CHSRA to Start Bidding Process Within Three Months

Jul 29th, 2011 | Posted by

According to the San Francisco Business Journal, bidding for the Central Valley segment of the high speed rail project is slated to begin within the next three months:

“We anticipate releasing the first request for qualifications (RFQ) within the next 90 days and then a request for proposals (RFP) in early 2012,” the California High-Speed Rail Authority said in an email to businesses….

The High-Speed Rail Authority said the bidding process stems from plans to break ground next year on a 100 mile section of track in the Central Valley. The project has a budget of about $6 billion.

The full email can be viewed here. Some excerpts:

As a reminder we anticipate releasing the first request for qualifications (RFQ) within the next 90 days and then a request for proposals (RFP) in early 2012.

Additionally, we are eager to continue engaging the small business community and are planning a small business focused event in Fresno on September 8th. Please check our calendar for more details.

And the details of what will be in the five construction packages:

Initial construction will be divided into five (5) packages as follows:

* A large design-build contract for a section of construction running from the San Joaquin River north of Fresno south through the city of Fresno to approximately East American Way. It will be 26 to 37 miles in length depending on the final alignment selected through the environmental process, including 12 grade separations, 2 viaducts, 1 tunnel and a major river crossing over the San Joaquin River. This package will be in the $1-2 billion range.

* Smaller design-build construction packages in the $500 million – $1 billion range will be divided regionally as follows:

o Approximately 28 miles from approximately East American Way in South Fresno south to approximately Hanford Aroma Road, including 20 grade separations and 3 viaducts.
o Approximately 55 miles in length from approximately Hanford Aroma Road south to approximately Dresser Avenue, including 21 grade separations, one viaduct and 4 river crossings.
o Approximately 14 miles from approximately Dresser Avenue south to approximately Allen Road, including 2 grade separations and 1 major viaduct.

* A fifth package will follow to include all of the track work for the entire length of the initial construction section.

This process needs to get underway this year if the September 2012 deadline for using federal stimulus money is to be reached. While HSR critics would love to derail that timeline, state and federal officials, as well as most local electeds along the Central Valley route, remain supportive of the project and committed to meeting the September 2012 deadline.

And of course, this means lots of desperately needed construction jobs in the Central Valley. The recession is ongoing, and is in fact becoming worse thanks to austerity and spending cuts. The stimulus did help provide an economic boost that is fading as stimulus cash runs out. This will be a much needed shot in the arm for the California economy.

Who will bid? What will the bid terms be? That’ll be something this blog watches very closely in the months to come.

  1. Jerry
    Jul 29th, 2011 at 22:50
    #1

    Can’t wait for the ground breaking.

  2. William
    Jul 30th, 2011 at 01:12
    #2

    One OT thought: to extend from ICS to IOS, should California pursue BOT contracts, as in the case of Taiwan, where intermediate stations were planned on green-field sites, and government used eminent domain power to purchase large areas of farmlands and gave to the BOT winner for development, in exchange for construction funds.

    wu ming Reply:

    i would avoid the taiwanese method you’re talking about, it was an extremely corrupt process, and encouraged a ton of well-connected real estate inside dealing.

  3. Andre Peretti
    Jul 30th, 2011 at 05:47
    #3

    O/T but interesting: an article by Russell Shorto in today’s NYT international edition.
    It’s not accessible online, so I manually copy the beginning and the end:

    As an American who has been living here (Europe) for several years, I am struck, every time I go home, by the way U.S. cities remain manacled to the car. While Europe is dealing with congestion and greenhouse gas buildup by turning urban centers into pedestrian zones and finding innovative ways to combine driving with public transportation, many U.S. cities are carving out more parking spaces. It’s all the more bewildering because America’s collapsing infrastructure would seem to cry out for new solutions
    ….
    But while many Americans see their cars as an extension of their individual freedom, to some of us owning a car is a burden, and in a city a double burden. I find the recrafting of the city in order to lessen -or eliminate- the need for cars to be not just grudgingly acceptable, but, yes, an expansion of my individual freedom.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    I for one am conviced that the future of the largest agglomerations centertowns lies being 90% free of automobiles ; I believe in some sort of archipelago of parkings lots, most of them underground, linked by arteries open to individual transport traffic, in an ocean of pedestrian streets, plus a network of collective transport.

    In some ways parts of Paris are starting to look like that, and it is extremely agreable (except for the parking fees!).

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    As a native American who has never been abroad but knows something of how we used to be, this makes sense.

    It is interesting to note that there were plans for just this sort of thing back in the 1930s for Philadelphia, and possibly other places, too. If my memory is right, the Philadelphia proposal was supposed to have had large parking garages of what we would now call “iconic” design–they were to be towers that would be visible from a long distance off, with distinctive lighting effects at night. From those garages people would travel by public transit to their destinations in the city itself.

    Of course, nobody listened. . .

    joe Reply:

    You want walkable cities, then change zoning laws. Drop the mandate to add parking for every residential unit. I doubt SF could rebuild older sections like Noe Valley because of residential parking requirements.

    Missiondweller Reply:

    Walkable cities would require Muni to work well and not be the dysfunctional mess it is today.

    That said, many of SF neighborhoods are very walkable which is why I enjoy living here. Could be better though.

    Ken Reply:

    It just takes a bit of getting used to; the younger generation are becoming more adept to living car-free, or at least less dependant on the car.

    If you look at the youth trend (under 30) these days, you see many are beginning to walk and ride the bicycle more. You see cyclic masses everywhere these days.

    Some are taking the middle approach by obtaining a motorcycle license; the motorcycle and scooter that was once just for pleasure in the US is now becoming a serious method of commuting.

    Youths are usually the one that changes things so seeing how they move around usually ends up becoming the future.

  4. morris brown
    Jul 30th, 2011 at 07:59
    #4

    China pays off the families of 10 who were killed in the Train derailment.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2011-07-30-china-train-crash_n.htm

    BEIJING (AP) — Ten families of the victims of a high-speed train crash have agreed to accept government compensation, state media reported Saturday. But others insisted the government pay more, even after the package was doubled.

