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America, as it turns out, was Made for HSR

by BruceMcF Fri Mar 23rd, 2007 at 08:45:50 PM EST

Crossposted from The Daily Kos ... where it was recommended, so I am just now recovering from trying to keep up with all the comments.

What if we [we Yanks, that is] just set the ground rules for a High Speed Rail system and let projects be put together catch as catch can.

What would happen?

Well, I reckon it would end up looking something like this:

Notice that I do not show you the map of the US, but I bet you can guess most of the details (point to Chicago ... point to Dallas ... point to LA/Riverside ... point to Florida). Where does this come from? From setting up some rules, and then following them. No master plan, just some basic ground rules. The details, under the fold.


{NB: Maybe if I had posted this less confusing map, the marginal distances/population routes in a different color (and some other edits, including Atlanta/DC going through Charlotte NC and therefore (Charlotte not being 1m+ at the time of the 2000 census) being officially a dashed route), it would not have grabbed the same attention. ...

... or maybe not ... a lot of people just wanted to talk up fast trains, without being too particular about how fast they were.}

What rules did I use? Well, first there was some arbitary cut-offs.


  • The initial set of eligible cities was restricted to metro area populations of 1 million or more.

  • Eligible projects had to have an effective trip speed of 200mph and complete their journey in somewhere between one hour and three hours ... though single legs less than an hour were allowed if they were part of a larger project. (Note that I used crow-flies distances, but this is a rough approximation)

  • ... and that was about it ... the rest was determined by the Census and what one of those online city distance calculators told me.

The actual result is the solid red line network. If you squint closely, you will see that there are two distinct networks ... one for the west coast, and one for the east coast and middle west.

The dashed lines across the Rocky Mountains run through Salt Lake City, which in the last census was not 1m (but in the 900,000's, so close), and El Paso, which in the last census was about 2/3 of a million. If you wanted to "connect" the two networks, those would be the natural point ... but there is no real up-front reason to want to do that. Remember, these are point-to-point trips in comfortable, Economy+ or Business+ seating, not a multi-day adventure in a sleeper car in an old Hitchcock film.

Oh, and the dashed lines at the top are Canada ... it just so happens that one the same rules, their four biggest cities could also be integreated into the network, so I sketched them in with dashed lines (and, because of the map I was drawing on top of, an arrow to point up to Vancouver).

That big star pattern at the top, a bit right of center is, of course, Chicago, and the big star pattern at the bottom, almost right in the center is, of course, Dallas. That's just what happens under those rules. That just might have something to do with why Chicago and Dallas have the populations that they do ... hmmmmm.

Note that there are a lot of "alternate routes", and an "efficiency expert" would ask "which of the alternate routes do we follow". If an "efficiency export" does that, please smack the efficiency expert upside the head for me. These are not routes. These are connecting pairs of cities of 1m people or more that trains travelling at 200mph (line of sight travel speed) place at 1 hour to 3 hours apart {NB. I have since this was posted on dKos double checked this at 150mph straight line travel speed, which would include lots of allowance for alignments, stopping time, etc., its still basically the same map}.

If your eye sketches out routes, its because its is normal, in the United States, for cities that size to be separated by distances like that.

As a note, the last Census was 2000, so this is pre-Katrina. However, the dashed line that runs from Dallas to Atlanta across the middle south is not an "alternate route", "in case NOLA no longer qualifies". It rather reflects the fact that Memphis and Nashville are getting close, and if they get over the line, that is what happens to the map.

What does this tell us about a High Speed Rail system?

We don't need no effing master plan. We can draw up maps that show what happens if the country if fully built out according to some rules, and then if someone suggests changing the rules (and especially if they are a Congressperson, so agreeing to their suggestion may help get a policy passed), we can draw up a new map.

For example, suppose that someone says instead of each city in a pair being greater than 1m, the geometric mean (square roote of the product) has to be over a certain threshold. Draw up a new set of candidates, draw up a new map. It will be similar to the one above, though with marginal changes due to whatever differences the clever formula-creator was trying to achieve.

However, the 1m+ cities between Chicago and New York are simply packed too close together for the middle west to be left unconnected to the east coast under any reasonable set of rules ... as long as we have high speed rail. Under "express" rail alone (roughly 100mph), important gaps start to pop up all over: Atlanta falls out entirely, dropping Florida to a local networks; Dallas disconnects from the Central Plains; Sacramento disconnects from Portland, Oregon on one side and from Los Angeles on the other.

In short, the US looks like it is made for 200mph High Speed Rail: it's a natural fit. And going back into our history, at least in the the Great Lakes and the Plains ... that is probably right. As soon as you start doing this exercise, the old rail-heads of the 1800's jump into the network as key points ... and as you go further west, the distances between those key points start to stretch out ... tracking the rapidly accelerating trains across the second half of the 1800's.

The final point that is dramatized by the map above is not shown in red, but in white ... by no stretch of the imagination does the 200mph high speed rail system go "everywhere" under this ... not even close. So if the high speed rail is not going through the town where you live ... what are your options?

Actually, as a lingering legacy of the first age of Rail ... they could well be pretty good. To make full use of the existing rail corridors still in use and available, we need to find a way to get a path for 100mph passengers and freight that is free and uncluttered of slow moving bulk rail cargoes.  And so that is the planned topic of my next rail diary ... though when it will appear, like present-day Amtrak, there's just no telling.

Extremely Late Update

Given the number of times that it has come up, I do want to stress that 200mph means that trying to use existing rail Right Of Way is difficult, when it is not totally infeasible ... and at the same time, it may well be that this Right of Way is probably better used for express freight, express passenger, local passenger, and bulk freight.

However, substantial stretches of Interstate Highway offer attractive HSR right of way. If built along the edge of the highway right of way (rather than the median), this means frequent "dives" to clear underneath highway exits. However, "dives" for High Speed Rail can be more energy efficient than with slower rail, because the train clears the dive so rapidly that it does not have time to lose very much momentum.

