This is probably the best train video I've found at YouTube in a long time.<br><br><object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/XxoXpw1het8&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/XxoXpw1het8&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object><br><br>That's New Mexico's new commuter train that operates from Belen to Santa Fe, the Rail Runner in the video at high speed. Trains are making a comeback in the USA if New Mexico has one. That's good news, imho.<br><br>More info on the Rail Runner can be found at http://www.nmrailrunner.com/<br><br>I love the paint scheme, with the head of a road runner on the engine and its tail feathers on the coach cars. The silver, red and gold uses the same colors as Santa Fe's old "war bonnet" paint scheme. Appropriate for New Mexico.<br><br>Here's some photos:<br><br><br><br><br>What's really unique, the door closing alarm is appropriately the cartoon "beep, beep" sound. Every little touch on this train is very cool.<br><br><br><br>
Cool!<br><br>I love trains myself, and it's true that they are making a big comeback these days. Here in Montreal, we only had two commuter train lines until 1997. Now, we're up to 5 lines, with a sixth one expected next fall.<br><br><br>My Wii: 5721 8516 7937 9434 (PM me if you Wii)
That is amazing. I hope they can keep ridership at high levels.<br><br>I was just in D.C. this last weekend and I was very impressed with their light rail system, the D.C. Metro. For a little light rail, it was incredibly fast, smooth, and quiet. I'm used to the Chicago L with trains you can hear for miles.<br><br>Now, how optimistic are you for the United States to get some kind of speedy intercity rail system? Do you think it will be similar to Amtrak's Acela line? Do you think it will be competitive with air travel? I hope it is at least in the Midwest.<br><br>-- Cee Bee Double-U
The problem in America with passenger trains is the lack of taxes on freight railroads, which means Amtrak and commuter railroads rely upon federal highway/transportation funds. Since these funds are discretionary, passenger train transit agencies are mostly local agencies, and get most of their Capital and Operational funds from State and Cities. <br>Local agencies are more worried about local trains than they are about cross country; interstate or intercity trains. That leaves Amtrak with little capital funds to do anything, including buying new train sets. Therefore, you will not see more very high speed train in America soon. There's no money for Amtrak to buy the train sets, much less buy right-of-ways and build high speed track.<br><br>It's more likely the States by themselves or make interstate deals that will build new high speed rail tracks in America, one city pair at a time. San Francisco to Los Angeles would likey be the first, imho, if Californai's economy ever starts growing again. The problem section of that proposed high speed rail track is just north of Los Angeles. It'll require extensive tunneling, which is very expensive. After the California line and expensive tunnels are built, then a Los Angeles to Las Vegas line is possible and will follow next through the high desert. California and Nevada would probably choose a 150 mph or faster railroad to build, to match downtown L.A. to L.V. Strip speeds if possible.<br><br>The best I hope for everywhere else is fast 100-120 mph speeds on rebuilt, abandoned, freight railroad righ-of-ways. Illinois is pursing that presently, repairing little used by freight railroad right-of-ways. They have been rebuilding track along IH 55 and IH 57, and looking at upgrading BNSF track along IH 80. Once the tracks are refurbished, then all they would need to do is buy some high speed train sets and upgrade the signaling. The signaling would be complex and expensive for every grade crossing along each route. But, States can afford to do that, one route at a time.<br><br>The only fast speed trains in America presently, outside the Northeast Corridor where Amtrak's Acela trains thrive, is in Washington State, the Amtrak Cascade trains that run on busy BNSF freight tracks from Portland to Seattle, with one train a day all the way to Vancouver. They're Talgo train sets cars with an American based passenger diesel engine, capable of 110 mph. But since the tracks are only qualified for 79 mph or less, that's all they can do. But that's twice as fast as most Amtrak trains, that only average 45 mph. <br>The Talgo train sets, or something similar to them, is what Illinois eventually hopes to buy for Amtrak to run on their refurbished tracks, just like Washington state has done. Other States could do the same thing. Let's assume Illinois eventually upgrades to faster train from Chicago to St. Louis, then Missouri from St. Louis to Kansas City. Then Kansas and Colorado upgrade to Denver. Step by step, city by city, it's possible to have one fast train from Chicago to Los Angeles. But that's they way it'll be done in America, with just 110 mph maximum speeds. But that's not as bad as most will believe, that still twice as fast as Amtrak does today, and the 42 to 46 hour trip would be shortened to 21 to 23 hour trip, just one night aboard a sleeper vs two.<br><br>So, I believe fast trains are possible in America, 100 to 120 mph, but I don't expect to see more 150 mph high speed trains anytime soon, outside the Northeast Corridor and in California. To get to 150 mph, we'll have to build high speed, 150 to 200 mph tracks, with grade separated crossings. And that's not going to happen all the way across the country.<br><br>The old metroliner coach cars were built in the 1950's 60's. They and their electric power locomotives were replaced by Acela. The coaches are still in use, on much slower trains on the East coast. <br><br>p.s. I guess I should try to explain why the Acela and Cascade trains are much faster than Amtrak's standard trains. The key is the cars are able to lean during curves. Acela cars and locomotives leans via computer controls, the Cascade trains use a patented wishbome suspension and gravity. By leaning in curves, they can go faster in the turns. Without this capability, they'll be limited to 79 mph too.<br><br>By the way, here's the Talgo USA web site link:<br>http://www.talgousa.com/<br>They're still hoping Illinois will buy their stuff soon.<br>And Talgo's frustration with the US Congress.<br>http://www.talgousa.com/pdf/Newsletter_OctNov2002.pdf<br><br>Photo of Amtrak Acela train (150 mph)<br><br><br>Photo of Amtrak Cascade train (110 mph)<br><IMG SRC="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1278/1368117652_aa14ea5001.jpg?v=0[/image]<br><br>[image]http://homepage.mac.com/donclark/.Public/wallace.jpg">
Hey Ron, sorry I didn't get to this post for a long time but thank you for explaining all of that. It's funny that I never hear of all those plans for Amtrak here in Illinois. I have mostly been paying attention to the effort in Wisconsin to get an RTA together so that they can connect with the Metra commuter rail in Chicago. It's no high-speed rail, but it would be amazingly convenient to be able to take a commuter train from Chicago to Milwaukee in half the time it would take during rush hour.<br><br>-- Cee Bee Double-U
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