High Speed Trains in America
California Train without Tracks
High Speed Trains
The author of this hub acknowledges that the government both the federal, and the State of California have made the idea of a high speed bullet train an economic nightmare. The cost of the bullet train is enormous compared to its actual immediate value. The cost of the venture is only a small part of the costs of running the train, and maintaining five hundred miles of track. Neither governments are good at costing projects, completing them on time, or even completing them in many cases.
Were this before the peaks ut through the 1950s, then both governments would be more capable of these monster projects. But a lot of that muscle has turned to flab from avoiding doing any of these big projects.
So why do I want California to have this very fast, state of the art high speed train going from Los Angeles to San Francisco in California. It is for the same reason why we rebuit the World Trade Center, and that reason is pride. There was a time in our history when no country in the world could outdo us. We held the best cars, buildings, bridges, tunnels, airplanes, roadways, etc., but today we are getting are imaginary clocks cleaned by countries all around the world.
China is accomplishing very amazing construction projects including the High Speed Train. Take a look at what they have done in Shanghai, a city of 23 million people. Done physically look at it because the smog is intense.
The accomplishments found in Dubai are amazing. From their airport to the huge buildings, and the island they created from the water to house a skyscraper. I could go on and on but that would only depress us, I know it depresses me.
The US is filled with aging highways, bridges, and tunnels that need fixing or replacing. There is a shortage of dams, or other means of storing water for the over 338 million people in this country. The highways of every urban, and even small towns across the country are gridlocked during the work commute.
Our electrical grid should qualify as an heirloom, or the work of an ancient civilization. The list of the old, broken, and unfulfilled promises of things to be done in future go on and on.
China is doing a pretty good job in trying to become a super power to challenge the United States. We at the same time are slowing down, as they increase their efforts.
So what is the importance of a very costly, late to the party, and construction nightmare to the country? Even though it only showcases California, it represents that the United States has not given up on its stature as a super power.
It is the same reason why we had to rebuild the World Trade Center building, it is pride in our country even though it stands only in New York City.
Try and get past the absurdity of how the government procrastinates for decades on anything that might cause rough waters in their bureaucratic simpleton existence. Look forward to something that will boost the accomplishments of the United States. These economic issues will always pervade the government, but now there is an opportunity to sieze the moment. I agree with you, if you think that the government sponsorship of any big project, especially the California Bullet Train is a step towards failure. That is a problem that we need to solve at the voting polls.
I was looking at the New York World Fair of 1939 on the Internet, and I was amazed at how far that we missed its view on how the future would look even in the 1990s much less today in 2015. Of course not all their ideas were useful, but at least they had a vision. What is our vision for the United States today?
The United States has one high speed train, and I wouldn’t say it is high speed rail. It shares existing tracks with other trains. It is not strange that is services Washington DC. Apparently, where there is a congressmen there is a way around things.
But for the California High Speed Bullet Train, it has aged thirty years on the ballot and on the budget. The price for this Los Angeles to San Francisco high speed train is about seventy million dollars. Of course Californians know that is a low ball figure.
The countries outside the United States already have high speed rails for years. It should be no surprise that Asia and specifically China that has the most miles already built. Even Europe has their share of the high speed commuting trains.
The fastest of these high speed trains are the Harmony CRH 380A, and the Shaghai Maglev.
Starting its commercial run in 2004, it runs at about 156 miles per hour, but it can run at the top speed of 280 miles per hour.
HARMONY CRH 380A
This is another Shanghai train, and it went into service in 2010. It has an operational maximum speed of 303 miles per hour. It runs daily on its route.
OTHER HIGH SPEED TRAINS that are close to the first two.
CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN
While the bullet train will shoot along at 220 miles per hour, the scheldules completion will be in 2029. The cost of the project will be astronomical by that year. Even if that might be the year of completion.
The train has already waiting thirty years to get started, and now another fourteen or fifteen years to get finished is just too long to wait. I understand that it is 500 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco as the crow flies, but they haven’t even purchased the right away for the route.
