Monday Open Thread

Nov 14th, 2011 | Posted by

A few items that don’t on their own merit a post but are worth mentioning:

• Jim Hartnett of Redwood City, a member of the California High Speed Rail Authority board, has a good op-ed in the Mercury News today promoting the HSR project and the business plan. It doesn’t break any new ground but as something intended for a more general audience, it does a solid job of describing why the plans as they currently stand are sensible and worth supporting.

• China puts several HSR trains back into service after they were recalled in the wake of the deadly Wenzhou crash back in July. Chinese authorities also have been reducing the number of trains and their speeds on the Beijing-Shanghai run. Hopefully this will help restore public confidence in the safety of China’s HSR system, which took a big hit after the Wenzhou crash.

• Saudi Arabia signs off the on the Haramain HSR project deal, giving a Spanish consortium over $9 billion to build a high speed rail link to connect Mecca, Medina and Jeddah. If the world’s leading oil exporter is building HSR, that might be something California might want to pay attention to.

  1. Jonathan
    Nov 14th, 2011 at 21:34

    The contract is for Phase II of the Haramain line: tracks, power, signalling, trainsets and maintenance, and operations for ~12 years.

    Phase I, the heavy civil engineering, was contracted in two packages:
    viaducts, bridges, etc. in 2009, and station construction 2010.

    Andre Peretti Reply:

    “If the world’s leading oil exporter is building HSR, that might be something California might want to pay attention to.”
    The situation is quite different. The Haramain line will have a captive market: the pilgrims visiting the holy places. Every Muslim must do the Hadj at least once. Muslim countries have a very high birth rate which will translate into ever growing ridership. The pilgrimage is a key “industry” for Saudi Arabia.
    The country’s declared aim is to wean itself off oil dependence. Profits from oil exports are invested in non-oil energy sources. It will build 16 nuclear power plants while also investing in renewables. Just a few fossil-fueled plants will be kept and will only be used as buffers.
    So, unlike in the US, HSR is part of a vast national design. Paradoxically, Saudi Arabia doesn’t seem to believe oil is the future while most of the US does.

    swing hanger Reply:

    “Paradoxically, Saudi Arabia doesn’t seem to believe oil is the future while most of the US does.”

    Likely they know when their stocks will be depleted (it’s a state secret), so they are preparing for that.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I don’t think so. But they know that the number of people having to be transported as part of that main industry (pilgrimage) can not be handled using individual road-bound vehicles. Therefore, they need something more powerful… (high speed) rail.

    It would be horrendously dumb to assume that the Saudi Regime is stupid.

  2. morris brown
    Nov 14th, 2011 at 22:41

    Central Valley county sues to stop state from building bullet train there

    This first of many I would suspect…

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Kings County says California can’t legally spend $2.7 billion in voter-approved state bond funds to start building the bullet train line in their rural district, arguing it’s not the same project voters approved in 2008.

    Now the real fun begins.

    joe Reply:

    They sure need to do better than this:

    Since then, the cost has tripled and funding sources have dried to such an extent that the state can only afford to build an initial stretch of track so small that it won’t support any service.

    The 10-page suit filed in Sacramento is the latest legal challenge from angry communities, led by the Peninsula, that want to stop the project. The cities fear the elevated rail line will destroy properties along its path, lower home and business values, divide the community and create blight.

    Rosenberg has to self-censor. He’s blatantly off message and being too candid.

    Tony d. Reply:

    Rosenberg is an idiot!

    Peter Reply:

    Do we have a case number yet?

    Peter Reply:

    Apparently it’s 2011-00113919. There are no documents listed yet.

    morris brown Reply:


    Case number is:


    Not yet posted.

    For those wanting to read you go to:

    click on bottom to get to next page where you enter the case #, which is not yet coming up

    Peter Reply:

    The complaint is up now.

    thatbruce Reply:

    This might be a fanciful idea, but I would be very amused if the Judge determined that the complaint had merit on the part of the CAHSRA’s current planning being slower than the timeline and speeds outlined in Prop1A (para9), and in order to bring the CAHSRA into compliance with the law as perceived by this complaint, ordered that no more time-delaying spurious lawsuits against the CAHSRA could be heard.

    J. Wong Reply:

    How long do you think it will take before it gets thrown out?

    Peter Reply:

    This one likely will be heard on the merits (that’s just based on what I’ve been able to read on the newspaper articles).

    Peter Reply:

    Not that there ARE any merits to the case, just that there are likely no procedural defects (other than very poor wording in the complaint).

    thatbruce Reply:

    Reading through the complaint document, I think the following is the gist of the complaint:

    a) CAHSRA’s timeline exceeds that proposed in Prop1A (2032 vs 2020).

    b) The initial construction proposed for the Central Valley segment is not in the spirit of Prop1A (no electrification).

    c) The initial construction proposed for the Central Valley segment will not connect Los Angeles to San Francisco.

    d) Passengers would have to change trains in San Jose.

    e) No funds can be obtained until various EIRs are complete.

    f) Kings County hasn’t gotten its way when talking with the CAHSRA.

    g) Roads will be closed by the CAHSRA, effecting provision of emergency services.

    @Robert/Brian: Being more of a technical, I generally don’t follow the progress of legal proceedings. Have you guys been filing amicus curiae briefs on these cases? Some aspects of these complaints are wrong, or reactions by the CAHSRA to previous delay-inducing lawsuits, so its somewhat silly to sue an agency over delays caused by previous suits.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Hmm, I’m thinking it’ll get thrown out because they probably don’t have any standing, but I’m not a lawyer. Also, I think the judge will likely rule that they’re trying to short-circuit the process. That is, the Legislature hasn’t even voted on disbursement of funds so trying to get a ruling that they can’t is a little premature.

    Peter Reply:

    You’re right, standing seems to have been VERY vaguely pleaded in the complaint. Based on that, it will likely be dismissed, and then refiled after being amended.

    Peter Reply:

    Better (less hyperbole) discussion in the Fresno Bee.

    Except for:

    The county even offered to front some of the costs related to the case, but Brady said he’ll work pro bono.

    I guess that makes him a great person? Why is this even relevant to the article?

    Alan Reply:

    The Bee article also includes a link to a PDF of the suit.

    I’ve never seen so many outright false statements in such a short filing. The suit claims that the HSR line cannot be used for other than high-speed services, yet the law *specifically allows* exactly that: Streets and Highways Code sec. 2704.08 actually *requires* the CHSRA to consider “the utility of those corridors or usable segments thereof for passenger train services other than the high-speed train service that will not result in any unreimbursed operating or maintenance cost to the authority” when deciding where to start building.

    The suit claims that the law *requires* the system to be finished by 2020, and the new plan which indicates the 2032 date violates the law. Actually, AB3034 states that “it is the intent of the Legislature” that construction be complete by 2020, but that was not included in the codification of the bill in the Streets and Highways Code. So the suit is on thin ice in that regard.

    The plaintiffs allege that the system will require an operating subsidy without the slightest bit of evidence to support the claim.

    The suit misstates the definition of “usable segment”, which in the law is stated as “a portion of a corridor that includes at least two stations.” Somehow, the initial construction segment, which in the authority’s plan has more than two stations, doesn’t qualify. The suit states emphatically that a “usable segment” must be electrified. Wrong again. The definition of “high speed rail system” includes “power systems” without defining that term. Everybody assumes electrification, but it could also be construed as a self-contained power unit–like a diesel locomotive. It’s not enough to hang a lawsuit on.

