High-speed trains vs. airline service

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby goodnightjohnwayne » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:42 pm

justalurker66 wrote:
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:Forget about passenger rail to Toledo. Toledo represented a later stage of 3C, and that proposal is gone for good.


Not true. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was in Indiana yesterday talking about the plan. The Chicago to Toledo link I mentioned was specifically discussed at the meeting.

Or as reported in the NWI Times
In fact, he said states like Indiana now have the chance to pick up those rejected funds for their own high-speed rail projects. But he also made it clear Indiana has to help itself with more vigorous support for the Midwest Regional Rail System, which would link nine states with a comprehensive high-speed rail system.

Three of its proposed routes would start in Chicago and come through Indiana on their way to Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati. The system also includes a planned station for those three routes near the Gary/Chicago International Airport.


Ohio may have stuck a fork in 3C ... but Chicago to Toledo wasn't part of that. The plans of the Midwest Regional Rail System are NOT "gone for good".


Whoops, thinking about Toledo to Detroit, which was shown as a later stage of 3C. My bad. As far as all of the Chicago centered service proposals, I wouldn't get too excited, considering the fiscal condition of the State of Illinois, it seems hard to imagine where the money will come from for expanded passenger rail.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby justalurker66 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:56 pm

goodnightjohnwayne wrote:Whoops, thinking about Toledo to Detroit, which was shown as a later stage of 3C. My bad. As far as all of the Chicago centered service proposals, I wouldn't get too excited, considering the fiscal condition of the State of Illinois, it seems hard to imagine where the money will come from for expanded passenger rail.


I'm hoping some "higher speed rail" money can be freed up to support and improve existing routes (such as Chicago to Porter improvements that were funded - they help the Michigan trains along with Amtrak LD to NY and WAS). Spending billions for completely new superfast routes isn't a bad idea ... but there are better ideas.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:12 pm

goodnightjohnwayne wrote:It depends on which city pair you're talking about. Many passenger rail connections are impractical due to the time element, not to mention the need to go in the wrong direction before you go in the right one. Part of the problem is the skeletal passenger rail network, the miniscule number of daily frequencies, but there are routing issues go back to the steam era. In many cases, modern interstate highways have better and more direct routes between populations centers than the railroad ever had.

It's true that modern interstates have better routes than most railroads, but they're handicapped with a lower maximum average speed than a potential HSR route. I don't see anyone seriously proposing a speed increase for the majority of US interstates either, at least not past 70 mph in the east and midwest.

As for having to go in the wrong direction first, many airlines have the same issue. When booking a flight to New York from Minneapolis, one of my options was a St. Louis connection. Another went through Denver, and I've flown through Atlanta to get to the same place. The issue gets worse when traveling between smaller towns, which might require flying the opposite direction to reach a major city, overshooting their destination to get to another major city, then back to the final stop. That's the sort of flight HSR planners dream about eliminating.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby lpetrich » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:09 am

I recently found some articles on this subject:
Madrid air traffic to Barcelona (down 40%), Malaga (down 50%) impacted by expanding AVE high-speed rail network | anna.aero
Madrid-Barcelona had been one of the biggest air routes in the world, and it's now likely to slip rather far down.
Iberia, Ryanair and Spanair face new high-speed rail (HSR) competition on Madrid – Valencia sector | anna.aero
Paris-Strasbourg air travel dropped by 2/3 when LGV Est opened.
Korean international traffic still growing; domestic impacted by KTX high-speed rail; Delta resumes Detroit in June | anna.aero
Since 2000 annual passenger numbers at South Korea’s mainland airports other than Seoul have fallen over 35% from 20 million to just 12.7 million in 2009. This is primarily down to the development of the KTX high-speed rail network that began operating in April 2004.

New direct Chinese services help offset major HSR-induced loss of domestic traffic in Taiwan | anna.aero
This anticipated surge in international traffic will help offset a rapid decline in the last 18 months in domestic air travel. This has been caused by the opening up of high-speed rail (HSR) services along the western side of Taiwan between Taipei and Kaohsiung which has reduced the rail journey time to as little as 90 minutes.

100 years of cross-channel air travel; London – Paris traffic down 50% since launch of Eurostar services in 1994 | anna.aero
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby lpetrich » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:10 pm

This article was likely written around the middle of last year: MassTransitMag.com » Article » Chinese High-Speed Trains Leave Airports in Their Wake

After discussing a medium-sized town's airport that has gotten little recent use, the article continues with
High-speed rail links take 90 per cent of the high-end market for trips under two hours and 50 to 70 per cent of journeys under four hours, according to a study by carnoc.com, a website run by the General Administration of Civil Aviation.

