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Elon Musk / Hyperloop


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#61 mweb08

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 10:26 PM

If we had high speed trains at reasonable cost, I think there would be a lot of demand with the types of routes you're mentioning.

#62 NewMarketSean

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 07:59 AM

If we had high speed trains at reasonable cost, I think there would be a lot of demand with the types of routes you're mentioning.

 

Right, you can also create demand where it currently doesn't exist. Give people an affordable way to get somewhere fast and they'll use it for work, leisure, etc...


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#63 Matt_P

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 08:06 AM

Prices are fine where the service is decent... 750,000 people use it PER DAY between DC and NYC... 3 times the number who fly... (I only know that because all-the-sudden it's 24/7 news coverage about the crash... because of where it was...)

 

I bet that the number of people that take the train from DC to BAL is also much higher than those that fly from DCA to BWI. Another win for the train system!!

 

Depending on when you go and where you go from, it will cost at least $200 round trip (and potentially $500) to fly from DC to NYC and maybe considerably more. The flight itself may only be an hour but you still need to get to the airports (either DCA which is inconveniently located or IAD which is in a terrible location) and get through security. Realistically, you need to arrive at the airport maybe 45 minutes before your flight? Basically, after you add everything in, you're not saving so much time flying instead of taking the train (unless your train is delayed).

 

A competent train system would put the DC-NY air route out of business except for layovers. The fact that it exists and gets a third of the traffic that Amtrak does is a huge problem. And obviously, it shows that the real comparison for the DC-NY trip isn't flights to rail but buses to rail. How does Amtrak do compared to Megabus or Bolt?



#64 Matt_P

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 08:20 AM

If we had high speed trains at reasonable cost, I think there would be a lot of demand with the types of routes you're mentioning.

 

Yup. But it's a lot easier to build infrastructure for planes (an airport somewhere) and roads (a lot of flexibility in where they are and how to make them larger) than trains (need level ground in an area that is connected to currently existing rail or need a whole new rail from wherever to wherever).

 

It's not only a money problem to build high speed trains but also a logistical problem. Which is a shame because high-speed rail at a reasonable cost would get a lot of demand. Oh well...



#65 RShack

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 09:48 AM

Why Amtrak is such a mess...

 

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#66 RShack

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 09:55 AM

Yup. But it's a lot easier to build infrastructure for planes (an airport somewhere) and roads (a lot of flexibility in where they are and how to make them larger) than trains (need level ground in an area that is connected to currently existing rail or need a whole new rail from wherever to wherever).

 

It's not only a money problem to build high speed trains but also a logistical problem. Which is a shame because high-speed rail at a reasonable cost would get a lot of demand. Oh well...

 

When something is a national project, there's always a way...  but supposedly Americans don't believe in national projects to accomplish anything anymore (which I don't think is really true, but that's what we're led to believe...)

 

ps:  Trains don't need level ground.  They need reasonable grade but, hell, we put railroads over the mountains... tunnels were used to achieve reasonable grade, but it's far from level... reasonable grade mainly means moving around rocks and dirt, which is not exactly a hard problem... the Romans did it, and so did we  ;-)


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#67 Mark Carver

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 10:15 AM

Here's what I don't get about train travel. Not the travel itself, but the way it's done. As seen by this weeks crash in Philly, The speed limit for that area is 50 mph around the turn. The train was doing 107 mph! How is that possible???? With computer technology of today, trains can't be governed down to the posted speed limit to prevent something like what happened.

 

Or is it the case of why didn't we think of that. 


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#68 Matt_P

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 10:37 AM

ps:  Trains don't need level ground.  They need reasonable grade but, hell, we put railroads over the mountains... tunnels were used to achieve reasonable grade, but it's far from level... reasonable grade mainly means moving around rocks and dirt, which is not exactly a hard problem... the Romans did it, and so did we   :wink:

 

We put railroads through mountains via tunnels is my understanding. In any event you understand my point that you can't just put a railroad anywhere as opposed to a normal road.

 

This can't be a national project. How can it? We've already agreed that you can't put high-speed rail in areas of low density (unlike highways which clearly exist in low density areas). So, we're ignoring most of the US that's not on the coast (maybe you can see about connecting Chicago and Detroit to somewhere). Now, what would be cool is if parts of the East Coast worked together to build it but we don't do those sorts of things anymore.