    The suit argues that despite evidence to the contrary, there is no hope of private funding for the project. No evidence other than the attorney’s hallucinations.

    For filing an action with this many blatant misstatements, the attorney should be disbarred.

    Alan Reply:

    BTW, talking about sloppy lawyering, look at the headline of the “Third Second Cause of Action”, which refers to the alleged violation of “Prooposition 1A”.

    It’s called “proofreading”, Mr. Brady. Try it before you and your clients look like a***es in court…

    Peter Reply:

    That’s a good one, but my favorite is the heading “Gist of Plaintiffs’ Claims”.

    Peter Reply:

    Note that a lot of the arguments are remarkably similar to the ones raised in Morris’ earlier lawsuit (or was it the other PAMPA plaintiff? They seem to run together after all this time). As is the attempt to make use of the declaratory judgment remedy.

    No wonder Brady offered to do this pro bono. He’s already done all the work.

    peninsula Reply:

    The authority themselves have made clear tht the ICS is not a usable segment. That the IOS is equivalent to the Usable Segment for Prop 1A. In fact at their last board meeting, so that they could submit their request for Prop 1A, they voted on retaining both potential IOS’s on the table, claiming that this would qualify for satisfying the Prop 1A requirement. But at no point did they try to claim that the ICS qualifies as a usable segment.

    Alan Reply:

    Reread what I wrote. I quoted the text of the definition of “usable segment” straight from the law. Two stations. That’s all that is required. It’s really quite simplw.

    Peter Reply:

    peninsula is correct. There is more to it, and not all of the requirements are met by the ICS.

    The question is whether the Legislature will approve funding for the ICS even if it doesn’t meet all AB3034 requirements, and whether the courts will go along with it. My guess, yes on both accounts.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    The usable segment will include Merced to Fresno as well as the Initial Construction Segment. The “initial operating segment” will probably run from Merced to Bakersfield, with a connection to ACE. Later in the month I intend to send Robert a post that fleshes this concept out….

    Joey Reply:

    The ICS is not a “useable segment” under Prop 1A as it will not be ready for high-speed service when completed (a requirement of Prop 1A). We are unlikely to see electrification, PCT, and actual HSTs until either San José or LAUS (preferably LAUS) is reached.

    Also a “connection” to ACE is not a connection at all. Go ahead and look at their timetable at some point.

    Alan Reply:

    And just to clarify, the ICS is defined in the new draft business plan as Fresno-Bakersfield. That’s at least 3 stations, so it certainly does meet the legal definition of “usable segment”. But thanks for playing.

    peninsula Reply:

    Wow, I hate smart ass idiots. Read it again Alan…
    (g) says Usable Segment is a portion of A CORRIDOR that includes two stations…. AND
    (f) defines CORRIDOR as a portion of the HIGH SPEED TRAIN SYSTEM…. AND
    (e) defines HIGH SPEED TRAINS SYSTEM as ““High-speed train system” means a system with high-speed trains and includes, but is not limited to, the following components: right-of-way, track, power system, rolling stock, stations, and associated facilities.”… AND
    (d) defines HIGH SPEED TRAIN ; capable of reaching 200 mph sustained revenue operating speeds (aka not Amtrak)

    Next, you can go ahead and read 2704.04, and come back when you get your high school diploma.

    2704.01. As used in this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
    (a) “Committee” means the High-Speed Passenger Train Finance Committee created pursuant to Section 2704.12.
    (b) “Authority” means the High-Speed Rail Authority created pursuant to Section 185020 of the Public Utilities Code, or its successor.
    (c) “Fund” means the High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Fund created pursuant to Section 2704.05.
    (d) “High-speed train” means a passenger train capable of sustained revenue operating speeds of at least 200 miles per hour where conditions permit those speeds.
    (e) “High-speed train system” means a system with high-speed trains and includes, but is not limited to, the following components: right-of-way, track, power system, rolling stock, stations, and associated facilities.
    (f) “Corridor”means a portion of the high-speed trains systemas described in Section 2704.04.
    (g) “Usable segment” means a portion of a corridor that includes at least two stations.

    Alan Reply:

    Then you should really hate yourself. I read the law. Obviously, you didn’t. So go f yourself.

    But I forgot. You’re oh-so-much smarter than the people who actually get paid to do this stuff. And Mr. Smart Guy, find me a definition of “power system” in the law–something that MANDATES electrification.

    Now go read 2704.08, and come back when you finish third grade. 2704.08 not only AUTHORIZES services other than HSR, it REQUIRES that the CHSRA consider such uses when deciding which segments should be built first.

    Then go read the Business Plan and the materials from the November board meeting.

    You idiots on the Peninsula are so desperate you’ll resort to any kind of lying to try to make your point.

    Peter Reply:

    Don’t get yourself worked up. peninsula (and Morris Brown, and Mike Brady, and [insert names of X number of NIMBYs]) are betting the entire farm on a pretty weak argument. The chances of them succeeding are VERY slim. No worries.

  3. StevieB
    Nov 15th, 2011 at 01:01

    It seem the reaction to whatever the people do not want to hear is denial. The High Speed Rail Authority issued a report Monday that a tunnel for bullet train through San Jose impractical. The immediate reaction of Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association, is denial.

    Knies, who also was among a 20-member committee that since February has worked with rail authority officials on a set of “visual design guidelines” for the rail route, said he remains focused on the tunnel option.

    This is a similar response to that of HSR opponents who deny that rail is beneficial or needed. They deny that the population of California is increasing and will continue to increase for the next 20 years. They deny that electric powered transportation is advantageous over oil power. They deny that ridership projections are adequate to provide a profit under the business plan. They deny that providing an alternative to air travel within the state will be an advantage to travelers and the airlines by freeing runway space for longer flights. They deny that high speed rail is a 21st century technology despite being embraced by dozens of foreign countries to solve their transportation needs. They deny that land use patterns enabled by a rail line through the heart of California will be beneficial to the economic future of the state.

    No amount of analysis by experts will convince those opposed as to the truth of these benefits. Opponents will continue to deny what the do not want to believe. The objective should be to not allow these denials to be what the majority of media disseminate. The vast majority of the population of the state has very little knowledge of the details of high speed rail. Many receive their news solely from television news which repeats headlines such as “costs have exploded” and “judge rejects rail EIR”.

    This blog informs those who have taken the time to search it out but much more information of the benefits needs to be distributed to the uninformed to counter negative headline grabbers.

    swing hanger Reply:

    I just don’t understand how dense people can be about tunnels. Rail tunnels are for mountains and dense urban areas where building at grade or above is impossible. You don’t tunnel in low density California sprawl cities and posh suburbs- unless those municipalities are willing to pay for it.

    joe Reply:

    San Jose ought to trench their VTA light rail and let it run as a decent speed in downtown.

    HW 87 was a recent addition to San Jose’s landscape. They took an at grade road and built an elevated freeway.

    HSR on stilts sounds bad but it’s not going to be a noisy freeway or a pollution source.

    This “opposition” is why Altamont has to kept alive as an option. San Jose can decide how to negotiate with CAHSRA over physics and cost.

    Joey Reply:

    This “opposition” is why Altamont has to kept alive as an option.

    They’re not the only reason.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    I just don’t understand how dense people can be about tunnels.

