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Would you travel by train if it were high-speed rail service?

Asked at La Prima Tazza, 638 Mass. on January 29, 2010

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Photo of Jenny Peck

“Absolutely, because I love public transportation.”

Photo of Avery Lominska

“Yes, I’d probably travel by train if it were slow.”

Photo of Bill Remmers

“I certainly would. I love trains.”

Photo of Anna Davies

“Yes, I definitely would because it would be fun and different.”

Comments

RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

I much prefer dog sled...

Mush!!

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Multi, you forgot the most important question:

Is there a bar car?

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RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says… "These things are terrible ideas that suck money out of the economy. They put these in all over Europe and no one uses them. It's just more graft."

OMG! Like round-a-bouts and the "T", Lawrence city commissioners will soon decide to pay for a "study", at a nominal cost of $600,000, to determine if one is needed in Lawrence.

8(

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George_Braziller 4 years, 8 months ago

If no one uses them then why are are they always packed? I was on one in Italy that was so full I sat on the floor in the hall with about 25 other people for ten hours. At least I got to sit, some people had to stand.

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says… These things are terrible ideas that suck money out of the economy. They put these in all over Europe and no one uses them. It's just more graft.

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brian1981 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says… “These things are terrible ideas that suck money out of the economy. They put these in all over Europe and no one uses them. It's just more graft.”

Where do people get this nonsense? Europe is a train continent . . . living there for a few months totally blew me away as to the power of rails . . . the trains are their primary form of transportation and are wildly more convenient and popular than going by car.

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John Hamm 4 years, 8 months ago

I'd travel by train even if it wasn't "high speed." It's a great way to travel.

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Boeing 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says…

These things are terrible ideas that suck money out of the economy. They put these in all over Europe and no one uses them. It's just more graft.


Uh...trust me, they're used. I lived in Europe for a year (dad was doing a temporary stint in Bonn), and traveled all over Europe on them. Still get back to Europe 4-5 times a year for work and play, and they're always packed. People are even willing to pay more to ride the faster trains, and even more to ride the faster faster trains (like the ICE-T in Germany, which tilts to keep up speed on turns)

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flux 4 years, 8 months ago

A train from Lawrence to the Cross Roads/ powerlight district would be awesome

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feetup 4 years, 8 months ago

absolutely! the only trains i've been on were comps when i worked for one of the rail roads. Bar cars, dining cars, observation cars. CLEAN. Even when I was in Chicago on the El it was clean and didn'thave to sit by any smelly or undesireables. Although a bit wobbly to walk around at times, but that might have been the bar car...

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JKBagby 4 years, 8 months ago

Since the growing popularity of the K-10 connector, not just JCCC students use it, it's a good way to get to OP and back if you have business there, I think a light rail system would be great from lawrence to JoCo and on to the plaza. I have noticed standing room only on the connector. I Talked with a woman from Topeka who drives to Lawrence then hops on the Connector to go to Johnson County. If a High speed local train ran I imagine Lawrence would be the major hub which would bring in more business.

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grammaddy 4 years, 8 months ago

Absolutely! Maybe Obama could get everyone laid off from the big car companies back to work building them!

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Blessed4x 4 years, 8 months ago

It depends. I would use a train service if it dropped me off at a somewhat reasonable location to my destination or if other forms of public transportation were available on a set routine that connected to the train stop.

But to travel in by train, only to get dropped off 12 blocks from work and the bus isn't scheduled for another hour is unacceptable. In that case, I would simply continue to drive.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

Didn't Gene Wilder & Richard Pryor already make this movie?

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true_patriot 4 years, 8 months ago

We are far behind other nations on this. We need to really cover some ground fast, pardon the pun, to catch up. Developed nations all over the world enjoy fast, effective, affordable public transport.

Brain1981, don't fall for the nonsense - the trolls in here don't actually believe most of what they make up about trains sitting empty in other countries. Their singular goal is to disrupt constructive discussion about important issues while competing to see who can mimic their favorite FoxNews celebrity dimwit pundit. This in turn reinforces the ignorance, creating a negative feed-back loop.

Just look at the phenomenon as entertainment and then it ranges from tolerable to fascinating in an anthropological sense.

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ferrislives 4 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence to KCI would be GREAT! Then I wouldn't have to pay for long-term parking.

Regarding European rail, I was just there, and I have no idea what you're talking about Liberty_One. Instead of reading articles, maybe you should visit the area and see it for yourself. It was ALWAYS busy. In fact, rail was as accepted as cars over there. They were always packed. I never saw an empty rail car the entire time that I was there.

