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Topic: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies". (Read 27985 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?
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  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #100
travel to corners of the land I have always intended to be on a train with. Buses? nah.
You should ride a donkey, RJ. That way, when someone points at you and says "What an ass..." :)
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  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #101
Ride a donkey? You could never carry me Oakdale as you would not be steady enough. There are tens of millions like you boy over there that make your country look like nutjob land. As for trains amongst the developed and advanced countries you are way, way behind. Mind you in your situation it would be good I suppose if you could reach even a bus stop never mind a railway station!

Years ago - not sure if my first or second trip to the part democracy I recall that on the Eastern Corridor going from NYC to DC we got stopped at a main city to allow a super (French looking) style train to overtake us!  What a system. I did get to know several people on the train as well as entertaining the young with funny and serious Scots songs indeed I got waved when I got off at Washington DC. Mind you they were not Oakdale Yanks but normal folk. Not surprised at people who make you wonder about your education when a middle-class couple of retired journalists asked if we had colour television. However I did not groan as ignorance of the outside world is routine and they did want to see me again so two years later when I was back they invited me down to Philly for 2 days.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • ensbb3
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #102
Anyway, before this degrades any farther.

While you can always find new innovative ways to stack cargo there's only so many people you can reasonably (India excluded) pack on to one line of traffic and only so much traffic you can put on that line before time restraints make it ineffective. Not unlike a congested highway, you simply reach the capacity of the infrastructure. Only that system of transit just takes you so far and relies heavily on there being other forms of transit infrastructure available. Buses, paths, streets, taxis, trams/trolleys and/or Uber drivers are still needed. That means it's not always the most practical for national travel. Excellent for urban travel in larger cities perhaps. But not necessarily the end solution for vast distances.

  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #103
If they didn't have such big dashed families they often in practice cannot afford then overcrowding would not be a problem. Mind you the fares are so very low. Rail work is by tradition very widely a family occupation and Indians love working for it.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • ersi
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #104
Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies"

India is an ex-colony where trains have caught on just fine. And trains have had its time of greatness in North America too.

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #105
I hope that the syndicate of Indians and Train Robbers to have a word to say about this...
After all, they were the ones that made America known to the world.
A matter of attitude.

  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #106
Got a point along with the place sticking it's nose in everywhere else instead of sorting themselves out. If they didn't ridiculously spend half the world's military bill they could solve a lot of internal problems and that includes getting from well behind other advanced nations on railways. In the not too distant future of a decade or two the country will be a financial and political disaster (signs are there!) the decline of passenger rail is only a start.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #107
I think what RJ means to say is "I really hate it, that the United States has become the preeminent power in the geo-political world: I'm stupid and inconsequential, and I don't like that!" :)

(I threw in the smiley to appease the "censors"... Although, the some-what nation of Scotland will likely not complain!
Heck, it won't long survive...) :(
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
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  • jax
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #108

Anyway, before this degrades any farther.

Clearly too late, as can be observed.


While you can always find new innovative ways to stack cargo there's only so many people you can reasonably (India excluded) pack on to one line of traffic and only so much traffic you can put on that line before time restraints make it ineffective. Not unlike a congested highway, you simply reach the capacity of the infrastructure. Only that system of transit just takes you so far and relies heavily on there being other forms of transit infrastructure available. Buses, paths, streets, taxis, trams/trolleys and/or Uber drivers are still needed. That means it's not always the most practical for national travel. Excellent for urban travel in larger cities perhaps. But not necessarily the end solution for vast distances.


As long as you got the land and the money you can build anything. I might throw in some pictures from China to illustrate, if for no better reason that they are seriously cool.





When it comes to throughput, the number of people transported per hour, trains, even the 20th century variety, are unrivalled. Cars are big and typically transport 1½ people (sometimes less on average), bicycles are small, but slow (for normal people), planes are fast, but can transport few and so on.