To give you an idea how California projects go, there is an unfinished freeway in Southern California. Actually, it is a Toll Road, free is no longer available here in California. Anyway, this road would have connected to the I5 freeway which at that point is the only road to get to San Diego. The toll road stopped short of its connection by about eight miles. It has not progressed in the last twenty years. Apparently there is some sort of environmental problem. The reasons are not important for this hub, but the result is important.
I am sure that over the spam of five hundred miles the path of the California Bullet Train will have at least several environmental problems. Especially when you consider that fourteen years is a long time, and California keeps growing. California went from twenty million people to close to forty million people in less than three decades.
The lack of a real high speed rail train in the United States puts us behind the Asians and the Europeans, even Italy has one. I discounted the Acela as it is only `125 miles per hour.
A BETTER PLAN
I would not accept the 2029 deadline as reasonable. It is too long to wait, and too many things can drive up the costs. Back in the 1990s this cost estimate was 33 billion dollars.
Concurrent rather than sequential construction.
- If they are going to do it, then do it all across the route. This shouldn’t be a sequential process. Think of it like the Chunnel only without water between the starting point and the destination.
- Commit to the project, and buy all the land rights necessary, this will prevent delays further long into the system.
- I would say that breaking up the 500 miles into at least ten segments would make more sense than finishing a segment before going to the next segment.
The fifty mile segments starting at Los Angeles, and San Francisco would be useful as high speed commutes while the other segments are also being built. The Los Angeles starting point, and the San Francisco starting point would be the high density commuter areas, not Fresno.
- San Francisco to San Jose and Los Angeles to Palmdale have huge populations that could use commuter high speed rail.
- These ten segments could be prioritized based on commuter density, making sure that even if the entire route is not completed on time, that the high density segments would be completed. This would also be good segments to do the trial runs, and even better with real commuters.
Connection to All Major Airports
- There are five major airports in the Los Angeles Area and none of them have train service. While these airports don’t need a high speed rail, they should be indirectly connected with the High Speed Rail Station.
- The Disney Monorail system built in 1955 could be the design inspiration to use a monorail connecting all the major airports, and why not Disneyland?
Using the existing public right away, like the freeways.
- To get a high speed rail service up fast, why couldn’t we use the roadways like we already do with some of the light rail. Of course we would have to use only the straightest parts of the roadways, but that is just a design issue.
- About 20 years ago they built a new freeway, the 105. It went directly to LAX, well real close to it. But the light rail didn’t go even that close to LAX. Now they are going to connect it to LAX. My point on the 105 is that they clear the right way for that freeway, and they could do the same when the highway right awy for the high speed train doesn’t go straight enough.
- These problems would have been much less thirty years ago, and they will get worst every year from now.
This is the high technology century, and new construction techniques and process have already been used for new skyscrapers, and bridges. We can also learn from the builders of the existing high speed trains and other sources of new technology. We can enlist the universities, and high tech companies.
- What we can’t do is use the bureaucracy methods of accomplish public work programs.
- Tunneling has certainly improved around the world with the inventions of huge machines that literally eat the mountains creating tunnels.
The government and especially California have wasted hundreds of billions over the years with nothing to show for it. The California High Speed Train will be something that will show the world that we have not lost our place in the world.
People don’t use the railroads today as much as they could be using them. The problem is that they are old, and slow, and their rail rights have diminished ove the decades. They are unprofitable and they are expensive even though they are subsidized.
This was due to the popularity of the automobile starting in the 1950s. That was when President Eisenhower pushed for the National Highway System.
AGV Italo is the first train in the AGV Series which entered into service in April 2012. It has a maximum operational speed of 360kmph.
The train broke a record speed of 574.8kmph in April 2007.
Considered to be the most modern train in Europe, AGV Italo was built by Alstom. The train currently runs on the Napoli - Roma - Firenze - Bologna - Milano corridor.
The train complies with the European TSI interoperability standard, which includes safety, reliability and availability, health, environmental protection and technical compatibility.
