General Amtrak Discussion

Transportation topics in KC
flyingember
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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by flyingember »

OKC to KC would be a nice route in terms of driving ridership just to connect to Texas. It's a little out of the way but it does connect to a route to Los Angeles. I've driven back and forth from Houston a few times and that's a slog, a train with a realistic schedule into central Texas would be used.

A 110mph train from KC to OKC would get your there quicker than driving today, but if you live in a place like Wellington, KS it could be quicker to hop on the train even if the goal is to catch a flight. Taking the train to Dallas for a direct flight could be as fast as driving to OKC and connecting in a different city with a multi-hour layover.

It's 200 miles between the two cities, the math starts to make sense if it's a two hour trip or less.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by flyingember »

Thinking more, the river runner should be extended to Omaha. StL to Omaha + San Antonio to Omaha could be enough to drive ridership in a way the current two routes don't and put KC at the center of three rail routes.

Someone from central KS connecting at Wichita to this new N-S route could be enough to drive demand to improve the SW Chief route too.

It provides the Denver connection on top of this.

As a comprehensive plan, doing both segments makes both projects more valuable.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by DaveKCMO »

Electing Joe Biden and a Democratic-led Senate this November is the best shot we have at increasing Amtrak service. The current administration tried multiple times to defund it completely and, despite some early "infrastructure week" rhetoric, has done nothing to improve America's passenger trains. Biden might be the only president we've ever had that truly understands how Amtrak currently works and what its needs are.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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Southwest Chief resumes daily service May 31! https://www.trains.com/trn/amtrak-annou ... ce-routes/

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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Left unsaid or maybe previously but electrification of rail at any speed - commuters regionally and high speed nationally - is essential if we are to eventually wean ourselves away from higher carbon fuels. But NOTE that you really cannot electrify any vehicle - cars or rail - if the source of electricity is still coal. So many ignore this inconvenient reality when buying Teslas. ~80+% of KC metro is powered by coal - or was before they bought the KS nuke. All going the right direction but coal has to go away and that means near term transition to Nat Gas which is reliable, plentiful and saved TX's ass last month (except for the compressors that we inadvertently shut down).

China basically did high speed rail country-wide in 10yrs! Zero to everything. US decentralization or lack of national strategy is hurting the US. Disparate fits and starts in FL, CA and TX need to be embraced and expanded upon but like the PCC conference in the 40's to standardize streetcar designs, we kind of need a top down approach and believe Biden/Pete can do this but not with the meager budget proposed. Nothjjng short of a WPA-like effort.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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ToDactivist wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 10:35 am
~80+% of KC metro is powered by coal - or was before they bought the KS nuke.
Looks like your statistic is 10 years out of date. Granted, most of the coal generation has shifted to natural gas, but your point is still wrong even focusing on all fossil fuels

https://www.evergy.com/smart-energy/ren ... energy-mix

It's not a given 80% comes from coal when it's 40% for Evergy, and nuclear as a percentage is down.

Evergy is ~80% of the metro so

80% of 66% = 52.8%
If the other 20% is 100% fossil fuels it's at most 72% of power generation, and they're not

BPU is two coal and one natural gas
Indep has one coal plant today. they shut down one and built a solar farm starting in 2018

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by alejandro46 »

ToDactivist wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 10:35 am
Left unsaid or maybe previously but electrification of rail at any speed - commuters regionally and high speed nationally - is essential if we are to eventually wean ourselves away from higher carbon fuels. But NOTE that you really cannot electrify any vehicle - cars or rail - if the source of electricity is still coal. So many ignore this inconvenient reality when buying Teslas.
This is incorrect. Even an electric vehicle powered 100% by coal is still more efficient and clean than an internal combustion engine.
https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/06/how-tesl ... -life.html
But there’s one myth which has been more effective and more pervasive than any of these—the long tailpipe theory.