There is no reason why trains should be limited to one or two tracks. Here in Stockholm county the upgrade to four is nearing completion. The logic of four track is the same as for a motorway/highway, you don't only have higher capacity, you can have fast and slow lanes, trains on the inner tracks stop at the station, the trains on the outer tracks whizz by. You have similar for metros in major Japanese cities. The Chinese can have six or eight because, well they are Chinese. The side rode at my Beijing home, leading to the garage for the estate, is four lane, the main roads are 6+2 lanes.




That leads us to cities and economy. The cheapest would be if everyone just stayed put. If people are living in the periphery and working in the centre, that means a twice daily strain on the system, worse the closer you come near the centre. In the US particularly there has been an alternative approach, where you work in the periphery and stay away from the centre, the edge city. This only works with cars and maybe smaller buses, but worse it leads to more traffic and longer commutes, rather than less. Some cities, and most larger cities have multiple centres. That leads to more traffic than a single-centre city, less than an edge city.

Congestion is to some extent self-regulating, more congestion leads to lower inclination to drive. Conversely throwing infrastructure leads to induced traffic, and in some cases perversely more infrastructure means more congestion.

Trains are expensive, but can be very economical if run near full capacity. Thus they are good for major transportation axes, but can be suboptimal otherwise.

The problem in India isn't the trains as such, but the general and chronic underinvestment in infrastructure.

  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #109
Yeah Oakdale your country is the pre-eminent power but that does not mean it is principled, honest or democratic. Up to your ears in debt, destabilise nations and worse and cannot look after your own inside of the country due to glory hunting. Hence you are away behind everyone else when it comes to railways and we get excuses for that deficit. It is bad enough there are tens of millions of poor and money and debt racked up for military mess-ups when in the railway side that this thread is about you are as I point out incapable of keeping up ith modern rail development in other progressive countries. Another unfortunate thing about your rail is the design of them as they look generally, ugly and epitomises much.

One of the very, very few attempts at catching up is the idea plan of changing the name of one of the two main stations in New York City. It has always been called the Penn Central after the original Pennsylvania RR from years ago. I think it suggested to be the Empire State Complex?? Even that does not really amount to much  more than a poor sign of progress. Here in Scotland we have been re-opening long closed passenger lines that break targets but what a shame even that a small nation like mine can put you to shame on railways.  Unlike the modern world you will continue to fail and fall behind and the silly beggar mindset (like your s of course) attempts to satirically conjure up waffle. You at least try that corner Oak but like your rail that is a joke and maybe sticktoworld corruption as you are better at that than trains.!  :P
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #110
The logic of four track is the same as for a motorway/highway, you don't only have higher capacity, you can have fast and slow lanes, trains on the inner tracks stop at the station, the trains on the outer tracks whizz by.

It should be the other way round, slower at the outside so people can leave stations without crossing fast non stop train lines.
A matter of attitude.

  • jax
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #111
It's a tradeoff. Motorways and Japanese rail IIRC have the fast lane in the middle. But Stockholm predominantly uses island platforms, which is convenient in that transfer from one train to another is easy, you just walk a couple meters across the platform.

Outside Stockholm side platforms are more common. They have their advantage as well, particularly in towns with connecting buses. The bus platform often is integrated with the train platform so that the train side platform is simultaneously a train/bus island platform.

Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #112
but what a shame even that a small nation like mine can put you to shame on railways.

Is that right?

]I'm looking zero current high-speed rail lines in Scotland. I see a couple lines planned, but we have that in Nevada. Hrm, interesting. A single small state can match, if not beat Scotland in that regard and without Federal money. Poor Scotland is having trouble competing even with a single American city, oh dear :(
  • Last Edit: 2016-01-10, 01:58:37 by midnight raccoon
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  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #113
island platforms


side platforms

Railroad dilemas...

The only thing that matters is multi-modal systems. So passenger flux can keep on moving across diferent system transportations.
Cars are at the bottom.

Except at the land of Ford, fu****g Ford mass production.
A matter of attitude.

  • mjmsprt40
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #114
One bugbear that stops high-speed rail here is 19th century planning, Grade crossings might have been OK during the time when most folk either walked or traveled by horse, and a "fast train" could do maybe 25 mph. Our rail system is loaded with grade crossings where cars and trucks can meet with trains--- with tragic results.

