Simitian and Eshoo Split on Forced Transfer at San Jose

Apr 20th, 2011 | Posted by

(Note: See second update below for an important clarification from Congresswoman Eshoo’s office – she does not support forced transfers.)

While I’ve sometimes disagreed with State Senator Joe Simitian on high speed rail, I’ve always respected him. He does support the project and does seem interested in finding workable solutions, even if he is too willing to give credence to unfounded criticisms of the project.

One reason I respect him is he gets the importance of certain things, like ensuring the viability of the system as a whole is not threatened by mid-Peninsula mitigation measures. But that also means he and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo – his partner in Monday’s announcement – are suddenly very deeply split on a key issue. Eshoo supports forcing HSR riders to transfer to Caltrain at San José, a reckless proposal that would crash HSR ridership and call into question the project’s financial viability.

Simitian, on the other hand, understands why a forced transfer is a bad idea, and said so:

California State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) emphasized Tuesday night at a meeting with City Council that he supports a high-speed rail project running from San Jose to San Francisco on the same tracks as Caltrain.

He wanted to make sure people understood he envisions passengers who ride up north from Los Angeles to San Jose could continue with high-speed rail all the way up the peninsula, he said.

“People who want to get off in San Francisco would keep going on the same train and on to Los Angeles,” he said. No one would have to get off in San Jose, walk across the station, and go onto another train, he said. “Federal authority has been granted that would allow high-speed rail to stay on the same rail as Caltrain uses,” he said.

This is a very good thing to hear. And as the article indicates, Simitian defended HSR going all the way to SF on the Caltrain tracks to the Palo Alto City Council last night, and his clear statements of support are very welcome, especially in light of some of the more troubling aspects of the Monday statement.

Most HSR advocates – certainly myself – are quite open to collaboration and compromise on the Peninsula. If there’s a workable way to “blend” HSR and Caltrain along the lines of what Simitian proposed, we should absolutely pursue it. And as long as that compromise solution doesn’t compromise the HSR system itself – or its ridership – then it is worth considering.

It’s great to hear that Simitian understands the importance of a one-seat ride all the way to Transbay. But Eshoo apparently doesn’t. I hope Simitian can show her the reasons why it matters – otherwise this new “blended” solution may fall apart before it gets off the ground.

UPDATE: Jim Lazarus of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce – who is a rather important figure in San Francisco politics – wrote to the San Francisco Chronicle to denounce a forced transfer:

Peninsula politicians need to reread both Proposition 1A and the November 2008 election results. Rep. Anna Eshoo’s suggestion that local concerns be met by upgrading Caltrain service or having passengers transfer in San Jose is not the high-speed rail system approved by California voters, including more than 60 percent of San Mateo and Santa Clara County voters and 78 percent of San Francisco voters.

Prop. 1A establishes legally binding construction priorities; Phase One San Francisco Transbay Terminal to Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim, in specific corridors including San Francisco to San Jose to Fresno. Most important, the measure provides that “passengers shall have the capability of traveling from any station on that corridor without being required to change trains.”

Prop. 1A also requires that maximum nonstop travel time from San Francisco to Los Angeles be two hours and 40 minutes. Changing trains or running high-speed trains on Caltrain tracks is not legal under Prop. 1A, nor is it what Californians approved in 2008. Weighing in on design issues to minimize impacts along the route is an appropriate role for local legislators; suggesting alternatives that violate the law is not.

In the comments to this post, Nadia suggests Anna Eshoo may have been misquoted by the Chronicle yesterday. I’m looking into that and will have more info as I get it.

UPDATE 2: And here we are with a clarification on Eshoo’s statement:

Following Monday’s announcement by Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo, Senator Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Rich Gordon, there appears to be some misperception about what they have proposed.

Congresswoman Eshoo, Senator Simitian and Assemblyman Gordon wish to make clear that they are not calling for high-speed trains to stop in San Jose, forcing riders from the south, for instance, to transfer to Caltrain to reach San Francisco. There would be no transfers. The idea is to upgrade the Caltrain corridor so that high-speed trains can run on the same tracks.

High-speed trains would run northbound and southbound all the way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, as required by Prop 1A. On the Peninsula, they would operate on the same tracks as Caltrain, overtaking slower Caltrain trains at certain passing points, just as Caltrain’s baby bullet trains overtake and pass local trains today.

Excellent news. Glad to hear that everyone is in agreement – forced transfers at San Jose are illegal and simply a bad idea.

There’s still a lot to be worked out here, including how an overtake would function in practice, but those are things that can and should be discussed in the spirit of collaborative solutions.

  1. Robert Cruickshank
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 10:06
    #1

    I know some people will start whining that “omg you’re spending too much time on the Peninsula again” – after months of almost nonstop Central Valley-focused posts. I hope people can see the importance of this story – no SF, no HSR – and the value of a strong pushback against it.

    As always, if people want to see posts on other topics or other parts of the state, by all means suggest them – or even better, write them! I’m happy to post things you all submit to me.

    Donk Reply:

    No, this is a really important point for the sake of the project as a whole. It is great that you are exposing Eschoo for what she said.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    I actually think you do a great job given the fact you have another, full time job. It would be nice to get other writers on here.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, this is actually legitimate coverage of the Peninsula. The San Jose transfer question is important, and it’s good that you’re following up on it.

  2. Ken
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 10:18
    #2

    Why not reach a compromise to upgrade the tracks between SF and San Jose to handle HSR, but leave HSR running to San Jose? Then when riders complain why it doesn’t go all the way to SF and why everyone is forced to change to Caltrain, just erect a huge billboard at the San Jose terminus that says “the tracks can handle all the way to SF, but people living here don’t want them to.” The NIMBYs will be shamed by the riders and they’ll capitulate to let the HSR run through in no time.

    VBobier Reply:

    Um, NO, Prop 1a says HSR from LA to SF, What You want is to cave in to Nimbys and do LA to SJ, Which is not legal under Prop 1a… So forget It, HSR goes to SF from LA or vice versa and nothing less.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Because it’s a shitty compromise that will reduce ridership numbers to the point of non-viability. It’s far better to let trains continue to San Francisco on inferior track and lose half an hour than to require people to make an uncoordinated transfer to a superior but still separately-labeled track.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    The difference between operating at 110 and 125 is only a few minutes over that 50 mile distance. If/when they complete all the grade seps, they can crank the speed up to 125 mph. weehoo.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I wasn’t even thinking of 110 vs. 125. I was thinking of current Baby Bullet schedule vs. HSR nonstop SF-SJ schedule. In reality the difference is going to be much smaller, since HSR wouldn’t be running nonstop from SF to SJ anyway.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Under Altamont operating scenario (still the preferred PAMPA alternative):

    From Redwood City, BB takes 30 minutes to reach 4th/King. Add 5 minutes to reach TBT, and the existing ROW gives 35 minutes. The official CHSRA Business Plan calls for 20 minutes between SF and Redwood City.

    The EIR also states Altamont has 5min faster LA-SF travel time overall, giving a time deficit of only 10 minutes for the 2:39 design goal.

    Moral of the story: get the HSR off the conventional tracks as soon as possible. At least, that’s how every single other HSR operation works.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    5 minutes? Not 2:36 vs. 2:38? (Which would be equalized by UP problems anyway…)

    Clem Reply:

    Top speed is nearly irrelevant. What matters is average speed, which is about 50 mph for the existing express trains. Electrification might bring that all the way up to 53 mph, and you really don’t want to raise it any higher or you’ll have to kill off local service. The CHSRA wants to do 90 mph, but won’t under this plan, which will only support about 55 mph.

  3. morris brown
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 11:15
    #3

    There certainly may be a dis-connect between Eshoo and Simitian on what happens when you get to San Jose.

    The key is that Simitian, quite clearly stated what was proposed (blended), was legal under Prop 1A. Eshoo and Gordon signed off on this as well.

    Prop 1A quite clearly mandates that no passenger will have to transfer from a car to another car to complete any trip on the HSR line. Legally there is no question that Prop 1A bond funds cannot be used to fund this project without being able complete SF to Anaheim without having to change trains (as an example).

    So the proposal as stated by the group was to protect the peninsula from aerials, stop work on the present EIR, and start work on a new plan, that would upgrade CalTrain, such that CalTrain’s, 2 tracks, could be used not only for their own operations, but for all HSR traffic from SF to SFO. (also UPRR traffic)

    It certainly appears that Eshoo doesn’t understand that changing trains in San Jose is not an option, is not legal, and at least until a new funding source to replace Prop 1A could be drafted and voted on and approved by the voters of California is really not an option.

    So the joint announcement, would appear to not be so joined. On the other hand, Eshoo may not have communicated properly what she had in mind.

    The practicality of the proposal is a whole different matter. The group is really focused upon making sure CalTrain survives. That is the real focus of all of this. Of course, Palo Alto, which really cannot function without CalTrain is praising this announcement.

    But electrification of CalTrain is only a small part of what is needed to have CalTrain tracks accommodate HSR traffic as well as their own and UPRR.

    All of the money is in the HSR pot. That is why CalTrain got into bed with CHSRA in the first place. CalTrain has been left at the altar. Now though this new proposal, they are hoping to get HSR funds in a round about fashion.

    I supposed the next step will be to hear what vanArk has to say about all of this. He has consistently stated, “HSR needs it own set of tracks.”; the project cannot be successful otherwise.

    Is he about to change his stance?

    But as Gordon said, it is decades away before HSR comes to the peninsula.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    “HSR needs it own set of tracks.”

    It needs it’s own set of tracks to go 220 MPH. It doesn’t need it’s own set of tracks when it’s going 20 MPH because it’s coming into a station.