High-speed rail does take a huge investment, and as long as it was organized properly (especially to/from airports), it would eventually be paid back in due time. I'm also not sure if Randal O'Toole is taking population growth into consideration when he says that it's had no impact on highway traffic, because there's plenty of that in Europe.

Real world vs. articles are two different things, so you should find out for yourself when and if you have the chance.

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jonas_opines 4 years, 8 months ago

There might be a bit of a difference between high-speed rail over the regular trains in Europe, over what that article is covering. A cherry-picking of a few specific rail sections designed to make it seem like an all-encompassing problem.

Regardless, I share your experience, all of the European trains I went on were very full, same as the ones in China.

But then, it's always been obvious that Liberty One only reads, and thinks, up to the point that confirms his own pre-existing hypothesis.

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ferrislives 4 years, 8 months ago

jonas_opines, you made very good points. Regarding regular rail, I saw regular and high-speed rail over there, and they both were always busy and full. Se we'll see what happens here in America. Some people will never be for progress.

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puddleglum 4 years, 8 months ago

i'd love to try it.... I voted for Obama... still haven't received my handout...sup wif dat?

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ferrislives 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One is a couch-potato wanna-be intellectual who believes everything he reads, as long as it's close to what he already believes.

If he goes over there and sees a bunch of "empty trains" as he puts it, then maybe he'd be believable.

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hipper_than_hip 4 years, 8 months ago

"These things are terrible ideas that suck money out of the economy. They put these in all over Europe and no one uses them. It's just more graft."

Whatever. We used them several times in Europe, and they were always full. In fact, you had to make a reservation, as there were no seats available.

I'd love to see a high speed rail line between KC and Denver.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 4 years, 8 months ago

There are alot of unanswerd questions to say the least. For a cross country trip that is more than an hour maybe I would, for an hour cummute probably not. When my dad was in Germany a couple years ago he said they where great only if you wanted to get out of town or go across borders but not many people used it for daily work travel.

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ferrislives 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One, find a time machine, and go back already.

And RETICENT_IRREVERENT, find Liberty_One, and do the same. Maybe you'll find your beloved choo choo train.

hipper_than_hip, yes KC to Denver would be very nice, as well as St. Louis and Chicago.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty I am not sure it will barely be used fast rail does have a use. ut like I said alot of questions to be answerd. None of the news I have heard as a follow up tp wed. speech has any real answers because the Obama adm. has not put detail out for peoplr to think about. I could go on but then I would be here all day and not bother any other article with my trivial thoughts:)

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Christine Pennewell Davis 4 years, 8 months ago

sorry about spelling did not check before I posted trying to type one handed and text at same time. I know bad me.

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riverdrifter 4 years, 8 months ago

Absolutely. How cool a Chicago/St Louis/KC/Denver bullet train would be.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

"...Maybe Obama could get everyone laid off from the big car companies back to work building them!" You may be overestimating the attraction of becoming a gandy dancer.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 4 years, 8 months ago

Do you really think the gov. is going to let someone else build something they can make money on? We are talking about the government here liberty. question one where would you build start point end destination. 2 how many? 3 is it to be used for cross country travel or daily work travel? I have many more.

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boltzmann 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says… "Good lord, are people really this dense?"

I agree that anecdotal evidence is rarely useful on its own, but neither are your data really. You cited statistics from an article from a libertarian propaganda magazine that is not available on-line except by subscription, which makes it extremely difficult to check the raw sources and methodology used to create the data that were used in the statistical analysis. Statistics are easily abused and I would believe statistics from Liberty magazine about as much as I would believe statistics from The Socialist without the ability to check the sources and understand exactly how they were arrived at. As such, there is really no difference between your arguments and theirs.

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ferrislives 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One, you started this whole thing when you stated the following: "These things are terrible ideas that suck money out of the economy. They put these in all over Europe and no one uses them. It's just more graft."

Once you stated for a fact that "no one uses them", you opened yourself up to criticism from people who have visited and lived there. Have you been throughout Europe? If so, what was your experience on the rail systems? If not, then please visit when and if you can so that you can come up to your own conclusions.

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Boston_Corbett 4 years, 8 months ago

"going all *** on us?"


Who does that sound like?

I'm sure Liberty believes he also has a god-given right to CCH and breeding animals across species lines.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

true_patriot (Anonymous) says…

"We are far behind other nations on this."

Well, actually, we're not. As Liberty_One pointed out above, the travel market share going to trains is declining in Europe. Private car ownership, long discouraged by Europeans, is increasing - and gas costs one heck of a lot more over there.

