Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

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Thread: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

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    GMI Contributor Premium Member Ming's Avatar
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    Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    I've picked up on this chatter from around the web. What do you think - should GM move into making mass transit vehicles at the Government's request? - Ming

    GM, build rail cars
    MARLO EDMAN
    Northeast Portland

    America is suffering from a glut of cars and car manufacturers. When overproduction and competition in other industries occur, the market usually corrects itself by attrition of the least viable. We have made too many uncompetitive automobiles for too long.

    To help solve this problem, let's do something similar to the World War II solution that satisfied the need for armament.

    Let's require that General Motors get out of the car business and into making mass transit vehicles like light-rail cars, high-speed passenger trains and electric buses.

    It is just as urgent now to develop American-made rail transit technology and equipment as it was in 1943 to produce war materiel.

    It is a matter of national security and national prosperity to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by increasing our use of high-speed rail and other mass transit systems -- and it would be good for the environment, too.

    SOURCE

    Also:

    I'd be laughing right now if I could just stop crying.

    I thought billions in taxpayer money and Wagoner's presidential dismissal were supposed to mark the end of General Motors' bad plans, and I naively hoped the company would replace Dummers with innovative thinking, dynamic product design, maybe even switch some of its production to light rail. Silly me.

    GM's solution for the future of transportation is, hold your breath, a Segway built for two. I don't know about you, but I want my money back.

    http://la.streetsblog.org/2009/04/08...boy-on-wheels/
    The failure of General Motors provides President-Elect Obama the perfect opportunity to begin the transition to a green collar economy.

    All signals point to Obama investing heavily in green collar jobs. The labor force and manufacturing capacity of GM provides a perfect springboard for a national green jobs initiative.

    The green recovery report lays out six key elements of a green recovery package. In addition to manufacturing and selling a small fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles, these are the types of projects a radically transformed General Motors should be undertaking.
    All signals point to Obama investing heavily in green collar jobs. The labor force and manufacturing capacity of GM provides a perfect springboard for a national green jobs initiative.

    The green recovery report lays out six key elements of a green recovery package. In addition to manufacturing and selling a small fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles, types of projects a radically transformed General Motors should be undertaking include:

    – Expanding mass transit and freight rail
    – Constructing smart electrical grid transmission systems
    – Next-generation biofuels

    http://www.theseminal.com/2008/12/03...ollar-bailout/

    Last edited by Ming; 04-12-2009 at 09:21 AM.

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    GMI Contributor Premium Member Ming's Avatar
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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    Off-road solution for automakers: Light rail
    Edward Lapham
    Automotive News
    February 12, 2009

    One of the shrewdest things the domestic auto industry could do is begin planning to produce light-rail systems.

    Here's why:

    We have the Obama administration for at least four years, and at the speed the president is moving, we're liable to have a mandate for universal mass transit by suppertime next Monday. That means runaway demand from darned near every city and burb in the nation.

    The technology, manufacturing processes and even the supply base are related. Ka-doong, ka-doong, ka-doong. Engineers and designers who've been developing cars and light trucks for their whole careers might enjoy a change of pace. And a little cross-training might be just the boost for morale that HR has been looking for.

    General Motors and Ford have experience in mass transit. Until GM sold its Electro-Motive division four years ago, the automaker was one of the two largest U.S. producers of diesel locomotives. Of course, that wasn't light rail, but it is related.

    GM also was one of the biggest North American producers of mass transit buses until it folded the business in the 1980s. GM's stake in rubber-wheeled mass transit is one of the reasons it regularly lobbied against light-rail systems back then.

    In the 1970s, Ford built a one-off, rubber-wheeled automatic people mover that for several years ran between the Hyatt hotel and the nearby Fairlane shopping center in the automaker's hometown of Dearborn, Mich. It was dubbed a ''horizontal elevator.''

    Buy-American mania in Washington could give Ford and GM a head start if legislation requires light-rail systems be built in the United States; most of the existing light-rail producers are outside the country.

    It makes so much sense, yet I can almost hear the arguments:

    There is no capital to spare for a project that doesn't relate to cars and trucks. True, but if federal funding shakes loose, wouldn't it be nice to at least have a plan?

