>>894864 You can nationalize just the infrastructure, while leaving operations in private hands, just like highways are owned by the state and any truck can use them. This would vastly improve competitition, since rail operators could use any rail line indistinctly, instead of creating regional quasi-monopolies, paying the respective tolls for its usage, which in turn pays for maintenance.
Passenger trains could also be given true priority, and lines with significant passenger traffic or potential for passenger traffic can be double tracked and/or electrified without this being a decision of the freight rail industry, which has obviously no interest in passenger trains obstructing their freight trains.
tl;dr don't nationalize rail INDUSTRY, but rail INFRASTRUCTURE.
>>894934 That would just result in a massive debt and not solve problems. Enforcing regulations that are on the rule books but aren't enforced would probably be a far a more effective way of addressing the Amtrak priority problem.
Anyway, since when have freight railroads turned down funds to upgrade their tracks? They've been cooperating with Caltrans on the CAHSR project so far and haven't put up any resistance when it comes to using certain portions of their subdivisions. Same thing applies to the sub-HSR project in the Midwest.
>>894949 >When have railroads ever turned down upgrades on their own tracks? Norfolk Southern was dragged down kicking and screaming when NCDoT and VDoT decided to upgrade their tracks and want to run frequent passenger trains between DC and Charlotte. NS reps have made it clear they will oppose any plan to extend the NEC further south on their tracks.
>>895000 Then they can build track parallel to their alignments. It would be ridiculous to mix heavy commuter and high speed passenger train traffic with heavy freight train traffic
I would also like to point out NS is the most Amtrak friendly Class 1 railroad. They actually follow the priority regulations and consistently give way to Amtrak traffic.
>>895008 >The infrastructure needs to be Because the US government has such a great reputation at maintaining massive infrastructure networks. Oh wait, no it doesn't. The NEC is already owned by a patchwork of public entities and the thing is still a dilapidated mess of century old engineering that would cost billions to bring up to standards. Federal and state level institutions need to unfuck themselves before anything of significance related to infrastructure can be done.
>>894934 >giving priority to passenger trains Why would they do that in the U.S.? Freight is the bread winner, that's where the money is. Why would they give priority to a service like Amtrak (which operated at a loss of $227 million last year) over a Tier 1 freight service like BNSF which recorded profits over $4 billion? If passenger trains need to have priority, then they need to have their own tracks, and not by making freight foot the bill.
>>895040 >then they need their own tracks how do you do this in the crowded north east? passenger trains are going to be operating hourly to every 10-20 minutes for commuter and regional/inter urban trains freight doesn't operate anywhere near that volume it can fit in between or move at late at night
the problems are with freight controlling it when they do run they downgrade everything else, if they have an accident everyone else is fucked, and if they dont need to upgrade a rickety old bridge built in the great depression then too bad for the passenger service that does need it rebuilt for faster operation
Spending money on passenger transit is saving passengers money from not having to drive, saving everyone money from spending on roads, saving money from the costs of congestion and loss of productivity. It's a net profit for society.
>>894949 >That would just result in a massive debt and not solve problems. Why? You'd charge the railway operators fees to compensate for the cost of maintenance.
>Anyway, since when have freight railroads turned down funds to upgrade their tracks? So the state is already paying for track upgrades? How is the state giving away money to private companies better than the state taking charge of said infrastructure in the first place?
>>894934 Well, this comes down to a philosophical issue, wether you consider that the state should provide certain transportation for people or not. Nevertheless, rail freight doesn't benefit as much from speed as it does from high capacity and cheap price, so it's not really terrible to have to wait half an hour for a passenger train to pass, which is also much faster. And as I said before, if capacity on a line requires it, the state could just double (or triple) track that line to allow enough space for both passenger and freight trains. Also this >>895040
>>894862 This would mean to wast $$$. Valuable taxpayer money. And be of no use. With only a fraction of that money you could easily build a brand new high-speed rail grid and buy high speed trains to connect all mayor US cities. Or you could even do something useful.
>>895086 None of them, or all of them. Depending how you look at it.
Trucking is so cost effective, because road networks is in huge part "subsidized". That is - trucking operators do not pay proportionally to amount of wear they cause.
The european model follows the same route. Fixed plant is owned by the government, and rail operators pay some of the bill for it. Coincidentally, both ton-miles and psgr-miles are up across the board. Even in the UK.