Velaro E, designated as AVE S 103 in Spain, is the fastest series-production high-speed train in the world. It achieved a whopping speed of about 400kmph during its test trips in Spain.
The train possesses an operational speed of 350kmph.
The train was ordered by Spanish National Railways Renfe, and operates on the Barcelona-Madrid line. It was delivered in July 2005 and began operations in June 2007.
The design of the multiple-unit train was founded on the latest developments of the successful ICE 3 trainset designed for Deutsche Bahn.
Talgo 350, which initially entered service with the name RENFE AVE Class 10, achieved a maximum speed of 365kmph during its trial run. The train has a maximum operational speed of 350kmph.
T350 was developed by Patentes Talgo (Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol) and manufactured by Patentes Talgo in collaboration with Bombardier Transportation.
Commonly known as El Pato (meaning The Duck in Spanish), the train has been operating on the Madrid-Zaragoza-Lleida section of the Madrid-Barcelona line in Spain since 2005. There are currently more than 46 operating trains of the series in the country.
Related suppliers: Rolling Stock and Infrastructure Testing and Certification
E5 Series Shinkansen Hayabusa trains, which entered service in March 2011, with an initial maximum speed of 300km now run on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line with a maximum operating speed of 320kmph.
Currently the fastest in Japan, the train achieved a speed of about 400kmph during trials.
The train was manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industry (KHI) and Hitachi, while East Japan Railway Company (JR East) is the operator.
The train features full active suspension (FSA) system, which reduces the vibration of the moving bogies, and a 15m long nose which reduces the sound blast in tunnels.
Alstom-built Euroduplex is the third generation of TGV Duplex, which entered service in December 2011. The trains in the series are touted to be the only double-decker, interoperable high-speed trains capable of running on European networks at 320kmph.
The Euroduplex was initially introduced on the Rhine-Rhone LGV high-speed rail line. The train is capable of transporting 1,020 passengers (multiple units), compared to TGV Duplex which transports about 512 passengers.
Euroduplex trains are designed to operate on French, German, Swiss and Luxembourgish rail networks. They are equipped with traction systems adapted to different electric currents used across Europe.
Some of the trains in the series will also be capable of operating in Spain.
TGV Duplex was manufactured from 1996-2004. They are operated by SNCF and were manufactured by Alstom and Bombardier. The trains can reach maximum speeds of 300kmph to 320kmph.
TGV Duplex is Alstom's first third-generation double-decker/duplex train. It provides a seating space for 512 passengers in its upper and lower decks. The train is constructed of aluminum to reduce weight.
The trains in the TGV Duplex series mainly run on the TGV Méditerranée line between Paris and Marseille.
More than 450 TGV series trains are currently serving 230 destinations.
Elettro Treno Rapido 500 (ETR 500) Frecciarossa trains entered into service in 2008. The trains are designed for a maximum speed of 360kmph and currently run at 300kmph on high speed lines.
The Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) is a renovated version of the ETR 500. The renovated trains operate between Rome and Milan.
The cars are equipped with climate control and sound insulation, and feature ergonomic seats to provide maximum comfort.
The trains in the fleet are operated by Trenitalia and manufactured by TREno Veloce Italiano (TREVI), a consortium of Alstom, Bombardier and AnsaldoBreda.
The THSR 700T operates on the high-speed line between Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan. The train entered into service with Taiwan High Speed Rail in January 2007.
It operates at a speed of 300kmph reducing the journey time between the two cities from four hours to just 90 minutes.
It was constructed by Kawasaki, Hitachi and Nippon Sharyo. Based on Kawasaki's 700 series Shinkansen trains, the 700T was the first Taiwanese rolling stock to import Japanese high speed rail technology.
The total investment for manufacturing the initial 30 trains in the series reached about NT$100bn ($3.4bn).
How is the evolution of mobile internet improving travel for rail passengers and operations for the companies that serve them?
While other countries still debate high-speed rail, it is already reality in China. But have recent corruption allegations and growing concerns about the safety of the high-speed rail network cast a shadow that could prevent future progress of the projects?