    I don’t understand how foamers can be so dense about 1950s highway-style aerials.

    joe Reply:

    That’s awful. How can the Shire be spoiled by building such a beast?

    Peter Reply:

    Yeah, that’ll look totally out-of-place next to the HP Pavilion, the future parking garage, and a baseball stadium. *Shudder*

    J. Wong Reply:

    Plus the elevated Guadalupe Parkway.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    So … the argument we have that since San José, Capital of Silicon Valley, is already such a sprawling nowhere freeway-rapded shithole that nobody who wasn’t paid to or forced to would visit, therefore any more elevated concrete and guaranteed-to-fail “urban renewal” (professional sports! multiple professional tax giveaways to sports franchise owning multi-millionaries! festival marketplace! riverwalk! stationary store! bewpubs! parking lots! light rail! heavy rail! high speed rail! historic trolleys! iconic city hall!) you can throw at it won’t make any difference?

    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Tony d. Reply:

    So I guess, based on your kindergarten logic, that makes SF, LA, SD and SAC shitholes as well. I’ll sleep better tonight knowing this. (It must suck to be miserable)

    Joey Reply:

    You missed the point. If there is hope for any of these cities it depends on not adding to the existing mess.

    joe Reply:

    If you think bringing people into the downtown via electric train is adding to the mess.

    I see asymmetrical support for large elevated car/freeway vs rail.

    Joey Reply:

    joe: you’re missing the point. It’s not a question of bringing them downtown (not that Diridon station is technically downtown but it’s decently close). It’s a question of building an invasive, ugly, expensive, unnecessary structure vs having some minimal level of inter-agency cooperation and putting everything at-grade.

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, the reality is the best solution would be at-grade with separation where necessary with over or under passes.

    joe Reply:

    Guadalupe Parkway Project converted a congested street into an elevated expressway. I would hope the addition of the HSR line would have similar support but it is new type of infrastructure and and people probably associate the size with what we come to expect, lots of traffic noise and car congestion with on and off ramps.

    BTW, our lawyers tell us you have to be over 18 to subscribe so you’ll need to ask your adult guardian to forward an email.

    We do have some cool stickers to send when you join. Go Snarks!


    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I don’t understand how foamers can be so dense about 1950s highway-style aerials.

    Into a one-way skyway he rocketed, along it over the suburbs and into the transcontinental super-highway. Edging inward, lane after lane, he reached the “unlimited” way — unlimited, that is, except for being limited to cars of not less than seven hundred horsepower; in perfect mechanical condition, driven by registered, tested drivers at speeds not less than one hundred and twenty-five miles an hour flashed his registry number at the control station, and shoved his right foot down to the floor.

    Now everyone knows that an ordinary DeKhotinsky Sporter will do a hundred and forty honestly-measured miles in one honestly measured hour; but very few ordinary drivers have ever found out how fast one of those, brutal big souped-up Sixteens can wheel. They simply haven’t got what it takes to open one up.

    “Storm” Cloud found out that day. He held that two and-a-half-ton Juggernaut on the road, wide open, for two solid hours. But it didn’t help. Drive as he would, he could not outrun that which rode with him. Beside him and within him and behind him. For Jo was there. Jo and the kids, but mostly Jo. It was Jo’s car as much as it was his. “Babe, the big blue ox,” was Jo’s pet name for it; because, like Paul Bunyan’s fabulous beast, it was pretty nearly six feet between the eyes. Everything they had ever had was that way. She was in the seat beside him. Every dear, every sweet, every luscious, lovely memory of her was there … and behind him, just out of eye-corner visibility, were the three kids. And a whole lifetime of this loomed ahead-a vista of emptiness more vacuous far than the emptiest reaches of intergalactic space. Damnation! He couldn’t stand much more of High over the roadway” far ahead, a brilliant octagon flared red. That meant “STOP!” in any language. Cloud eased up his accelerator, eased down his mighty brakes. He pulled up at the control station and a trimly-uniformed officer made a gesture.

    “Sorry, sir,” the policeman said, “but you’ll have to detour here. There’s a loose atomic vortex beside the road up ahead.

    “Oh! It’s Dr. Cloud!” Recognition flashed into the guard’s eyes. “I didn’t recognize you at first. It’ll be two or three miles before you’ll have to put on your armor; you’ll know when better than anyone can tell you. They didn’t tell us they were going to send for you. It’s just a little new one, and the dope we got was that they were going to shove it off into the canyon with pressure.”

    joe Reply:

    Jonathan Reply:

    Not actually 1950s at all, it’s (duh) Edware E. (“Doc”) Smith, The Vortex Blaster.
    This portion first published in magazine form in, uh, 1941?

    The expressways in “First Lensman” would be 1950s, though, I’ll grant you that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He probably went to see Futurama at the ’39 World’s Fair and or read the resulting book, Magic Motorways.

    Donk Reply:

    Hey I have a novel idea – why don’t they scrap the tunnel and viaduct plans and just run at-grade in the Caltrain ROW.

    Joey Reply:

    Because it wouldn’t be a testament to Rod Diridon’s penis size.

    thatbruce Reply:

    Cooperation between the two “we’re planning to use UIC equipment and high floors” entities would be required. (Caltrain and CAHSRA)

    William Reply:

    Hopefully this Google Street View gives a better idea on the scale of
    [,121.040709&spn=0.002347,0.003452&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=6&brcurrent=3,0x34683690a6215641:0xa2fd3b078d3904c5,1,0x3468412ca1674fd5:0x4061145f0e1f1fc9&layer=c&cbll=24.807479,121.040608&panoid=fX0GOv05LG5HsByJVcoCOQ&cbp=12,315.24,,0,3.57 Taiwan HSR’s HsinChu Station]

    The platform is about 4~5 story high, so about 15 from ground level.

    William Reply:

    2nd Try:
    Taiwan HSR’s HsinChu Station

    William Reply:

    My guess of # of platform faces needed at San Jose Diridon, assuming no sharing between Caltrain and CAHSR:

    Amtrak: 3, for both Coast Starlight and Capitol Corridor
    ACE: share with Amtrrak
    Caltrain: 4, can be 2 with expanded south of Tamien storage yard
    CAHSR:4 so both local and express train can stop at the same time

    Total: 11, so at least 5 island platforms + 1 side platform

    This assumption does point to the necessity of a second level platform.

    I know people like CAHSR and Caltrain to share platforms, but consider operator, ticketing, would be different, it is not practical.

    Joey Reply:

    Assuming the ability to share platforms and a minimum amount of operating efficiency, 2 Amtrak/ACE and 6 CalTrain/HSR would suffice.

    I am aware that there are challenges to platform sharing, including schedule integration (this should happen anyway) and fare collection, but given that the other option is several billion $ worth of concrete viaducts, I’d say it’s preferable to confront the problem.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    This is why CAHSR-Caltrain sharing is so important: it allows cutting the number of tracks they have between them from 8 to 4.

    There’s no real need to have local and express CAHSR trains stop at San Jose at the same time as Caltrain: Gilroy, Fresno, and Bakersfield are much better overtake locations, since they’re closer to the midpoint of LA-SF, and if there’s ever a need for an overtake in San Jose, it can be scheduled to avoid Caltrain. This only starts getting messy if HSR traffic is very heavy, but HSR traffic is naturally limited by capacity on the shared LA-Chowchilla trunk line.

