In 2009, start to make Valley's rail ...

In 2009, start to make Valley's rail connections real

There are 89 comments on the The Morning Call story from Dec 29, 2008, titled In 2009, start to make Valley's rail connections real. In it, The Morning Call reports that:

Imagine speeding over the land at 200 miles per hour, reading this newspaper while having a drink and chatting with your family or business associates in absolute comfort and safety.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Morning Call.

First Prev
of 5
Next Last
Truf dot com

Emmaus, PA

#1 Dec 29, 2008
Your leading statement is ludicrous. You will never see 200MPH intercity passenger service in this country, because it will never be cost effective with current technology. This level of rail service requires strict tolerances to grade, curvature, quality of ties, rail, roadbed, and relies on a lack of grade crossings. 200MPH rail service in "the rest of the world" is limited to a few dedicated routes and all are government funded yearly at an amount probably equal to every dollar ever spent on Amtrak. It simply doesn't pay.

Regional lines which are financially self-sustainable have very specific qualities based on location of population centers, project daily travel (based on a consistent ridership), etc. Just because a city of 72,000 has plans for light rail does not mean that Allentown with 100,000+ has the same need or potential patronage.

You cite the existing rail infrastructure but keep in mind it's used by freight railroads, so your 100MPH train will need to occasionally come to a screeching halt behind that 10,000 ton freight train crawling along at 25 MPH.

I am a rail advocate but I am also a realist. The government does not currently have the hundreds of billions of dollars that would be required to build this type of infrastructure. Add to that the simple fact that US citizens will NOT abandon their automobiles easily... and you have a recipe for the status quo.

Wish it were different... but it isn't.
David-1206

Atlanta, GA

#2 Dec 29, 2008
"....In the 1950s, America had the fastest and most luxurious trains in the world......"

Who owned them?

(Hint: Not the taxpayer)
out there

Whitehall, PA

#3 Dec 29, 2008
When I read these discussion of Rail Service, I find it hard to believe that the trains will ever get up to the speeds mentioned. To be cost effective they probably will be one express per day and the rest Local trains that stop everywhere along the route. You can now drink coffee and talk to friends and read a newspaper while taking a Regional Bus service to Manhattan that is express and efficient. Why keep kicking this idea around, it sound good on paper but by the time it would get up and running it would be obsolete.The concept has an element of nostalgia to it .
Interested Citizen

Easton, PA

#4 Dec 29, 2008
Mr. Marin,

There are so many issues that deserve our attention.

Most reasonable people desire the rail you proport, but knowledgeable people know that your plan is simply too expensive to warrant further consideration.

However, I know you believe that the governament (ie , the taxpayer) should pay. That belief is so much much the mantra both you and your wife ( at the city of Allentown) keep stating over and over again.

We understand that you are using this bogus issue of rail to the LV to increase your name recognition for both your business and for your interest in elected office.

Please stop spending other people's money for your own self-interest.

Happy New Year.
Matt

Harleysville, PA

#5 Dec 29, 2008
"You can now drink coffee and talk to friends and read a newspaper while taking a Regional Bus service to Manhattan that is express and efficient."

You are kidding right. The Transbridge bus takes over to get to NY after it stups 6 times along the way in Bethlehem, Easton, Phillipsburg, Clinton, and Newark. Add in all the wear and tear on the road the buses cause and the cost of the Port Authority Terminal, there is noting efficient about it other than the 3 inches of space between you and the next seat.
Joe

Harleysville, PA

#6 Dec 29, 2008
Mr Marin hit the nail on the head.

Funds are going to be given out for rail transit as part of the recovery plan and if we are not ready with a plan in place Pennsylvania will miss out. End of story.
Tammy

Harleysville, PA

#7 Dec 29, 2008
People seem to forget that gas was over $4 a gallon six months ago. Think it won't go there, and higher, again?
ABC

United States

#8 Dec 29, 2008
How can you run a railroad after you've torn up all the tracks ????
RonMania

Washington, DC

#9 Dec 29, 2008
Speeding over the land, having a drink & chatting with friends - it's called Rt22 & 78!!
barry

