Hot!Trains, Trains and More Trains

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leethebard
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/01 19:44:20 (permalink)
Hope you visited the Last Supper. And the cathedral is gorgeous!
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lleechef
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/01 19:54:40 (permalink)
leethebard
Hope you visited the Last Supper. And the cathedral is gorgeous!


At the British Open?  Are you serious?


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MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/01 20:38:19 (permalink)
leethebard
Hope you visited the Last Supper. And the cathedral is gorgeous!




Yes and yes. 
Found out the hard way that to see The Last Supper on a whim involves a scalped ticket!
 
And now I know why high-end shopping centers style themselves as "Gallerias".  The Mother of them all even has a Ferrari store!
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tmiles
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/02 10:27:10 (permalink)
We rode the "chunnel", years ago, and like others, wondered why we are stuck with Amtrak. This is old info, but an American train buff that we met on a DB Rail train (Germany), said that we could do it too, but only if we PAID. He told me that the "good" systems in Europe make the passengers pay only 20 to 30 pct of the cost, while Amtrak makes passengers pay around 75%.
 
In my state, Massachusetts, it is a constant battle to get citizens who don't use "The T", to pay for the massive subsidy that our mass transit system gets. Unless you have a Master degree in Electrical Engineering, the T is about the best job that you could ever get......................but it seems that although tons of folks want to work there, they just can't find enough Electrical Engineers to hire. LOL
 
This is a food web site........
The food on the chunnel, from a cart, was good, and reasonably priced. I have paid more for worse.
post edited by tmiles - 2016/08/02 10:29:44
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1bbqboy
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/02 11:05:04 (permalink)
Wingnuts discussing Mass Transit. Too funny. The definition of irony.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/02 12:13:19 (permalink)
1bbqboy
Wingnuts discussing Mass Transit. Too funny. The definition of irony.

You do have a knack for making an ass of yourself.
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MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/02 16:31:00 (permalink)
Getting back to trains ... here's an old rail bridge I discovered while visiting Andrew Carnegie's birthplace:
 

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MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/02 18:04:08 (permalink)
Well, truth is that I discovered Andrew Carnegie's birthplace whilst taking a tour from Edinburgh to the Firth of Forth rail bridge.  It opened in 1890 with Gustave Eiffel in attendance.  The architects, Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker drive the first train across it.
 
The tour, which included a boat ride into the North Sea and back under the three crossings, was chock full of fascinating facts, including the etymology of the phrase "botched job" .
 
The famed rail bridge is still in service carrying 200 or so trains per day while the road bridge, a massive suspension bridge that opened in 1964, is rapidly deteriorating in the harsh environment on the edge of the North Sea where straight line winds sometimes reach 100 mph.
 
Here is the spectacular replacement bridge nearing completion as we floated beneath it.  The photo was taken through a boat window as standing outside on a typical Scottish Summer day (rain, 52 degrees, 30 mph gusts) was a bit uncomfortable! 
 
The sight of these three massive bridges, so radically different in design, standing proximate to one another truly inspired awe.
 
 

post edited by MetroplexJim - 2016/08/03 10:04:08
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tmiles
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/02 19:01:03 (permalink)
If any rail fan/ Roadfooders are in Worcester for the food, you should drive over the Shrewsbury Street cut. Cut through rock with black powder, it is famous among rail historians for showing what rail could do. The cut costed a fortune, but it connected Boston to "The West", and changed US history. It is 3 tracks wide now, and greatly improved, but looking down you can imagine the work that it took to build it. Our other famous feat, The Hoosic Tunnel, is so far as I know, unaccessable to the public. Cut 4.5 miles, through the Berkshires, at a cost of $25 mil, over a period of 20 years or so it is still in use. (way, way over budget, it had to be finished by the state) It was started with black powder, and finished with electric blasting caps and nitroglycerine. I tried to get onto a rail fan tour of the Hoosic a few years ago, but it sold out too quickly.
 
Worcester has become a major rail hub with the closing of the Beacon Park yards, closer to Boston. We have had the yard for my whole life, at the Worcester side of the Shrewsbury Street cut, but it was way enlarged so that the Beacon Park land could be put to other use. The Providence and Worcester RR also competes for Asian freight via a connection with Canadian Rail, and has a yard on the other side of the city. The P&W does Rail Fan tours a few times a year. 
post edited by tmiles - 2016/08/03 11:28:20
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MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/04 10:09:28 (permalink)
1bbqboy
Wingnuts discussing Mass Transit. Too funny. The definition of irony.



Mass transit?  Furthest thing from my mind.
 
For my part I enjoy the contemplation of magnificent feats of architecture and engineering, many of which have been accomplished in the field of transportation. 
 
In an objective sense the greatest feat of design and engineering is the interstate highway system.  As I drive I like to muse about "what it took" and how it came about. 
 
