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Topic: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies". (Read 28890 times)

  • mjmsprt40
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Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Today, I have a job coming up actually for tomorrow morning. From Chicago IL to Lincoln, NE. So, here's the drill as far as transportation goes (remember that I'm carrying a large, heavy crate tomorrow so for me there is only one option-- this is for the sake of people who are getting themselves and maybe family from one place to the other). This information comes from Google Maps.

By airplane--- not counting the nonsense at each terminal where minutes become hours-- it's about an hour and a half flying time.

By car--- it's a little over 7.5 hours not counting stopping for fuel, eating, using the facilities and whatnot. Add another 2 hours just to be safe, so let's say 9.5 hours.

By Amtrak passenger train-- it's almost 15 hours. I kid you not. Only riding a bicycle would be slower. (But, after riding a bike for more than 500 miles you'd sure be buff.)

I really don't expect trains to catch on unless they can do something about that time.

Sorry, RJH--- maybe someday they'll come up with high-speed rail here. Until then, planes for any distance over 400 miles, cars for any distance under that except in the cities, where commuter rail has definite advantages over the car.
What would happen if a large asteroid slammed into the Earth?
According to several tests involving a watermelon and a large hammer, it would be really bad!

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #50
The day Chinese have the same car/habitant ratio than the US and all the oil from the entire world will be not enough just for them.
A matter of attitude.

  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #51
Pathetic jimbro.

Maybe be small compared to your train desert but still stretching from the furthest south to the equal in the north is still a neat length and may I also remind you that there is a very high rate of motor car ownerships and constantly growing. And may I also remind you that we have 32,000,000 million cars and yet and yet rail travel is still soaring so your country is way behind the modern world regarding railways and progress. For a big country you are well behind so are you falling without thinking into a corner that somehow all the other modern and progessive countries are at some odd fault? Maybe they have all ran theirs better hence your rail decline.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #52
From Chicago IL to Lincoln, NE.

How many km?

It's really strange that by train you take the double of time than by car unless you take the "mail train" that stops for half an hour at each and every small location. Another reason would be if your travel forces you to change trains for ten times...

Express trains here (not TGV) runs around 150 - 170km per hour, yours must be around the same thing. Cars hardly can do such average and it's impossible to do it in half the time.

I dont use trains anymore while they don't finish with the stupid and abusive non smoking totalitarian law.
A matter of attitude.

  • mjmsprt40
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #53

From Chicago IL to Lincoln, NE.

How many km?

It's really strange that by train you take the double of time than by car unless you take the "mail train" that stops for half an hour at each and every small location. Another reason would be if your travel forces you to change trains for ten times...

Express trains here (not TGV) runs around 150 - 170km per hour, yours must be around the same thing. Cars hardly can do such average and it's impossible to do it in half the time.

I dont use trains anymore while they don't finish with the stupid and abusive non smoking totalitarian law.


I just dealt with what Google Maps gave me for travel times. Amtrak is notoriously bad, and you have to link in a couple of buses into that time too. There's the matter of catching the bus from O'Hare (my start point) to Union Station downtown for example. Then, at Lincoln there has to be another bus or you have to call a friend to get you to the destination--- a factory on the outskirts of town. All of this while hauling a 1,500 lb pallet of freight with you--- so you see why that doesn't work for me.

Edit; add-on: Amtrak is considerably slower than your trains, too. We're talking 110 to maybe 120 km per hour when the train is moving. Track conditions won't allow faster times.
  • Last Edit: 2015-12-20, 11:16:44 by mjmsprt40
What would happen if a large asteroid slammed into the Earth?
According to several tests involving a watermelon and a large hammer, it would be really bad!

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #54
All of this while hauling a 1,500 lb pallet of freight with you--- so you see why that doesn't work for me.