Allentown, PA

#10 Dec 29, 2008
Of course Mr Marin wants my tax dollars. He is a lobbyist for mass transit funds.
Mr Marin is totally incorrect on many fronts.
Government control of transportation assets does not work. Look at Amtrac.
The government-built railroad,UP and CP took long, cost more, and were much less efficient than the Northern Pacific route built by a private business man.
The California line that Marin mentions was approved by ballot but must still be paid for. The Governator is now asking for federal bailout money plus high-speed rail money.
Try the cost to the consumer this way Mr Marin. It costs $133 to travel one way from Washington DC to Penn Station. This is on Amtrak, the line that poor old Joe Biden rides on.
Today a plane ticket from LA to Oakland on Southwest, costs less than $50 one way. Do the math Mr Marin.
Mr Marin also uses many other dubious figures but there is not enough time in the day to go through them all.
Suffice to say that Mr Marin is full of nonsense.
Joe

Harleysville, PA

#11 Dec 29, 2008
"Government control of transportation assets does not work. "

Does the government not control the interstate highway system?

Lets see how profitable that would roads and the auto business be if we left vehicular infrastructure up to the private sector?
Don

San Jose, CA

#12 Dec 29, 2008
Plus it is extremely amusing that Bethlehem is ripping up track from what still
would be a viable line from an infrastructure standpoint to Phila. and turning it into a walking trail.
I rode that line in college to see the Phila Orchestra and it was not glamorous but it worked and was better that the bus.
Strategic

Philadelphia, PA

#13 Dec 29, 2008
Item: Amtrak Acela already operates at up to 150 miles per hour (albeit, for short stretches). Conclusion: high speed rail is possible in the US-- and will probably come to pass in many states that have large cities and relatively favorable terrain.

Item: Amtrak already carries more than 40% of the combined air/rail travel market between New York, Boston, and DC, despite relatively high prices and outdated trains and facilities. Conclusion: where quality rail service already exists, it is widely used. The problem is the rail network is not extensive.

Item: The Lehigh Valley is the only major urban center within 100 miles of New York City or Philadelphia that has no rail service -- strictly through accidents of history, not because of demand or rational transportation planning. Conclusion: if the existing train service to Port Jervis, NY or Harrisburg, PA makes sense (and it does), then it also makes sense to the Lehigh Valley, which is a much larger population center.

Item: Ridership on the Keystone service connecting Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, and New York is growing. There are 14 round-trip trains every day. Conclusion: we already have an excellent working model in Pennsylvania to build upon.

Item: The government owns the airports, air traffic control, the roads, bridges, tunnels, streets, and virtually all of the transportation infrastructure that is essential to modern life and the economy. Without public airports, there would be very few airlines (remember the flying boats such as the Pan Am clippers -- those existed because there were no airfields until the government started investing massively in airports). Conclusion: government investment in transportation infrastructure is widespread and responsible for the relative strength of the road and aviation system. Government lack of investment in the rail sector is responsible for the relative weakness of the passenger rail business.

Item: flying is only safe and affordable because of government agencies (e.g. the FAA, the NTSB, ATC, etc.) and all the various government offices that regulate, monitor, plan, fund, and control the aviation system. Also, airports are generally publicly owned, meaning they pay no taxes (saving billions each year for travelers). Conclusion: similar policies for rail systems would follow the model used in aviation.

Item: In cities without rail service, there is always a contingent of nay-sayers: "It won't work. It's too expensive. We need roads, not rail. etc." Once the rail opens, these arguments melt away. Once people have a working rail system, it becomes very clear to everyone how much benefit there is.
virtualm

Plymouth, MN

#14 Dec 29, 2008
If we had rail service direct to the two major metropolitan centers (NY and Philly, but especially NY) and between Bethlehem and Allentown, we would have many more people moving to the Lehigh Valley to enjoy the lovely lifestyle it offers. Of course, as a result, housing prices would increase. Abandoned and derelict buildings would be gentrified. Old warehouses would be turned into condos. We'd have to build more schools, restaurants, and open more businesses to accommodate all of those people. Our cities would obtain more tax money. What a bother it would be to administer and manage all of that growth and extra opportunity. Let's continue to build high-cost, multi-million dollar roads through the countryside, as we did with the Rt 33 extension people travelling through the state can enjoy views of the Northamptom County countryside and to put $100-$300 million towards widening small segments of Rt. 22, so traffic can be tied up for 10 years at a stretch. That's how we LV residents like it.
now ya know

Allentown, PA

#15 Dec 29, 2008
Want faster service?

