Random Thoughts Again

hbendle
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby hbendle » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:41 pm

My question is, what is different here compared to other well developed countries that we are unable to build decent and modern rail transport?

Good question. Size of country, total length of rails to maintain? Budget? Fear of change?

I hit 301 kph (187 mph) in Shanghai city... just a short ride back to the airport. That was more of a tourism showcase, proof-of-principle stunt than serious infrastructure, though.

psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:25 pm

I don't know about Europe, but I would think that in Japan having an efficient rail system is vital. They have a very high population density. Japan is smaller than California and has 3x the population. According to the Census Bureau, 75% of Americans go to work by driving a car alone (the remainder carpool or take mass transit). If 75% of the people in Japan drove a car to work, the country would be in perpetual gridlock.

An efficient rail system here would be nice, but it's not vital (yet). Hopefully if it ever becomes so, we'll get our sh*t together. But I'm not optimistic. That California debacle is really unnerving.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:03 pm

I was in Tokyo back in October 2002 (the week the Giants and Angles played in the World Series) and I recall traffic was pretty bad within the city. And, traffic gets pretty bad between US cities as well, at least up and down the northeast coastal regions. You've driven to Philly and back, so you know how bad it can get certain times of years. The whole corridor from Boston to DC is a disaster. I've driven down to DC a few times and, depending on time of day and time of year, its awful. I once had to go to DC for the day, though, and took Amtrak. I grabbed a train out of Trenton at 7 AM, was down to DC by late morning, did my meetings, and got back on the train. All told it was about as easy an event as you can ask for.

I think a bigger issue is Americans don't seem to like public transportation. Even if there were more trains I'm not sure many people would use them. I would, though. I use the trains around here frequently and I'm a big fan. If I could get more places by train then I'd go more places.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:52 pm

You've driven to Philly and back, so you know how bad it can get certain times of years.

Yes, but unfortunately Amtrak just isn't a great option. It's less stressful than driving I suppose, but it's not much faster. And it's not at all competitive with flying. I can usually get JetBlue fares that are very close (and often below) Amtrak fares. A 1-hour flight vs a 6-7 hour train ride for about the same price is a no-brainer. I'm flying down next week for $160 round trip. That's less than the Amtrak fare. And that's not unusual. Why is totally beyond me.
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sameoldlama
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby sameoldlama » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:09 am

I think previous posters who commented on the simple geographical differences hit the main reason rail is more effective in Japan than the US. Japan is basically a bent straw - you could put a line running north and south down the eastern coast with spurs running west at key points and service country relatively well.

The US is a giant rectangle with it's major population centers located randomly within the rectangle. geographically rail could work regionally (California is kind of a reverse Japan) and on the East Coast rail could be effective between Boston to DC but a national system that would replace air travel would be logistically problematic. California is a highly populated state which happens to have the Sierra Nevadas followed by the Rockies cutting it of from the East. Less populated northern states would be challenged to make the investment of rail service challenging and let's not forget may of those area spend a lot of the winter buried in snow - so track maintenance becomes an issue. And as others have commented - we Americans are an impatient bunch - if you don't live in a major metro area that would serve as a rail hub your not going to want to have to make three transfers to get to Point A to Point B.

Having a plan to upgrade facilities, transportation systems and manufacturing process to more ecologically friendly technologies - as occurs now is a prudent path - and there is no harm in seeing if it can be accelerated. The kindergarten management proposal of the green new deal imposing an illogical time deadline with no consideration of whether it is economically, technologically or logistically even feasible (I know the world's going to end, you don't worry about being factually correct, be morally right and just do it!) is reckless at best and stupid at worst.

It's hard to even fathom just the resource expenditure in raw materials it would take to satisfy a national rail system, charging stations for electric cars "everywhere" and upgrades to every building in the country. Imagine the amount of raw materials that would be mined, the fossil fuels burned fabricating the materials and the amount of scrap materials generated just to make us "green". There comes a point where maintaining or upgrading a technology no longer provides a return on investment - that's the time to convert to a new technology. Artificially imposing deadlines would simply be disastrous and wasteful.

As with most issues it's hard to find someone articulate a reasoned position - because unless you're claiming the world will end in 12 years or we shouldn't worry and you can go grill a side of beef over a tire fire you can't get any attention. But I will tell you again - there are some smart people out there figuring things out (look back at the changes from 25, 50, 100 years ago in medical, transportation, communication and manufacturing) - it's going to be OK guys. So when we get 4" of snow and the media and politicians become hysterical and everyone makes a run on the milk, bread and eggs so they won't be forced into cannibalism sit back, grab your Swiss Roll or Nutty bar and an IPA and binge watch that TV series you need to get caught up on.
Wendall : That's very linear Sheriff
Ed Tom : Age will flatten a man Wendall

psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:39 am

The US is a giant rectangle with it's major population centers located randomly within the rectangle. geographically rail could work regionally (California is kind of a reverse Japan) and on the East Coast rail could be effective between Boston to DC but a national system that would replace air travel would be logistically problematic.

Unfortunately, that's where politics hampers progress. If Amtrak were a private business, they'd probably shut down service in the "heartland" where they're losing money and they'd concentrate their resources on the east and west coasts. But Congress mandates that Amtrak provide national service and makes that a condition for the large subsidies Amtrak receives.

Not to mention the public sector (bless their hearts) sucks at this. We couldn't build a friggin tunnel beneath Boston without MASSIVE cost over-runs and schedule skips. We couldn't even begin to build the friggin high-speed rail infrastructure from LA to SF without MASSIVE cost over-runs and schedule skips. Pigs will fly before we have a national high-speed rail system.
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sameoldlama
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby sameoldlama » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:45 pm

psu_dad wrote: Pigs will fly before we have a national high-speed rail system.


As long as they don't fart - if they do even Corey Booker might jump in on Baconfest to save Mother Earth
Wendall : That's very linear Sheriff
Ed Tom : Age will flatten a man Wendall

Crowbar
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Crowbar » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:53 pm

To paraphrase that song from Reservoir Dogs:

Jokers to the left = Jussie Smollett.

Clowns to the right = the idiot Coast Guard officer who was plotting to assassinate liberal politicians and TV hosts.

Here we are stuck in the middle going WTF???
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:51 pm

Not sure you can really compare a guy who made a fool of himself to someone who was planning mass murder, but, yes, there is a whole lot of crazy out there in the world.
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sameoldlama
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Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:43 am

Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby sameoldlama » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:03 pm

To paraphrase comedian Paul Mooney from Chappelle Show "Hollywood Goes to Far...."

If Smollet had went with two white guys jumped him and said racist things it could have passed the smell test - but he had to go too far

> they had to be wearing MAGA hats and say "this MAGA country"
> they had to put a noose around his neck and pour bleach on him
> they had to hurl homophobic remarks
> and naturally he put up a fight, they went running and he didn't drop his sandwich or damage his phone

So we have two MAGA hat wearing racist, homophobes wandering around an area of Chicago in which Trump pulled 12% of the vote with a rope and bleach during a record cold spell late at night and they recognize a black, gay celebrity from a show with a predominately black cast and jump him but despite making such an effort to commit there hateful act after a short skirmish they go running.

And better yet he paid the guys with a check and gave them the money to buy the rope, hats and masks - which they were caught on camera doing.

You would have thought the media, celebrity twitiots and politicians would have learned their lessons after the Covington story but they can't hold back when someone gets the jump on them in virtue signaling. Even more amazing are the ones who are so vested in their political narrative they can't issue a mea culpa - they are still backing there epic failure.
Wendall : That's very linear Sheriff
Ed Tom : Age will flatten a man Wendall