    Families who agreed will receive about $142,000 for each victim who died a week ago when one bullet train rammed into another that had stalled after being hit by lightning

  5. Loren Petrich
    Jul 30th, 2011 at 11:16
    #5

    Good to see that they are getting closer to actually building this line. With it in place, the project will look less theoretical.

    joe Reply:

    From 2010:

    Sir Richard Branson and fellow leading businessmen will warn ministers this week that the world is running out of oil and faces an oil crunch within five years.

    The founder of the Virgin group, whose rail, airline and travel companies are sensitive to energy prices, will say that the ­coming crisis could be even more serious than the credit crunch.

    “The next five years will see us face another crunch – the oil crunch. This time, we do have the chance to prepare. The challenge is to use that time well,” Branson will say.

    Chris Skrebowski, an independent oil consultant who prepared parts of the peak oil report for Branson and others, said that only recession is holding back a crisis: “The next major supply constraint, along with spiking oil prices, will not occur until recession-hit demand grows to the point that it removes the current excess oil stocks and the large spare capacity held by Opec. However, once these are removed, possibly as early as 2012-13 and no later than 2014-15, oil prices are likely to spike, imperilling economic growth and causing economic dislocation.”

    We start building HSR now, when it is cheap to fund construction. All of the scenarios indicate that prior to 2020, there will be another global oil crisis.

  6. synonymouse
    Jul 30th, 2011 at 13:01
    #6

    The money for this could be gone within the next three days.

    Meantime the LA Times details more criticism:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-high-speed-ridership-20110729,0,7694204.story

    Peter Reply:

    Or the world could end in 2012. I guess we should just pack up and go home.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    October of this year, the calculations were off a bit.

    jimsf Reply:

    The world is not allowed to end until december 2012… during or after my france vacation. no sooner.
    Anyway, so it seems like in spite of the media pronouncing the project dead everyday, the reality is that its moving forward as planned and on time.

    Another example of how useful this will be to the typical californian.

    In august, Im going to socal for the Berlin/GoGos show right. Its in Temecula or some godawful place that you cant get to from here.
    The cheap 49/59 airfares have evaporated ( my 49 fare to long beach jumped to 90 overnight.)
    MEanwhile amtrak, which I could take for free, simply can’t get me there and back, not even to laus or lbc, without making the trip ( down, concert, back) far too tiring for me at this age, or without taking a day off without pay. So now im stuck flying into LAX which my friend in Long Beach won’t appreciate, and in order to get a low fare I have to go at 7 in the morning on SouthWorst. plus, BART doesn’t operate at that hour on saturday, so I either have to spen 50 bucks on a cab or get up at 4 am t5o take a supershuttle. Making my trip time in excess of 4 hours, plus the roundtrip on the 405. I mean its just ridiculous. The other option is a 238 dollar roundtrip at a more reasonable hour into long beach.

    Meanwhile, If the entire hsr system were in place I could get from downtown San Francisco to very close to Temecula ( in fact there is station planned for temecula or murieta) in about 3 hours door to door no hassle.

    I want to pull my hair out waiting for this project.

    I have more concerts in socal in october and will be in the same boat yet again. Our tranpsort in cali is simply outmoded and inefficient.

    Justin H Reply:

    Shave another 30-40 minutes off that Temecula trip with an Cajon pass HSR bypass from Riverside thru S Bdno connecting to the main line somewhere north of Lancaster (without stopping there). This occurred to me when fantasizing about a Phoenix-LA line, as a way to shorten the trip between anywhere north of Palmdale and anywhere east/south of Ontario (including Palm Springs, Phoenix and beyond). Eg, every third train to/from San Diego would skip the whole Ontario-Palmdale section, stopping at San Bdno to connect to the Phoenix and Las Vegas lines. Creates lots of new options.

    Off topic and dreaming, I know.

    jimsf Reply:

    even downtown la is problem. I have to be at staples for a show in oct.Flying to bur or lax leaves me no where near staples. I need to be there by afternoon. I either have to take an overnight amtrak bus, get there late, or fly and still get there late and in each instance it still means taking 2-3 days off work for a one night show. and each options is big inconvenience.

    HSR would get me to downtown by late afternoon – would have to take off work, then an 11 pm train would get me home intime to make work the next morning.

    oh well.

    Justin H Reply:

    It will happen.

  7. synonymouse
    Jul 30th, 2011 at 18:21
    #7

    This one is hard to believe but takes the chutzpah award, I guess, of the week:

    http://www.ktvu.com/news/28717508/detail.html

    Peter Reply:

    What, so they don’t get to aggressively argue their side? It’s a completely normal legal maneuver.

  8. morris brown
    Jul 30th, 2011 at 19:26
    #8

    Produce a ridership study which has been heavily criticized by two public groups as well as other private citizen groups and when dealing with the Authority you get rewarded with new contract and millions more in revenue.

    See:

    http://www.calhsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/2011_01_10_Ridership_Peer_Review_first_meeting.pdf

    and note pages 29-30. Here Cambridge may receive close to another $5 million for more studies.

    Apparently awarded on a no bid award through PB.

    joe Reply:

    Good catch Morris

    Demand more studies!!
    Attack for spending to conduct more studies!!
    CAHSRA is wasting money responding to NIMBYs.

  9. morris brown
    Jul 30th, 2011 at 19:35
    #9

    The Case for Not-Quite-So-High-Speed Rail

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/julyaugust_2011/features/the_case_for_notquite_sohighsp030492.php?page=1

    joe Reply:

    Hey. I’m all for running fast conventional rail up-and-down Menlo Park’s ROW at 110 MPH. Why didn’t you say so earlier? We’ll just fix the grade separation, add more tracks and build a tall sound wall.

    Nikko P Reply:

    Isn’t the plan to run it at 125mph?

    Peter Reply:

    Yes, it is. He’s just Morris-baiting. It’s an amusing sport.

    joe Reply:

    Thanks for the correction.

    On Amtrak’s forty-mile run between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, for example, trains run as fast as 125 mph on some segments.