Move back to New York.
Strategic

Philadelphia, PA

#16 Dec 29, 2008
^ This isn't about New Yorkers (or Philadelphians, which is where I live part of the week). This is about Valley residents (which includes me, the rest of the week). People in the Valley deserve the same level of rail service as anywhere else. Why should Harrisburg and Lancaster have 14 trains per day and Bethlehem have zero? It makes no sense.
Truf dot com

Emmaus, PA

#17 Dec 29, 2008
Strategic wrote:
^ This isn't about New Yorkers (or Philadelphians, which is where I live part of the week). This is about Valley residents (which includes me, the rest of the week). People in the Valley deserve the same level of rail service as anywhere else. Why should Harrisburg and Lancaster have 14 trains per day and Bethlehem have zero? It makes no sense.
Since when did anything about the public rail transportation system make sense? The freight railroads dumped their passenger service because it was a money-loser. Why? Because they didn't get free terminals and routes like the buses, cars, and airplanes did. They were taken to the cleaners on property taxes. Did that make sense? The only reason there is service as you mentioned is because Penn Central was still running it when Amtrak was formed. Amtrak has been woefully underfunded from day 1. And my guess is that since gas has now dropped back to the $1.60 range you'll soon see that ridership start to drop.

As I stated I am a rail advocate but the cost to further build out our rail infrastructure is so staggering as to be unthinkable unless alternative forms of funding are found... like, a huge gas tax or highway usage tax to fund the rail buildout which then also serves as an incentive to use it since it will be cheaper. No one in Harrisburg, or Washington, has the stones to propose anything of the sort.
McNabulous

Bethlehem, PA

#18 Dec 29, 2008
virtualm wrote:
If we had rail service direct to the two major metropolitan centers (NY and Philly, but especially NY) and between Bethlehem and Allentown, we would have many more people moving to the Lehigh Valley to enjoy the lovely lifestyle it offers. Of course, as a result, housing prices would increase. Abandoned and derelict buildings would be gentrified. Old warehouses would be turned into condos. We'd have to build more schools, restaurants, and open more businesses to accommodate all of those people. Our cities would obtain more tax money. What a bother it would be to administer and manage all of that growth and extra opportunity. Let's continue to build high-cost, multi-million dollar roads through the countryside, as we did with the Rt 33 extension people travelling through the state can enjoy views of the Northamptom County countryside and to put $100-$300 million towards widening small segments of Rt. 22, so traffic can be tied up for 10 years at a stretch. That's how we LV residents like it.
Yes, housing prices would go up and all the people who work in the Lehigh Valley wouldn't be able to afford the homes since they don't work in Philly or New York. Also, while increased development would bring in additional tax revenues, it would not be enough to pay for the additional faculty and space the school districts would need so therefore taxes will be increased.
Captain Jack

Macungie, PA

#19 Dec 29, 2008
What a bunch of whiners. If we listened to this bunch of naysayers who've posted on this forum we'd all still be going to work via horse & buggy.

Rail service is a very good idea.
Common Sense

United States

#20 Dec 29, 2008
virtualm wrote:
If we had rail service direct to the two major metropolitan centers (NY and Philly, but especially NY) and between Bethlehem and Allentown, we would have many more people moving to the Lehigh Valley to enjoy the lovely lifestyle it offers. Of course, as a result, housing prices would increase. Abandoned and derelict buildings would be gentrified. Old warehouses would be turned into condos. We'd have to build more schools, restaurants, and open more businesses to accommodate all of those people. Our cities would obtain more tax money. What a bother it would be to administer and manage all of that growth and extra opportunity. Let's continue to build high-cost, multi-million dollar roads through the countryside, as we did with the Rt 33 extension people travelling through the state can enjoy views of the Northamptom County countryside and to put $100-$300 million towards widening small segments of Rt. 22, so traffic can be tied up for 10 years at a stretch. That's how we LV residents like it.
Additional access to NYC is the last thing this area needs. The last great step forward in this area was I-78 in the late 80's which brought unprecedented crime to the area along a greatly increased welfare population. Increased rail service would just speed the process up and raise the cost of living in the area. No thanks!!!

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 5
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

California Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Verydice Jul '17 Believe 1
News Tucker Carlson confronts filmmaker about bizarr... Jul '17 Parden Pard 5
Where have all buildings gone? Jul '17 Harry 1
News First woman police officer hired in Confluence (Feb '08) Jul '17 Wow 19
Chris Stanfield (Mar '17) Mar '17 Haywood 1
News Exchange student neglect may lead to reform (Jul '09) Mar '17 Bigbuggie 16
joe lopez of mazz (Dec '08) Feb '17 redraidergal 39

California Jobs

More from around the web

Personal Finance

California Mortgages