So actually, tp, we are really ahead of those other countries in moving away from trains.


ferrislives (Anonymous) says…

"Liberty_One, find a time machine, and go back already."

Coming from someone who wants to take us back to a mode of travel we abandoned decades ago? That's a little ironic.


The question is a little vague. Important considerations in answering it include:

1) From where to where?

2) How fast is "high-speed"?

3) How much will it cost?

For local or regional travel, there are not too many places in this country where train travel makes sense. In the Northeast Corridor, it does, due to such factors as population density and an already overcrowded highway and air travel system. But then again, the same thing that makes it feasible - population density - also makes "high-speed" travel a moot point. The Acela Express that travels from Boston to DC is high-speed capable but isn't really "high-speed"; there are only a few stretches where it can get up to speed due to the urban nature of its route, and consequently it only saves you about a half-hour over normal trains from Boston to NY (and is way slower than air travel).

Now, across the country, maybe. IF the speed ever gets to the point of competing with air travel. If you could get from NY to LA in six hours, sure, why not? Of course, it would have to be considerably faster than an airplane - and now we're approaching supersonic - to make up for all the stops along the way.

And it all depends, of course, on what that would cost. We already subsidize the cost of more than half of every passenger ticket on Amtrak, and a high-speed train would require billions upon billions in new infrastructure. Ask the question again, with the true cost of a ticket included say, 'Would you travel by high-speed train from NY to LA if the cost of the ticket was higher than first class on the Concorde?' See how many people would (or could) still say yes.

I like trains, and use them all the time when I'm in the NEC. But out here? Probably not.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

ferrislives (Anonymous) says…

"Have you been throughout Europe? If so, what was your experience on the rail systems? "

The train trip I took from Paris to Nice was, without question, one of the most miserable experiences in my life.

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persevering_gal 4 years, 8 months ago

ferrislives:

I love the idea of Lawrence to KCI!!!

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Christine Pennewell Davis 4 years, 8 months ago

ok to heck with rail travel why the heck is there snow on my van? tired of this cold white stuff.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

oneeye_wilbur (Anonymous) says…

"Why doesn't the J/W do a real story about transportation leaving Lawrence aka,,how does one get out of town to anywhere. And retirees are going to move here?"

Well, that's the idea - the retirees will come to visit, but not know how to leave!

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

spacehog (Anonymous) says…

"I love the Lawrence Transit System. Since I have to wait an hour and a half for my bus, I have time to polish off a half gallon of Wild Turkey, smoke a few bowls, and blow thru a pack of cigarettes."

I think that's their plan.

When you pass out and ride around all day on the bus, it makes them look more full.

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gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

European rail is being privatized, which will be to the detriment of the outlying areas. Corporate interests will do to rail travel there what they did to it here: destroy "unprofitable" service, compelling the people to take on private car ownership.

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gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh, and I've traveled in Germany, France, Denmark, and Sweden by rail. I'd much rather do that than drive. It's safer, and I arrive at my destination well rested. It does pay to have a reserved seat, though.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

"European rail is being privatized, which will be to the detriment of the outlying areas. Corporate interests will do to rail travel there what they did to it here: destroy “unprofitable” service, compelling the people to take on private car ownership."

If the trains are so packed and everyone travels that way in Europe, why would there be any unprofitable routes?

And why is it that the train folks never seem capable of accepting the fact that people choose private vehicle ownership over public transportation?

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madameX 4 years, 8 months ago

I like how this thread deteriorated into an argument over socialism and why the government should or shouldn't be paying for trains. People, the question was simply "would you ride them if they were there?" not "Please explain your philosophy regarding government subsidies of mass trainsit."

My answer is yes, I totally would, especially if there was a train to Denver, because it's not quite far enough to fly but the drive sucks. Actually, I've wondered why some clever entrepeneur hasn't picked up on the idea of a train to Denver, especially given how much of a hassle flying has become and that they now have trains running from Denver to several of the ski towns.

Also, I haven't spent much time in Europe, but I have been to England about seven times and people definately make use of the rail system there. Anecdotal, yes, but I'm a bit sketical of stats that say trains are unused when I've seen so many full trains with my own eyes.

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salad 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says…

"These things are terrible ideas that suck money out of the economy. They put these in all over Europe and no one uses them. It's just more graft."

Lies......

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ferrislives 4 years, 8 months ago

notajayhawk: “Liberty_One, find a time machine, and go back already.”