Amount of service drop due to high-speed-rail service:

Taiyuan - Beijing, Shijiazhuang: 40%
Guangzhou - Changsha: 60%
Zhengzhou - Xian: 100%

Yes, HSR service meant the end of all flights between those last two cities.
The high-speed rail service cut the time a train takes to cover the 505 kilometre journey from more than six hours to less than two. Flying between the two cities takes just over an hour but Xian's airport is at least an hour's drive from the city centre, making rail a clear-cut winner.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby 2nd trick op » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:31 pm

The upshot of all this, as this writer sees it, is that you have two special interests fighting over business, the disposition of which is largely inthe hands of government, which has little or no direct incentive to operate more efficently, and will always feather it's own nest first via contracts, consultancies, studies .... whatever.

O K ...... Granted that some services would be considered "esential". Granted, as well, that congestion will add to the cost of the highway system as an alternative, and that the high cost and fixed nature of major improvements will argue strongly, both against the further development of the highway system, and in favor of a more realistic assessment of the total cost thereof.

Nevertheless, for the individual user, the freedom to depart at a time of his/her own choosing, and the opportunity to adjust his/her own alternatives provides the individual vehicle, however small, with a substantial advantage in most cases.

History, and personal experience, provides more evidence of the "harder sell" when collectivized transportation of any kind is involved. Until automobile ownership became commonplace, sharing of long distance trips by private auto was common, as it is on campus to this day. Rural bus services in many areas require operating subsidies to cover costs.

And the emergence of the hybrid vehicle offers further evidence of the average traveller's willlingnes to surrender his/her autonomy only as a last resort. The typical hybrid buyer is an upscale consumer seeking to stretch a possibly-limited source of fossil fuel in case of an emergency.

All of which argues that if you think the NIMBY resistance is a pain, don't even think of trying to use the state's power to force citizens onto a form of transport many view as second-rate .... even if the high-placed think it's good for them.

But having pointed out all that, I will also point out that most of the resistance cited above diminishes quickly when the availabilty of sufficiently frequent suburban and exurban rail service is made known and when the access to that service via park-and-ride is central to the effort. And there is no reason why car-to-train-to-plane, in those areas where it's suitable, could not be promoted.

To summarize, incentive is a much more effective means of developinment than coercion. It's unfortunate that human nature itself, while it will likely continue to impel us toward a more centralized transport network, will likley do so via a roundabout, and thereby, more expensive route. And I think most people would take a skeptical view toward any state-mandated "short cuts".
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby David Benton » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:23 am

i wonder if you see they dont have the choice to take high speed rail in The USA .???nobody is telling anybody they cant drive their car if they wish . they can fly thier own helicopter if they wish . but they can't take a high speed train . freedom and choice are very subjective things .
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:44 am

David Benton wrote:i wonder if you see they dont have the choice to take high speed rail in The USA .???nobody is telling anybody they cant drive their car if they wish . they can fly thier own helicopter if they wish . but they can't take a high speed train . freedom and choice are very subjective things .


Along the NEC, figure how that choice starts working against the airlines over time. The big carriers are consolidating much more aggressively to big hub service, because that's the only way they can turn a profit. Regional routes, even well-patronized ones, often operate at a loss and get increasingly hard to justify with fuel and maintenance costs increasing like they are. Hubs allow them to consolidate just about everything except the barest essential staff and equipment at regional airports. If, say, you have to get from Boston to NYC or Philly fast and right this second such that plane is the best option, your options are a hell of a lot more limited than they were a decade ago and not nearly as cheap either. And quickly getting counteracted on travel time by how early you have to arrive at the airport. Others, if you're going to a smaller city over similarly modest east coast distances, often require a transfer at a hub unless you want to pay through the nose for a direct. I remember as a small child in the early 80's going to visit relatives in the middle of nowhere in McKean County, PA, flying Bradley Airport-Pittsburgh-Bradford on no-name regional carriers because I had infant and toddler siblings who couldn't make that trip by car. Fat chance of ever doing that these days; the big carriers don't go there, the mid-sized regionals don't exist, and you have to pay a fortune to switch to the 1 or 2 flights per day that actually go to such tiny places. No one's filling in those gaps, unless you're flying on the shortlist of straightforward enough mid-size routes where Southwest and JetBlue provide good competition for the big boys. You have a lot of regional airports running well under-capacity from that diminished service while the majors get tapped out by the hub system and have to operate with much less wiggle room for cascading delays. That wasn't always the case when you had denser regional coverage in the era of local carriers prior to this mega-merger survival tactic era we're currently in.