Give me that over a modern art gallery any day.
MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/08/06 16:13:25 (permalink)
With the Olympics in Rio, I thought I'd post a video of one of the most interesting short train trips in the world - the cog train up Corcovado mountain to the monumental statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
 
The cog train takes 20 minutes or so to go from the Rio neighborhood of Botafogo to the base of the statue.  From there, there used to be only 10 or so stories of stains, but since my last visit (1994) they have mercifully installed escalators to the top.
 
The view simply cannot be captured on TV; you must see it yourself.
 
Enjoy!
 

 
BTW: The alternative way of getting atop the mountain is a harrowing tour bus ride up the back spine of the mountain.  That trip is 50 miles or so and takes two hours to navigate a narrow, switch-backed mountain road that the bus drivers handle far too cavalierly for my taste, especially on the way down.
 
EDIT:  Here's a video of the road - the beginning of which is 40 miles or so out of town.  Give me the cog train any day to some cowboy of a tour bus driver!
 

post edited by MetroplexJim - 2016/08/06 16:34:36
MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/09/01 20:08:53 (permalink)
BTW: of all the 'sights' I saw for the first time on this trip, this one ranked right up there with the Firth of Forth Bridge.  It - the structure, not the infrastructure - puts Grand Central to shame. 
 
OMG, I wish I had seen the original Pennsylvania Station!  I love Vin Scully's comment:  "Where once you entered as a King, now you emerge as a rat."
 
In Milan, you enter and leave as a King! 
 
When we arrived, laden with luggage, my wife was very unhappy with my taking my time scoping out the place.  I just couldn't help myself; it is truly magnificent.
 
Most every "grand" train station has a breath-taking 'signature' concourse or entrance; Milano Centrale has them everywhere you turn.  It is truly awesome. 
 

post edited by MetroplexJim - 2016/09/01 20:33:37
tmiles
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2016/09/02 14:40:34 (permalink)
Our local Providence and Worcester RR has been sold. They went independent, years ago, when the New Haven which had been renting the track for years, failed to pay. Rail "experts" laughed at "the little railroad that could", but they pulled it off, and were soon paying the stockholders the dividend that the New Haven couldn't afford. 
 
The new owner, a large (but unknown to me) owner of lots of little railroads, plans to make a lot more money by "cutting costs". The P&W spends about $2 mil a year (so I am told) upgrading track. It was once a 50 mph rail road, and was a 15 mph railroad when they took it back from the New Haven, due to lack of care. It is up to about 35 or more for most of the system now. I would bet, at good odds that the new owners will cut back on the track upgrades, and close the P&W offices. I doubt that the rail fan tours will continue.
MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2017/06/29 20:10:34 (permalink)
Make no mistake about it, I  trains - the equipment, the technology, and the magnificent architecture & engineering of tunnels, bridges, cuts, and the monumental stations.
 
However, as an economist, I have to examine - rationally - the viability for "high speed rail" in the United States.
 
Europe is the "model", the "ideal".  By experience, their rail systems inspire both admiration and, on occasion, absolute awe in me.  That, I have amply illustrated above in posts prior.
 
Probably the most legendary rail route was The Orient Express that connected Paris to Istanbul, via either Vienna or Milan.  Even though it is still possible to make that trek by rail, the Express no longer runs.  That is due to its length - roughly the same distance as it is from Dallas to NYC -- across the breadth of Europe, but only half-way across the USA.
 
As here, Europeans needing to make such a trip will always prefer the 2.5 hour flight (unless they are into nostalgia and three day train rides).
 
Even though "high speed rail" is available from Rome to Paris, your choice is 11 - 14 hours by rail or a 1.75 hour flight.  The same length trip from Paris to Madrid takes 19 hours via rail!
 
Realize and THINK: England is the same size as Pennsylvania, has a gentler typography, and has more than 5X's its population.  So, of course, rail "rules" Britannia.  And what rational individual would even think of "messing" with CDG-LHR when Gare du Nord - St. Pancras is, all things considered, faster and less expensive - and so, so more comfortable.
 
When I lived in Arlington, VA, even given the unique convenience of Reagan National, I soon learned that the best way to 59th. & CPS was by rail, even though the carrier was AMTRACK.
 
Lordy, abolish AMTRACK and let the private sector build state-of-the-art high speed rail where it makes sense.  By common sense and the Euro and Japanese experience, that means connecting major 'metros' not more than 400 miles distant from one another.  Given the 'right of ways' AMTRACK "owns", private money will flood in and the Euros will envy us.
 
 
 
 
 
 
MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2017/06/30 12:57:58 (permalink)
Rattling on and most likely talking to myself ...
 
The magnificence of their stations and their truly sleek and elegant rolling stock aside, the thing that really impressed (and surprised!) about rail in Italy was their roadbeds.  Mama mia, what precision.  Smooth and quiet does not even begin to describe our trip from Milnao a Roma.  The nearly 400 mile distance, including station stops at Bologna and Florence, was covered in three hours flat.
 
