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  #101  
Old Posted Oct 25, 2021, 9:51 PM
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I will admit I don't know every little nitty gritty in and out of electrification costs but I think a better question isn't so much why North American agencies don't do it but more why virtually every European and Asian agency does?
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  #102  
Old Posted Oct 25, 2021, 10:39 PM
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Yeah, I've really wondered that.

There are maps to indicate that there are thousands of miles of electrified tracks in Europe, and yet here even electrifying one commuter line is seen as prohibitively expensive.
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  #103  
Old Posted Oct 25, 2021, 10:47 PM
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There's a few things that should be noted if we're comparing it to Toronto. If we're looking at the 2010 electrification study it was basing its conclusions on electrification of the current system which has much wider stop spacing than the UP North line which has 27 stops of 83 km or an average of about 3.2km between stops while GO's busiest line, the Lakeshore West (section between Union and Hamilton) is 64.8km with 12 stops or about 5.9km between stops. The greater the stop frequency the greater the amount of fuel that would be saved from regenerative braking since a lot of energy is lost with every stop. Toronto's diesel commuter rail is also extremely efficient by commonly using a single locomotive to pull a 12 bi-level car consist (although the study was assuming only 10 cars since it was back in 2010 before they got more powerful locos).

I'm not familiar with UP North but most US commuter rail I've seen tends to have two locomotives for that number of cars (in many cases it's probably because they need greater acceleration due to the shorter stop spacing). In other words, the fuel consumption is going to be much higher on a line like UP North making the potential savings from electrification much greater. Plus, just looking at the time savings for about 24km of an 83km route isn't showing the full time savings that some riders could potentially achieve.

Regardless, the study showed that for several of the lines there was a positive cost-benefit ratio within the 30-year study life cycle meaning that there was at least $1 in benefits projected within that period for every $1 spent because the study included benefits other than direct cost savings. So it's kind of misleading to cite the study just to mention the cost without mentioning the positive overall conclusion.
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  #104  
Old Posted Oct 25, 2021, 10:55 PM
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I'll admit that there aren't tons of logical justifications for electrification.

I just like it. I can't explain it.

I guess I'll leave it rest for now.
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  #105  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2021, 12:20 AM
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I think a better question isn't so much why North American agencies don't do it but more why virtually every European and Asian agency does?
In 20th century Europe and Japan, coal was cheap and gas (even diesel fuel) was dear. In addition, US manufacturers had patents on various aspects of diesel-electric locomotives that initially made European diesels more expensive or less reliable. Because most European mainlines saw many more trains each day, the path of least resistance (and least smoke for dense cities) was extensive electrification. With an extensive network already in place, meaning suppliers and contractors and workers who already were familiar with electrification, the costs of maintaining and extending it were not as breathtaking as starting from scratch in US cities.

In some respects, it's like manual transmissions still being so widely used in Europe. The underlying rationale has largely abated, but cultural inertia remains.
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  #106  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2021, 12:24 AM
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I will admit I don't know every little nitty gritty in and out of electrification costs but I think a better question isn't so much why North American agencies don't do it but more why virtually every European and Asian agency does?
There are no countries in the world with more tracks than the USA.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...t_network_size
1 United States 149,407 2,025 1.36%
2 China 146,300 100,000 68.35%
3 Russia 85,600 43,800 51.17%
4 India 68,000 45,881 71%
5 Canada 64,000 129 0.20%
6 Germany 40,625 22,500 55.38%
7 Argentina 36,966 190 0.51%
8 Australia 33,168 3,393 10.23%
9 Brazil 29,817 9,025 30.27%
10 France 29,273 15,687 53.59%
11 Japan 27,311 20,534 75.19%
12 Mexico 23,389 27 0.12%
13 South Africa 22,387 10,413 46.51%
14 Ukraine 20,952 9,801 46.78%
15 Poland 19,209 11,874 61.81%
16 Iran 16,998 2,200 12.94%
17 Italy 16,788 13,106 78.07%
18 Spain 16,355 11,127 68.03%
19 United Kingdom 16,320 5,357 32.82%
20 Kazakhstan 15,530 4,200 27.04%
21 Sweden 14,180 11,939 84.20%
22 Turkey 12,740 5,467 42.91%
23 Myanmar 11,025 0 0%
24 Romania 10,774 3,292 30.56%

All remaining countries have less than 10,000 kilometers of track.
There are countries with significantly higher percentages than the USA with electrified tracks, and there are some with lower percentages than the USA on this list.