    OK, light rail would be competition for cars and trucks. But if it's coming anyway, why not get a piece of the action?

    SOURCE

    Last edited by Ming; 04-12-2009 at 09:27 AM.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    No way! I'm American, I'll drive myself around thank you. As much as it pains me to say this, GM should just go down to Chevrolet and Cadillac. This way, they can focus all of their resources on two brands and actually produce a class leading vehicle in every segment.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    yes they should, there is going to be a huge push for mass transit-or I hope there is.
    SANITIZED: for your viewing pleasure

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    Quote Originally Posted by GM Rules View Post
    No way! I'm American, I'll drive myself around thank you.
    Growing up I always thought that the U.S. had a rich and storied past with railroads and trains.

    Somewhere along the way I hear guys like Glenn Beck on TV or Sean Hannity on the radio imply that riding on a train is "un-American"...and everyone needs an SUV to tool around in. That Freedom = driving around in your own personal vehicle - preferably the largest vehicle possible, because conservation is for those pantywaist euro-commies and tree huggers. Somehow riding on a train became associated with living in some other country, giving up one's freedom, and not being a red-blooded American male.

    Not sure I agree there. Trains have a certain appeal, especially for people with long commutes from the exurbs, I'd think -- people who don't want to idle in traffic in their single-passenger Suburbans. Besides...trains can be impressive engineering marvels to appreciate.




    Last edited by Ming; 04-12-2009 at 09:54 AM.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    Quote Originally Posted by civilzues View Post
    yes they should, there is going to be a huge push for mass transit-or I hope there is.
    Mass transit? There are too many American cities where I'd only ride mass transit armed to the teeth. Sorry, but NO CHANCE IN HELL.

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    so our debt riddled country is going to invest how many billions into a new rail infrastructure? maybe in 1950 before Ike made the highway-system but we can barely maintain that! besides the fact that the country is HUge compared to any european country with such a system. I think a train system is something that needs to done eventually, but is now the time for our govt and GM to throw money at that problem? what happens when the billions spent never go anywhere and its a huge losing proposition.

    let me add this. When GM get through this whole mess If it is for there benefit to build these train cars im all for it. But only if they are pained handsomely.
    Last edited by Ming; 04-12-2009 at 10:30 AM.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    The cost to enter into this venture would be ridiculous. GM needs to focus on the automobile business. This is why they shed Electro-Motive a few years back. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, wants GM to start building light-rail passenger trains at Janesville Assembly. These politicians have no idea of the sheer cost to start something like this from the ground up. They must figure GM can make anything, anywhere, anytime. While they are at, why don't they start making televisions at under capacity plants! What a pipe dream for today's political leaders. Why don't they stick to leading our country and state.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    Quote Originally Posted by Ming View Post
    Growing up I always thought that the U.S. had a rich and storied past with railroads and trains.

    Somewhere along the way I hear guys like Glenn Beck on TV or Sean Hannity on the radio imply that riding on a train is "un-American"...and everyone needs an SUV to tool around in. That Freedom = driving around in your own personal vehicle - preferably the largest vehicle possible, because conservation is for those pantywaist euro-commies and tree huggers. Somehow riding on a train became associated with living in some other country, giving up one's freedom, and not being a red-blooded American male.

    Not sure I agree there. Trains have a certain appeal, especially for people with long commutes from the exurbs, I'd think -- people who don't want to idle in traffic in their single-passenger Suburbans. Besides...trains can be impressive engineering marvels to appreciate.
    LMAO I was wondering when you'd blame the SUV for the demise of the train. Ming I blame just in time delivery and the suburbs.ie california.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    Quote Originally Posted by ANT View Post
    so our debt riddled country is going to invest how many billions into a new rail infrastructure? maybe in 1950 before Ike made the highway-system but we can barely maintain that! besides the fact that the country is HUge compared to any european country with such a system. I think a train system is something that needs to done eventually, but is now the time for our govt and GM to throw money at that problem? what happens when the billions spent never go anywhere and its a huge losing proposition.
    More like trillions actually. Europe can do what they do because they have a lot of population in small areas. Here you don't see that kind of population density outside the the upper east coast or Chicago. Better Amtrak would be a good bet, but unless we want to forcibly move people into larger cities, euro-style light rail is completely infeasible.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    Quote Originally Posted by hunchman View Post
    LMAO I was wondering when you'd blame the SUV for the demise of the train. Ming I blame just in time delivery and the suburbs.ie california.
    You're LYAO at your own imagination, then - haha. The "demise of the train" has nothing to do with the SUV. People deciding whether or not to even try mass transit options again in this country may have something to do with it, though if the choice is simplified by the talking heads down to "freedom in your Red-White-and-Blue SUV" vs. being "packed-in like cattle on a Socialist rail system".

