Las Vegas Sun

July 7, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

No reason for faith in high-speed train

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I read with interest Richard N. Velotta’s Dec. 18 column in the Sun about the proposed XpressWest high-speed rail line. High-tech efforts like this garner my attention. If built, it would be quite an exciting adventure. However, as to economic feasibility (though I am only an observer), there is no evidence whatsoever that this project would be any more successful than the Las Vegas Monorail.

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  1. Boondoggle. Too expensive to build. Benefits few. Train ticket prices will require subsidizing. Train can't compete with air and car travel for convenient times to depart/arrive.

  2. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


  3. People are so interested in thinking of the "children and grandchildren" when it comes to almost anything. However, when it comes to thinking of their ability to live in a world unlike today, many in the current generations have no vision.

    Well, the future generations could always go back to traveling by horseback, horse drawn buggies, and stagecoaches when they can't afford the increasing auto prices and airline costs due to decreasing resources at high prices.

    Advantages are reduced travel time and ability to travel grater distances faster, increased safety, not needing an automobile, or liability insurance. Not having airline reservations cancelled or delayed due to weather.

    The time for planning and building is now, not waiting to put the burden completely on the backs of the "children and grandchildren" due to the lack of vision of the current generations.

    We need to also maintain and increase our current rail shipping capacity. Here is an area that the US could invest in R&D or in joint R&D ventures to find the solutions to efficient high speed rail cargo shipping. Imagine the patent value of that one.

    We also need to plan for a better local mass transit system that is more efficient and less dependent on non-renewable energy resources.

    It will take decades to build a proper high speed rail system throughout the U.S. It has to start sometime, and waiting will only bring more hardship to the "children and grandchildren" of many generations.

  4. With an eye toward vision, I propose high speed air plane routes that circle major cities in the skies and connect them in several major megalopolis geographical areas/regions. With timed and fixed stops for passengers to deplane in mid air and make their way by ground to their destinations. Then return to their home destinations.


  5. "Mid-air drop..." @ Lamy

    Stop stations are tall towers with high speed elevators for transporting passengers from air flight to ground transportation.


  6. The train to no where (Victorville) is not something I support.But I would support a Meglev Train to Anaheim Ca.The Meglev can make a trip to Anaheim quicker than the Desert Express can make it to Victorville.

  7. Mr. Pizzo I believe the reason that the Desert Express is terminated in Victorville rather than Anaheim is cost. The current cost to attain right-of-way through Southern California would but such a financial burden on the venture that it would never be profitable. It would cost hundreds of billions of dollars just to get to begin, before you laid any track or before you manufactured any rolling stock. So whether you are talking about a Meglev or the Desert Express the costs of ROW are the same.

  8. Byjrstr,

    "Mr. Pizzo,I believe the reason that the Desert Express is terminated in Victorville rather than Anaheim is cost".

    That stands to reason (cost) since Anaheim is nearly 100 miles further than Victorville, it would cost more to build.It also costs more to drive to Anaheim than it does to Victorville.Sometimes cost is not the only consideration for building a high speed train,ridership is a bigger concern.If the L.V.Monorail rings a bell.Which went bankrupt,probably because It didn't go to the airport.

  9. Mr. Pizzo it is the proportional cost to extend to Anaheim that is the problem. Due to the expensive real estate that would have to be bought.

    The Monorail is rife with problems. Its terminus is as much at fault as its origin. It should have run down the middle of LV Blvd to the airport not "behind" some hotels and not others.

  10. Carmine, we could have hover craft airplanes, rather than the present planes.

    Those towers could also have baggage elevators as well.

    I love your creative thinking.

  11. The proposition "there is no evidence whatsoever that this project would be any more successful than the Las Vegas Monorail"

    The bare facts are that there is no basis for comparing the monorail to XpressWest. This is merely an Opinion and opinions are not developed on facts. Ridiculous.

  12. "I love your creative thinking." @ peacelily

    Thank you. And I like yours!

    The problem with costing these projects, before the fact, is underestimating. Tell me the truth: Have you ever seen a brand new project come in at or under the original cost? No. In fact I can show you, and tell you, most usually cost twice the original estimates or more to complete.


  13. BySunJon,

    "The bare facts are that there is no basis for comparing the monorail to XpressWest.This is merely an opinion and opinions are not developed on facts.Ridiculous".

    Like all opinions even and including yours, is just that an opinion. Which we all have.

  14. "I would even sit between DiFazio and Freeman..." @ Jeff

    Only if you purchase the First Class seats...


  15. Carmine,

    About initial costs, I agree. Recouping those costs depends on the use of the trains. That is going to take a change in the American mind.

    Other countries have a much more open mind and ridership of high speed trains across nations.

    We must recognize that those set in their ways now may not make the adjustment, but there are younger generations that are and would be growing with the system, and in time not see it as an alternative, but rather a necessity.

    Since it will take quite a bit of time and money to construct, seeing it as a long term investment with the need for good marketing is essential.

    Jeff, the train to Victorville is only the NV portion. I would refer you to the map of the connections with other trains in other states.

    You are unlikely to get a train all the way to the beach, but certainly could get a connection to one very close.

    I used to ride the Amtrak train along the California coast, which continues all the way to Vancouver, with close proximity to the ocean. It is not much to rent a car to travel to the sand, if you can't find a stop within walking distance. Or you could buy a folding bicycle and stow it in baggage.

    I also enjoyed riding in private sleeper cabins up an down the coast and across country. You also meet some really wonderful people on trains. It is a good means of travel for friendly people.

    Train travel was great fun with some spectacular scenery. A great interconnecting southwestern system would give a variety of scenic options and speeds.