    Clem Reply:

    Van Ark is building the system that PBQD always planned to build, which runs well over 200 trains per day up the peninsula, with peak traffic of 10 trains per hour per direction. That does NOT include Caltrain– potentially another ~150 trains per day with ~6 trains per hour per direction during the rush. Such an astronomical level of traffic cannot be accommodated on two tracks, especially if they want to do the run in 30 to 35 minutes as they have been stating all along.

    The track sharing plan envisioned here might be OK for 2 HSR trains per hour per direction, with a SF-SJ run time north of 45 minutes. Anything better, and you’ll need significant sections of four-track overtakes. More on this later.

    The question is when will the HSR service plan be cut down to a more reasonable/feasible level… this ties into the whole business plan / ridership controversy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    16 trains an hour is doable. Everything has to run local but it’s doable.

    Joseph E Reply:

    Right, but if they want HSR trains to skip most local stations, you will need 4 tracks in a large portion of the alignment to allow overtakes. It’s true that if the HSR trains run local from San Jose to SF, keeping behind Caltrain’s vehicles at each station, they could run up to 30 trains per hour per direction without problems on 2 tracks, like any modern Metro or Light Rail system. But that would mean the trip would take 1 hour from SJ to SF for all trains.

    If you think 2 HSR trains per hour per direction is fine for now, we could do with 2 tracks plus a 4 track section in the middle for overtakes. But if the HSR system gets even 1/2 of the air travel market and 1/10th of the driving market the will need more than 2 trains per hour (2000 people per hour) during peak periods, I think. And it will cost more to build 4 tracks later, if we have to rebuild and grade-separate 2 tracks now.

    When people suggest that in Europe HSR trains share tracks into the city, they should note that most main rail lines there have more than 2 tracks into the city. For example, I randomly checked Frankfurt: 4 tracks into the central station: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=central+station&aq=&sll=50.111552,8.670788&sspn=0.028953,0.055189&ie=UTF8&hq=central+station&hnear=&ll=50.104234,8.720044&spn=0.00181,0.003449&t=h&z=18

    Florence: 4 tracks into main station: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=florence&aq=&sll=52.375285,4.897413&sspn=0.027562,0.055189&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Florence,+Tuscany,+Italy&ll=43.810734,11.229508&spn=0.001018,0.001725&t=h&z=19

    Brussels: 4 tracks: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=brussels&aq=&sll=49.589349,5.185547&sspn=3.746432,7.064209&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Brussels,+Bruxelles,+Belgium&ll=50.785088,4.290048&spn=0.001784,0.003449&t=h&z=18

    Those were the first three I checked. If you want to run intercity service and local transit on the same corridor, you need more than 2 tracks in a major urban area.

    thatbruce Reply:

    If you want to run intercity service and local transit on the same corridor, you need more than 2 tracks in a major urban area.

    But you don’t need more than 2 tracks for the full length; only at the pinch points such as major station approaches (mile or two) and where express trains need to pass the locals, hence the frequently mentioned requirement for mid-Peninsula overtakes.

    Howard Reply:

    It seems that three tracks are needed in most of the Caltrain corridor so that center CHSR trains can pass the slower outside Caltrain trains, with only four tracks needed where CHSR trains pass each other in opposite directions. It also seems that only the (3rd) center high speed tracks need to be grade separated and the slower outside Caltrain tracks could be left at grade.

    Howard Reply:

    Alternately the grade separations could be half elevated all rail with half sunken road (mini-berm) or half sunken rail with half elevated road (mini-trench).

    Clem Reply:

    Sure it’s doable, but is it desirable. BART runs 20 tph through the Transbay tube at every rush hour. And as you often remind us, even greater tph are found in the Hudson tunnels. But I doubt all-local service will be suitable for the express commuter and long-distance HSR markets… locals run at an average speed of 29 mph on the peninsula. The fastest expresses do 49 mph. Limiteds do ~40 mph, so if you could run everything as a limited (as Caltrain plans!) the SF – SJ run would be scheduled at about 70 minutes. If we’re OK with 70-minute run times, then why are we even having this conversation?

    observer Reply:

    Morris, I don’t think Prop 1A says “NO PASSENGER WILL HAVE TO TRANSFER… TO COMPLETE ANY TRIP” I believe Prop 1A says it must be POSSIBLE for a passenger to travel between stations without transfering trains. So even ONE SINGLE TRAIN meeting this objective would satisfy Prop 1A on this requirement. If passenger can book a ride on that ONE train, then passenger has the capability.

    “(f) For each corridor described in subdivision (b), passengers shall have
    the capability of traveling from any station on that corridor to any other
    station on that corridor without being required to change trains.

    Note – it says for each corridor – not for each train, not for each passenger.

    morris brown Reply:

    Here is Prop 1A.

    Assembly Bill No. 3034
    CHAPTER 267

    2704.09

    (f) For each corridor described in subdivision (b), passengers shall have
    the capability of traveling from any station on that corridor to any other
    station on that corridor without being required to change trains.

    The example I gave is on a corridor (SF to LA). Quite clearly you get on anywhere on that corridor, you get to go anywhere on that corridor, without having to change trains.

    Mandated in Phase I, is the corridor which be built first, and that will go from SF to Anaheim.. No Prop 1A funds could be used to build this corridor, it the net result will be that you have to change trains to get from one point on the corridor to any other point.

    As an aside, vanArk proposals in the Central Valley, thus far advanced, do not meet the legal requirements mandated of building in “usuable segments”. No peer review group should approve of such plans and certainly if taken to the courts, a judge will rule that Prop 1A bond funds, cannot be used to start construction in this manner.

    J. Wong Reply:

    As an aside, vanArk proposals in the Central Valley, thus far advanced, do not meet the legal requirements mandated of building in “usuable segments”. No peer review group should approve of such plans and certainly if taken to the courts, a judge will rule that Prop 1A bond funds, cannot be used to start construction in this manner.

    So supposedly as written, Prop 1A mandates that HSR cannot be constructed because there is no way to build it to meet the requirements of the law, at least that’s what you’re hoping. But clearly the intention of the voters and the law is that HSR be built. Judges rule all that time on the intent of the law especially where there may be ambiguity in its actual text. I suspect that a judge will find that release of funds to the CV segment meets the intent of the law.

    joe Reply:

    The HSR Law’s language states the need and urgency to build HSR for CA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTifdoKXoxM

    peninsula Reply:

    Morris, you and I just quoted the same part of Prop 1A, and it does NOT say that every passenger on every train must be able to travel from any station to any station without being required to to change trains. It says passengers shall have the capability. So, if they can book on a train that travels straight through, then they have the capability. If 1,2, 3 trains per day travel straight through, they have the capability to be on that train.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The Authority is already looking at shared track options on the Penisula, which doesn’t necessarily mean just two tracks. Caltrain already has a section with 4 tracks (Brisbane to Bayshore) and one with 3 tracks (Millbrae).

    The reality is that 4 tracks will be built where feasible. Similarly, aerials will be used where necessary to achieve grade separation. Cities will have to find their own funding if they want to trench.

    And I don’t really understand how trenches are preferable to aerials. Trenches are more of a blight than a well-designed aerial, @synmouse’s opinion not withstanding. Trenches are moats and just effective in preventing access as you might expect. In Burlingame especially this would be true. And an aerial along California Ave. would allow the land below to be used for recreational bike and walking paths estentially another park! while a trench is completely unusable for any purpose.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Simple: bums and sundry low life can’t live in trenches whereas they love to lounge about under aerials.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The homeless problem in Cos Cob is just awful.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Only freeway aerials! Because the road’s solid surface provides protection below from rain and the elements. Railroad aerials usually don’t provide protection from rain since they often just have individual sleepers supporting the rails and the rain can reach the ground between them.

    Joey Reply:

    Older ones, sure. Modern concrete aerials are pretty solid though. Plus there are no sleepers as aerials tend to use slab track.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    It is not decades away… it’s nine years…deal with it Morris

  4. Nadia
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 11:23
    #4

    @Robert – from what I’ve been able to confirm, this is a quote taken out of context which makes it seem like Eshoo was advocating for stopping in SJ when in fact she is on the same page as Simitian and Gordon.

    I encourage you to contact her offices to confirm for yourself so there isn’t confusion on this issue.

    As you know well, the media doesn’t always get it right.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Unfortunately, this still appears to be about politics, not principle even if Eshoo, Gordon, and Simitian are in agreement.

    Caltrain obviously wants to have HSR electrify the track for itself. That way, then people living on the Peninsula don’t have to get into the “why did we opt out of BART years ago” discussion. The electrification isn’t going to yield the savings…it’s the money CHSRA is going to have to pay to use the CalTrain track.

    Now here’s the thing to consider. If the stars align, what the Authority will be keen to do is start running Amtrak trains on the completed track in the CV. That will increase speeds because there’s no freight competition, and quite frankly, will be almost as fast at that interval as when HSR is complete. Electrification on CalTrain is going to happen last, perhaps even after HSR trains start running SF to LA with coupled diesel/electric engines.

    This is just going to force the project to spend more money for upgrading things which taxpayers outside of the Bay Area really shouldn’t be paying for. The 2:40 can’t be met without quad tracking. If CalTrain is going to eat up Authority money, for things like electrification too when it starts (inevitably) to quad track the Peninsula it will just take that much longer for the project to turn a profit, for other people outside of the Peninsula to enjoy the benefits, and slow economic growth that much more.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Be more explicit here in model preliminary services.

    An Amtrak train using the Express HSR corridor is not a preliminary HSR service, though it is, of course, an independent utility of that portion of the Express HSR corridor.