I remember a few years back there was an accident between an Amtrak train and a truck hauling steel coils at Bradley, Illinois. The train did slow a bit, but still hit at 60 mph with predictable results.

Now imagine a high-speed train going at 175 mph and it hits that truck. Oh, man, the carnage! You'd be safer if you'd been kidnapped by ISIL.

Railway design MUST change if high-speed rail is to progress. The grade-crossing has got to go.

Quickie add-on: The driver of the truck survived, the train hit the trailer about half-way back. Turns out the driver wasn't the sharpest tack in the box, he was running for three different companies and keeping multiple log-books. He had gotten maybe 3 hours of sleep in the past 36 at the time of the accident. Thought he could beat the train. Want high-speed rail? (The line from Chicago to New Orleans could be perfect for that.) Grade crossings have got to go, they're a relic of a bygone age.
  • Last Edit: 2016-01-10, 00:34:17 by mjmsprt40
What would happen if a large asteroid slammed into the Earth?
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  • jax
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #115
Yes, grade crossings have to go, and they are going one by one. Each have their own cost, each their own story. It doesn't apply to high-speed rail, that don't have grade crossings for obvious reasons,  but everything in the world isn't high-speed. Everyone have 19th century infrastructure,  the Europeans, the Americans, the Indians, the Chinese, the Japanese. The 19th centurians were a highly industrious people, we're in debt to them.

They also gave us those quaint old things nobody has figured what to do with.  The oldest metro in Oslo have one, there is one in the middle of Beijing. The 20th century gave us automated gates, the 21th century gave us automated circuit breaker.

A variant of which causes great pain here in Stockholm.  If anyone walks on any train track anywhere the whole system automatically shuts down, and since it is running at beyond capacity in the central bottleneck, the wasp's waist, it leads to a half hour delay to get up again. That only happens about every other day.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #116
jax, you have once again amazed me! Circuit breakers, for rail lines...

Wouldn't the Precautionary Principle demand that rail lines be "plowed" under? :) They're too dangerous...
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
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  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #117
Wouldn't the Precautionary Principle demand that rail lines be "plowed" under?  :)  They're too dangerous...

You are clearly not aware of e.g. the Lille metro, where they effectively did just that. ;)


https://www.flickr.com/photos/131693847@N05/23072345939/

The rails are inaccessible from the platforms, and when the train arrives its doors and the platform's doors line up. That being said, I figure there's probably enough wiggle room around for a child's fingers or some such...

A similar but much smaller system is in place at Detroit Wayne Airport

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressTram

  • ersi
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #118
Those glass walls with doors are present in some Paris metro stations too. They are creepy. Creepy because suiciders are motivated to become more inventive now.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #119

Those glass walls with doors are present in some Paris metro stations too. They are creepy. Creepy because suiciders are motivated to become more inventive now.

They weren't when I was there, admittedly already over a dozen years ago. But speaking of suicide, I understand that even what amounts to a mere 5 to 10 second slowdown because of some barrier or other diminishes the amounts of suicides by a significant percentage without an uptake in suicide rates elsewhere. Apparently many suicides are very much a spur of the moment idea, regardless whether they consist of jumping down from a bridge or metro platform, or of shooting oneself in the head. In any case, while I'm not sure what the best method for committing suicide is, giving (train) drivers a traumatic experience doesn't seem to fit the bill. Perhaps something like Drion's pill.

  • jax
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #120
Platform screen doors are spreading. They are the rule in Chinese metro lines,  typically only a few years old, but are getting retrofitted in European and other metro systems as well. Originally they were installed for air quality, not security, but there is a psychological effect too. When you get used to them stations without them feel old and unsafe, which they probably aren't.