I think the main reason why can be solved by who owns the railroad corridors.
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  #107  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2021, 12:43 AM
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Fwiw, no one is suggesting electrifying the US freight rail network. We're (or I'm) just suggesting electrifying a few high-ridership lines in Chicago, Boston and New York.
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  #108  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2021, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electricron View Post
There are no countries in the world with more tracks than the USA.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...t_network_size
1 United States 149,407 2,025 1.36%
2 China 146,300 100,000 68.35%
3 Russia 85,600 43,800 51.17%
4 India 68,000 45,881 71%
5 Canada 64,000 129 0.20%
6 Germany 40,625 22,500 55.38%
7 Argentina 36,966 190 0.51%
8 Australia 33,168 3,393 10.23%
9 Brazil 29,817 9,025 30.27%
10 France 29,273 15,687 53.59%
11 Japan 27,311 20,534 75.19%
12 Mexico 23,389 27 0.12%
13 South Africa 22,387 10,413 46.51%
14 Ukraine 20,952 9,801 46.78%
15 Poland 19,209 11,874 61.81%
16 Iran 16,998 2,200 12.94%
17 Italy 16,788 13,106 78.07%
18 Spain 16,355 11,127 68.03%
19 United Kingdom 16,320 5,357 32.82%
20 Kazakhstan 15,530 4,200 27.04%
21 Sweden 14,180 11,939 84.20%
22 Turkey 12,740 5,467 42.91%
23 Myanmar 11,025 0 0%
24 Romania 10,774 3,292 30.56%

All remaining countries have less than 10,000 kilometers of track.
There are countries with significantly higher percentages than the USA with electrified tracks, and there are some with lower percentages than the USA on this list.

I think the main reason why can be solved by who owns the railroad corridors.

Calculating for the EU from that list I get over 200,000 km of railroad track, 56% of which is electrified... so the US and Canada are far behind all other developed economic regions in electrification. Only developing countries and Mexico/Argentina are similarly low (and Ireland, if considered separately from the EU, but obviously railroads are of limited importance for Ireland).

Other than commuter rail systems (where extra accleleration and fewer fumes in central stations are big advantages), it's amazing to me that the lines over e.g. Donner Pass are not electrified, which would probably greatly increase capacity.
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  #109  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2021, 4:50 PM
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When you're only running one or two trains an hour, those five minutes are just not that meaningful.
But that's the point. They shouldn't be running 1 or 2 trains per hour, it should be a bare minimum of 4 trains per hour and ideally 6 or 8 tph on the core segments. If you're doing that, then the time benefits of electrification as well as energy savings etc are much stronger.

There's a reason that the only commuter railroad to electrify in the US in recent memory is Caltrain, which is doing it precisely because they are trying to offer frequent service that is comparable to what BART provides (since a new BART line down the peninsula is effectively off-limits). The increased acceleration can also help to blend commuter and intercity trains on the same track by reducing the differential in average speeds, which will come in handy once HSR trains start rolling down the peninsula. That's something that we could certainly use in Chicago on the MD-N with Hiawathas, or the Rock Island with St Louis trains.

Obviously if US commuter agencies are going to continue their current service patterns and operating paradigm forever, and intercity rail never expands, then I agree that electrification is a waste. Electrification is a tool to achieve a certain level of service, not an end in itself.
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  #110  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2021, 5:11 PM
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Well said
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  #111  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2021, 9:21 PM
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I'd like to see S-Bahn levels of service as much as anyone; that's (I thought) the point of this entire thread. But electrifying a line won't magically attract more trainsets and crews to run on it. Lots of regional service in Europe, and maybe some RER/S-Bahn lines, is run with DMUs. Let's start by providing a lot more service, not by stringing a billion dollars worth of wires. We can electrify if the need ever arises.
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  #112  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 1:53 AM
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^ Yeah, that's a fair point.

I think that, one of the issues in the US is that most diesel trainsets in use are ugly and unappealing, whereas electrified trainsets that I have seen abroad look nice.