    Some form of HSR service running at some class of HSR speed on the CV corridor would be a preliminary service. One “early start” preliminary service would be to run Express HSR Palmdale/Merced, with twin headed diesels hauling the train as deadweight over the northern San Jaoquin leg to Oakland and the southern Metrolink corridor to LAUS. Obviously both the Altamont corridor and the Antelope Valley could receive some upgrades in support of that which would stand them in good stead over the long term in any event.

    Once the leg from the Wye to San Jose is finished, then a faster preliminary service opens up via the Caltrain corridor. For that, electrification of the Caltrain corridor seems to make sense (though not necessarily just implementing the plan as drawn up by Caltrain’s consultants ~ there seems to be some need for value engineering there as well).

  5. StevieB
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 11:36
    #5

    What Simitian seems to be advocating is electrifying the corridor and leaving it with two tracks and grade crossings running both Caltrain and California High Speed Rail trains. This would limit the number of High Speed Trains serving San Francisco which has the potential to reduce ridership and profitability. The trains could rapidly reach capacity so that two tracks would be inadequate. Leaving grade crossings in place would be dangerous with the increased frequency of trains and the higher speed of trains at crossings near stations due to the higher acceleration if electric trains. It would also cause traffic to back up more at crossings due to the increased number of trains on the penninsula. The advantage is that by not elevating the tracks they will not be visable from farther away.

    VBobier Reply:

    Grade Crossings need to be eliminated entirely in the CalTrain corridor. Why? If Your going to electrify CalTrain, Then You can have longer higher capacity trains & with No Grade Crossings then one does not need any blaring Horns anymore… Which makes for a much better neighborhood…

  6. morris brown
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 12:10
    #6

    @Robert

    I think Nadia has a point here. To this end, I have just posted to YouTube, 7 minutes of comments from Simitian and Eshoo that were part of the announcement Monday (4-18-2010)

    link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9-PdUIPSCg

    I certainly did not come away with the impression that Eshoo was proposing anyone having to transfer trains at San Jose, but rather that HSR trains would travel on an upgraded, 2 track CalTrain corridor. (again I don’t this this works for plenty of reasons.)

  7. Daniel Krause
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 14:07
    #7

    Grade separations remain the the elephant in the room, even for a “blended” system. Full grade separation is going to be mandatory. It should be in place now for Caltrain for safety, traffic and liviablity (i.e horns) issues. Unforutnately, folks on the Peninsula also hate the thought the dipping streets under the tracks due to impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods.

    The realitiies of this situation is why I question how realistic this proposal is. Massive investment would still be necessary to solve the grade separation issue b/c the proposal is in essence demanding trenching as the only solution. At the same time, the proposal talks about how they want to do this cheaply. The proposal is simply not well thought out because it ignores the ongoing safety issues of grade crossings (as we all know how dangerous it is now and how much more dangerous it will be with additional rail traffic) and the traffic issues. At some point the Peninsula leaders need to stand up a lead by facing reality head one rather than denying certain realities existing. They simply must find a feasible way to provide grade separations, and this probably means to they need to look for ways to pay for some of the additional cost for their demands for trenching. If they are willing to compromise and allow some streets to be dipped, then we have something to talk about.

    For this propsal to be more realistic, they need to do four things:
    1) Acknowledge that grade separation of the entire corridor must be done.
    2) Back off a rigid “no viaduct” stance (viaducts in some location will be non controversial, even on the Peninsula).
    3) Consider compromising by advocating for more at-grade sections while having the willingness to dip major streets under the tracks (even if there are some impacts).
    3) Express a willingness to kick in some funding for section they absolutely want trenched.

    joe Reply:

    Yes!

    Grade separations are needed, this isn’t light rail like the MUNI. People don’t have experiences with these speeds.Traffic lights don’t slow 65MPH freeway traffic for car or pedestrian crossings. Frequent 80-125 MPH trains using at grade crossings make me nervous.

    NIMBY Palo Alto has Oregon Expressway and Embarcadero both dipping under Caltrain and Alama road. University avenue too.

    Peter Reply:

    Just compromise for a split-grade alternative, for chrissake.

  8. Daniel Krause
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 14:10
    #8

    I will add a 5th thing the proposal needs to include:
    Elimination of all heavy freight, including some short-line operator.

    Only lightweight rail freight should be considered and I am not sure if that makes sense unless those trains can also be lightweight (as they would have to travel from other points around the state). If two tracks is going to remain for portions of the corridor, we must ensure that heavy freight will not impact HSR/Caltrain track.

    morris brown Reply:

    Lots of luck there.. UPRR has rights — they will be enforced.

    Daniel Krause Reply:

    It is my understanding that they may be interested in getting out of the Peninsula. It should be aggressively purused. Otherwise, it is questionable how they can run HSR trains on heavy freight tracks at sufficient speeds to meet Prop 1A requirements.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They would be running heavy freight on HSR tracks. Perfectly doable. You may not want to do it for a many many reasons but freight trains, being standard guage can run on standard gauge HSR tracks.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They can be kicked out if they’re incompatible with a Peninsula upgrade – remember?

    YesonHSR Reply:

    For what a stupid cement plant?? There is no profit on the peninsula for freight rail.. the port of San Francisco has no intermodal transcontinental traffic if there was 10 or 25 trains every eight hours running in front of your house you would have a big shit crap fit.. but then again you know aircraft bitch that’s what you sold when you bought that house so who cares.. I can’t wait when 35 trains a day run by your house.. in your front yard of course..

  9. Arthur Dent
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 14:28
    #9

    Robert writes: “Most HSR advocates – certainly myself – are quite open to collaboration and compromise on the Peninsula. … as long as that compromise solution doesn’t compromise the HSR system itself “

    Translation: I’m open to compromise as long as the other side does it all.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    The problem with Robert’s “compromise” is that it implies that the project as currently planned is overbuilt. If so, then why argue so fervently for more than what’s necessary? This has been the ongoing tone for 2+ years now – don’t question ridership, don’t question 4 tracks, don’t question any decision by the Authority – and it’s not a particularly productive one.

    It could be that this is what Simitian et. al. are aiming for: a system that’s enough to meet demand while staying within budget and community constraints. It’s an attempt to avoid overbuilding, especially when the budget is tight and interest is waning. Kudos to the Senator for recognizing and doing something about it. Robert, meanwhile, should do some fact checking before laying fingers to keyboard. These posts about Eshoo will come back to bite you.

    joe Reply:

    1) The next fight is over the capacity of the system, how many trains can run to/from SF and how fast.

    HSR isn’t about meeting 2012 needs, the design has to meet future demand for SF with an EIR extending to 2035.

    2) How can any rational review of the HSR process claim this Blog’s attempted to stifle questioning and decisions? Is that bogus claim solace for the NIMBY Reps completely backing HSR with an agressive timeline to bring service to the peninsula?

    William Reply:

    Full build-out of CAHSR on the Peninsula doesn’t need to happen during the early years, but hard constraints such as land, must be acquire as early as possible to allow full build-out. This is a compromise that I can agree with.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    As long as we can kick Palo alto in the face..love the CITY

  10. morris brown
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 15:08
    #10

    Pleasanton expressing their love for HSR plans.

    High Speed Train Through Downtown Pleasanton? `Over My Dead Body’ Councilman Sa

    http://pleasanton.patch.com/articles/high-speed-train-through-downtown-pleasanton-over-my-dead-body-councilman-says

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No no no Morris, according to the Altamont proponents Pleasanton was going to be …. pleasant… about running HSR trains through there. There wasn’t going to be any objections, at all, anywhere.

    Joey Reply:

    Oh please. It’s quite apparent that routes would have NIMBYs. My support for Altamont has much more to do with cost-effectiveness and markets served (for instance, various commute patterns and Bay Area-Sacramento travel).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If your goal is to improve Bay Area-Sacramento travel going to Stockton isn’t the way to do it. How many city pairs do you get out of the Capitol Corridor route versus the ACE route? I suspect that San Jose-Oakland is a bigger market than Stockton-Fremont. I suspect that Sacramento-Oakland is a bigger market….. Fremont-Oakland is a bigger market.

    Joey Reply:

    If you want to serve San José-Oakland, then build San José-Oakland. That’s not on the route for either Pacheco or Altamont, and the route that the CC trains traverse is hopeless for even reasonable travel times.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its 90 route miles from Jack London Square to Sacramento … what is it about the route that makes it hopeless to have reasonable travel times?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    As near as I can tell it has something to do with avoiding Oakland at all possible costs unless you are on a BART train.

    Joey Reply:

    It;s not the total distance that matters so much as the time it takes to traverse that distance. In the Capitol Corridor’s case, that is quite a long time given how fast trains could traverse the distance via Altamont.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Assuming that the Capitol Corridor route is never upgraded.

    Joey Reply:

    Even assuming upgrades.

    joe Reply:

    Joey, how about some math?

    I’m struggling with a 90 mile trip needing HSR service via an indirect route, the fact the system’s successful as it’s aligned now and the fact upgrading Amtrack service is a fairly non-controversial action.

    Joey Reply:

    Simple. Altamont promises SF-Sac travel times of just over an hour (again, the Authority’s own numbers), and the CC offers nothing near that. And for people in San José, there’s no comparison.

    BTW, successful by Amtrak standards is near failure by international standards.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Total distance does matter ~ total distance LA / Bay is why an incremental upgrade approach is not viable there. But for a 90mile corridor, upgrade to an 110mph Emerging HSR system with two 10 mile sections of passing track could be done in a couple of years of planning and a couple of years of construction. So if California started in 2014, it would be running two years before the HSR State 1, and 2+n years before Stage 2 to Sacramento is complete.

    A 400 mile system along those lines elsewhere in the country on existing rail corridor would have been about $1.2b, so $300m is reasonable for upgrading the Oakland / Sacramento leg of the Capital Corridor.

