"The US isn't ready for High Speed Rail:"

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

JontyMort

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
270
Location
United Kingdom
AVE train sets are not multi gauge, but there are a large number of other train sets that are gauge changing, which they can do at slow speed but without stopping that operate partly on the high speed standard gauge lines at upto 250kph and partly on upgraded Spanish gauge lines. A quick summary can be foud in the Wikipedia article on AVE..

There are (or were) also Talgo gauge sheds at Irun and Port Bou for the Paris-Madrid and Paris-Barcelona overnight trains.
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,986
There are (or were) also Talgo gauge sheds at Irun and Port Bou for the Paris-Madrid and Paris-Barcelona overnight trains.

The sheds are still there AFAIK but unfortunately the overnight trains that used them (along with the two daytime trains to Montpellier that also used them) were discontinued back in about 2013 (speaking from memory).

There is now talk of bringing back the Zurich to Barcelona train. The plans are still a bit wishy washy, but it seems unlikely this would be a Talgo,

But there are now similar sheds all over the system, with lots of Talgo trains crossing over between the gauges. They now use locomotives that can change gauge in the same shed so they no longer need to switch locomotives as they used to do in Irun and Port Bou.
 

JontyMort

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
270
Location
United Kingdom
There is now talk of bringing back the Zurich to Barcelona train. The plans are still a bit wishy washy, but it seems unlikely this would be a Talgo,

Was it Zurich? I thought the Catalan Talgo was just Geneva-Barcelona.

OT alert...

I have happy memories of a Paris-Barcelona normal overnighter (couldn’t afford the Talgo) over 40 years ago. The train was (IIRC) non-stop to Toulouse Matabiau. Opening the train doors - even at 0500 - was like opening an oven as a great blast of heat came in. You then fetched up on the Côte Vermeille right down at the border, and changed trains at Port Bou. Reader, she married me!
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,986
Geneva was a day train. That was the Catalan Talgo which ran Barcelona to Geneva initially as the only TEE branded train in Spain . In the early days she was hauled on the French leg by a Spanish 353 talgo locomotive fitted with standard gauge wheel sets . Later sncf provided their own locomotives for this leg . In about the late 1980s the train was cut back to Barcelona Montpellier . The TEE branding had been dropped by this point . The onward connection to Geneva was provided by a TGV which was marginally faster because it could use a section of high speed line . the loss of a direct connection combined with airline competition led to a slow demise of this once front line service .

I think this train was one of the last to still use Talgo III equipment . Which afaik it did until the end. The train was discontinued in circa 2013 when a TGV / AVE service was introduced between Barcelona and Lyon using the new high speed line . All long distance and inter city trains on the old line via Figueres and Port Bou ceased at this point . The old line can only be travelled on local trains .

this was a different train to the Barcelona Zurich sleeper Talgo , Pau Casals , which ran combined with a Milan Barcelona sleeper on part of its journey . I think this was introduced in the early 1980s and discontinued in 2012 . I was on one of the very last runs .

There were two further talgos that crossed over at Port bou . There was the Barcelona Paris sleeper and there was a day train from Cartagena to Montpelier , the Mare Nostrum Talgo . Another old favourite of mine.

yes , I remember the non talgo night trains too . There was one from Geneva that split I think in narbonne and one half went to Port Bou and the other to Hendaye via Lourdes . It was a very long train and quite impressive to see a single locomotive handle it on the mountainous section after Geneva .

The Hendaye leg would be combined with another night train that came from Rome but was later cut back to Ventimilia . I’m not sure when all this was discontinued but I guess in the early 2000s
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,986
Was it Zurich? I thought the Catalan Talgo was just Geneva-Barcelona.

OT alert...

I have happy memories of a Paris-Barcelona normal overnighter (couldn’t afford the Talgo) over 40 years ago. The train was (IIRC) non-stop to Toulouse Matabiau. Opening the train doors - even at 0500 - was like opening an oven as a great blast of heat came in. You then fetched up on the Côte Vermeille right down at the border, and changed trains at Port Bou. Reader, she married me!
Lovely story

lovely memories
 
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
986
Location
N. Texas
What If The United States Had A National High Speed Rail Network?

The United States has never had a true high speed rail line, let alone an entire network. Instead, a quasi-governmental organization called Amtrak has provided the vast majority of passenger rail service across the country. But because Amtrak does not currently own 98% of its own track, its ability to speed up its trains or provide more service is severely hampered. But what if the United States had built out a high speed rail line?

