Virgin (XpressWest/DesertXpress) Las Vegas - Victorville - Los Angeles

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Matt Johnson
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Matt Johnson » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:58 pm

george matthews wrote:I think there is a monorail - a type of transit only used in play sites.
Yes, it just went into service a few years ago.

Image

http://www.monorails.org/tmspages/LVO1.html

Nasadowsk
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Nasadowsk » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:50 pm

george matthews wrote:Personally I wouldn't recommend any investment in transport to las Vegas. I don't believe it has a long term future. For one thing alone, its supply of water is under threat from the dessication of the Colorado river. For another, I doubt if its parasitic economy has a long term future.
Why not? If the casinos are willing to foot the bill, let them.

As for no future, LV isn't Atlantic City. It'll survive. What it needs to do is find a working balance between 'sin city' and 'family friendly', to work.

Nevada's a weird state anyway, mostly owned by the feds, legalized gambling, legalized prostitution, and dotted with tiny towns between basically two population centers (three?)

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Matt Johnson
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Matt Johnson » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:00 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:Nevada's a weird state anyway, mostly owned by the feds, legalized gambling, legalized prostitution, and dotted with tiny towns between basically two population centers (three?)
And an airbase that doesn't officially exist at Groom Lake on the Nellis range, flying planes that don't officially exist! :-D

David Benton
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by David Benton » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:22 am

rubber tires on concrete , yuck . a bus would be more efficent . cramped design , and elevated light rail would have been a lot better . still i quess it is mass transit of a type .
i have a nice big map of the USa , and it is amazing how much of those western areas are defense reserves or similiar . i dont spose theres any chance of running hsr lines through them . not like someone can step off the train at 186 mph . aka how the berlin corridor through eastern germany used to be .
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goodnightjohnwayne
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by goodnightjohnwayne » Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:36 pm

george matthews wrote: I think there is a monorail - a type of transit only used in play sites.
The Wuppertal Schwebebahn would seem to be a very functional suspended monorail. It has been running since 1901, so I would hardly dismiss the concept as a "type of transit only used in play sites."

george matthews wrote:Personally I wouldn't recommend any investment in transport to las Vegas.
Even your truly advocates a return of Amtrak service from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, which seems like a most prudent investment.
george matthews wrote: I don't believe it has a long term future. For one thing alone, its supply of water is under threat from the dessication of the Colorado river. For another, I doubt if its parasitic economy has a long term future.
There are many water use issue in the far west, many of which are associated with irrigated agriculture and power generation, not just urban development. Similarly, the same sort of comment about a "parasitic economy" might apply equally to the Washington D.C. area, where the current employment growth is almost entirely from the public sector, although there are few who would doubt that the area has a "long term future."

I'm inclined to say that water issues might force a halt to the development of outer suburbs of many far western cities, but if anything, it will bring the focus back into the urban core areas. In other words, Amtrak's former downtown Las Vegas station might seem to be a more credible location in the next few years.

Chafford1
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Chafford1 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:53 pm

DesertXpress will be up and running in 2013, according to a recent presentation:

http://www.nrcma.org/download.cfm?ID=27517

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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Nasadowsk » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:31 pm

I say let them at least try. Eventually, someone's gonna succeed, but if nobody steps forward....

The LV monorail was a disaster (on the surface), but the casinos are pretty much on the idea of a train to the slots. They've funded the ACES in NJ, which was the right idea at the worst possible time. DesertXpress? Maybe they've run the numbers and think they've got a go at it. Remember if it's a private thing funded by the casinos, the train itself can lose a bit - but the house always wins! I bet this is why the LV monorail's hung on as long as it has...

Remember - the destination's LV. What else do people go there for other than to spend money. Where do you think that money goes?