    Joey Reply:

    As for Sacramento-Oakland, do you have any evidence to back up this “suspicion” of yours? Even if it’s true, the current CC route is so slow that Altamont could probably compete with it, even if you are forced to transfer to BART.

    joe Reply:

    “Could probably”?

    Are you that confident?

    Joey Reply:

    All the math I’ve done so far has not reflected well on the CC, but if you really want I can do it.

    SF-Sac via Altamont is 1:06. Assuming that the average Peninsula speed of 100mph holds for SF-Fremont (which is reasonable), that leg of the trip takes about 0:25. BART from Fremont to 12th Street takes 0:36. So accounting for that, plus 10 minutes transfer time + fudge factor, you’re at about 1:27, vs closer to 1:40 for the CC. I don’t really have the data to redo this estimate for transferring at Livermore, but there you have it. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s notable.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    As far as the market, the fact that the Capital Corridor has been experiencing substantial increases in ridership even at transit times slower than driving establishes a baseline, and upgrade the system so its faster than driving and its mode share will rise substantially.

    Joey Reply:

    So imagine what could happen to the modal share when we start getting trip times near an hour.

    joe Reply:

    Yes, the HSR project CA approved to link SF to LA is best served by a alignment linking the Bay Area to Sacramento.

    One train runs from SF to SJ and then down to LA and SD. Yes it’s not ideal for linking SF to Sacramento but that’s an answer to a different question.

    You want to improve Bay Area (mostly east bay) to Sacramento connectivity – improve the Capital Corridor.

    Joey Reply:

    improve the Capital Corridor

    I don’t know if you’ve looked at the CC ever, but you would probably have to spend billions in order to save even 10 minutes off of a rather pathetic travel time. Why should we do that when we can bring SF-Sac to just over an hour and not spend any additional money?

    joe Reply:

    1. Then CC is doing a good job if it can’t be significantly improved with billions of dollars of investment.

    2. SF to Sac means HSR has to run two trains to the bay area, SF and SJ bound from LA. Bad idea to split bay area service for as cost recovery system. Build a bay spanning bridge – another bad idea for cost effective, timely construction.

    3. SF to Sac isn’t a primary corridor for the new service we all voted to build.

    Joey Reply:

    1) I’m sure it’s doing great given the existing infrastructure. That’s just not that well given overall travel demand in the corridor

    2) You have yet to quantify the increase in operating costs, or even suggest that it will be significant.

    3) It’s not, but we can capture that corridor too without spending any more money. So besides (2), which you have yet to prove as significant, is there any reason not to do this?

    joe Reply:

    “2) You have yet to quantify the increase in operating costs, or even suggest that it will be significant.”

    Okay you have a train and it has a cost and depreciation and operating costs and staff. You run oone from SF to SJ and then to LA and SD. You have two N and S pick up and drop off points on this competitive express train.

    Now you run two trains, one from SF to LA and one from SJ to LA. Altamont’s alignment has a fork for the two N cities. It costs more because you have to operate two trains.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Under Pacheco, you operate 9 trains between LA and SF. Under Altamont, you operate 6 between LA and SF and 3 between LA and SJ. The total number of trains is the same.

    Joey Reply:

    Oh FFS I AGREED that it would cost more. I just said that it wouldn’t cost that much more. Look at it this way: many of the trains used will be 400m sets, which are actually two 200m sets coupled together. So if you run two 200m sets instead of one 400m one, you have close to half (not quite, of course) of the staffing and electricity used for each train. And granted, both destinations will probably have to accept lower frequencies (not half though, see what I said above), but even half of what the Authority is currently planning would be more than sufficient. And may I remind you that they are currently planning to split trains anyway – between TBT and 4th&King.

    Scenario: Let’s say that under Pacheco, you operate half 200m trains and half 400m trains. Let’s say that 400m sets require 1.5 times the operating cost of a 200m set (probably an underestimate). Your total operating cost in this scenario is 1.25. Now let’s say under Altamont you operate all 200m sets, with 75% of the original Pacheco frequency to each destination. Your operating cost is now 1.5. That’s a 20% increase, but I would also like to remind you that it’s only a portion of the actual operating cost, which includes a lot of fixed costs like station staffing and certain types of maintenance. I wish I had the resources to make a more accurate approximation, though some other commenters here might.

    Joey Reply:

    Oh yeah and that’s ignoring the fact that, like Alon Levy said, you really don’t need that many trains to San José.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Under Pacheco, you operate 9 trains between LA and SF. Under Altamont, you operate 6 between LA and SF and 3 between LA and SJ. The total number of trains is the same.

    Yeah yeah yeah. San Jose is the navel of the universe etc.
    The people in the East Bay are they going to schlep all the way to Fremont where there might be the Califorinia equilvalent of Hudson News, a fast food vendor and bathrooms or are they goingin to go to Transbay? People in the North Bay are going to Transbay or SFO.
    More like 7 trains to San Francisco and 2 trains to San Jose on Thanksgiving weekend.

    Joey Reply:

    If San José doesn’t create the ridership demand to justify anything more than a few trains per hour, is there a problem with that?

    egk Reply:

    Don’t forget with the Altamont alignment trains will be running frequently between the Bay Area and Sacramento (probably one from SF and one from SJ each hour).

    This can lead to a very nice network schedule.

    In fact it is easy to work up a schedule over Altamont in which both SF and SJ get high effective service frequencies for all connections by having Sacramento-bound trains meet LA bound trains in Fremont) to exchange passengers. This schedule requires only 3 trains an hour each from SJ and SF – one express to LA, one local to LA and one to Sacramento – leaving plenty of extra capacity for, say, a few morning and evening SF-LA expresses, not to mention making it WAY easier to share tracks with Caltrain.

    On this schedule, both SF and SJ get two sub 3-hr connections to LA every hour, two 1-hr connections to Sacramento every hour, and two fast connections to CV cities every hour. It isn’t clear to me how any way of running trains on the Pacheco pass alignment can match that level of service.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Don’t shoot me, I’m just repeating the destination breakdown given in the EIR.

    egk Reply:

    RE: 3) That was clearly a political choice, since this is the second largest intercity transportation corridor in the state (after LA-SD). It SHOULD have been served, but that would have meant Altamont had to be chosen…

    joe Reply:

    HSR *was* a political choice – we voted for it. Very politic and very democratic. SF to LA was the objective.

    HSR competes with, and reduces, airtraffic for distances up to 300+ miles.

    Sac is serviced by the very direct Capital Corridor – splitting SF and SJ traffic to service Sac over Altamont costs more for the same level of service OR you reduce trips to each city.

    Joey Reply:

    Why such tunnel vision about the project’s objectives? We can capture additional markets without spending an additional penny or we can complete the project’s primary objective, and only its primary objective, and then later spend a few billion on CC upgrades and another several billion (if you’re lucky) on the Altamont overlay. Or did you think federal grants grew on trees?

    joe Reply:

    “without spending an additional penny ”

    bzzzz!!!

    egk Reply:

    Oh wow- was there a ballot initiative altamont/pacheco? I’d like to see that one since literally 95% of the ppulation has better service for less money via altamont.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Joey, you are using the wrong tense. You are arguing that California could have captured additional markets at the time the alignment was chosen without spending an additional penny.

    You are, that is, arguing in hypothetical terms regarding over a several year old decision. From where California is now, tossing everything into the dustbin and starting all over in the Bay would clearly cost more additional money.

    Joey Reply:

    Certainly not enough to make up for the cost of the Altamont overlay. Even if switching now cost us a few hundred million, which is no small sum, it would still be dwarfed by the money we could save.

    Joey Reply:

    And joe, since it seems like putting it in bold is the only way to get this across, The Authority itself estimated that Pacheco and Altamont (high bridge, SJ spur, and all) would have similar costs..

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Joey, “probably have to spend billions in order to save even 10 minutes” sounds on the face of it absurd. Jack London Square to Sacramento is only 90 miles ~ and that is route miles, not line of sight … a 70mph transit speed on a 110mph corridor would be about 1:20,, and that would be a reasonable trip time in any reasonable estimate. Of course a 90mph transit speed on a 125mph corridor would be 1:00, but the lower cost Rapid Rail system could be in place before the TBT/LAUS service is ready, never mind the Stage 2 Express HSR corridor.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pshaw, why would they ever think of doing that? If running in the street was good enough for Southern Pacific it should be good enough today.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9GzRXT8LOQ

    On the other hand the astounding demand for travel between Livermore and Fremont should get HSR or semi-HSR.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Livermore-Fremont isn’t any stupider than placing HSR between New Brunswick and Morrisville. See what I did there?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How many tunnels are they going to dig between New Brunswick and Morrisvile? See what I didn there? It’s more like “Let put HSR between New York and Philadelphia via Plainfield and Easton because there’s a lot of traffic on I-78″

    Joey Reply:

    adirondacker12800: how is that a reasonable comparison at all? If we’re talking about tunnels, Pacheco requires at least as many as Altamont. Alon Levy’s point was about you taking two smaller destinations along the route and claiming that the whole point of the route is to enable travel between them.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Don’t kill me, but if Scranton had the same population as Philadelphia, then it might actually have made sense to route HSR through Easton in a Y. If Sacramento and the Upper Central Valley didn’t exist, then Pacheco would be superior to Altamont; but given that they do, you might as well put everything on one line.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Routing through Easton in a wye ignores the population along the US 1/I-95 corridor. Just like routing it along Altamont ignores the population along the I-80 corridor. Building Altamont and ignoring that corridor would be like building via Easton and then telling commuters from Lindenwold that getting on a bus in Camden is good enough. Or commuters from Bryn Mawr that getting on a bus in Overbrook is good enough or that they can just drive to the high speed line in Radnor.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Um, what? People in Lindenwold can get on PATCO, modulo its not connecting to 30th Street. People in Bryn Mawr can ride SEPTA. Because Philadelphia has a more or less workable commuter rail system – better than Caltrain, infinitely better than ACE – it’s less important to serve individual suburbs. With CAHSR, Caltrain is planning to improve itself to roughly the same service level as SEPTA in the long run, while ACE will remain a hagfish.

