Dean Clough

July 20, 2022

Portico Darwin: I've Been Grinding On The Railroads

Flag of Ukraine.jpg

It's been a while, so how about a trip around the world to see how other countries are doing on major infrastructure projects?

First, let's visit Asia and see what our Chinese friends are up to.   Hint:  400 MPH trains is what they're up to.

China Just Unveiled the World’s Fastest Train


That means a trip from downtown Chicago to midtown Manhattan would take 2 hours.  How many people could we employ in all facets of a project like that, and what would the ongoing economic benefits look like when the project was completed?  News flash:  we'll never know.

And how about the now Boris-less Brits?  This article, from The San Francisco Chronicle, compares and contrasts new subway lines in London and SF.  It's not pretty.

All Aboard London’s New Subway Line, A Project That Leaves S.F.’s Central Subway in The Dust

The Elizabeth line — which is mostly open now and should be fully open in the spring — includes 26 new miles of tunnel and nine new subway stations compared to the Central Subway’s 1.7 new miles of tunnel and three new subway stations. So it took about six months per mile of tunnel to build the Elizabeth and seven years per mile of tunnel to build the Central Subway.

I've shared this with you before, but it's worth repeating.  Building a mile of subway in Manhattan costs something like $2 billion, and about the same here in SF.  Elsewhere?

 The Toei Oedo Line in Japan cost $560 million per mile.  The Berlin U55 cost $400 million per mile.  The Paris Metro Line 14 cost $368 million per mile.

More?  Here's a deep dive from Politico on how the US compares to other nations in terms of the costs to build mass transit systems.

Where The Transit-Build Costs Are Unbelievable

But wait:  don't Parisians mostly just lay around and smoke cigarettes and drink wine, vs. building subways?  Don't Germany and Japan both have free health care for its citizens?  Doesn't the EU have CRUSHING regulations?  Yet, their build costs are a third of ours?

Why can't we have nice things in America?  Maybe we're distracted?


10 seconds of seriousness:  can anyone dispute that one reason we don't have nice things in America is because of one particular party's focus . . . or lack thereof? 

Or is Hunter's laptop more important than rebuilding our shitty, mid-20th century transportation infrastructure?

I would like to thank Fi Deuce for her comments regarding Monday's newsletter:

Like this one!

I really like the economy with words - perhaps I could learn something from Fi in that regard?

And from the magical Adirondack Mountains comes a message from Bulleit Bob, whom I believe to be an infrequent (yet occasional?) reader of this blog.  Regardless, he sent this video of the beauty Julie Louis-Dreyfus, who is apparently now hawking a new type of electric car?

Mercedes Benz Electric Car

OK, so perhaps you've seen that before.  But are you gonna argue with this man?


Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.

OK, OK, this is a somewhat unusual selection, but you could always start your own blog and play your own music.  Here is Blackfoot and their breakthrough album "Strikes".  At least check out songs 8 & 9 before you criticize or think about starting your own radio station!


About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.