Is highspeed rail in the US ever going to happen

first_img Speeding to the future The myriad benefits of high-speed rail go far beyond the strict monetary alternative to cars and planes. For one thing, most high-speed trains are electric, and as energy generation moves away from fossil fuels, this means rail becomes significantly greener than airplanes or cars — which is why Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez included it as part of the Green New Deal. Then there are the benefits to the communities along the route, and the jobs created during construction and during use. These benefits are something many other countries have seen, not least China, which in 10 years has gone from essentially no high-speed rail, to more high-speed rail than the rest of the world combined. No doubt these are expensive projects, and historically, only public money and support has made them possible. It will be interesting to see, as the projects above progress, if that’s still the case or if private investment is indeed possible. Best case, they all come to fruition and there will be multiple options for cities and states to add high-speed rail. Worst case? They don’t, or the government has to nationalize them (again). As a big fan of trains, I’m obviously hoping for the former. Count me in for a ride on opening day on each and every one. Share your voice Aug 6 • Trump says he’s watching Google ‘very closely,’ slams CEO Sundar Pichai California Both alphabetically and monetarily, this is the first project we should discuss. Running, in theory, from Northern California to Southern, linking Sacramento and San Francisco to Los Angeles and a few points in between, the California High Speed Rail is already well over budget and behind schedule. Despite my love for high-speed rail, and being a California resident, I was never impressed or optimistic about this project. Having now researched it significantly more for this article I’m… well, more neutral I guess. The pros probably outweigh the cons, mostly.The issue is there are lots of easily identifiable negatives. High-speed rail detractors love to point this project as a glowing example of why the whole idea of high-speed rail is bad. I suppose that’s true of any new rail project, and more so with this one given how expensive it’s become. On the negative side, even at the very high speeds the project is hoping for, it will still take 2 hours, 40 minutes to get from Union Station in LA to downtown San Francisco. It’s only 1.5 hours to fly, so even considering travel to and from airports, that’s nearly a wash. It’s hard to believe they’ll be able to keep ticket prices low enough to compete with airfare, which is often around $60 (roughly £45 or AU$85) each way. California HSR Authority says they’re aiming for an average price of $93 to get from San Francisco to LA, in today’s dollars. This is about 50 percent higher than a flight, but still in the “ballpark.” Personally I’d pay an extra $30 not to fly, and hopefully others will find the premium acceptable too.  Now playing: Watch this: Tags 29 Photos Aug 6 • President Trump wants social media to catch shooters before they strike. It’s going to be hard For more about why it’s so challenging to have higher speeds on this route, and really why high-speed trains are difficult throughout the US, check out this previous explainer about why US trains are so complicated. Texas The Texas Central Railway is another private venture, this time aiming to connect Dallas and Houston in under 90 minutes. Driving would take at least 3.5 hours. The most interesting aspect of this project is the rolling stock: Japanese Shinkansen trains. Specifically, a variant of the N700 Series already in use throughout Japan. Most recently, the TCR has selected Spain’s Renfe to be the train operator (PDF). Initially it’ll offer technical advice on design and construction of the system, then once it’s up and running, it’ll “run the trains; maintain system components, such as the engines, signals and other equipment; oversee ticketing, passenger loyalty programs and other services.”It’s hoping for departures every 30 minutes, a top speed of 200 mph, ticket prices lower than airfare, and to open in the mid-2020s. Since, barring unforeseen delays, that will beat California’s high-speed rail by years, this will likely be the first “true” high-speed rail system in the US by any definition.   