    On the other hand, your comment would make perfect sense as a form of sarcasm if you search-and-replace Altamont into Pacheco.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you are in Lindenwold, at the right time, and want to go to 30th Street I’d suggest taking the train that goes to 30th Street instead of PATCO.

    Joey Reply:

    The current Capitol Corridor manages about 55mph between Sacramento and Oakland. While some parts of the route are straight, there are some parts (namely everything between Benicia and Richmond) which simply will not accept faster speeds (curves dictate that trains operate far below 79mph). So you’re left to get whatever time you can out of speeding up the faster sections, which would require quite a lot of speeding up to get significant time savings given the poor acceleration of the trains involved. Oh, and did I mention that all of the track is owned by UP? Which probably means you’re going to have to put up a fight to get any speed improvement without building dedicated passenger tracks.

    All this, or you could get from SF to Sac in 1:06 via Altamont. True, that wouldn’t happen until Phase 2 was build (which, btw, would be cheaper than Pacheco’s Phase 2), but it’s not like there’s any money to upgrade the CC right now anyway.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Joey, everything else equal, the curvy bits are are exactly where you’d like to put the passing track, so that they can be superelevated for 60mph passenger trains. Then run tilt trains on them, and they can go substantially faster.

    Indeed, Amtrak California ought to look at what increase in operating speed they can obtain under the FRA cant deficiency rules, which are more generous than the rules that they replaced.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No no no Bruce. The people in Davis or Fairfeild are going to drive to Stockton so they can get on the HSR train going over Altamont. They are going to do the same thing when they want to go to Sacramento – drive to Stockton….

    Joey Reply:

    Take a look at the route. The curvy bits are precisely where there is no room for additional tracks. Much of it is wedged between rather steep hills and the bay, or in otherwise difficult-to-upgrade locations. Why do you think it’s so curvy to begin with?

    Joey Reply:

    Let me put it this way: taking HSR from SF to Sac via PACHECO is competitive with the CC. That’s how bad it is.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You are assuming that the Capitol Corridor will never ever be upgraded and trains will run in the streets of Oakland forever.

    Joey Reply:

    And how much would it have to be upgraded to compete with what Altamont has to offer?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Average speed of 90 versus average speed of 140 is going to have some differential in costs.

    Joey Reply:

    Except that routing trains to Sacramento via Altamont doesn’t actually cost any extra money.

    joe Reply:

    It’s free.

    Except it results in a more expensive to build, less direct way to reach LA. If you run trains from SF S to SJ and then N to Altamont, it’s gong to tack on time for the SF to LA trip.

    If you split the system at the East bay, it’s more expensive to build and it requires two trains in place of one – one per fork to reach Sf and SJ.

    So if we were supposed to link SF to Sac, we’d have it in the law, not a “feature it’s better, I have it figured out, kinda thing”.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    It’s pretty clear that ‘joe’ has never read the EIR, never ridden the CC. Even CHSRA says Altamont results in faster SF-LA travel time. And even CHSRA concedes Altamont is no more expensive than Pacheco.

    Under Altamont, Sac-SF is a 1hr trip. There is no frickin way, no matter how many billions are spent, that an “improved” CC line will compete with that.

    William Reply:

    It is true that the construction cost for Altamont and Pacheco will be similar. The one major difference between them is the people they primary serve, advocating one or the other is pititing coastal people against inland people, which no one has clear advantage since population is similar.

    But we should ask ourselves what is the primary function for CAHSR: is it a commuter line between Sacramento and San Jose, or an inter-city line? From what I see, at least the first initial phase of CAHSR should primary be a inter-city line on cities between Bay Area and LA. Sharing tracks with commuter trains also hurts capacity, unless we can also build a 4-track right-of-way through Altamont, which is a issue Pacheco route will not face since CAHSR will be on its dedicate track immediately south of San Jose station.

    I think we can agree on that longer trips are more profitable than shorter trips, since fix-cost is similar but longer trips (in distance) command higher ticket price, with operating profitability be a primary goal for the first phase of CAHSR in order for later phases to be constructed.

    This is my 2 Cent on Altamont VS Pacheco…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Drunk Engineer, is that an EIR in which San Francisco, San Jose, Altamont, LA faster than Pacheco? I see an EIR with SF/LA equal, SJ/LA 10 minutes slower via Altamont, but it seems to go via Dumbarton, which seems a far more promising NIMBY roadblock excuse than anything on the Caltrain corridor.

    Joey Reply:

    But we should ask ourselves what is the primary function for CAHSR: is it a commuter line between Sacramento and San Jose, or an inter-city line?

    Why must this be an either-or?

    Sharing tracks with commuter trains also hurts capacity

    Considering that CAHSR will not be operating at capacity, sharing tracks with the 150mph regional sets intended for the Altamont overlay wouldn’t be much of a problem.

    I think we can agree on that longer trips are more profitable than shorter trips

    Certainly, but let’s not forget a few facts: (1) Our friends at the CHSRA plan to build the Altamont overlay anyway, so whatever operating realities that comes with exist either way, only difference is we’re building less infrastructure in one scenario and (2) Bay Area-Sac trips are primarily intercity, not commuter, and will likely be profitable.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Except that routing trains to Sacramento via Altamont doesn’t actually cost any extra money.

    And the people of Oakland, once the 220 MPH trains are running, are never going to ask why trains are still running through the streets. And the people of Davis are never going ask why it takes longer to get to San Francisco from Davis than it does to get from Sacramento to Los Angeles.

    Joey Reply:

    You can justify Oakland’s grade separation with or without the CC. UP is still the primary user of those tracks, and mile-long freight trains are a hell of a lot more annoying than passenger trains when it comes to running down city streets.

    wu ming Reply:

    the key to improving sac-bay area travel is improving the capitol corridor, and eventually putting another tunnel or bridge over the bay to allow single-seat trips to SF someday (and yes richard, it would have been best to do that with the ^%$#! new bay bridge, i get it).

    Joey Reply:

    Why does it need to be the Capitol Corridor, which, even with expensive upgrades, would be hard-pressed to offer the kind of trip times allowed by Altamont. Especially for anyone south of Oakland…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And anyone north of Oakland, how does Altamont affect their travel times?

    Joey Reply:

    It doesn’t, if the current service is maintained.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    And anyone north of Oakland, how does Altamont affect their travel times?

    Where exactly? The bustling metropolis of Martinez?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What’s the difference between the bustling metropolis of Martinez versus the cosmopolitan excitement of Tracy?

    Joey Reply:

    By going through Tracy you serve more markets?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Which ones, that aren’t served by the alternatives? Livermore to Fremont?

    Joey Reply:

    Travel through the Altamont pass serves traffic from the Bay Area to points both north of the pass and south of the pass quite well.

    wu ming Reply:

    for starters, because the CC is more than just sac and oakland. the I-80 corridor has a fair amount of traffic, with cities up and down the route with CC stops. HSR is going to be important for CA’s north-south travel a lot more than between sac-SF, because of the distances involved. improving the CC serves the whole sac-bay area I-80 corridor, just as improving the ACE line will help with the 580 corridor. not everything needs to be done by HSR, a decent rapid rail on the CC route would be more than sufficient, and would serve as a feeder for the HSR trunk down south in both directions.

    Joey Reply:

    There are plenty of people the CC does serve, but plenty it doesn’t as well. If we could keep the existing service, would there be a problem with pursuing better service for everyone below SF?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Spending $300m~$500m upgrading the Capital Corridor to Rapid Rail standard, and the same on the Altamont Corridor would provide more transport benefit than pooling that money and building either as a 125mph Regional HSR corridor.

    Again, this argument is about directing the location of a far more expensive Express HSR
    corridor on the theory that spending billions in one of several potential alignments will save hundreds of millions in Rapid Rail upgrades.

    Joey Reply:

    I am extremely skeptical that either the CC or Altamont could be upgraded to anything approaching “rapid” without billions spent. Have you taken a look at the routes on Google Earth/Maps?

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    according to the Altamont proponents Pleasanton was going to be …. pleasant… about running HSR trains through there.

    Altamont commuter “overlay” != HSR.

    The former involves FRA dinosaur trains running existing track, the latter would have been true HSR on new alignment (I680 being the best choice). Even proponents for Altamont HSR share the Councilmember’s views.

    Brsk Reply:

    So trains don’t belong in the downtowns? They belong next to FREEWAYS?

    Time to change your screen name… from Drunk Engineer to Stupid Brain-Dead Engineer

    Or an idiot, a congressman, or a 1960′s traffic engineer (but I repeat myself) would propose a train to next to a freeway rather than through the downtowns of each city along the way.

    Oh and no, the Altamont overlay is new electric HSR compatible trains upon final build out. They aren’t building new viaducts and trenches for FRA diesel trains.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’ve heard that some TGVs run next to freeways. Is this true?

    Clem Reply:

    Some do, yes… Those that don’t, run through green-field alignments as far away from downtowns as possible. They go out of their way to avoid downtowns, much unlike the unique and unworkable California vision of HSR-TOD. Maybe the French still haven’t got with the high-speed rail program. Or maybe…

    Spokker Reply:

    What about Japan?

    Spokker Reply:

    And I ask because I am unable to find an English-language interview with someone who lives next to the high speed rail tracks in Japan.

    wu ming Reply:

    you think that’s bad, try finding a japanese-language interview of morris brown.