>>895184 >None of them, or all of them. Depending how you look at it. That's not an answer.
>Trucking is so cost effective, because road networks is in huge part "subsidized". That is - trucking operators do not pay proportionally to amount of wear they cause. Did Sanders win and toll the Interstate system while I was sleeping? The exact same reasoning applies to the US.
>The european model follows the same route. Fixed plant is owned by the government, and rail operators pay some of the bill for it. And it has been a massive failure across the board. The EU parliament measures did fuck all except allow DB to gobble up other operators and allow national rail carriers to dumb their infrastructure debt onto their respective governments.
>>895194 >The exact same reasoning applies to the US.
You pay for the highway system through myriad of taxes. One way or another.
>And it has been a massive failure across the board. The EU parliament measures did fuck all except allow DB to gobble up other operators and allow national rail carriers to dumb their infrastructure debt onto their respective governments.
Which is pretty much what truck operators and airlines do. So. What is your point?
>>895198 >You pay for the highway system through myriad of taxes. One way or another. Again that applies to countries on both side of the Atlantic ocean. What do highways even have to do with nationalizing the railway network anyway?
>Which is pretty much what truck operators and airlines do. So. What is your point? What's yours? You haven't given a single example of the franchising model working well for any country and now you're going on about the aviation and trucking industries.
Are you saying that because we lose money on freeways and airports we should also be losing money on railroads?
>>894862 A good example of why this doesn't work is JNR. Granted it did lay (literally) the track for most of it's successors it was not cost effective, was a huge bureaucracy, ran lines that weren't profitable, and was stifled by having no competition. After the breakup into the various JR subsidies and private railroads efficiency went up and runaway costs down since a railroad had to survive by generating revenue instead of being propped up by the government.
Of course Japan is not really comparable to our situation here. And JR Hokkaido sucks.
>>894912 Agreed if only because that would mean me being able to see three different lines (NS, Conrail, and CSX) versus just NS on heavy service. NS livery is so dull.
>>901607 Uhhhh, the mergers of the SP and UP and the BN with the SF could be best described as complete shit. They had trains that were fucking lost. I'm telling you 120 car trains that they did not know where they were. Complete standstill and operational failure.
If you still had competition in the west things would be much better for customers and quality of service would likely be superior.
In the east things get tricky. I don't think Conrail should have existed as a government owned freight railroad. The split between the NS and CSX really was the right move.
The USPS' legal monopoly allowed it to be relevant even that long. Competitors proved early on that they could provide the same or better service for a much cheaper price, but unfortunately for the public you're right that the USPS prevailed, though ingloriously, by having the government break up its challengers.
>>901580 >>901583 That's not the problem. The problem is Congress requires the USPS, and ONLY the USPS, to orefund pensions. Then they turn around and raud the pension fund to pay for other things. Then they prevent the post offices from shutting down remote offices that don't serve enough people. And they won't let them make money by shipping alcohol.
National or not, other people have succeeded at doing the job better. We can't be certain, but if not for their monopoly, the USPS could have been matched or surpassed in its role. As it is, they were at least forced to change somewhat as a result of the challenge.
>>895078 >So the state is already paying for track upgrades?
>So the state is already paying for track upgrades?
I'd imagine the states are subsidising/actually owning some class II and III railroads that are operating short branch lines.
>>901603 The rouble was quite stable during the whole Soviet Union's history though, with all the price regulation. The union collapsed strictly due the west getting so much ahead of it and the citizens losing belief in the system.
Now, you can look places like Venezuela, where the state tries to keep the population happy by hugely subsidizing things like food and petrol and you get the currency collapse.
What if the Government took over control of one of the original land grant transcontinental lines (either the Central-Union Pacific line via Salt Lake to the Pacific coast or the Northern Pacific line) and directly operated it with its own railroad. It would set standard rates and then the other railroads would be forced to set similar rates to compete with the government operation. Like how a federal single-payer system competing with private health insurers would force those corporations to provide better and more affordable health services in order to compete with the government.
>>902228 >The federal highway system was primarily built through taxes, not subsidies. My understanding is that roughly 40% of highway road construction and maintenance is paid for by taxes on fuel and the rest is from general tax revenue. Roads are being subsidized by every tax payer, not just drivers.
