Libertarian Party and passenger rail

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: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby electricron » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:28 am

ConstanceR46 wrote:
Promoting an American public policy based on individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peaceful international relations.


>smokingbenaffleck.jpg

Also rails can get congested, yes. However there's far greater capacity in far lesser space if you have 1000 people on a maxibomb compared to 1000 people turning the Podunk Belt ExpressParkHighway into a parking lot.


Trains also park overnight and during the day in huge yards along the tracks. It's not the number of tracks in the railroad corridor that limits the growth of the VRE serving northern Virginia, it's the size of the yards in D.C. that limits its' growth.

Have you seen how large the parking lots are at train stations along the tracks in the suburbs? People still park their cars, just not as many downtown. So less space wasted for parking isn't as much an advantage as you think. Even in the Netherlands, they have problems with bicycle parking capacity at train stations. Yes, bikes instead of cars - but it is still a parking problem. Only in the most dense areas within an urban environment will you see most passengers walking to the train stations.

Discussing bikes brings up another problems, the moving goal posts for bike advocates. First they asked for posts to lock their bikes to, second they ask for shelters so they can lock their bikes in a protected shelter, and after the transit agencies spend a small fortune accommodating their bikes at the stations, they then switch their demands to allow bikes on the trains where each bike displaces at least one human. Moving goal posts makes pleasing them extremely difficult and expensive.
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Re: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby bdawe » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:58 am

You know what you do about not-enough-downtown-train-storage-parking-lots?

Turn the trains around and send them out to the suburbs like they do in normal countries
B. Dawe's map of routes and urban populations https://brendandawe.carto.com/viz/80b9d ... /embed_map NOW updated with 2016 Canadian Populations
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Re: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby djlong » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:53 am

Rail traffic certainly won't get congested if you don't build it...
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Re: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby BandA » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:45 pm

bdawe wrote:You know what you do about not-enough-downtown-train-storage-parking-lots?

Turn the trains around and send them out to the suburbs like they do in normal countries
If you store the trains away from where they are needed, then you have to pay to run them empty. So you have increased operating costs.
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Re: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:06 pm

BandA wrote:If you store the trains away from where they are needed, then you have to pay to run them empty. So you have increased operating costs.

It’s a tradeoff between land value and time value, like how LIRR has some of its trains stored at PSNY and Atlantic but runs others out to Sunnyside or Jamaica. Sometimes the extra power and wages are worth it, even without reverse commuters.
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Re: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby lpetrich » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:11 am

CHTT1 wrote:If Randall O'Toole "loves passenger trains," how come he's opposed every passenger train effort -- from transit to LD -- ever presented in the past 30 years or so? Strange sort of love.

He might respond that he likes passenger trains, but that he doesn't think that governments should be in the business of supporting them.
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Re: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby CHTT1 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:16 pm

So he's a libertarian/conservative economist, not a train lover.
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Re: Libertarian Party and passenger rail

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:54 pm

Moderator Note: merged a couple topics together. Usual noice about respect, no ad hominem attacks, etc.
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Re: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby Bob Roberts » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:25 pm

CHTT1 wrote:So he's a libertarian/conservative economist, not a train lover.


Apologies for nit-picking but IMO it is inappropriate to refer to O'Toole as an economist. He has an undergraduate degree in forestry and he did some graduate work in economics back in the 70s, but he did not finish the degree. He has repeatedly demonstrated that he knows nothing about the pivotal aspects of modern economics, most notably increasing returns to scale / agglomeration economies. While he dies know a bit about budgeting, calling him an economist is roughly equivalent to calling someone who flunked out of medical school a doctor.
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Re: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby bdawe » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:49 am

lpetrich wrote:
CHTT1 wrote:If Randall O'Toole "loves passenger trains," how come he's opposed every passenger train effort -- from transit to LD -- ever presented in the past 30 years or so? Strange sort of love.

He might respond that he likes passenger trains, but that he doesn't think that governments should be in the business of supporting them.


O'toole maintains a streamliner-age nostalgia blog. His fondness for historic passenger transportation is geniune. He's just convinced himself that trains are obsolete https://streamlinermemories.info/,
B. Dawe's map of routes and urban populations https://brendandawe.carto.com/viz/80b9d ... /embed_map NOW updated with 2016 Canadian Populations
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Re: You Might Enjoy.....

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:20 pm

bdawe wrote:O'toole maintains a streamliner-age nostalgia blog. His fondness for historic passenger transportation is geniune. He's just convinced himself that trains are obsolete https://streamlinermemories.info/,

Oh, that’s his blog? Interesting, and a good source of information.

As for his beliefs, I’m not even convinced that a solid diner is obsolete in North American service, let alone sleeper cars and overnight service.
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Re: Libertarian Party and passenger rail

Postby ConstanceR46 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:34 pm

Overnight Service isn't obsolete in other large countries such as China and India, it's absolutely not obsolete in America.
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Re: Libertarian Party and passenger rail

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:48 pm

The Wall Street Journal has reviewed Mr. O'Toole's recent book "Romance of the Rails":

https://www.wsj.com/articles/romance-of ... 1548287880

Fair Use:

..In 2006, the city of Nashville, Tenn., built a new commuter-rail system—christened the Music City Star—for $41 million. At the time, the Regional Transportation Authority of Nashville called it “the most cost-effective commuter rail start-up in the nation.” When it comes to rails, though, no term is more fungible than “cost-effective,” as Randal O’Toole notes in his eye-opening “Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need.”

The Nashville train, which operated only on weekdays, took 50 to 55 minutes to complete a trip that a car could make in 35 minutes. Cost overruns ran to 25% beyond projections. Planners predicted 1,900 riders a day; a decade after the system opened, ridership hovered around 1,000. Operating costs were estimated at $3 million a year; by 2016, the author calculates, that number was $8 million. “It would have cost less,” Mr. O’Toole writes, “to buy every daily roundtrip rider a new Toyota Prius . . . every other year for the expected life of the train.” The train is still running and continues to struggle financially............“I write this book,” Mr. O’Toole says, “as a love letter to a dying friend.” But perhaps he is being too hasty. The so-called Green New Deal proposal, conjured in a rapture of utopian bliss and soon to be launched by the Democratic House, will cost, by one estimate, $700 billion to $1 trillion annually and includes funding for high-speed, zero-carbon rail. Senate Democrats, too, are floating a proposal that calls for $25 billion in mass-transit spending to build, or expand, subway and light-rail transit systems nationwide. Mr. O’Toole’s dying friend appears far from the end of the line

It appears that neither author nor reviewer is exceptionally happy that the passenger train is here to stay, but they both appear to be Kubler-Ross Phase 5 that such is the case.
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Re: Libertarian Party and passenger rail

Postby ConstanceR46 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:27 pm

hmm it's almost like the USA systematically attempted to dismantle train systems in favor of cars
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Re: Libertarian Party and passenger rail

Postby electricron » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:06 pm

ConstanceR46 wrote:hmm it's almost like the USA systematically attempted to dismantle train systems in favor of cars

Prior to 1950s, pre and until the end of World War II, most transit systems in the USA were private companies, trying to earn a profit from fares. After the war, more and more transit companies failed financially, and local governments took them over or replaced them with public agencies providing subsidies. Think of how Amtrak was formed, except at the local areas vs nationally.
Buses are still the cheapest way to expand and provide transit services in most of America. Even New York City has a huge bus service to supplement their huge subway and ferry systems.
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