    Joey Reply:

    In Japan you’re either building through cities or deep below mountains farther inland. Plus, most Japanese cities along the Shinkansen routes dwarf the cities along the CAHSR route.

    wu ming Reply:

    not all japanese cities are über-massive, just the greater tokyo megalopolis.

    Spokker Reply:

    It’s not like Japan doesn’t have suburbs. I always see little neighborhoods near the Shinkansen line in photographs, so I’m wondering how they people cope with the train.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    not all japanese cities are über-massive, just the greater tokyo megalopolis.

    The 16 million people in metro Osaka might have a different opinion.

    wu ming Reply:

    OK i concede the second half of the sentence (sorry kansai), but not all cities on the shinkansen are tokyo or osaka, and not all japanese cities on the line “dwarf the cities along the CAHSR route.”

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Clem, I know this. I was being sarcastic toward Brsk. I think by now you can trust that I’ve at least Google Earth-toured the major HSR lines of the world. (To say nothing of having ridden the TGV and tried not very successfully to read the road signs to estimate remaining travel time, since the train was half an hour behind schedule.)

    Brian Stanke Reply:

    Clem,

    The TGV avoids many small towns and villages true. But it also goes straight to or though small cities like Le Mans pop. 148,169. It avoids cities where it does stop and goes into the cities where it does stop.

    Of course this is different that CA because the train developed about 1,000 to 2,000 years after the settlements in France. In CA UP CREATED the string of settlements along it lines in the CV and SF Peninsula.

    The CHSRA is now avoiding some of the small towns in the way but even going around Hanford or Morgan Hill is controversial.

    As for Altamont if you avoid serving downtown Livermore and Pleasanton why bother? It would be a shitty commuter service if every station west of Tacy is in some ex-urban sprawl area.

    Altamont “done right” looks more politically impossible the Pacheco, so why bother? I used to be a big supporter (back before the final decision was made) but after the way Pleasanton has reacted to any rail service, forget it. In 20 years they will want rail downtown, let’s build elsewhere until then.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    As I understand it, SNCF was going to do a bypass around Le Mans. The “yimby’s” demanded routing through town, and were willing to put up money to help pay for it.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    That’s how SNCF rolls ~ the cities that are big enough to be “gotta run through there” have Express intercity tracks to their main intercity downtown station, so there’s no need for new downtown stations there, and the smaller towns near where the Express HSR corridor is passing can either pay the extra expense to get a downtown station or get a beetfield station.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The French HST do not avoid downtowns of major cities ~ they just access the downtowns of the major cities via the Express Passenger rail network which does not yet exist to make use of in most of the US.

    Joey Reply:

    Do us all a favor and look at a map. The I-680 route is the best way to get from Pleasanton to the South Bay with minimal tunneling. It doesn’t really avoid any downtowns you might want to serve.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Pleasanton is hyper-sprawlville. Putting a HSR station in “downtown” PTown won’t change that. On the other hand, blasting concrete aerials through residential neighborhoods is…what a 1960′s traffic engineer would do.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    No surprise. Pleasanton had this position since at least 2008. Remember all that outreach that was quite candid and plentiful in the East Bay and non-existent on the Peninsula? Their reaction is the result of being an informed citizenry.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Of course, a reasonable explanation for the “plentiful” outreach in the East Bay (while none was occurring on the Peninsula) is that HSRA needed to stimulate some pushback from that area in order to provide cover for dumping Altamont in favor of the Diridon/SVLG-pushed all-trains-must-stop-in-SJ Los Banos/Pacheco route.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But of course. It’s all spin.

    And how can you worry about “compromising” the hsr after the Palmdale hustle? When ii comes to the CHSRA the old joke applies – now that we know what you are we just have to settle on the price.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Wow, you’re still here and you’re still insane? For the audience, Syn is insanely obsessed with the idea of a completely impractical tunnel under the Grapevine, for no apparent reason. The rest of us ignore him.

  11. Statement from Eshoo/Simitian/Gordon
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 15:11
    #11

    Clarification of High-Speed Rail Announcement

    Following Monday’s announcement by Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo, Senator Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Rich Gordon, there appears to be some misperception about what they have proposed.

    Congresswoman Eshoo, Senator Simitian and Assemblyman Gordon wish to make clear that they are not calling for high-speed trains to stop in San Jose, forcing riders from the south, for instance, to transfer to Caltrain to reach San Francisco. There would be no transfers. The idea is to upgrade the Caltrain corridor so that high-speed trains can run on the same tracks.

    High-speed trains would run northbound and southbound all the way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, as required by Prop 1A. On the Peninsula, they would operate on the same tracks as Caltrain, overtaking slower Caltrain trains at certain passing points, just as Caltrain’s baby bullet trains overtake and pass local trains today.

    ###

  12. Arthur Dent
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 15:15
    #12

    Clarification from Anna Eshoo’s office:

    Following Monday’s announcement by Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo, Senator Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Rich Gordon, there appears to be some misperception about what they have proposed.

    Congresswoman Eshoo, Senator Simitian and Assemblyman Gordon wish to make clear that they are not calling for high-speed trains to stop in San Jose, forcing riders from the south, for instance, to transfer to Caltrain to reach San Francisco. There would be no transfers. The idea is to upgrade the Caltrain corridor so that high-speed trains can run on the same tracks.

    High-speed trains would run northbound and southbound all the way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, as required by Prop 1A. On the Peninsula, they would operate on the same tracks as Caltrain, overtaking slower Caltrain trains at certain passing points, just as Caltrain’s baby bullet trains overtake and pass local trains today.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So what’s the takeaway for this? No aerials? Except Caltrain itself already has aerials and is currently building aerials. So we have an announcement from three politicians that actually means very little in the overall scheme of things. Nothing they said will affect what the Authority is doing including throwing out the EIR.

    tony d. Reply:

    That’s what I’m talking about! Good stuff; make integrated HSR/Caltrain happen!

  13. James
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 15:58
    #13

    Robert, you noted that Eshoo and Simitian “are suddenly very deeply split on a key issue.”

    I see where you’re coming from, given the SFGate article you linked to, but I do want to point out that SFGate never quoted Eshoo saying that HSR passengers would have to get off at San Jose to transfer to Caltrain. They implied that she did–but they didn’t include the quote, why? When Eshoo said: “It is the spine of our transportation system,” she said. “Why not upgrade Caltrain?” she essentially said the same thing Simitian is arguing for.

    Perhaps there was misunderstanding between SFGate and Eshoo. As I see it–Eshoo, Simitian and Gordon all worded their statement very carefully on Monday–carefully vague. Perhaps they still have to work out the kinks.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Eshoo’s staff just put out a statement confirming they are not calling for transfers in San Jose.

    Following Monday’s announcement by Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo, Senator Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Rich Gordon, there appears to be some misperception about what they have proposed.

    Congresswoman Eshoo, Senator Simitian and Assemblyman Gordon wish to make clear that they are not calling for high-speed trains to stop in San Jose, forcing riders from the south, for instance, to transfer to Caltrain to reach San Francisco. There would be no transfers. The idea is to upgrade the Caltrain corridor so that high-speed trains can run on the same tracks.

    High-speed trains would run northbound and southbound all the way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, as required by Prop 1A. On the Peninsula, they would operate on the same tracks as Caltrain, overtaking slower Caltrain trains at certain passing points, just as Caltrain’s baby bullet trains overtake and pass local trains today.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Yeah but that won’t meet the 2:40 requirement because the HSR trains will have to slow down to do the bypass. Which means that in the end, CHSRA will have to build four tracks anyway, give CalTrain a free electrification system AAAAANDDDD use revenue that could go to something else to subsidize taxpayers in San Mateo and Santa Clara county.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Don’t go there. Taxpayers in the hinterland can start complaining about subsidizing San Mateo and Santa Clara county when they stop taking the great big drafts of subsidy they suck out of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

    Risenmessiah Reply:

    Uh, I wouldn’t call Southern California “zee hinterland”. Why is it so outrageous to expect counties to pay for their own local transit? Part of San Mateo’s transit tax goes to pay for shuttles to take people from employment sites to the CalTrain station. Now, do you think the counties share the revenue that system provides if they don’t have to?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ain’t gonna be cheap to build viaducts through LA County or Orange county.

    morris brown Reply:

    Here is a link to a third portion of video from Monday’s (4-18-2011) announcement meeting.

    These comments were from Eshoo and Gordon. Again it certainly doesn’t seem to me that Eshoo ever intended to make any transfer to a different train needed.

    link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clsR7KZgc0A
    (About 7 minutes)

    Together with what Eshoo’s office has just released, and what this shows, Eshoo got a bad rap from the media, which in turn led Robert to from an incorrect conclusion.

    Nevertheless, I don’t have any faith that this proposal is at viable. Rather, I see it as a wedge to get Federal funds into the CalTrain corridor using funds that are dedicated to HSR.

    Donk Reply:

    Well the good news after this whole debacle is that it is now clear to everyone – CAHSR, Caltrain, Peninsula politicians, and the local press – that the option of having HSR trains terminate in San Jose is not an option. It seems that we are making progress. Even the NIMBYs can’t propose this anymore.

    mike Reply:

    They can still propose it, but they may finally start to realize that nobody – not even their local representatives – is taking them seriously on this point.

    joe Reply:

    They can’t take NIMBYs seriously, the “NIMBY” counties voted 60 for 40 against Prop 1A.

    joe Reply:

    60-40 FOR prop 1A – ugh!

  14. Jenny B
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 15:59
    #14

    I haven’t actually seen that Eshoo and Simitian are “deeply” split, as you put it. There have been no disputes between the two, no arguments. Ultimately, they’re still both advocating HSR.