One could argue that the Interstate Highway program was established with a very substantial National Security component. Two of the major real National Security challenges faced by the nation are reducing this nation's rapidly escalating dependence on imported energy and reducing its contribution to rapidly escalating risks from global warming. So devoting suitable portions of Interstate Highway right of way to help face up to these National Security challenges could be seen as only a means of paying back some of the support provided by the National Security establishment.

One could argue, that is, assuming rational people in government, which is a hope that is at the moment focused on the Congress.

Display:
I'll note that the "extremely late update" was about 300 comments in ... that it got up to 700 was just people wanting to talk about fast trains ... a large number had nothing whatsoever to say on the topic of the diary but were off on something completely different, as is the nature of these things.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Mar 23rd, 2007 at 08:48:50 PM EST
Love the opening to the diary ...

Congrats to the great reception that that diary got.

Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart. NOW!!!

by a siegel (siegeadATgmailIGNORETHISdotPLEASEcom) on Fri Mar 23rd, 2007 at 09:20:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aha, but if its calmer, I get a chance to respond to any comments that may chance by.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 02:01:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is great, just great.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 04:38:50 AM EST
Any word on financing--are companies eager, or are there state or larger players ready to put up some money?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 08:14:27 AM EST
Now this is where it gets interesting....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 08:24:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a very small part of the rail side of Energize America ... the issue of whether a master map is required (which is a political minefield) or whether a criteria based accounts system can be put into place.

But the argument we are going to be pushing is that this should be treated on an equal basis with interstate highways and airports, with an 80/20 federal/local split.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 06:18:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The initial set of eligible cities was restricted to metro area populations of 1 million or more.
For Europe, the list is quite large... up to 81 metropolitan areas of more than 1M people are listed in the wikipedia. Here are the 29 that have at least 2M
Moscow 14.6M
London 12.6M
Rhine-Ruhr 11.8M
Paris 11.6M
Istanbul 10.0M
Randstad 6.62 M
Madrid 6.10 M
Frankfurt-Rhein-Main 5.29M
Berlin 4.94M
Barcelona 4.85M
St. Petersburg 4.83M
Milan 4.32M
Hamburg 4.30M
Athens 3.80M
Rome 3.78M
Saxon Triangle 3.50M
Katowice 3.45M
Birmingham 3.25M
Naples 3.06M
Warsaw 3.05M
Kiev 3.00M
Lisbon 2.76M
Stuttgart 2.70M
Manchester 2.51M
Rhine-Neckar 2.50M
Budapest 2.45M
Munich 2.45M
ALMa 2.45M
Bucharest 2.14M



"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 09:05:09 AM EST
Let's check this against high-speed lines and line projects I am aware of.

Already with high-speed line connection:

  1. Rhine-Ruhr 11.8M
  2. Paris 11.6M
  3. Madrid 6.10 M
  4. Frankfurt-Rhein-Main 5.29M
  5. Berlin 4.94M
  6. Rome 3.78M
  7. Saxon Triangle 3.50M (Well, kind of... as yet a 40-km stretch)
  8. Naples 3.06M
  9. Stuttgart 2.70M
  10. Rhine-Neckar 2.50M
  11. ALMa 2.45M

On a (more or less firmly) planned or constructed line:
  1. Moscow 14.6M (long-considered but less certain plan)
  2. London 12.6M (CTRL-II opens 14 November this year)
  3. Istanbul 10.0M (well, kind of... upgraded line envisaged for 250 km/h)
  4. Randstad 6.62 M (same as above)
  5. Barcelona 4.85M
  6. St. Petersburg 4.83M (long-considered but less certain plan)
  7. Milan 4.32M
  8. Hamburg 4.30M
  9. Lisbon 2.76M
  10. Munich 2.45M

That's two-thirds. For almost all of the rest, there are either project proposals without serious political backing, or HST service via medium-speed lines.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 02:36:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's been talk of new high speed rail lines in the UK, to compete with air links between London and unspecified points North. (Probably Edinburgh, possibly Manchester and Birmingham.)

Noo Labour doesn't like trains, and finds the idea ridiculous. The Tories are raring to go, and even talking about Maglev. But as the opposition they don't have much experience of dealing with the clucking of treasury bean counters. So I would be surprised if the plans survive the onslaught of Sir Humphrey.

One problem for the UK is population density. The technology is straightforward enough - providing it's not Maglev - but the local politics are extremely complicated. You can be sure that whatever route is chosen there will be protests, court actions, and other legal issues which will create huge delays.  

I suspect other parts of Europe may have similar issues.

It's taken nearly 25 years to get CTRL I+II built. Other rail schemes, like Crossrail, are still in legal limbo, even though they've been discussed for a similar period.

The other problem for the UK is that - unlike air - there's no effective pro-rail lobby. This is one area where the EU could itself a big favour by pushing strategic infrastructure planning across the whole of the EU zone, instead of leaving individual countries to come to their own individual arrangements, which might, or might not, join up at some point, if we're all lucky and think happy thoughts.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 04:14:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crossrail is just another addition the the London commuter system. I'd much rather see high-speed rail across the country. The wikipedia page lists the following metropolitan areas of more than 1M inhabitants: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Tyne-Wear. And they're all within 352 miles/566 km of each other (the distance between London and Glasgow), which would give a travel time of 100 minutes (!) according to DoDo's rule of thumb (25mi in 10 minutes at either end and the rest at 220mph).

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 04:26:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU has defined strategic corridors, and earmarked fixed percent support for projects in those corridors, but indeed it doesn't seem enough.

It's taken nearly 25 years to get CTRL I+II built.