    On top of this, to make a Peninsula blended plan work with minimum concrete, it’s best to have all HSR trains make the same stops on the Peninsula, which means no skipping Millbrae and RWC; this is also in line with the Shinkansen practice of having all trains stop at Shinagawa and Shin-Yokohama. Hence, it’s operationally impossible to have local and express HSR stop at San Jose at the same time.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    5 minute headways. The local pulls into San Jose, waits five minutes for the express to come in and then waits 5 minutes after the express has left. Sounds great. Coulda gotten on Caltrain for stations north of San Jose.

    Joey Reply:

    Another reason why overtakes make much more sense at stations in high-speed territory – the cost of slowing down is greater, so a train will be sitting at the platform for less time waiting for the next train to pass.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sure, but on the other hand, in high-speed territory, the minimum headway is longer because of the longer stopping distance. The real reason to do overtakes in the CV or at Gilroy is that if the overtakes are closer to the midpoint of the line, it’s possible to do with fewer of them. More precisely, if you need n-1 overtakes, the ideal locations of the overtakes are 1/n, 2/n, …, (n-1)/n of the way from one end.

    thatbruce Reply:

    You can make that more palatable to passengers by having dedicated local tracks for a station’s worth each side of the major station, in San Jose’s case, College Park and Tamien.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It doesn’t really work if the local in question is an HSR local and doesn’t stop at College Park or Tamien. For an HSR local, the equivalent would be to four-track from SJ all the way to Gilroy.

    thatbruce Reply:

    True. I was considering Caltrain service (local) vs long-distance HSR service (express).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Then it’s different, sure. In principle you’d want the HSR-Caltrain overtakes to be done at the midpoint, but there are some service patterns under which it’s defensible to add a secondary overtake right north of San Jose. For example, take my troll schedule in which HSR just substitutes for some Caltrain express runs and makes all the Caltrain express stops.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People stand on the same platform and get on different trains all over the world. Even in the Bay Area. Even on the Peninsula. Do they have separate platforms for the Baby Bullet?

    Joey Reply:


    William Reply:

    But once again, do you want to increase people’s chance of making mistakes, i.e. boarding the wrong train, or completely do away with it by building some more hardwares (certainly not in the billions range…) Caltrain Local and Baby Bullet works because they use the same equipment and have the same price. I presume people would want to treat CAHSR “something better” than Caltrain, case of the point, people expected more service on cross-ocean flights than on short distance flights.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People on puddle jumpers from the hub airport to Fumbuck use the same gates as people flying to Tokyo.
    Acela passengers don’t get on Regionals and Amtrak passengers don’t get on MARC, SEPTA, NJTransit, LIRR, Metro North, SLE or MBTA trains. People get on the correct BART train and they don’t expect one to show up on the Muni platforms. The people standing around on the Muni platforms manage to select the right train. It works this way all over the world.

    William Reply:

    Then we’ll need a lot of Informational Displays…

    swing hanger Reply:

    Exactly. Providing adequate information in the form of (large, real time) LED or LCD displays and accurate announcements is key. Case in point: a few years back, I got off a local train at Rotterdam to make a connection with a train to Brussels Midi- however the train to Brussels was 20 minutes late, and a local train arrived before it at the same platform- with no announcements or displays to indicate it was not the train to Brussels. Passengers were left to fend for themselves in terms of catching the right train.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You just picked one of the platforms randomly and hoped your train would be there?

    swing hanger Reply:

    No. The intercity for Brussels was due at the platform I was waiting at. As it was delayed (it originated in Amsterdam), a local that was scheduled to arrive after it arrived before. There was no indication at the platform that the intercity was late other than by my wristwatch. I knew the local was not my train, as it was a NS double decker, but someone less railway travel savvy may have boarded it. The intercity did arrive later. Admittedly, the NS trains that go to Brussels (not the Thalys) are pretty crappy, the clapped-out rolling stock is some of the worst on the system. I assume NS wants travelers to choose the premium Thalys, and thus gives the cheaper alternative less care.

    swing hanger Reply:

    To the credit of Belgium Railways (SNCB), my connecting train at Midi, bound for Basel, was held for my train, which arrived IIRC fifteen minutes late.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @swing hanger:
    The former regular-speed Amsterdam Brussels service had to be hauled by dual-mode (1500VDC/3000VDC) locos, and for the last decade of its existence, neither NS or SNCB saw a need to put money into rollingstock for a service that would be soon replaced by the Thalys/NS HiSpeed services once the HSL lines were completed.

    Joey Reply:

    Information displays are MUCH cheaper than viaducts.

    Jon Reply:

    case of the point, people expected more service on cross-ocean flights than on short distance flights

    Yet both use the same airport terminals, and people somehow manage not to get on the wrong plane.

    William Reply:

    Well, airports usually does provide clear displays on when and where one can expect to board their plane. Besides, boarding passes are scanned at the gate, which I doubt HSR trains can do.

    Joey Reply:

    People all over the world manage to board the right train even when platforms are shared. How is the Peninsula Corridor any different?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    A permanently stoned populace?

    Jon Reply:

    So what you’re saying is it’s impossible for rail stations to provide clear displays on when and where one can expect to board their train?

    I’m so glad that the four BART lines don’t share the same platforms at all the stations in San Francisco. It would get awful confusing if they did. I mean, how would you figure out which train to get on?

    Oh yeah. Clear displays.

    swing hanger Reply:

    With adequate announcements and platform signage (not a strength with Amtrak at this moment), shared platforms should not pose too much of a problem. I am not too familiar with specific European railway operating practices, but to what extent do S-Bahns and RER trains share trackage and platforms with HSR trains, as electrified Caltrain will be analogous to those suburban commuter systems? A specific example would be illustrative, in terms of schedule integration, headways, and the like.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The RER doesn’t share tracks with HSR, at least not at the main Paris stations. But TERs and TGVs do share platforms when TGVs run onto legacy lines, for example at Nice.

    swing hanger Reply:

    So essentially this means HSR will only share track/platforms with commuter in a conventional speed environment. Would this preclude the proposed 100mph+ running on the peninsula? (not to mention any noise concerns). Or would off peak/smart pathing and/or moving blocks solve this?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t stop 135 MPH running in New Jersey

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …. and 125 in exotic Maryland far off Delaware and Pennsylvania

    swing hanger Reply:

    Are we talking about double track operation, as opposed to triple or quad track?

    swing hanger Reply:

    As well as timed overtakes?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Where there’s little or no commuter traffic it’s two tracked. Where there’s moderate commuter traffic it’s three tracked and where there’s a lot of commuter traffic it’s four tracked.
    There are no timed overtakes to speak of. The fast trains use the fast tracks and the slow trains use the slow tracks. There’s same platform transfers to/from branch lines in Connecticut and New Jersey.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No timed overtakes – Amtrak’s punctuality is so low it couldn’t reliably overtake anything. Its solution to any situation involving nontrivial commuter traffic is to triple-track or quad-track.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Think of the outside tracks as one very long station siding. Happier?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, for two reasons:

    1. This siding is much longer than necessary. Amtrak wants to sink $300 million into triple-tracking the Providence Line, when normal-world punctuality could reduce the required infrastructure investment to quad-tracking one station or one segment between two stations, and even that is for 300 km/h running on the Providence Line rather than for Master Plan speeds.