  15. Jenny B
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 17:06
    #15

    Maybe someone could provide some direction? Lazarus wrote this in the Chronicle today:

    “Changing trains or running high-speed trains on Caltrain tracks is not legal under Prop. 1A”

    Is that true? I don’t ever recall reading that requirement in the Prop 1A law.

    Daniel Krause Reply:

    Prop 1A specifies that the HSR system must reach the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco. Caltrain trains are not HSR trains and therefore not part of the HSR system. Running HSR trains on Caltrain tracks (or what would be shared HSR/Caltrain tracks) would be acceptable as HSR trains would still be reaching Transbay. Forcing HSR trains to terminate in San Jose would be illegal as only connecting commuter trains would be reaching SF. Hope this helps.

  16. AndyDuncan
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 18:54
    #16

    So, we’ve got the pols on the peninsula claiming they want to upgrade Caltrain to be compatible with HSR.

    Terrific!

    Now, we just need to electrify and grade separate Caltrain. Of course, grade-separating a 2-track ROW is going to be 95% as disruptive as grade-separating a 4-track ROW… Oh, and caltrain is already three and four track in places…

    So basically they’re saying they want to build it, and that it should be compatible with an upgraded version of the existing system, and that it should be on the caltrain ROW.

    Sounds like what many people around here have been screaming for for a while now.

    Donk Reply:

    Good point, this debacle also puts to rest the concept that HSR would go on the 101 corridor. So we are really getting somewhere. It seems that everyone agrees (even Morris?) on some basic points:

    1. HSR will not terminate at San Jose
    2. HSR will run on the Caltrain ROW
    3. HSR will share track with Caltrain (<$$$$$$)

    These are all very basic points to agree on, but it is a major turnaround from the last couple years. How much yelling did it take to have to arrive at this point?! The next basic points to agree on:

    4. 4 tracks are possible in some areas
    5. Viaducts are possible in some areas
    6. Uniform platform heights
    7. No freight service
    8. Pacheco vs Altamont

    Tony D. Reply:

    Donk,
    correction to the above: #8 should read “Pacheco AND Altamont,” as Pacheco Pass will host the primary intercity HSR line into the Bay Area, while Altamont will one day act primarily as a commuter HSR overlay; connecting commuters from Tri-Valley/Stockton to Silicon Valley.

    joe Reply:

    Altamont as a HSR connection would require a tunnel (one or more). Right?

    As a commuter line with dedicated track, it would not.

    http://www.pleasantonweekly.com/news/show_story.php?id=6676

    The Altamont Corridor Rail Project establishes a dedicated track for passenger rail services. This 85 mile corridor has the potential to carry 35,000 people each way once completed and could cut commute time between Stockton and San Jose in half.

    H.R. 1504 authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to provide up to $450 million in grants over the next decade for preliminary engineering, final design and construction of the Altamont Corridor Rail Project.

    “Establishing a dedicated rail line that provides service between San Joaquin County and the Bay Area will decrease travel time for commuters and stimulate economic growth in our area.”

    Joey Reply:

    False choice. If you’re not building tunnels through Altamont you’re still building tunnels through Pacheco. So routing everything via Altamont still comes out cheaper.

    Also nothing about this plan says anything about tunnels (or lack thereof). Nor does it say that $450 million would be anything near the full cost. The best you could do with that amount of money is resurrect the old WP alignment, which more or less parallels the SP alignment currently used by UP and ACE (barely), but it’s no less curvy. In order to half the travel time, you would have to average nearly 80 mph, which isn’t going to happen without a completely new route including a few tunnels.

    VBobier Reply:

    It’s only cheaper If HSR ends in Oakland and that’s not legal in any way, shape or form currently.

    Joey Reply:

    Just Altamont is cheaper than Pacheco + Altamont Overlay. Even the Authority pegged the costs of Altamont and Pacheco as being similar. Altamont also saves money in Phase 2.

    egk Reply:

    Saves about $3 billion at total build out.

    And it means that Sacramento can be served with in Phase 1 with connecting rail service to Modesto while Phase 2 is built.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Nope. Just Altamont is more expensive, because it requires one of the following:
    (1) New Transbay Tube. Personally I think they should just bite the bullet and build this.
    (2) New bridge across the bay at Dumbarton, which has really severe environmental clearance issues, and where they couldn’t properly estimate the costs of that. (Leaving out the estimate leaves Altamont looking cheaper, but you know that’s not valid.)
    (3) Turning south to San Jose and then north again to San Fransisco. Oh my God. This version is so indirect that it requires massive infrastructure improvements on the REST of the route in order to maintain the voter-mandated runtime from SF to LA. I don’t think they bothered to estimate teh csts there either, they just rejected it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Or 4) New tunnel across the Bay at Dumbarton, which is geologically straightforward on account of the water tunnel.

    joe Reply:

    Tunnels under the Bay are straightforward and cost effective when done in Crayon on a map.

    How are tunnels for Pacheco and running along a flat HW corridor over framland MORE
    expensive and difficult than tunneling at Altamont, running through residential areas AND and adding a Transbay Tube?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Easy: the tunnel in Pacheco will face unforeseen geological challenges as all tunnels do, whereas a Dumbarton tunnel’s geological issues would be known in advance.

    Joey Reply:

    No, Alon Levy is right. Much of the cost associated with tunneling is risk mitigation. Having good knowledge of the geology where you’re tunneling (we do) reduces this a lot. So if you were to tunnel under Dumbarton, you could do it for a lot less than going rates.

    Also, you’re not seeing the big picture. Altamont runs through East PA, Fremont, Pleasanton, and Livermore. Pacheco runs through the entire lower peninsula and SJ. So both have residential areas. As for farmland, for Pacheco it’s SJ to Gilroy, for Altamont it’s Tracy to Merced or so. So really, the terrain on both is quite similar, it’s just distributed differently. So all that remains is the bay crossing. But I should remind you that even accounting for this, the Authority estimated that Altamont and Pacheco would have similar price tags.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    whereas a Dumbarton tunnel’s geological issues would be known in advance.

    Pity there aren’t any tunnels between Oakland and San Francisco that would let them know those issues….

    J. Wong Reply:

    Note that the Transbay Tube (B.A.R.T.) is not a tunnel. There isn’t any need to tunnel or even tube across Dumbarton.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Still approximately accurate but missing the point: The Authority, deciding between two proposals of approximately similar cost, picked the one with substantially less risk, which was Pacheco rather than the Dumbarton crossing.

    The 2nd Transbay Tube was concluded to be more expensive and rejected on that grounds. Although Altamont, up to Oakland, and through the 2nd Transbay Tube was apparently the absolute best on ridership and had various other advantages; the necessary tunnelling might have have allowed the reroute of *all* the current services through Oakland directly through San Francisco, assuming some fixes to the FRA rules, while speeding them all up. (Like I said, personally I figured they should have just bit the bullet and done it.)

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    The Authority, deciding between two proposals of approximately similar cost, picked the one with substantially less risk, which was Pacheco rather than the Dumbarton crossing.

    Dumbarton crossing could suffer at least a 500% cost-overrun, and yet Altamont would still be cheaper overall.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @VBobier:
    (on Altamont) It’s only cheaper If HSR ends in Oakland and that’s not legal in any way, shape or form currently.

    As originally passed, Prop1A mentions Oakland in the context of two corridors; Oakland to San Jose, and SF – Oakland – Stockton via Altamont.

    (
    AB3034 2704.04 (b)(3) … funds … to be expended for any of the following high-speed
    train corridors:

    (C) Oakland to San Jose.
    (G) Merced to Stockton to Oakland and San Francisco via the
    Altamont Corridor.
    )

    A HSR branch could terminate in Oakland, as long as it had a corridor connection to San Jose, and Oakland to LA was doable in 2:40. AB3034 2704.04 (b)(4) gives the CAHSRA wiggle room to decide against using Altamont to reach the Bay area, even though it was just mentioned in (3)(G). But the more terminus stations you have in the Bay area, the more trains you need to provide equal services to them all.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    False choice. Routing everything through Altamont does not provide effective access to the Coast without building a Rapid Rail system down there.

    See, the Bay region is not a linear region, so there is no single corridor where the Express HSR going there eliminates the need to provide proper regional rail connections.

    A dedicated passenger line ~ even single track with a passing section in the middle ~ and Altamont is much faster than it is today. And that could be finished well before the CAHSR is.

    Then once the Express HSR is finished, electrify the Altamont passenger corridor, and the Express HSR trains can run along that corridor between Sacramento and the Bay, and with very good transit speeds, due to the speed once they hit the Trunkline.

    Joey Reply:

    Please, do take just a small peek at the Altamont route. What I presume you mean is to resurrect the old railroad route parallel to the current UP route. If you looked at it, you would see a plethora of curves with radii 250m or below. Not only that, but plenty of reverse curves, which prevents superelevation ramps from working properly. I’m not sure exactly what paltry speed improvement you intend to get under these circumstances. In fact, the more I look at it, the more it looks like the current UP route is better in this respect. But that’s mostly irrelevant – even if you do get a speed improvement, it won’t create competitive travel times for Tracy, let alone Sacramento, even if electrified, and even if you use tilting trains.

    William Reply:

    If not building tunnel for Altamont HSR, then trains will not be able to reach 220mph until reaching Stockton and going south. On Pacheco, trains can accelerate to 220mph right after leaving San Jose.

    This is why in the current Altamont overlay the design speed is 150mph, not 220mph, to avoid tunnels.

    Joey Reply:

    I doubt that you can get through Altamont (or moreso, the hills between Pleasanton and Fremont) without tunneling, even at 150mph. The Altamont overlay is being designed for 150 because anything faster would be insane for just a commuter overlay.