Coming from someone who wants to take us back to a mode of travel we abandoned decades ago? That's a little ironic.

Oh yes notajayhawk, I remember those old stock photos of bullet trains everywhere. Didn't the ladies have to wear dresses covering almost their entire bodies in those bullet trains? Wow, those were the days...NOT!

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says… "They put these in all over Europe and no one uses them." at 1:47pm, and "Allright, you've convinced me you're hopeless. No amount of anecdotal experience is going to be helpful." at 10:19am.

According to Wikipedia, the expression "anecdotal evidence" has two distinct meanings:

(1) Evidence in the form of an anecdote or hearsay is called anecdotal if there is doubt about its veracity; the evidence itself is considered untrustworthy. Answer: I was there, so it's not hearsay.

(2) Evidence, which may itself be true and verifiable, used to deduce a conclusion which does not follow from it, usually by generalizing from an insufficient amount of evidence. Again, I was there, so it's not unverifiable. In fact, several others who have posted claim the same recent experience regarding your assertion that "no one uses" the rail system, and none of those are hearsay either. I understand that we should look at other sources of information, including the article that you noted, but absolutely all of those original responses (including mine) were in response to your claim that "no one uses" them.

You really should try visiting Europe, or anywhere else with rail systems for that matter, before making such broad assertions. I'd never claim to know how wonderful the rail system is worldwide, as I haven't been to every country in Europe. But from my personal experience in Europe, it's very popular with locals and tourists alike.

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Boston_Corbett 4 years, 8 months ago

"But it's a well-known fact that rail travel has been declining in Europe over the last several decades


That is a highly misleading statement. I suspect that this could be true only when measured on a total proportional basis.

It is greater personal wealth, disposable income, and leisure time, as well as political climate, which have allowed for significantly greater per capita travel by Europeans in general. I suspect that total rail passenger miles has not declined at all but has grown significantly. Auto has just grown more quickly. It has nothing to do with efficiency, it is due to the ability to afford the convenience inherit with point-to-point transportation.

If you don't think high speed train travel matters so much to Europeans, try stopping the Eurostar for just a day and see how quickly the politicians start calling for your immediate execution.

The EU is still increasing both its investments in, and competition among, its rail companies, especially for the high speed networks.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

ferrislives (Anonymous) says…

"Oh yes notajayhawk, I remember those old stock photos of bullet trains everywhere. Didn't the ladies have to wear dresses covering almost their entire bodies in those bullet trains? Wow, those were the days…NOT!"

It's still a train, ferris. Horses run faster than they did a century ago, too. But going back to riding horses for daily transportation isn't moving towards the future. Horse drawn wagons have rubber tires and pneumatic brakes now - are you giving up your pickup truck to get one? Ocean liners of today are a lot different than the Queen Mary or the Lusitania, ferris. But it's still not considered the most modern way to cross the ocean.

Train travel fell out of favor because people embraced the flexibility and personal freedom of the automobile, and because much faster air travel became affordable.

Does your bullet train offer the convenience of the personal automobile, ferris?

Does it offer the speed of air travel, or even go everywhere planes do? (Not to mention can it do it as cheaply?)

Then returning to train travel, even with newer, faster trains, would still be a step backwards, wouldn't it?

And, um, BTW, ferris - the cars we have today aren't exactly model T's, neither are modern passenger jets the same as propeller-driven Convairs.

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madameX 4 years, 8 months ago

Who cares if train travel is a "step backwards?" If people choose it because they find it better than driving or flying, why does it matter? I doubt a bullet train from New York to L.A. will ever take the place of an airplane, but I could see how fast, efficient train service from KC to St. Louis or Omaha or Denver could be an improvement over flying, given the time (and hassle) you need to allow for check in and security. It could probably compete price-wise considering that plane fare is usually a couple hundred dollars and also that most airlines charge to check bags. And no, they are not as flexible as cars but that's something you sacrifice with air travel also and it doesn't seem to prevent people from flying.

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Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

High speed rail travel is most certainly not a step backwards.

That is as asinine as calling the electric car a step backwards.

That is as asinine as calling long-range space exploration a step backwards.

Only a fool would look at the transportation system in a nation like Japan and see a step backwards. Perhaps that fool believes all of Japan is living in a bygone era with their ridiculously out of date electronics and lack of technological discoveries.

By golly, Japan, why don't you join the rest of the world in the 21st Century?

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

If they'd let me ring the bell, maybe.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

Let's take a glance at population density. I'd think that would be an important factor in determining if a rail system would be viable.

