Alternative to Flying Idea, Bullet Train Ahoy?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DeathStar1, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    After reading that Some airlines will now charge overweight passangers extra, because the AIRLINES seats are to small for even normal people, it just heightend my sense that we need another alternative besides flying.
    The airlines have gotten too cocky. They know we can't live without them, so they think they can get away with just about anything as far as charging the customer goes...

    So here's a question...

    I was reading up on the 'Bullet Trains' of Japan. These suckers go 300+ MPH, obviously alot faster than your average Amtrack. So, here's my suggestion. Would it be possible to create a train system that goes across country like one giant monorail?

    Replace all mini airports with Bullet Train Stations. Major ones would still be needed for over sea travel, of course. Security would still be there, like on airplaines. But instead of mindless random searches; where they let someone who looks like a street bum walk by, yet stops some kid with a barbie doll; have a highly sensative metal detector that would go off if even so much as a hair pin was on a person. Of course, there would be armed police security afterwords looking for anything out of the ordinary..

    Once customers went through this, onto the bullet train. Seats would be spaced out, and there would be some kind of observation deck for people to watch what scenery they could go by.

    The only problem I could see would be building a route that could take it safley across the country.. Or around it, quite possibly.

    Any ideas on this?
     
  2. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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  3. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    I love train travel! yeah the Japanese "Bullet Trains" go (IIRC) around 170 mph. The fastest trains are the French TGVs which do about 185 mph (although they have run them without passengers at around 300 mph).

    I would love there to be a high speed rail network in the US, but I just don't see it happeneing in the US anytime soon. New track would have to be layed seperate from the existing freight network. Start-up costs would be enormous, and even if the system became profitable, it would be a long time before investors even broke even. Given the political climate in the US, public funding is out of the question, and it seems to me that public funding would be the only way to make it work.
     
  4. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Man I'd love to see nationwide high speed rail. [​IMG] There are studies currently underway to gauge the feasibility of a high speed network in the Midwest. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll see it. The startup costs are enormous and would definitely require government subsidies. With this nation's love affair with the almighty automobile, I don't see the government diverting money from roadway expansion to construct a high speed rail network. [​IMG]
     
  5. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Not likely to ever happen.. Amtrak is already government subsidized and every few years they cry that their going to go under unless we pump some more money into them. You think the nation is going to support another RR system?
    Would be nice, of course then we'd also have to deal with all the people who seem to like to commit suicide by running in front of the train. Around NYC, it seems to happen about once a month... [​IMG]
    Jay
     
  6. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    I would like to see that happen but with a country of America's size, and considering the spread of the population, it would literally cost hundred's of billions, or even trillions to construct such a project, even just to link the major cities like NY, LA, Chicago etc.

    They were talking about building such a link between Montreal and Toronto due to the heavy volume of traffic/cargo along this corridor. I think that this one link could be feasible if someone other than the Government put up the cash.
     
  7. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  8. Keith_R

    Keith_R Screenwriter

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    Actually IIRC they were talking about putting a high speed train system here in FL. The train system would connect Tampa, Miami, and Orlando. I doubt it will happen though. It would be cool if it did.[​IMG]
     
  9. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I don't think a nationwide rail system like this is possible, or even desirable. Airplanes are much better for longer travel.

    However, there really should be a huge market for this if it was regional. I imagine that LA, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix, for example, could easily be connected, and the travel times wouldn't be that much longer compared to flying, when counting in the check-in times at airports, while prices should be less.

    /Mike
     
  10. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    When I lived in Vegas last year they were talking about puttin in a high speed rail systems between Vegas and LA. (Go figure easy way to get the gamblers in) [​IMG]
    But there were a lot of early investors bitching because nothing had been done yet. Evidently they under estimated what it would cost and they were trying to get more money.
    I also would be all for it but the US is a little to large to make it practical. Sure they could use some between large closer cities like in Florida, NY, or California but not across the country any time soon IMO.
    KyleS
     
  11. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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    Public transit making money is a completely impossible idea...the cost of maintainance on a railroad with track, roadbed, signals, power, car equipment, train control, and stations is enormous for previously built systems...no less start ups
    As an example I was part of the Hudson Bergen light rail construction in Jersey City and Bayonne...this 12 mile light rail system with only 29 railcars cost 1.5 BILLION to construct!
    Considering that you would need hundreds of high speed cars, 3000 miles of track each way, thousands of interlockings and grade crossings and an ultra advanced signaling and train control system you could be looking at trillions of dollars.
    The airport as stations idea wouldnt work either...the whole allure of rail is that it leaves you off in a station in the center of town unlike an airplane which drops you off at an airport on the outskirts of town (the acella from NY to Wash. takes longer than a plane but factor in a cabride from airport to downtown and the acella is quicker)
    Europe and Japan have high speed nationwide rail systems because
    A)the countries are smaller
    B)gasoline costs soooooo mutch more than here
    Ther cost of maintaining trackage that could support 200+mph travel would be tremendous.
    At 200+mph you couldnt have at-grade highway crossings...the trains are on top of you too quick...you kinda have to run on an elevated right of way.
    And the final rule of thumb in American railroad...If you cannot or dont carry freight (and mixing superslow freight trains onto the same trackage as high speed is insane) you will never make money...period.
     
  12. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    I have read that the new highspeed Amtrak rail line between NYC and DC actually is cash flow positive.
     
  13. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Excellent article (registration required) in last Sunday's NY Times Magazine about Amtrak's current woes.
    I disagree that these train lines have to be run on an elevated right of way. Sure you have to eliminate the grade crossings, but that can be done with underpasses or overpasses. Still a monumentally expensive operation.
     
  14. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  15. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    Acela - that's it - seems like it would do real well from LA-SF. With airline security and traveling to and from the airport, it's faster to just drive from LA to SF half the darn time.
     
  16. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  17. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  18. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    When I rode the TGV 10+ years ago in France, they didn't really "open it up" until we got out into the rolling countryside. Nothing but cow pastures and nuclear power plants. Near suburban/urban centers (which was almost half the trip from Toulon to Paris), we didn't seem to be much over 50mph.
     
  19. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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  20. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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    The NY to Wash Acella might make its operating expenses back but so does Amtracks entire Northeast Corridor...The problem with a nationwide high speed is that full trains from NY to Chicago would be counterbalanced by the empty load from Chi to Denver...no one would ride NY to LA because with all the station stops, slowing down and accelerating, it would average only about 40MPH...thats slow over 3000 miles...also consider that the train may go 200MPH but if the TRACK is only rated for 100MPH then you go 100...
     

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