    IMHO, downgrading HSR to Not-so-High-Speed Rail doesn’t solve the NIMBY’s Dilemma.

    The article is about improving existing infrastructure – that would be Caltrain’s ROW.

    Any service from LA using the ROW will trigger the very changes Morris and CARRD irrationally fear. 125 or 150 MPH rail is going to be pretty much the same impact. Grade separations will take property, and require securing the ROW to prevent incursions.

    Also, I think the article’s philosophy reeks of DC pundit “Centrism”. Improving existing service before adding ANY HSR capacity is a dogma my 6 year old would dream up playing with his action heros. It makes no sense.

    If we were to add air service to an airport where there is opposition to more flights, the article would advocate first using propeller planes since they are faster than cars and rail thus an improvement but not as fuel consumptive as jet aircraft. After service is established and successful, we can slowly upgrade to jet aircraft.

    Washington Monthly illustrates the mindset of the elites that dominate our political discourse and just how fucked we are.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You want “fucked” consider the MTC which is buying the Post Office’s old PCC installation a5 390 Main Street in SF for $130,000,000, twice what some flippers paid for it last year. Unbelievable – maybe Hemminger is preparing to deploy broad gauge on Geary and wants to be closer to the scene of the crime.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    Who was the flipper in this case?

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am looking at the hard copy, aka a Chron paper, which indicates the MTC is offering to pay $105 mil for the building an unidentified “group of investors” paid $60 mil for. Finally found the link:

    http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/matierandross/

    Jean Quan ok but where is the usually vocal Barbara Lee? And how come Diridon couldn’t find a place for MTC in SJ where it could cozy up to all things iconic?

  10. morris brown
    Jul 31st, 2011 at 06:21
    #10

    Rail exec’s resignation prompts call for reform

    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=21999

    joe Reply:

    …A call for reform by CARRD. A hiccup would prompt a call for reform by CARRD.

    A representative from the Palo Alto grassroots group Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design (CARRD), which aims to ensure public interests are upheld by the rail authority, said Saturday that transparency is missing from the state agency. 

    “You can fire your PR agency and your head of communications can leave, but in the end, someone is telling them what to do. There needs to be a giant culture change to fix the systemic transparency issues, and we don’t know who, if anyone, at the authority is truly interested in that goal,” Nadia Naik, co-founder of CARRD, stated.

    The Palo Alto Online for CARRD is like my referring to the Gilroy Dispatch for a review of the Garlic Festival.

    I’m glad to see changes in communications and public outreach, both contractor and in-house.

    Barker was the rail authority’s deputy executive director in charge of communication, policy and public outreach. Appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009, Barker said in his resignation letter to co-workers, quoted by the Sacramento Bee, that he was leaving “to pursue other endeavors,” including writing and communications strategy.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    If he was in charg eof PR, with all the massive issues they had with the PR company he deserved to get sacked.

    All the recent changes are making me a bit more hopeful about the project.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Sun rises in east

  11. jimsf
    Jul 31st, 2011 at 08:51
    #11

    wrong topic but… I couldn’t help but notice, the hsr service between frances two largest cities, paris-lyon only has 1 to 2 trains per hour in each direction and the eurostar service between london and paris only operates 1-2 departures per hour as well. I don’t see how tbt la would need anymore than that and thus the capacity isn’t an issue.

    Joey Reply:

    And you doubted that the Authority’s predictions were completely out of whack?

    jimsf Reply:

    did i?

    Ive always said one dep every 15 or 30 is plenty

    joe Reply:

    Apris is much larger and just as popular a tourist destination. But Paris has multiple rail lines, not one ROW, and more than one HSR station. It also has long distance conventional service.

    Pairs Brussels, Paris Amsterdam are different trains out of the north station. 15 and 9 respective trains each way per weekday. All Thalys. There are conventional rail lines to from Brussels and Paris and other cities.

    Add Paris’ regional and local rail service – all of which for SF would run on the Caltrian ROW.

    One ROW from the Peninsula, San Jose, and to all destinations south of SF – Central Valley, LA, SD and Sacramento.

    Paris has this demand spread over different stations, different types of rail and different systems/track.

    Joey Reply:

    Yes, no individual city pair exceeds 3-4 tph. Neither should SF-LA.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The difference with France is that California’s trains are going to serve multiple city pairs each. There should be LA-SF expresses, and locals serving LA, SF, and the Central Valley.

    Joey Reply:

    That’s just France. The Madrid-Barcelona timetable looks pretty similar to what we will have.

    jimsf Reply:

    an sf san diego trip would prolly just be a transfer at lax anyway.

    Joey Reply:

    Or, you know, the train could stop at LA and then continue to SD.

    joe Reply:

    Golden Gate was coined from the geographic similarity to the Golden Horn of Istanbul.

    SF is on a Peninsula and therefore SF/SAC uses the same track as SF-LA, SF-SD and SF-CV all on the same track.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    What exactly is the point of SF-SAC? It isn’t any faster than Capitol Corridor if memory serves, which could be upgraded itself to provide faster speeds.

    jimsf Reply:

    There really isn’t much point to it. traditional travel patterns for the sac bay market have always been the 80 corridor and it is best served by an upgraded ccjpa.

    Joey Reply:

    It isn’t any faster than Capitol Corridor

    Well certainly not under Pacheco it isn’t. And upgrading the CC costs money.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, even under Pacheco, it is. That’s how bad the CC is.

    jimsf Reply:

    cc is not bad.

    Joey Reply:

    Not by American standards, it isn’t. But that’s really not saying much.

    And Alon is right actually. Current trip times from SF to Sac are about equivalent for the CC and for Pacheco (yes, you can make that much of a detour and still get there at the same time). And of course, CC trips to SJ loose either way. You could spend a lot of money on upgrades to get it faster (assuming that you could reason with UP, which is one hell of an assumption), or you could achieve better trip times for most of the Bay Area for the same price (less, actually, since there’s less track to build in Phase 2).

