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Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #1 
Why can't we have high speed rail? It is bizarre we have money to fund fake wars and kill people but we can't be modern and have an adequate rail system linking all fifty states. I am tired of living in a third world country.

I have traveled the world. Other countries have better transportation they we do. It is so sad.

Will Rocky bring up the topic of infrastructure which is badly needed?

I think this is something that should be brought up.

The president talked about it then it stopped.

Rock on all of you.



Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #2 
This is because the politician's don't want to fund something that will benefit the masses but instead wars.  NUTS!!!!!
Reply with quote  #3 
Yes, In some parts of this country you can not even get a train. What happened to that so called high speed rail  which was talked about Wisconsin?
Does anyone take a train nor even care?


Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #4 

Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #5 
High Speed Rail (HSR) isn't perfect because it's so expensive. It costs a lot of money to build, but in the US, I suppose it's doable, but don't expect to cross the Rockies with it without paying the cost. Building a HSR on flat area is easier and costless than mountains. Of course you could use the actual Amtrak network and just upgrade the railways and trains and it would cost probably less than it would if you were to build a separate network. I'm definitively not an expert in trains, but I took the TGV (French HSR) in France and Switzerland. It's quick, comfortable and efficient. North America has one of the worst railway network on Earth. Asia beats us easily: Japan with its bullet trains and China with its new HSR. 

Last summer, I went to visit NYC. I then took public transit up to Philadelphia (cost me $7 instead of around $60 with Amtrak, but was an hour longer, still worth it). Then to come back to Montreal, I took Amtrak from Philadelphia to NYC, then NYC to Montreal and I can tell, Amtrak sucks. It's slow as hell, wi-fi is terrible. Food is terrible. Coffee is terrible. VIA rail Canada is worst. Unbelievable you think? I know. But trust me, it's worst than Amtrak. Amtrak at least looks modern and is average comfortable. Via Rail is old as hell and is just disgusting. 

North America really deserves a HSR network. But HSR isn't the only technology available. Trust your engineers, they might come up with something even better!

Posts: 62
Reply with quote  #6 
I lived in Japan for 15 years. I took the local trains and high-speed rail. Here are some of my observations...
* The trains ALWAYS ran on time
* The trains were ALWAYS clean
* You never stepped UP to get on the train. The platforms are high so you just walk straight into the train
* The local trains could you get you the local mid-cities in a rather convenient manner
* The 'business eco-system' around the train stations were VERY robust. I mean there would be shops, coffee shops, restaurants, book stores, etc
* Most train stations had ample space for parking your bike
* On the negative, most also had many taxis ready to wisk people away once they got off the train. Very handy but maybe not ideal for environment
* Trains stations created a lot of foot traffic
* People didn't eat or do weird stuff on trains like in the USA. That said, there are many groppers so not so good for women at times

For local train station system, I think Americans are just un-willing to give up their cars. How does Japan handle that? Their gas is MUCH MUCH MUCH higher than the US. So it becomes cheaper to use mass transport. They require a registered parking space for every car (i.e. $$$) and they make car ownership expensive. So they have some built-in systems to funnel people towards the trains.

Still, I would very much love to see high speed rail in the US. I don't like to fly so if the train system was as good as it is in Japan, I would take it to go to a distant city.

Summary: Rail can be great but Amtrack service/trains/etc has been so bad, that Americans don't have a positive view of taking trains. But I think that like the interstate highway system, this could be seen as an investment into the country.. and a way for jobs to increase.



Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #7 
Can we blame this on Republicans??

Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #8 

Given that Amtrak isn't the best run operation, one wonders if a high speed rail system would fare any better. Obviously, it would create jobs, mostly with construction initially. However, if the general economy doesn't improve significantly, will there actually be enough paying customers to make the system viable? A lot of study should go into this before it's done, and my gut tells me that right now this shouldn't be a main priority. Moreover, the way this country is going those high speed trains might be a ticket to some internment camp at some point sad to say.

Drew Voss

Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #9 
While the avid rail enthusiast in me jumps at the opportunity for a Trans-continental High Speed Railway, the truth is that something like this is very far down the line. At present, the costs will be high and the demand fairly low. But this does not mean improving the the rail transit system in America should not be a top priority. Rail transit is a very important issue, for both environmental and economic reasons, and it has great potential as a means to build up the strength of our party.

