[Novalug] OT: High speed passenger trains
jecottrell3 at comcast.net
jecottrell3 at comcast.net
Mon Apr 12 12:19:04 EDT 2010
Of course, if that trend continues, the TSA will look to expand their empire and you will need to get to the train station two hours early. And that leg-room and other amenities mightalso start to disappear as well.
On the positive side...the brothel car could operate while traveling thru Nevada.
As far as Cliff Flynt's embarking/debarking scheme goes...well, Ejector Seats would solve the latter problem.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Franklin" <franklin at elfie.org>
To: cmhowe at patriot.net
Cc: novalug at calypso.tux.org
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 9:44:59 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [Novalug] OT: High speed passenger trains
This solution does address one of the major issues with rail travel: travel time. I'm looking at a trip to Boston in the near future. A direct flight from here will take 1h30m in the air, Amtrak will take 7h45m on the rails. While that seems like a no-brainer, these numbers don't tell the whole tale.
* I need to be at the airport a full 2h before the flight. I can show up at the train station 15m before the train leaves. Given this, we're now looking at 3h30m vs 8h00m.
* My luggage stays with me on the train, and it's a short walk from the platform to the street. With a flight I'll need another hour on the other end to get off the plane, walk to the baggage area and wait for my luggage to show up at the carousel. 4h30m vs 8h00m.
* Trains take you from city center to city center. Air travel puts you on the outskirts of the city. If you're lucky, you'll land someplace like Reagan National where light rail is easily available. More likely, you'll land someplace like Dulles where you need a shuttle or cab or a car rental and another hour of driving to get to the city center. In this case, I'd be landing at Logan which is not served by light rail, but is at least on I-90. 5h30m vs 8h00m.
* The train I cite above is a regular train. The "high-speed" Acela trains (which are high speed in the same way my old 2400 baud modem is "high speed") makes the journey in 6h30m instead of 7h45m. 5h30m vs 6h45m.
* All this, of course, assumes both the plane and train depart and arrive on time. It is also assuming a direct flight.
* With the time difference reduced to 1h45m over about 6h of travel time, it's time to look at comfort over that quarter-day. Personally, I look forward to air travel only slightly more than I look forward to the dentist. (This needs to be re-evaluated with the advent of Sedation Dentistry.) Planes are cramped and loud; movement, activity (cell phones, knitting) and personal items are severely restricted, the seats are tiny and (for someone 6'3" like me) lack sufficient leg room. On the train, the seats are larger and more comfortable, the noise level is far lower, the air is fresher, you can walk around all you like, get a snack or (on longer trips) a *real* meal, use your cell phone and plug your laptop into a real power outlet. Train travel is simply far more civilized than air travel.
If time-reducing solutions like Charlie's were implemented, the time difference would make the train more competitive over a longer distance. Today, trains make sense on rail times of about 5h or less.
Personally, I'd like to see real high-speed rail like what Europe or Japan have, or even faster and nicer. My pie-in-the-sky rail system would get me from DC to SF in 10-12 hours, leave in the evening, include a tasty, fresh cooked, sit-down meal, a real bed and an on-train shower in the morning. On arrival, I'd like to see a concierge service to take my luggage to my hotel while I head directly to whatever business meeting I have.
On Apr 12, 2010, at 1:32 AM, cmhowe at patriot.net wrote:
> I have an idea which, if successfully implemented, would, to the best of
> my knowledge and belief, constitute a first in high speed train travel.
> Here is the core idea.
> Visualise a train travelling between Richmond and Jacksonville, an area
> without large population centers. But a train has to stop at a lot of
> places, causing the average speed to drop. Visualise the people in Hardee,
> SC, who are to embark getting into a sort of capsule. They are all in and
> the capsule sealed a minute in advance. At the same time, the people
> disembarking are also ready to leave at the same time. Gear (luggage)
> also, of course. It is headed south.
> The train slows but does not -- DOES NOT -- come to a full stop. In some
> fashion the disembarking capsule is separated from the moving train and
> put on some kind of track. It slows and stops so that people can
> disembark. At the same time (later, actually, I guess), the embarking
> capsule starts to move. It drops into the space made empty by the
> disembarking capsule. The train accelerates. The net result is that the
> average speed over the entire journey is measurably less.
> What I am hoping is that a handful of people will buy into this notion.
> The product of this group would be a short video -- a minute might be
> enough -- that would be shown to the appropriate people in the Department
> of Transportation. The desired result: starting to design that component
> of a high speed surface transportation system for the North American
> continent. Yes, it could take a century to design and implement. Why not
> start now?
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