Skip to comments.Siemens’ High-Speed Rail: These “Cars” Get 700 Miles-Per-Gallon
Posted on 06/11/2010 7:43:40 AM PDT by Willie Green
America has a waiting problem.
Think about the time you spend waiting in traffic jams at the doctor/dentists office at restaurants at the gas station.
And how about the six months of your life spent waiting at traffic lights? Or the five years youll spend just waiting in lines at retail stores, the post office, DMV, etc. (Early buyers of Apples products likely spend far more.)
And according to Robert Poole, Director of Transportation Policy at the Reason Foundation, the average air traveler now spends two to three hours waiting at the airport. Granted, much of that is due to more rigorous security screening time that is generally well spent but air travel delays and traffic jams are only going to get worse, as more people take to the skies and roads.
In short, we wait an average of 45 to 62 minutes every single day. And thats less time spent with family and friends, or doing other more productive, enjoyable activities.
Other countries have already recognized the problem and have addressed it for years. But the United States has failed miserably. So how can we improve our waiting efficiency? Theres a solution
A Great Idea Until Henry Ford Drove it Off the Rails
Its called high-speed passenger rail.
Ill get to the high-speed part in a moment. First, a quick overview of the U.S. rail service today.
Much of Americas freight still travels by rail. In fact, more than two billion tons plowed across the country in 2007 (the latest data available). Its the transport mainstay for coal, lumber and other heavy industrial products and machinery.
Passenger rail service in the United States dates all the way back to 1830 when the Best Friend of Charleston the first steam-powered train traveled six miles with 141 passengers on board.
Boston, Baltimore and other major cities quickly established major railroads, due to the lack of river access to U.S. inland areas. And the idea of being able to travel, regardless of weather conditions and at high speeds, too was a big hit with most Americans.
As a result, passenger rail service soared
But then Henry Ford came along and changed the playing field. When he introduced the mass-produced automobile in the following decade, rail travel fell by 18%.
700 Miles and a Tank of Gas Later
Fast-forward to 2010
Youd think that in todays high-tech age, we could combine speed with efficiency and wouldnt spend so long waiting. But thats not the case. And with transportation, its an increasingly expensive wait for most Americans.
Take the average car, for instance. Fully loaded with five passengers, it gets about 100 passenger-miles-per-gallon (PMPG).
And according to the Department of Energy, the average passenger jet only gets about 36 PMPG. Of course, the trade-off there is speed.
But how about that speed/low-cost equation? Especially for regional travel? Europe and Asia already manage it. And we can here, too.
The answer lies in the method that squeezes out 700 PMPG.
You got it high-speed trains. You can string their cars together and carry far more passengers than the average commercial jetliner. And these trains blast along at speeds of nearly 250 MPH.
So which company is behind this rapid rail transportation?
This Company Feels the Need the Need for Speed
Take a quick jaunt around the globe and youll see this companys trains in use all over the place
The company were talking about is Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) the largest manufacturer of high-speed trains in the world.
Its Valero high-speed train technology is the worlds most successful. Siemens currently has 160 trains in operation and hundreds more on order.
And for speed-hungry America, its the perfect fit
Siemens is pushing hard to get its Valero high-speed train technology widely adopted across the U.S. rail network. Interest is high, too. There are several high-speed rail projects in the works
Critics argue that few people will ride the high-speed rails. But frankly, thats a myopic view. Theyre not counting on expensive gasoline, because cheap gas is a thing of the past.
As if further proof were needed, U.S. politicians simply need to look around the world to see what other countries are investing in transportation and energy infrastructure.
They need to roll up their sleeves and get the same things going here.
And while you wait, you might want to hop onboard the Siemens train and pick up a few shares.
Wow! It looks like you’ve found a great investment for your personal savings.
you put a gallon of gas into it, and if it runs for 700 miles, then i’ll beleive your claim. these hypermileage claims by teh rail industry can be considered misleading because they assume certain capacities, loads, etc.
And suddenly I'm snickering like a 12 year-old.
“Think about the time you spend waiting in traffic jams at the doctor/dentists office at restaurants at the gas station.”
Is he implying that I’m going to be able to take “high speed rail” to pick up a pizza?
$50 million PER MILE.
Take a look at the cost per passenger mile, then tell me what a great investment this is!
20 minutes or its free. LOL
There will be no government subsidy of rail, right?
Magically, there will be no lines and no waiting with rail, right?