After Maggie Thatcher's insistence on a private-financed project (wqhich the Major government at least turned into a PPP scheme). I submit that if a new high-speed line would be built in the West Coast corridor, there would be a lot of protests, but I would bet it would cause delays of significantly less than 25 years. (Also, with the use of some tunnels, maybe the bulk of potential protests could be avoided.)

The Tories are raring to go, and even talking about Maglev.

Heh, I missed that :-) My personal opinion is that when non-German politicians talk about Maglev, they aren't really serious (and the German ones only want it as prestige).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 06:35:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point about High Speed in the UK is that you wouldn't get significant time savings by upgrading either the East Coast or West Coast lines, because they're not nearly direct enough.

So to make it worthwhile, you'd have to go cross country. Which is where it gets very complicated.

The Tory Shadow Transport Minister went to see the German maglev system and is apparently quite serious. But considering the state of the technology and the distances, the idea is a little - shall we say...? - ambitious.

As for Crossrail - even though it's a relatively minor London commuter upgrade, the endless revisions and political reworkings it has been through are typical of UK rail projects that aren't controlled by a single authority.

Transport for London seems good at getting things done. And CTRL I+II have been managed successfully. But everything else is a mess, and there's really no strategic planning lead from the Dept of Transport at all - because cars are better, and air is better still, apparently.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 07:32:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Put at very big bulldozer at Charing cross and point it at Edinburgh, or whatever. Drive forward until you reach you target. Build rails in the wake of destruction.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 07:38:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After putting the (top of the) list of largest metropolitan areas on a map, and finding the distances and estimated travel times, this bit takes on a whole new meaning:
One problem for the UK is population density. The technology is straightforward enough - providing it's not Maglev - but the local politics are extremely complicated. You can be sure that whatever route is chosen there will be protests, court actions, and other legal issues which will create huge delays.

I suspect other parts of Europe may have similar issues.

The 10 largest metropolitan areas in Europe form a connected network except for Moscow and Istanbul. However, the list of metropolitan areas largest than 2M people includes Kiev, Bucharest and Krakow, and that is enough to connect the whole network.

Now, the issue of right of way is important. Basically, the 3h leg limit corresponds to roughly 900km, and it's hard to find 900 km in Europe without a largish city in the middle that will demand that the HST stop in them. Many European Countries are not even 900km across, so one could even find a national capital in between two nearest neighbours of the network.

Many Spanish regional governments insisted that the AVE had to go through some of their provincial capitals in order to collaborate with the Madrid-Valencia, Madrid-Sevilla or Madrid-Barcelona lines. In building a pan-European network, the national and regional governments would probably bargain similarly.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 10:15:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a good point about where support can be generated, but for fairness, we are pitting the city against the countryside here: opposition would mainly come from small villages and farms and supporters of ecological areas that can't be avoided and won't all be tunneled under. In Britain or Germany, those are more densely spaced than in Spain or France.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 04:28:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These are not SMA's, but urbanized areas. The SMA list would be bigger. For example, the Louisville, Kentucky urbanized area is in the range of 800,000, but the SMA is easily in excess of 1.2m.

IOW, this does not include outer-suburban sprawl.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 06:21:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, ok.

The wikipedia list of largest Urban Areas in the European Union includes 63 areas larger than 750 thousand and 27 larger than 1.5 million, namely:

Paris 10.1M
London 8.51M
Madrid 5.56M
Ruhr 5.32M
Barcelona 5.08M
Milan 4.28M
Berlin 3.68M
Rotterdam-The Hague 3.35M
Athens 3.25M
Naples 2.91M
Upper Silesia 2.80M
Lisbon 2.76M
Cologne-Bonn 2.48M
SouthRuhr-Duesseldorf-Wueppertal 2.38M
Bucharest 2.30M
Hamburg 2.29M
Birmingham-Wolverhampton 2.28M
Manchester 2.24M
Budapest 2.23M
Vienna 2.17M
Warsaw 2.07M
Brussels 1.98M
Porto 1.80M
Glasgow 1.75M
Munich 1.66M
Leeds-Bradford 1.52M


"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 06:34:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In that case,

Has connection:

  1. Paris 10.1M
  2. Madrid 5.56M
  3. Berlin 3.68M
  4. Naples 2.91M
  5. Cologne-Bonn 2.48M
  6. Brussels 1.98M

Will have direct connection with some certainty:

  1. London 8.51M
  2. Barcelona 5.08M
  3. Milan 4.28M
  4. Rotterdam-The Hague 3.35M (By the end of the year)
  5. Lisbon 2.76M
  6. Hamburg 2.29M
  7. Vienna 2.17M (Well, for 250 km/h)
  8. Porto 1.80M
  9. Munich 1.66M


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 06:51:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You somehow clipped Rome, that would be 7th on the first list. Of the remaining 11, 8 should have high-speed lines built to (the Warshaw-Katowice/Kraków, London-Leeds-Newcastle [Edinburgh], London-Birmingham-Liverpool/-Manchester-Glasgow[/-Edinburgh] lines and direct connections into the Ruhr area).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 07:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love it.  I would think, though, that it would only make sense to have a solid line from Atlanta to Charlotte to Washington, as the logical connection between the Deep South and the Northeast -- DC, being the sort of gateway to the big line of northern cities.  As you noted, Charlotte would be the midpoint, and it would, anyway, be important, I think, to link Charlotte with Atlanta -- the former being the financial center of the Deep South, the latter being the commercial center.  Greater Charlotte, according to Wikipedia, runs well above the 1m mark.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 11:01:52 AM EST
That's why I did it that way in the second map.

If I was prioritizing, I would put the following first in line:

Oakland / San Jose / Los Angeles / Riverside / San Diego // Riverside / Las Vegas

Milwaukee / Chicago / Cleveland / New York

DC / Pittsburgh / Columbus / Indianapolis / Chicago

DC / Charlotte / Atlanta / Jacksonville / Orlando / Tampa.

