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Thread: Some real world high speed train data

  1. #1
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    Default Some real world high speed train data

    I came across these in my travels recently. Thought they might be useful for general interest, or in case anyone making HSTs for MSTS is looking for data:

    http://www.peninsularail.org/userfil....05.30%20A.pdf

    http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/developmen...7-11-14eng.pdf

    Included are some TE and resistance curves.
    Last edited by plainsman; 04-18-2010 at 09:18 PM.

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    Interesting reading.

    The California High Speed Project certainly is setting its sights high with 220mph performance. I suppose that can be achieved with a dedicated right of way. Doesn't that also imply that they won't share rails with any freight line? because beefing up the European or Japanese designs that are mentioned, to meet FRA standards, is going to add weight and drop the performance if they have to share ANY rails with freights, such as if it goes into LAUPT.

    Steve

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    The FRA is seriously considering revising their standards and/or granting waivers at this point, or at least that's what I read at railroad.net:

    http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewt...68138&start=15

    Some of the standards up for waiver/revision include the requirement that the first car of any train traveling over 125 mph must be unoccupied. This rule as it stands effectively rules out Shinkansen-type sets by forcing operation with empty seats in the first/last units. Some reading on the subject of HSR safety. Also discussed are grade crossings. Eliminate grade crossings ( which must be done anyway to go over 125 mph, and should really be done for speeds >100 mph ), and you more or less eliminate the reason for most of the current crashworthiness regulations. Hitting freight trains on mixed use tracks is also a concern, but that concern can and is effectively eliminated by time separating trains and signaling.

    No way around it, though, the FRA must revise its rules if HSR is to succeed here. The Acela experienced most of its problems on account of being too heavy due to FRA crashworthiness requirements.

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    JTR:

    Thanks for the links,particularly the TE and resistance curves.
    "Science is belief in the ignorance of experts." Richard Feynman

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    High speed rail in the United States is a joke. *scoffs*

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    The problem is not just one of building high speed infrastructure. It is not just getting on the high speed at Lille and getting off at Liege; at each of those points you have regular rail service, across the platform, which may conveniently get you where you want to go.
    OK,so you have high speed from San Diego to Sacramento.Then what? From almost any station on the system you will most likely NOT have convenient public options to get elsewhere-you will, in short , have to drive. The only exception here is the NEC which isn't really all that high speed,anyway. And genuine high speed-DC to Boston in 3 1/2 hrs. just isn't going to happen.
    Maybe we should build some North American hi-speed routes for MSTS. Sorry, can't do it myself,just a suggestion.
    Last edited by bavli; 04-22-2010 at 09:55 PM. Reason: spelling
    "Science is belief in the ignorance of experts." Richard Feynman

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    Well it's just that! The US is too spread out for HS Rail to be even practical. To me, the Minneapolis/St. Paul to Chicago HSR sounds dumb too. Not that many people commute between the two. Though I would like to see St. Paul Union Station re-established. Currently its a Leean Chin's and other various restaraunts. Amtrak's Empire builder is very innefficient because it has to run on Minnesota Commercials track which isn't rated for anything over 30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bavli View Post
    OK,so you have high speed from San Diego to Sacramento.Then what? From almost any station on the system you will most likely NOT have convenient public options to get elsewhere-you will, in short , have to drive.
    That's unfortunately the problem with passenger rail travel in general in the US-the lack of decent connecting public transit at the destinations. If your ultimate destination is within walking distance of the station, no problem, but if it isn't, you're rookiedoed, especially if you don't have a driver's license. The good news is we finally see a need for more public transit, but it'll take decades to build.

    The only exception is here is the NEC which isn't really all that high speed,anyway. And genuine high speed-DC to Boston in 3 1/2 hrs. just isn't going to happen.
    Amtrak is actually studying the feasibility of upgrading to 220 mph service, including the NEC:

    The new department will focus on the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor and conduct the necessary planning activities required to provide: a major reduction in trip-times between Washington and New York and New York and Boston; a significant increase in the number of train frequencies; and determining the feasibility of increasing top speeds up to 220 mph (354 kph).

    South of NY, this may in many places simply entail replacing the old catenery with constant tension type as the route is fairly straight. You may need to realign some curves, but in many cases the room is there. The tunnels to Baltimore are a problem, but new tunnels are going to be built anyway. North of New York, especially between NYC and New Haven, you have a mess. NYC-New Haven is as fast as it's ever going to get. Basically, you need 75 miles of new ROW with no place to really put it except in a tunnel. Either that, or run a high-speed line from NYC out to Greenport on Long Island, then tunnel under the LI Sound, and connect with the existing ROW in Rhode Island. Bottom line is the demand and passengers are there for a true high-speed Washington-Boston route but it'll probably cost tens of billions to implement. I think we have a good chance of seeing it in the near future, especially south of NY where most of the upgrades have already been in the pipeline. The catenery is scheduled to be replaced soon anyway. I'm guessing the new line of thought is why not bring the line to 220 mph standards while you're doing that?
    Last edited by plainsman; 04-18-2010 at 05:52 PM.