#69 Matt_P

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 10:43 AM

Here's what I don't get about train travel. Not the travel itself, but the way it's done. As seen by this weeks crash in Philly, The speed limit for that area is 50 mph around the turn. The train was doing 107 mph! How is that possible???? With computer technology of today, trains can't be governed down to the posted speed limit to prevent something like what happened.

 

Or is it the case of why didn't we think of that. 

 

Sure, they can be. We just didn't want to pay for that infrastructure.

 

The train had the controls necessary to do that but the track didn't.



#70 RShack

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 10:55 AM

We put railroads through mountains via tunnels is my understanding. In any event you understand my point that you can't just put a railroad anywhere as opposed to a normal road.

 

This can't be a national project. How can it? We've already agreed that you can't put high-speed rail in areas of low density (unlike highways which clearly exist in low density areas). So, we're ignoring most of the US that's not on the coast (maybe you can see about connecting Chicago and Detroit to somewhere). Now, what would be cool is if parts of the East Coast worked together to build it but we don't do those sorts of things anymore.

 

My Dad grew up in a railroad town, and I was a train nut when I was a kid.  You can't put them anywhere you can put an ordinary 2-lane road... but you can put them anywhere you can put a limited access highway... the Interstate standards for grade and curves are similar...  (some stretches of Interstate had to get special exemptions from the standards... the JFX for example... some of the curves were too tight...)

 

It can be a national project if we wanna update our national infrastructure instead of just letting it rot... high density areas are where most of the infrastructure is because it's also where where most of the voters are... but the idea that voters matter does assume that we have a functioning democracy... if you need the votes from those representing Montana, well, then you give them something Montana wants... but the idea of doing stuff like that does assume we have a functioning legislative branch...


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#71 Matt_P

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 11:03 AM

It can be a national project if we wanna update our national infrastructure instead of just letting it rot... high density areas are where most of the infrastructure is because it's also where where most of the voters are... but the idea that voters matter does assume that we have a functioning democracy... and if you need the votes from those representing Montana, well, then you give them something Montana wants... but the idea of doing stuff like the does assume we have a functioning legislative branch...

 

We're talking 60 million people at most on the East Coast seeing benefits and maybe some in California or Florida. In other words, a fraction of the population in a concentration area. It's a regional project.



#72 RShack

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 11:12 AM

We're talking 60 million people at most on the East Coast seeing benefits and maybe some in California or Florida. In other words, a fraction of the population in a concentration area. It's a regional project.

 

No, it's wherever you have dense traffic patterns... there's more of that than you think...


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#73 McNulty

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 11:32 AM

I think Amtrak costs too much actually. The benefits of Amtrak don't outweigh the cost. I've never ridden it, actually.

 

Wrong.  You avoid traffic.  I used to travel 3 times a week between NYC and Philly, and it was a much better way to go.


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#74 Matt_P

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 11:49 AM

Wrong.  You avoid traffic.  I used to travel 3 times a week between NYC and Philly, and it was a much better way to go.

 

It's worth paying $45 instead of $7 each way? Round trip and all that's $270 vs $42. If work is paying for it then I understand.



#75 McNulty

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 12:02 PM

It's worth paying $45 instead of $7 each way? Round trip and all that's $270 vs $42. If work is paying for it then I understand.

 

Even for personal travel.  The bus is consistently late, disorganized, overbooked, and outside (meaning, you have to wait in the elements in NYC and Philly).  Plus its subject to traffic.

 

If you buy more than 2 weeks in advance, the prices are pretty reasonable.  NYC to Baltimore is usually about 70ish.  The bus is 30.  That's been my experience anyway.

 

The point is, for me, its WELL worth the extra money.  The bus is good for cheapness, and NOTHING else.  I personally consider it to be a nightmare. 


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#76 Matt_P

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 12:58 PM

Interesting. It's been the opposite for me. In my experience with Amtrak, they've showed up on time half the time and there have consistently been cases where I had a multiple hour delay. I've found the bus to be more reliable and solely take it (despite the fact that it's usually disorganized). My last experience with Amtrak is when a friend and I both decided to go to NY, me taking the bus and my friend taking the train. We planned it so that I would take the bus about an hour and a half earlier so that we'd get there at the same time. It ended up that the bus was delayed by an hour and a half and I still beat my friend by an hour and a half due to all of Amtrak's problems.

 

Agree that the bus is usually $30 both ways but I've never been able to take the train both ways for $70. It's just never worked out that I could get the cheapest tickets both ways.

 

Of course, it seems like you took both more often than I did.