The long tailpipe theory is everywhere. Anyone who doesn’t like EVs points it out immediately. So what’s the theory? I’ll let Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld do the honors:

“The entire reason for doing these stupid little cars is a lie because electricity comes from coal. In some cases, some studies show that these can produce more pollution than internal combustion engines.”40

Upon first examination, this makes sense. Let’s bring back our US emissions chart to see what Greg means:

US Emissions 2013 2

Earlier in the post, we identified the two biggest causes of CO2 emissions: cars running on gas and coal making electricity. The long tailpipe theory’s logic is that all an EV does is shift energy production from the first bad category to the second bad category. Since coal is the most prominent source of electricity in the world, and coal emits about 1.5 times more carbon than oil per joule of energy produced, EVs are actually worse emissions culprits than gas cars.

When you read about EVs or talk to people about them, you’ll hear this theory come up again and again and again and again.

The thing you’ll notice, though, is that every time you hear someone all mad about the long tailpipe emissions of EVs, they’re using wording like, “may be” and “often” and, in the case of Greg, “in some cases, some studies show.” That’s because you have to use words like that when you’re saying things that you wish were true but actually aren’t.

Taking the US as an example, here’s why they’re wrong:

1) US electricity production is mixed, not just coal. Coal only makes up 39% of US electricity production. And that number’s going down:41

Image

Natural gas, which emits less than half the CO2 of coal, now makes up over a quarter of US electricity production. Nuclear and renewables emit almost no CO2 and now produce a third of US electricity.

2) Energy production is more efficient in a power plant than it is in a car engine. To use an example with an identical source fuel, burning natural gas in a power plant is about 60% efficient, meaning 40% of the energy of the fuel is lost in the energy production process. In a car, burning gas is less than 25% efficient, with the vast majority of the energy lost to heat. The larger more complex system at a power plant will always be far better at capturing waste heat than a tiny car engine. The increased efficiency means that even a car running purely on coal-generated electricity will emit carbon at the same rate as a gas car that gets 30 miles per gallon—which would be a significantly cleaner-than-average gas car.

Because the breakdown of energy source is different in different states, an EV will be greener in some places than others. The US Department of Energy has a great tool to assess exactly how an EV stacks up against a gas car in any zip code in the country.

In the parts of the country that use very little coal, like upstate New York, an EV’s well-to-wheel emissions are far less than that of a gas car (on the chart, HEV = a traditional hybrid car, PHEV = a plug-in hybrid car):

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In the heaviest coal states, like Colorado, EVs cause a lot more CO2 emissions—but still less than a gas car:

Image

The national average is somewhere in between, putting an EV at 61% of a gas car’s emissions overall:

Image

The Union of Concerned Scientists came up with a way to directly compare car emissions, regardless of the type of car it is—a metric called “miles per gallon equivalent,” or MPGghg (ghg stands for greenhouse gases).

MPGghg is how many miles per gallon a gas car would need to achieve in order to match the carbon emissions of an EV (in the EV’s case, the emissions come from the plant that makes the electricity). In other words, if an EV gets 40 MPGghg, it means it emits the exact same amount of carbon as a gas car that gets 40 MPG.

The average new gas car gets 23 MPG. Anything above 30 MPG is really good for a gas car, and anything below 15 or 17 is bad. For reference, remember that an EV running on just coal-produced electricity would have an MPGghg of 30 (so even in a hypothetical entirely coal-powered state, an EV would be the same as a highly efficient gas car), and an EV running on just natural gas-powered electricity would have an MPGghg of 54 and just top the Toyota Prius, which runs at 50 MPG.

Here’s a useful map that shows the kind of MPGghg EVs get in different parts of the US:42

MPG Map

So even for the 17% of the population living in the worst coal states, an EV beats almost all gas cars. This sums it up:43

Image
And the thing is, each year, that already-nicely-positioned blue bar will make a little jump to the right. Because the grid is getting cleaner every year, it means an EV gets cleaner as time goes by. Gas cars are locked where they are, and they’ll be stuck watching as the future pulls away from them.

___________

I didn’t feel strongly about this topic before I spent a lot of recent time learning about it—and now that I have, I kind of think the only way someone could feel positive about a gas car future is if they’re misinformed, personally financially interested in gas cars, hopelessly old-fashioned, drunk with politics, or kind of just being a dick? Right? They would have to be one of those five things to be super pro-gas car—right?

