Increasing Public Transportation - Give Us High Speed Rail

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...Please?

People may fear the runaway train, especially the overhead-electric or electromagnetic high speed rail system. How will the engineers ever get it to stop? Turn off the magnets or reverse polarity. Turn off the electricity. That's simplistic, but cutting the power or reversing polarity slows and stops the train, hopefully on a pinpoint and not after a similar deisel runaway has done a lot of damage and caused many deaths.

For a real-life runaway train story from northern Ohio, make sure to see Unstoppable with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. The original engineer and conductor consulted on the filming and while the movie adds some exaggeration and drama for entertainment, the railroad men feel it is true to facts otherwise. Northwestern Ohio's Engineer Jess Knowlton and Conductor Terry Forson are credited with saving 1000s of lives in the 2001 Crazy Eights railroading incident,

I am anxiously waiting the advent of high speed rail ever since I heard the plans for a coast-to-coast underground bullet train that can travel from NYC to Northern California in 3 hours via an electromagnetic rail system. That was in the 1990s and I hope to see it before 2050.

California High Speed Rail Corridor

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Public Domain. | Source

ELECTOMAGNETS

While I have never ridden on a steam-driven or deisel passenger train, I have ridden on monorails.My first experience was on a Detroit monorail from a hotel to the downtown mall, before the People Mover was built completely around the inner Downtown Detroit, Michigan area. My second was on a monorail at the Ohio State Fair Department of Transporation exhibit that promised monorail transportation to increase in the state. In 2010, I cannot find a monorail in Ohio, but will keep looking. If you know of one, please post it in comments and I'll go have a look. I've ridden the People Mover in Detroit several times and while it makes some creaky noises, it's efficient and fun to ride over the Detroit River, offering artistic works at each stop. There are stops at all major attractions - libraries, shopping, arenas, the river recreation and picnic area, the Renn Center, and many others. You might see some of them on TV's Detroit 187

Some Russian subways are verItable museums of fine arts and the Detroit People Mover monorail is a small version of this. One of the PM stops is located right across the stree from the mass transit bus terminal downtown, so mass transporation options are good in Detroit. The Greyuhound Bus station is just a few blocks from the nearest PM stop and the city bus terminal, but is no longer open 24 hours a day. Still, that makes three mass transit options within 6 blocks.   

Monorails are running via electricity and/or electromagnetic energies and elevators are following this engineering development. This was shown recently on Public Broadcasting documentaries. Electromagnetic elevators are useful, have fewer moving parts than mechanical-electrical units, and can reach the heights of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. They are quiet, apparently safe, and can use alternative energy sources for electricity. Thus, we can travel cross crounty or into the sky with electromagnets.  

Bullying In Special Transportation Programs

Because of the transportation problems our Welfare to Work and SSI clients in Columbus OH experienced from 1998 - 2008, City, County, and Business partnerships offered transporation to those that accepted jobs and were dedicating to keeping them.

Some partnerships offered discounted monthly bus passes with taxi service included at the end of the line for the last few miles to work. Other partnerships offered dedicated vanpooling to and from work, specifically for these individuals wanting to work. Some of these programs allowed citizens to leave the welfare roles and purchase vehicles. They also resulted in some people quitting work, because they were bullied at work and in their neighborhoods for taking The Welfare Bus (van) Their children were bullied at school for this, even in schools were incomes across the board were low. These families could not withstand the bullying, but some few other families simply could not handle full-time work and its commitments at the time. Some people really did not want a job. Eventually, the transportation programs were eliminated in the 2000s.

Best Cities Often Have High Speed Rail

I woiuld certainly ride the high speed rail from northern to southern California, but the price of a ticket would need to be affordable. Even if a little higher-priced than expected, I would likely find that a monthly pass would easily and more cheaply replace a monthy car payment, auto insurance (even if purchased from Progressive's iconic and entertaining Flo, the Gecko, the Caveman, or Justin Case), and automotive upkeep. Another plus would be providing reduced fares for students, Seniors, ADA, and lower-end incomes - this would cause me to have greater respect for the system and to use it more often as a general public user.

As it is, I live within 1 block of a city Express Bus, less than 1 to 2 miles from 6 other bus lines, and less than a mile from a small shopping center, banks, etc. I can walk. I feel I need to do this. because ot the lack of adequate snow plowing in the winter that leaves most neighborhoods impassable for at least 5 to 10 days sometime between New Year's Day and March 1, and the constant crumbling of the roads and highways, even in the best parts of town is unavoidable.

Taxis are very expensive here. I feel my auto is a luxury and I need to take care of it and not overuse it. On trips out of state, I rent a model that produces at least 39 mpg. Greyhound service is very limited in the state and we have no trains, except for a few stops along Lake Erie and one stop in Cincinnati, without connection between north and south borders. I would love to have high speed rail in Ohio. Thus far, we have had difficulty convincing the citizens of the need for high speed rail along some 10 or 20 miles of Route 23 running through the heart of town. This would be roughly analogous to the Cleveland Rapids rapid transit.