I suppose a big part of the challenge of intercity rail in the US, as opposed to regions like Europe, is that our population is much more spread out. High Speed Rail (HSR) and rail transit generally are much more effective for short trips than for long ones. For short trips, HSR is faster than flying, given the substantial amount of time spent doing thing on the ground at airports, but the opposite is true of longer trips. Obviously, rail has advantages over air for long-distance trips as well (greater comfort, better food, more environmentally responsible, etc), but the speed of planes is likely to keep air the generally preferred method of getting from New York to San Francisco for some time, whether or not the railroad is high speed. The bulk of rail use is going to come either from people in mid to large towns and small cities looking to travel to the nearest big city or else from people in one city traveling to the next large city over. This is where we ought to start. Many large towns and small cities could benefit greatly from rail, as these smaller locations often lack things like access to affordable major airports, major cultural centers, and other conveniences found in major cities, resulting in a great deal of transit. The more of these people we can take off the freeways and put on rail, the better the consequences will be for the environment as well as the cost of deteriorating road infrastructure. Additionally, this intercity connectivity would help keep educated, younger individuals from leaving smaller towns and cities, the so called "brain drain" experience in smaller states and more isolated regions.

The other challenge for HSR rail transit generally that is the bulk of American rail systems are privately held by freight rail companies, with rail transit operating as tenants on their property. The tracks must of course be shared with company trains, which run very slowly, which can add a lot to trip times. HSR requires dedicated tracks, which is of course a significant expense and logistical challenge. Perhaps a good short term priority would be a sizable public-private joint effort to improve and expand the existing rail networks, which has the potential to significantly improve transit times. A lot of our trains have the physical potential to go fairly fast (if not by European standards), but logistical issues prevent them from doing so. Such an expansion would also serve to benefit the freight rail business in America, which is good economically as well a being preferable to road freight environmentally. 

If we desire substantial intercity HSR in the future, which I believe is a worthwhile and admirable goal, we must first begin with these more local and more basic improvements. Much faith in the benefits and reliability of rail transit has been lost in the minds of the American people, and strong local and city-hopping rail systems are the key to restoring this faith. Improving and expanding public transit within cities will also play a key roll in this process. I am personally very interested in the potential of monorail systems as a way to bring smaller cities low cost, non-bus public transit, but that is perhaps a discussion for another thread. The key is to start local, and grow from there.

And we must remember that rail transit will always have a cost to it. It will be very surprising indeed for passenger rail to become a revenue-generating element of the public sector. It will almost always be expensive, and we must understand and accept that. But this should not be seen as a huge issue. After all, both automotive and air transit are heavily subsidized by the government as well (through the construction and maintenance of road and air infrastructure). As with all transit, the key is to consider the economic benefits for the nation as a whole, which are gained at the price of state subsidies.

Politically, I think that big changes in passenger rail will have to come from the state and local level. Federal matching funds and stimulus money is of course a good thing, but the best way to get the ball rolling for rail transit is for people to organize community support for it, demanding rail transit for their local community. This public will can then be brought to bear against the state government, which will be the level at which the real problems will be addressed. 

Really, issues like this provide us good opportunities as a party. Public rail transit has a distinctly progressive nature, but at the community level, it is a very non-partisan issue. Making these sorts of things a priority has the potential to give us the foothold at the state level we need in order to build an effective national party. Average voters will be much more willing to consider voting for a third party candidate if they feel that the will look after their community and advocate its needs in ways the larger two parties won't. Then, as they become more familiar and comfortable with the party, the results we are looking for in the statewide and national elections will start to come.

Also, I should note that while Amtrak is not the rail system we deserve (with slow times and fairly high prices), I have always had a fairly good experience with Amtrak. I've had good service, decent wifi (at least its free), and even pretty good food (far better than on planes). Certainly the experience has been very comfortable and low stress, the exact opposite of flying. Perhaps that's because I've been mainly on the Northeast Regional, which is a pretty heavily used line...

Thoughts, anyone?


Drew Voss
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