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    CC to SJ would only be equivalent via Pacheco with significant uprgades, stop reduction, and then you get to negotiate with UP for travel slots.

    jimsf Reply:

    first of all you missed my point. That the corridor is a corridor and its a long established corridor, the i 80 and the string of communities there which hsr via sjc would completely miss. second, by american standards? hello we are in america. what standards do you expect to use? Third, ccjpa has a very good relationship with UP. and has nearly completed to my knowledge full double tracking and crossovers ( along with good otp and the highest customer satisfaction in the system.)

    not to mention that while chsra has yet to so much as turn a shovel of dirt, ccjpa and the other state trains have been serving millions of californians every year for years and without that ridership base, and years of establishing the use of rail in cali, hsr would have had zero chance of ever getting off the ground. We’d still be in the “people wont ride trains” phase.

    Peter Reply:

    There are a lot of people who ride CC who don’t go all the way to SJ. A lot of the trains don’t go all the way for a reason. They would not benefit from Pacheco or Altamont.

    Peter Reply:

    From what I’ve gathered, the only thing preventing CC from running faster is the lack of PTC.

    jimsf Reply:

    @peter. exactly. Some people keep forgetting that with these corridors including hsr, that just because a corridor serves and end to end route, doesn’t mean its purpose is to take people from end to end. Its purpose is to serve all combinations of city pairs along the route. the ARN/RLN crowd uses the ARN RLN – SAC DAV portion. The SAC DAV crowd uses the SAC-RIC-BKY-EMY portion. The BKY OKJ folks use the OKJ-SJC portion. Some people use the whole thing. Same with BART, and will be the same with hsr.

    Joey Reply:

    If the intermediate communities are as important to the CC’s ridership as you say, then what’s the problem with keeping the existing service but improving journey times for the lower 3/4 of the Bay Area via a different route?

    And jimsf, how far can that relationship with UP really go? Given that it is, as you say, a fully double-tracked route from Sacramento to Oakland, the CC’s meager 32 trains per day limited to 80 mph is no problem for UP. But what happens when you want to upgrade that? As you increase frequency and speed, you interfere with freight operations more and more (because as we know, trains traveling at different speeds on the same track reduced capacity). UP owns all of the track, and they don’t like anything that could potentially interfere with their freight operations.

    jimsf Reply:

    no problem with the sac-pacheco sjc it just seems like it won’t be that necessary with ccjp plus upgraded ace and /or altamont overlay. kind of redundant.

    jimsf Reply:

    and 32 trains a day is plenty. how many do you need? I mean geez. If you can’t plan around that then you aren’t managing your time.

    Joey Reply:

    If you’re going to build the overlay why not just build Altamont to begin with and improve journey times for everyone from SF to Redwood City too? You’d save several billion dollars in the process.

    As for the frequency, planning is not a problem, but the current schedule doesn’t allow much flexibility for day trips, which should be possible given the distance between the Bay Area and Sacramento. If you miss a train, you’re waiting 40 minutes for the next one if you’re lucky (2 hours if you’re not). Lack of clockface timetableing contributes to this some, but a properly designed rail corridor wouldn’t have any trouble supporting the ridership for 2tph all day, regardless of the routing.

    Joey Reply:

    Keep in mind, that prediction affects a lot of things, and will end up costing a lot of money, particularly on the CalTrain corridor. For starters, a reasonable service prediction makes that additional terminal in Mission Bay completely unnecessary. You could get rid of those new deep tunnels under SF too. Then you’d avoid a lot of property takes in places like San Mateo. No need for that multilevel intergalactic monstrosity in San Jose either, or that “signature” bridge over the freeway. Oh, and did I mention that you can keep CalTrain express service.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    1 to 2 trains an hour only accounts for trains stopping at Lyon and going no further. If you count those going to Valence, Marseille, Toulon and Nice, many of which stop at Lyon, you can double that figure.
    You must also remember that all trains on the TGV Med line have 16 duplex cars with 1090 seated passengers. It would take 4 Acelas to replace one Paris-Lyon TGV.
    Eurostar trains are also very long: 18 passenger cars (Acelas has 6, including café car).
    If California’s high-speed trains are Acela-sized, 2 trains an hour won’t be sufficient.

    Joey Reply:

    Ideally, we should strive to be less like the Acela. Anyway, all CAHSR platforms are going to be 400m long, so 16 car trains are not a problem.

    jimsf Reply:

    so can we use those duplex 16 car double sets, here and move 1000 people at a time?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    A lot more than a 1000…

    Joey Reply:

    A full length trainset consists of 2 smaller trainsets coupled together, each of which can carry about 500 passengers.

    jimsf Reply:

    so every 30 minutes with 1000 people should be plenty?

    Joey Reply:

    It is in most parts of the world…

    Miles Bader Reply:

    There’s no reason to stick with the TGV form-factor though, which is unusually small.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    More, but not a lot more. A 16-car Shinkansen with 2+2 seating throughout would have 1,098.

    jimsf Reply:

    when they talk about tph does 12 tph mean 12 hsr departures and 12 hsr arrivals plus caltrain or does it mean 12 tph caltrain and hsr combined, arrivals each way, or does it mean 6 in and 6 out total?

    I would thankk that one caltrain and one hsr dep every 15 mintues and on caltrain and on hsr arrival every 15 minutes would be plenty. and ;using this new train each train holds up to 500 people so that 2000 people departing per hour. is that more or less than the authority was thinking?

    Joey Reply:

    The plan is 8-9 tph SF-LA (completely heard of outside of Japan). Sacramento has to fit in there somewhere. Plus, 5 minute headways are necessary for trains to overtake each other with minimum delays.

    Justin H Reply:

    I wonder if they could save money by running fewer trains with more cars. The Tokaido trains depart constantly, but those things are 15 cars long. The ones on the calhsr website are like 5 cars long.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    They don’t need anything longer than a bog standard late model TGV.

