Tag Archives: Beacon

The Hyperloop Could Make Even More Massive Megacities

The Hyperloop, is the latest and greatest in ground transportation. Made sort of famous by Elon Musk, it uses vacuum tubes to move containers that hold people and cargo. The United States is sort of behind the rest of the World, so let’s first of all talk of Australia.

The Hyperloop zips around in a tube at 1000+ km/h (620+ mph). These high speeds have the possibility to shorten travel times, making it easier to get from city to city.

Despite skepticism, Hyperloop One hopes to connect Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. Passengers can travel between the two in under an hour.

Now, officials from Hyperloop One are proposing that the Hyperloop could eventually merge the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, creating one huge megacity. The best part? Travel time is around an hour.

“We’ll make Sydney and Melbourne really connected to each other. If you connect two cities with Hyperloop, you get, effectively, a sort of global city punching above its weight in a global economy,”says Hyperloop One VP Alan James.

For those unfamiliar with the technology, Hyperloop is essentially a passenger/cargo carrying capsule that zips around in a tube at 1000+ km/h (620+ mph). Those speeds promise to change the very urban landscape.

But the system does face a lot of skepticism. A real Hyperloop test hasn’t really been done, so we can’t see the effects on humans or cargo that travel on it. Also, there are no estimates on the massive infrastructure costs that could be associated with building Hyperloop tracks.

If it were to work out, though, a ticket from Sydney to melbourne would be booked via an app and cost less than a full-priced, last minute plane ticket.

Now a lot of projects on the drawing boards in U.S. Only today will mention the two that our company is involved in. The bigger one is linking Chicago and Louisville. The smaller one is on an unused railroad in Metropolitan New York City. It will link Beacon Station on the Metro-North Railroad Hudson Division with Southeast Station on the Metro-North Railroad Harlem Division. More and more people live in the area between the two stations and if they work in New York City must choose which station they will drive to. Next week we will be attending a site visit conducted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority!

MTA Alternative to Amtrak Expensive Empire Service

When Amtrak eliminated food service on its short-haul Empire Corridor trains, I vowed to search out alternatives to Amtrak’s extremely high priced, no-frills service. And am I glad I did. I never knew what a pleasant alternative the MTA’s Beacon station is for those who live in the Capital District, especially for weekend and holiday family excursions to the City.

Beacon Station is located on Route 9D, just a hop off of Interstate 84 (which interchanges nicely with the Thruway in Newburgh). The following is a comparison of the weekend/holiday service patterns for MTA and Amtrak.

A conservative estimate of 65-70 mph driving time to Beacon Station from Capital District Thruway entrances is as follows:

#25: 1’35”
#24: 1’29”
#23: 1’24”
#22: 1’18”

(After adding your travel time from your home to your nearest Thruway entrance, compare your that total travel time with your local travel time to Rennselaer station.)

Of course driving to Beacon consumes gas and tolls. I’d budget about $15.00-$20.00 for that.

Then, when you arrive Beacon Station, all you need to park your car, and purchase your tickets is 10″, tops. (I did it yesterday with my 5-year old son and 70 year-old mother in 4″ minutes.)

Unlike Rennselaer, where parking ranges from $3.00 to $6.00 per day, parking is free an extremely plentiful at Beacon Station on weekends and holidays.

Southbound express trains from Beacon to NYG do the run on Weekends in 1′ 13″. Northbound express trains to Beacon from NYG do the run on Weekends in 1’18”. (Compare this with Amtrak’s 2’25” running times between ALB and NYP.) The MTA runs at least hourly, and unlike Amtrak, there is no need to fool around wasting time with Amtrak’s absurd reservation system. At the Beacon Station, you will find ticket machines that are fast and simple to use; they accept cash, credit, and debit cards.

Yesterday, I paid the following round trip fares:

$23.00 for me;
$1.50 for my five year old son (under five is free);
$15.00 for my mother, who is a senior citizen.
$39.50 (total)

Needless to say, even with the $15.00 gas and tolls included, the cost of my MTA ticket was approximately a quarter of the cost that Amtrak would have charged me out of Albany. Also, my door-to-City and City-to-door travel times were actually FASTER than the Amtrak alternative.

And what an improvement GCT is over NYP. Before catching our return train home, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Oyster Bar until exactly 5:10 p.m., whereupon we strolled accross the station to catch our 5:16 p.m. train home, the equipment for which had already long been patformed and receiving passengers. What a joy it was not to have to stand around the sign at NYP waiting for the floodgates to open for Amtrak’s late-arriving equipment from Sunnyside yard.

Conclusion: On weekends and holidays, there is really no need to waste one’s time and money with Amtrak’s expensive Empire Corridor services.