    Joey Reply:

    Just checked the Altamont Overlay preliminary AA (it does indeed say 150). Every alternative requires at least some tunnels on both ends of the Tri-Valley area.

    VBobier Reply:

    #8 should be as stated, Unless You know where some extra money is at…

  17. John Burrows
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 19:57
    #17

    There was supposed to be a closed-door meeting in San Mateo this afternoon between van Ark and local officials. So what happened?

    joe Reply:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo-county/ci_17885223?nclick_check=1
    [snip]
    Staffers and officials from along the Caltrain line — but not the public — have been invited to the meeting with California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Roelof van Ark on the topic of installing the Peninsula segment of the $43 billion project in phases.

    “People have interpreted it [phased implementation] in different ways,” said Nagel. “That would be a rare opportunity to find out what it means to (van Ark).”
    ..
    The high-speed rail head is also expected to respond Wednesday to a letter several Peninsula cities sent him on their ideas and questions about the project. Matthews said the letter included a request for explanations from the authority on how it decides to eliminate or move forward with certain features — such as placing the trains in a trench.

    Matthews said that same meeting produced a request from van Ark for a more unified voice from the cities.

    “He was feeling it was very difficult to negotiate with the 14 cities on the Peninsula,” the mayor said.

  18. Nadia
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 20:34
    #18

    O/T – but it seems Hanford isn’t happy…

    http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/article_eec92ed2-6b67-11e0-9f71-001cc4c03286.html

    Donk Reply:

    What they didn’t mention was what happened with the Hanford station. Is CAHSRA scrapping this so that they can put all their funds towards building a complete Fresno-Bakersfield segment?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Why would they scrap it? Given that the city insisted that the line go through on a bypass, the station itself does not seem to offer any obvious difficulties.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    The city opposed the bypass and the in town. They didn’t want it anywhere near the town. Visalia wanted it as close as possible to them so HSR decided on bypass as it was closest to Visalia.

    (This took place at HSR board meeting last summer).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    OK, if the city expressed equal opposition to both, that means that in the decision between the two, the city has opted out.

    If the city opted out of deciding between the two, then that is a decision to take pot luck if it came down to a decision between the two, as it did.

    joe Reply:

    1) Are they paying attention?
    The authority long ago ruled out alignments along Interstate 5 or Highway 99, and there was no indication Tuesday that the line will go anywhere but through Kings County. That flies in the face of county policy in favor of a route along existing major transportation corridors.

    2) “Coordination” apparently is a means used in other states stop projects. I don’t think the County Gov’t trumphs the State.

    “County officials began the meeting by stating that the rail authority is required to treat county government leaders as equals, meaning they have to justify their decision-making process to the county. The approach, known as “coordination,” has been used in other states to stop unwanted public works projects. “

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Indeed, County government derive its powers from State government, so Country governments only have the power to block State infrastructure projects to the extent that the State grants them that right.

    In California, that is the EIR/EIS process. Kings County will sue. It would be more convenient to the Authority if they didn’t, but it seems likely to be mostly a waste of local ratepayers money.

    Peter Reply:

    Suing against an EIR is only successful when the analysis was not done sufficiently. There’s no point in doing so if the analysis was sufficient. You might not like the result of that analysis, but no judge is going to overturn it based on that alone.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Well, yes ~ you may decide to sue because you don’t like the result, but you don’t get to sue on the grounds “I don’t like the result”. They’ll have to come up with some flimsy rationale why the EIR/EIS was badly done in order to carry out their clear and evident threat to sue. If the Authority is confident that they are going to successfully defend, the threat to sue is not the big saber that the County seems to think they are rattling.

    Joey Reply:

    $2.1 million is a drop in the bucket. If the Authority had to pay that in full it wouldn’t really even be a problem.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    why dont you help them being a “victim” Nadia?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Hanford’s rather stupid goverment angrily refused a downtown route, then angrily refused a rural bypass route. Their government is not being reasonable and they should be ignored. Therefore they are being ignored.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yep. It’s the City of Hanford versus the farmers of Kings County. As I keep saying, the tracks have to go somewhere. In this case it’s either in Hanford itself or through a few farms. They need to decide.

  19. D. P. Lubic
    Apr 20th, 2011 at 23:24
    #19

    Way off topic (strictly politics), but perhaps of interest– seems at least one or two people think the Tea Party may have already peaked:

    http://www.plunderbund.com/2011/04/18/a-tea-party-primer-lessons-in-hypocrisy-part-1/

    http://www.plunderbund.com/2011/04/19/a-tea-party-primer-lessons-in-hypocrisy-part-2/

    http://www.plunderbund.com/2011/04/20/a-tea-party-primer-lessons-in-hypocrisy-part-3/

    Rachel Maddow’s video clip in Part 2 is interesting as well.

    Could we be lucky that this is fizzling out now? Could it be that the Tea Party members themselves are starting to see the light? Dare we hope. . .?

    Spokker Reply:

    “Rachel Maddow’s video clip in Part 2 is interesting as well.”

    I’d like to hear more about the issues at stake rather than who showed up where.

    wu ming Reply:

    the birchers have been around a while, the tea party brand might be fading, but their particular type of crazies are a permanent fixture of american politics.

  20. morris brown
    Apr 21st, 2011 at 07:41
    #20

    In a front page article in this morninging Daily Post (4/21/2011), vanArk is quoted as saying he “doesn’t have a problem” with this Simitian/Eshoo/Gordon proposal”

    Quite a change in position I would say. However, there are problems. He talks about maiing the 2 hr 40 minute time restriction as an example.

    Since the Daily Post isn’t on the internet, this article not available to all.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Is there evidence in what was not stated of a change in position? There’s no evidence there of a change in position in what is stated here ~ only evidence of a more capable hand on the rudder.

    You say you have “no problem” with a vaguely stated proposal, and then define what is possible inside the wide boundary of what was vaguely stated. Use the Caltrain system? “Sure, no problem. Of course, the Caltrain system will have to be upgraded to allow 5 minute headways and 2:40 TBT/LAUS.” Do that with no arial structures? “Sure, no problem. Of course, either the local city or the County that wants to avoid them has to pay the extra cost and will be expected to come out strongly in support of all of the extra eminent domain required if that involves trenching the line.”

  21. morris brown
    Apr 21st, 2011 at 11:14
    #21

    Here is the text of the Daily post article with statements from vanArk about the Simitian/Eshoo/Gordon proposal.

    ————
    Daily Post 4-21-2011.

    HSR chief OK with new plan

    Says running high-speed trains on
    Caltrain tracks is a first step.

    RYAN THOMAS RIDDLE
    Daily Post Staff Writer

    The CEO of the California High- Speed Rail Authority said yesterday he doesn’t have a problem with a proposal by three Peninsula lawmakers to run high-speed rail on improved Caltrain tracks.

    In fact, Roelof Van Ark told the Post that their idea is similar to his plan for the two railroads to initially share tracks, and add more tracks when demand for high-speed rail increases in the years ahead.
    Van Ark called his plan “phased implementation.”
    “In a way what they are talking about is also phased implementation; so there’s no contradiction,” said Van Ark, who met yesterday with a group of city offi cials from San Mateo County in a closed-door meeting at San Mateo City Hall.
    The Post interviewed Van Ark as he was entering and leaving that closed meeting.

    Van Ark’s comments indicate that the proposal by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Rich Gordon has a good chance of becoming reality. However, the plan must be approved by many entities including the rail authority’s board, the Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown and Union Pacific. Union Pacific has the right to run freight trains on the Caltrain tracks.

    But it appears Eshoo, Simitian and Gordon won’t have to fight the state rail authority, which for the past two years has been battling with mid-Peninsula residents who have opposed the high-speed rail project for a variety of reasons.

    Chief among the complaints from residents was the rail authority’s original plan to put down a separate set of tracks next to Caltrain. That would require the state to seize possibly hundreds of homes and businesses.

    Residents also feared that a combined four-track railroad would cause excessive noise and vibrations, and lower property values.

    “I definitely don’t want to alienate anybody, and I think if there’s anything I’m trying to do is work peacefully with everybody, including with the people on the Peninsula,” said Van Ark.

    100 mph trains

    But Van Ark said sharing the tracks will have to be a first step because the 2008 ballot measure that authorized the state high-speed rail system requires trains to travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes. To make that timetable, HSR trains must travel the 50-mile distance between San Jose and San Francisco in 30 minutes, he said. The average speed would be 100 mph.

    Faster speeds should be possible under the Eshoo- Simitian-Gordon plan because it calls for eliminating crossings where cars are at track level. Under the plan, the train would go above or below a road, or the road would be dead-ended at the tracks.

    Under the plan, Caltrain would go from diesel to electric motors, which means the tracks would have electric lines above from which the trains would draw their power. HSR trains also operate on an electrical system.

    One of the advantages of an electric train is that it can stop faster and start faster, which speeds up travel times.

    Van Ark said that the lawmakers’ proposal would have to undergo a study as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

    “These are parameters we have to meet. So on a two-track system (we can) operate for a period of time, but not in the long term,” said Van Ark

    . Van Ark hasn’t given many media interviews or made many public appearances on the Peninsula, where the authority’s plans have met with resistance. But he said he is willing to meet with Peninsula residents about their concerns.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Or, IOW, what I wrote immediately above.

  22. tony d.
    Apr 22nd, 2011 at 09:26
    #22

    Nice letter to the editor by Rod Diridon in todays SJ Mercury. Diridon is basically agreeing with
    Eshoo, Simitian and Gordon’s proposal, calling it an “olive branch” for HSR.
    Like I said before, let’s make this happen!

Comments are closed.