... but the point of the approach is to set criteria and have priorities determined by who puts out projects  with 20% local funding and which of those projects have the best performance in geometric mean of population served per dollar.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 06:28:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be interesting to have congress appropriate money into a fund and have an "auction" where the entrants have to commit 20% funding for a project meeting the criteria, and the project(s) with the best value for money (in geometric mean population served per dollar) get money from the pot.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 06:37:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the idea here is more an accounts based system, so every Congressmen has a reasonable expectation that sometime in the next decade there is going to be a project or a range of projects in his/her district that can be pointed to.

So the auction is not for the best projects proposed nationwide, but between a range of projects serving the same urbanized area.

So the legislation would define parameters for an HSR project to bid for funding out of the accounts for the municipalities and counties it serves, in project-by-project competition, all on a level playing field with the 80/20 federal local funding for Interstate Highways.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 07:31:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Instead of you (or anyone) prioritising, could you calculate the median population  served per mile for each link, as a rough indication of which links are likely to be built first?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:23:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a difference between median and mean population when looking at the two ends of the links?

Anyway, the answer is, yes, I can do both the arithmatic and the geometric mean per mile of each pair ... I'm getting on that right now.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 07:33:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant geometric mean...

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 05:00:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh ... hey, that's the one I posted!

I did the arithmatic mean first, but it is just the sum scaled by a factor of 0.5. But since the central place hierarchy tends to be a log-linear relationship, the geometric mean felt like it was probably better.

And who knows ... one day in the distant past I may have actually read some literature that suggested that the geometric mean is the preferable measure in general for this situation ... I definitely knew a lot more abstract regional economics stuff a decade ago, even if I knew a lot less about the real world problems of fighting for better public transport.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 10:02:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The geometric mean is better for quantities that are necessarily positive (like population), or that grow multiplicatively (like population).

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 10:04:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe ... I'm more a picking the tool to fit the problem kind of economist, so I would say that in this case, that fact that the size of the other city in the pair is a main factor in determing the percentage market share leads one into the logarithmic family. Its a main reason why the ratio of populations between adjoining levels of the central place hierarchy tends to be close to constant (for most developed economies). And in the logarithmic family, the simplest mean is:

antilog( (log(x1)+log(x2))/2 )

which in direct arithmatic is:

(x1*x2)^.5

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:03:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:34:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the trip geometric mean population per mile. Line of site miles are adjusted to assume an effective alignment that is 90% of the ideal alignment. All values are pairwise values, so obviously overlapping routes will pool infrastructure costs between these trips.

Lower cutoff at 100 miles, upper cutoff at 580 miles, all values to geo-mean 10,000/mile.

39,508 New York / Boston
37,435 Los Angeles / San Diego
33,476 New York / Philadelphia
31,627 New York / Baltimore
27,073 New York / Providence
21,625 Chicago / Detroit
20,978 New York / Washington
18,013 Chicago / Indianapolis
15,923 Dallas / Houston
14,717 Los Angeles / Phoenix
14,335 Orlando / Tampa
14,285 Los Angeles / Las Vegas
13,777 Washington / Virginia Beach
12,687 Seattle / Portland
12,625 New York / Cleveland
12,506 Washington / Pittsburgh
11,828 Indianapolis / Cincinatti
11,140 Houston / San Antonio
11,114 Chicago / Cleveland
10,901 Miami / Orlando
10,333 Chicago / Minneapolis

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 11:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great map, great diary, great work! Some notes and questions.

effective trip speed of 200mph

Do you mean maximum or average speed? If the latter, then that is pretty bold for one-hour relations (today, the fastest trip is a 66-minute trip between two out-of-town TGV stations at 263.3 km/h = 163.6 mph), though later on you say that the picture is not that different with 150 mph.

If it is easy to implement, I'd suggest you refine your model with these next simplest assumptions:

  1. give 40 km/25 miles and 10 minutes each for the acceleration and deceleration phases (the latter is in reality much shorter, but let's have buffer for city entrances),
  2. calculate the rest at maximum speed, if you're a bit bolder, 220 mph (which is a bit under the 360 km/h max for the next generation of Shinkansens),
  3. accept half-hour distances as minimum.

Final point: what about Houston-NOLA, St. Louis-NOLA, Jacksonville-NOLA? All seem to be within the scope of your rules (and all would be great to serve some major sub-million cities along the way, too).

"dives" for High Speed Rail can be more energy efficient than with slower rail, because the train clears the dive so rapidly that it does not have time to lose very much momentum

Hm. The factors to consider here are: steepeness of the passages, the ratio of inclination x mass x g to train resistance (which is chiefly wind resistance) and the sum of both to available tractive effort (chiefly a function of how many wheels are driven). Depending on the parameters, a HST passing a highway exit underpass can be much more and much less efficient than a conventional train. But if the parameters are such that HSTs can pass without velocity change and without having to brake on the descent, there should be insignificant overall energy difference relative to travel on level track (e.g., the descent spares exactly as much energy as the extra the ascent demands).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 02:20:41 PM EST
If it is easy to implement, I'd suggest you refine your model with these next simplest assumptions:
  1. give 40 km/25 miles and 10 minutes each for the acceleration and deceleration phases (the latter is in reality much shorter, but let's have buffer for city entrances),
  2. calculate the rest at maximum speed, if you're a bit bolder, 220 mph (which is a bit under the 360 km/h max for the next generation of Shinkansens),
  3. accept half-hour distances as minimum.
That simply boils down to replacing the old 200mi-600mi range with a 90mi-640mi range.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 05:24:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or 90-580, if calculating with a more conservative top speed.

Note BTW: the acceleration rule-of-thumb numbers I gave are assuming distributed traction. TGV-style trains with tractor heads should be slower, see the current top speed example. (That train is allowed a top speed of 320 km/h = 200 mph on 40 km, 300 km/h = 183 mph on the rest of the 289.6 km relation, except for the Avignon bifurcation.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 06:57:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd be happy to go with 120-580, I don't want to get in the way of higher priority tasks like Express passenger/freight rail projects ... so there aren't many short connections at all in there, ... except for a few special cases.