The battle going on isn’t about gas cars vs. electric cars. That one’s already decided. This is a war about time. Oil companies will try to slow things down, and they may succeed—but they’re not winning this one. I just don’t see how they could. A company that makes lantern fuel can stay strong for a while by shielding the public from understanding what a light bulb is, but eventually, people will figure it out and lanterns will be out of business, bringing the lantern fuel company down with it. Greasy hoods are old, noisy acceleration is old, overheating engines are old, oil changes are old, and it won’t be long before everyone realizes that. A fun field trip in 2050 will be taking your grandkid to see an old 20th-century gas station and explaining how it worked.25 Driving a gas car is like littering on a camping trail, smoking on an airplane, and throwing a big stack of paper in the trash, and it’s just a matter of time until public disgust catches up to it.
Also, as noted, most coal is shifting to Natural Gas, which is substantially cleaner burning with less particulates and has helped the US cut emissions greatly in the past 5-10 years. NG is a decent transition and peaker fuel. Long term, we need to replace base load with solar, wind, energy storage, geothermal, hydro, and nuclear and then utilize Natural Gas as peaker and backup plants.

Electrifying Amtrak is expensive, and the ROI isn't there when the routes are so infrequently serviced. It makes sense in the NE Corridor, however, since most of the tracks are owned by freight rail roads, that would be difficult to electrify. The Cal HSR is electrified, but they are obviously unique from the rest of Amtrak and focus on point to point frequent service, similar to the NE Corridor. Amtrak's focus is pulled similarly to KCMO's transit as a battle between wide access (stopping at each little town along the way) and high speed/frequency between big cities. If Amtrak was a for profit business, they would just cancel all the rest of the routes and run just the NE Corridor.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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ToDactivist wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 10:35 am
China basically did high speed rail country-wide in 10yrs! Zero to everything.
Didn’t they use forced labor to construct this? As well as desolating entire villages and displace hundreds of thousands of people? Not to mention their dictatorial autocracy and active suppression of basic human rights and freedoms... I honestly couldn’t give a damn less about their infrastructure when those elements were at play to construct it.
For all my military brothers and sisters out there, thanks for paving the way, ill do my best! AIRBORNE!

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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Anthony_Hugo98 wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 2:03 pm
Didn’t they use forced labor to construct this? As well as desolating entire villages and displace hundreds of thousands of people? Not to mention their dictatorial autocracy and active suppression of basic human rights and freedoms... I honestly couldn’t give a damn less about their infrastructure when those elements were at play to construct it.
The three Gorges Dam displaced 1.4 million

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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flyingember wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 4:03 pm
Anthony_Hugo98 wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 2:03 pm
Didn’t they use forced labor to construct this? As well as desolating entire villages and displace hundreds of thousands of people? Not to mention their dictatorial autocracy and active suppression of basic human rights and freedoms... I honestly couldn’t give a damn less about their infrastructure when those elements were at play to construct it.
The three Gorges Dam displaced 1.4 million
And caused massive ecological disasters upstream, and decimated ancient historical sites and culturally significant relics.
For all my military brothers and sisters out there, thanks for paving the way, ill do my best! AIRBORNE!

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by ToDactivist »

great to see everyone energized on the subject(s).

yes china had "access" to cheap/free labor + eminent domain of sorts. overlay that effort onto the US and it might be decades on legal/political alone.

good data on national and regional power. I thought my data was a few yrs old but someone has the goods here. Not bashing EVs in favor of gas vehicles...I have two Prius hybrids (you know, the originals...which I think is a better tech anyway, for now). I do wonder if EV cars is just a transitional thing as it would make far more sense to spend this effort on autonomous microbus think like Zook for limited routes (last mile) and scooters, etc. Roll this back to the 40's when very few owned a car and mass was clean and safe.

side note, I think the Nissan EV vision is clever. Home backup. Think rolling outages.