Stockholm plans to gradually introduce them as well, but most stations are outdoors,  and only partally under roof. That may be for cost reasons, but I suspect Swedish social engineering. With the middle part of the platform more comfortable, people avoid the more dangerous parts close to the trains. But as it is, instead of extending the roof, they are looking for PSDs that can weather snow, cold, rain, sun, heat.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #121
Air quality? At least here in Antwerp I feel metro stations are fairly well ventilated, and if anything I'd suspect closing up the rails would make them less so. It might be nice to have some more noise insulation from the occasional screeching noises, but as far as safety goes I doubt it matters. Of course the same is true for things like street lighting. I understand actual crime statistics don't differ much, if at all, but people feel significantly safer when it's lighter out.

  • ensbb3
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #122
One reoccurring theme in Euro rails seems to be that they are State owned. That's not at all the case here. CSX, for example, is the class I railway that operates in this region. They operate their lines mostly with impunity in the region too. I remember reading a few years back about a crossing in a town being closed. Now it's a rather small town (14k pop.) but exists from the late 1800's because of a rail depot that used to be there. So naturally the tracks pass right thru the middle of it with many crossings. Anyway CSX deemed the Main st. crossing unsafe. Rather than spend money to fix it they simply closed it. This cut the century old historic district in half. Since there were other crossings the railway was unconcerned. However the town naturally protested. The results being CSX told them either they could fix it or it would remain closed. And it did for almost a year while the city sued a company that made more profit in a year than they could budget for a decade. The final result was the crossing was reopened after both parties agreed to certain liabilities. Tho I believe the only thing that changed was the traffic pattern on the street and CSX upgraded their crossing arm.

I offer as an example of how rail companies think here. Rather than sacrificing profits to be harmonious they often take an approach that benefits their bottom line and not the communities they serve. Meaning while passenger travel could make economic sense for the State/region/whatev there's no foreseeable profit feasibility for the rail companies as they exist. Only liability.  

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #123
One recurring theme in Euro rails seems to be they are State owned.

The main French and German ones are; in e.g. the UK and the Netherlands they're not. And in any case the US government owns all of Amtrak's preferred stock, meaning they basically get all of the votes. Furthermore, Amtrak might well receive more subsidy than any of the state-owned railroad enterprises around here. Keep in mind that owning a majority share in something as important as infrastructure can just be a way to make sure some foreign entity can't cripple you. Think of the prototypical American hedge fund that acquires a company only to suck dry all of its operational assets.

CSX, for example, is the class I railway that operates in this region. They operate their lines mostly with impunity in the region too.

That describes a situation that isn't atypical at all in Europe. On the one hand you have Amtrak (government-controlled); on the other hand you have this CSX (private company operating in some sort of niche).

I offer as an example of how rail companies think here. Rather than sacrificing profits to be harmonious they often take an approach that benefits their bottom line and not the communities they serve. Meaning while passenger travel could make economic sense for the State/region/whatev there's no foreseeable profit feasibility for the rail companies as they exist. Only liability.

In the Netherlands, the province of North-Holland pays NS (the biggest railroad company, previously state-owned but privatized in the '80s/'90s) to keep a particular railroad track I sometimes use operational. For their taste it doesn't have enough traffic. In a slightly different spin, sometimes public transit companies are only given licenses to operate under condition that they service unprofitable further out areas as well as the profitable ones. But even so I suppose there might be something slightly less cutthroat about continental European capitalism compared to Anglo-Saxon (i.e. UK and US) type capitalism.

  • ensbb3
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #124
the UK[...] they're not.

Hmm. I read differently. My bad.
And in any case the US government owns all of Amtrak's preferred stock, meaning they basically get all of the votes.

Which is why it's still a thing and hasn't went the way of the dinosaurs. Also a poster-child for why the big railways won't do it. It bleeds money and compounds liability. The Feds 'own' it likely because who else would? Keeping in mind it operates mostly on the rails of the class I railways. Surely offering them government benefits to allow it to exist. (Tho rail right-of-way is a bit complicated and I'm not sure of the details. It is regulated by the Feds to allow rail companies to use each other's lines and prevent price gouging but idk how that translates to Amtrak's usage. Especially given it is priority traffic.)

But even so I suppose there might be something slightly less cutthroat about continental European capitalism compared to Anglo-Saxon (i.e. UK and US) type capitalism.

That seems almost assured.