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  1. #61
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    Trains definitely can go over 80 mph in the United States. On the Acela up to New England, the train hit 150 mph according to my cell phone speedo. This surprised me given the terrible reputation of US rail, but to be fair, the train at some points slowed to a pathetic speed as for some person people had homes right next to the tracks. My same phone registered 180mph Shinkansen nozomi between Kyoto and Tokyo, so I think it's fairly accurate. You raise the good point that the population density in the U.S. makes trains difficult, as a line between NYC to LA is going to pass through a huge area with very few people.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by NClens View Post
    Trains definitely can go over 80 mph in the United States. On the Acela up to New England, the train hit 150 mph according to my cell phone speedo. This surprised me given the terrible reputation of US rail, but to be fair, the train at some points slowed to a pathetic speed as for some person people had homes right next to the tracks. My same phone registered 180mph Shinkansen nozomi between Kyoto and Tokyo, so I think it's fairly accurate. You raise the good point that the population density in the U.S. makes trains difficult, as a line between NYC to LA is going to pass through a huge area with very few people.
    I had forgotten about the Acela as I live in California; I edited my post to clarify that generally 80mph is the limit. US regulations require positive train control and upgraded crossing signals/track quality above 80mph. Outside of Acela tracks the highest is currently 90mph rail for passenger trains (though I hear of 110mph track being installed in some places).

  3. #63
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    As a lifelong user and proponent of public transportation, what is routine in Europe demands an enormous amount of political and social will, in the U.S.

    Getting major metropolitan areas public transport agencies to modernize and expand their lines in the short, medium and long term is exhausting.

    The people in charge are very happy to pay high fees to consultants for glossy futuristic maps, but it is a big bother to get them to make sure all stops are accessible.

    I spent 2 decades getting them to implement scan cards, which can be replenished online, instead of paper tickets or swipe monthly/weekly passes which could get de-activated, accidentally torn, etc...


    The U.S, with its beautiful and diverse landscape and, its rail tradition, is the best country to build an hybrid network of high speed, leisure trains, inter-city trains, in Statewide, bi or tri states fast trains, all connected to suburbans and urban metros.

    The majority of people want that, vote to have their taxes allocated to public transport projects but, the majority of the people in charge of public transportation are not users, nor good advocates for public transport, they also make expensive blunder on the tax payer's dime.

    Two examples: one agency had great working scanning card system, way ahead of everyone, they suddenly discontinued it with a lame excuse.
    One public transport agency CEO, moved the HQ offices, one block away. I wondered where the money came from, we found out, when the majority of the security budget went missing. That agency doesn't publish a yearly audit, so we don't know where our money is going.

    Beyond incompetence, many politicians are openly hostile to rail. It feels like being in the Roger Rabbit film where the meanies cartoons are for real. If you saw my local politicians you would agree.
    Last edited by backpack; 06-14-2019 at 06:54 AM.

  4. #64
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    I agree. Flying is not something we can completely avoid at the moment especially when it is the most efficient means of getting from one continent to continent, but we should be mindful of its effects. If there are other options available, we may consider those. We can perhaps also make up for it in other ways, no matter how little, like leaving nothing but footprints in our destinations, proper disposal of waste, moderate consumption of meat etc...

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