Railroads need land, however, and so far Texas Central is having problems procuring it. The project is involved in a legal battle that could prevent it from being able to conduct surveys and acquire property. Referring to the problems, a Texas Central representative told CNET “Texas Central disputes that, saying it is having increasing success in securing land options.” See All Are US trains really that bad? It’s complicated Charger into the future: Inside Amtrak’s new 4,400 hp locomotive I crossed 3 countries in 14 hours on 4 trains and a bus. And I’m not dead. Here’s what it’s like to travel 8 hours across Japan by train From steam to Shinkansen: The massive machines of the Kyoto Railway Museum 28:48 Politics Sci-Tech Roadshow Jul 28 • Apple’s Q3 earnings are all about the iPhone 11 hints 47 Commentscenter_img Read more about trains Japan has the Shinkansen. France has the TGV. Spain has AVE. China has more high-speed rail than the rest of the world combined. America has… the Acela Express. All 16 stops of it in one section of the country. It reaches its top speed of 150 miles per hour (241 kph) just for a few minutes in one short section, and even that speed is pokey compared to other countries. The Shanghai Maglev reaches 268 mph.But things are changing. Despite significant uphill battles, high-speed rail is coming to other parts of the country. Even the Acela is undergoing improvements that should make the service faster and more convenient. And high-speed rail is one of the principal pillars of the Green New Deal drafted by liberal House Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It proposes to overhaul the “transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible,” with high-speed rail as one of the main investments. This article doesn’t speculate on lofty goals like that. It’s not about proposed dream projects, like maglevs and hyperloops, nor is it a list of feasibility studies or “hey, we should check out high-speed rail” legislative initiatives. Instead, I’m going to tackle actual projects either in progress or seemingly about to begin. How high is high-speed? The answer to this question isn’t as obvious as it seems. Title 49, subsection V, Part D, Chapter 261(c) of the US code says “sustained speeds of 125 mph or greater.” Other countries would call that “adorable” and “200 kph.” Even other portions of the US government say 150 mph or greater. For our purposes, we’ll go with anything above 125. This is faster than traditional trains, and given the limitations of the tracks throughout the US, a pretty reasonable increase in speed. Also, an article just about US trains capable of over 150 mph would be super short. Other parts of the country are working on improving their “regular” rail so that it’s a bit faster, like Chicago and elsewhere, but that’s for another article. Nevada (and California) A rail link between Los Angeles and Las Vegas has been in the works, on and off, for years. A company called XpressWest got the farthest in the process, and in September it was purchased by Brightline (yep, same one). This is another hard sell, since the current plans only get them from Las Vegas to Victorville. Victorville is Los Angeles as much as Philadelphia is Manhattan. So your average LA resident would need to get to Victorville, nearly two hours by car, then board a train for Brightline’s estimate of two hours to Las Vegas. A flight takes just over an hour, or alternately, it’s a fantastic drive in the same amount of time. There are other desert cities near Victorville, of course, so the trains probably won’t be empty. But as you can probably guess, the idea is to link up to the California regular and eventual high-speed rail network and go all the way to LA’s Union Station. It expects to begin construction this year, with initial service in 2022. Seems optimistic, but I wish it luck.Though no rolling stock has been decided yet, it wouldn’t be surprising if XpressWest plans to use Siemens Chargers since that’s what Brightline is using in Florida, and Siemens is already building a bunch in its California plant for Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner route. Northeast Corridor (New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and DC) The Acela Express was America’s first, and arguably only, high-speed rail. I say “arguably” because in most parts of the world a top speed of 150 mph, and average speed less than half that, hardly qualifies as “high-speed.” It connects Boston to DC with 14 stops along the way, including New York and Philadelphia. The speeds are almost entirely due to limitations on the tracks and other infrastructure, which is why Amtrak has extensive plans for upgrading the tracks it owns, as well as working with states along the route to improve the non-Amtrak sections. The Acela trains were always far more capable than the tracks they were on, so even seemingly small improvements like raising speeds on a 30 mph section to 50 mph will reap big benefits overall. Many of the improvements will also benefit standard rail service in the area as well. Amtrak is also getting new trains, due in service in 2021. These high-tech models from Alstom are capable not just of higher speeds, but have better tilt capabilities, so they’ll be faster on the slower sections compared to the current trains. If the infrastructure improvements go as planned, new top speeds of 186 mph will be possible on some segments of the route. US Tech Policy US Tech Policy See trains from all over the world • As well as covering TV and other display tech, Geoff does these tours of cool museums and locations around the world including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, airplane graveyards and more.  