The present "crown jewel" (and cash cow) for AMTRACK is the "Northeast Corridor" connecting Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Newark, NYC, New Haven, Providence, and Boston.  Yet, Boston to Washington, only 50 miles farther than Milan is from Rome, takes seven hours on the fastest rail trip, via the Italian-built Acela! 
 
Hell, it takes nearly the same time to go from Union to Penn (only 226 miles) than it does to cover the 400 miles from Milan to Rome.  Even given that disparity, rail is still the optimal connection between the Capital of the World and the Capital of our Nation.  But, that trip with an "Italian" road-bed, would require only half the time that it does presently.
 
Remembering that 400 miles is the 'magic maximum' ...
Building 21st. Century road-beds on the WDC - Boston Northeast Corridor is the ultimate "no brainer".  Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit-Chicago-Milwaukee makes sense, as does Fort Worth-Dallas-Houston-San Antonio-Austin.  Note that all of these routes are over relatively flat topography, no Alps, Pyrenees, Rockies, Alleghenies, or Sierra Madres to negotiate.
 
Build it and they will come.
 
 
 
 
 
 
tmiles
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2017/06/30 16:53:23 (permalink)
I for one read your posts. I used both the slow, local rail, and the Bullet Train when I was posted in Japan, and have used DB and British rail, but not recently. I, too, was impressed, but then I found out what it costed,,,,,,,,,then not so much.
 
We need, I am told, another track into NYC. I was shocked to find that rail cars are actually barged there. IMO, some "investments" really are just that, but most times, government investment is just another word for a project that isn't good enough to attract private investment. 
 
This is 10 (or 15!!) year old info, but back then the new track into NYC was "worth" less than $1 bil, but would have costed 10 (and double that AT LEAST for a govt project of that type), hence the barge trip.
 
BUT, the liberal in me would love to charge taxpayers in Texas for northeast improvements!!! You already helped to pay for the Big Dig, which BTW, now that it is done, is really great!!! 
 
An "investment" that may actually pay, is our new passenger rail car factory in Springfield. I expect that it will be the best source for US built rail cars for some time
post edited by tmiles - 2017/06/30 16:56:21
MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2017/07/01 10:09:44 (permalink)
Yes, how to finance high speed rail is a, perhaps THE, major question.  Buy realize that even I - as a free-market Jeffersonian - recognize the validity of the concept of public goods
 
It is not necessary for me to make a trek into the weeds of "non-excludability", "indivisibility", "externalities", "reservation demand", etc. to come to realize that even non-users of transportation infrastructure benefit from them. 
 
So, enjoy your Big Dig; not for any 'Kum-By-Ya' reason I happily paid my 'fair share' of that!  And the egregious cost over-runs did have some entertainment value for me.  No, I happily paid for it because it is one of the "crown jewel" parts of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Interstate Highway System, the grandest engineering feat in the history of the planet. 
 
-------------------------
 
Now back to rail ... far from being the latest buzz-word, "Public-Private Partnerships" have always been the financial structure used to construct rail-infrastructure.  The "Public" part has ranged from granting Eminent Domain, to land grants, to credit guarantees, to outright subsidies for both construction and operations.  "Private" comes in when there is potential of making profit from efficiently run operations.
 
Again, the 'game here' is to provide an attractive, eco-friendly, alternative to plane, car, or bus. From the Japanese, European, and Chinese experience, here are the requisites:
 
1) Major population centers separated by no more than 400 miles of gentle topography.
2) Center city to center city connections.
3)  Post construction, the rail will be operated privately.
 
The routes I suggested for the U.S. all meet these criteria.  The Texas Star will be built, largely by private means and operated privately.  There are absolute fortunes to be made by a privately operated North East Corridor.  And then we have California ... please don't bill me for that!
 
MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2018/04/09 09:10:51 (permalink)
More good high-speed rail news - the Florida Brightline will soon connect Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm, and Orlando with future connections to Tampa and Jacksonville.  Cconnectiong the major population centers of Florida is yet another route that 'makes economic sense' and, like the Texas Star, is being privately financed.
 
San Diego - San Francisco also makes 'economic sense'; it's a doggone shame that California is making this 'publically funded' and paying three times the price and taking years more that it would take to 'get it done' the way Florida and Texas are going about it.
 
In contrast, watch how fast this gets done.
post edited by MetroplexJim - 2018/04/09 09:14:28
MetroplexJim
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Re: Trains, Trains and More Trains 2018/04/09 09:33:07 (permalink)
In the local front down here in the Metroplex, Frisco's Museum of the American Railroad has received an unusual gift from a Dallas couple:
 

post edited by MetroplexJim - 2018/04/09 09:35:59
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