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Transportation Bill Sets Aside $45 Million For MagLev Train

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the zoom-zoom dept.

Transportation 402

tbischel tips us to news that the MagLev train project which would run from Las Vegas to Disneyland has received approval for $45 million in funding. The project has been in the planning stages for quite some time, and it was delayed further by a drafting error in a 2005 highway bill. "Derided by critics as pie in the sky, the train would use magnetic levitation technology to carry passengers from Disneyland to Las Vegas in well under two hours, traveling at speeds of up to 300 mph. It would be the first MagLev system in the U.S. The money is the largest cash infusion in the project's nearly 20-year history. It will pay for environmental studies for the first leg of the project."

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Trains, US? (5, Funny)

skeldoy (831110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692025)

Trains in the US & A? Can this really be true?
Surely this must involve burning of insane amounts of petroleum somehow! Maybe the magnets are powered by petroleum?

Re:Trains, US? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692191)

Trains in the US & A? Can this really be true? Surely this must involve burning of insane amounts of petroleum somehow! Maybe the magnets are powered by petroleum?

He's a heretic. BURN HIM!

Re:Trains, US? (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692271)

He's a heretic. BURN HIM!
.. with petroleum! Ahh.. that feels better.

From Vegas to Mouse-land? (5, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692377)

It is not a train.

Its a ride.

Critics (4, Insightful)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692027)

Derided by critics as pie in the sky

Where critics = oil companies and automobile manufacturers

Re:Critics (5, Insightful)

azgard (461476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692069)

Really? I am from Europe, and just have to wonder...

What about building the first Maglev between Washington and New York? What about San Francisco and Los Angeles? What about making it actually useful?

Re: "making it actually useful" (4, Insightful)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692153)

I think they are more concerned with making it actually profitable.

Re: "making it actually useful" (4, Funny)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692417)

This is USA, home of AMTRAK. Profitable would be cause for concern. It absolutely must not provide a viable alternative to the current system. BART only runs because it is expensive and impractical. Think of the Oil Companies!

Re: "making it actually useful" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692473)

They would make a huge profit from a DC to NY train assuming it had stops in the big East Coast Cities. I grew up in Baltimore and it seems that almost everybody their worked in DC and had to drive all the way everyday. A lot of people would use it for business commutes and many college kids could use it to get home from school (UMD, GW etc) without car.

Re: "making it actually useful" (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692477)

What about building the first Maglev between Washington and New York?
I think they are more concerned with making it actually profitable.

Really, the service between New York and D.C. is amongst Amtrack's most important routes. The only thing that service between two tourist traps would accomplish is public interest, and as a first generation demonstrator.

Re:Critics (2, Informative)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692175)

Really? I am from Europe, and just have to wonder...

Such a rail between LV and LA would be useful. This is a popular commute, both for recreation and business.

Re:Critics (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692367)

Las Vegas - Los Angeles maglev train would be useful, but not economically viable. The distance is too short for such speedy train.

A good line would be Chicago-NY or Chi-LA. Being in the middle of the country has the advantage of a hub. Viable for tourism in summer, and supported by business commuters all year round.

Re:Critics (5, Interesting)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692229)

I lived in Vegas 7 years. They NEED This. Even the expansion to 6 lanes between the cities was not enough. We are talking 400KM+ Of cars taillight to tailpipe on any given weekend! It's even a crazier route then VA to Washington DC.

Re:Critics (5, Informative)

Gregory Arenius (1105327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692285)

Disney land is in the LA Metro area which has a population of about 13,000,000 people while LV has a metro area of about 1,700,000 people. Most of the land between the two is desert while most of the land between DC and NYC is populated making a right of way much more difficult to obtain there. The way the summary states that it connects to Disneyland, while possibly true, is really designed to be deceptive. It would have been much more honest if it said connects to LA and LV. There exists a huge amount of both car and air traffic between the two cities. Even with the high price of gas and a recent expansion of the highway between the two cities the roads are still clogged. While I don't know if maglev is the right technology a solid case for high speed rail between LA and NV can certainly be made.

