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Thread: Terrible regional rail system in US

  1. #26
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    Well sure i like trains, but you have to be realistic.

    The nearest major motorway interchange (which in British terms is a pretty important one) currently moves about 120,000 vehicles every day, being economic that's proberbly over 200,000 people (and many more tons of goods). The parallel rail routes take about 25,000 people a day, some coal, some rubbish to landfill, a bit of aggregate and a few car trains each day. Hmm. Given that in this country the 'subsidies' for the strategic road (motorway) network and rail are about the same (2.4 billion last time i bothered to look), than you quickly see what the problem is.

    An addendum is that the railway lines in this area actually make money... but the principle holds that even for a 5% reduction in motorway traffic your looking at doubling the capacity of the railways at colossal expense and ongoing expense in most cases.

    So reducing congestion... i dunno whether that argument stands up. Replacing short haul flight, regeneration and accessibility are much more valid arguments imho.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by b3nr View post
    Well sure i like trains, but you have to be realistic.

    The nearest major motorway interchange (which in British terms is a pretty important one) currently moves about 120,000 vehicles every day, being economic that's proberbly over 200,000 people (and many more tons of goods). The parallel rail routes take about 25,000 people a day, some coal, some rubbish to landfill, a bit of aggregate and a few car trains each day. Hmm. Given that in this country the 'subsidies' for the strategic road (motorway) network and rail are about the same (2.4 billion last time i bothered to look), than you quickly see what the problem is.

    What do you mean by "this country?" - the UK, the Cotswalds, or what? And what are the user figures country-wide for rail vs. road?

  3. #28
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    I thought i'd made that clear on the first line. UK, mainland GB.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by 3 mph View post
    At least since the Eisenhower system was completed in about 1980 and arguably a lot longer than that - and look at all the expansion that's been needed in the meantime.
    Most consider the Eisenhower system was completed in 1992.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  5. #30
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Most consider the Eisenhower system was completed in 1992.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System

    I was referencing this one -

    http://www.answers.com/topic/interstate-highway-system

    but maybe the Wikipedia is more convincing since it specifically mentions Glenwood Canyon in '92. Growing up in southwest Virginia in the mid-80s, it was always a grueling trip to go visit my grandparents in Charleston, WV because there was nothing but winding two-lane roads and you would invariably get stuck behind a huge logging truck going 25. These days I-64 is complete all the way through and it's maybe a two and a half hour trip. I was reading about Eisenhower getting stuck in the mud in Nebraska in 1919, but I guess the roads through the mountains get finished last.

  6. #31
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I started driving around Michigan in the mid-80's and know that there were interstates that were still getting built, and we had a jump on most of the country as we had freeways in place for the War Effort (World War II). I I can also remember being rudely awakened in 1992 because the Campsite I was staying at out west was a 'temporary' Route I-90 while they converted a segment of old US Highway into a freeway. Dammed truckers saw the tents on the side of the road and would blare horns, then the gravel haulers/explosion guys got to work early several hundred yards away. Nothing like HONK HONK all night followed by KABOOM!

    grew up using interstate construction sites as my sandbox, as my father worked on them. I can also remember going down old US Roads while riding an asphalt roller as a young child waving at the traffic in the 1970's... Ahhh those were the days! Its no wonder I was drawn to transportation planning. The final segment of interstate in Michigan opened around 1990. This was a segment of I-696 that was in the original plans, but had lots of cultural issues tht needed to be adressed. Two of the largest issues were Detroit lost a portion of its Zoo and there were the needs of conservative Jews that needed to walk to Temple. What came out of it were some really neat solutions such as a parking structure that spans service roads, a portion of Woodward Avenue that actually runs UNDER a depressed urban freeway and large pedestrian plazas. I was in my early teens when they were finalizing plans, and I would read the newspapers just fascinated by the mitigation techniques employed.

    Well back to the original topic, I would like to know what the originator of this thread considers regional rail? For example, would the Mid-west or South be a region? Or would this be more like Cleveland and Atlanta being a region? Either way, you can find huge gaps in the system and hours long waits at transfer hubs such as Chicago.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #32
    Cyburbian
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    In the instance I used, I was thinking of regional rail in terms of mid-west, north-east etc. Even on a smaller or larger scale however, the fact that the system is subpar remains equally evident.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I wonder if gas prices may indirectly lead to a greater investment in rail. While we focus on or cars and trucks, the industry hit hardest by escalating costs is the airline industry. Flights are being cut as never before. Will small "end-of-the-line" airports continue to have air service? Rail might serve these locations very well, if it can reach speeds of at least 70 MPH, or preferably 110 MPH. The time to get to a hub would be almost the same.

    The Midwest Regional Rail Initiative is a nine-state plan for the kind of passenger rail service discussed here. Some incremental progress has been made.
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