Each rail car will be filled to capacity to gain that 700 miles per gallon figure, right? They won’t be like all those empty buses I see runing up and down the streets, right?
There will be very little start up cost, right?
All the trains will run (on old tracks) at 250 miles per hour, right?
Wow. Hey, I hear the Brooklyn Bridge is for sale because it will no longer be needed.
Lord Obama gave Michigan a whopping $40 million.
You can go as fast as you want, and as far as you want.....as long as its within 9/10 of a mile.
They also never include the fact that the train doesn't go exactly where people want to go, either. Neither do commercial airlines, but what is going to win out in the market? A commercial flight across the country that takes 4 hours and costs $400 or a train ride that takes 15 hours and cost $800?
Unless there is a high-speed train running every ten minutes from my front door to anywhere I want to go, I’ll still spend all of that same time waiting at lights.
Trains work in Europe because they’ve taxed fuel to $7.00 per Gallon.
(psychological disorder)People obviously never wait at train stations or spend time getting to and from them. (/psychological disorder)
This is a good place for the picture of the Detroit Rail Station.
Here you go...
The 700 Mile per gallon is calculated as compared to if the train is running at full capacity as compared to everyone taking their own car.
In other words, it is the equivalent of a single person on the train driving the same distance in a 700 mile per gallon car.
or further, it is 100% BS.
Doesn’t include the fuel cost involved in constructing this monument to the green ideology either.
Cars get 700 mpg?
No, when you have to be deceptive with the description, it becomes obvious the point is rather weak.
Trains compete with airlines, not personal vehicles.
They should be able to offer that competition in time versus cost.
If the goverment is bankrupt enough and can’t maintain the highways and oil is expensive enough then the railroads will provide passenger service again. Right now the people of the U.S. want the government to build and maintain highways not rails.
By the way for everyone else commenting railroads are cheaper to build, maintain and operate then interstate highways. So it is not about cost it is more about choice.
Hush up there. Obozo will hear you.
Its really all about control.
Strip money out of highway funds to build trains and eventually the roads fall apart. Combine that with rising gas taxes and repairs from driving on broken down roads and people will be forced to live within easy access to a train station (in the city)
No more of those filthy rednecks going where they want, when they want.
That station was built with private funds too. So sad.
And there you go. Put some Windex on it.
(Brilliant tag line, BTW)
The highway funds don’t cover the cost of maintaining or building highways anymore. The haven’t for some time.
The train station I wait at was built and owned by a private company long before the government took it over.
You can’t say that about your highway. Talk about government control.
Dagney Taggart. Writ Large.
“California plans to spend $2 billion to build a 220 MPH high-speed rail system that would initially connect Anaheim to Los Angeles.”
It is 40 miles from Anaheim to LA. So I’m going to get there in twelve minutes? Yipee!! Of course, I’ll still have to drive 45 minutes to get to the station from my house.
Are they going to elevate the line? It’s either that or dig a tunnel. No way any vehicle is going to travel at those speeds from Anaheim through Fullerton, Buena Park, Santa Fe Springs, Commerce, and into LA crossing surface streets.
You mean like our little choo choo here that has around 2 people per trip and losing 250K per month. Whose $$ do you suppose that is?
Everybody will be lining up to take a 3 day cross country trip that takes 8 hrs by plane.
Pray for America
Trains compete with airlines, not personal vehicles.
At 25 mpg, a personal vehicle would have to carry 28 passengers to have the equivalent fuel efficiency of a train.
I don't think even the illegal Mexicans can squeeze that many people into a car and still make it around a bend without tipping over.
Actually highway funds are stripped at multiple points and would be a lot more effective if the criminals stripping them didn’t find other means of leeching of the driver.
The rail nazis need to admit that they’re leeches, liars, and thieves with a control fetish.
Yeah that too.
Last time I took a train, there was a guy in uniform hanging out in the “bar car” all night. I asked him what he was in for.
He said he was the fire tender.
I said, “Um...it is a diesel-electric?”
He said, “Union.”
I said, “Do you even own a coal shovel? For that matter, have you ever seen one?”
It doesn’t serve the same function so it is not a apples to apples comparison.
Does the train delivery me to my home and to my place of work, any business I choose, any schedule I want?
If I want to live with less function and service, I would expect to get a lower cost.
But I value my time and the ability to chose where I want to go and when. That has a cost I am willing to pay.
“Trains work in Europe because theyve taxed fuel to $7.00 per Gallon.”