Japan about 875 people per sq mile. Germany about 600 per sq mile. America about 83 per sq mile. Kansas about 34 per sq mile

Anybody still wondering why we don't have trains like Japan or Germany?

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bad_dog 4 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully you were a passenger and not the driver of the car, RI.

Unless, of course you were able to do as Greyhound's tagline used to say: "Ride Greyhound and leave the driving to us".

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gphawk89 4 years, 8 months ago

I'd travel light rail instead of air IF it was to my advantage, which would take a lot of things into account: Travel time, cost of the ticket, ease of parking at the point of departure, cost of parking at the point of departure, ease of renting a car at the destination, cost of checked luggage, security hassles. For a short hop like KC to StL, sure. For a longer trip like KC to Orlando, travel time would be the killer so I'd fly.

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gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

"If the trains are so packed and everyone travels that way in Europe, why would there be any unprofitable routes?"

That's why I put unprofitable in quotes. Call it insufficient profit to make the investors happy. I could see them deciding to stop maintaining the tracks and rolling stock out in the little villages, then the villagers tiring of having to live with frequent delays and breakdowns and no longer relying on the train, and then the train management pointing to the lack of use as justification for stopping service entirely.

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Boston_Corbett 4 years, 8 months ago

"Anybody still wondering why we don't have trains like Japan or Germany?"

Gotta be Obama.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"Only a fool would look at the transportation system in a nation like Japan and see a step backwards. Perhaps that fool believes all of Japan is living in a bygone era with their ridiculously out of date electronics and lack of technological discoveries."

Only a fool would look at Kansas and think they were in Japan.

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Melissa Sigler 4 years, 8 months ago

Def!

Especially if it ran between cities/states. A high speed rail to Colorado...I'd be poor from going just about every weekend, and it would eliminate that extremely boring drive. :D

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riverdrifter 4 years, 8 months ago

"If they'd let me ring the bell, maybe." Reminded me of this, Snap, from the railroading days:

The Train Author Unknown

It's not my job to run the train, The whistle I don't blow. It's not my job to say how far The train's supposed to go. I'm not allowed to pull the brake, Or even ring the bell. But let the damn thing jump the track And see who catches hell!

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ferrislives 4 years, 8 months ago

notajayhawk, here's a simple retort to your long post: bullet trains don't hit daily highway traffic.

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ferrislives 4 years, 8 months ago

Agnostick, I enjoyed your list of anecdotes!

gphawk89 (Anonymous) says…"I'd travel light rail instead of air IF it was to my advantage, which would take a lot of things into account: Travel time, cost of the ticket, ease of parking at the point of departure, cost of parking at the point of departure, ease of renting a car at the destination, cost of checked luggage, security hassles. For a short hop like KC to StL, sure. For a longer trip like KC to Orlando, travel time would be the killer so I'd fly."

These are all very good points, because there would be times to ride the rail system, and other times where it's just not feasible.

I know that the rail system in and around San Francisco/Oakland (BART) works great, and A LOT of people use them to get to and from work, as well as tourist destinations. There is one area that didn't want to be on the BART line when it was created for the reasons stated above by Liberty_One and others, and now that area is begging for the BART system to build an extension to them. They learned the hard way.

As I stated, I think the greatest benefit would be around airports, like service from Lawrence, Topeka, and all of Kansas City to KCI. San Francisco works that way, and you don't have to pay to park your car in their parking lots while your gone. I'd love that.

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gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

As long as the rails run to Orlando without having to make a side trip to DC or something, it'd still work--as long as our version of "high speed" is up around 200, instead of the 89 claimed by Amtrak. 12 hours for $200 works. 72 hours for $450 doesn't.

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Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says…

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

“Only a fool would look at the transportation system in a nation like Japan and see a step backwards. Perhaps that fool believes all of Japan is living in a bygone era with their ridiculously out of date electronics and lack of technological discoveries.”

Only a fool would look at Kansas and think they were in Japan.

Which is just one more example of your ridiculously low opinion of Kansas.

Population density, there's a relevant statistic if you're arguing against rail service in Montana or perhaps on the Goodland to Colby circuit.

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Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

LJWorld must have found the 4 people I see riding the TBussses to answer their "man on the street" interview. .

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brian1981 4 years, 8 months ago

Liberty_One, keep in mind that "high-speed rail" in Europe consists of the 200-mph German ICE and French TGV lines; no doubt what you are referring to in your alleged quotes. They are the high-end premium service.