    2. Triple-tracking a line that has room for four tracks is a statement, “We don’t care about reverse-peak service.” It’s an invitation for having trains run into the CBD and then park there for a few hours, or maybe deadhead to a nearby yard. It’s also a statement, “We’re going to make switching moves on our high-speed line,” in light of the fact that the viaduct between Canton Junction and Sharon is not getting tripled.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …nothing at all to do with the P&W, autoracks or freight in general.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, nothing. Freight traffic even on the P&W mainline is fairly trivial, let alone the NEC, and Amtrak’s supposed capacity limit on the Providence Line comes entirely from rush-hour MBTA traffic.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Bentley salesmen can just pass off the arc marks as patina.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Well, I could be snarky and say that at the station platforms, all trains are going to be traveling at 0 km/h. But I don’t know. I presume, but do not know, that the TGVs share tracks with the TERs and with the non-RER Transilien trains even at stations that are right next to an LGV, such as the Paris stations and Marseille. At Gare de Lyon, I did not see any segregation of TGVs from other traffic, though it could be that the few Transiliens using the main station use dedicated platforms. It just so happens that the only station for which I know for a fact that the tracks are shared is hundreds of kilometers from the nearest LGV.

    Clem Reply:

    Correct, shared everywhere. There are no dedicated TGV platforms at legacy stations.

    Peter Reply:

    And this is only possible because there is no such thing as level boarding required. Repeal that requirement from the ADA and we’d have no problems.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    California doesn’t have any legacy platforms, to speak of, that can cause problems with boarding at legacy platforms.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Total: 11, so at least 5 island platforms + 1 side platform

    To give an idea of how crazy that is:

    Berlin Hauptbahnhof provides 7 island platforms for 1800 trains/day and 350k passengers (comparable to BART entire daily ridership).

    Or London Kings Cross, with 12 platforms and 25+ million annual trips.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Yes, indeed. JR Yokohama Station handles 398K passengers/day using four island platforms.

    William Reply:

    From design and operation point of view, sharing platform is much more complex than just pour more concrete and keep every type of services separate by building more platforms. No engineers will purposely design a complex system if he/she doesn’t have to.

    I am not saying sharing platforms don’t work, but it only works to a certain point, and sharing platforms between different type of services does creates a lot room for human errors. So, whether it is more informational displays, or separate platforms for different types of services, human errors should be design out of the system or at least minimized.

    So, there ought to be a balance between cost and function, i.e. the station won’t need major changes within 10 or 25 years to provide good service.

    Clem Reply:

    This whole discussion is academic, since it ignores the sad reality of TM 2.2.2, recently updated to drive home their design philosophy.

    The platforms SHALL be separate.

    William Reply:

    Well, the document does say that if there is no room for separate station facilities, design exceptions can be make to share as much facilities as possible…

    swing hanger Reply:

    I think most of us in agreement that Diridon Intergalactic is massively overbuilt as planned, so if separate platforms are a requirement, good or bad, they can be built at or near grade level with existing trackage (as at JR Nagano Station), or if elevated, at a height less than the current Caltransesque level, such as at Kumamoto station, where the Shinkansen platforms are approximately 1.5 stories above street level (the housing in the foreground provides some scale):

    thatbruce Reply:

    Page 58 (65 in the pdf), section 6.1.1 General Considerations has the essential line:

    Shared Use. Shared-use stations require that station design serves both high-speed and conventional rail services. Shared use does not infer shared functions; at stations where multiple rail systems are sharing an enclosure, functional, operational, and support facilities for HST are dedicated and not shared with other operators.

    That single line means, no shared platforms, no shared ticket offices, no shared toilets, and if taken to extremes, no shared water coolers, lifts, stairs, escalators or exits to the outside. It also means that thanks to the approving signatures of Gary Newgard, Cecily Way, Ken Jong, Hans van Winkle, Dan Leavitt and Roelof van Ark, the stations planned at the current stage are going to be more expensive than if they had indeed followed current design practices in European and Asian systems.

    Those who have traversed my favorite example of shared platform infrastructure in the Bay area, the on-platform fare gates at Millbrae between BART and Caltrain and think that sort of thing is possible (hopefully with better schedule coordination) will need to look at the space required for queuing each side of the fare gates. That makes for wiiiiide platforms, so the footprint for cross-platform transfers isn’t practical in the constrained areas where commuter and CAHSR trains will co-exist.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    are going to be more expensive than if they had indeed followed current design practices in European and Asian systems.

    Or the design practices of the Pennsylvania Railroad or the New York Central circa 1905.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You mean practices like segregated concourses and tracks for the LIRR and the directly-owned PRR lines?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pick one of the tracks with catenary and third rail and anything can pull into it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In principle, maybe, but in practice, the concourses are different, and they’re spending $300 million on grade-separating Harold so that Amtrak doesn’t have to use the northern East River Tunnels and hook into the high-numbered tracks.

    thatbruce Reply:

    I take that back about the space required for on-platform fare gates, at least in cases where you have a football-shaped pair of platforms, with the straight middle pair of platform edges serving HSR, and the curved outer platform edges serving commuter trains.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They’ll be definitely separate because of the fare control gates.
    Have any of these people seen a train without a BART logo on the side?

    Clem Reply:

    And security cordon, if necessary.

    thatbruce Reply:

    Where appropriate, this memorandum reflects the current design practices in European and Asian systems for reference.

    This single line provided me with the best laugh I’ve had all week.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    From design and operation point of view, sharing platform is much more complex than just pour more concrete and keep every type of services separate by building more platforms. No engineers will purposely design a complex system if he/she doesn’t have to.

    The system will be much simpler and easier to understand if it the tracks don’t have any turnouts.

    William Reply:

    Isn’t that how Japanese Shinkansen was designed? One directional tracks, no turnouts except to access station tracks and maintenance yards…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    From a cost point of view, it’s the exact opposite of what you say. Organization is costless – all it requires is bashing some heads to get different agencies to work out a usable schedule. Electronics – not just electronic displays but also high-capacity signaling – costs some money, but is still not terribly expensive. But pouring concrete costs a lot of money. The sort of multi-tracking everywhere operations proposed for the Peninsula is about spending billions to make sure trains can continue to run off-schedule.

    William Reply:

    I think we can agree that, if the cost is reasonable, the goal should be to keep different type of services segregated, correct?

    Sharing tracks should be the exception, not the norm. Today we have this discussion is because the cost of keeping Caltrain and CAHSR separate in the Peninsula is too high. In this discussion I think we skew to0 much toward structure cost but not enough on operation cost, as a system that depends on complex weaving and timing would incur higher operation cost, and inevitably snow-ball effect even on some small errors.

    I personally do feel that hardware solutions have higher safety margin and error tolerance than software solutions, as human errors and software bugs do occur, and no amount of test can catch 100% the bugs.

    Outside of this topic, I do prefer this academic discussion than calling people names or making sniping comments.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I think we can agree that, if the cost is reasonable, the goal should be to keep different type of services segregated, correct?

    No we can’t. All over the world services share tracks. There’s a few that don’t because the track gauge isn’t the same, Shinkansen and some services in Spain or high volumes – mass transit systems.

    William Reply:

    And there are also plenty of examples that don’t share tracks, and track gauge is not the primary reason for track sharing, or we would have light rail sharing tracks with HSR, since they are both standard gauge…

    Unless one expect all services to be low volume and low frequency for the foreseeable future, then yes, sharing platform tracks is “acceptable”.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Light rail is different – it’s built to different standards, including e.g. the electrification system, and often regulated differently from mainline rail. It’s a big deal in Karlsruhe that it uses mainline tracks outside the city (also wildly successful).

