Splitting the Ties: The Privatization of British Rail

José A. Gómez-Ibáñez

Most railroad companies around the world own and maintain all the necessary facilities and equipment to provide rail transportation service. Different railroads often serve different regions, so a long distance movement might involve the cooperation of two or more railroads. A freight container moving from the port of Los Angeles to Atlanta might be transferred from the Union Pacific Railroad to the CSX Railroad, for example, while a passenger coach from Paris to Frankfurt would be transferred from the French to the German national railways at the border. But within its respective service area, each railroad usually owns all or most of the needed locomotives, wagons, tracks, yards, and stations. In the parlance of economists, railroads are often horizontally separated in that different railroads serve different regions, but they are almost always vertically integrated in the sense that they provide all the functions needed to offer rail service within their region.

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Balancing Act: Traveling the California Corridor

Adib Kanafani

On a flight from San Diego to San Francisco, I sat beside a woman who by coincidence was also returning from the August 1997 demonstration of automated highways. I expressed my enthusiasm for full automation to turn highway lanes into automated electronic railroads, with individual automobiles, akin to rail cars, hooked up electronically. Off the highway, these cars would revert back as individual automobiles to provide the ubiquitous local accessibility people expect from cars.

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2017-05-31T22:37:39+00:00Categories: ACCESS 11, Fall 1997|Tags: |

The Full Cost of Intercity Travel: A Comparison of Air, Highway, and High-speed Rail

David Levinson

In 1993, the state of California formed the California Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission to develop a twenty-year plan for service along the California Corridor, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. A high-speed rail system would cost $10 billion to $15 billion, but its advocates believe it would be the least costly mode of intercity travel in California. They emphasize that trains can travel between northern and southern California in under three hours, while consuming less energy and generating less pollution than automobiles or airplanes.

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2017-05-31T22:41:01+00:00Categories: ACCESS 09, Fall 1996|Tags: |

Time Again for Rail?

Sir Peter Hall

This is the age of the train: certainly in Japan and in Europe; probably, soon, on the East Coast. The urgent question is whether California will catch the train, whether indeed it should catch the train, and if so how. Modern high speed train travel involves trains that achieve sustained high speed – a minimum of 125 mph, a maximum in revenue service so far of 187 mph – between cities that are typically between 100 and 500 miles apart. It all began exactly thirty years ago, when the Japanese opened their Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka. It took nearly another two decades before France followed suit with its TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) over the 270 miles between Paris and Lyon in 1981. But since then, high-speed trains have proliferated.

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2018-02-07T22:04:32+00:00Categories: ACCESS 04, Spring 1994|Tags: |

No Rush to Catch the Train

Adib Kanafani

There is little doubt that a high-speed rail line could be built in the California corridor, connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles. To be sure some major obstacles must be reckoned with. It will have to cross the Tehachapi Mountains directly, if it's to keep travel time under control. This means some extensive and expensive tunneling. The large, low-density, and expansive metropolitan regions of the Los Angeles Basin and the San Francisco Bay Area will have to be penetrated by an exclusive, grade-separated rail system, which will also require some extensive urban construction. Nontechnical but equally tough obstacles would include possible opposition by communities along the corridor, especially in rural areas where the high-speed line would cut through but not serve.

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2022-09-23T22:43:24+00:00Categories: ACCESS 04, Spring 1994|Tags: |

Pavement-Friendly Buses and Trucks

Martin Wachs, Martin Wachs, and Martin Wachs

Our roads are crumbling under the weight of buses and heavy truck loads. Although early researchers attributed the pavement damage to a fixed “static” factor – the vehicle’s weight and design – we now know that much of the blame is owed to “dynamic” variables – the interaction between the vehicle’s suspension and the road surface. Recent studies show that dynamic force can double, even quadruple, pavement damage. But by equipping trucks and buses with advanced, “semi-active” suspensions, the problem of road wear can be effectively addressed.

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