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Rail Travel Advantages

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  • Jim Gagnepain
    Here s an interesting link from a New Mexico Rail Advocacy group. http://www.nmrails.org/chew.html They list 13 advantages to rail travel: 1 A modern small
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 21, 2007
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      Here's an interesting link from a New Mexico Rail Advocacy group.
      http://www.nmrails.org/chew.html

      They list 13 advantages to rail travel:
      1 A modern small automobile with two passengers generates almost 25
      times the air pollution, per passenger mile, as a four car commuter
      train at 35% capacity.
      2 Two sets of commuter rail tracks will handle the passenger traffic
      of at least six lanes of highway.
      3 The tracks for a commuter train already exist here; those for a
      light rail system can be laid within existing infrastructure,
      preserving open space and minimizing land and business condemnation.
      4 A new light-rail line costs about a third of a new highway or loop
      road, and recent developments in track-laying technology can shave
      60% to 70% off that cost.
      5 Trains are faster, quieter, and smoother than buses. In addition,
      they avoid traffic jams and most accident scenes.
      6 Modern commuter and light-rail trains are built to run forward or
      backward, eliminating the need for huge turnaround loops.
      7 Rail deaths and injuries are almost nothing compared to those in
      automobiles.
      8 Rail cars and locomotives have been known to last up to 100 years
      with decent maintenance.
      9 Railroad tracks are cheaper and easier to maintain than roads and
      highways.
      10 There is no rubber tire disposal problem with trains (a much
      bigger issue than many people realize).
      11 Most skeptical commuters who try trains are converted within a
      trip or two.
      12 Commuter and light rail lines have triggered a boom, revitalizing
      rundown neighborhoods and buildings in areas where they have been
      located. Land values in older communities are rising, a dent is being
      made in suburban sprawl and even some long-abandoned hazardous waste
      sites are slated for clean-up, having become more attractive to
      housing, retail, and office developers.
      13 Railroad transit is a big part of the "intermodal"-- or many
      modes of transportation--thinking that has become more popular
      nationally and worldwide every year--not to mention mandated by
      federal law since 1991.

      ----
      Jim Gagnepain
      www.oilfreeandhappy.com
    • Philip Riggs
      ... I think this is currently a relevant and important topic that really needs to be emphasized due to the recent increase in news coverage of aging city
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 21, 2007
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        On Jul 21, 2007, at 4:33 PM, Jim Gagnepain wrote:

        > 9 Railroad tracks are cheaper and easier to maintain than roads and
        > highways.

        I think this is currently a relevant and important topic that really
        needs to be emphasized due to the recent increase in news coverage of
        aging city infrastructures (and how to pay for improvements and
        replacements) brought about by the New York steam pipe explosion.
        City planners really need to be sold on this idea and citizens need
        to be more informed about the cost of road infrastructure compared to
        rail. Perhaps we could put together a form letter backed by studies
        that can be customized for local situations to be sent to city and
        regional planners? I would be happy to get the ball rolling, but just
        don't have the information or knowledge that I know many on this list
        have.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Erik Sandblom
        ... need ... to ... studies ... and ... just ... list ... There s an easy way to illuminate how space-efficient rail is. Look at the timetable, look at how
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 22, 2007
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          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Philip Riggs <priggs@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > City planners really need to be sold on this idea and citizens
          need
          > to be more informed about the cost of road infrastructure compared
          to
          > rail. Perhaps we could put together a form letter backed by
          studies
          > that can be customized for local situations to be sent to city
          and
          > regional planners? I would be happy to get the ball rolling, but
          just
          > don't have the information or knowledge that I know many on this
          list
          > have.


          There's an easy way to illuminate how space-efficient rail is. Look
          at the timetable, look at how many coaches are being used in each
          train and find out how many seats are in each train.

          For instance, Stockholm has two branches of commuter trains. Each
          branch has a train every 15 minutes. The trains are run with two
          articulated cars, so there are 740 seats in each train. The two
          branches run on the same two tracks over about ten kilometres.
          http://sl.se/templates/Page.aspx?id=1638

          So that section of double track takes eight trains an hour, for a
          total of 5920 seats per hour in each direction. Plus a number of
          intercity trains.

          In rush hour, all the seats can be assumed to be full, and
          automobile occupancy can be expected to average between one and two
          per car. A highway can be expected to take one car every two seconds
          per lane (the two-second rule says to stay two seconds behind the car
          in front of you).

          So the highway needs between four and eight lanes to reach the
          capacity of the commuter trains on double track, not counting the
          intercity trains.

          Now assume that the tracks are dedicated to commuter trains only.
          Now we can run a train every five minutes, that's twelve trains per
          hour or 12 x 740 = 8880 seats per hour. For that capacity you need
          between six and ten lanes of highway. And a lot of parking.

          Mr Crawford has some examples like this in the book.

          Keeping an eye out for terms like "bloomberg" and "congestion" might
          also yield useful factoids.

          Erik Sandblom
        • J.H. Crawford
          ... Actually, the comparison is even more favorable than that. Quoting myself in Carfree Cities: A single metro track can move more than 50,000 seated
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 22, 2007
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            Erik Sandblom said:

            >Now assume that the tracks are dedicated to commuter trains only.
            >Now we can run a train every five minutes, that's twelve trains per
            >hour or 12 x 740 = 8880 seats per hour. For that capacity you need
            >between six and ten lanes of highway. And a lot of parking.