Cheers,
Greg

Infrastructure problems in the East prohibit (4, Insightful)

spineboy (22918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692387)

There is already a "high speed" train that runs between New York and Washington D.C. - the Acela Express, for a commute time of 2 hours 48 min. It is limited to a paltry 75-150 MPH (120-240 KPH) due to track conditions. Mostly the speed is limited via the existing infrastructure, the bridges, tunnels, track closeness etc. Higher speeds would necessitate reinforcement of those structures, and the overhead electrical wires to withstand higher speeds. Much of the speed inhibition is in that the train needs to tilt to navigate the sharp rail curves. Pre-existing tracks are to close together to allow for high speed cornering that would require the trains to tilt, thus preventing train collisions between regular trains, and the leaning Acela Express. Of note, there are multiple at-grade crossings on this trains route - these are rarely found on other high speed train lines for obvious reasons.

Re:Infrastructure problems in the East prohibit (4, Informative)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692545)

Of note, there are multiple at-grade crossings on this trains route - these are rarely found on other high speed train lines for obvious reasons.
No there aren't. During the Great Depression, the Pennsylvania Railroad spent a ton of money to improve the DC-NYC Northeast Corridor to eliminate all at-grade crossings. There are a few at-grade crossings north of New York (closer to Boston, actually), but that's not the section of the line you were talking about.

Re:Critics (4, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692469)

That's the first thing I though. High-Speed Rail [ca.gov] to San Francisco is what we really need, the current rail situation is a joke. A four hour trip from San Diego to San Francisco for under $100? Yes please!

Re:Critics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692725)

Derided by critics as pie in the sky

Where critics = oil companies and automobile manufacturers

No, I believe (oil companies) + (automobile manufacturers) = the ones who persuaded them to go between Las Vegas and Disneyland to maximize the chance that people would be willing to later drop it as a frivolity.

they better check out North Haverbrook first... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692031)

Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
Like a genuine,
Bona fide,
Electrified,
Six-car
Monorail!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marge_vs._the_Monorail [wikipedia.org]

Re:they better check out North Haverbrook first... (2, Funny)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692547)

Actually Vegas already has a monorail. :)

Huge construction project.. recession.. (4, Interesting)

onion2k (203094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692039)

A huge construction project that would take place in during a recession/depression.. is this going to be this generation's Hoover Dam?

Well, apart from the fact a dam is actually useful, and a train between two holiday resorts during a time when people have no money to spend on holidays is all kinds of pointless.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (4, Interesting)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692073)

..a train between two holiday resorts during a time when people have no money to spend on holidays is all kinds of pointless.


Not at all, if it proves the technology. Ensures people are happy to use it - and paves the may for a cheap, fast, and effective mass transit to try and tempt people away from cars.

I bet the big automotive/oil firms are watching this like a hawk.

After all, who wants to drive between the cities when you can do it in a fraction of the time, cost, and in air conditioned comfort whilst reading papers, sipping tea, and chomping biscuits.

Many times in the UK I have wished we could reverse Beechings Axe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeching_Axe [wikipedia.org]

Even more with the massive fuel price increase we have had here in the UK. The long term solution is to change demographics (get people living closer to work) and to ensure a cheap and viable mass transit alternative.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692115)

Given the current experience using planes, Amtrak, or buses, it's my understanding that comfort can only be allowed in transportation if it involves a significantly higher fatality rate. Since Maglevs are generally safe, will there be ritualistic sacrifices with people culled from each load of passengers?

Btw, I'd really like for this to come to fruition. Americans are generally such hicks when it comes to things like maglevs and monorails. This might help pave the way for us to join the 20th century (and hopefully, eventually, the 21st - but let's not get too ahead of ourselves.)

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692143)

Oops, I meant comfort can only be allowed in affordable transportation... (and the maglev should be relatively affordable).

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (2, Interesting)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692505)

My recent experience with Amtrak (San Diego to Los Angeles) was first rate. The only problem is that the available routes are extremely limited, no train available from LA to SF for instance.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (4, Insightful)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692221)

Come on, this technology is well proven, there's been a testtrack running for over twenty years at Siemens in Germany, a stretch of track has been taken into production between Hamburg and someplace else (can't remember) and a line between Shanghai and Pudong airport has been running for some years now.