    You can have both. Go do the Park & Ride here around Houston and you'll see plenty of trucks and SUV's in the lot. 'Course that's buses, not trains, but they have their own HOV lane.

    This way you can cruise around in your SUV on the weekend and to get to the "station" and back during the week, and can avoid traffic nightmares on your commute. Few people I know will insist on the need to commute in heavy traffic alone in a full-size SUV unless their job is just too far out of the way. This is a problem in spread out Houston, and if anything stops the spread of mass transit, I'd think it would be not so much "suburban sprawl", but the way companies try to escape inner city taxation by setting up outside of the city limits....only to be annexed in later on... (like the company I work for)

    Last edited by Ming; 04-12-2009 at 10:49 AM.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    I always thought is was a big mistake to sell off the Electromotive Division. It was profitable. I think companies should never sell off profitable parts themselves. It would be difficult and expensive to re-enter that type of production but if GM had partners like perhaps the company it sold Electromotive too and perhaps one or two others it could be done.

    More than anything Americans will have to Understand that Light rail or long distance Passenger rail will not be a very profitable business. it will always need substantial government support. In the US that probably means Federal State and local Support.

    My own personal opinion is that the Federal Government should Nationalize all of the track in the US or at least the track that would be important for light rail and interstate passenger rail. In this way, the rail road industry would be releaved of the very substantial expense of having to maintain track in thousands of miles of RXR rights of way. For those of you who might question this I would remind you that Airlines do not own airports and Auto & truck manufacturers do not own highways and in neither case are they expected to directly maintain or build them. Railroads should be the same. Freight rail and Passenger rail Companies should only be responsible form purchasing and running the trains that run on those tracks. if I am not mistaken this is how all of the great rail systems in Europe and Japan are run and the are quite successful.

    Let me state that I profoundly disagree with the suggestion that GM get out of the car business. The implication that GM is uncompetitive is absolutely wrong. Once they are able to shed the very burdensome cost of health care and retirees they will be profitable and very competitive with respect to cost and will be a force to be reckoned with in the area of design and innovation.
    Last edited by rsbaker; 04-12-2009 at 10:44 AM.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    Light rail is a loser in this country based upon how our population is distributed as others have pointed out. However, I would support more investment in high- speed rail for express passenger transport between major cities. I wish the stimulous package had included more money for things like that instead of the crap we're getting. At least we would have cool railroads, bridges, and roads when we were done throwing money down a hole.

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    Quote Originally Posted by ANT View Post
    so our debt riddled country is going to invest how many billions into a new rail infrastructure? maybe in 1950 before Ike made the highway-system but we can barely maintain that! besides the fact that the country is HUge compared to any european country with such a system. I think a train system is something that needs to done eventually, but is now the time for our govt and GM to throw money at that problem? what happens when the billions spent never go anywhere and its a huge losing proposition.

    let me add this. When GM get through this whole mess If it is for there benefit to build these train cars im all for it. But only if they are pained handsomely.
    Well said.

    Light rail = idiocy

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    Re: Letters/Opinions: GM Should Build Light Rail Cars and Passenger Trains Instead

    Quote Originally Posted by BigThreeForever View Post
    Mass transit? There are too many American cities where I'd only ride mass transit armed to the teeth. Sorry, but NO CHANCE IN HELL.
    Totally agreed. Ride MARTA in Atlanta. Thats taking your life into you own hands.

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