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Topic: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies". (Read 22838 times)

  • mjmsprt40
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  • undocumented space alien
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!

  • krake
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #125

One reoccurring theme in Euro rails seems to be that they are State owned.

Initially, important services like rails were State owned. The idea behind was to offer essential services at an acceptable prize that even low income people can afford. Therefore even so the services were profitable, they weren't trimmed for profit.
Than came the Anglo-Saxon (i.e. UK and US) mantra that privatization will make such services even better and even cheeper.
Parts of the most profitable services were sold out to private investors.
The new owners trimmed the services for profit...
Employees got fired en masse and areas where a decent profit was almost impossible to achieve, were simply cut off from the service. Simple as that.
In addition the new owners were less interested in investing in the infrastructure but to suck out the existing one for best profit. Neither became the service cheeper but rather dearer.
Most nefarious examples have been the privatizations of water supply.
Speaking of water supply - some friends who often have to visit the USA told me that in some hotels water smells of chlorine.
Can someone from our US residents confirm or deny it?

  • ensbb3
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #126
Initially, important services like rails were State owned. The idea behind was to offer essential services at an acceptable prize that even low income people can afford.

Makes sense. However, that's not the job of the Federal Government here. It wouldn't be unfair to say it could be the job of the State's Governments.

Anything that crosses State's borders falls into the Feds purview. Amtrak and the TVA can seem to go against the Feds not owning businesses but those are somewhat controversial and separate issues that span State's borders.

Speaking of water supply - some friends who often have to visit the USA told me that in some hotels water smells of chlorine.
Can someone from our US residents confirm or deny it?

There are 50 different standards, regulation boards, inspector departments and enforcement measures. Each water department is usually funded by the local municipality and regulated by the State in resides in not the Feds. So yea but naw. (Or - I've seen it so and not so.)

It's easy to look at the US simply as one country, perhaps like yours. Foreign policy probably makes that real easy for you. But domestically it works a lot more on a State by State basis. Each have their own ways and thank the Feds to stay out of it... Unless they wanna throw some money their way. But then how that money is spent is decided by the State often with general guidelines for receiving Federal money but not directly implemented by the Feds.

  • jax
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #127
The goal is to repeat for rail the success of air travel in the EU. Thirty years ago was EU was in  the thrall of national carriers, British Airways ruled Britannia, Lufthansa Germany, Air France France, and so on. Now European skies are highly competitive, possibly the most competitive in the world.

It has proved harder to get this kind of dynamism for rail. The EU has been worked hard to liberate railways in their first, second, third railway package.

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #128
third railway package.

Never heard about it... not surprisingly, since we (and the Spanish) use rail roads of a different dimension so European's (meaning Hitler's) trains could not enter the Iberian peninsula. I suppose that is being changed, an error of course.
A matter of attitude.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #129
Heck, you guys still use the Metric System... :)
进行 ...
"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...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #130
Speaking of water supply - some friends who often have to visit the USA told me that in some hotels water smells of chlorine.
Can someone from our US residents confirm or deny it?

I can confirm that my experience with water in the US is that a lot of it isn't great, primarily meaning it tastes like chlorine. But it was mostly gross in France too. The best water I've had was probably in Luxembourg.

  • krake
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #131

we (and the Spanish) use rail roads of a different dimension so European's (meaning Hitler's) trains could not enter the Iberian peninsula.

It's rather the horse's ass than Hitler.
Funny reading but helpful. :)

  • krake
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #132

Heck, you guys still use the Metric System... :)

Ignorance is not a virtue. :)
For starters: http://www.metric4us.com/why.html

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #133
For starters: http://www.metric4us.com/why.html

All of their arguments are right, but they don't have anything to do with using metric units. You can use a centiyard and a kiloyard just the same as you can use a centimeter and a kilometer. But I think the more salient point might well be that those units are defined as metric units. Why bother with the difficulty? ;)

Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #134

  • jax
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #135
Heck, you guys still use the Metric System... :)


Such an obvious attempt to derail this thread.



But we can heat it up:



(There might be a word to be had about map projections as well.)

Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #136
All threads are derailed! It's the nature of the beast. A thread on babies would eventually end with references to Genghis Khan.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #137
Such an obvious attempt to derail this thread.
One or both of us aren't being serious! (I take it, you couldn't resist the pun... :) )

Seriously, any system that's standardized and widely used will do. But no one system will do, for everyone everywhere. (Note: Local languages did not disappear with the introduction of Esperanto.)

Thanks for the link, Krake. Even so, the Just So stories are fun!
进行 ...
"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...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • mjmsprt40
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  • undocumented space alien
Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #138
What's important is that, whatever measuring system you use, everybody on the project (in this case, putting together a functional train system) gets on the same page and sticks with it.

Here, standard gauge between the rails is 4 feet 8 and a half inches. As long as that gauge is used both on the rails and on the wheel and axle sets that ride them, all is well. Let things get out of sorts because somebody thought they had a better idea and implemented that without telling anybody he did, and you can bet tragedy will result. "Oh, you thought 5 feet between rails was a better idea? OK, great. Now who is gonna clean up this mess and care for all these injured passengers, hmmm?"
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!

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #139
mjm, who the hell ever wanted or proposed to do that?
进行 ...
"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...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • jax
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #140
We need a map.



As you can see, there is something the US, most of Europe, the Middle East, and China can fully agree on. Of course there are odd ones around. I highlight by random Portugal and Estonia. As always we can (in part) blame the British, virtually all ills in the world can be blamed on them with little effort. Though in this case it was primarily a consequence of late standardisation, or sometimes retrograde standardisation. The Roslagsbanan in Stockholm was in part standard gauge, but converted to narrow gauge for compatibility with other narrow gauge track after a merger a century ago.

