G Scale Model Train Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

· Premium Member
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Charles,

What can you do? Don't buy gas, don't drive a car. Our society is gasoline based. I have to go to work, so I don't have time to go picket a gas station. I have started to carpool with a co-worker, but she's about 1/3 the way to work, so I still have to drive at least part way every day. I do have a bike (2 of them), and have considered riding the 26+ miles each way to work, but home life dictates a speedy return home in the evening, so an hour and a half ride home is out of the question.

I was reading a blog the other day about fuel prices and the potential for oil to go to $200/ barrel in the near future. That'd mean $7 or higher for a gallon of gas. What will that do to our economy? I still have to go to work, so guess what? I'll have to pay that.

Maybe you guys that lived through the 60s can teach us young guys how to beat the Man. Oh wait, I forgot, most of you are the Man!!
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Mike,

I agree with you! I believe that finding solutions will be the challenge for us. I think part of the problem is the flexibility of the automobile. We have become accostomed to providing our own transportation, and our shopping habits and lifestyles are tied to them. Personal transportation is not something we're going to be able to give up easily. I shudder when I think of toting groceries home from the supermarket on public transit (if we had it) or on a bike trailer. It is not impossible, but it would take some detailed planning, that's for sure! And no impulse buying! That'd be the killer!

My point is that transportation solutions are going to have to come from local groups. Wider roads to accomodate bicycles and sidewalks, etc... What works in one place may work in another with some tweaking.

Here in central PA, the populations are not concentrated in the cities, but rather, we're all scattered around. There is a high speed train line from Harrisburg to Philadelphia (and connecting to the North East Corridor) that runs through Lancaster. They have done a major upgrade to the line recently and decreased transit time between Lancaster and Philly by 15 minutes or so, while keeping the ticket price low ($14 one way to Philly, $48 to Penn Station, New York). The decreased transit time meant that more trains could be operated over the two track line, resulting in more frequent (and convinient) service. If I worked in Harrisburg or Philly, that would be a major draw to ride. The trains are highly patronized and ridership is growing. That's good news for that line and selfish me! I have an alternate to the toll roads of PA, NY, and NJ when traveling to see my parents. While it will take me a grand total of 1 hour longer to get to my parents house in CT, I have a more enjoyable trip, and I get one more visit to Grand Central Terminal. When Luke is older, it'll be more practical to take that route. Right now, however, it is the SUV for the weekend road trips. I don't have a trailer and didn't like hauling one that one time I used the suburban to tow 12 tons of stone to the house.

I looked in to riding the bus system here as well (and NO, they are not pulled by mules!!). The problem is that I would have to connect to 4 different busses, and the resulting commute time was something like 90 minutes for a 26 mile commute, all but 5 miles of which is low traffic highway driving. There used to be a railroad line from Lancaster to York. The tracks crossed the Susquehanna River at Columbia/Wrightsville, a mile wide crossing. There are currently two road bridges there, and the old piers for the railroad still exist. The tracks from Lancaster west were double or triple tracked at one point, but it is currently single tracked. Norfolk Southern owns that line and uses it daily. Theoretically, a new bridge could be built on the old piers and a second, dedicated track could be laid adjacent to the NS line in place. Train service to an from York could be possible, but in this area, folks tend to shoot down anything that doesn't benefit them directly. Case in point, Lancaster county voted against a $25/100,000 property assesment tax that would fund libraries. As a result, several libraries closed. Maybe it was the Amish vote, I don't know, but it seems pretty short sighted and foolish to me.


I have started to carpool with a co-worker, and that has worked out pretty well. We have the same hours and drive to the same office (that sounds weird, but we have 4 offices in York).

Part of the problem for me is I got lucky and found an affordable house in the best school district in Lancaster Co (and one of the top 500 in the US). Now that I have been here for 5 years, I am reluctant to move from here so that I could have a shorter commute to work (and theoretically use less fuel).

There's not an easy way to turn the clock back to 1890, unfortunately.

Mark
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Just my opionion, but I don't think we'll see much in the way of new nuclear power plants. Sure, it is the most efficient way of making energy with the lowest environmental impact, but who wants a nuclear plant in their backyard? The regulations and hoops a power company would have to jump through to get permitted usually means that power generation is done by burning coal and then cleaning the fumes with a wet scrubber.

I'd love to see someone build a power plant in California. Coal, Nuclear, or anything else.

I was thinking a little bit last night on my drive home about riding a bicylce the 52 miles roundtrip to work and home. I'm not concerned about physically making the trip. I have a very light road bike with slightly knobby tires (it is technically a Cyclocross bike, used for racing road bikes off road. I've never used it for that, but it goes fast on packed cinder rail trails, etc..). Riding that bike at 18-20 mph is not much of a challenge, and I've had her up to almost 40 on a long downhill. I'm already conditioned as a long distance runner, and converting myself to a long disance cylcist would not take too long. But I was thinking, how much money would I really save by riding? See, riding that far twice a day would result in higher food consumption by me. I'd have to start eating high energy foods, or more high energy foods! I could see my food intake double, especially if I take the logical route and consume Power Bars or other energy bars that taste nasty but pack a whollop. That might cost me more than gas! The upside of riding to work every day would be increased healthiness (unless I get hit by a car). The downside would be an additional 2 hours of commuting time and higher food bills. We have facilities at work where I could get showered after the ride, so my co workers wouldn't be subjected to working with a 'more' stinky guy.

Mark
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
Doug,

Coal is an option provided you install a wet limestone scrubber to neutralize the SO2 and the mercury in the flue gas. The new scrubbers remove 97% (or more) of the SO2 which in the past has been linked to acid rain. Tighter federal requirements have resulted in many power stations installing wet scrubbers. This is especially true of the Ohio river valley. Low sulfur coal is available from the Powder River Basin, but it is expensive. Many of the power plants in the Ohio River valley have access to West Virginia or Kentucky medium and high sulfur coals at much lower costs (either by rail, barge or truck). The company I work for sells the

Then there is IGCC, coal gassification which creates electricity and gas in the same process. Buku bucks, and the tax structure is not in place to give investors a confident return yet, so that's down the road a piece.

Mark
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top