The 110-mph lines that are called "high-speed rail" in the United States are more or less the non-high speed standard in Europe and is much more analogous to the topic at hand, seeing how there is no federal plan brewing to build 200-mph rail right of ways yet in the United States (there is in California, but this is before the present Obama administration was even elected and was approved before and independently of any federal plan or federal stimulus . . . it won't even be connected to the federal routes in the rest of the country).

These ~110-mph rail lines, which make up the vast majority in Europe, are extremely popular and always packed.

By your comments, or for that matter lack of comments pertaining, I would venture that you have never been to Europe and toured the continent by rail.

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brian1981 4 years, 8 months ago

This article does a good job of briefly summing up the advantages of high-speed rail for those relatively new to the topic. There are obviously more advanced articles out there for those who want to look:

http://www.scientificblogging.com/a_future_look_at_today/high_speed_trains

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Agnostick (Anonymous) says…

"* They need to depart and arrive behind schedule, on a semi-regular basis."

Um, yeah - except they already have a worse on-time record than airlines, Aggie.

"* Every so often, a train needs to load up its passengers, and then sit at the station, motionless, for a couple of hours… without letting the passengers off for any reason."

The last time I road a train long distance in this country, that is exactly what happened - sitting outside Baltimore for three hours, with the air conditioning turned off (in August), and nowhere near enough to the station to disembark.

"* Train seats need to be cramped, with very little legroom. All train seats should be designed with “Cocaine Kate” Moss in mind."

Hmm. Never had a problem with airplane seats, so I can't relate to your gripe on that one.

[continued]

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

[continued]

"* If trains are going to compete with planes: No bar car."

Planes don't need one, since the attendants bring the drinks to you. Not that it's too much of a problem anyway, being on the plane for only a few hours compared to a couple of days on the train.

"Passengers in the front car (who've paid an extra $1,500 per seat) may have unlimited drinks, and a hot meal. Everyone else gets a small bag of pretzels and a warm 12 oz. bottle of water."

Oh my goodness, you mean you actually have to [gasp] PAY for the drinks on the plane?

They're free in the bar car, then?

"* Trains need to offer cramped overhead compartments for baggage, that fill up quickly. Passengers “checking” bags for the luggage car should be charged $50/bag."

Personally, I like having my bag where I can see it. And don't have to wait to pick it up. But that's just me, I'm sure.

"* Trains then need to randomly lose a few checked bags on a semi-regular basis."

Because that has NEVER happened on a train, right?

"* Assuming that there will be far fewer trains on the rails, than jets in the sky… there should be no more than two “rail traffic towers” coordinating all rail traffic in the United States. Rail traffic controllers should work long hours, using outdated equipment, and be paid meager wages."

According to Answers.com:

"Air traffic controllers earn relatively high pay and have good benefits. Median annual earnings of air traffic controllers in May 2004 were $102,030. The middle 50 percent earned between $78,170 and $126,260. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,720, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $139,210."

"Depending on length of service, air traffic controllers receive 13 to 26 days of paid vacation and 13 days of paid sick leave each year, in addition to life insurance and health benefits."

Why, those poor meagerly-paid slobs.

Was any of the other stuff in there accurate?

"* Rather than having a single, fixed, easy-to-understand pricing formula for rail tickets, prices should vary wildly, minute-by-minute, depending on which web site, travel agent, or station ticketing agent you happen to conduct business with at any given moment."

You haven't bought a train ticket in a while, have you?

"* High-speed rail stations should be constructed with outlandish amounts of money, using confusing floor plans and difficult-to-navigate hallways. Great care should be taken to ensure that each passenger, upon arrival at the station, encounters as many obstacles as possible in getting from the entrance, to their boarding platform."

And you've never been to Grand Central in NYC either, have you? Um, Aggie? It's a little bigger than Lawrence's station.

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bliddel 4 years, 8 months ago

As the question is phrased, yes, I would travel by high speed rail. Since I’ve voluntarily ridden Amtrak slow-speed rail, I’d be somewhat hypocritical not to. But I’d much rather fly my own airplane, thank you.

I also think High Speed Rail is not a cost-effective solution to our many transportation problems. The cost to build and maintain rail tracks to such tolerances as are required for high speeds is way more than the cost of decent highways and airports. High Speed rail requires much greater separation between trains, further reducing track capacity.

You think aviation disasters are bad, and they are, but wait until you’ve seen a high-speed rail disaster!

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"Only a fool would look at Kansas and think they were in Japan. ––––––––- Which is just one more example of your ridiculously low opinion of Kansas."

Really, Bobby?