    Joey Reply:

    4x400m trains per hour is more than sufficient for every city pair in Europe. Why on earth would we need more?

    jimsf Reply:

    the duplex holds 500 peeps.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    Exactly 545 regular seats + a few folding seats (very uncomfortable).
    TGVs are sometimes overbooked (like planes). When you book a seat at the last minute the SNCF warns you that only a folding seat might be available. Travel agents often book more seats than they actually need. Generally you only have to sit on one of those tiny things the time the conductor finds you a real seat. When it happened to me I found it more pleasant to go to the bar and chat with the barmaid.

    jimsf Reply:

    (Somehow I suspect they don’t actually call them barmaids though. lol. Thats sounds like one notch above serving wench) Surely there is a french term for attendant which they use.

    Peter Reply:

    I don’t think the French have been infected by political correctness.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    The official term is “commis de bar” but I’ve never heard anybody use it. If it’s a man, he is “le barman”. If it’s a woman, she is “la barmaid”. Nothing derogatory as the French ignore the meaning of “maid”. “Male or female bar attendant wanted” will translate as “cherche barman ou barmaid”.
    French-sounding words (like “barriste”) have lamentably failed. In many domains, anglomania prevails.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    SOMETIMES overbooked only? Well I hope so now!

    I remember 10 years ago I took the TGV to go home at Marseille every week-end from Lyon,
    because I regularly booked too late very often, I had to share the space between the automatic doors and the toilet, crammed with at least 10 other companions of unfortune, just as if we were taking the metro, breathing cigarette smoke , because of course the smokers would spread their poison in that space “not to incommodate other passengers” – they would never book a seat in the smoking cars, for the smell was so strong it was insuferrable even to the heaviest smokers. Those were practically empty ; Aaaw, horrible memories…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    And they run very often in doubles (as my sightings along the line between Lyon and Marseille showed), making it a bit more than 1100 seats per train. …and they are sold out.

    jimsf Reply:

    and look they just came out with a new model

    Owen Evans Reply:

    Many of these city pairs are international, and even within europe, international city pairs are not as heavily traveled as domestic ones.

    In addition, the Bay Area and the LA Area are larger than any European domestic city pairs (are’t they?)

    Joey Reply:

    Madrid-Barcelona is 3 tph the last time I checked, and most lines in Germany don’t exceed 2. I’m not saying that you’re wrong – international routes do appear to be less traveled, but I was talking about all routes in Europe, not just international ones.

    As for population, our metro areas do tend to be larger. We’re also a lot more spread out, have dramatically reduced access to transit, and have cheaper gas (and will continue to, even if it’s less cheap).

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    TPH means per direction and unless you are explicitly talking inclusively or are talking about aspects of station design is HSR only. LAUS is probably some mindboggelingly high number if you included the absurdist elements of CAHSRA planning and added in Metrolink and Surfliner during peak.

    jimsf Reply:

    So there should be 4tph hsr and 4 tph caltrain for a total of 8 tph at tbt with 6 platform tracks.

    Think about it, if a northboound train left laus every 15m, two could go to sac and two to sf or three could go to sfc and one to sac. out of every 4. one departure from sac every hour on the hour and one departure from sf every 20 minutes. add the san diego portion and add one more to sf and one more to sac and you get 30 minute departures from sac and 15 minute departures from sf.

    joe Reply:

    CA State Population projections: 2040

    CALIFORNIA TOTAL JULY 1, 2040
    total 54,266,115 male: 26,831,403 female:27,434,712

    That’s a tad under 20M more people, with many living in the CV and with access to H.S.R.

    jimsf Reply:

    good lord I hope they put them all in California City and not in my way. I’ll be they’ll all be from the third world too. Its just too many.

    Joey Reply:

    Too much multiculturalism for you?

    jimsf Reply:

    too many germs, weird diseases, and low standards of living. I wouldn’t be so bad if people would strive for a higher standard of presentation.

    Joey Reply:

    weird diseases

    Has that actually been a serious problem in either of our lifetimes?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Isn’t it what they used to say about the one third of San Francisco that’s ethnically Chinese?

    Peter Reply:

    Most of them will be from, well, here. Maybe of Mexican heritage, but most of them will have been born in CA.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Heck, there are only about five flights per hour max from LAX/Long Beach/Burbank to SFO/OAK (between 7 and 8am appears to be peak). Two trains per hour would carry all you need with seats to spare (LAUS would still probably see up to 10 tph for HSR, however, between SF service, SAC, Diego, OC. If they did Altamont, SJ would probably be separate from SF trains; conceivably local service with the central valley could mean enough demand to add another 1-2 tph to LAUS as well).

    jimsf Reply:

    Fresno is going get the best service with all lines serving!

    Justin H Reply:

    Yes, Fresno here we come. Should be a major target for transit buildout and TOD. God forbid that place grow another horizontal inch.

    Justin H Reply:

    Daydreaming potential future rivals to Fresno and Hanford as the best-served stations:
    * Sacramento, after adding a direct connection to Oak-SF-SJ
    * San Bernardino, after adding LV-LA and Phoenix-LA lines thru there, plus a Cajon pass route for selected trains from San Diego to Norcal. Direct hsr connections from S Bdno to LA, San Diego, Phoenix, LV, and the north! To think, this place is not even part of the plan right now.

    Justin H Reply:

    Guesstimated HSR travel times from San Bernardino, based on LA-Vegas and LA-Phoenix-Tucson lines thru there, plus a Cajon pass route for selected trains from San Diego to Norcal (bypassing the whole Ontario-Palmdale section):
    0:18 Palm Springs
    0:30 LA Union Station
    0:47 Bakersfield
    0:53 San Diego
    1:12 Las Vegas
    1:22 Phoenix
    1:58 San Jose
    2:02 Tucson
    2:06 Sacramento
    2:27 San Francisco

    10-30 minutes closer than LA to anywhere outside LA & Orange counties. Three lines serving parallel platforms in downtown San Bdno. Best-served location in the system.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not necessarily. Fresno is probably the easiest station to skip. The ROW there is dead straight, and relatively far from the major mountain crossings, which means trains could skip it at full speed. According to an HSRA document from a few years ago, skipping Fresno would save trains 7 minutes. I still think that eventually the trains will settle into an operating pattern in which express trains run nonstop from San Jose to Sylmar, skipping all stops that save substantial time.

    morris brown Reply:

    Oh, so now your are happy with just running 2 trains per hour. At a ten hour day that is 40 trains per day, counting both directions, and if 600 passengers per train then the ridership is about 9 million passengers per year.

