Sabtu, 13 April 2013

Re: [CanPassRail] Perceived Risk on Various Modes


The $13 billion number appears in an FRA report on the economics of PTC that was released late last year. I just had that number in mind when I wrote my initial post, and in looking at the report more closely, the $50 billion number I mentioned in the original post was totally out to lunch, since the long term costs were already included in the $13 billion number.

The report suggests that the cost of installation of PTC is in the order of $138,000 per mile, which sounds pretty realistic. They compare it to the European ERTMS system, which cost in the order of $1.9 million per mile.

The report says that the freight railroads have already spent $1.5 billion, and the installation cost alone will total about $7 billion. Operating, replacement and maintenance cost is additional. That doesn't include the cost to the passenger railroads.

The FRA report concludes that even when you consider all the potential operating benefits, Congress has mandated the railroads to invest in a project that has a cost/benefit ratio of something in the order of 20 to 1. The financial burden is on private industry, and is totally unfunded by the government.

The problem I see with this is that it will push up the cost of providing rail transportation, both passenger and freight, making it less competitive.

In Canada, it appears that the TSB is pushing the PTC solution, with the main argument that since the US is doing it, it must be right. They of course are ignoring the completely awful economics of the system. Publicly, the railroads can't complain about the cost, since public opinion tends to simplistically feel that the "big railroad corporations" are trading off profits for safety, even though that is the reality in all aspects of life, particularly in alternative transportation modes like highways. (Traffic lights aren't at every intersection because of cost, and the Trans Canada isn't totally a limited access highway because of cost.)

The politicians and regulators have to consider what effects a mandate to install a very expensive system would have on the competitiveness of the industry that is already safer than the alternatives. If course, maybe the strategy of the current government is to push the cost of VIA Rail higher so they can justify killing long distance passenger rail altogether.


--- In, Knut <knut@...> wrote:
> How realistic is that $13 Billion number/
> Sounds like an awful lot considering the amount of passenger service operating in the US (and Canada).
> For Canada, would it not make sense to just install a system like that in the Quebec City to Windsor corridor?
> I assume the cost is related to the distance covered.
> Knut
> PS - Of all the modes of travel, By foot, bicycle, motor vehicle, bus, train, airplane, boat, I feel the safest going by train.
> ------------
> On 2013-04-12, at 11:25 AM, James wrote:
> >
> > I found that to be in interesting number, given the push for PTC on railroads, which is expected to cost in the order of $13 Billion in the US, and perhaps prevent something like three passenger deaths a year, on average. (I'm using US statistics, since I haven't seen any Canadian ones for comparison.)
> >
> >
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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