West coast is getting that way, too. I had to make a business trip last year from Portland to Arcata, a small regional airport that's regularly served by United. But the only way to get there from Portland was an 8-hour trip with 2 transfers and layovers in Salt Lake City and L.A. Whereas if I'd been coming from San Francisco, a major United hub, I'd have a half-dozen direct flights per day (the return trip home Arcata-Boston via San Fran was a piece of cake). I ended up just taking the Coast Starlight from Portland to Eugene, taking a taxi from the station to the Hertz location at the Eugene airport, and renting a car for the rest of the way down. Not a whole lot longer a trip, expenses were about a wash, beautiful scenery to enjoy the whole way, and the Amtrak trip was by far the nicest intercity trip I've ever been on. No hassle, no TSA aggravation, extremely friendly staff, good track speeds, and enough random residential wi-fi signals picked up en route to get a couple minutes of online time here and there on my laptop plugged in to the wall outlet. I would totally do that again; it was such a relaxing come-down from a stressful few work days in Portland.


This is where intercity train truly gets competitive...where the airlines just can't hack it anymore for small regionals. Prioritizing NEC upgrades and branchline build-outs, and building California HSR, are the two big corridors where rail makes a difference. Because it's replacing service that has pretty much been lost over the last 25 years over air, or been made so inconvenient that it's only an option in emergency situations where driving or bus is a nonstarter. I don't think enough people look at it this way...that it's service lost in the modern era that has a crying need for immediate replacement. The Administration's muddled national rail plan doesn't make this upside clear. A much shorter list of priorities--NEC, California, initial build-out of the midwest Chicago-hub lower speed network--I think would've put a much sharper focus on this. For one these routes also provide a radial link to a bunch of regional airports that close some of those one-way air route imbalances. Scenarios such as what I faced last year where it was impossible to get TO my ultimate destination but easy to get FROM my destination back home because of the way the big airlines' hub routes shook out. Thankfully if they get back to the drawing board on honing that messaging that shorter list of priority corridors and expansion of existing routes can make this a lot more self-evident: both the restoring of lost options and the intermodal complement.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby 2nd trick op » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:48 am

With regard to Mr. Benton's post:

i wonder if you see they dont have the choice to take high speed rail in The USA .???nobody is telling anybody they cant drive their car if they wish . they can fly thier own helicopter if they wish . but they can't take a high speed train . freedom and choice are very subjective things .


What people in Europe might view as an opportunity (HSR access) many people on this side of the Atlantic, particularly in rural areas, might view as folly. And when the state's power to coerce, and redistribute incomes, is factored into the equation, the rancor increases. Mention "public transportation" in the area where I grew up, and some of the more fervent conservatives will paint you a picture of Detroit's infamous "people mover" in the middle of a cornfield.

Obviously, that picture is no more realistic than some of the rosiest predictions when the "HSR panacea" was at its zenith two years ago. But the current atmosphere has become so poiarized that the argument in Mr. Benton's post couldn't possibly gather the "magic numbers" of 218+51+1.

But I don't believe that obstacle to be as formidable as was once the case. Permanent improvements in viable corridors are in progress, and few people would have envisioned the success of light rail in certain urban areas a generation ago. The biggest obstacles, in this writer''s opinion, are getting enough of the 50 states benefitting from permanent transport improvements and co-ordinating the multiple authorities involved when a project crosses a state line.

In Eastern Pennsylvania, where I live, a person can reduce by about half the auto mileage involved in a day-trip to Philadelphia or New York, and leave their vehicle in a generally secure location. But although the use of long-term parking at growing airports outside the major cities, such as Allentown and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is a common practice, the park-and-ride option for city day-trips is seldom, if ever, advertised.

You can make a lot more friends by emphasizing undiscovered positives than by insisting upon an immovable, expensive, and unproven (under local conditions) idea in toto.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby lpetrich » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:17 am

California High Speed Rail Blog » Quentin Kopp Steps Down from CHSRA Board had some interesting comments relevant to here.

Commenter Andy M. pointed out http://www.tranvia.org/modules.php?name ... =0&thold=0 quoting some of it
(registration possibly required, I am pasting the text below in Spanish)

El AVE Madrid-Valencia se cobró ayer su primera víctima. La hora y media de viaje en tren entre las dos ciudades es algo a lo que Ryanair no podrá hacer frente. Ayer, su presidente, Michael O’Leary, confirmó que abandona la ruta entre las dos ciudades.

El presidente de Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, aseguró ayer en Alicante que la aerolínea de bajo coste “ha dejado de operar” la ruta entre Valencia y Madrid y “no volverá a operarla en el futuro”, debido a que “no puede competir con el AVE”.

Preguntado en un desayuno informativo por los planes de la compañía para su ruta entre Valencia y Madrid, el presidente de Ryanair explicó que esta “no empezará otra vez”. “La ruta entre Valencia y Madrid, no, porque ahora no se puede competir en una ruta corta con el tren de alta velocidad”.


