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 Post subject: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:03 pm 
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The BBC has a pretty good article on the near future of high-speed rail in the United States.

As Mets fans, we know Acela as sponsor on the radio and at Citifield.

Personally, I've never ridden Acela (although I have taken the "regular" train from Newark Penn Station to Union Station in DC and found it a bit faster than going by car and much more relaxing).

Also, if you listen to policy discussions on future infrastructure projects, high-speed rail comes up quite a bit.

The BBC story has a lot of stuff I didn't know.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15251180

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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:53 pm 
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Acela moves so slowly that it would be regular speed anywhere outside of the States and Canada. Acela averages around 70 MPH. For contrast, I'm pretty sure the average speed of KTX (Korea's high speed rail) is around 170 MPH. In Korea, taking the train from Seoul to Busan takes about half the time that driving would take, if not less than half the time. The States has a long way to go to get its trains to a place where they are a time-saving mode of transportation.

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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:37 pm 
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northway wrote:
Acela moves so slowly that it would be regular speed anywhere outside of the States and Canada. Acela averages around 70 MPH. For contrast, I'm pretty sure the average speed of KTX (Korea's high speed rail) is around 170 MPH. In Korea, taking the train from Seoul to Busan takes about half the time that driving would take, if not less than half the time. The States has a long way to go to get its trains to a place where they are a time-saving mode of transportation.


The article I linked to had the speeds of acela and some of the high-speed trains elsewhere in the world and the contrast is quite remarkable.

The article also discussed some of the pros and cons and how it can be risky trying to think that something that works in a relatively small, densely-populated place like Europe would work the same way in an expansive place like North America, significant parts of which are barely populated.

It's kind of wonkish, but I think these are the kinds of things we should be talking about, not silly social wedge-issue discussions that have been going on and being argued as long as I have been an adult and will never go anywhere.

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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:42 pm 
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well I hate flying so I would try it for business if they got the speeds up to 150mph+


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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:32 am 
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Sorry, I posted this as soon as I woke up and was way too groggy/rushed to actually bother to read it.

As a high speed rail junky, I don't really think it's feasible in the States to the extent they're talking. Most of the lines across the Midwest don't really make sense, as the cities there are so spread out, with such poor public transportation, that you really need a car once you're there anyway. That said, it's really inexcusable for the Northeast corridor to be as poor a route as it is, and I think a link to Chicago as well as the proposed California corridor are all feasible.

I'd say that having a grid of high-speed rail works when you have strong public transportation throughout, as Korea does. I can hop a train anywhere in the country here, which will generally drop me off near a bus terminal. Even if it doesn't, taxis are so ludicrously cheap (about 1/3 of what you pay in most American cities, 1/5 what you pay in more suburban areas) that it's easy to get wherever I'm going. The same can't be said for cities like St. Louis, Kansas City, Houston, or Dallas; I really don't think they should be part of the discussion just yet. The focus should be on getting the high-density, easily connected places connected. It's stupid that we have people flying from Boston to New York or Boston to Philly; anywhere else in the world that would be a (quick) train ride.

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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:33 am 
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I would totally ditch the airlines if it was fast. I imagine there's more room, and less security. Am I right?


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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:48 am 
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SHPIDA wrote:
I would totally ditch the airlines if it was fast. I imagine there's more room, and less security. Am I right?


There's basically no security, nor is there any checking in (as you're carrying your own bags). Any train I've been on anywhere in the world, you walk on with your ticket and they check it after the fact.

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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:50 am 
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northway wrote:
SHPIDA wrote:
I would totally ditch the airlines if it was fast. I imagine there's more room, and less security. Am I right?


There's basically no security, nor is there any checking in (as you're carrying your own bags). Any train I've been on anywhere in the world, you walk on with your ticket and they check it after the fact.


Umm, yes please.

How does it compare price-wise?


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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:00 am 
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In the States? It's kind of crazy expensive for a train trip. The Amtrak website is telling me $190 each way from New York to DC on Acela. That's way, way more expensive than driving, and I would assume more expensive than flying, though perhaps a bit less of a hassle. I imagined maybe $100, but wow, that's pricey.

I hope no one minds that I keep contrasting with Korea, but Seoul to Busan is about the same distance-wise, yet takes about 40 minutes less and costs 45,000 won each way (around $40 at the current exchange rate). Note that prices in Korea are generally on par with those in the States, so I'd say that we're just as far behind on price as we are on speed, if not farther. Our current high-speed rail is pretty much exclusively for business and political elite traveling within the Northeast Corridor; by no means is it a form of mass transportation, not at those prices.

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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:51 am 
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Wow. Who knew Korea was so far ahead of us?


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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:42 pm 
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I'm somewhat ignorant of the details, but isn't the main issue with a route like Boston to New York (and I assume others) the fact that there is no good way to get the train from point A to point B without going through residential areas that require stops and slower speeds? You can't have a train going 170 mph though the middle of Suburb USA.

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 Post subject: Re: High-speed rail in the US
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:19 am 
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If they can have functional high speed rail networks in two of the three most densely populated countries in the world (Taiwan and Korea), they really ought to be able to make it work in the States, suburbs be damned.

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