            Actually, the comparison is even more favorable than that.
            Quoting myself in Carfree Cities:

            A single metro track can move more than 50,000 seated passengers per hour. This is derived as follows:

            Minimum headway (minutes) 1
            Trains/hr 60
            Cars/train 12
            Seats/car 80
            Seated passengers/hr 60 x 12 x 80 = 57,600

            I suspect that some metro lines in Tokyo operate far
            above this figure during rush hour. They LITERALLY
            pack them in. My numbers are based on seated passengers.

            Even Amtrak manages to run 20 trains an hour in each
            direction through the Hudson tunnels.

            It's only at extreme traffic levels that more than
            two tracks are needed to carry all passenger traffic.

            Most US freight railroads operate these days with
            single-track main lines and still manage to move
            37% of the nation's ton-miles on such skimpy
            infrastructure. (These lines were once all two-track
            territory. The New York Central was, I believe, once
            four tracks between New York and Buffalo. If I'm not
            mistaken, quite a lot of this is single-track territory
            today. Signaling and control improvements have allowed
            extremely intensive exploitation of track.

            Regards,






            ----- ### -----
            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
            mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
          • Erik Sandblom
            ... per ... need ... per hour. For the general public, a number like 50 000 passengers per hour is hard to relate to. Many people will be unaware of what a big
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 22, 2007
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              --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Erik Sandblom said:
              >
              > >Now assume that the tracks are dedicated to commuter trains only.
              > >Now we can run a train every five minutes, that's twelve trains
              per
              > >hour or 12 x 740 = 8880 seats per hour. For that capacity you
              need
              > >between six and ten lanes of highway. And a lot of parking.
              >
              > Actually, the comparison is even more favorable than that.
              > Quoting myself in Carfree Cities:
              >
              > A single metro track can move more than 50,000 seated passengers
              per hour.


              For the general public, a number like 50 000 passengers per hour is
              hard to relate to. Many people will be unaware of what a big
              contribution public transport is already making to their own cities,
              here and now. To make that clear, it is very helpful to take the
              existing timetable as a starting point. Anyone can verify a
              timetable, and finding out the seating capacity of a train is not
              very hard.

              Together with the two-second rule, it becomes very easy to explain
              that public transport is already doing the work of several freeway
              lanes, and can be expanded to do more. I often see a fatalistic
              attitude that more freeways are somehow inevitable, and the timetable-
              and-seats approach is a very effective eye-opening medicine against
              that fatalism.

              Once eyes are open, you can show how huge, crazy and monstrous the
              freeway projects most cities are being subjected to, really are. And
              how significant and how real the choice really is. Otherwise people
              will just say "it will never work in our city, it only works in
              Exotic and Faraway Places because they are Different".

              Erik Sandblom
            • Warren Weisman
              The other day I was cycling through town (Eugene, Oregon) and a train came through town carrying 40-foot van trailers from tractor-trailers on flatcars.
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 22, 2007
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                The other day I was cycling through town (Eugene,
                Oregon) and a train came through town carrying 40-foot
                van trailers from tractor-trailers on flatcars.
                Curiosity got the best of me, so I stopped and counted
                the trailers. Just how many tractor-trailers can a
                train with two engines do the work of? There was 120
                trailers. That is: one hundred and twenty.


                --- Erik Sandblom <eriksandblom@...> wrote:

                > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H.
                > Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                > wrote:
                > >
                > > Erik Sandblom said:
                > >
                > > >Now assume that the tracks are dedicated to
                > commuter trains only.
                > > >Now we can run a train every five minutes, that's
                > twelve trains
                > per
                > > >hour or 12 x 740 = 8880 seats per hour. For that
                > capacity you
                > need
                > > >between six and ten lanes of highway. And a lot
                > of parking.
                > >
                > > Actually, the comparison is even more favorable
                > than that.
                > > Quoting myself in Carfree Cities:
                > >
                > > A single metro track can move more than 50,000
                > seated passengers
                > per hour.
                >
                >
                > For the general public, a number like 50 000
                > passengers per hour is
                > hard to relate to. Many people will be unaware of
                > what a big
                > contribution public transport is already making to
                > their own cities,
                > here and now. To make that clear, it is very helpful
                > to take the
                > existing timetable as a starting point. Anyone can
                > verify a
                > timetable, and finding out the seating capacity of a
                > train is not
                > very hard.
                >
                > Together with the two-second rule, it becomes very
                > easy to explain
                > that public transport is already doing the work of
                > several freeway
                > lanes, and can be expanded to do more. I often see a
                > fatalistic
                > attitude that more freeways are somehow inevitable,
                > and the timetable-
                > and-seats approach is a very effective eye-opening
                > medicine against
                > that fatalism.
                >
                > Once eyes are open, you can show how huge, crazy and
                > monstrous the
                > freeway projects most cities are being subjected to,
                > really are. And
                > how significant and how real the choice really is.
                > Otherwise people
                > will just say "it will never work in our city, it
                > only works in
                > Exotic and Faraway Places because they are
                > Different".
                >
                > Erik Sandblom
                >
                >




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