Very funny. :)

But I would point out that, depending on the specifics, a little extra time spent traveling may not necessarily be a bad thing just the same as for the train versus airplane comparison above. If you're stuck in a traffic jam for 30-40 minutes, you can't really do anything because you still have to pay attention to traffic. Heck, the same applies if you're just driving along for 30 minutes; it's just less annoying. But if you're stuck in public for an hour, you can read, you can think, etc. Some people even sleep. (That being said, I don't really like most buses. Trams are much nicer.)

  • Jochie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #55
Sadly, Amtrak does suck. Even on the highly traveled and maintained NE corridor between Boston and NY.

Our kid had to go to Boston from NY. The train is scheduled for 5hr 20min, the bus for 4 hr 30 min. The cost of the bus was 1/2 the train price. Even though we like trains, he took the bus.

The bus seating was wide with WIFI support and power outlets. I don't know if you get that on Amtrak coach.

He could have taken Amtrak's acela but that would have raised the train price by 50%, triple the bus price. The Acela time is 3hr 45 minutes.

  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #56
Unfortunately American passenger rail as I mentioned lost the plot a while back and shows that tradition is stlll factual. That so many other modern and progressive places have better rail shows the country is now standard-wise out of sync. Trains sitting at stations for the length of time mentioned??
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #57
Our kid had to go to Boston from NY. The train is scheduled for 5hr 20min, the bus for 4 hr 30 min. The cost of the bus was 1/2 the train price. Even though we like trains, he took the bus.

Weird. The bus is cheaper here too, but I think in part that's because it's slower. The expensive train* to Amsterdam takes a little over one hour, the regular-priced train takes a little more than two hours and the normally cheaper** bus takes almost four hours.

* It's only a little more if you book sufficiently far in advance; it's more and more expensive the closer or more popular the date.
** Train promos can change the equation, but perhaps there are also bus promos.
  • Last Edit: 2015-12-21, 15:14:47 by Frenzie

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #58
It seems to me that the old Wells Fargo Stage Coach would be faster than today's trains.
A matter of attitude.

  • jax
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #59
Not strange at all. Train companies in general have to directly or indirectly pay for their infrastructure , while buses piggyback on existing road infrastructure.  Sure, they pay road taxes, but even in Europe they don't pay all the costs, and in the US the taxes are laughable.  Train cars are also an order of magnitude more expensive, and though they last longer and carry more, that's a lot of upfront costs to offset. For that reason trains need a much higher volume  to break even,  and have to compete either on speed or volume.

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #60
Train cars are also an order of magnitude more expensive, and though they last longer and carry more, that's a lot of upfront costs to offset. For that reason trains need a much higher volume  to break even,  and have to compete either on speed or volume.

Those are logistic costs, I believe the real problem to be the funding model.
Public service, paid with tax money, with highly subsidized ticket prices versus a supposed to be economically viable model.

A matter of attitude.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #61
For that reason trains need a much higher volume  to break even,  and have to compete either on speed or volume.

I don't think that's entirely true; trains comparatively barely take any power at all to get them to move. Which is to say that for the same volume you might still be cheaper off thanks to energy costs, provided you think sufficiently long-term. And indeed, perfectly servicable trains from the 1970s are still around. A bus from the 1970s? Hah! It had better have been replaced once a decade even with proper maintenance.

  • ensbb3
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #62
At the end of it all I'd still rather have my own ride. Takes me straight to where I wanna go, passengers ride free and I get to pick who. How much time that takes is irrelevant if time isn't important. Still takes less planning than figuring out public transit time tables if it did. I can easily avg 130-145kmh (80-90mph) on the interstate anyway. That's not that fast and I still pass buses.

  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #63
Well you can dismiss what passes for rail over there as a competition.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • string
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #64

At the end of it all I'd still rather have my own ride. Takes me straight to where I wanna go, passengers ride free and I get to pick who. How much time that takes is irrelevant if time isn't important. Still takes less planning than figuring out public transit time tables if it did. I can easily avg 130-145kmh (80-90mph) on the interstate anyway. That's not that fast and I still pass buses.
You put your finger on out there, a train only takes you where you want to go if you want to go to a train station.

