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Author Topic: Why is there no high-speed rail in America?  (Read 753 times)
Darth Knox
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« on: June 11, 2019, 04:47:06 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qaf6baEu0_w" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qaf6baEu0_w</a>
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Infinit01
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 05:05:50 AM »

This is scary, I watched this early last month
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Darth Knox
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 05:38:00 AM »

This is scary, I watched this early last month
I know Americans love their cars, but as someone from one of the "socialist European countries" it baffles me that America doesn't have a top notch rail network.

I know some people will talk about the size of the country, but as they pointed out, China managed to get their network up and running and that country is roughly the same size as the US.

But as they point out, it all boils down to money. Lobbyists from plane, car and oil industries don't want rail cutting into their dominance. But with more companies realising the benefit it will have for them in terms of recruiting staff, maybe things will change, slowly but surely.

No-one is saying people have to give up their cars. it's not an either or situation. Just a clean, fast, comfortable alternative. I love jumping on the train for a long journey; seeing the countryside fly by.
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 06:48:58 AM »

My take on it as an American is that even I like cars, we should have a vast rail network like we use to.  This would help to alleviate a lot of car traffic and will make a lot of Americans skinnier in my opinion.  States like New York, California, and Chicago are good prime states that showcase that the rail system actually works.  As a lover of cars, I vote of this very thing and it will also keep the miles off of my car too Smiley 

The thing about lobbyists are that they suck, they have a vendetta to keep their industry alive will killing another or limiting its rivals.  To me, this will also bring down the number of automotive fatalities that we see everyday here in the US.  Countries like Switzerland is one of the leading countries in the rail industry
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Darth Knox
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 08:09:18 AM »

My take on it as an American is that even I like cars, we should have a vast rail network like we use to.  This would help to alleviate a lot of car traffic and will make a lot of Americans skinnier in my opinion.  States like New York, California, and Chicago are good prime states that showcase that the rail system actually works.  As a lover of cars, I vote of this very thing and it will also keep the miles off of my car too Smiley 
Exactly this.

The thing about lobbyists are that they suck, they have a vendetta to keep their industry alive will killing another or limiting its rivals.  To me, this will also bring down the number of automotive fatalities that we see everyday here in the US.  Countries like Switzerland is one of the leading countries in the rail industry
I've always viewed lobbyists as groups of people who want to hinder progress and keep things exactly the same. But if humans had all had that same mentality, we would still be living in caves questing for fire.

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janx
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 08:25:31 AM »

I'd taken a couple stabs at this.

I'm in Houston, so the Houston/Dallas rail project is relevant.  Only one guy got it right on why it's so hard/expensive.

Buying the land in a straight enough block so the train can reach speed is a PITA.
Regulations (are important) slow things down, add cost

Plus, Houston and Dallas are sprawls.  Busses don't go everywhere and even if they do, it's six or more blocks through high heat and humidity to anywhere you want to go.  Walking is not an option. Biking is a safety risk (Houston is not kind to bicyclists).

The train thing to Dallas in interesting, but it's gonna crank up traffic for people to get to the station (past my neighborhood, great).  Taking the train means needing a cab/Uber in Dallas.  Not cheap because of the time/distance it takes to get anywhere in these cities.  Driving to Dallas will take longer, but I bet it'll still be cheaper than parking, plus ticket, plus Uber.

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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 08:56:52 AM »

I've always viewed lobbyists as groups of people who want to hinder progress and keep things exactly the same. But if humans had all had that same mentality, we would still be living in caves questing for fire.

Agree and agree.  

Plus, Houston and Dallas are sprawls.  Busses don't go everywhere and even if they do, it's six or more blocks through high heat and humidity to anywhere you want to go.  Walking is not an option. Biking is a safety risk (Houston is not kind to bicyclists).

The train thing to Dallas in interesting, but it's gonna crank up traffic for people to get to the station (past my neighborhood, great).  Taking the train means needing a cab/Uber in Dallas.  Not cheap because of the time/distance it takes to get anywhere in these cities.  Driving to Dallas will take longer, but I bet it'll still be cheaper than parking, plus ticket, plus Uber.

I live in Dallas and my company is working for TxDOT on the Texas High-Speed Rail project.  A rail path between both cities have already been mapped and we're going to use Japan's Bullet Train which has a computer level perfect timing record for decades.  

The trains here in Dallas are much better than Houston's downtown train and it goes from Dallas to FTW, Plano, Richardson, DFW, Rowlett, etc.