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    In addition, there are places south of New York where the ROW, as it exists, won't support anything near 220mph operation. Specifically the curve at Frankford Junction, and a few others south of Philadelphia, plus the Susquehanna and Gunpowder River bridges in Maryland. Straightening those curves and reconstructing those bridges to higher speed specifications, while technically possible, would require HUGE costs, and I think that's been the limiting factor in other discussions I've seen of these scenarios. There's also the consideration that you now have a speed differential between the fastest trains and the "average" train (a commuter train capable of no more than 85mph) that's now 135mph, instead of the current 40-50ish mph.

    Achieving 220mph operation isn't necessarily the trick, it's maintaining it over long enough stretches that it actually reduces the schedule times. If you only have a few miles between speed restricted portions of route, and you count the acceleration and deceleration times, it doesn't end up impacting the total trip time by that much.

    The thing is, I've travelled on the NEC quite a few times in recent years, and I don't really have an issue with the travel time between Wilmington-NYC or Wilmington-DC, and I don't perceive many regular users on similar segments do either. I think it's folks who want to do DC-Boston or similarly long routes that compare that travel time to the airlines and choose the latter.

    I know Vince, Ira, and I are all pretty much of like mind on this topic as we've spoken of it before. A high speed corridor is great, but it's "reach" is limited if you don't have feeder routes to smaller cities and adequate public transportation that interlock with the corridor. The NEC has a few: MBTA, CTDOT, M-N (although it's not a great connection), LIRR, NJT, SEPTA, MARC, VRE, the Keystone line, the line south to Richmond, the Hudwon River Line, the Springfield Line, and the Downeaster Line. But still, these miss serving quite a few medium sized cities that are not far from the Corridor: Annapolis, MD, Reading and Allentown, PA are a few that come to mind.

    I can certainly understand folks that live outside of the northeast thinking HSR is a joke in the US. But the NEC does serve a LOT of people every day and does it pretty well. Sure it could be better, and so could rail service to many other places. But at least we have something that works, and that's something to build on.

    Steve
    Last edited by mestevet; 04-17-2010 at 02:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BNSFfan View Post
    Well it's just that! The US is too spread out for HS Rail to be even practical.
    HSR would work in corridors with heavy air travel up to distances of perhaps 1000 miles. At 220 mph with stops every 75-100 miles, you could do 1000 miles in about 5.5 hours, city center to city center. Flying the same distance, figuring an hour at each end to get to/from the airport, plus 2 hours flight time, and at least a hour security delays, takes on the order of 5 hours, pretty much within shouting distance of HSR. Trips under 1000 miles are actually faster on HSR than flying. The majority of flights wthin the US are in fact under 1000 miles, so HSR is quite viable on certain corridors. HSR can also get the segment of the population who refuses to fly for whatever reason, and therefore currently doesn't travel at all. This is upwards of 15% of the population, including myself. I rarely see this factor taken into account with HSR studies.

    Of course, if your ultimate destination is not a major city there still remains the problem of going those last miles, but now people rent cars at airports. They could do likewise at HSR stations. Hopefully in conjuction with HSR projects we'll also see local transit systems.

    When you consider the alternatives, HSR actually ends up looking pretty good, even in the US. We could pump something like $1 trillion or more to bring the Interstate highways back to a state of good repair. For that money you end up with a whopping ~60 mph average speed ( assuming no traffic ), plus the need to own and operate the vehicle yourself. As the population ages and incomes continue to decline, operating/owning a car will increasingly be out of the reach of many. Or you could spend the same money on HSR, then end up with a system 3 times faster which serves a good portion of the country ( population-wise, not geographically ). HSR obviously can't work in some very sparsely populated states, but that's only a small percentage of the population you're talking about, even though those states comprise a huge area.

    The only question remaining is are we as a nation willing to commit the same money towards building national HSR as we did when building the Interstate Highway System 50 years ago? With the economic need to start to replace the current auto-centric system, to me the answer seems clear but I'll admit my viewpoint is biased. I think we should take a cue from other nations. Even nations as spread out as China are in the process of massive HSR construction. IMO we will be left behind on the world stage unless we do likewise.

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