At the moment, it's still to expensive, and all countries/continents where passenger trains are common have extensive networks of traditional tracks ... and let's face it, the French technology in this case, the TGV, is almost as fast and runs on conventional tracks ( which, admittely, have to be purpose built for the TGV with shallower turns etc but still ).

The technology is nice, proven but at the moment there's not really a business case to be made for longer stretches of MagLev tracks.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (3, Insightful)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692401)

So, like the american rocket program, you will now need to get yourself more German scientists just so you can come in second place.

If the environmental study is going to cost 45 million, the construction costs are going to be multiple billions. Don't think it will ever make enough money to be profitable. Obviously a pork barrel project!

Why Maglev? and why Vegas to Anaheim? (4, Insightful)

spineboy (22918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692431)

It would seem that Los Angeles to Las Vegas would be more population centered, thus insuring better profitability.

As far as mag-lev - why? Building a proven TGV type of track, would allow other trains to use it as well, also aiding in cost-benefit. Plan on multiple side junctions to allow the TGV type train to pass the slower trains, thus permitting dual use for freight, etc. I can't imagine the mag-lev train to be that much more efficient, since fuel cost , at those speeds, is all about fighting wind resistance, and not rolling resistance.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (4, Insightful)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692579)

The techniques being tested are for tax-dollar extraction. It is extremely complex and requires lots of study and careful planning. Transportation is just a side-effect.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692381)

Good luck to thinking high speed trains are good. When you have science / technologically uneducated morons running a government, the money to build an economy is instead diverted to buy votes to keep the moron government in power. Recently coming up with the following nonsense...
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article4075781.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Britain is to be left out of Europe's high-speed rail revolution because the Government has decided that 200mph trains are bad for the environment.

Despite repeated promises to consider the benefits of a dedicated new line capable of carrying passengers from London to Scotland in less than three hours, ministers are thinking again.

In a letter obtained by The Times, Tom Harris, the Rail Minister, said: "The argument that high-speed rail travel is a 'green option' does not necessarily stand up to close inspection. Increasing the maximum speed of a train from 200kph [125mph - the current maximum speed of domestic trains] to 350kph leads to a 90 per cent increase in energy consumption."

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692435)

Tom Harris, the Rail Minister, said: "The argument that high-speed rail travel is a 'green option' does not necessarily stand up to close inspection. Increasing the maximum speed of a train from 200kph [125mph - the current maximum speed of domestic trains] to 350kph leads to a 90 per cent increase in energy consumption."
So instead everyone who can flies, which is so much better for the environment.

And this man's the Rail Minister? Sweet Jesus.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692513)

Wow, I could have sworn you were talking about the US there for a second. Did we trade you some of our Republican legislators in exchange for sending UK troops to Iraq?

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (2, Funny)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692685)

Do you really think the US invented and has a monopoly on stupid politicians?

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (4, Insightful)

basiles (626992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692253)

Sorry, a $45 millions budget is not huge. In France, 300 km of a TGV lines cost exceed the 3 billion euros. (See that [wikipedia.org] in French; remember that 'milliard' in French = 1E9 = billion in English). And the LGV line is doing well. And I am not ashamed that it is funded by French taxpayers money. I wish -for American people- that the next USA administration will actually fund (with dozens of billions of US$, not dozens of millions) a better transport system in the US.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692317)

As a US citizen, I would like to see transportation improvements, especially to the rail network. But maglev? This is just a boondoggle, and it will hurt rather than help the situation.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (4, Informative)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692561)

Won't happen. It'd be nice but it won't happen.

I read Trains magazine religiously each month. This month there was an article about a train (Amtrak) that Missouri pays for to run between St. Louis and Kansas City (IIRC). Ridership on the train was very good, but unfortunately the track it uses has a lot of freight trains as well, so the Amtrak trains are frequently late, and ridership is declining. Missouri did a study and found that it'd cost $45 million to improve the line, and they allocated $10 million to double track a few sections.