#77 NewMarketSean

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 01:04 PM

Even for personal travel.  The bus is consistently late, disorganized, overbooked, and outside (meaning, you have to wait in the elements in NYC and Philly).  Plus its subject to traffic.

 

If you buy more than 2 weeks in advance, the prices are pretty reasonable.  NYC to Baltimore is usually about 70ish.  The bus is 30.  That's been my experience anyway.

 

The point is, for me, its WELL worth the extra money.  The bus is good for cheapness, and NOTHING else.  I personally consider it to be a nightmare. 

 

The bus does suck.

 

When it was still $12 round trip to NYC and back, you couldn't beat it...even with a little traffic and disorganization, it was worth it.

 

My friends in NYC have free weekend street parking nearby so I usually drive, but even then it's usually $100 including gas and tolls, round trip.

 

However, Amtrak's best rate is usually $49. That's $196 for two people, round trip.


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#78 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 01:17 PM

I recently went to Seattle for a weekend and decided to give the BoltBus a whirl. I have to say that it is a much improved experience from what I remember of those Greyhound trips to-and-from college over 20 years ago. The seats were more comfortable, the restroom was clean, and it had WiFi/AC outlets....all-in-all a pleasant 3 1/2 hour trip. Amtrak is only about 15 minutes faster. Driving can take anywhere from 2 1/2 hours with no traffic (a rarity, and watch out for cops) to 4 hours if you hit the worst part of rush hour anywhere between Olympia and Seattle. It also cost about half of what an Amtrak ticket would, and when you factor in parking in Downtown Seattle it was probably half the cost of driving too.


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#79 DJ MC

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 03:34 PM

My Dad grew up in a railroad town, and I was a train nut when I was a kid.  You can't put them anywhere you can put an ordinary 2-lane road... but you can put them anywhere you can put a limited access highway... the Interstate standards for grade and curves are similar...  (some stretches of Interstate had to get special exemptions from the standards... the JFX for example... some of the curves were too tight...)

 

Except that even "limited-access" highways are accessible to anyone with a car, and far less limited in terms of where you can enter or exit and what you can do when you do. That's a significant, if not most of the, reason for building highways instead of railroads; they offer more options.

 

It can be a national project if we wanna update our national infrastructure instead of just letting it rot... high density areas are where most of the infrastructure is because it's also where where most of the voters are... but the idea that voters matter does assume that we have a functioning democracy... if you need the votes from those representing Montana, well, then you give them something Montana wants... but the idea of doing stuff like that does assume we have a functioning legislative branch...

 

The other side of this being a national project is that, other than the Interstate highways themselves (and to a far lesser extent the US Routes forty years before) this country has never taken on a national, publicly-financed transportation project. Even things like major canals and the transcontinental railroads historically have been state-level, quasi-governmental or private projects. And again, there's a reason roads get built publicly instead of rails, and it isn't solely or even mostly due to outside influences.


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#80 RShack

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 05:51 PM

Except that even "limited-access" highways are accessible to anyone with a car, and far less limited in terms of where you can enter or exit and what you can do when you do. That's a significant, if not most of the, reason for building highways instead of railroads; they offer more options.

 

Um, I know... I was responding to the idea that the physical constraints on building railroad tracks are way more limiting than they actually are...

 

The other side of this being a national project is that, other than the Interstate highways themselves (and to a far lesser extent the US Routes forty years before) this country has never taken on a national, publicly-financed transportation project. Even things like major canals and the transcontinental railroads historically have been state-level, quasi-governmental or private projects. And again, there's a reason roads get built publicly instead of rails, and it isn't solely or even mostly due to outside influences.

 

There are always reasons for everything, good and bad.   And there's always a lack of precedent for anything until it happens, good or bad.  We never had a huge national transportation program like the Interstates... until we did.   We never had a space program... until we did.   We never spent a few trillion bucks bailing out Wall St banks... until we did.   We never had politicians trying to undermine the President on foreign policy... until we did. Take anything you can think of that the US ever did, ever, good or bad... and we never did it until we did.

 

You're over-selling how much people are committed to driving and not taking trains... it ain't the '60's anymore... driving is more of a pain than ever, and it's less fun than ever... people take trains like crazy now when they're reasonably available... and that's even with slow crappy trains.   If/when we have fast, comfortable trains that give you a pleasant space to be in, people will flock to them... especially because both airports and driving have become much more of a pain than they used to be...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan





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