Posted by What If Geography June 1, 2022

 

MccfamschoolMom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
279
Location
Dwight, IL
There was a lot of resistance to building a "high-speed rail" line along the Lincoln Service/Texas Eagle tracks in my part of IL, largely because the original plan was to close all but 1 railroad crossing in each community along the tracks -- which would have greatly disrupted daily life in those communities. The track was eventually upgraded without closing railroad crossings (although the crossings in my town which had been at 4-way intersections had the intersections modified so that only 2 directions of road traffic would use the crossing -- which fouled up the GPS for out-of-town clients coming to our business). We got a new (unmanned) station for our town, too, which the Lincoln Service ridership from our town didn't justify, and there has been local concern ever since about gang-bangers and druggies from Chicago coming to hang out at our station. (The local historical society got the old depot to use for a museum, though, so at least they were happy.)
And "high-speed rail" along those Lincoln Service tracks apparently only means 80mph (per the warning signs at the railroad crossings).
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
Messages
992
Location
suburban Chicago (Deerfield)
We got a new (unmanned) station for our town, too, which the Lincoln Service ridership from our town didn't justify, and there has been local concern ever since about gang-bangers and druggies from Chicago coming to hang out at our station. (The local historical society got the old depot to use for a museum, though, so at least they were happy.)
Did the "hoods from Chicago" thing actually happen, or did some paranoid locals pull this out of their ... hats? This sounds like the old "loot rail" crap from the early Internet of the Nineties defrosted and warmed over for a new decade.

Firstly, they've got cars, whether their own or stolen. The idea that "gangbangers and druggies" needed a train to go make trouble somewhere else was always more than a little ridiculous. Secondly, Amtrak fare isn't a couple of bucks like the L, nor is it only a few minute's ride to go to another neighborhood like the L, so the idea anyone was going to pay $20 and travel two hours just to "hang out at our station" borders on utter absurdity.
And "high-speed rail" along those Lincoln Service tracks apparently only means 80mph (per the warning signs at the railroad crossings).
As to speed, the Lincoln Service trains are routinely traveling 90mph now, and they'll be up to 110mph once the signaling system is fully ironed out.
 

MccfamschoolMom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
279
Location
Dwight, IL
Did the "hoods from Chicago" thing actually happen, or did some paranoid locals pull this out of their ... hats? This sounds like the old "loot rail" crap from the early Internet of the Nineties defrosted and warmed over for a new decade.

Firstly, they've got cars, whether their own or stolen. The idea that "gangbangers and druggies" needed a train to go make trouble somewhere else was always more than a little ridiculous. Secondly, Amtrak fare isn't a couple of bucks like the L, nor is it only a few minute's ride to go to another neighborhood like the L, so the idea anyone was going to pay $20 and travel two hours just to "hang out at our station" borders on utter absurdity.

As to speed, the Lincoln Service trains are routinely traveling 90mph now, and they'll be up to 110mph once the signaling system is fully ironed out.
We were already having drug dealers coming down from the Chicago suburbs in their cars, many of them associated with some gang or another. And they don't need train fare to access the unmanned Amtrak station in our town; anyone can enter it, ticketed or not, regardless of how they got there (although train fare might be cheaper than gas now!). Granted, I haven't seen the station defaced by grafitti yet, nor have I smelled pot there nor seen drug transactions taking place there personally (although I haven't had a family member catching the Lincoln Service trains from there in 3 1/2 years, so I've only driven past the station rather than parked there since then); however, we do still regularly read reports of local drug busts in the weekly newspaper, and it's usually the case that the drugs came into town from Chicago & its suburbs.
Good to hear that the Lincoln Service trains are already traveling at higher speeds, though!
 

rs9

Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
125
Location
Chicago
We were already having drug dealers coming down from the Chicago suburbs in their cars, many of them associated with some gang or another. And they don't need train fare to access the unmanned Amtrak station in our town; anyone can enter it, ticketed or not, regardless of how they got there (although train fare might be cheaper than gas now!). Granted, I haven't seen the station defaced by grafitti yet, nor have I smelled pot there nor seen drug transactions taking place there personally (although I haven't had a family member catching the Lincoln Service trains from there in 3 1/2 years, so I've only driven past the station rather than parked there since then); however, we do still regularly read reports of local drug busts in the weekly newspaper, and it's usually the case that the drugs came into town from Chicago & its suburbs.
Good to hear that the Lincoln Service trains are already traveling at higher speeds, though!