Meanwhile, as the article points out, if Missouri instead decided to build a 6-lane highway, the federal gov't would kick in 80% of the funding.

Sanity. It just won't happen.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (1)

njh (24312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692705)

Imagine what would happen if oil prices went up dramatically and permanently... Nah, that'd never happen.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (4, Insightful)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692549)

It's not as big a boondoggle as you think. It could pave the way for essentially obseleting air travel between city centers for trips under 600 miles in distance due to the 300+ mph cruising speed of maglev trains.

For example, Chicago could become a MAJOR hub for maglev trains, with these lines going from Chicago in a spoke-like fashion:

1) To Milwaukee, WI-Madison, WI-Eau Claire, WI-Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MN
2) To Rockford, IL-Davenport, IA-Des Moines, IA-Council Bluffs, IA-Omaha, NE
3) To Champaign, IL-Saint Louis, MO-Columbia, MO-Kansas City, MO-Wichita, KS
4) To Indianapolis, IN-Cincinnati, OH-Louisville, KY
5) To South Bend, IN-Toledo, OH-Cleveland, OH-Erie, PA-Buffalo, NY
6) To Grand Rapids, MI-Lansing, MI-Detroit, MI

Given that maglev trains aren't limited by the width constraints of standard gauge rail, you can create trains that could seat 500 passengers per train or more travelling every 18 to 20 minutes on the same route. You would actually encourage people to not fly or drive between these two cities due to the very fast transit times.

Re:Huge construction project.. recession.. (3, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692669)

You think it's only for holidays? You obviously haven't spoken to any Las Vegas hooke...er I mean businessmen. In the tourism industry.

The Wonders Of Engineering (5, Funny)

steeljaw (65872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692047)

Start your day shaking hands with Mickey and in under 2 hours you can be getting a blow from Minnie! Woot Woot! Engineering has cum a long way :p

Bizarre (5, Informative)

jdub_dub (874345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692053)

So a route which was cancelled because of low ridership... is getting the most expensive trainset in the country?

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692305)

Yes, to "prove" that it doesn't work so that no more public money gets spent on public transport and the car people keep selling cars.

Re:Bizarre (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692369)

Why was ridership low? Because it was too expensive? Too slow? Too inconvenient?

If this becomes active, there will be three ways to travel this route for most people, auto, plane, or maglev. People are going to make the decision based on different priorities, but if this is faster than the two alternatives (taking into account waiting to board both the maglev and plane, and convenience to the station/airport), and is cheaper than the alternatives, and has an environmental positive on top of that, it could become the preferred mode of transport. I think what could really help would be that you could essentially make the train long enough to carry 20 times as many people as a single plane and still only have to pay for one crew to actually run the plane. Of course, you have to have enough passengers that administrative overhead doesn't kill your ticket prices.

I hope it succeeds, but I won't be holding my breath.

Re:Bizarre (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692467)

20 times as many people is highly unlikely. The French TGV for example can take around 550 passengers in a single bi-level train set, and while they have experimented with coupling multiple train sets together, it wasn't considered a good option due to the impracticalities of extremely long platforms.

In London passenger trains are typically 12 cars for congested lines, and that seems to be the practical limit in terms of length - on stations where entry to the platforms are from one end, people only bother walking to the other end if they arrive a long time before the train is due and/or they know their exit will be towards the other end (we're talking several minutes to walk along the train even at a high pace).

I'd be surprised if I'd see trains with much more than 1000-1200 passengers, and that would require bi-level trains and/or extreme length. Seeing as there's plenty of planes with passenger capacity above 400, 20 times would be 8000 passengers... Not going to happen.

And of course with even 1000-1200 passenger trains you WILL have to pay for a crew and more conductors on platforms etc.

Well, what state is Pelosi from? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692573)

its not like Barbara Boxer doesn't have a lot of influence either.

C'mon, all that changed in 2006 is that the side in power butters their bread on the bottom instead of the top

Sometimes when I think of Democrats and Republicans all I can see is that horrible Star Trek episode Let that be your last battlefield... meaning who can tell the difference?