Because of the Bay, there is little downside and plenty of upside running as Express rail from San Jose to Oakland at the end of a HSR corridor to San Jose, especially if the final station is an interchange with the local rail over the Golden Gate.

Separate lines to Orlando and to Tampa down the length of the state is probably not a starter, so if I redrew the second map right now, I would draw the map assuming Tampa/Orlando/Jacksonville and Miami/Orlando/Jacksonville are two distinct services sharing the same Orlando/Jacksonville corridor.

But this map is not drawn on the assumption that you can buy a HSR ticket between, say, LA and Riverside. Short segments are included based on the additional trips they offer in the bracket.

And it is most definitely not a network planning map, since the broader idea that it is addressing is setting up an accounts-based system to support interurban trips of 1:30 to 3:00, with a range of types of projects eligible. HSR would be only one of those types of projects ... both Express rail and regular passenger rail would also be eligible.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 07:15:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But this map is not drawn on the assumption that you can buy a HSR ticket between, say, LA and Riverside. Short segments are included based on the additional trips they offer in the bracket.

Ah, that would have been sweet, 30 minutes into Union Station.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 07:21:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One the first, its just a back of the envelope calculation, but the second map works with 150mph, effective trip speed. I expect the research triangle will be 1m+ if its not by now.

Indeed, the original spreadsheet that this was based on had 50, 100, 200, and 300. This diary was the result of the observation that almost all the 1m+ cities tied together at the 200mph effective trip speed.

Politically, I think that's 66 Senators (68 if Denver CO could be included, but that's just at the edge of the limit on the Kansas City side, which is why it drops down to a dashed line in the second map) and a very large nuumber of House Seats represented. I think, consciously or unconcsciously, that's one of the reasons that the map attracted such attention on dKos. The standard is to think of fast rail for California and for Boston/DC, and the rest of the country gets nothing.

On whether the "1 hour" trips would really be one hour trips, if the vehicle was operating at a speed that allowed the "three hour trips" to be finished in three hours ... I don't think so, but I pulled out the sub-one hour legs anyway. For example, Cleveland/Columbus/Cincinatti if implemented with tilt trains can readily include Akron, Canton, Newark and Dayton enroute, plus a couple others (the main thing is to run through Columbus on an East/West alignment), and would plausibly be less than 4 hours end to end. So I pulled those out.

So its mapping the market, not mapping a particular technology.

On Houston / NOLA, I had it in, I'll probably put it back in. I took it out of the spreadsheet for the same reason as San Francisco / San Jose / LA ... but I'll put it back in next time I look at this. On NOLA / St. Louis, I think I just overlooked it (thanks).

On NOLA / Jacksonville, Jacksonville was not 1m+ in the 2000 urbanized areas data that I used, so it was not in the first map at all. I added it on a dashed line in the second map for the link that would be most attractive in Jacksonville itself.

In the added material on the end, which more reflected some of the concerns of the dKos commentary that I didn't want to write 50 identical replies to ... on the interstate alignment, I would not be surprised if it was preferable to run in a shallow trench in any event, to reduce cross-wind profile, so if a dive requires braking, I'd say stretch out the dive so that it doesn't. And I should stress more that this would be for the long stretches between urban areas, the Interstates are a lot more bendy when they get into areas that were already built up when they were constructed.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 06:15:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politically, I think that's 66 Senators ... The standard is to think of fast rail for California and for Boston/DC, and the rest of the country gets nothing.

Good point.

Regarding Interstate exits, if that troubles your Kossack readers so much, please point them to European examples of high-speed lines along highways in practice. Best the HSL Zuid line in the Netherlands and Belgium, to be opened at the end of this year, because that crosses flat terrain like Florida:


(You can find lots of other pictures of the Antwerp-Rotterdam section here.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 07:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I was not aware of this ... while Oz is further advanced in rail than America, its still only just now getting out from under a "protect what we have" attitude into an attitude of modern systems being used to servce additional transport tasks.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 07:17:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Further lines alongside highways: the line from Bruxelles to the German border (hilly terrain); almost all German lines, including Cologne-Frankfurt

(low mountains) have sections alongsaide highways, new Italian lines too, especially Milan-Bologna (opens soon) and Turin-Milan (half opened):

...some sections of all TGV lines:

...and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 08:51:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Man, you are writing my next dKos HSR diary for me! Thanks again!

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 08:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pleased to help you :-) Our cause is common.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 08:58:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bruce -- You are aware of the railroad diaries and railroad passion here, no???

Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart. NOW!!!
by a siegel (siegeadATgmailIGNORETHISdotPLEASEcom) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 11:11:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mate, I actually contributed to a double decker train diary, when the diarist did not realize that NSW relies almost exclusively on double deckers

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 12:58:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mea culpa ... hard to keep track who is involved where ...

Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart. NOW!!!
by a siegel (siegeadATgmailIGNORETHISdotPLEASEcom) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 09:27:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No surprises there ... weeks can go by when I only read the EuroTrib without commenting.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:27:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It looks to me that mixing rail services of different speeds is more problematic than mixing passenger and freight rail running at the same speed.

If it is proposed that the infrastucture be usable by courier, package and other express freight, I am presuming that this is best done with a separate dedicated freight service, so that a simple central line flyover to connect to the local freight network of the metro area would be all that is required if a project wishes to offer freight carriage slots.