Which one of us wants to be somewhere else? You're the one that seems to think we should do things like they do in Japan, or Europe, or anywhere but here. If you have such a high opinion of Kansas, Bobby, why do you think we need to be more like Japan?

And my comment had nothing to do with a low opinion of this state, Bobby. I was pointing out that Kansas is not Japan. Just because something works in one place does not mean it would work - or should even be tried - elsewhere. Suppose, for instance, they started arming lifeguards in Florida with high powered spear guns - would you think we need armed lifeguards at Clinton Lake to keep away the sharks there?

And BTW, most of us wouldn't even BE here but for the fact that we're descended from people who didn't like the way they did things in Europe.

"Population density, there's a relevant statistic if you're arguing against rail service in Montana or perhaps on the Goodland to Colby circuit."

Thanks, Bobby, I thought it was pretty relevant, too - especially when you consider that the Lawrence area's population density is likely closer to Montana's than the area around NYC, Boston, or DC.

By the way, Bobby - how dense is the area west of here that these trains would presumably be passing through?

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Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes, nothing would be worse than for the Kansas economy and infrastructure to look like that in Japan.

That would be horrible.

It's OK, we get it. You hate Kansas.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"It's OK, we get it. You hate Kansas."

Apparently you (and I mean you, not the we you choose to speak for) don't get very much, Bobby. Strange that you'd take the name of a renowned educator when your reading comprehension - and the quality of your 'argument' - is that of a second grader. A very slow second grader.

I've lived in a lot of small towns in various places around this country, Bobby, and seen plenty of people like you - the ones who supposedly live there because they just love the place, and the first thing they do is demand everything be changed to be more like somewhere else. My own screen persona has to do with the fact I wasn't born here - I moved here because I liked Kansas the way it was. If YOU want it to be more like somewhere else, why don't you just move to wherever that is and leave the rest of us the way we want to be? ANd yes, I am using the plural - those of us who live in Kansas because we want it to be Kansas, not Japan.

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ralphralph 4 years, 8 months ago

The results are in: high speed rail is favored by retired vegetable-farming volunteer architecture students!

Note: this may not be a representative sampling ...

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Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says…

I moved here because I liked Kansas the way it was.

Those who love Kansas love it for its future, but you keep clinging to the past.

Kansas hater.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

" Ben Dewberry was a brave engineer He told his fireman don't you ever fear All I want is the water and coal Put your head out the window, watch the drivers roll Watch the drivers roll - watch the drivers roll Put your head out the window; watch the drivers roll.

Ben Dewberry said before he died Two more roads that he wanted to ride His fireman asked him what could they be Said the old Northeastern and the A and B The A and B - he said the A and B It's the old Northeastern and the A and B.

On the fatal morning it began to rain Around the curve come a passenger train Ben Dewberry was the engineer With the throttle wide open and without any fear He didn't have no fear - he didn't have no fear He had her runnin' wide open without any fear.

Ben looked at his watch - shook his head We may make Atlanta but we'll all be dead The train was flyin' by the troublin' switch Without any warning then she took the ditch Yea! she went in the ditch - well, she took the ditch Without any warning - then she took the ditch.

The big locomotive leaped from the rail Ben never lived to tell that awful tale His life was ended and his work was done When Ben Dewberry made his final run He made his final run - he made his final run When Ben Dewberry made his final run."

(major hit for Jimmie Rodgers back in the day)

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brian1981 4 years, 8 months ago

Studies have shown that high-speed rail is faster and more efficient than air travel at distances of less than 500 miles, but airlines win out at distances over 500 miles.

Denver is about 600 miles from Kansas City, which is why no federal plan I've ever seen proposes a Kansas City-to-Denver route.

All the proposed Kansas City routes go St. Louis-Kansas City-Tulsa, which is faster and more efficient than both airlines and automobiles.

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Jock Navels 4 years, 8 months ago

i ride the trains we have now. i love riding the train. it's cheaper than air, relaxed, and gets me where i want to go with no tsa interference. no airports, no airplanes chase has an amtrak miles credit card...get one... take your own food. enjoy

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"Those who love Kansas ..."

Which apparently does not include you, since you're the one with your BVDs in a twist to make it into someplace else ...

"... love it for its future, but you keep clinging to the past."

Coming from the guy who wants us to return to a mode of transportation the rest of us abandoned half a century or more ago, that's pretty funny, Bobby. There are 250,000,000 registered passenger vehicles in this country, Bobby. That's pretty much one for every person of legal driving age in the country. What YOU want is for Kansans to conform - to be good little sheep and go where we're told when we're told we can go.