I still think that it can be better though


San Antonio is currently building one that is going to be one that most Texas cities need to follow



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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 10:02:58 AM »

The simple answer is the cult of the car.  It's Century long rise to dominance and maintaining of that dominance.  All of which has been led and engineered by the money behind the auto industry.  The government runs on what it's paid to vote for, and the auto industry (and the related oil industry) spend HUGE amounts to keep the automobile king.  It's why even the bus systems and subways in most cities suck.  Profit, profit, profit.

I'm gonna stop now, cause this whole topic is dangerously close to the no politics rule...
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 10:07:39 AM »

It's all political is what it is beginning with lobbyists and those that are in the car industry to keep it this way as they have been for decades. 

That's all I'll say about that portion since anything beyond that will go against forum rules.
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janx
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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 11:12:40 AM »

The simple answer is the cult of the car.  It's Century long rise to dominance and maintaining of that dominance.  All of which has been led and engineered by the money behind the auto industry.  The government runs on what it's paid to vote for, and the auto industry (and the related oil industry) spend HUGE amounts to keep the automobile king.  It's why even the bus systems and subways in most cities suck.  Profit, profit, profit.

I'm gonna stop now, cause this whole topic is dangerously close to the no politics rule...

To swing this off of politics/lobbying.  It's not just a cult.  The car is to transportation as the PC was to computing.  It put access and power into the individual's hands to solve their own problems on their own terms.

Before that, it was a classic trope that people had never been beyond their home town.

I don't love my car.  But the grocery store is a couple miles down the road and if I didn't melt in making the trip, the food would be spoiled by the time I got home.

I work from home, but for many, they have to be on-site and there's no bus service out here in the 'burbs. Uber is not a solution for a daily commute.

A car lets you haul stuff.  it lets you move out. I rebuilt my fence after Ike and ain't no way I'd haul that many pickets, posts and bags of cement on a bus.  But my Ford Escort did it. Smiley

When a state's motto is "Live Free or Die." why would a person live under the yoke of transport they don't own if they didn't have to?

That's part of the resistance to public transport and trains.  There's good reasons for those things, but that's a counter-argument.
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 11:24:16 AM »

The simple answer is the cult of the car.  It's Century long rise to dominance and maintaining of that dominance.  All of which has been led and engineered by the money behind the auto industry.  The government runs on what it's paid to vote for, and the auto industry (and the related oil industry) spend HUGE amounts to keep the automobile king.  It's why even the bus systems and subways in most cities suck.  Profit, profit, profit.

I'm gonna stop now, cause this whole topic is dangerously close to the no politics rule...

Its more than just the "Cult of the Car", its also the lifestyle that having those individual modes of transportation have fostered.

Typical day at my house:  Get up.  Wife is stay-at-home.   Daughter 1 and Daughter 2 head out for work.  Dad heads out for work.   Daughter 1 - has a part-time job 8-noon, spends 2 hrs running across town to take a Kung Fu class, then goes to her second job from 2:30 to 6.  After that she meets up for small group social with 2-3 girlfriends and heads home around 8pm.

Daughter 2 has coffee with her prayer group, then heads to her job around 10am.  She works her shift, then heads home.

Dad goes to work, works, leaves work at 5:30ish.   On the way home I make 2-3 stops at various stores to pick up ingredients for supper and/or other things we need.


Both daughters (especially the first one) have to haul multiple totes.   I have my computer bags, lunch bag, and by the time I clear the last store a half-dozen bags of groceries.

Now: How is high-speed rail going to help me with this?

Worse, the times I have lived where there was public transportation available and I tried to use it, the cost was actually MORE than driving my car cost me, plus the commute time was a lot higher.

And in addition: Who are the ridership for these HSRs?  As others have pointed out, local environments (hot, cold, rainy, etc) can make walking to and from a station problematic.   Unless the HSR mates with a local transit system and there are cost-effective rider plans that make riding it economically sound, it won't fly.

And lastly: Size IS a factor, despite the fact that people who advocate HSR don't want to hear about it.  Not so much in regards to urban sprawl but simply the fact that people will ALWAYS want to go places, visit family, visit friends, or just go see something that requires they have a car and good roads.   So the individual maintains the automobile, and the State has to maintain the road networks and infrastructure to care for it, whatever happens with the HSR system.

This last is, IMHO, the real killer, because there simply is no cost benefit to installing the HSR and no realization of efficiencies.  People will still drive.  People will still need the roads and maintain an automobile (or two ... or three) and the State will still need to maintain roads and bridges.   Everything installed for the HSR is OVER AND ABOVE in cost ... and most Americans won't pay what it costs to ride a train instead of just driving their car to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving.  