You can follow his exploits on Twitter, Instagram and on his travel blog BaldNomad. He also wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel.   Aug 7 • Trump’s emissions and fuel economy rollbacks will cost Americans money, study says Going beyond the normal benefits for high-speed rail, California HSR Authority intends for the entire system to run on 100 percent renewable energy to power the trains. Since traveling on these trains would mean fewer cars on the road and fewer passengers on airplanes, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions should be sizable. With work progressing in the, admittedly easier, Central Valley sections, I’ll be curious to see how this plays out over the next decade(s). Especially since our new governor is far less enthusiastic for the project than our previous governor. Regardless of what happens with the overall project, numerous improvements to the rail infrastructure throughout the state are already underway and will be highly beneficial. Florida Florida has the only private passenger train company in the US: Brightline. In November 2018 it announced it was rebranding as Virgin Trains USA, after Virgin took a minority stake. Hopefully that will turn out better for everyone than what happened on England’s East Cost Main Line. Florida had initially received federal grants to create more high-speed rail, but then governor Rick Scott rejected them in 2011. Some of this route was developed into Brightline. Brightline/Virgin Trains USA currently connects Miami to West Palm Beach, but is too slow to qualify as high speed. However, it’s working on expanding its system north, connecting to Orlando airport via Cocoa. Part of this route will have new tracks on a new right-of-way, allowing speeds up to 125 mph. It uses Siemens Chargers, which we checked out extensively when they were unveiled for the Pacific Surfliner route in Los Angeles. Along with other funding, it’s going public to help get the money it needs. The company has plans to connect to Tampa eventually as well. reading • Is high-speed rail in the US ever going to happen? Travelling 2,600 miles across Europe in a VW camper 14 Photos High-speed trains in the USlast_img read more

Bengaluru all set to host Asianlevel Olympic qualifier swimming competition

first_imgYoung Indian swimmers that will be featuring in this eventAmong the other sporting distinctions that Bengaluru has, being the nerve centre of Indian swimming is also one. The city possesses by far the best infrastructure for swimming events and training. It is as a result of this that the 10th Asian Age Group Championships – an event organised under the auspices of Asia Swimming Federation – will take place in the city from September 24 – October 2, 2019.What makes this tournament more special is the fact that it has been designated by FINA as an Olympic qualifying event. This means that the Indian swimmers will have a great opportunity on their home turf, or more aptly in their home pools, to enter the big league of world swimming.It will also be an event that will see participation on a much bigger scale than some of the previous editions. Representatives of 40 countries would be taking part, amounting to more than 1200 participants. All the major aquatic disciplines would be held – swimming, diving, artistic swimming and water polo. Organising Committee of 10th Asian Age Group ChampionshipThree venues have been chosen for these events. The Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence will host swimming events while water polo will be held at Sports Authority of India centre. The latter venue will also host diving. The third venue for this sporting bonanza would be Kensington Swimming Pool in Ulsoor.Virendra Nanavati, Vice President of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), expressed his happiness at India getting the chance to host this event. “This is a very crucial period for the Indian swimmers as some of them are vying for the ‘A’ Qualification mark for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”At the recent FINA World Championships we had a good participation with six swimmers, four Open Water swimmers and one diver qualifying to take part and some of them even improved the best Indian Performance record. Good show here at the 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships Bengaluru 2019 will put them in good stead to make the qualification mark for the forthcoming Olympics,” he concluded by saying.Indeed, it would be a great opportunity for people of Bengaluru to enjoy top-level aquatic contests and for the local players to make a mark.last_img read more

Researchers find new source for cold ocean water abyssal layer