Re:Bizarre (1)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692729)

So a route which was cancelled because of low ridership... is getting the most expensive trainset in the country?


Yes, but have you seen how long it takes to get anywhere with amtrak [wellingtongrey.net] ? It's pathetic.

-Grey

Maybe they should talk to the germans first (5, Interesting)

ThatbookwritingWheel (553383) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692055)

The transrapid project has had a similar length timeframe, and the only feasible implementation (munich to munich airport) was finally shot down a couple of weeks ago. Costs where double of what was originally projected. While maglev is a really cool technology, it is not as brilliant in real life due to the high costs and the competition from airtravel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transrapid [wikipedia.org]

Re:Maybe they should talk to the germans first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692359)

Actually there's a Transrapid in operation in Shanghai. The Munich line was canceled more than a few weeks ago due to increasing infrastructure costs not related to the magnetic levitation technology.

Re:Maybe they should talk to the germans first (1)

flnca (1022891) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692415)

Yes, but the Chinese stopped another Transrapid project in China. The existing system had a fire caused by its batteries. Perhaps the problems can be ironed out in the future.

Re:Maybe they should talk to the germans first (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692471)

While maglev is a really cool technology, it is not as brilliant in real life due to the high costs and the competition from airtravel
Things change. The Transrapid project in Germany might simply have been too early; it was scrapped because it had already cost so much that it was not politically viable to continue with it.

Now, take a close look at the current trends in the price of oil, and scan the news stories about airline share prices plummeting. Is air travel really going to stay so competitive in the long term? Only time will tell -- but if oil prices continue to rise, then the folks who had the guts to take a gamble on alternative transport solutions are going to make a killing.

Change of costs (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692635)

it is not as brilliant in real life due to the high costs and the competition from airtravel.
With the current trend in oil prices, soon everything is going to be cheaper than air travel, including paying a horde of slaves to carry you around sited on a massive pure-gold throne.

Re:Maybe they should talk to the germans first (1)

walter_f (889353) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692695)

The german Transrapid had a fatal design flaw which caused an accident (23 dead) in 2006 on the test track near Lathen, North Germany:

"On September 22, 2006 a Transrapid train collided with a maintenance vehicle at 170 km/h on the test track in Lathen. The maintenance vehicle destroyed the first section of the train, and came to rest on its roof. This was the first major accident involving a Transrapid train. The news media reported 23 fatalities and several severely injured [...]
The accident is reported to have been caused by a combination of human error and a technical flaw in the system supervision."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transrapid#September_2006_accident [wikipedia.org]

The mentioned maintenance vehicle which had its own independent drive to move along the track (a reasonable thing, I guess, probably using a diesel engine and tires) was not participating in the Transrapid's overall communications structure. I.e., this vehicle was not "booked into" the communications system in any way. As far as I know, this was not due to any coincidence or failure, but by concept. The Transrapid system had no precautions of blocking a train _automatically_ from entering a section of the line when there's service work being done.

Can you believe it?

Previous train route cancelled due to low useage (5, Insightful)

Starvingboy (964130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692061)

From the very short article

There is no train on the route--Amtrak's Desert Wind between Los Angeles and Las Vegas was canceled in 1997 because of low ridership.
This has to be a joke/troll. 45 Mil for the environmental study for a already failed train route? I don't know if I should laugh or cry.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (3, Insightful)

jmv (93421) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692137)

And how long did the previous train take. If it took 8 hours, then maybe it's the reason it didn't succeed. That being said, if you're going to build a maglev train, you might as well build it between two major cities, like New York to Washington.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (1)

Starvingboy (964130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692147)

I think the key would be the ability to bring your own car along. We are americans after all. Something akin to a ferry boat just might work.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692615)

Something like this? [zetnet.co.uk] I think something similar still operates in France and maybe Switzerland - I've seen trains full of HGV's there.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (1)

GregPK (991973) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692167)

There really is nothing between these two cities. So it would probably be about 4 hours. With a Maglev I could see like an hour maybe a little less. It really doesn't make much sense.

