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Train Poll

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by MGarrison, Apr 14, 2010.

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How do you feel about passenger rail travel?

Trains Suck! You'll get me away from my steering wheel when you pry my cold, dead hands off it! 1 vote(s) 3.4%
I'd consider the train for long trips if it went where I needed to go. 18 vote(s) 62.1%
Trains, schmains - who cares when you can get there via airplane!? 4 vote(s) 13.8%
I might take the train if I my car could come along for the ride. 6 vote(s) 20.7%

    BMWtoyz guest

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    Oh I would praise it if it worked, the problem here is what it costs all taxpayers in the County (even if you never use it) and how often it fails. You have no idea what the taxes are on King County residents!
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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    Pretending that it is April 19 (I really should check these forums more often), the comments in this thread illustrate one of the things that keeps this county well behind the rest of the world in transportation technology:

    Americans see all the different transportaton modes (plane, train, auto, bike) as competing with each other for domination, rather than seeing each mode of transport at having its own appropriate place in an integrated transportation system.

    Domination is why a world class US rail systems was deconstructed in the 50's and 60's by the auto and by the airlines. They "won". Trains were dead, and now we have auto and airline centric transportation choices which are congested to the point of near uselessness in many places. In many other countries, there are integrated systems where trams are useful for intra-urban trips in town.Regional trains are used of the daily work commute. Intercity high speed is ideal for trips of 100 to 350 miles between urban centers, planes are best for longer trips and the car is best for families and for trips not well served by one of these other high capacity modes.

    I have two bimmers and love to drive them both. But I commute from the 'burbs to center city 5 days a week. Do I want to spend an unpredictable 25 to 65 minutes in my car stuck in the "parade" following an SUV bumper, not able to do anything else but listen to the radio, maybe yap on the phone 10 times a week? Or would I rather spend 43 minutes every trip reading, napping, working on my laptop on the train. Don't knock it until you try it.

    We will never have a pervasive high speed rail system in the US. HSR only makes sense in the most dense corridors. That means very straight alignments. So every old lady and small business owner, scores of which would fall into any possible high density alignment will lawyer up and fight the unavoidable condemnation of their property. In this society, we all care too much about "give me mine and to heck with you" for that. The Japanese and the Europeans have more of a sense of "I will sacrifice some for the good of the society", so they take what the government gives them and go live somewhere else. Here, not so much.

    The Chinese had 0 miles of 350 KPH HSR three years ago. Today, they have over 600 miles of HSR in revenue service and over 8000 miles planned or under construction. The 350 billion we will have spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would have bought that for us (notwithstanding the extorsion from little old lady's noted above).

    Sometimes trains break down. A few times a year, things go wrong and I am late. Sometimes I even have to find a different way home. Inconvenient, but it happens when you drive too. It always makes the news when 1200 people on a train need to do that all at once when a trian breaks down.

    Remember, you ALL like trains. Because people riding in trains are not infront of you in the parade out on the highway.

    Give trains a try.

    BMWtoyz guest

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    Interesting but not all factual. The "Sounder" in the Seattle area is a full size diesel engine, not a fast, smooth, eco-friendly electric or even a Hybrd, just a smokey old diesel paint to look new. It crosses many city streets between Tacoma and Seattle with nothing more than crossing guards and lights resulting in numerous accidents. It is taxpayer funded, yet costs $35.00 per week for a 40 mile round trip ticket. If you buy the "pass" you must enter and disembark walking past a metal pass detector, so the line piles up. I would ride my taxpayer funded light rail except it goes nowhere except downtown Seattle and the airport! (No where near any place I have to go). Thus I pay for Seattle residents to have their own private airport service!
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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    My point exactly... "Thus I pay for Seattle residents to have their own private airport service"

    We can't have a national transporation system because we have no sense of supporting something unless it there is an immediate answer to the question "what's in it for me?"

    But for the people who have a job close enough to the system's stops to use it, they can get to work without a car, or leave their car behind when they go to work. $0.175 per trip mile (from your numbers above), you can't operate much of a car for that kind of coin. The 9100 people a day who ride the Sounder train each day are:

    a) Not in their cars (less traffic for you), AND/OR
    b) Working and paying taxes because they can afford to get to work this way (maybe you are an employer and the system brings you your workers, or maybe your just enjoy all the services that those taxes pay for beyond the train subsidy).
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    CRKrieger

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    I'll disagree with you on that point, and here's why.

    Ever notice where the interstates (which take up a heck of a lot more room than even a two-way rail system uses) are located in cities? There aren't many places where the rail lines couldn't be located just as they are in the middle of Chicago: in the middle of the highway. Because the interstates, as well as most other high speed highways, were designed for high speed use, the curves are normally modest enough for a train to use.

    Assuming we can use that space, we (the public) already own it. Outside of cities, there's rarely a place where there isn't already plenty of room in the median for rail lines. Inside cities, it might require some purchases; or it might not, if the traffic on the highway is reduced enough to give up one or two lanes to the rail line.

    The government has long-established eminent domain and condemnation procedures, so it isn't a matter of endless litigation to obtain the land. Because of this, we managed to buy the space to put in the interstates. We can manage to buy a lot less space to put through the rail lines.
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    az3579

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    And how do you propose to reduce traffic enough to put a railway where the extra lanes would otherwise be? Since when did reducing the number of lanes equal less traffic? Those who drive to work in stop and go, drive (as opposed to taking the train and other public transport) for a reason. What will change their minds?
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    Pyewacket1

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    I agree completely with your comments. Having spent a fair amount of time in Germany, I have seen just how valuable a sophisticated rail system can be...
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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    Well, the design standard for the Interstates was 80 mph, and it is certainly true that taking HSR into center city makes sense in the most dense urban areas, so they could follow that alignment. However the urban portions typically do not have the 100' median you see in the rural portions.

