11254Re: "Biden rolls out $1.3 billion for Amtrak"
- Mar 16, 2009--- In email@example.com, Richard Risemberg <rickrise@...> wrote:
>OK. There are several issues that concern me still that merit further discussion.
> In Japan, the Shinkansen tracks and ROW are only for bullet trains;
> not even other passenger trains use them. They are very specifically
> desinged to very high tolerances and much more expensive than other
> Local trains, as far as I know, may share trackage with freights.
> Passenger service is highly profitable in Japan, and a network of
> government and private trains runs everywhere. Bullet trains are
> government enterprises; the investment is too high for private
> companies. So policies may vary from railroad to railroad.
> Not familiar with the situation in Europe. However, it's unlikely
> that 200mph passenger trains share tracks with freights whaich also
> damage track much more than passenger trains do) anywhere on earth.
First, you initially implied that all 100+ mph passenger service should have its own track. In an ideal world, I agree. Here in the US, however, we are in a far-from-ideal world when it comes to passenger rail.
For now, "high speed rail" in the US is likely to mean anything over the current but seldom-realized Amtrak goal of 79mph (mostly on shared track). The next step is likely to be in the 100-125mph range, rather than jumping straight to 200+mph.
This is important because that intermediate step probably will have to happen on existing track (perhaps with welded rails, but that's another issue.) Here in the midwest we first need service, any service, to educate the public about rail travel, of which most people have no experience. Once a network is in place, it may be easier to get people to see that travel by train can be wonderful and we may have the political will to push for faster travel and ultimately new track for faster trains.
Implementing passenger rail in the midwest is important for carfree development because right now the only means of travel for most of the region is by car. A passenger rail network would make it easier to push for carfree transit-oriented developments around the stations.
That is why I am hoping someone can shed light on whether passenger trains can be operated safely on track shared with freight. Not for 200+ mph service, but in the 79-125 mph service range that should be the next step after basic service is introduced.
And yes, I lived (carfree) in the Kansai region of Japan around Osaka and the network of trains and subways was unbelievably wonderful. I wish more of our public servants would spend some time living there to see for themselves how wonderful it can be.
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