    I’m not sure what frequency you expect, but 4 tph of each type of train can be accommodated on two tracks with overtakes. 6 tph each is still possible but starts running into problems. If the trains all run at the same top speed, so that the speed difference comes only from stops, then even about a combined 20 tph is possible, on the Chuo Rapid Line.

    Jon Reply:

    There are good reasons and bad reasons not to share track. Light rail does not share track with HSR because the difference in average speed is so great, and the vehicle technologies are significantly different. Neither of those reasons apply to HSR and Caltrain.

    Essentially what we are trying to do on the peninsula is mix three types of services- inter-regional (HSR), intra-regional (Caltrain Express), and local (Caltrain Local). HSR has the highest average speed and Caltrain Local the lowest, and so these services are not really compatible, except perhaps at major station approaches where all trains will be slowing down anyway. Caltrain Express is somewhere in the middle, and so reasonably matched in average speed to both HSR and Caltrain Local trains.

    Our solution therefore is to keep the slow trains on the slow track, the fast trains on the fast track, and have the medium speed trains move between the two tracks as necessary to maintain a decent average speed without holding up the fast trains or being held up by the slow trains. It’s not rocket science, anyone who has driven on a freeway should be able to understand how this will work. It also gives maximum flexibility; if one track is blocked for any reasons, all trains can use the other track to get round the bottle neck, albeit at reduced average speed.

    If you wanted to completely separate all types of service you’d need six tracks rather than four. Try selling that to the good people of Atherton. To get back to the freeway metaphor, it would be like building a freeway with a lane for every vehicle with a different average speed just so no-one had to change lanes.

    (The plan to replace Caltrain with BART, as speculated by a variety of people on this blog and others, would make this sort of track sharing impossible and so remove medium speed trains from the peninsula. The problem of mixing three service patterns on four tracks would be solved by removing one of those service patterns. Not ideal.)

    You could have shared track but still have dedicated platforms at the stations for different service types, but the same logic regarding flexibility applies to that approach. If a platform track is out of service for some reason (say, a person falls onto the track) you can route the trains that should be using that platform to another one, reducing delays at the expense of making passengers walk a few yards. If you enforced separate platforms for every service type the train would just have to wait until the blockage was cleared.

    It’s quite possible for HSR and Caltrain to purchase trains with the same clearance and platform height so as to make platform sharing possible, and there are huge advantages to doing so. It’s not practical to make Amtrak and ACE re-purchase all their trains, so the solution is to split Diridon station up into ‘FRA-compliant’ and ‘non-FRA compliant’ platforms and tracks, maybe 2 or 3 FRA and 4 non-FRA.

    Of course, as Clem says, all this is academic. It’s already been decided on by CAHSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    okay, what are the examples.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’re treating timed overtakes as a much bigger deal than they actually are. And yet, they are the norm everywhere where trains are run well. In Japan they have different tracks for the Shinkansen and legacy trains because the gauges are different, but Shinkansen trains still run on dual-gauged legacy track on two segments, and, moreover, within each system (legacy and Shinkansen), different types of services share the same track pairs. Local and express trains use the same tracks; even on the few lines that are four-tracked, such as the inner portions of the Tokaido and Chuo Lines, the express tracks host trains making a variety of stopping patterns, with timed overtakes. Likewise, in Switzerland, all trains use the same mainline tracks, again with timed transfers and overtakes.

    It’s easy to say software has bugs, but if you look at 100% software-based systems, they’re remarkably safe. I’m not aware of any fatal accidents on Skytrain, the Copenhagen Metro, Paris Metro Line 14, Singapore’s Circle and Northeast MRT, or any airport people mover. On a national scale, Japan has the safest rail network in the world measured in fatalities per passenger-km; Switzerland and France also have very safe systems. The less safe systems are those relying on antiquated regulations (i.e. the US) or using shoddy maintenance practices (e.g. Italy, Germany).

    William Reply:

    Fair enough.

    But can I add that Shinkansen also stride for simple signaling systems by using mono-direction mainlines? They actually made a big fuss when Taiwan HSR insisted on bi-directional signalings.

    swing hanger Reply:

    In Japan not just Shinkansen but conventional multiple track lines are uni-directional- up and down tracks are always that way- as such it reduces flexibility, but also reduces chances for mishaps in simpler signal layouts, and keeps station layouts consistent for passengers. However, software based traffic control systems such as JR East’s Kanto area ATOS permit wrong way running/detours in case of accidents (people falling off platforms, suicides, etc.) within station limits on high passenger volume lines.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    “…, i.e. the station won’t need major changes within 10 or 25 years to provide good service.”

    Interesting, in my opinion this is another reason for having shared platforms and resulting increased operational
    flexibility. But I digress.

  4. morris brown
    Nov 15th, 2011 at 03:36

    Well from a vote in 2008 when the Palo Alto council unanimously endorsed the High Speed Rail project to a complete reversal. Amazing really, but a reflection of has been learned and a williness of the City to change its position..


    Palo Alto City Council unanimously opposes the high-speed rail project; how to go about expressing it is in the works. They’ve tasked their Rail Committee with drafting a letter requesting the Legislature to either end the project now or put it back on the Nov 2012 ballot. Two articles cover the Council’s meeting; follow the links for the complete article. –Rita

    Palo Alto mulls tougher stance on high-speed rail
    City considers urging legislators to either kill project or resubmit it to voters
    The more Palo Alto officials learn about California’s proposed high-speed rail, the more their opposition swells.

    On Monday night, in its first discussion of the project since the California High Speed Rail Authority released its new business plan, an already skeptical City Council weighed its toughest stance against the project to date. The council was considering a proposal by Councilman Larry Klein to adopt as the city’s official principle a request that legislators either kill the controversial project or send it back to the voters.

    The council ultimately took a more cautious route and decided to let its Rail Committee deliberate the topic further. In doing so, however, members made it clear that their patience with the project, like Klein’s, had been pretty much exhausted.

    “The city should go on the record as being opposed to high-speed rail, period, and we urge our legislators to terminate the project,” Klein said.
    Palo Alto council takes step toward officially opposing high-speed rail project
    By Jason Green
    Daily News Staff Writer
    Posted: 11/15/2011 12:33:41 AM PST

    The Palo Alto City Council moved a step closer Monday to formally opposing the state’s controversial high-speed rail project.
    The council voted 8-1 to task its Rail Committee with drafting a request to the state Legislature to either kill the now-$99 billion project or place it on the November 2012 ballot for reconsideration.
    “It’s a big step and we should be deliberate in taking it,” Council Member Greg Scharff said.
    Council Member Larry Klein cast the dissenting vote. He argued that the council knew enough and that further input from the Rail Committee wasn’t necessary to take a formal stand.
    “This is an issue that has concerned our community for two-plus years,” Klein said. “I think it’s time for our voices to be heard.”

    Klein, in particular, attacked the numbers. When voters passed Proposition 1A in 2008 and freed up $10 billion for the project, they were told it would cost no more than $35 billion, he said.
    “The numbers were remarkably incomplete or deliberately misleading,” Klein said. “You just don’t have projects that are off by 70 percent.”