High speed rail and fast and efficient bus service is the hallmark of many of the Best Cities on the Top 10 and Top 100 lists of organizations such as Forbes.com, CNNMoney, Kiplinger, US News and World Reports,and several others in the US and Canada. Failure to support this type of mass transit sometimes slows a city's growth and prevents some people from gaining employment.

Until we have high speed rail or a wider, more frequently running, 24/7 system of city transit, I recommend that citizens move closer to work, to bus stops, and to business districts if they can do so. I will likely always live within walking distance of everything I need, but I would certainly use the high speed rail in California and recommend everyone to do so as well. Even if you drive, take the train once a week instead of driving, for variety, and to take advantage of a perfect time to read or take a short nap or to think.

Monorails, high speed rail, privatized and public sector space flight, 100-story elevators, and the space elevator -

Cheers to transportation!

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Comments 18 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I don't know the ins and outs of the politics or economics but I have always regretted that trains were allowed to fail in the United States. It was partly government--like switching mail contracts to the airlines. I ahve ridden on old locomotive driven trains. They usually went by scenic places that you would not see otherwise.


eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Nice trains.

From my understanding these trains never pay for themselves.

Keep on hubbing!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Imo, it's false propaganda and AMTRAK is a poor example, mismanaged I think. But if true, right now, I'd rather have my taxes go to trains than to the $9,000,000,000 in grants to find new insects in South America. Personal preference. Eventually, I'll move to a state that has a good rail system.

Moreover, I see some govt's hamstring their citizens in passive-aggressive limiting movement of folks with no transport available. Still, they should live near transportation if possible and it's sometimes their poor choice of location that harms them. Other times, not. I like the guys that build their own small cars from motorcycles, etc.


mtkomori profile image

mtkomori 6 years ago from Yokohama, Japan

Hi Patty, thanks for your response to my question regarding California HSR. I'm doing a presentation later on this month at a group I belong to on the history of HSR and how it can work here in North America and wanted some response. I'm glad that you are a believer in better transit. More and more people realize that we can't continue to rely on motor vehicles (esp.the car) due to the obvious problems associated with it: traffic congestion, accidents and fatalities and the rising cost of oil which makes driving more expensive. Building and maintenance of roads is in the long run more expensive to an economy than building a reliable transit system whether it be rail/rapid buses. And the former does not solve the problem of congestion, etc. When you widen or build more roads, the congestion gets worse, hence more accidents, and so on. One major problem I see when the HSR goes into effect in California is how one gets to the train station. It makes no sense to drive to the station and park & ride, as some do at airports. A reliable transit system has to take passengers to the train station making it easier to transfer onto the HSR. So it's not just building HSR, but redoing the transit system as a whole in both L.A. and San Francisco, and the other cities through which the HSR goes to.

You sound like you live in a transit friendly area. In my neighborhood, people don't take transit very often, most families have more than one car, and the plan to build light rail transit down the central part of town

is about to be killed, though politicians and the general public seem to believe we need better transit. I'm not convinced the rail will work here because there are no major residential areas around its proposed route and the workplaces are scattered in numerous locations throughout the city. We don't have an equivalent of Wall Street like in NYC.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Great Hub. I spoke to an EPA Administrator in 2009, and we were talking about the Clean Air Act and what must be done, I said, "Beat all of our Cars into a Monorail". He laughed, and when I didn't he realized what I was saying is true. Much needed!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Getting TO the train - right, that can be a problem!

Lilly - so far, only monorails in Ohio are at amusement parks, and shopping malls during Christmas. Cols downtown isn't big enough to warrant one, but Cinci would. I like the electric movers in Pleasanton.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

They've been trying to get high speed rail in Seattle for years. I believe they finally got a short line from the city to the airport (we now live in Oregon), but the logistics were huge!

BTW, my kids cannot wait to see Unstoppable. Gotta love Denzel!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

I am all for a good rail system, and I absolutely agree with you on the Amtrak issue. Great Job as always.

K9


Jeremey profile image

Jeremey 6 years ago from Arizona

Nice hub but I was hoping to see a mention of the monorail is Phoenix! Oh well. Next time maybe!lol.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

This is my bet subject. I love trains. Not so much the high speed one because I can't enjoy the scenery. Oh course, for business people it is essential. They just want to go from A to B in the fastest time. Thank you for a great read.


Jaynie2000 profile image

Jaynie2000 6 years ago

I am from Madison, WI and the new governor, whom I did NOT vote for, is a real stick in the mud conservative who is doing everything in his power, even before inauguration, to derail the rail plan. I've been to Europe several times and the efficiency with which the rail system integrates larger cities and parts of Europe is inspirational. Too bad our GOP Governor to be doesn't see it that way.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Hey, I'll look at the monorail in Phoenix and see what I find!