The same flyover could of course support access from the HSR corridor to Express rail corridors that may already be developed or may be developed at a later date.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 07:42:22 PM EST
Yes, yes, yes. Though elsewhere, only the French high-speed network runs high-speed postal trains. I don't really know why no one tried HSL-based packet service.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 08:56:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Definitely UPS and FedEx do not care how their freight travels, so if high speed rail freight was an attractive option, they'd use it. For example, a HSR line through Columbus could have an Express branch head out to connect to the big cargo airport, and then 9pm outbound / 6am inbound overnight freight from central facilities around Chicago would have a three hour crossover window at Columbus.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 09:43:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Train is very suitable for the overnight travel ; there is probably a market share for that on the cross country lines like NY-LA ; getting into the train in the evening, reaching destination in the morning, which is more enjoyable than the 6 hours long flight which ends up eating a whole day anyway. Long range high speed train hasn't yet been really set up in Europe, but its time might come in the US.

HST and what you call Express lines are thoroughly codependent. In France for example, smaller cities not far from the high-speed corridor do get direct trips along the corridor : eg see Paris and Lyons, two big cities 600km away, first HST line in France ; Grenoble is about 100km from Lyons, and has direct lines to Paris. i.e. all cities 'close to the corridor, even if they are not large enough to get a the new lines built to the city itself, are in effect part of the corridor.  Very important in getting more politicians on board :)

(You wouldn't believe how much was done to get the TGV in some places ; Les Sables d'Olonnes, a seaside resort, has no electrified railway. So for the end of the trip the TGV train is pulled by a diesel...)

Oh, and about train speed, a new high speed record is coming on a railway east of Paris at the beginning of april. Probably over 300mph.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 08:35:20 PM EST
In the policy discussion from which this emerged, its the travel time that will qualify a project, and how they accomplish that is largely up to the project proposers, provided they fall within the general envelope and system standard that would allow services that cross over project boundaries.

For example, Pittsburgh / Columbus / Indianapolis / Chicago and Chicago / Milwaukee / Minneapolis would be able to support a Columbus / Milwaukee service, if the travel markets and timing made that a viable service to add.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 09:03:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well said.

Regarding the last, the world record of the TGV Atlantique was already above (515.3 km/h = 320.2 mph). On 13 February, the TGV Est test train already reached an inofficial world record of 553 km/h (343.6 mph). Here you see it at a moment it goes 544 km/h, throwing sparks:

a little later:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 09:06:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mixed up my mphs and kphs. Wondering how fast the record run might go, 580kph?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 10:42:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As the world speed record set by the Japanese maglev in 2003 is 581 km/h, despite all low-key formulations by SNCF and Alstom officials, I think inofficially they are eyeing that threshold...

But I'd hope these tests also make practical sense, as an extreme test of the technology of the next generation of TGVs (chiefly: at last switch to distributed traction [a first in high-speed Jacobs, that is between-the-cars bogies], that with the next best electric motor type [permanent magnet synchronous] and state-of-the-art power electronics [IGBT]).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 04:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can win a seat in the record train.

Here is the SNCF drawing lots web site

Good luck!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 05:58:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:38:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the integration, I am assuming something like the following:

... with the central track flying over to join the Express Rail network.

Note that "Express Rail" doesn't mean much of anything from a European perspective, its kind of adding a line to European main national grid standard with priority access to the adjoining bulk freight line for Express passenger and freight overtaking and crossing operations.

So some HSR rail services between Sacramento and Los Angeles would run express and stay in the corridor, and others would come out for Fresno or Bakersville or wherever and then re-enter to continue.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 09:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's hard to think in the American single-track-as-default way of mind ;) Trains going both ways on a single track, great way to get accidents, and trouble scheduling.

Here in France single tracks lines are dying or tourist only, most tracks are doubled, and around Paris not a few see 4 or 6 parallel tracks for reasonable distances...

OTOH freight around here has a minimal market share which is a big problem. And focus on high speed means that Express and local trains are underfunded.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 10:49:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They cope with scheduling by, 1, making the trains longer and, 2, running the bulk freight behind schedule when there is a conflict.

Its a self-fulfilling prophecy. The major transport task is time-insensitive, weight-charge-sensitive freight. Ergo, if you can save enough money to trim down the charge per ton at the cost of sometimes running half a day behind schedule, that's a good swap. But then you have a rail network that cannot run passenger trains at full speed because they are giving way to a late running coal train.

Suppose you have an Express and a bulk freight running eastbound, and another pair of the same running westbound. The bulk freights hold, one of the Express switches to the bulk freight line, the Express pass, then the bulk freights pass.

Hit the capacity limits for that set-up, and shift to a two-way Express/Local and bi-directional bulk freight line.

Hit the capacity limits for that set-up, and shift to two way Express-Only and two way Local/Bulk.

And for most ROW in the US, four tracks and they are built out.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 12:30:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A ray of hope on the freight front is EU-wide cooperation. The most profitable distance for railfreight happens to be a range (say around 800 km) that would cross most European borders. But borders are the main barriers, as I detailed in richardk's high speed thread. France had problematic rail borders with Britain, Spain -- and Germany, where the two biggest rail technology rivals kept blocking access by each other. But in the last few years they began to cooperate better, say the introduction and mutual acceptance of dual-system locos. On the medium term, the Spanish re-gauging plan should help to increase traffic there too. As for Britain, solving the misery of the Eurotunnel freight transit would need political will (either pushing through SNCF acceptance of Eurotunnel-run services on its lines, or state involvement in Eurotunnel).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 04:23:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is true that focus on TGV has damaged the inter-regional express trains, but in many regions, it has boosted the development of local express trains (TER) with schedules coordinated with TGV.