I think they'd be better off doing LA to San Jose AMtrack station where riders would have the option of getting on another train for SF.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692521)

LA to San Jose is too far unless there's enough other attractive destinations in between to make it sustainable.

If there's one thing worth learning from trains in Europe it's that high speed train routes are mainly competitive if they're short enough that their lower speed (compared to planes) doesn't cancel out the advantage of shorter travel to/from the city centres and reduced security/checkin times.

London to Paris for example is very competitive in time:

The stations on either end are in the city centres, and you only need to show up 30 minutes before the train leaves, meaning that from leaving home in London I can be in the centre of Paris in less than 4 hours.

Compare to a plane from London Heathrow, where I'd have to leave home about 3 hours before the plane leaves due to checkin time and travel, and it'd take me a further hour or so from disembarking at Paris CDG to stepping off a train in the city centre. So I'm above 4 hours before even counting the flight.

But if I were to go to, say Nice (south coast of France, it's not nearly as attractive anymore, as the flight is only about 20-30 minutes longer, but it adds hours (and a change) to the train ride.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (1)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692239)

In the days of Penny Gas and a less popular Vegas. Way more families now travel out to Vegas and with gas topping 4$ / gal and Airport Security being nothing fun... yeah it is time.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692631)

Airport Security won't be much worse after some haraam stunt by al-Quaeda or the Terry Nichols crew.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (4, Informative)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692327)

45 Mil for the environmental study for a already failed train route? I don't know if I should laugh or cry.
You ain't seen nothing yet. This is a 250 mile train track [usatoday.com] - That's 400km - while the Japanese Linimo [wikipedia.org] maglev cost $100 million per km (for 9km) while the Shanghai Maglev Train [wikipedia.org] cost $1.33 billion for 30.5 km - $43 million per km.

The French LGV Est [wikipedia.org] is 300 km and cost 4 billion euros - $6 billion. $21 million a mile.

Or if you look at the British London-to-channel-tunnel rail link, it cost £5.2 billion ($10 billion) for 108 km [wikipedia.org] - $100 million a mile.

Even if economies of scale get the price down to $10 million per km the cost will be $4 billion.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (3, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692517)

Even if economies of scale get the price down to $10 million per km the cost will be $4 billion.
Let me see if I can convert that to units I can understand...I guess Libraries of Congress per second, Olympic Swimming Pools, and rods per hogshead have the wrong dimensions... how about 0.02 Wars on Terror, 10 bridges to nowhere, or 20 unmanned space probes?

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692531)

Note that the high cost of the French and British projects is due to traversing rich farming land and densely populated eras, that required lots of bridges and tunnels to cross all the existing roads, plus expensive negociations with existing land owners (because a fast track needs to be straight so you're pretty committed to paid the price to cross whatever is on this line)

I really don't think the desert around LV has the same constrains.

Of course, by choosing maglev instead of conventional track it's very possible they'll manage a higher per-mile cost in the desert than the European paid to cross posh Riviera lands.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692399)

Might have been successful if Amtrak were a competent rail operator, with good track and rolling stock... Amtrak has to be some kind of conspiracy to make rail travel look bad to 'merikins.

Re:Previous train route cancelled due to low useag (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692537)

I guess this means the 2 other pilot projects - which probably would see some ridership - Pittsburgh or Baltimore... have been shelved forever.

Great! (1)

TFer_Atvar (857303) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692067)

With that much funding, we can build a whole two inches of track. Gotta tell you, that'll really help cut down on my commute.

Think of The Environmentalists! (0, Offtopic)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692099)

It will pay for environmental studies for the first leg of the project.
If nothing else, this is the important bit.

The longest journey starts with a single step... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692385)

Or something like that.

My second thought was "where will they get that much copper?"

Powering 500 miles of track will need an awful lot of wire.