    The train has to operate without a subsidy. Even using the low-balled, $45 billion to build the project and assuming that private equity must put of one-half of the funds ( there is now talk that private equity would put up 70 – 80% of the cost), at a 5% cost for the private funds, the cost /per year to pay back the private equity is $1.5 billion. (30 year payout)

    Now your going to carry 9 million passengers, and discarding any operating costs, you are looking at a cost of $170 per ticket, just to pay back the private equity at a 5% rate. And, of course it really cost the taxpayers about an equal amount on the funds that are furnished, but not repaid from government sources.

    Be realistic. This project can’t possibly run with that kind of capacity restriction.

    Justin H Reply:

    “Our highway, maritime and aviation systems are not self-sustaining but they are extremely valuable”
    http://www.hsrupdates.com/pdf/GertlerCommentary.pdf

    morris brown Reply:

    This of course from that “unbiased” corporation HNTB.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    2 tph for solely LA-SF/OAK express. You aren’t including additional trains for locals, capacity for SJ, LA-SAC, LA-SD, and OC-LA. I would expect 4 LA-SF (2 LA-SJ-SF express, two local), 1-2 LA-SAC, and 2-4 each. for LA-SD and OC-LA as reasonable numbers for peak. Crunch the numbers again.

    morris brown Reply:

    Oh, so now we are adding many more trains on the tracks. Just how many are going to fit on the blended, cheapo, 2 track combined SF to San Jose corridor while keeping CalTrain and UPRR.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    4 additional trains per hour per direction shouldn’t cause a real issue for that corridor.

    thatbruce Reply:

    Freight traffic doesn’t operate along the Peninsula at the same time as passenger traffic. As a bonus, any grade separations along that corridor means fewer whistles late at night which should please you.

    Peter Reply:

    Morris, you know as well as we do that Prop 1A prohibits “subsidies” for operating expenses. Paying back debt is NOT considered an operating expense, but a capital expense.

    morris brown Reply:

    Your bring in private equity, you need to bring in the funds to pay back that equity. Where are those funds going to come from?

    BTW, I am still awaiting a link to this court case you cited as being the foundation that the current Atherton/Menlo Park lawsuit would be mostly thrown out of court.

    Peter Reply:

    I gave you the information. The case is attached to the document labeled “Notice – Other” under the documents for Atherton I, case number 34-2008-80000022. I can’t link to it directly. If you can’t figure it out, that’s not my problem. Ask Gary Patton, I’m sure he’ll be happy to tell you that I’m wrong and that everything is going swimmingly.

    morris brown Reply:

    Ok, got it now… Since it is part of the case record, it is duly noted by the attorneys involved.Your previous post led me to believe, the attorneys involved had not been so informed.

    Peter Reply:

    Wow, I bet the attorneys involved are thrilled having people like you telling them how to conduct their cases and what’s important for them.

    joe Reply:

    It’s part of the court case, documentation – late July 2011 addition.

    joe Reply:

    It is forbidden for HSR to use funds to pay the Prop 1A bonds. Bonds MUST be paid for out of thegeneral fund.

    joe Reply:

    Yes, using air travel patterns is like planning the number of cars trips over the golden gate bridge based on 1930′s ferry usage.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    HSR always gets more ridership than the flight it replaced. For example, London-Paris had 4.5 million annual passengers in 1993 and has 2 million now, but Eurostar’s ridership is not 2.5 million but 9 million.

    nick Reply:

    yeah hs1 chunnel to london is now carrying 9.5million passengers on eurostar. also domestic trains using hs1 carried 6.5 million. from 2013 or hopefully earlier, eurostar and deutsche bahn velaro ice trains will be running direct from london to amsterdam and germany. so we will probably get to at least 20 million passengers by 2013 if the world hasnt ended !

    got to go now as have to make a contribution to pro hs2 debate here in the UK. this would allow through hs trains to europe from birmingham manchester and leeds and points north as well as easing overcrowded trains and providing birmingham- london in 50 minutes instead of 83-85 minutes. birmingham paris would be around 3 hours !

    joe Reply:

    And in 2040 we’ll have a projected 20M more people in CA.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    How many were going by ferry however?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I have no idea. I looked when I wrote my post on international links, and couldn’t find specific city-to-city numbers anywhere.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Are you asking about the Channel ferries?

    The ferries are full, and the Eurotunnel shuttles are full. The ferries are doing a lot of freight, as there are goods which are banned from the Shuttles.

    In fact, there are people commuting by car between the greater Calais area and Kent; there are even British artisans living in France, but doing most of their business in southeastern England.

    Well, one may ask whether it is what we want, but that’s the reality.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    “For example, London-Paris had 4.5 million annual [air] passengers in 1993 and has 2 million now, but Eurostar’s ridership is not 2.5 million but 9 million.”–Alon Levy

    That’s amazing! I’ve heard of “induced travel,” but this seems astounding to me. It’s a travel increase by a factor of approaching 2.5 for total travel, and if one assumed the rail service would only replace airplanes, an increase of 4 on what rail should do alone. Where did this huge jump in travel come from?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    There are attractive day trip offers (to be booked well in advance), allowing for a quick shopping trip to Paris (from London) or to London (from Paris). There is also generally more travel (one should compare that with the growth of a comparable destination, such as London–Amsterdam (for which I don’t have the numbers).

    And for most people in the London or Paris area, getting to St.Pancras or the Gare du Nord is less a hassle than getting to Heathrow/Gatwick or Charles de Gaulle/Orly, and then to the city center.

