28 Replies to “High Speed Rail: Going Nowhere Fast”

    1. It’s even WORSE than that …

      The left wants to make you PAY for high speed trains … and then … FORCE you use it. They’ll triple the gasoline tax, price EV’s out of reach, let interstate highways deteriorate, give free rail tickets to the poor (and immigrants). The left loathes the Free Market as “dumb”. When in fact, personal economics is the single TRUTH on the planet. Why? Because it’s SURVIVAL. People always act in their own PERSONAL self interest. Which is why “high speed” trains (a misnomer) have been REJECTED by the public.

      PS … because of multiple limitations … CA’s “high speed” train was going to travel at a maximum of about 72mph. A speed at which you’d get bulldozed off the LA Freeways, let alone HWY 5

  1. Stelmach and Redford wanted to sink billions into a Calgary to Edmonton HSR. I was surprised that Knothead didn’t push for it during her reign of error.
    The video asked my question: what do you do when you get there? You still need local transportation. And, how much time do you really save self-driving vs. taking a train? Even flying isn’t cost or time effective when you measure the total time spent between CGY and EDM and not simply actual travel time.

    1. Even flying isn’t cost or time effective when you measure the total time spent between CGY and EDM and not simply actual travel time.

      I found that out during the past year. The airline that I used to take to fly from Edmonton to Fort St. John cut back on its service, so my only choices were either WestJet or Air Canada. WJ has itself cut back on its service to Fort St. John, so AC is the only way there.

      During my last trip, it took me almost the same amount of time from door to door by air and cab as it did when I drove to FSJ. The only advantage is that I’m not as tired when I fly, though it catches up on me later on. Much of that time is spent flying from Edmonton to Vancouver, twiddling my thumbs for about an hour while I wait for my next flight, and then from Vancouver to FSJ.

      When I first started flying to NE B. C., the cost wasn’t too bad. In the past 3 or so years, it’s gone up by at least 25%. I have to pay for the extra distance I have to fly and, then, there’s always yet another one of Prinz Dummkopf’s idiotic carbon taxes.

      I plan on doing a lot of driving this year, starting with taking my truck back to Alberta and getting it registered here.

    1. They are relatively small places with higher population density than N.America. It’s the same in the U.K. (where rail travel works not as well as anyone would like, but it works) likewise because of the population density and the small size of the country: in Great Britain, the island that contains England, Scotland, and Wales, there is no place more than seventy-five miles from the seacoast, and when you get to the railway station almost anywhere, there is already reasonable public transport – buses, taxi, subway for your local journey. And it was all started before motorized vehicles were available/affordable except for the wealthy minority (who typically employed chauffeurs.) In those places, most people opt for cars (or at least motorbikes) if they can.

    2. Plus they are small counties compared to the USA and most of their populations are in compacted areas.

      Talk about a sink-hole for cash.

    3. In Japan the distances are shorter, the population density is much higher and road and city congestion ere greater making high speed intercity rail viable. Highly vaunted European high speed rail is heavily subsidized by government (I.e. those people who don’t use rail).

    4. Same in Europe.
      Vast majority people in the cities live in apartments/condos. There is the critical mass that will use the public transit, breaking even at the very best, which if it does, on the whole is ok.

      If you take Calgary, one would think that absolute majority of people live in houses, so you have the spread, to walk sometime a long distance and wait at a train station or a bus stop in -20 C is not picnic.
      The morning and evening busses and trains may be full, in between there is nobody, the vehicles are serving like 10 people max in 3 car train. So you gotta pay for it regardless.
      You do see mostly those that came to enrich Canada using the transit, it is what they know and deal with real life, once they become comfortable they will fall into the local mode.
      Been there, done that.
      Most locals just won’t do it.

      It may happen with the idiot in charge that is going to make gas out of reach of ordinary people.
      Yeah …. socialist, social engineering sucks something fierce.

      1. Tooner, Dustoff, GregN and Lev, as you correctly pointed out, the size of the population matters. The proponents of these ideas simply don’t examine the issues against these kinds of railways.

        Rather like singing Canadian and European praises without realising the rot from within.

  2. Passenger rail is viable only when population densities and ridership numbers support it. The reason it’s not viable in the former US is the population density numbers. Compare and contrast with East Asia and Western Europe/

  3. North American rail systems are designed and built for freight movement. It’s the lowest energy / tonne / kilometer system by far. Passenger rail is parasitic to the system as there is little tonnage involved and that freight that gets annoyed at the resultant service. Passenger rail in general and high speed specifically works better where high density and high population centers are not well serviced with highways and road networks relative to population.

    1. It’s the lowest energy / tonne / kilometer system by far

      Actually barges on the Mississippi river system have it beat, but your point is still valid.

      For high speed rail to work, it needs it’s own dedicated trackage, separated from freight and low speed passenger services.
      There are very few corridors in N America with the populations to support this.

      1. Yep.
        One single line only.
        That is the only conceivable economically viable option. Everything else is just pipe dreams.

  4. Don’t forget there’s always the possibility of a high-speed underground rail system. Hey, Musk–how’s that working out for you?

    Speaking of which, I’m reminded of the science fiction novel Earth Air Fire and Water by Stephen Nemeth and William Walling. It was published in early 1974 by the magazine Analog in 3 parts over successive issues. The premise is the construction of such an underground railway, but there’s a certain twist to it. (If you want to know what it is, you’ll have to read it!)

    I recently re-read it as someone had scanned it and made a downloadable PDF file from it. I was amused by the fact that it takes place in the mid- to late-1980s, the “near future” for the time when it was written.

      1. WestJet still flies to FSJ from Calgary. However, if I want to use it to get there from Edmonton on a Sunday, I have to leave early during the day, kill several hours in the Cowtown airport and then get into FSJ late in the evening. I usually return mid-week and it’s not much different.

        More than 12 hours in transit is way too long. I could drive there in less time.

        The airline appears to have cancelled some daytime flights. I’ve been booking my trips two weeks in advance and I haven’t been able to get to B. C. or back to Edmonton at a reasonable time since Christmas.

        I suspect much of that has to do with the airline’s new owners, Onex.

          1. Nah. If things go according to my plans, I’ll be Ramming it, as in Dodge Turbo. I’ll be driving the truck I inherited from my father. Gotta love that Cummins diesel!

    1. I remember a short tv miniseries/movie from the early 70’s about a guy frozen and being dug up 200 years in the future of a wrecked USA.
      There was a still somewhat functioning underground high speed rail network that was used to still ferry the odd person around running on old nuke fusion plants.
      In the end one faction used his old knowledge of nukes to destroy the other side.
      Forgot the name of it.

  5. Having used high-speed rail in both China and Japan, others have made the salient arguments. The other one missing is massive government subsidisation. China prints the money it needs, but everyone else pretends they don’t.

    North America just does not have the population base to support such infrastructure.

  6. If you really just want to move people cheaply, the roads between these places already exist. How many busses could be bought for all that money?

  7. Great. Link it all together. Rail and a pipeline too. Perfect. Moving people and their carbon fuels with them. Amazing no brainer.

  8. I noticed that the video showed a high speed rail line between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto (it may have continued to Windsor but I couldn’t see it). I thought, not that boondoggle again. The idea that refuses to die.

  9. Monorail!…monorail!….monorail!

    Every time I see a windmill, I think popsicle stick skyscraper