Hello hello hello - yes, coast to coast and watch the scenery would be a vacation by itself. :)

Jaynie2000 - I understand the costs, but as my professor said, some people are all about 'Get what you can, can what you get, and sit on the can.'


ptosis profile image

ptosis 6 years ago from Arizona

Obama's stimulus package involved creating new trains systems for cities and those who don't use it - lose it. The reason why is trains is about social engineering - trying to get people out of their cars and onto trains. But the problem is that this is 19th technology and this is the 21st century.

Trains SUCK for transporting people, for good - yeah they are GREAT.

I am totally opposed to the elevated train proposal in Honolulu because it's a land grab boondoggle to seize low income property under "imminent domain" - then run out of $$ for the train and use the property for high dollar development. - That's why Honolulu is starting the train construction out in the boondocks - where NOBODY lives instead of starting construction in the most densely packed area of the inner city of Waikiki and Honolulu.

Mayor Mufi was pusing the train for four years and the new mayor Mayor Carlisle Unveils New Heavy-Duty City Buses. That's why nothing ever gets done in Honolulu. All the politicos want to make Honolulu to appear as if it's some Hawaiian Disneyland for the tourist - and it's all an freaking facade, a Potamkin village that white-washes the crumbling infrastructure.

I moved BACK to the mainland because of the severe dysfunctional Gov't that said trains= progress. Bu-Shing!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

The animated film Lilo and Stitch made all of the Hawaiian islands look like a ghetto and you have confirmed this image. Now we know.

One problem in Ohio began under the Gov. Rhodes Administration in the mid-1950s: the Rhodes for Roads program. Looking at the records, I see that what Ohio received was a highway system of cheaply contructed roads and freeways that crumbled in the same places more than once a year; the joke being the orange barrel is Ohio's state bird. Our roads tear 100s of fairly new automobiles apart yearly and the govt is free from recourse. In fact, a street sinkhole swallows cars somewhere in my city every year. I-70 between Cols and Springfield is usually under construction. And how about this - 3 miles of Route 23 north between Delaware and Marion is a 6-lane highway with 2 medians and very few people seem to use that rural section. And most cars are cheaply made compared to previous decades' - made to fall apart for repeat repair business. Thsi also takes advantage of people.

>>The auto-highway system is just as much a political trap as is public transport, if either is such. I still want the train. People without cars in all of the southeast quadrant of Ohio cannot get anywhere, even to most worksites, when they can find work.


mtkomori profile image

mtkomori 6 years ago from Yokohama, Japan

@Jaynie2000, I used to live in Madison, WI while a student there between 1989~91 so I'm quite interested in this issue in Wisconsin. Is it a commuter train or HSR which will run between Madison and Milwaukee? Why is the present governor opposed to this plan? It's interesting how all these rail plans are sprouting up around North America, bringing about debate. The question is, do the

people building the train system (whether it be the city or a rail authority) know exactly how mass rail transit works? It has to be a system, with rail lines meeting other lines, enabling passengers to make easy transfers, with a minimum amount of walking when transferring. Mass transit is sort of a foreign concept here in North America because the past century has been spent on building roads for cars and expanding the airports for planes. Can the people building the rail systems come to terms with a foreign concept??


burning bush profile image

burning bush 6 years ago

Europe and Asia developed and continued to enhance their rail system while Americans fell in love with the automobile. Since we tend to be an independent lot, highly individualistic and such, it was a natural path for America to follow. Now, like it or not, we should invest in high speed rail. This country offers little in the way of speedy mass travel conveyance. While aviation and the automobile provide an alternative, infrastructure projects to build a system would create nationwide economic benefits and improve the environment. Local rail would also create opportunities for business investment and growth. It would seem like a winning combination but whether or not Americans would be willing the embrace train travel without the prior experience is hard to know. It will certainly take lots of convincing along with a renewed faith in government and big business to achieve. Americans are skeptical and have a short attention span. I wish us luck. High speed trains really are the "best way to go".


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 5 years ago from Michigan

I'm really not certain what to think of the idea of high speed trains yet. Although I have heard, as you included in your hub, that The People Mover in Detroit is a neat ride. It would, however, be great if public trans was better geared for efficiency to the elderly. Lots of it will have to do with how well the citizens conduct themselves and respect the ride and their fellow passengers (one of the reasons why the 'bus' is not so 'safe.' Even the elderly have to wait out in the cold. There was a time when they had 'warming buses' where passengers could wait and remain warm while waiting for their bus to arrive. So, best I can say at this point is we'll see. Voted and rated.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

the idea of warming buses is a good one. At the major cross streets in mid-town, we have two small somewhat heated large-windowed buildings in front of the State House on corners where stairs come out of the underground garage, but no one is allowed to stand in them in the winter to wait for the buses on High Street.

I remember a book written by a young women who dressed as an elderly woman for her college research and rode busses and trains in major US cities. She even wore glasses that blurred her eyesight. She was treated horribly - ignored, yelled at, pushed around on a bus, not let off at her stop, etc. I wonder how many cities are like this?

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