    The HSR from Tampa to Orlando will run substantially down the median of I4. In fact the first work to protect that with a barrier is just getting started. Here's a link to a recent presentation: http://www.floridahighspeedrail.org/uploads/super-regional_leadership_conf_5-27-10.pdf

    In the UK, they are planning a 300+ kph HSR from London to the west midlands. They are planning to spend $400,000,000 per mile on this system. And they believe thay have a business case for it! Look here: http://www.hs2.org.uk/

    300 KPH HSR needs REALLY straight alignments, both vertical and horizontal. That is why over 50% of several of these systems run either on viaducts or through tunnels.

    The gov't can condemn, but that does not stop people from fighting it. If you have been following the california HSR project, you can see what trouble this can be.

    Glad this discussion got fired up again...
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    CRKrieger

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    How do you reduce traffic lanes to rebuild or build new ones? You just do it. Progress is often inconvenient. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. With that attitude, you'd never get anything built because it would upset your status quo too much. To paraphrase your first sentence, how do you propose to control all these automobiles enough so they don't kill all the horses?
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    109941

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    I'm too young to have heard it, but I don't recall ever reading about much political debate on the Interstate highway system. Perhaps, the choice was obvious after the servicemen in Europe saw the autobahn. If you want to learn about pushing through public works projects, you need to study the career of Robert Moses. It's not pretty, but he sure did leave a tremendous legacy of completed projects.
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    az3579

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    So you're saying that you don't care that there'll be more traffic than what you started wtih? How do you think everyone else would feel about that, just because you want to take the train? You weren't talking about building new highway lanes, you were talking about building new rail sections, so that doesn't help the interstate traffic, it makes it worse. What you're proposing is counterproductive; you're helping one camp but making it worse for the other. How about making both sides happy?

    It's not about the "attitude", it's about what makes sense, and doing that doesn't make sense for everybody, only some. Keep in mind, those in charge of projects like this have to think about what's best for everybody, not just you CR.

    Call me stupid, but I'm not quite sure what you mean by this.
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    floydarogers

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    You need to fact-check

    The monies taken in by RTA/Sound Transit are spent proportionally upon different segments. Pierce County taxpayers DID NOT pay for the light rail to Seatac. They DID pay for a portion of Sounder (the Tacoma-Seattle segment.) The also paid for track improvements, and over/under-crossings at the major arterials that it crosses. It's still hugely expensive, though. Presumably it takes some of the cars off SR-167 to make it an easier drive for you, though.
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    floydarogers

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    Only if you are careful, CR. For instance, the Eurostar train tracks from the Chunnel (Folkstone) to London take about as much space as the M20 that it mostly parallels. The grades and curves to accomodate the two high-speed tracks require lots of fill and cuts. The older 60 mph tracks are a different story and are more what you might mean.

    Of course, we're really comparing something (the M20) designed for short-distance travel with a long-distance (Paris-London) transport system ... arguably the US lost a big opportunity (for passenger rail) when they built the interstate system and didn't invest in upgrades to the rail system at the same time.
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    CRKrieger

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    OTOH, I am NOT too young to remember it. Of course there wasn't much political debate about building an interstate highway DEFENSE system to foil those pesky Russkies and their Commie ways. It was the Cold War, after all. But the highways had to go somewhere and land had to be acquired. Farms were cut in half. Neighborhoods were destroyed. Some very nice properties were taken, and it wasn't pretty for those people at all. My father was a project engineer on Interstate 77 in eastern Ohio. I remember well some of the stories of irate, indignant, heartbroken, and even insane property owners whose lands and homes were taken for the project. Even my sixth grade teacher lost hers.

    Every few years, I-94 through Chicago has to get rebuilt. Traffic lanes get cut down to half while the project, lasting a couple of years, gets done. People survive that. Washington D.C. didn't have a subway system until the middle '70s. I lived there for a couple of months while Connecticut Avenue was made out of wood. [Seriously; you could look through the cracks 50 feet down and see the work going on.] Traffic was a mess, but it got done and the system, based on my rides there last year, has been a tremendous success. Taking the people on those trains off the streets and out of their cars has to make a huge difference.

    The same thing will happen with trains. In many places, 'convertible' lanes would be able to replace lanes lost to rail lines. Again, Chicago has examples on the north side, using two lanes inbound in the morning and outbound in the afternoon. This can and should get done for the future. Those who oppose it on personal convenience grounds are just short-sighted, IMO.
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    109941

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    I'm thinking I need to start addressing you as Mr. Krieger:)

    However, I do have to agree with you. The lack of public transport in and around DC was/is a national embarrassment and greatly hindered any efficient conduct of business within the district or No. VA. Today, the sprawl around Tyson's Corners is nearly insane. Due to the high housing prices and the congested interstates, many employees of DOD & DHS contractors find it cheaper and lower stress to take a weekly residence in the local hotels versus the commute. For some perspective, the cost of those rooms is, at a minimum, $125 per night.

    BMWtoyz guest

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    I never said Pierce County taxpayer paid anything, I live in King Ding-a-Ling County and I pay every year. No SR-167 is a parking lot. We could discuss the "Hot Lane" issue on 167, but that is another discussion on government frauid and waste.
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    Brian A

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    Humm,… voting on this poll so far shows 20 people in favor of using trains and only one against. The majority of workers commute day in and day out to one single location. No one would consider rush hour commuting as uplifting performance driving. A minority of drivers actually need their car for work.

    Although the Embarcadero freeway, which was supposed to connect the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge by way of a double-decker elevated 8 lane freeway along the entire length of the San Francisco waterfront, caused such a 1950s public outcry that it was stopped after a mile of construction. It took the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake to get that 1 mile of eyesore forever removed.

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