first_img Journal information: Nature Geoscience Scientists test powerful ocean current off Antarctica Citation: Researchers find new source for cold ocean water abyssal layer (2013, February 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-source-cold-ocean-abyssal-layer.html Explore further Intense sea-ice production in the CDP, revealed from satellite data. Credit: Nature Geoscience (2013) doi:10.1038/ngeo1738 AABW is important because as it moves north from its source, it creates ocean currents that have a major impact on global climate. Until now however, scientists have only been able to identify three major sources—not nearly enough to explain the amount of AABW seen in the ocean. In this new research, the team suspected that a different type of source might be at play—one that came about in a polynya (area of open water that can’t freeze over due to rapid wind and water movement), rather than directly offshore of shelf ice. To find out they employed the use of traditional undersea sensors, and less traditionally, sensors attached to the heads of elephant seals.Ocean currents result from AABW due to the way it’s formed. When seawater freezes, much of the salt in the ice is pushed back into the water giving it a very high salinity—and because it’s also very cold, it tends to sink. As it hits the bottom it joins other cold water that slowly seeps toward the edge of the continental shelf, where if falls over into the abyss, rather like an under-the-ocean waterfall. That water falling is what generates the currents that flow north.Researchers had suspected for years that a source for AABW existed somewhere near what they call the Weddell Gyre, but had not been able to find it. In this new research, the team used satellite data to pick a likely polynya, and settled on Cape Darnley. There they sank sensors and studied data supplied by the elephant seal sensors. It was the data from the seals, the researchers report, that showed that areas in which they swam—at times as deep as 1,800 meters—revealed the layer of cold dense water the researchers were looking for—the fourth AABW source.After analyzing the Cape Darnley polynya source, the researchers have concluded that it is likely responsible for 6 to 13 percent of circumpolar AABW totals, which suggests they say, that other similar sources are out there still waiting to be found.center_img (Phys.org)—An international team of ocean researchers has found a fourth source of Antarctic bottom water (AABW)—the very cold, highly saline layer of water that lies at the bottom of the ocean. In their paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the team describes how they discovered the site in the Cape Darnley polynya. More information: Antarctic Bottom Water production by intense sea-ice formation in the Cape Darnley polynya, Nature Geoscience (2013) doi:10.1038/ngeo1738AbstractThe formation of Antarctic Bottom Water—the cold, dense water that occupies the abyssal layer of the global ocean—is a key process in global ocean circulation. This water mass is formed as dense shelf water sinks to depth. Three regions around Antarctica where this process takes place have been previously documented. The presence of another source has been identified in hydrographic and tracer data, although the site of formation is not well constrained. Here we document the formation of dense shelf water in the Cape Darnley polynya (65°–69° E) and its subsequent transformation into bottom water using data from moorings and instrumented elephant seals (Mirounga leonina). Unlike the previously identified sources of Antarctic Bottom Water, which require the presence of an ice shelf or a large storage volume, bottom water production at the Cape Darnley polynya is driven primarily by the flux of salt released by sea-ice formation. We estimate that about 0.3–0.7×106 m3 s−1 of dense shelf water produced by the Cape Darnley polynya is transformed into Antarctic Bottom Water. The transformation of this water mass, which we term Cape Darnley Bottom Water, accounts for 6–13% of the circumpolar total. © 2013 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Youngsters at play

first_imgTheatre lovers of the city have  reasons to rejoice. Shatiya Kala Parishad, Department Of Art, Culture and Language, Government Of Delhi, have organised the Yuva Natya Samaroh 2013 under the ideology of ‘amateurs of today-masters tomorrow’.The 10 day long festival that started on February 11 will be staging plays of writers like Vijay Tendulkar, Mohan Rakesh, Surendra Sharma, Neil Simon, Avinash Chander Mishra, Bhishan Sahani, Mahakavi Bhaas. While plays like Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Ashadh ka Ek Din, Kabira Khada Bazaar mein and Qaid E-Hayat is about the life of Kalidas, the Indian saint poet Kabir and Galib, the plays like Khamosh — Adalat jaari hain talks about social and family problems. Aadhe Adhoore, directed by Chander Shekhar Sharma, is a family drama which talks about values