james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll


Post-Reagan America doesn't have the ability to consider projects on this scale, but of course one of the things a better rail system would allow is the transportation of million of exoskeleton-clad UN soldiers across the US, as well as moving tens of millions of anti-NAU activists and sympathizers to open-air holding facilities somewhere near Chicago.

[Note that I'm not actually telling to go out and blow up all the roads leading into your town, although of course those have military applications too]

Date: 2013-02-07 03:24 pm (UTC)
wild_irises: (Phil Ochs)
From: [personal profile] wild_irises
I would say post-Reagan American doesn't have the "vision" to consider projects on this scale. The big American projects of the past have not all been done in times of plenty, and the U.S. is hardly a poor country, despite how we choose to see ourselves.

Date: 2013-02-07 02:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chris-gerrib.livejournal.com
Yes, but us freedom-loving Americans MUST, I tell you MUST drive our own cars! (Do I need a sarcasm tag for that?)

Date: 2013-02-07 02:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] james-nicoll.livejournal.com
I take it nobody who matters lives up in the empty quarter of that map? Might be where prudent Freemericans should relocate to now, while there is still time.

Date: 2013-02-07 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from livejournal.com)
They already have. Idaho and Wyoming are where libertarians go to get away from the pernicious meddling influence of other libertarians. And Nevada, which I see is only lightly touched by the Demon Rail.

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Date: 2013-02-07 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hattifattener
There are mountains in that empty quarter of the map. Low-speed trains and trucks have trouble enough.

Date: 2013-02-07 02:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] comrade-cat.livejournal.com
If all the idiot libertarians and far-right blew up the roads allowing them to interact with larger society, it might be quite nice and there would be fewer filibusters.

Of course they could still flame on the internet. And there might be cats trapped in the towns with them.

Date: 2013-02-07 03:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] james-nicoll.livejournal.com
Quantum teleportation implies the UN can send soldiers down the intertubes. Ever wonder why so many pro-3D printer stories get published?

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Date: 2013-02-07 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dewline.livejournal.com
What, and make it impossible to talk with their fellow believers? They'll need the roads - steel and asphalt - to maintain that internet infrastructure they decry the governmental funding for.

Date: 2013-02-07 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] david wilford (from livejournal.com)
The U.S. has the ability to do high-speed rail, but the Republican Party has decided it has to be an impediment to it in order to pander to assholes who, sadly, can and do vote. That's why the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Chistie, stopped the building of a much needed rail tunnel to NYC, and the Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, nixed a high speed rail line that would have helped link Chicago to Minneapolis/St. Paul, and the governor of Florida, Lex Luthor, nixed a high speed rail line from Orlando to Miami.

Meanwhile, one of the more popular rail trips in the U.S. is the "auto train" running from the NE U.S. to Florida, as driving down congested I-95 is not only stressful, but expensive too. So eventually, yeah, we'll build high-speed rail across the U.S. In the meantime, well, there's the Chinese bus at least.

Date: 2013-02-07 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] james-nicoll.livejournal.com
By ability, I mean social ability. It's like post-Roman Europe trying to build an aquaduct or a decent road.

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Date: 2013-02-07 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] derekl1963.livejournal.com
Well, the Auto-Train doesn't run from the Northeast - it only runs from DC to Orlando, most of which is the *least* congested portion of I-95. (As it pretty much avoids major cities, it's mostly through traffic.)

And anyone looking at it's annual revenue should be able to understand why it's the only service of it's kind... it connects from almost to the most densely populated section of America to the one of the most popular vacation destinations... and it doesn't make enough to pay it's bills if it had to pay for it's own construction and operation.

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Date: 2013-02-07 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mmcirvin.livejournal.com
We'll build it up and down the East Coast and in California and Texas, probably. I remain unconvinced that the routes across the middle of the continent will ever be viable, unless the end of petroleum use makes air travel completely impractical.

Date: 2013-02-07 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] derekl1963.livejournal.com
"Post-Reagan America doesn't have the ability to consider projects on this scale"

That's like saying "Post-Reagan America doesn't have the ability to consider using phlogiston to power a perpetual motion machine". Both said machine and the rail network outlined above are fantasies devoid of connection to reality.

Date: 2013-02-07 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] david wilford (from livejournal.com)
When the price of gasoline approaches $7/gallon, reality will sink in with respect to high-speed rail, at least in the eastern U.S. where the distances and the population better support it.

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Date: 2013-02-07 03:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] james-nicoll.livejournal.com
Wait: There are eight main branches of this network? Was this designed by the Spiders? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Time)

Date: 2013-02-07 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] londonkds.livejournal.com
Also, wtf is that white.. thing doing?