Maybe, if we could procure high-quality trainsets in marquee transit systems (e.g. Chicago, Boston), then that would be a good start.
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  #113  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 2:38 AM
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^ That has little to do with propulsion and mostly to do with the previous strenuous FRA crash worthiness standards that turned trains into artless tanks. This has just recently been eased by the FRA so in most cases off the shelf European (or Asian) rolling stock can now be procured with minor alterations from foreign specs (I.e. Caltrain EMUs). In other words, the sad era of overbuilt utilitarian duds is currently giving way to a new one of sleek and stylish trainsets. Mostly. Boston's commuter rolling stock is particularly hard on the eyes imo. If Boston T ever electrifies (which they are seriously considering) I'd love to see a fleet of beautiful black and plum EMU's.
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  #114  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 12:07 PM
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Diesel rolling stock design in the US is undoubtedly poor, but most US electric rolling stock is little better. Take the LIRR/MNR’s latest rolling stock (the M9); the unwelcoming exterior profile, the tired-looking interior, and limited internal improvements relative to European EMU design. It is also curious how the sleekness of the Stadler KISS platform appears to have been stripped from Caltrains version.
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  #115  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 1:24 PM
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Diesel rolling stock design in the US is undoubtedly poor, but most US electric rolling stock is little better. Take the LIRR/MNR’s latest rolling stock (the M9); the unwelcoming exterior profile, the tired-looking interior, and limited internal improvements relative to European EMU design. It is also curious how the sleekness of the Stadler KISS platform appears to have been stripped from Caltrains version.
MTA's commuter interiors have always been stodgy and likely always will. That doesnt bother me near as much as why in the hell they thought it necessary to flip the light cluster arrangement on the cab. Its just plain ugly. They took away the little style the pre-M9's had and totally goofed them up. I couldn't believe it when I saw they had shifted the headlights to the outside like that. The styling does not look modern - it looks old and thoughtless - like it was phoned in. Add that to the stupid Cuomo race stripes and the dropping of the bold yellow front end and, yes, the new M9's suck. But it's hard to get people to understand the difference between okay industrial design and beautiful industrial design when many wouldn't notice the difference.

As far as the Caltrain KISS, I think they turned out quite nice. What change are you referring to exactly?
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  #116  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 4:37 PM
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As far as the Caltrain KISS, I think they turned out quite nice. What change are you referring to exactly?
Compared to the European KISS models, the Caltrain versions are both taller and wider based on clearance plates. See the following link drawings for clarification.

https://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/20...-of-width.html

With a larger plate, less trimming is needed and a more cube appearance is the result.
If style should be slaved to function, there is nothing wrong with it.
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  #117  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 4:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
I'd like to see S-Bahn levels of service as much as anyone; that's (I thought) the point of this entire thread. But electrifying a line won't magically attract more trainsets and crews to run on it. Lots of regional service in Europe, and maybe some RER/S-Bahn lines, is run with DMUs. Let's start by providing a lot more service, not by stringing a billion dollars worth of wires. We can electrify if the need ever arises.
and at the rate that Metra works its projects, it'd probably take 2 or 3 centuries for the agency to electrify all of the lines anyway, and they'd find a way to make every single mile of it cost 8 billion dollars.
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  #118  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 5:31 PM
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Compared to the European KISS models, the Caltrain versions are both taller and wider based on clearance plates. See the following link drawings for clarification.

https://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/20...-of-width.html

With a larger plate, less trimming is needed and a more cube appearance is the result.
If style should be slaved to function, there is nothing wrong with it.
I never would have thought the new Caltrain equipment was less sexy because of the larger loading gauge as compared to Euro models. Matter of fact, the bespoke KISS for the Aeroexpress line in Moscow has an even larger loading gauge if I remember correctly and I think those look fantastic. I think we're splitting some hairs here a bit. Let's not forget these new EMU's are replacing gallery cars based on a 60+year design and those roller coaster roof cars that are equally hideous. Perspective.
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  #119  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 8:55 PM
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Fwiw, no one is suggesting electrifying the US freight rail network. We're (or I'm) just suggesting electrifying a few high-ridership lines in Chicago, Boston and New York.
It was contemplated for the transcontinentals and Michigan>Atlanta during the 1970s Energy Crisis.
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  #120  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 9:58 PM
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Wasn't there chatter about electrifying freight railroads, particularly the lines serving the Ports of LB/LA, in the LA basin and then constructing staging yards in the high desert where locomotives would be swapped for the journey eastward? Did I dream that? It seems like its been quite a while back. Maybe the Tier IV technology advanced to the point where the main concern of CO2 emissions had been satisfied. Even with Tier IV, electric would still be exponentially cleaner.
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