In the end, despite the way the argument is dismissed out-of-hand by so many, it really is the size - and the way we are so spread out but still want to go see each other all the time - that makes HSR a non-starter.

That, and the cost.  I have yet to see a proposal for any HSR that doesn't do bad things to local tax structures and has a per-ride price tag that makes it no different than AMTRAK.
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2019, 11:25:34 AM »

To swing this off of politics/lobbying.  It's not just a cult.  The car is to transportation as the PC was to computing.  It put access and power into the individual's hands to solve their own problems on their own terms.

Before that, it was a classic trope that people had never been beyond their home town.

I don't love my car.  But the grocery store is a couple miles down the road and if I didn't melt in making the trip, the food would be spoiled by the time I got home.

I work from home, but for many, they have to be on-site and there's no bus service out here in the 'burbs. Uber is not a solution for a daily commute.

A car lets you haul stuff.  it lets you move out. I rebuilt my fence after Ike and ain't no way I'd haul that many pickets, posts and bags of cement on a bus.  But my Ford Escort did it. Smiley

When a state's motto is "Live Free or Die." why would a person live under the yoke of transport they don't own if they didn't have to?

That's part of the resistance to public transport and trains.  There's good reasons for those things, but that's a counter-argument.


Well said.   Our posts crossed.   :-)
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2019, 12:32:01 PM »

When I visited London we did more walking, riding busses, riding the tube, then I be done I have ever done at one time. We get home and I jump in the car (in good weather) to drive a half mile to the drug store.

In America it is more of a culture thing then anything else. Places are trying now, like the bullet train going from Houston to Dallas. Larger cities in Texas adding rail etc.. I know in Houston I don't never hear good things about the rail from regular users. I only use it for sporting events because of parking.

The only reason I can think of that I would use the bullet train is for the cool factor. When I visit somewhere I need a car to get around. And as mentioned above, by the time you factor in all the cost it might be cheaper to drive. It would have to be cheap enough that I could take the train to Dallas, go to a con or whatever, take it back home. So basically for a day trip with a single event.



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Darth Knox
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2019, 08:52:07 AM »

As someone who lives in London, the city has taken great strides to promote public transport and reduce the number of car uses, which in turn reduces pollution and congestion. We have the tube, which recently started running 24 hrs as opposed to closing at midnight. We have an awesome bus network that will take you anywhere in the city and most of the routes are either 24 hrs or has a night bus version. Then there's the overground (which is different from national rail) and trams. And that's before you look at encouraging more people to cycle by offering bicycles you can rent (like in other European cities).

Even in my hometown, which is outside of London, they have a pretty decent bus network there too, which is great for young people who can't drive, those unable to afford cars and the elderly. Basically, millions of people rely on public transport as opposed to cars. Yes, millions of people still drive, but there are a multitude of options.

As for for the cost of getting taxi/parking when you catch a train, you could always do what many others do and get someone to give you a lift to the train station.

It's a mentality thing. When you have to go somewhere to do something, over in Europe, for many people, the immediate thought is not "let's take the car". It seems that is the mindset in America though (not saying that that's a good or bad thing. just highlighting the difference)


And lastly: Size IS a factor, despite the fact that people who advocate HSR don't want to hear about it.  Not so much in regards to urban sprawl but simply the fact that people will ALWAYS want to go places, visit family, visit friends, or just go see something that requires they have a car and good roads.   So the individual maintains the automobile, and the State has to maintain the road networks and infrastructure to care for it, whatever happens with the HSR system.

This last is, IMHO, the real killer, because there simply is no cost benefit to installing the HSR and no realization of efficiencies.  People will still drive.  People will still need the roads and maintain an automobile (or two ... or three) and the State will still need to maintain roads and bridges.   Everything installed for the HSR is OVER AND ABOVE in cost ... and most Americans won't pay what it costs to ride a train instead of just driving their car to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving.   

In the end, despite the way the argument is dismissed out-of-hand by so many, it really is the size - and the way we are so spread out but still want to go see each other all the time - that makes HSR a non-starter.
Umm, China is about the same size as America and as the video showed, they managed to install HSR to connect pretty much the whole country. But, as the video said, the cultural differences between America and somewhere like China are as big a contributing factor than anything else.

The part of the video that made me chuckle was the guy who said in America you are bad building things quickly or cheaply.  Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2019, 05:46:43 PM »

I will point out that all the listed reasons for the automobile being needed, and how it's the daily everything, is all as a result of the cult of the car, perpetuated by corporations for unending profits.
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Darth Pandæmis

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