Passenger rail died a long time ago, Bobby. Just over 1% of long distance passenger trips are made by rail. There's no conspiracy theory here, there's no refusing to move 'forward,' it's simply that no matter how much you spiffy-up the trains, they're still trains, and people don't want to ride them.

We ARE moving towards the future, Bobby. Modern cars are barely similar to those of the 50's and 60's. We have more roads now (some of them are even paved, Bobby!), that go everywhere we want to go, on any schedule we choose. Why do you want everyone to return to the past, Bobby? Feeling left behind? There's room in the future even for you, Bobby, if you could only learn to let go.

"Kansas hater."

Do you really think you're winning any debating points or something here, little one? You sound like a whining, petulant 5-year-old: 'If you don't do what I want, then ... then ... then you hate Kansas!' I can just about see the quivering little lower lip sticking out reading your posts.

And again I'll point out that YOU are the one so ashamed of where you live. If you're so hot to live in Japan, Bobby, hey, I just got my tax refund, I'll be happy to kick in a few bucks for your ticket - on an ocean liner, of course, since you eschew modern forms of transportation.

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Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says…

Coming from the guy who wants us to return to a mode of transportation the rest of us abandoned half a century or more ago,

As soon as somebody proposes rail travel that resembles that of 50 years ago, or even the way rail travel currently exists, then this argument will have merit.

Until then, you're living in the stone ages and trying to drag the rest of us down with you. Your disdain for this great state is painful to view.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"As soon as somebody proposes rail travel that resembles that of 50 years ago, or even the way rail travel currently exists, then this argument will have merit."

You mean like what passes for your pathetic 'argument' (using the term very loosely), that depends on trains becoming more modern but somehow car and air travel have not? That a mode of transportation that fell behind the times has somehow managed to catch up and surpass its competition?

Of course train travel is nothing like it was 50 years ago, Bobby.

People actually rode on the things back then.

"Your disdain for this great state is painful to view."

Aaaaaaaw, poow widdle Bobby, I can see that bottom lip starting to quiver again.

I love this state, Bobby. It's the 1% of you that want to force others to pay for you to ride your choo-choos, and expect the rest of us to dive right in and live like sheep because YOU choose to that I have great disdain for.

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ferrislives 4 years, 8 months ago

notakansasfan says "Passenger rail died a long time ago, Bobby. Just over 1% of long distance passenger trips are made by rail. There's no conspiracy theory here, there's no refusing to move 'forward,' it's simply that no matter how much you spiffy-up the trains, they're still trains, and people don't want to ride them.

It's nice to know that you know what's exactly going to happen in the future, and you know what everyone on America wants. Wow, that saves us a lot of time and energy.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

ferrislives (Anonymous) says…

"It's nice to know that you know what's exactly going to happen in the future, and you know what everyone on America wants. Wow, that saves us a lot of time and energy."

And you're claiming you do, Mr. Buehler?

Before spending billions and billions of dollars on a project, don't you think the burden is on those who want to spend, rather than on those who say 'show me first'?

I don't know what everybody in America wants, ferris. But the 250,000,000 passenger cars on the roads give most of a clue as to what they want. Well, except for those 1% that are riding the trains, who apparently have no clue about a lot of things.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh, and THIS is interesting:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100201/ap_on_bi_ge/us_high_speed_rail

"Money woes could threaten high-speed rail's future"

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gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

"We ARE moving towards the future, Bobby. Modern cars are barely similar to those of the 50's and 60's. We have more roads now (some of them are even paved, Bobby!), that go everywhere we want to go, on any schedule we choose."

That convenience comes at a cost we can no longer afford. Fuel is too scarce and expensive to continue to waste on individual transportation.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

"That convenience comes at a cost we can no longer afford. Fuel is too scarce and expensive to continue to waste on individual transportation."

Actually, gcc, if you follow the link I provided, it appears it's your new trains we can't afford.

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gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

You think trains cost more than roads and cars?

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Ptbnl 3 years, 11 months ago

Comparing trains to cars isn't remotely logical. Train traffic competes with air traffic not road traffic. Road traffic is fairly consistent. HSR and Air Traffic stats will fluctuate primarily on the pricing of the airlines. How that will impact the U.S. is anyones guess...as a Marketeer once remarked to me, "We can market anything...but can we sell it?" And that's the 64,000 dollar question. It'll depend on where HSR is located and what traffic it hopes to draw from airlines or even if it can complete with airline prices before profitability can be determined.

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RoeDapple 3 years, 11 months ago

Will there be a TSA agent to give me a quick "touch & go"?

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