Not to go too far off topic, but I think there are assumed characteristics of drug use at play here. According to NIH studies, there isn't much significant difference in the use of recreational drugs between urban and rural areas, although there are more recreational drug overdose deaths in urban areas. Likewise, abuse of opioids is now widespread but was certainly a rural issue at the start. To put it mildly, drug sales only happen because someone wants to buy.

Drug busts also only capture drugs for sale where the drug busts are taking place. For example, I live on the north side of Chicago, in a predominantly white neighborhood. I know numerous people who have purchased and used cocaine. They do so with virtually no fear of legal consequences. People smoke marijuana in public with no fear of anything. Even before it was legalized, I have witnessed people in a public park smoking marijuana and a police officer literally walk right past them (not that I felt they should be arrested). At the bars and clubs in River North, it is an accepted fact that (wealthy) people are using "designer drugs" - stimulants, methamphetamines, etc.

To put it simply, there are no drug busts where I live. The police aren't raiding the clubs. No one seems to care. Ten miles to the south, on the south side of Chicago, drug busts are a fact of everyday life.

As for the Lincoln Service - one person's anecdotal examples only add up to so much, but for me personally, I've had a lot more problems with passengers boarding "downstate" than originating from Chicago, Summit or Joliet. Once, a woman who was clearly a ticket dodger tried to steal my phone (long story, but I lent it to her to make a phone call, she showed no signs of giving it back, tried to switch to the aisle seat from the window right before a station stop. I could put 2 and 2 together). I've also had intoxicated and fairly belligerent people in my car who boarded downstate headed toward STL, on more than one occasion.

Again, no anecdotal example is representative of the whole.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
32,766
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
The main topic of this thread though would exclude Lincoln Service and whatever is planned for it from the realm of what "High Speed Rail" refers to, which would be minimally above 160mph. Lincoln Service would some day get to what is known as Higher Speed Rail maybe, on that alignment, which in and of itself would be a good thing.
 

toddinde

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
475
Location
Sierra Vista, AZ
Maybe you and your lady friend cannot tell the difference but in my experience the first thing working age people see when they research travel on Amtrak is how long it takes to get anywhere. The TGV and Shinkansen projects were not magic bullets that solved all problems but they did help save passenger rail in their respective regions by proving newer rail technology could still serve a useful and appealing purpose in the era of jet aircraft and personal vehicles. Meanwhile the Western Hemisphere has done precisely as you recommend and mostly ignored high speed rail as our passenger rail networks continue to dwindle in size and relevance as they pass into obscurity and obsolescence.
No we haven’t. By and large we haven’t created usable, high performance rail except in a few places like Milwaukee to Chicago. Of course, Milwaukee to Chicago is one of Amtrak’s most successful routes. Another example is the Surfliner and California’s Capital Corridor. High performance rail that is very successful. Far from dwindling, these prove the rule that high performance, conventional rail is successful and popular.
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
800
Location
Boston
No we haven’t. By and large we haven’t created usable, high performance rail except in a few places like Milwaukee to Chicago. Of course, Milwaukee to Chicago is one of Amtrak’s most successful routes. Another example is the Surfliner and California’s Capital Corridor. High performance rail that is very successful. Far from dwindling, these prove the rule that high performance, conventional rail is successful and popular.
Its interesting that when you cite examples of high performance rail, your go-to examples are Milwaukee-Chicago, the Surfliner and the Capital Corridor, all of which fall far short of the level of service provided by NE Regionals (arguably not HSR, but just high performance, high frequency rail).
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
4,719
Location
Baltimore. MD
Its interesting that when you cite examples of high performance rail, your go-to examples are Milwaukee-Chicago, the Surfliner and the Capital Corridor, all of which fall far short of the level of service provided by NE Regionals (arguably not HSR, but just high performance, high frequency rail).
I think the Surfliner and Capitol Corridor service has frequency that approaches that of the Northeast Regionals. Certianly they're similar to the Empire and Keystone Corridors. And the Surfliner has commuter rail, too, on the route. Of course, the speeds aren't anything like those on the NEC.
 
Top