    On the other hand, we should not forget that there is some traffic using Paris or London as place to change trains, which is drawn from the airlines (such as Strasbourg or Basel). This traffic is counted into the Paris numbers as well.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    Well it’s 100% true ; but the Chunnel serves a pool of 50 m + people ; it’s not “how far from London (or Paris or else) am I?” it’s “how long will it take, and at what cost, to go from point A on the continent to point B in England and vice-versa ; you can perfectly choose to go from Rotterdam or Reims, or Rennes, or Lille, or even Marseille, to London (or further) and vice -versa.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Paris-Lyon has 2 trains per hour normally, with 4 at rush hour. But this is just Paris-Lyon; those trains do not continue to Marseille, and Paris-Marseille trains do not stop in Lyon, since SNCF prefers trains to be as nonstop as possible.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, the Paris–South East schedule is much more complex.

    There are trains Paris–Lyon only, that is true. But then, some of them continue either towards Marseille (and beyond), or towards Nîmes and beyond. There are also the trains bypassing the center of Paris, serving the Charles de Gaulle airport and the “Disneyland Paris” stop; some of these trains also bypass Lyon Part Dieu, but stop at the Saint Exupéry airport (which could be considered a suburb-to-suburb connection).

    About the long distance non-stops, it depends on the time of the day; there are nonstop trains between Paris and Marseille, but there are also trains running non-stop to Avignon, and then continue to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.

    In general, at the moment, there is not much of a logic in the SNCF schedules. This will (hopefully) change with the gradual introduction of the fixed pattern timetables (horaires cadencés) from december 2011 on.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    The big problem for SNCF is Paris Gare de Lyon. Contrary to what its name suggests, the station serves many other destinations than Lyon. With a TGV departing every 5 minutes at peak times, the station and the trunk line it feeds are saturated. Delays to trains often originate there, in much the same way as delays to European flights often originate at London Heathrow. Both facilities have been tweaked to their maximum efficiency and little more can be done.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Not being in Paris, I can’t just go there and see what actually causes the bottlenecks. A TGV every 5 minutes does not really look like a serious issue to me; There are other main stations sending out trains every 1.5 to 2 minutes onto the same line. However, if I remember correctly, the servicing facilities for the TGVs are quite a few kilometers outside of the Gare de Lyon. Another aspect would be whether the TGVs can be turned around in the Gare de Lyon, and how long that takes (should at least be possible for the ones shuttling between Paris and Lyon).

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    SNCF insists on a 5-minute headway for TGVs. 4 minutes to stop a train at full speed without damage to the wheels or track + 1 minute for extra safety. Some engineers argue that this extra minute has never proved necessary in practice and the headway could safely be cut to 4 minutes, allowing 15 TPH.
    Others think this 5-minutes rule hides commercial afterthoughts: making it impossible for future competitors (DB, for instance) to have slots at the best moments of the day.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    But then, these 5 minutes are relevant for the high speed line, and not the main line out of the Gare de Lyon. However, it could be that the signalling system used does not allow for denser traffic — which means that it better be upgraded soon.

    I wonder how hogging up slots would stand under the consideration of non-discriminatory access. TGVs/ICEs being much more in the eyes of the public, this might make a much bigger stink than the FS hogging up slots (and not using them) to make the München – Milano ICs unattractive… (hmmm… I think we now got seriously OT…)

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    Not O/T at all. It illustrates how out-of-touch with reality U.S. HSR opponents are.
    While European companies are fighting to get slots on the existing lines, they are still wondering whether CHSR will attract any riders.

  12. morris brown
    Jul 31st, 2011 at 16:11
    #12

    More food for thought.

    The Handouts President (Wall Street Journal)

    http://amyalkon.mensnewsdaily.com/2011/07/31/the-handouts-president/


    Conclusions: California’s 2009 median household income was $42,548.6. For a middle class household to ride the train LA-SF once would cost them about 4% of their annual pre-tax income. CHSRA’s 2009 ticket prices probably exclude middle- income households. But a more realistic ticket price definitely excludes them.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Their website isn’t working too well with my iPhone, do you mind explaining how they managed to spend $1,700 on tickets?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They arbitrarily decided that the true one-way ticket price should be $190, no group discounts included.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Be nice if they used household income instead of per capita income too, though I’m not sure where they got that number from. Wikipedia says median household income in California in 2009 was $58,931

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Not quite arbitrarily it looks like (now that I’ve got my laptop back and hopefully working), since they claimed “Using empirical evidence from analyzing fares on high-speed train routes in Europe and Japan, it appears the CHSRA’s high-speed rail per mile rate should be about $0.44/mile to recover operating and construction costs; 80% higher than their presently-used $0.24/mile.” If you used the peak hour highest price TGV tomorrow between Paris and Lyon (425km), the fare is 86.4 euros in second class ($122.75 at current exchange rates), which does come out to about 46 cents per mile.

    Still, that’s a completely duplicitous means of doing their figures. The average fare is 64.85 euros which is about 35 cents per mile. However, that doesn’t mean that such a high fare is strictly necessary. Absent regulation otherwise, SNCF can simply charge what the market will bear,and Paris-Lyons may be a case of relative gouging in order to maximize profits. A TGV Duplex at 80% capacity running with all filled seats at that highest price level would bring in about $50,278 which certainly would appear to be far above the direct operational costs (track tolls coming to $8827 at 2006 rate of 14.6 euros/km; energy consumption at 17.65 kwh/km [2 intermediate stops, 3 raises to 18, page 74] comes to 7,500 kilowatt hours which, at France’s industrial price of 0.0645 euros per kilowatt hours is $688.56; French labor may cost more than American, but I’m fairly sure that it doesn’t come anywhere near $40,000 for two hours).

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    In the case of the Tokaido Shinkansen, running from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka tomorrow, a single seat ride costs 13,240 yen and covers 552.6km (according to hyperdia.com with an unreserved seat, reserved bumps it to 14,250 and green seat [first class I believe] is 18,690). At the current exchange rate that does come up to 50 cents per mile for the unreserved seat. However, this was at 6am and may be an example of peak pricing and as I understand it, even with that level, there is a high degree of congestion on the lines, hence the maglev project.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There’s no peak pricing in Japan. The fare tomorrow at 7 in the morning is the same as the fare 3 months in advance in the afternoon off-peak.