Do you mean $7.00 per LITER, which is about $19.00 per gallon! /s
Unless there is a high-speed train running every ten minutes from my front door to anywhere I want to go, Ill still spend all of that same time waiting at lights.That's pretty silly.
I don’t really have a problem with high-speed rail. I enjoy traveling by train and have fond memories of doing so in my youth. That being said, it is not a Federal responsibility and it should be able to stand on its own in the marketplace.
I do favor the Federal government establishing a high speed rail standard for the 50 states (57 if you’re Obama) as is their role under Article I Section 8. At least with a federal standard, if states decided to link up their high speed rail networks, they would already be compatible.
Beyond that, it’s an issue for State government and the taxpaying residents of that state. There may be some regions where high speed rail makes sense but those decisions should be made at the State level where the elected officials are closer to the people. Moreover, residents of a state and their state representatives are better equipped to make decisions based on the unique attributes of their state.
Shoehorning states into high speed rail by the federal government is a recipe for waste and disaster — a national “Big Dig”.
Highway funds (tolls, tariffs, and gas taxes) cover about 70% of the cost of roads. Show me ANY train passenger system in America that has come close to that in the last two decades and then we’ll talk. Your earlier post that rails is cheaper than highways is a flat out fantasy.
700 miles to the gallon, and doesn’t go anywhere near my home or where I work. Absolutely. Useless.
The efficiency of rail is dependent on the huge mass of the train to give it great momentum that requires only the energy to overcome rail friction to keep going. That is what gives you 700 mpg. That number is reduced with each stop. It is the reason that they did not stop trains to collect mail in the old days, but grabbed it as the train passed by. Rail is great only for cargo travel over long distances with few stops. A bus is more efficient for short hops and stops.
Gov Doyle in Wisconsin has been trying so hard to get rail from Chicago, through Milwaukee and Madison, and dreaming of going to Minneapolis/St. Paul. It has been a big debacle here, and even if the Feds were to completely fund the construction, the ticket prices would be outrageous just on the maintenance costs. It is all just a waste.
The highway funds are stripped by the workers and contractors being paid out of the fund and by the congressmen who award them the contracts.
I don’t think the highway cheerleaders are any different from the government funded railroad cheerleaders. Just choosing a different poison. Both need billion$ of government money. Both are controlled by traffic lights. Both are granted their land by politicians for political reasons.
“At 25 mpg, a personal vehicle would have to carry 28 passengers to have the equivalent fuel efficiency of a train.”
I’ve seen one of those. Isn’t it called a bus?
I remember living in Denmark - wonderful integrated bus-train system - every unit timed to meet others at interchange points.
Time from home to office by bus-train-bus was 75 minutes. Time by car was 15 to 20 minutes. I don't know what it is in Danish Euroland today, but in those days car purchase was 'encouraged' by a 150% (I seem to remember) sales tax. (It was a pure coincidence that all cars had to be imported.)
“Trains work in Europe because theyve taxed fuel to $7.00 per Gallon.
Do you mean $7.00 per LITER, which is about $19.00 per gallon! /s “
And the real funny thing is that Europe is a whole lot closer the persian gulf than we are.... Wonder what is making gas so expensive there??????????????
My car get’s far less milage in city driving then highway driving too. It is just a number and probably little far fetched but you cannot deny that rail is more fuel efficient.
My point is that highways cost just as much to build and operate. But it is what the people want.....for now.
Do you understand the difference is only their immense taxes?
That being said, it is not a Federal responsibility and it should be able to stand on its own in the marketplace.
I do favor the Federal government establishing a high speed rail standard for the 50 states (57 if youre Obama) as is their role under Article I Section 8. At least with a federal standard, if states decided to link up their high speed rail networks, they would already be compatible.
I am very close to agreeing with your view.
I do, however, believe that there is a legitimate federal role in providing funding for acquiring rights-of-way and constructing the railway track and infrastructure. In most cases, the private sector would be more efficient at operating the vehicles and rolling stock that travel on that infrastructure.
This model would be more consistant with how we fund our airways, highways and navigable waterways.
Decades as Chicago Rail Chief (was called to testify.. may have taken just 56K) stepped in front of a train one morning in a romote area, one witness. Insiders & their knowledge
(investors like in the Games) in the "Path of Progress".
Money and sucicide(s) make for a deadly cocktail in ChicagoLand Politics.
MPG is also based on averages.