Re:The longest journey starts with a single step.. (1)

snkline (542610) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692507)

Maybe if these things do start being built, the Michigan UP Copper industry will experience a small revival. There is still tons of copper up there, the cost of extracting it just became too high eventually. A large spike in demand could make it cost-effective again

Might work, outlandish enough! (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692081)

I mean, what else would you use to connect Disneyland to Las Vegas? Flying carpets?

On a side note, the MagLev in Shanghai was good fun ... the cars on the highway it runs next to seemed to move backwards when it hit peak speed of 437 km/h. However, that was only a twenty minute ride, somewhat like a rollercoaster ... a two hour ride would wear the novelty pretty quick.

Re:Might work, outlandish enough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692217)

It's a seven minute ride, and it doesn't feel like a roller coaster, but is less shaking then other trains I used.

Did I read that right? (0, Troll)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692117)

Did I read that right? Forty-five million dollars to carry out the STUDY for the first leg of the project? If this train were to be built by a business, rather than a government, $45M would get the whole darn thing built and operational!

Re:Did I read that right? (0)

niittyniemi (740307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692159)

Did I read that right?

I assume they're talking about Disneyland, Fl. In which case according to Google maps it's a trip of 2026 miles. In 2 hrs at 300mph?!

I suggest that if they can't get that right, then this scheme has little chance of working.

Re:Did I read that right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692249)

You fucking moron. Is it that hard to type "disneyland" into google and see that it is in California?

The one in Florida is DisneyWORLD.

Re:Did I read that right? (1)

CraniumDesigns (1113153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692257)

no. disneyland is anaheim, california. disney WORLD is in florida. its like a 4 hour drive. this would cut it to about an hour im guessing.

Re:Did I read that right? (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692497)

That is what I thought at first but the math doesn't add up right at all. Then I remembered Disneyland != Disneyworld. Disneyland is the CA one and Disneyworld is the FL one.

drop in the bucket (2, Informative)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692149)

They shouldn't waste the money to even begin looking at such an idea. Just take a look at the Transrapid project [wikipedia.org] that was recently scrapped in Germany. For roughly 40km of track, linking Munich and the Airport, the final cost projection came out to 3 billion euros ($4.7268 billion)! What a waste.

Interesting Route (4, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692163)

From a place where one makes memories with the kids, to a place where one wishes nothing remembered.

Re:Interesting Route (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692595)

Yep, they really picked the two most ridiculous end points ever possible...

The FIRST maglev train...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692195)

THIS IS THE FIRST MAGLEV TRAIN FOR GAWDSSAKE!!

(they were actually invented in Britain by Eric Laithwaite, at Imperial College, in the 1960's, but we won't mention that....)

Re:The FIRST maglev train...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692259)

First, except for all the other maglev trains. TFS says "..in the US" for a reason.

How about this instead? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692199)

California High-Speed Rail
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

About time the United States became like the other industrialized countries, don't you think?

$45 million will buy you 2 kilometers of track (1)

tsjaikdus (940791) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692247)

$45 million will buy you 2 kilometers of track. I think I know why this trip takes 'well under two hours'.

in soviet russia .. (1)

marafa (745042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692251)

let me get this straight. the us government is going to pay for a maglev train that will benefit only disneyland?

hmm.. looks like the 3rd world is only taking a page out of america's book when it comes to a "project" like this.

ps. go ahead flame/troll me .. i am already so blacklisted i dont believe this post will even show up

Insanely expensive project... (1)

ruinevil (852677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692293)

This project will come out to be like 300 billion dollars in today's money. I'm pretty sure the sand isn't good for the maglev mechanisms either, so it would need high ridership just to cover the maintenence costs. On the other hand, this is probably the only area that this project would be possible. The Boston-Washington metropolitan axis is too densely populated to support maglev construction. Just buying the land here to build it would cost in the tens of billions, and I'm sure most towns wouldn't want it passing through, and wouldn't zone it.

Re:Insanely expensive project... (1)

datan (659165) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692389)

eminent domain.

Re:Insanely expensive project... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692425)

On the other hand, this is probably the only area that this project would be possible.
Oh yeah, no problems with the topography here... [wikipedia.org] The effects of an earthquake on a maglev train going at 300 mph should be pretty interesting to see as well!

