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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-25-2006, 10:09 AM   #21
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

Yes, the consumer has spoken, but the corporations and government made him say it against his will.

I'd also pull the plug on Amtrak.
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-25-2006, 01:44 PM   #22
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Yes, the consumer has spoken, but the corporations and government made him say it against his will.

I'd also pull the plug on Amtrak.
Agree on AMtrak............I heard Congress appropriates $600 million a year to keep it going.............and it's losing a BILLION a year..............

Not good math................
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-26-2006, 08:53 AM   #23
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

I hope Amtrak can keep going until my FIRE; I want to take an extended train-cation across the USA.
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-26-2006, 09:15 AM   #24
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR
I hope Amtrak can keep going until my FIRE; I want to take an extended train-cation across the USA.
I used to love AMTRAK (non-flyer). But, I always went in a first class sleeper. At one time they would give you wine and a fruit basket
when you boarded. Anyway, last I checked I really couldn't afford the
first class fares. A good friend took a cross country trip recently and described it as "a nightmare". Doubt I will be using AMTRAK again
but my memorie3s are mostly fond ones.

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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-26-2006, 01:18 PM   #25
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR
I hope Amtrak can keep going until my FIRE; I want to take an extended train-cation across the USA.
I took a trip last winter from St. Paul, to Portland, to LA and back again. Really really enjoyed it, even though some routes ran late. http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...96206#msg96206

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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-27-2006, 05:43 PM   #26
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

From DC to Boston coach tickets are the same price as a "sale" plane ticket. Usally the plane beats the train ...
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-27-2006, 05:57 PM   #27
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Agree on AMtrak............I heard Congress appropriates $600 million a year to keep it going.............and it's losing a BILLION a year..............

Not good math................
I heard a discussion of this topic on NPR a couple of nights ago. The AMTRAK supporters say that cars and trucks are subsidized with much more massive road building. They suggest that airports and air travel are a major somewhat subsidized transportation mode. So their argument is that $600 Million a year for passenger rail is worth it.

I'm not sure I beleive it myself, but thought that I'd throw it out there for a more rounded discussion.
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-29-2006, 06:22 AM   #28
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

MasterBlaster.. you are absolutely right to bring up the "forgotten" subsidies to drivers and air passengers. Why should Amtrak be alone in having to pull itself up by its bootstraps when the most recent highway bill was in the neighborhood of $300 billion? And that's only part of what you see.. I'm sure there are more costs such as providing additional parking everywhere, etc.

I remember planning several years back to travel Boston<=>NYC on the train. Turned out that for more than one person it made more personal economic sense to drive over a basic coach ticket.. even with tolls and Manhattan garage parking, believe it or not.

I'm afraid public rail transporation may be too far gone.. but I really hope not. Even if only rail travel along major corridors could be improved.. think of how that could reduce delays by having fewer commuter flights taking up gates and runway slots. Sometimes flights are cheaper, but for proximate cities they hardly save any time if you are trying to get downtown to downtown.
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-29-2006, 07:24 AM   #29
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

My grandfather retired form Amtrak, so my grandmother recived discounted fares after he died. Thh last time I remember her taking the train she went from Albany NY to I think bay City MI. It took her over 24 hours by train. The bus took 24 hours exactly to go 100 miles farther. If I remember correctly she didn't ride the train after that, even though it was the most inexpensive mode for her.
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-29-2006, 09:56 AM   #30
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
I heard a discussion of this topic on NPR a couple of nights ago. The AMTRAK supporters say that cars and trucks are subsidized with much more massive road building. They suggest that airports and air travel are a major somewhat subsidized transportation mode. So their argument is that $600 Million a year for passenger rail is worth it.

I'm not sure I beleive it myself, but thought that I'd throw it out there for a more rounded discussion.
Don't you think that if the government paid for the railroad's right-of-way, built the roadbed and laid the tracks, and then maintained it all perpetually at the taxpayers' expense, that the railroad would be far more economical? That's precisely what the government does with highway-based transportation. Similar things are done for airlines. For instance, the government pays all the air traffic controllers, and municipal bonds are ubiquitous in financing airport improvements. If you want to compare apples to apples, you need to consider the subsidies to other forms of transportation.

On a personal note, I often travel on the Amtrak Acela from NYC to Philadelphia, Wilmington and Washington. It is a very pleasant way to travel. The cars are clean and spacious. You can use your cell phone and laptop without restrictions. You don't need to go through the hassle of airport security. In most cases, with the additional time required to get to the airport, check a bag, go through security and wait for the plane, taking the train is quicker than flying.

I also commute to work in NYC every day on the Metro North railroad. Since the cars are actually owned by the State of Connecticut and would require taxpayer funding to replace, they are, not surprisingly, old and disgusting. Even so, I much prefer riding the train to drving to work. I usually read a newspaper or book, catch up on paperwork from the office or just sleep.

I think the country would benefit greatly if railroads were expanded, even at the price of subsidies. As I understand it, the fuel used to move a given amount of freight by rail is substantially less than moving the same weight by truck. And mass transit surely uses less fuel than a zillion individual car drivers would use. Not only does this lessen our oil dependence, it also results in cleaner air. I think those who would shut down Amtrak are somewhat shortsighted.

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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-29-2006, 10:04 AM   #31
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

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Originally Posted by Gumby
I think the country would benefit greatly if railroads were expanded, even at the price of subsidies.* As I understand it, the fuel used to move a given amount of freight by rail is substantially less than moving the same weight by truck.* And mass transit surely uses less fuel than a zillion individual car drivers would use.* Not only does this lessen our oil dependence, it also results in cleaner air.* I think those who would shut down Amtrak are somewhat shortsighted.
Well, I got educated by one of my clients that owns a trucking firm. He said there were 1 million trucks on the roads in 1983, and 3.5 million today. And there's a driver shortage at most of the big carriers.

The big problem is the urban sprawl model that most states are embracing. Your final destination for the trucks is so FAR from the railroad yards, that it is very difficult logistically for the trucking companies to make it work. It is easier to load them at a distribution center, and then truck directly to the end user.

He told me, that to use rail, he has to send the drivers about 100-150 miles out of their way, and that costs a lot of money.

I'm sure it's easier in countries where the rail system is better thought out. Our railroad system was designed 100 years ago and more, when the population was concentrated in big cities. With big cities continuing to lose population due to sprawl, the dilemna remains.................
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-29-2006, 10:11 AM   #32
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

It sounds like we should be encouraging more "cluster" industrial development and building rail lines to service those clusters.
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-29-2006, 10:19 AM   #33
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

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It sounds like we should be encouraging more "cluster" industrial development and building rail lines to service those clusters.
That is true, but they don't have any incentive to do it..............unless the govt gives incentives for doing that, why would anyone do it??
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!
Old 09-29-2006, 10:27 AM   #34
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Re: Rebuild the american railroads!

I think one of the reasons for sprawl -- at least with respect to industrial sites -- is the environmental policies in this country. No company wants to build a new plant on an old site that might be contaminated from past uses, because they are walking into a litigation and regulatory nightmare. They would much rather build on a "greenfield" site. If we changed the laws to encourage companies to build on "brownfield" sites, they could stay in the cities that are already served by the railroads.
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