Track gauge is just one necessary standardisation, as is loading gauge, and not the least (and definitely not cheapest) signalling systems. And there are curiosities like the Swedish trains driving on the left-hand side, a remnant from when Swedes like the British drove cars on the left-hand side.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #141
And there are curiosities like the Swedish trains driving on the left-hand side, a remnant from when Swedes like the British drove cars on the left-hand side.

Off the top of my head, trains drive on the left in Belgium, France, and Italy. The metro in Rome also drives on the left. In the Netherlands, trains sometimes drive on the left as well for reasons of convenience and of course for crossing the border to Belgium.

Oh yeah, and I once went to the Brocken using this German Schmalspurbahn.

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

  • mjmsprt40
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  • undocumented space alien
Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #142

mjm, who the hell ever wanted or proposed to do that?


Well---actually---- in the early history of American rail, they did exactly that. Seemed every railroad had its favorite gauge, and if you wanted to take train from one place to another you might have three or four different gauges between rails. Some passenger cars were built to be able to run on this, they had wheel sets designed to run on different rails systems. This didn't work as well as one would hope (no surprise there) and some notable incidents were caused when one of these "compromise cars" wandered a bit and got out of sorts. This was back in the days when cars were made of wood, and warmed by a coal-fired stove in the car--- so any accident during the cold months usually produced devastating fires into the bargain.

A few really bad accidents later, they settled on 4'8.5" for standard gauge between the rails in the US.
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 #143
It was the rail founding country here that adopted the eventual four foot eight and a half gauge. One company the Great Western did have five foot for a while and eventually changed to the standard. Oddly rail in Ireland north and south has a wider gauge which is an odd one having been built when the whole island was part of GB.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • jax
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #144
Sometimes air travel can come out, if not by any means better, at least cheaper than trains in Britain as well.

A train from Sheffield to Essex cost £50... So I flew home via BERLIN to save £8



According to the claims flights London-Dublin-Bristol could also come out cheaper than trains London-Bristol, as would going from London via Milan to Manchester, or again via Dublin from Bristol to Newcastle.

Caveats aplenty:

  • Ryanair. Flying with Ryanair can hardly be considered a pleasure. There are worse ways to travel, but not many.

  • Ryanair hidden fees. You would have to be ever-vigilant not to incur any of these, and one could easily triple the cost.

  • Ryanair airports. Not exactly the most popular of airports, which is why they come cheap

  • Ryanair check-in. They have mastered the art of making this process particularly harrowing

  • Getting to/from the airports. These are not central airports, and though the cost isn't usually higher than the major airports, the transport (and waiting) time definitely is.

  • Unlike a presumably comfortable hop-on/hop-off presumably with wifi on the way presumably for free, these trips would be long and harrowing. Ryanair doesn't do connecting flights, so if the first flight is sufficiently delayed the second will be gone, and a replacement flight will be extremely costly. Thus you have to allocate the highest likely delay to avoid getting stranded. Thus you either stay at the airport (see the point about Ryanair airports) or take some bus to/from civilisation (see the point about Ryanair airport location). In other words: Long bus ride to airport, check-in and security, wait for plane to arrive, enjoy your trip with Ryanair, enjoy your extended stay at the Ryanair airport, another round of check-in and security, another wait, another Ryanair plane, another extended bus ride. Have fun.


  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #145
A train from Sheffield to Essex cost £50... So I flew home via BERLIN to save £8

As a teenager the experience might be worth it.

  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #146
I have never used that Ryanair lot and never will. A number of years ago he said they would not accept UK army credentials as an ID. All the hidden stuff in addition makes it a no-no for me.

As for trains I having bought a Senior Rail Card can travel everywhere for a third off and there are other offers for those slightly younger now too. Up here in the north of the Kingdom I will this summer being travelling on lines have not been on for years and others to catch up on. Will include 3 lines reopened by the Scotrail Company which were shut since the 60's and breaking records. Rail is doing constantly better and that in turn creates new challenges but I have no great interest in HS2 and would rather that down south they got lines re-opened like up here in Scotland. The part of the Borders Railway re-opened for 33 miles has broen the target for the first 6 months of 250,000 users and got 500,000. Now the towns south of the present terminus want their bit reopened.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Frenzie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #147
I have never used that Ryanair lot and never will. A number of years ago he said they would not accept UK army credentials as an ID.

If they are accepted within the UK (like Dutch driver's licenses in the Netherlands) that would be against the law; however, internationally I rather doubt they would be sufficient anywhere else. ;)

  • Belfrager
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #148

I have never used that Ryanair lot and never will. A number of years ago he said they would not accept UK army credentials as an ID.

If they are accepted within the UK (like Dutch driver's licenses in the Netherlands) that would be against the law; however, internationally I rather doubt they would be sufficient anywhere else. ;)

Low cost companies contributes to tourist pollution all over the world. Hordes of analphabet tourists are invading everything.
A matter of attitude.

  • rjhowie
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Re: Why trains don't catch on here in the "ex-colonies".
Reply #149
Well mjsmsprt40 apart from suburban rail over in your country outside of that is a remnant of what once was and it is not everyone who will be as short tempered as ensb! Here even with the massive rise on cars the national railway system is soaring way up and at the highest peaks since post-WW2. In Scotland the rail company has re-opened 4 lines long closed and lifted and the longest being around 33 miles. That one even in a rural area has doubled the targetexpected and I am aware that down over the Border our English cousins do have challenging situations of over-crowding on inter-city services that are now being more closely looked at. The West Coast Line from London up here to Glasgow is amongst the busiest in Europe.

Having given the world the railway I am certainly pleased at the massive number of passengers and not just locally. Other equally modern and go-ahead countries are out there with great railways as well.
"Quit you like men:be strong"