I am a regular TGV user since 1981 and I still find it a fantastic way to travel. The 3 hours limit is not absolute: I also use TGV to go from Lyon to Brussels and back, which takes a little less than 4 hours. Compared to flying to there (around 3 hours from city centre to city centre), it's much more comfortable and reliable, with plenty of time to work or relax.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 05:52:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TER has gotten worst rather than better in the last half century. Now that SNCF has gotten regions to pony up, it is starting to get better, but maintenance is underfunded, and many trains are a bit old. Smaller lines are being closed even though they have  market (my personal pet peeve being Grenoble-Aix, a very nice track going through great scenery. It is almost impossible to buy tickets for that line through the internet ticket sell ; and people in the Durance valley take a coach rather than the underscheduled train...)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:02:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rhône-Alpes is probably a pioneer region in this field, but there is a good TER network, more and more equipped with fast, modern regional trains like this one:

 

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:46:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Grenoble-Veynes line that is disappearing is actually a Rhônes-Alpes TER lines... But since it is of little interest for the region (going into another, PACA), it is dying out. The cars are old and decrepit. In the maintime, parallel to that line, a motorway is being built from Grenoble to Sisteron...

And of course, because of the regional financing, a logical line such as Grenoble-Aix-Marseille doesn't exist. I'd bet one can find examples like this all across France.


Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's what I said about inter-regional lines...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 07:41:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was speaking more precisely of the inter-regional, not really express lines (rather thanlong distance intercity such as, say, Bordeaux-Lyon or Lyon-Strasbourg which I felt you were referring to). Grenoble-Veynes is probably running under 100kph for most of its length :)

It's also a spectacular line... a couple photos :

Just found a nice French wiki on trains, and a nice website that seems to have a wealth of train-related informations.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 07:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a wonderful line. But what I dream of is to travel across the Massif Central in a not too distant summer, and there, the cull of scenic lines has been severe...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 04:36:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You should take a look at this : la liaison ferroviaire Bordeaux Limoges Lyon

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 08:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and not just France.

In the German language, Provinzialismus (provincialism) and the connected word Kleinstaaterei (appr. 'statelet-ism') has some strong historic connotations. During the latter time of the many German states and statelets, and then until WWI when the constituents of unified Germany retained significant autonomies, all-German nationalists applied the above words for any problems arising from the application of local sovereignity/autonomy. But one field where there was definitely more to it than the clash of rival identities was railways: there were compatibility issues, over-expensive projects kept within single statelet borders, unreasonable parallel projects, and needed but unrealised cross-border lines. Some of those were built post-WWI. But from the mid-nineteen-nineties, it's back to 19th-century conditions: the same financing mode also applied in France led to a dying of services on branchlines crossing the borders of the Länder.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:30:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, regarding branching off (not just) high-speed lines, that is a constant hobby-horse of mine...

The simplest solution is branching like a tree:

No superstructures, just four switches (like the one below: not only the end but the centerpiece is movable, too), one train passes three of them.

But such a simple bifurcation (AFAIK the one at Courtalain on the LGV Atlantique was such for some transitional time) is a bottleneck. To allow two trains to pass, you need at least one bridge:

If train control foresees switching tracks there must be such switches on one arm. So one superstructure, six switches, one train passes 3(4). Most high-speed line connections and bifurcations are like this.   Most of them in Italy, as the Italian high-speed philosophy involves connections to conventional lines every 30-50 km, often built out in a pharaonic way:

On a very busy line, it would be ideal if track-changing at the branching would be level-separated, too. What to do? One could double the tree:

But 4 superstructures, 14 switches, every train passing 5 -- expensive, and this number of routes is overkill. The following still  does all 12 cases, but spares 2-2 bridges and switches, and switch passages for one train can be 3-4.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 06:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My focus above is on branch/main line junctions, rather than main/main line junctions, and branch/main junctions should be designed so that through services run through without switching. And this being the US, on a switch onto the end of the branch line (if the branch is to be accessed two-way, this is on the other side of the flyover, not in the main corridor)

So:

  • pull the main line alignment apart to allow a central track;
  • have the switching loop branch off one of the two main lines;
  • have the other main line switch onto that; and
  • fly the switching loop out of the main line corridor.

There is at least one switch on the branch line end, more if its a dual-track line or a t-intersection for access in both directions. If its a two-way Express alignment, then it would have the identical alignment on that end, so four switches total to interconnect the HSR corridor with a two way Express alignment. Add two more switches if a standing loop is required on the interconnection line.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:12:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My focus above is on branch/main line junctions, rather than main/main line junctions

The switches used being high-speed switches, what I posted applies equally for 'branch/main' and 'main/main'. What may have been confusing is that I just didn't draw up the other end where the branch reaches the conventional line, which can be built as a mirror image of the high-speed junction, or simpler, depending on line speed and frequency (and number of tracks). The lots of Italian interconnections mentioned (& photo-documented -- the one shown is the Interconnessione Cassino, at the foot of famed WWII flashpoint Monte Cassino) are such.

For single-track access (which I'd generally advise against -- keept it double-track at least on the acceleration length, or until it connects to the conventional line), yours is fine, except if you fly over only from one side and connect on the other side, the through tracks can remain straight.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 12:00:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, its the same number of switches, the central access is more space conserving, the two separate flyovers more flexible. Looks like a footprint / cost / frequency tradeoff to me.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 12:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... system is unsuitable for the US because the rail slope is different, so equipment that runs on the specialized high speed corridor cannot run on the regular rail system.

He quotes 30% grinding on high speed TGV and 20% grinding on "regular rail around the world" (except for light rail, which is sometimes 0% slope).


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 01:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you give a link for that comment? It appears that fella' is talking BS, but maybe some details got lost and I'm not familiar enough with North American rail terminology. But assuming it's not my failt, my reply would be:

It is true that US rail and wheel profile is different from the European one, but you solve that by changing both (after all, when the German ICE made a demonstration tour of the US 15 years ago, its wheels were replaced), and it is not a function of high-speed or conventional. (After all, as others said, many French TGVs continue their travel to destinations along conventional lines, say Paris-Bordeaux, which is high-speed less than half-way, only until Tours.)