    Council Member Gail Price said discrepancies in the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s ridership studies have undermined her confidence in a project she wanted to support.
    “I really have tried to be open-minded,” Price said. “It has been extremely painful for me to see this project implode.”

    joe Reply:

    “Klein, in particular, attacked the numbers. When voters passed Proposition 1A in 2008 and freed up $10 billion for the project, they were told it would cost no more than $35 billion, he said.
    “The numbers were remarkably incomplete or deliberately misleading,” Klein said. “You just don’t have projects that are off by 70 percent.””

    Klein thinks costs are inflating but will demand HSR trench in Palo Alto at the state’s expense. Klein has to be cautious he’s laying the ground work for CAHSRA to say “no” to this expensive option.

    “Council Member Gail Price said discrepancies in the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s ridership studies have undermined her confidence in a project she wanted to support.”

    Gail Price cite “discrepancies” despite the ridership passing review and surviving their lawsuit. The new Business Plan uses conservative assumptions. Oh, and Palo Alto required Stanford provide free rail and bus passes before approving new development. She needs new talking points.

    joe Reply:

    Jim Hartnett writes:

    …committing to make corridor improvements that benefit communities and meet the capacity needs of Caltrain and high-speed rail even before a fully blended system is implemented. It also means that once Peninsula environmental studies are resumed, the focus should be on this much smaller and significantly less costly project, not on plans of the past.

    Caltrain provides more than 12 million rides a year. It cannot meet future demand or be sustainable without electrification. Electrified trains are cheaper, quicker, quieter and far more environmentally sensitive than the diesel-driven, late-19th-century equipment. A blended approach with high-speed rail is part of the Caltrain solution.

    We’re not going to add new lanes on Interstate 280, and Highway 101 cannot go much farther out or up. California is not going to build thousands of new freeway miles or fill in San Francisco Bay with airport runways. But our population will grow, employment demand will increase, and our economic engine must be preserved by sustainable transportation infrastructure.

    Stanford is getting fed up with Palo ALto’s NIMBY, anti-growth attitude:

    At the very least, local governments should have cooperated with Stanford in trail construction rather than repeatedly obstructing the very projects intended to benefit them.

    Additionally, the permit requires Stanford’s developments to result in no additional net automobile trips, a condition that is never taken seriously except as a mechanism for surrounding cities to demand arbitrary amounts of money.

    Stanford’s largest current construction project, the $5 billion expansion of Stanford University Medical Center, took 97 public hearings, almost four years of negotiation and the promise of $173 million in public benefits to win final approval from Palo Alto. Much of the money was provided to help mitigate traffic generated by the project, yet Stanford will also be paying millions of dollars for unrelated programs in addition to a $2.4 million “upfront payment.” While most cities would be overjoyed to gain a world-class hospital and new medical research facilities, local authorities apparently are not. If Mayor Sid Espinosa truly wants to follow through on his declaration that the city looks “forward to a new era of partnership and collaborations with hospitals and the University as a whole,” perhaps the city could look for ways to ease the restrictions placed on Stanford by the county under the General Use Permit. Doing so would be sensible and easy, but also, unfortunately, completely out of the question.

    Stanford predates its surrounding neighborhoods, provides direct and indirect employment for many of their residents and offers numerous public goods. Many of the country’s most successful companies have direct ties to the University, some of which were founded by its alumni, and surely the future will see many more great ideas and organizations emerge from the Farm. A country with 9.1 percent unemployment, stagnant wages, torpid productivity growth and no coherent plan to address its 21st century energy concerns needs more of the resources Stanford has to offer, not fewer. As long as Stanford’s growth is beholden to the whims of change-averse neighbors, we’ll never know which seemingly intractable problems could have been solved.

    IMHO, Palo Alto Government has put its head up it’s collective ass. No new car trips and NO rail improvements, No HSR, NO NO NO.

    New York City says Yes.
    Stanford and Cornell are among 15 universities submitting seven bids to open a science and engineering campus in New York, responding to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s competition to create technology jobs.

    Stanford University, near Palo Alto, California, would invest $200 million of institutional money for a campus on Roosevelt Island, one of the sites identified by the city. The college would build the $2.5 billion project over 30 years for more than 200 faculty members and 2,000 graduate students, according to a letter sent Oct. 26 from Stanford President John Hennessy. Stanford teamed with City College of New York, which would host classes starting in 2013 as construction began.

    Somehow I don’t think Mayor Bloomberg is going to drag this on for 4 years and demand free shit for this Stanford high-tech expansion.

  5. morris brown
    Nov 15th, 2011 at 03:52

    We have been told that the Gorden committee meeting in Palo Alto today, Nov 15, will be webcast.

    You shoudl be able to go to:

    and choose channel 26 to view. Starts at 1:30 PM. vanARk, Rossi,Hartnett and others from the Authority, panel discussions, who knows what else.

    joe Reply:

    I’m tied up today or would be there.

    Shift happens, once the lawsuits fail, Palo Alto will have two decisions.

    1) Accept and constructively engage the HSRA to influence the design of the system or sit it out.

    2) Pursue a HSR station for PA and negotiate the size and location of parking – previously HSR proposed PA could distribute parking and include count shopping area parking.

    I fully expect Menlo Park to sit out the process.

    StevieB Reply:

    Palo Alto will have 15 years before construction is scheduled to start in the city. There will be the project EIR to file a delaying lawsuit over. High speed rail will have an initial operating segment according to the timeline. The constitution of the city council will have changed. There are many variables.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Rail advocates, critics to face off in Palo Alto
    Assemblyman Rich Gordon to host Tuesday meeting on new business plan for high-speed-rail line

    Top officials from the California High-Speed Rail Authority will join some of the rail project’s toughest critics in Palo Alto Tuesday afternoon for a public discussion of the controversial, voter-approved rail line.

    The public hearing, chaired by Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, will focus on the rail authority’s newly released business plan, which estimates the cost of the system at $98.6 billion. Gordon chairs a state Assembly budget subcommittee that oversees resources and transportation agencies.

    The meeting, which will begin at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, will feature a panel that includes Roloef van Ark, the chief executive officer of the rail authority, and two recently appointed members of the rail authority’s board of directors, Jim Hartnett and Michael Rossi. They will be joined by various supporters of the rail project, including Daniel Krause, executive director of the high-speed-rail advocacy group Californians for High Speed Rail; and Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council. Cesar Diaz, legislative director of the State Buildings and Construction Trades, will also join the panel.

    The panel will also include leading critics of the high-speed rail’s ridership models and revenue projections. Elizabeth Alexis, co-founder of the Palo Alto-based watchdog group Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design, and Samer Madanat, director of the UC Berkeley Institute for Transportation Studies — both of whom have pointed out flaws in the rail authority’s ridership methodology — will take part in the discussion. William Gridley, whose group Community Coalition on High Speed Rail has reviewed and criticized the rail authority’s business model, will also be on the panel, as will Farra Bracht, an analyst at the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

    William Kempton, chair of the rail authority’s peer-review group, will also be on the panel.

    The meeting will take place from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. It will be broadcast by the Midpeninsula Community Media Center on Channel 26 and streamed online here.

  6. datacruncher
    Nov 15th, 2011 at 16:45

    The RFQ for the design/build contract for the Fresno section was released today.