agreed on cost of electrifying rail on long hauls. Seems ripe for a different fuel type here like biofuels since easily adapted to diesels then hydrogen, etc. US just doesnt have the density west of the Miss and sans CA or Front Range to make it worthwhile. Smarter rail guys chime in but in the end we NEED a faster, more reliable rail option nationwide for shorter legs that could replace air traffic. And if you've ridden Amtrak you have to wonder who is accountable for this poor performance. Still sickening when you travel overseas. Even Morocco has high speed rail.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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The United States built its' first railroads across the country using slave labor in the south; and exploited freed blacks, Mexicans, and Asians to build railroads elsewhere. Exploited not only in low wages, but there were no labor rules or protections if they were overworked, put in danger, injured, or killed while working on these projects. Their families weren't compensated for the loss of their family member. And yes, plenty of white people were exploited too.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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FangKC wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:21 pm
The United States built its' first railroads across the country using slave labor in the south; and exploited freed blacks, Mexicans, and Asians to build railroads elsewhere. Exploited not only in low wages, but there were no labor rules or protections if they were overworked, put in danger, injured, or killed while working on these projects. Their families weren't compensated for the loss of their family member. And yes, plenty of white people were exploited too.
1869 =/= past decade in regards to human rights violations. Yes the U.S. infrastructure was built on the backs of forced labor. China did the same, but within the past ten years. We learned, they obviously haven’t.
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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by normalthings »

Amtrak released a vision map for service if stimulus is passed. No new service in KC.

Las Vegas and Texas adds appear to be private plans. I assume the Florida stuff is too.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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FangKC wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:21 pm
The United States built its' first railroads across the country using slave labor in the south; and exploited freed blacks, Mexicans, and Asians to build railroads elsewhere. Exploited not only in low wages, but there were no labor rules or protections if they were overworked, put in danger, injured, or killed while working on these projects. Their families weren't compensated for the loss of their family member. And yes, plenty of white people were exploited too.
1. You must be one of those woke folks who don't realize that literal slavery still exists and is widely practiced in the world today. Take a visit to Niger or almost anywhere in the Northern half of Africa. Seeing people dragged around by chains while being sold and abused is always eye opening. Hopefully you make it back to our terribly racist country to continue to criticize our overt racism. If you want to talk about slavery you should probably speak out against the slavery that still exists.

2. I bet you also think that the US was the driver of the 1800s slave trade. 😂😂

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by flyingember »

im2kull wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:54 am
2. I bet you also think that the US was the driver of the 1800s slave trade. 😂😂
Spoiler: it was the Carribbean

In Haiti 95% of the population has at least some ancestry in Africa.
Jamaica it's 92%
Barbados, 91%

I'm certain there's still slavery involved in labor intensive industries like crushing rock for the railroads, even if it's behind the scenes. Slaves can be documented immigrants.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by DaveKCMO »

Back to Amtrak, please.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by alejandro46 »

I'm a little confused if Amtrak is proposing funding Brightline LA-LV and SE Florida and TX HSR projects? Presumably that is what they mean by "new service." I'm also confused why California HSR project isn't listed then.

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

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alejandro46 wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:43 am
I'm a little confused if Amtrak is proposing funding Brightline LA-LV and SE Florida and TX HSR projects? Presumably that is what they mean by "new service." I'm also confused why California HSR project isn't listed then.
Can't be certain but I think Amtrak is trying to inflate their numbers by including existing or soon to exist routes/partnerships.

TX HSR announced a while ago a partnership with Amtrak. I think you'll be able to book Texas Central on Amtrak.com. Just like how you can book Air France or Korean Airlines through Delta.Com. Assume similar for
An agreement with Amtrak, allowing passengers to use Amtrak’s reservation system to buy tickets for through travel on both the Texas Bullet Train and Amtrak’s national routes.

Texas Central will offer a convenient transfer service connecting riders between Amtrak passenger stations and the high-speed train stations in Dallas and Houston. The agreement also will make other Amtrak services, such as training, marketing and sales capabilities, available to Texas Central.

https://www.texascentral.com/posts/texa ... r-network/

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Re: General Amtrak Discussion

Post by WoodDraw »

The Missouri legislature is trying to cut service so it’s not surprising they don’t find us a good partner.

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