Only 45 Million?? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692303)

45 Million is a joke - we spend 341.4 million per day in Iraq. I'm all for public transport and maybe this is a good start, but I'm skeptical if it will amount to much.

This thing is definitely going to happen. NOT. (0)

slashdot.org (321932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692307)

This sounds great!

Anyone that has ever driven the stretch of dessert between LA and Las Vegas probably recognizes that the sheer complexity of the landscape necessitates environmental studies, starting with just the first leg. Because it's like, FUCKING DESSERT.

I mean, like, personally, if I had $45M, I would definitely invest it in the environmental studies for the first leg of a project like this because who the hell knows if a train is going to be more environmentally friendly than "the millions of Southern Californians who make the 250-plus-mile drive to Las Vegas each year" by car.

Because when I try to do the math in my head, I can't figure it out. Definitely want to stick 200 environmental experts on that problem for a year, at a salary of $225K/year each.

No need to worry about the trivialities though, like why a previous train attempt was canceled "because of low ridership". /sarcasm

Seriously, there's got to be an error in that press-release, right? Or can anyone just get $45M for scratching their left nut?

It's depressing; I wish they would just start building one of these trains already.

Re:This thing is definitely going to happen. NOT. (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692349)

It's depressing; I wish they would just start building one of these trains already.
Thats the beauty of being a consultant. Especially if you have fancy letters in front and behind your name. You literally get paid for telling people what they want to hear. If the project fails, you get to keep your money!

Re:This thing is definitely going to happen. NOT. (2, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692455)

Because it's like, FUCKING DESSERT.
Well, you know, running railway lines through several hundred miles of apple pie and ice-cream can't be that easy. I'd imagine they'd likely sink into the pie, and I can't imagine how you'd keep the ice-cream frozen.

Re:This thing is definitely going to happen. NOT. (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692555)

Not to mention that it is some of the most hostile dessert in the US.

$45 million is a penny in the bucket compared to what it would cost to build it.

Re:This thing is definitely going to happen. NOT. (2, Funny)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692597)

Not to mention that it is some of the most hostile dessert in the US.
Yeah, it's loaded with trans fat.

Interesting choice of locations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23692379)

I hope you enjoy your Friedmaniacal society. From Las Vegas to Disneyland??

Why not some really useful commuting route?

Costs of scheme (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692409)

A nice PR stunt, $45m will get about 2km (1.2 miles) of Maglev track (if using the BEST figures quoted in Wiki article).
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_levitation_train [wikipedia.org] :

The Shanghai maglev cost 9.93 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) to build.... China aims to limit the cost of future construction extending the maglev line to approximately 200 million yuan (US$24.6 million) per kilometer.

Stop wasting our money. (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692475)

Even Amtrak has track maintenance issues, and how are we to expect anybody to be able to maintain a MagLev system in the US of A? If they've given up in Japan (where they are amazing with their trains), here this is like funding a ladder to the moon. Seriously.

We can afford it, we just lack the political will (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692621)



It's definately not going to be a waste of money if we build it. Most people would gladly spend their gas money on the train and the company that builds the train would make billions.

The problem is, governments can't build anything cheaply. Something which should only cost a few billion to build will probably cost 100 billion, just like the big dig, due to corruption in the system.

One way to make construction cheap is to use illegal immigrant labor, while it's not popular on the east coast, on the west coast where they are planning this, if they use illegal immigrant labor, they could probably build this at a oost of a few billion dollars.

I say we should do it. We spend more money on the Iraq war than we spend on fixing our economy here at home, and better transportation always improves the economy.

Bread and Circuses (4, Funny)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692583)

Gosh--if only the technological prowess and unparalleled economic might of the United States could somehow transport us between fairy tale wonderlands and our hookers and gambling--a little faster.

What a world we might make then.

How do I get in touch with them (1)

boatboy (549643) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692619)

I have this ocean front property near Las Vegas that would be _perfect_ for them.

Have You Ever Made That Drive? (2, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23692623)

I remember it as an unending procession of nothing, particularly Barstow. ~
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