>>902664 BR was on the way to being profitable and had a solid long term modernization plan (plans for modernizing municipal railways and inter city links, signalling and rolling stock) before the Major government decided to fuck everything up by selling it to their campaign donors. The British government now spends more on railways and gets less from them then they did in the BR days. Network Rail doesn't manage projects nearly as well as BR did.
>>902712 >Yes, and it's an example of successful direct state intervention in the railroad industry. In an incredibly limited context. State intervention makes sense in certain contexts but why the hell should we nationalize wagon ownership? What would we gain from owning inter-modal cars?
>Why can't that same system be applied on a larger scale? Because the current system works fine? The private US railways are some of the most efficient freight railways out there and they achieve fantastic service levels with minimal state intervention. Why fix what isn't broken? At most we might want to consider breaking up the mega mergers of the 80s to allow more rate competition and inter-company cooperation.
>>902723 He's an idiot and probably doesn't realize the vast majority of the nation's railcars are privately owned or leased through companies that specialize in financing them. Shit, UTLX was the creator of TransUnion, the credit reporting agency. It made loads of money by building and then leasing tank cars.
>>902735 And you seem like one of the most politically ignorant people on this board. It's not like regulatory agencies being controlled by agents of the industries they are regulating is a new thing in American history, especially when it comes to railroads.
My post btw, was mostly a joke, but you're so stupid and autistic that you felt the need to "school" me on your own ignorance.
Railroad deregulation was disastrous for America's transportation infrastructure. More branch lines and mainline mileage abandoned = less transportation options for shippers = plant closure and relocation = more trucking traffic on highways = crumbling infrastructure = destruction of the American economy = economic collapse and chaos.
N. American railroads were bloated and overregulation was killing once profitable lines. Megamergers sucked, nobody will deny that, but abandoning seldom used spurs and getting rid of duplicate routes were necessities.
>>903593 Look at the size of this train. Despite this, the branch line pictured was abandoned several years later. The traffic pictured didn't disappear with the line though, so where did it go? It went onto the highways. How many trucks does it take to haul the amount of freight in the picture?
Railroads are a public service utility and should be regulated as such. Even providing federal or state subsidies to prop up low traffic branch lines would be better than abandoning them entirely.
>>903616 Haha, that would never fucking happen. Never. Cities and counties love that property tax they get from railroads. It's huge long tracts of commercially taxed property. It helps balance their budgets very nicely. If you really think a city is going to choose between that money and keeping a railroad spur, and that spur is going to win, you're deluded.
>>903699 I see the size of that train. Do you really know the traffic didn't disappear, though? What if the plant that took the vast majority of those boxcars shut down. That's what keeps most spurs alive. One strong customer, and once they're gone, there's no point. The taxes and maintenance just make it a money sink. I mean, look at that bridge. That one bridge is a sizeable investment just to maintain. If instead of pulling and spotting 40 cars a day, you're now doing eight of them every other day, it's simple math. It's not worth the money to keep it open.
Railroads are regulated as public utilities in the way they set rates, can form mergers, and abandon track. Just because you're ignorant to the processes doesn't mean they don't exist, but subsidies should not be used to support a money losing service.
Today, what often happens is that the railroad will sell the rail to the plant or a short line and have them agree to move their own cars from an interchange location.
>>903726 >Haha, that would never fucking happen. Never. Cities and counties love that property tax they get from railroads. It's huge long tracts of commercially taxed property. It helps balance their budgets very nicely. If you really think a city is going to choose between that money and keeping a railroad spur, and that spur is going to win, you're deluded. Why the fuck are you being such an arrogant asshole? I was merely wondering *what if* not THIS WILL TOTALLY HAPPEN GUYZ
>>903731 >>It's that you really don't know. It's such an ignorant thought that I can't dignify with a polite response. >hurr fuck you for thinking of the consequences of a scenario >theories are gommie scum Yeah because tax code changes have never happened in this country. Changing property tax code is on the same level as people mounting a successful revolution.
>That would be ludicrous. Railroads in United States are free market endeavours. Treat them as such. >if I keep saying free market then it must mean it's really free Oh piss off. Railroad work within a regulatory framework imposed by the state and that framework happens to be unequal to the trucking industry in some instances. If tracks are taxed then cities should start taxing the bloody roads. It might help make the market a more level playing field by offsetting some of the damage created by the massive road subsidies.
>>903736 >Changing property tax code is on the same level as people mounting a successful revolution. Ask the people of California.