    However, as you note, the Tokaido Shinkansen is so congested that JR Central can charge whatever it likes. It has a high operating margin, or at least did until this year.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    Yes the TGV”s operating margin is said to be very high (probably not to show how high it is SNCF blends TGV operations turnover with all other long-distance passengers operations).

    And don’t forget the 19.6% VAT.

    35 cents would be just over 28 cents without the VAT.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The fare per km decreases when the distance increases. Paris-Lyon is 425 km and, if you buy in advance, $80 ($0.19/km, $0.30/mi). Paris-Marseille is about 720 and, equally far in advance, $112 ($0.16/km, $0.25/mi), with one train offered for $84.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    In fact, the fares are essentially arbitrary; I remember cases where the fare to Paris from Avignon, Orange and Aix-en-Provence were more or less the same. This is possible because the SNCF is using an airline-like yield management system. However, with that, they gave up on the biggest advantage of rail: freedom… meaning that you may take any train if you have a valid ticket.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Last time I looked it was 53 dollars to go from New York City to Newark NJ on Acela and 249 to go all the way to DC….

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    SNCF fares don’t reflect costs. They are calculated to keep trains at least 80% full.
    When asked about Paris-Lyon profits, executives always deflect the question by stressing that isolating one link makes no sense.
    Unofficial info, probably leaked by SNCF unions and published in leftist paper Libération, gives a 25% net profit margin.
    This figure would make any airline salivate.

    randyw Reply:

    The other bit of smoke an mirrors here is the ‘family of four’ calculation. I don’t find any numbers on intercity travel – but for LA only 11.1% of the population carpools – AND less than 1% of workers car pool in the mythic cars with 4 or more people in them. The Bay Area has much lower carpooling rates. You can argue that driving between cities might bring more full cars, but there is less incentive than commuting with no special lanes and toll subsidy. Driving I-5 looking in the windows of other cars – 4 person cars are certainly the exception. Basing the cost comparison on 1 percent of the people seems just silly or deceptive. Perhaps the calculation should be based on a Mormon family with an airporter van… Then it would even more convincing.

    Also left out also is the value – especially to a “family of 4″ – of reducing a 4-1/2 hour drive by 2 hours. It is the difference that could make a trip to Disneyland a day trip from most of the state, instead of a 2 day trip.

    http://transportation-modes-city.findthebest.com/question/248/1034/How-many-people-carpool-to-work-in-Los-Angeles-California

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There’s more carpooling for intercity travel than for work trips. I’m quoting Mikhail Chester’s not very reliable numbers from memory here, but he found that the average occupancy for LA-SF car travel was 2. In contrast, average commute occupancy is typically about 1.2-1.3.

    That said, 2 != 4.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Unlike local trips which are often single driver, longer trips are usually in groups. I just saw a number that said the average for trips over 100 miles is 2.2 people per car. The number goes up the longer the trip and goes up for recreational travel. In the survey the CHSRA did for the ridership study, 75% of non-business travelers were in groups.

    randyw Reply:

    So i accept the average being 2 per vehicle – but doesn’t that mean that according to the article that the ‘average’ intercity traveler will get between cities in close to half the time for the same cost?

    “Four rail tickets are twice as much as the total cost of driving and four times the gasoline costs.”

    The train will not save money for everyone, but the ridership study only expects 6 percent of intercity car trips to be diverted to HSR. Which doesn’t seem unreasonable – if 50 percent will save money and most will save time.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    If you compare car travel expenses to high speed rail travel expenses you must take in account the hotel + restauration expenses that you wouldn’t have to pay for with high speed rail.

    One of the greatest travel improvements induced by high speed rail is the possibility of doing a round trip in the same day, which may be possible also by car on some routes but is clearly impossible between SF and LA.

    I insist : in France many people, businessmen or not, take round trips on the same day ; e.g. : a burial in province, a sporting event, taking a day to visit Avignon or Aix-en-Provence, etc…

    Anyway to spend the same amount of time at your destination you must add hotel + restauration expenses for one day ; I understand this doesn’t hold for people who are housed by relatives or acquaintances.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Morris, Morris, Morris, is this the best you can do? That person, Amy Alkin, sounds as rabid and borderline dishonest as Michelle Malkin. Trains are popular targets for terrorists, including Madrid and London (which are transit systems like BART, not intercity rail)? How many times has Alon Levy countered that? Only two HSR lines in the world without subsidies? How many times has Robert shot that down? Does the cost of driving as portrayed cover all costs, including certain very specific externalities, and does it even cover the cost of the infrastructure? How many times have a number of people here disproved that, including myself?

    The site itself seems to consist of (maybe) three people; two (Amy Alkin and Donna Laframboise) are regular editorialists, and a fellow named Paul Elam appears to be an administrator (he has a page on submissions policy). Maybe the whole trio also function as administrators. The rest of it is ads and links to various news sources that the administrator(s) find interesting. Most of these links seem harmless enough, but the overall feel of the site is one that concerns itself with thinking men are an endangered species. Readership counts are in double digits.

    I probably get more readership for the little bit I do here and on the Infrastucturist. I know I get more as J3a-614 at Railway Preservation News, which I would not consider a main line, mainstream weblog!

    And where is the link between this and the Wall Street Journal? I didn’t see anything to indicate any connection.

    Robert, I am convinced, as much by stuff like this as anything, that America in general is ready to reevaluate the automobile, and that reevaluation includes a return of rail service in a variety of forms, including HSR. More and more, the anti-rail groups are looking like old grumps, cranks, and ideologues.

    The real problem, as I see it, is that the average politician is either an idiot or a coward, and will be swayed by someone who makes noise rather than educate himself on facts, and will not attempt to persuade or even properly inform his constituents about the issues.

    I am reminded again of the French politician whom Winston Churchill disliked; Churchill said this fellow was “trying to figure out where his people were going so he could lead them there.”

    ericmarseille Reply:

    “Women all-willingly accept to follow men in the tracks that they have cleared for them to take”
    San-Antonio a.k.a Frédéric Dard

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