    From the press release: “Initial construction in the Central Valley will begin next fall, upon completion of the environmental process. With an estimated value of $1.5 billion – $2 billion, this large design-build construction contract will be placed before the end of 2012. Smaller construction packages, focused in and around the City of Fresno, will be released for bid in the coming months and awarded in mid-2012. This segment begins north of the San Joaquin River near the City of Madera and continues south to approximately East American Avenue through the City of Fresno. ”

    Press release:
    RFQ documents:

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    $589/year to the rent-seeking government-scamming “” pig-fuckers if you actually wish to examine any of these documents.

    So, no, government-issued RFQ documents developed for government projects by government agencies using public funds are, in practice, not available to the public.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    From the instructions the state provides.

    The DGS eProcurement website is hosted by BidSync which
    also maintains a fee paying site called BidLync. You do not have to
    sign on to BidLync to view contracting opportunities with the State
    of California.

    Why you have to register and login in to see state documents is a good question but you can see them for free. I’m sure CARRD is going to jump right on it and register.

    Peter Reply:

    I guess Richard can’t read very long before the red mist descends…

    joe Reply:

    Why register? Wild ass guess: Metrics and distrbution.

    Recall complaints that CAHSRA isn’t doing adequate outreach to small and minority owned businesses. It’s not desired, it is legally required.

    Using a established service (run by pig fuckers no less) provides CAHSRA with metics on access and cover for the eventual lawsuit that the bidding was rushed and they didn’t adequately disseminate the announcement.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Plus the state doesn’t have to maintain access and the much vaunted private sector uses all the tools available to yeoman entrepreneurs to expeditiously provide the service with…. low paid out of state or overseas staff…. none of those icky unions involved either.

  7. StevieB
    Nov 15th, 2011 at 17:17

    Daniel Krause as I understand his comments advocates development of the ends of the line sooner than currently planned to gain popular support. If this means improvements to the section from Los Angeles to Anaheim I do not believe there are substantial immediate benefits to be gained in this segment. This southern section has had planning come to a standstill because the choices are all less than ideal. As presented at the Union Station open house the choices are between separate elevated track for HSR in the section at enormous cost, or separate at grade track, 5+2, which would require widening the right of way through eminent domain by 100 ft., or sharing track with Metrolink commuter rail which would travel at the speed of existing trains and provide continuity of travel on the overall system.

    The first two choices are not politically viable at this time and the last choice would not be an improvement over existing service. What is your vision for this far southern section of Phase 1?

  8. Jonathan
    Nov 15th, 2011 at 20:26

    Improving the ends of the line, near the big population centers, sounds like a great idea.
    But where is the money going to come from??

    Prop 1A funds require matching funds. Caltrain can’t raise the money’ it has no taxation base of its own, and its capital-expenditure bugets have already been raided by BART. LA-southward is a red herring; it’s not going to work toward completion of *high* speed rail.

    Personally, I have no clue about how LA funds Metrolink; and the LA-northward route seems significantly more uncertain than Pacheco-versus-Altamont.

    and if this is an “open thread”:

    If we could

    nuke [CBOSS] from orbit [1]

    cancel the contract, and replace it with ECTS and ERTMS (using GSM-R in the recently-available 700Mhz spectrum; or even CDMA), Caltrain could electrify *AND* resignal the entire trackage. That’s assuming US construction costs at 4x prevailing international costs. That’s based on the Auckland, NZ urban electrification and signalling. (The earlier Paraparaumu-to-Waikanae double-tracking and electrification cost about $1M per km, but did not upgrade signaling.)

    [1] “It’s the only way to be sure”. Given that I currently live within walking distance of SamTrans HQ, don’t take it too literally.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Maybe what they need is someone from Utah.
    From Progressive Railroading–28778

    The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) expects implementation to cost “at least $20 million,” says UTA Senior Program Manager Todd Provost, who oversees rail projects.

    The agency needs to install PTC on 45 miles of existing FrontRunner commuter-rail track to the north as well as on 45 miles of track UTA is building to the south from Salt Lake City to Provo that’s scheduled to open in a few years.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Utah? Nah.

    Just look at the preceding section, which talks about Trinity Railway Express (TRE) in the Dallas/Ft Worth area; and (ahem) Metrolink. Clem’s blog had a chart comparing Metrolink’s PTC costs to Caltrain’s CBOSS plans. Given the costs of CBOSS relative to COTS alternatives, choosing CBOSS borders on criminal. But, Caltrain is run by a rubber-stamp Board appointed by politicians…

  9. morris brown
    Nov 15th, 2011 at 21:35

    No HSR funding for FY 2012 in transportation bill.

    Expected and confirmed today from the AP wire:

    Budget deal eliminates funds for high-speed rail (from AP wire)

    Congressional negotiators have agreed to eliminate funding for high-speed rail. The partial agreement on a fiscal 2012 budget also will provide $2.63 billion for disaster recovery grants. The agreement covers three of the 12 spending bills that will pay for government operations this fiscal year. Since Oct. 1, the government has been operating on a stopgap spending bill that expires Friday. Although there will be no new money to develop high-speed rail along the Northeast Corridor or from New York City to Buffalo, Amtrak will receive $1.4 billion, with $681 million targeted for capital improvements. The budget deal requires Amtrak to impose overtime limits on employees and bars it from offering discounts over 50 percent from normal peak fares. Overall funding for the Transportation Department will increase by $4.1 billion to $17.8 billion, including a $515 million increase for transit. The $8.3 billion for state and local bus grants is the same as in fiscal 2011.

    StevieB Reply:

    The California High Speed Rail business plan does not anticipate additional federal funds until 2014. So all is according to plan.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am wondering if the Republicans and the Reason Foundation types might see their way to providing just enough funding for Borden to Corcoran with the knowledge that this will prove to be the scandal that will cement California’s reputation as the nation’s dingbat.

    Billions to build orphan track for which there will be no funds to maintain and no buyers. And of course everyone will lament that the money could have gone to electrify Caltrain or subways in LA. The Local Machine will be at once the symbol of invincibility and incompetence.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Firstly, the Federal money for the ICS has already been allocated but not disbursed, and along with Prop 1A funds is sufficient to complete it. Secondly, the track will not be orphaned even if HSR is not completed since the Authority must hold back sufficient funds to connect it to existing lines, i.e., the San Joaquin’s would be using it.

  10. Clem
    Nov 15th, 2011 at 21:52

    Given that I currently live within walking distance of SamTrans HQ, don’t take it too literally.

    What a coincidence. Me too, within 2 blocks.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Collateral damage. Unavoidable. It’s for the greater good.

  11. D. P. Lubic
    Nov 15th, 2011 at 22:13

    Not entirely accurate, at least in my area (Interstates are built of concrete here), but an interesting thing to think about:

  12. D. P. Lubic
    Nov 16th, 2011 at 16:51

    More on the potential generational shift:

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Here’s a whole series on the subject; No. 16 is particularly interesting for its graphic showing licensing by age:

    Some outfit called the American Dream Coalition doesn’t like what it sees, and poo-poos it–no surprise, considering the source:

    As Chester A. Riley would say on the old radio show, “The Life of Riley,” “What a revoltin’ development this is!”

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I wonder how long it will take for the idea of a generational shift to become a “common wisdom.” We’ve been seeing Amtrak ridership going up for what, seven or eight years? The falling rate of young people getting licenses for ten? A general decline in VMT and fuel consumption for about as long? How long does it take to establish a trend, and to have the trend acknowledged?

Comments are closed.