>Muh railroads are at a competitve disadvantage Are you seriously shedding tears for multibillion dollar companies that often operate in defacto monopolies? When is the last time you saw a truck hauling Chlorine, Ethelyne Oxide, Prussic Acid or other highly dangerous commodities? Probably never since companies ship these by rail when they have to and the railroads charge huge premiums for shipping it.
Furthermore, highways and roads benefit more than just trucking companies. You can more easily transport yourself, emergency services can respond faster, and you have a higher standard of living. Additionally, trucks are already taxed through their registration and inspections.
>>903738 >Are you seriously shedding tears for multibillion dollar companies that often operate in defacto monopolies? Oh now I'm the corporate apologist? That's a bit rich coming from the person who has been screaming "muh free market" throughout the whole thread.
>When is the last time you saw a truck hauling Chlorine, Ethelyne Oxide, Prussic Acid or other highly dangerous commodities? Probably never since companies ship these by rail when they have to and the railroads charge huge premiums for shipping it. This has nothing to do with the previous point I was trying to make but thanks for moving the goalpost.
>and you have a higher standard of living My quality of life is really enhanced by being stuck in traffic for an hour every morning.
>Additionally, trucks are already taxed through their registration and inspections. Let me guess, you also believe the gas tax covers the maintenance costs of the Interstate network?
>>903740 >My quality of life is really enhanced by being stuck in traffic for an hour every morning. >Let me guess, you also believe the gas tax covers the maintenance costs of the Interstate network? I can see you're not interested in having an adult discussion.
>>903741 >Haha, that would never fucking happen >If you really think a city is going to choose between that money and keeping a railroad spur, and that spur is going to win, you're deluded. I can see you're not interested in having an adult discussion.
>>903741 Not >>90340 however the biggest part of the debate before and after the recent $305bln surface transit bill is that the gas tax isn't even close to covering the maintenance cost of the interstate system.
>>903747 I'm not the one acting like the maintenace of public property shouldn't be funded through general taxes.
Railroads have a tremendous amount of influence and power. They are the best way to ship bulk freight over land and they know it. They are large companies that also happen to be very insular. Union Pacific ranks #123 on Fortune's 500 list. It's bigger than companies like Northrop Grumman, Capital One, and Star Bucks, but it doesn't compete on a global scale. Just across half of the country.
I think there's a big disconnect between people who like railroads and people who have actually worked for them. When you see how the business is run, you don't have a lot of sympathy and you understand why branches are sold off and abandoned.
>>903753 >I'm not the one acting like the maintenace of public property shouldn't be funded through general taxes. >Railroads are regulated as public utilities in the way they set rates, can form mergers, and abandon track >Railroads are private property. jfc pick a side you bastard. If they're regulated as public utilities then why the hell don't you consider them public utilities?
I'm not even the OP but you're just fucking terrible at this. Especially considering you apparently worked for one of the private oligopolies and have witnessed their management level stupidity.
>>903761 But they're not public utilities anymore than FedEx is. Which it's not. I merely said >Railroads are regulated as public utilities IN THE WAY they set rates, etc. Your electrical company cannot spike your rates without first getting permission. Neither can railroads.
Didn't think so. Freight rates in Europe are shit because your competitor has access to the exact same network as you and is paying the same rates to haul their shit over the government's road as you.
The European railway model is deeply flawed even if most of the fetishists on /n/ don't want to accept it.
CN had competitive rates because they needed to compete with American roads for transcon traffic and because CP, though being smaller, was a serious competitor and whined a lot about CN's preferred position. I'm actually amazed CN lasted as long as it did as a crown corporation.
>>904114 Doesn't this prove CN was a force for good in the railroad industry? Why not have public corporations competing with private corporations? The consumer is the winner in that kind of situation.
>>904086 Different structure of european transport market ( a lot of small clients, preference of truck transport due to that amd short distances to boot ) - make transporting of goods in europe much more expensive. Mineral unit trains in EU cost about the same as in US per ton/mile,
>>911602 I just think it's because the sates are smaller and up until recently and even today transhipment from operator to operator was a hassle.
Plus these operators were very jealous about their national monopolies, which lead to them outpricing themselves from small customers even worsen than in US. You just couldn't have the company shifter come and bring the train into the next big switching yard, the revenrend monopoly engine would have to come and fetch it there and so on.
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