And they look like they're aiming about right - not too high, not too low. IMHO, Cali's fantasy system stands little chance of ever being built (It seems to double in price every month, and supposedly the ridership projections make the Tokido Shinkansen look like a wasted effort...). Nor will the public flock to a P-42 pulling Amfleets at "110" (which exists on paper - remember that even the Acela can barely go 30mph -> 100 -> 15mph in the space of 5 miles - no way a diesel with more weight and far less power will).

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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Chafford1 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 6:06 am

It would appear from the artist's impression in the presentation, that DesertXpress are planning to use a variant of the Chinese CRH1 EMU which is based on the Swedish 'Regina' EMU:

Image

Nasadowsk
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Nasadowsk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:42 pm

Looks like the project's for real, not just a pipe dream - it's gotten the attention of the latest GAO report (see recent topic in this forum).

It's the most rational proposal of the three - Maglev's a non starter, and even the 'faster' 5+ hour conventional train is a worthless exercise...

goodnightjohnwayne
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by goodnightjohnwayne » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:11 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:Looks like the project's for real, not just a pipe dream - it's gotten the attention of the latest GAO report (see recent topic in this forum).

It's the most rational proposal of the three - Maglev's a non starter, and even the 'faster' 5+ hour conventional train is a worthless exercise...
I'm inclined to say that the conventional train is the only practical option for bringing passenger rail back to Las Vegas. I have absolutely no doubt that there is a market for a daylight train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and with the current recession, the UP might be more amenable to starting with a single daily round trip. Ideally, Amtrak would start with a daily coach only Los Angeles to Las Vegas train, and develop ridership before examining increased frequencies and a replacement for the former Desert Wind, preferably on a daily basis.

In reality, there is no sustainable business model for high speed rail to Las Vegas without demonstrating the viability of conventional passenger rail.

Nasadowsk
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Nasadowsk » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:57 pm

goodnightjohnwayne wrote: In reality, there is no sustainable business model for high speed rail to Las Vegas without demonstrating the viability of conventional passenger rail.
There's no sustainable business model for a 5+ hour train, period. Granted, anywhere else in the world, 180 someodd miles in circa 2 hours wouldn't be high speed rail anyway.

IMHO, they're looking at this from the standpoint of Atlantic City. Bus service to/from AC is very brisk, despite AC being a dump, and local competition up north. Which has good bus service, too. A direct line to/from LV, connecting the only megaopolis on the west coast, with no other competition....

Blowing the doors off buses and driving, even if they lose money on the train service (hint: teaser fares and hotel packages), they'll make it up on gambling.

This isn't an outlandish proposal, ad it's not a proposal for a somewhat improved Amtrak. It looks like the backers of this have run the numbers - and if they want to build it with privat funding, let them.

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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by goodnightjohnwayne » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:14 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:
There's no sustainable business model for a 5+ hour train, period.
Where did you get that idea? Since when is 5 hours the limit of human endurance in a day coach?

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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Nasadowsk » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:50 pm

goodnightjohnwayne wrote:
Where did you get that idea? Since when is 5 hours the limit of human endurance in a day coach?
Since the public rejected it a few decades ago.

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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by goodnightjohnwayne » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:30 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:
Where did you get that idea? Since when is 5 hours the limit of human endurance in a day coach?
Since the public rejected it a few decades ago.
Well, that would be quite a shock to the millions of passengers who routinely take the train on a trip of more than 5 hours.

The reality is that there is an untapped rail passenger market for daily service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, using existing tracks and conventional equipment. The Las Vegas market was poorly served by the three time per week Desert Wind. Similarly, a high speed train running from Vegas to an isolated town on the edge of the desert is another guaranteed failure. Between the two extremes, there is a viable business that requires a minimal investment for sustained passenger growth, using existing track and rolling stock.

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Matt Johnson
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Re: DesertXpress - 150mph self powered trains

Post by Matt Johnson » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:39 am

When I took the TGV from Paris to Milan, it was anything but a quick, high speed journey. We cruised at 186 mph between Paris and Lyon, and then diverged from the high speed line and crawled through the mountains on the way to Italy. I think the trip is like 10 hours.

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