

Online varoadking

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Re: Trains
« Reply #5: May 13, 2015, 11:43:47 AM »
I always take the train from D.C. to anywhere up to NYC.  I've even taken it once to Boston as bad weather cancelled my flight, but that's a long ride (around 5.5-6 hours on Acela).   I will never fly to a NYC-area airport from D.C. if I can avoid it.

Too many late nights with delays at LaGuardia led me to Amtrak.  Add 2 hours past DC to Richmond, and it was still often faster to catch a train at Penn Station than to fly.

Online imref

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Re: Trains
« Reply #6: May 13, 2015, 11:45:19 AM »
Too many late nights with delays at LaGuardia led me to Amtrak.  Add 2 hours past DC to Richmond, and it was still often faster to catch a train at Penn Station than to fly.

and a heck of a lot more comfortable, plus the pizza place in the amtrak area might be the best pizza joint in all of NYC.  Unfortunately it's not much bigger than a closet.

Offline mitlen

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Re: Trains
« Reply #7: May 13, 2015, 11:45:32 AM »
Too many late nights with delays at LaGuardia led me to Amtrak.  Add 2 hours past DC to Richmond, and it was still often faster to catch a train at Penn Station than to fly.

Richmond to Union Station (DC) saved me a lot of trips to VCU.

Offline spidernat

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Re: Trains
« Reply #8: May 13, 2015, 12:12:16 PM »
I thought this was a thread about something else and would need to be moved to Uncensored.   :phew:

Offline mitlen

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Re: Trains
« Reply #9: May 13, 2015, 12:13:52 PM »
I thought this was a thread about something else and would need to be moved to Uncensored.   :phew:

 :nono:    Back 2 days and causin' trouble.     :hysterical:


Online imref

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Re: Trains
« Reply #10: May 13, 2015, 12:20:21 PM »
I thought this was a thread about something else and would need to be moved to Uncensored.   :phew:

i'm starting to wonder if Spider and Copec are the same person.

Offline spidernat

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Re: Trains
« Reply #11: May 13, 2015, 12:32:47 PM »
Really dude? :?

Online varoadking

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Re: Trains
« Reply #12: May 13, 2015, 12:35:18 PM »
Richmond to Union Station (DC) saved me a lot of trips to VCU.

I started going to Alexandria from Staples Mill to visit my NOVA projects...saved me from the hell that is known as I-95...

Offline mitlen

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Re: Trains
« Reply #13: May 13, 2015, 12:35:28 PM »

Offline tomterp

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Re: Trains
« Reply #14: May 13, 2015, 02:25:47 PM »
Dude?

Not you, the other Dude.  (imref)

Offline DCFan

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Re: Trains
« Reply #15: May 13, 2015, 02:40:55 PM »
The key point, IMHO, is that passenger rail operates under a different set of rules from other mass transit systems

Evidently they must be using the autobahn precedent.  NBC says the black box has the train going over 100mph in a stretch where the speed limit is 50mph.  :shock:

Offline dracnal

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Re: Trains
« Reply #16: May 13, 2015, 03:16:01 PM »
My experience with trains consists of two routes: trips to / from East Lansing via Amtrak - which took roughly 18 hours and included a lot of time on a bus and a stop in Toledo, and the other trek being Durango to Silverton on a narrow gauge train spewing cinders with a drop way the heck straight down into a canyon.

I much preferred the Silverton.

Online varoadking

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Re: Trains
« Reply #17: May 13, 2015, 05:56:02 PM »
My experience with trains consists of two routes: trips to / from East Lansing via Amtrak - which took roughly 18 hours and included a lot of time on a bus and a stop in Toledo, and the other trek being Durango to Silverton on a narrow gauge train spewing cinders with a drop way the heck straight down into a canyon.

I much preferred the Silverton.

I've spent time in East Lansing.  Nice place...the quintessential Midwest if you will...

Offline Mathguy

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Re: Trains
« Reply #18: May 13, 2015, 06:48:10 PM »
I can see why

i'm starting to wonder if Spider and Copec are the same person.

Offline spidernat

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Re: Trains
« Reply #19: May 13, 2015, 06:51:48 PM »
:smh:

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Trains
« Reply #20: May 14, 2015, 10:33:05 AM »
 :smh: :smh:

Entirely different personalities.

Glad to see you back here a little, SN.
:smh:

Offline spidernat

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Re: Trains
« Reply #21: May 14, 2015, 11:01:43 AM »
Thanks GBurg.

Offline wj73

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Re: Trains
« Reply #22: May 14, 2015, 04:54:52 PM »
The Amtrak Surfliner from San Diego to the LA area is one of the nicest train rides - for much of the southern part of it, you're running right next to the beach.  It's a wonder the train doesn't tip over as everyone opts to sit on the beach side.  And depending on when you travel the fare is only about 30 bucks.  The SD train station (the Santa Fe) is a hundred year old train station that's been beautifully restored.  All in all the Surfliner is a great train experience. 

Online imref

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Re: Trains
« Reply #23: August 29, 2016, 05:24:57 PM »
Fingers crossed that they get this rolled out in five years, but it will likely be more than ten.

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2016/08/29/amtrak-to-make-high-speed-service-from-d-c.html

Offline BrandonK

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Re: Trains
« Reply #24: August 29, 2016, 05:32:39 PM »
The Amtrak Surfliner from San Diego to the LA area is one of the nicest train rides - for much of the southern part of it, you're running right next to the beach.  It's a wonder the train doesn't tip over as everyone opts to sit on the beach side.  And depending on when you travel the fare is only about 30 bucks.  The SD train station (the Santa Fe) is a hundred year old train station that's been beautifully restored.  All in all the Surfliner is a great train experience. 

Cost? I am still hoping to do a Pads/Dodgers/Angles trip one of these days