and principles governing a particular family whereas Khamosh —Adalat Jaari hain, directed by Rohit Tripathi, focuses on the patriarchal society and how the male-dominated politics tears down a woman’s life, exposing her private life to moralistic critique. The other plays that are to performed are Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixBada Natakia Kaun, directed by Prakash Chander Jha, Khusar Fusar (the Hindi translation of Neil Simon’s Silence) and Pratigya Yogandhrayad, directed by Bhumikeshwar Singh.Chander Shekhar Sharma, director of Aadhe Adhoore, feels that even though the play was written so many years back, it has a contemporary feel and is as relevant today as it was back then. The male-female relationship which had  been delved into intensly is true even today. Talking about the play Khamosh —Adalat jaari hain, director Rohit Tripathi calls it ‘a drama within a drama which has been portrayed in a very realistic form.’ And referring to theatre performance, he said: ‘More and more audiences are getting attracted towards theatre. So even though movies have a bigger reach, live performance will never lose its sheen’.The variety in the content of play is sure to keep the audience interested. One will get to see the use of music and lights in a totally different perspective. The festival also is a form of encouragement and motivating factor for young and aspiring artistes.‘Through the medium of play, youngsters will get to know more about their past and about the lives of famous entities. The festival also provides a huge platform for the actors as well as the director to explore their talent,’ said Bhupen Joshi, director of Asadh Ka Ek Din.Go watch.DETAILAt: Shri Ram Centre, 4 Safdar Hashmi Marg, Mandi House On Till: 21 February Timings: 6.30 pm onwardslast_img read more

Irate students call for scrapping of exam following NEET question paper fiasco

first_imgKolkata: After the question paper fiasco in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018, the medical aspirants from Bengal, including the HS toppers of the previous academic year appearing for the medical entrance examination with Bengali as the medium of examination, demanded scrapping of the exam.They also urged the state government to conduct its own medical entrance examination, as it was done earlier. It may be mentioned here that before the introduction of NEET, the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination Board used to conduct the medical entrance examination. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsMany of the candidates who topped the HS examination last year have appeared for NEET 2018, but faced difficulties as the Bengali translation of most of the questions was done wrongly.Vehemently opposing the implementation of NEET, many of the Bengali medium students have decided to appeal to the Chief Minister, to strongly deal with the issue. They will urge Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to take up the issue with the Centre and take necessary steps to cancel the examination. They also demanded that the Centre must allow the respective state governments to hold their own examination, as was done earlier. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedIt may be mentioned that following the question paper debacle in NEET 2018 held on last Sunday, the Chief Minister has written to the Union Human Resources Development minister Prakash Javadekar, demanding a re-examination.Debasish Saha, a medical aspirant who had ranked eighth in HS last year, said that if the Centre continues with this single-level entrance examination in the country, it would be disastrous for the students appearing in the vernacular languages. He alleged that the state boards were being forced to emulate the CBSE syllabus, in the name of implementing NEET. Bengali medium students, who always achieve good results in the state-level medical entrance exam, perform pathetically in NEET.Noureen Hossain, another top ranker in HS last year, said that NEET’s design is starkly favourable to the CBSE syllabus and hence, it creates an educational imbalance. Students from state educational systems will be deprived in this format of examination, she added.Many of the Bengali medium students appearing for NEET this year, viewed that it was devised in English and extended to Hindi. But those educated in vernaculars are the worst sufferers. They also said that the common entrance exam may spell doom for the majority of medical aspirants from the state boards.Shreya Dutta, who appeared for the examination with Bengali as the medium, said: “The poor students who were unable to afford the exorbitant training required to be successful in national examinations, would not be able to compete with the urban students studying in CBSE board schools. A single-level examination cannot be implemented throughout the country, where there are multiple languages and different cultures.”last_img read more