The grinding rate I know about is a measure of maintenance needs: how much of a line has to be grinded a year to correct rail surface errors. As such it has nothing to do with compatibility with conventional lines. (And on some heavily-used TGV lines, the grinding rate can be not just 30% but up to 50%.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 04:15:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't, its an internal discussion. But the assertion is that the track geometry for the the highest speed TGV's is 30% slope, the track geometry for "regular rail everywhere in the world" is 20% slope, therefore high-speed TGV's are restricted to TGV only track almost exclusively.

Is the distinction between the highest speed corridors and the lower speed corridors track geometry or the actual layout of the track ... curve radius, etc?

My belief is that he has received a garbled interpretation of a poorly understood fact from the middle of one of those pointless arguments between Express Rail and HSR.

However, I had only inferred the opposite from what I had gathered regarding TGV's, and did not know it directly.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 04:35:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the distinction between the highest speed corridors and the lower speed corridors track geometry or the actual layout of the track ... curve radius, etc?

Basically the latter: key factors are minimum curve radius, distance of the two tracks and distance from buildings/walls, switches. But other requirements are: stronger and more tense catenary, special signalling and train control system, and a number of safety measures (like sensors for cars falling off bridges).

To bolster you even further, here is a picture of what someone referred to upthread, a TGV pulled by a diesel on the last leg of the Paris--Les-Sables-d'Olonne journey along a really really conventional track:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:23:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There very few places that have a catenary structure at all, so the HSR would be defining the strength and tension of the catenory for the bulk of the country.

;)


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:41:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking about it, one possibility for what he/you may have meant: rail inclination. That is really about slope, rails being tilted inward, and 1:20 is one of the typical values, and the one preferred for high-speed. However, it is not necessary -- for example German lines have 1:40, the other common value in Europe. But what you should tell your commenter is that international trains in Europe often traverse sections alternating between 1:20 and 1:40, in fact it can vary between these values on the same line (say there is fixed track in a tunnel) -- it is no compatibility problem, only the forces and wear are different.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 04:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's use 20% and 30% as values, so it can't be inclination, which in percentage slope terms are like 2.5% and 5%.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:03:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re-reading (I often get confused what with being exposed to both technical and non-technical railroading language from three continents), that does appear to be it.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:07:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the far left, and only for French readers, halas, a text against High Speed Trains and the general idea of quick, boring transportation as opposed to travel.

The necessity for speed of those trains comes from the commodification of time in our lives ; the constraints of employment, implying only short times are available to "go somewhere", prevents the much more enriching travel.

These modes of transportation make travelling so boring that now televisions are put into the train to make the trip enjoyable.

HSTs, like motorways and airplanes, desertify the land between their ends, and they only allow travel between places that are essentially identical. From one big city to another, built around a similar CBD and similar suburbs... And an empty countryside in between.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 08:08:22 PM EST
Coomodification of travel is a good thing: before it was a luxury that only a small fraction of the population could afford to undertake, employed or not.

How many small-holding peasant farmers travelled far? Famous travel chronicles from old times were written by soldiers, merchants, diplomats or the idle wealthy.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:29:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't necessarily agree with the text I summarised...
(and I'm responding both to Colman and Migeru)

But firstly, some not-so-rich classes did travel quite a bit ; Artisans in France used to tour the country as part of their training, pilgrims on their way, or seasonal 'colporteurs' selling stuff across the country, leaving their home during the winter (farms require many hands during the summer, but some could or had to travel during the winter ; depending on the wealth of the family, those were some of the children, or the seasonal hands that had to leave...).

More to the point, we are now materially as wealthy as those that had the time to do long range travel. But the constraints of employment, with only short time off allowed, mean that high speed travel is a necessity ; those constraints are pretty artificial. The commodification I was talking about is not that of travel, but that of time. Fast transportation is a symptom of that.

It also means that one of the point of going to another place is disappearing - most tourists may go to another place but never see another culture ; maybe a different climate, different monuments, but even food often doesn't change. What's the point of Djerba? But when the vacation is only one week long, immersing oneself in a different place and culture isn't that attractive. Some of the constraints of economical life needs to be lifted of course for that form of travel to become possible for more people.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:15:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of the constraints of economical life needs to be lifted of course for that form of travel to become possible for more people.
Which ones, and how, and what makes you think most people want to immerse themselves in another culture?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:17:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the people I know of who can afford the time to immerse themselves in another culture, don't. They bring their culture with them.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:18:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Such people I would be tempted to say to not bother to travel at all.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:34:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The people I'm thinking of even bring much of their social circle with them.

The really rich are weird.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:37:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two centuries ago, the really rich English used to have the young do a tour of Europe, getting to see the sights and the societies on their way... This kind of attitude is not attractive anymore in our efficiency-addicted world.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 08:39:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back to the original point, what do the really rich and their travels have to do with the commodification of travel?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 08:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never talked about comodification of travel but that of time. High Speed Trains, the development of planes, are symptoms of that. And indeed it is interesting to note that those who still own their time don't feel the need to travel - as opposed to be transported.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:54:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The constraints of employment have always prevented "the much more enriching travel". My farming family almost never travelled because they couldn't leave the farm.

What would "much more enriching travel" look like? How would people achieve it? How would we get there from here?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 05:34:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would compare and contrast a train travel along the Rhine valley between Cologne and Frankfurt (scenery upon scenery) to one along the new high-speed line between the two (some nice short views of mountains and valleys, but in no small part sound barriers -- or tunnels), maybe even stops along the way for the first. (The same for car drivers: compare a travel along an old country road to one along a highway.) While I am not against high-speed rail (and until there is air travel, I won't accept arguments against them based on our age of haste), I do see where the argument comes from.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To say it yet another way: while I am enthusiastic about the 57 km Gotthard Base Tunnel built in Switzerland, which will greatly accelerate both freight and passenger traffic, should I go to Switzerland again as tourist and travel to -- say -- Lugano, I'd go on the old mountain line even if only local trains remain.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 06:46:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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