Tag: rail electrification

Sunday Train: Steel Interstates, Fast Freight, and Brawny Recovery

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(Right: Liberty Line) The Steel Interstate proposal is an effort to build Rapid Electric Freight Rail Tollways across the country ~ east to west and north to south ~ to:

  • Take a substantial slice our of our oil imports
  • Insure our national economy and national defense against disruptions of our oil supply
  • Increase the productivity of our manufacturing and logistics sectors,
  • Overcome decades of neglect of our national electricity transmission infrastructure, and
  • Protect our legacy investment in our Interstate Highway system from the battering it receives at the hands of long haul trucks.

The point of the Steel Interstate system is that it source link is a system: it consists of several parts that work together to give more bang for the buck than any one could provide on its own.

Sunday Train: Making a ‘national HSR plan’ into a National Network

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Way back before the Super Bowl, the White House had a series of exciting announcements, covered at The Transport Politic under the heading The White House Stakes Its Political Capital on a Massive Intercity Rail Plan.

That article is accompanied by the map reproduced here ~ and I stress that the map if Yonah Freemark’s work, not a map presented by the White House ~ of what a HSR system that rises to the “80% of Americans” target would look like.

And one reaction to that map is the same as the reaction to the designated DoT HSR corridors: how is that a national network? Its just bits and pieces.

How to fix this image problem, while also providing a substantial upgrade to the program, below the fold.

Sunday Train: West Virginia River Runner Rail and the Steel Interstates

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The flashy rail projects are the very HSR projects to build bullet trains serving urban areas with millions of people.

But the role of rail in supporting sustainable extends beyond the bullet train system alone. It may not be critical to the financial success of these bullet trains to provide service to people living in urban areas of 50,000 to 200,000 ~ but its critical to these people to have access to some form of sustainable intercity transport.

Indeed, if we are going to be harvesting wind power, solar power, sustainably coppiced biocoal, geothermal, run of river hydro, and other sustainable resources … we are going to be creating incomes in areas away from the 1m+ cities. We best look after the needs of the people who come to those areas looking for work.

Sunday Train: Conventional Rail and the Steel Interstates ~ Best Friends Forever

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I’ve written several times about the direct potential of the Steel Interstate project to cut our oil imports by 10% by getting long haul freight trucking off the road. It would at the same time relieve the crushing burden imposed by long haul trucking on our over-worked, under-maintained Interstate, National and State highways, help get renewable energy resources from places that they are to places people need electricity, and of course support long distance Rapid Passenger Rail offering dramatically improved reliability and transit speed, supporting operating surpluses with multiple services per day.

I don’t recollect that I have written very much about the benefit that the Steel Interstates offer to passenger rail elsewhere. So that’s what I aim to do. Today I will look at one rail transport ideas I have talked about previously ~ Northeast Ohio Regional Rail ~ and what help it would receive from the Steel Interstates. Then sometime in the next week or two, I will look at the Columbus / WV / Atlantic Coast “RidgeRunner”, and the benefit it would receive from the Steel Interstates.

Sunday Train: Making a ‘national HSR plan’ into a National Network

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Way back before the Super Bowl, the White House had a series of exciting announcements, covered at The Transport Politic under the heading The White House Stakes Its Political Capital on a Massive Intercity Rail Plan.

That article is accompanied by the map reproduced here ~ and I stress that the map if Yonah Freemark’s work, not a map presented by the White House ~ of what a HSR system that rises to the “80% of Americans” target would look like.

And one reaction to that map is the same as the reaction to the designated DoT HSR corridors: how is that a national network? Its just bits and pieces.

How to fix this image problem, while also providing a substantial upgrade to the program, below the fold.

Sunday Train: Quiet Progress Edition Two ~ Sustainable Power and Feed-in Tariffs

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It’s one thing to call for a Nationwide Network of Electric Rapid Freight Rail Tollways, to take freight damage off the Interstate Network, or for its compelling national security and emergency preparedness reasons.



But the argument regarding its sustainability is that it provides modest reductions in carbon emissions on the back of dirty electricity, and massive reductions in carbon emissions on the back of clean, sustainable electricity. So the climate impact gains massive leverage if at the same time we are pursuing sustainable carbon free and carbon neutral power.

And so today’s Sunday Train is on a quiet piece of good news on that front ~ good news that allows states that wish to pursue green jobs to do so without the Grossly Oil-addicted Party in the House of Representatives being able to get in the way.