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Date: 2013-02-07 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] londonkds.livejournal.com
Problems with this map from someone who loves trains and is a rageing commie by US standards:

220mph is above what anybody has achieved regularly in public service. TGV's can do 200mph in public service, but that's a *maximum* speed, not an average speed. (Highest average speed on a regular scheduled service is 174mph.)

Even assuming that US engineering could do what the French and Japanese can't do RIGHT NOW through WILLPOWER, many of the journeys proposed here are way over the three-hours-business six-hours-leisure maximum journey times that most transport planners accept as the tipping point for rail over air. These figures are also for European situations where, usually, long-distance stations are still in the centre of major towns. They may not work in US situations where city-centre stations were short-sightedly closed down and land prices make it unlikely that they can be recreated (most notoriously San Francisco where long-distance rail gets no closer than Oakland).

There are places where big cities are close enough together that high-speed rail could definitely work (NE corridor, California, Portland-Seattle-Vancouver, NY-Montreal) but proposing this kind of transcontinental network in the modern age makes all rail advocates look like romantic twits who probably jerk off over Big Boys.

Date: 2013-02-07 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] derekl1963.livejournal.com
"They may not work in US situations where city-centre stations were short-sightedly closed down"

In how many cities is the city center the city center anymore (other than geographically)? It seems to me that business had flown to the 'burbs as well. Corporations don't pride themselves on having a Big Building smack downtown as much as they used to.

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Date: 2013-02-07 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/krin_o_o_/
Florida needs 3 high speed rails? really?

Hub at Jacksonville and ONE down to Miami with stop at Orlando would do.

Date: 2013-02-07 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anton-p-nym.livejournal.com
I think that's an artifact of map scale; likely the real plan involves such a hub tied to three routes, but only the one line.

-- Steve didn't see the point of so much traffic until he remembered how much cruise traffic ends up in Miami.

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Population density

Date: 2013-02-07 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
is a bullshit metric. (Yes, that's a really stupid map. Noted; moving on.)

France has one of the world's best rail networks; France's population density is about 300 people per square mile. How many US states have higher population densities roughly equal to or higher than France? Twelve -- including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachussetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. California's density is about 80% of France's, with around 240 people/square mile.

There are deep historical and structural reasons why the US rail system sucks. But they've got little to do with economics and even less to do with geography.


Doug M.

Re: Population density

Date: 2013-02-07 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mmcirvin.livejournal.com
With France it's political, isn't it? The central authority had the ability to commandeer the rights-of-way for all the lines.

Re: Population density

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Re: Population density

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Re: Population density

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Date: 2013-02-07 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kla10.livejournal.com

>Be in Seattle
>Have to go to L.A., or at best Sacramento, to get anywhere else in the country.
>6+ hours Seattle to L.A., even at their optimistic 220 MPH.
>Could fly to New York in 6 hours. Could fly to London in 9.

You're not really selling me on high-speed rail here.


Date: 2013-02-07 11:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mmegaera.livejournal.com
Yeah, there's a reason sports commentators keep referring to us as Lower Alaska. I prefer to think of everyone else being out in the middle of nowhere, not us (and hello, fellow western Washingtonian).

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Date: 2013-02-08 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dbdatvic.livejournal.com
Comes nowhere near Knoxville, as usual; yay/waah. (Megabus does serve us, I occasionally see the Very Wide Busdriver Graphic on a bus sitting over the James White Parkway as I go. I haven't taken a bus trip in quite a long while. It might be an option to visit my dad, though.)

--Dave

Date: 2013-02-08 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] austin-dern.livejournal.com
Well, as a new resident of Lansing, Michigan, I can't begin to tell you how much I want high-speed rail access to ... Quincy ... Illinois? I guess? Maybe Missouri?

(Actually, it would be nice if any trains going out East were worth anything, but the only options require starting with a three-hour bus trip to Toledo at about 4 am so, yeah, no.)

Date: 2013-02-09 12:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bruce munro (from livejournal.com)
My goodness, I had no idea high-speed rail was such a third-rail issue. :D

Bruce

Date: 2013-02-09 04:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dewline.livejournal.com
Noting that this map's designer spoke up for the Guardian recently...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/06/us-high-speed-rail-network-possible

Date: 2013-02-09 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neowolf2.livejournal.com
This thread is reminding me that after space colonies, one of O'Neill's technological fancies was maglev trains.

(plays Steely Dan IGY)

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