Perhaps a better business model would be for train companies to expand into the bus & taxi & hire & bicycle markets, so you could buy your ticket to go to your actual destination. That means enormous flexibility in scheduling, maybe a possibility with today's systems.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #65

At the end of it all I'd still rather have my own ride. Takes me straight to where I wanna go, passengers ride free and I get to pick who. How much time that takes is irrelevant if time isn't important. Still takes less planning than figuring out public transit time tables if it did. I can easily avg 130-145kmh (80-90mph) on the interstate anyway. That's not that fast and I still pass buses.

Of course it depends on rhe specifics. Apparently the big difference between the Dutch and Americans isn't whether we drive one at all (I think we make more km actually) but that most or at least many more Dutch people use all forms of transport: car, bike and feet/public transit.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #66
Perhaps a better business model would be for train companies to expand into the bus & taxi & hire & bicycle markets, so you could buy your ticket to go to your actual destination. That means enormous flexibility in scheduling, maybe a possibility with today's systems.

Just implement the Dutch system without the checking out idiocy and you've got it already. Except you'd need to check e.g. 9292ov.nl and make sure your thing has enough money on it manually.

  • ersi
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #67

Perhaps a better business model would be for train companies to expand into the bus & taxi & hire & bicycle markets, so you could buy your ticket to go to your actual destination. That means enormous flexibility in scheduling, maybe a possibility with today's systems.

There are ticket systems in many cities that involve as many forms of public transportation as possible within defined zones/areas, but taxi & hire are excluded, as they usually go by mileage instead of zone. That would be a ticket system steered by the relevant public transportation authority, not a business model for train companies. The business decision for train companies would be whether to join the ticket system or not (provided that the companies are independent enough to make business decisions like this).

From the passenger's point of view, a unified ticket system as far as possible is a major convenience, whereas transportation authorities work diligently to find out ways to make it inconvenient. In unified zone systems, single tickets (the intuitive first choice for tourists/outsiders) tend to become relatively overpriced. And I regard pre-paid card systems, in an effort to reduce/remove cash handling, as a ludicrous idiocy. With pre-paid cards, particularly those that you flash towards sensors as you go in/out of vehicles, you never know how much your tickets cost (sometimes the sensors take double), how much money you have left on the card, and there's no easy way to cash back the leftover. But of course that's the idea - there will be more money dangling in favour of the transportation authority.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #68
Old technology won't be maintained, except as a nostalgic impulse...
In the real world, only what consumers want or what coercive government requires will prevail: A simple choice, no? :)
进行 ...
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No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
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  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #69
You are off on an odd direction kind of "progress" string which is just fiddly and why should the rail companies here do that stretched out far too fiddly extra idea? Train travel is a massive thing and passenger levels are huge and increasing all the time so why be sidetracked by a wonky idea when they are busy enough. Pointless and complicated all round.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #70
For less than seventy euros per month you can take any bus, metro, tram or boat, how many times you need, inside the metropolitan area of Lisbon.
Even so, every imbecile wants to own a car... I would ban cars from cities with the exception of electric taxis, distribution and emergence vehicles. Cars took our cities by assault it's time to get the city back to the people.
A matter of attitude.

Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #71
I /think/ you can get a month bus pass here 30 USD. The trouble is the bus system is terrible. It took me an hour and half to get to place that I could have have drove to in 15 minutes :( I have a friend at work that told me the bus drove by his stop with him there waiting and he's been late multiple times because of the bus (even got written up for it), so I had to advise him to get some kind of car.
"What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter."
― Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

  • mjmsprt40
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #72
Chicago has the same kind of problem. The CTA is atrocious for time. I have a brother who lives on the far North Side by the lake. I live in the Western Suburbs. I'd have to mark out half a day to get there from here by trains and buses, the same job can be done in an hour (I visit him on weekends) by car.
What would happen if a large asteroid slammed into the Earth?
According to several tests involving a watermelon and a large hammer, it would be really bad!

  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #73
Bit sad about the public transport negatives.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #74
Both metro and buses are faster at rush hour than cars.
A matter of attitude.