Sunday Train: Crowding Out vs Crowding In and Transport

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I was reading a Grist article critical of the most recent MIT report promoting nuclear power, and one of the arguments made got me thinking about transport:

Another critical omission in the MIT analysis is the fact that http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=no-prescription-prednisone large commitments to nuclear construction tends to crowd out alternatives. The financial and managerial resources of the utility are concentrated on bringing these large complex plants online. Policies that reduce demand or promote alternatives are seen as a threat to the viability of the large nuclear project. My analysis of France and the U.S. bears this out. [emphasis in the original]

This got me thinking, because Crowding Out versus Crowding In is an important issue to face when looking for Oil-Independent Tranport in pursuit of Economic Independent for the US.

Sunday Train: Sustaining Our Suburbs

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As Dean Baker reported on the (bookmark worthy) Real World Economics Review Blog, new home sales figures for July are out, and they are exactly as would have been expected when the Mortgage Brokers Association reported a slump in mortgage applications in May.

The stronger figures earlier in this year, in other words, included more than a normal rebound from a recession:

People who might have bought in the second half of 2010 or even 2011 instead bought their home before the tax credit expired. Now that the credit has expired, there is less demand than ever, leaving the market open for another plunge in prices. The support the tax credit gave to the housing market was only temporary

This does not mean that all policy response is futile: what it does mean is that the policy response must address the problem we are experiencing, not the problem we wish we were experiencing.

Sunday Train: Can Trains Help Win the Day in Australia?

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

It seems as if many people have been paying more attention to the Beckapalooza in DC … and the whole furor had me initially confused, as originally I thought it was something to do with Beck the Mongolian Chop Squad

But last weekend, there was an election in Australia, and on the night it seemed like it could be the closest in Australian history. As the week went on, that proved to be the case. And I got to thinking, listening to the various independents that hold the balance of power, that there could well be an unlikely working partnership available, where trains could help delivered a progressive governing majority on the most improbable of foundations.



NB: the grassfire in a dry lake bed shot that I use on occasion is in fact from Australia, suffering what has been characterized as a long running drought, but what seems more likely to be a secular shift to a dryer climate.

Sunday Train: Guaranteeing Rural Transport in the face of Peak Oil

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

In the firefly-dreaming edition of last week’s Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism diary, RiaD raised the issue:

only that i’m a rural dweller, we must have a vehicle as there is no mass transit here. but we do pay very close attention to our trips to town (10+ miles) & city(40+ miles) and do as much as possible each trip. i would guess we actually use less gas living rurally than most city/urban dwellers.

we’ve got to start thinking differently as a nation.

become more citizens of the planet than american consumers

imo anyway.

… which set me thinking about the difference between One-Size-Fits-All solutions like Auto-Uber-Alles and A-Fit-For-Each-Size solutions. One size fits all makes is seem as if “that does not do this” is a massive obstacle … when under A Fit for Each Size, it is a challenge to find the means of accomplishing that task.

Sunday Train: Richard Florida and the End of the Automobile Age

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

This week in The New Republic, Richard Florida presented his vision of High Speed Rail as the central strategic point of leverage in an economic “reset” to get us out of the doldrums resulting from the failure of the 20th century growth model to deliver ongoing, sustained growth any more … though the way he frame it is:

As dismal as housing prices continue to be, they have yet to hit bottom in some places. Unemployment remains frozen at an overall level of nine-plus percent, and job creation has been anemic. If the crisis belonged to George W. Bush, the recovery has been Obama’s-and it has been a fragile and tentative one at best. Along with billions of dollars in stimulus payments, the president has spent down most of his political capital. So what is his next step?

So … what is the next step?

The Fightback against Cutting Electric Prices with Wind Power

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

crossposted then reclisted at Agent Orange

Recently, Jerome a Paris and afew from the European Tribune published a piece in New Scientist on why having sufficient wind turbines in an energy portfolio has been observed to lower energy prices to consumers.

After tweeting that article, I started to receive tweets with links to the anti-wind conservative echo chamber, including The American Thinker, and the Oil-money founded and partly funded Cato Institue.

The piece I am looking at today is a brilliant example of the echo-chamber shell game: how you fill up the echo chamber with outdated, irrelevant, or partial and misleading facts so that there are “facts! facts!” that can be cited in social media, complete with demands “answer the facts!” by those who either are pushing a line for strategic reasons or have been taken in by the argument.

Entitled “Wind Energy’s Ghosts”, the information in the piece is familiar to anyone who has participated in online discussion of wind power or renewable energy in general and has encountered the oil or coal industry sponsored and inspired pushbask.

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