With the help of autotranslators http://translate.google.com http://babelfish.yahoo.com http://www.freetranslation.com I translate the first paragraph as
The Madrid-Valencia AVE yesterday claimed its first victim. The hour-and-a-half trip by train between the two cities is something that Ryanair cannot cope with. Yesterday, its president, Michael O’Leary confirmed that he is abandoning the route between the two cities.

In the next two paragraphs, he stated that he will not be restarting that route, and also that it is not possible to compete with high-speed trains on short routes. I think that it says something about high-speed trains that they can successfully compete with low-cost airlines like Ryanair.

Andre Peretti commented about Ryanair a few comments down:
By the way, O’Leary’s adventures in Marseille have a happy end. He is back, reopening 22 lines from there but not Marseille-Paris. This proves that up to 500 miles low-cost airlines can’t compete. On a shorter distance like LA-SF Ryanair wouldn’t even have tried.


I went to http://http://www.ryanair.com and I verified the absence of both Madrid-Valencia and Marseille-Paris.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby george matthews » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:34 pm

Ryanair is not merely a cheap airline, its CEO appears to hate his passengers. (And it's not necessarily as cheap as it seems, because there are many extra charges). People will only use it if there is no alternative. As soon as another way of travel appears people desert it.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby lpetrich » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:15 pm

The carnage continues.

From Mass Transit magazine: China's High-Speed Rail Threatens Domestic Airlines
BEIJING, Apr. 8 (Xinhua) -- With more high-speed trains set to race across China, there are concerns that domestic airlines will suffer as a result.

The effects are already apparent in parts of China with all flights between Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, and Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, halted since March 27.

The trains make the trip in 3 instead of 10 hours, they are cheaper than the airplanes, and they get more passengers. More generally at Wuhan, flights to places less than 600 km away are down 70%.
Li Jiaxiang, director of Civil Aviation Administration of China, said more than 50 percent of flights less than 500 km in length will become unprofitable due to competition from high-speed trains and about 20 percent of flights traveling between 800 and 1000 km will also run at a loss for the same reason.

Flights traveling more than 1500 km will be not be threatened, he added.

The upcoming Beijing-Shanghai line will reduce train-travel times from 10 to 4 hours, with airplanes taking 2 hours.
No mater how great or small the threat is though, China's airlines are looking to expand further into an area where high-speed rail can't compete, namely international travel.

Like to the US and Europe. HSR travel would take a day or two to get there -- if the lines existed.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby lpetrich » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:55 pm

george matthews wrote:Ryanair is not merely a cheap airline, its CEO appears to hate his passengers. (And it's not necessarily as cheap as it seems, because there are many extra charges). People will only use it if there is no alternative. As soon as another way of travel appears people desert it.

I checked "Fees" at Ryanair's site, and yes, that airline nickel-and-dimes you, charging for checked baggage and the like. I also notice that Ryanair likes to use out-of-the-way airports. That likely helps Ryanair offer low fares, and it may also help Ryanair avoid airport congestion, but that's about it. Now for some numbers:

London:
Heathrow: 27 km
Gatwick: 46 km (Ryanair)
Luton: 55 km (Ryanair)
Stansted: 61 km (Ryanair)

Paris:
Orly: 18 km
CdG: 26 km
Beauvais: 84 km (Ryanair)
Le Bourget: 15 km
Vatry: 213 km (hwy), 156 km (N4: 2-lane road) (Ryanair)

Barcelona:
B airport: 17 km
Girona: 90 km (Ryanair)
Reus: 118 km (Ryanair)

These are Google-Maps distances from city centers.
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby David Benton » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:04 am

lpetrich wrote:The carnage continues.

The upcoming Beijing-Shanghai line will reduce train-travel times from 10 to 4 hours, with airplanes taking 2 hours.
No mater how great or small the threat is though, China's airlines are looking to expand further into an area where high-speed rail can't compete, namely international travel.

Like to the US and Europe. HSR travel would take a day or two to get there -- if the lines existed.

a new air service has started between ghangzou and new Zealand with chinese tourists moving up to thefourth biggest market for NZ
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Re: High-speed trains vs. airline service

Postby george matthews » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:52 am

I also notice that Ryanair likes to use out-of-the-way airports.


There are jokes about it. Their "Brussels" airport is actually at Charleroi - about an hour on the train (plus bus transfer). And they don't necessarily provide connecting transport. O'Leary delights in abusing his passengers. I wouldn't dream of going to Brussels by anything other than Eurostar (well, occasionally the ferry from Ramsgate - or wherever it running from at present).

All over Europe high speed trains are taking business from the airlines. The TGV of course took traffic from the state-owned airline Air France or Air Inter so the question of shareholders didn't arise.
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