Anaheim Back in the High Speed Rail Plan

Apr 13th, 2012 | Posted by

Responding to concerns from Orange County elected officials, the California High Speed Rail Authority included language committing to a single-seat ride from San Francisco to Anaheim as part of the new business plan they adopted at yesterday’s meeting. From an Authority press release:

The California High-Speed Rail Authority approved the Revised 2012 Business Plan at their April 12 meeting, adding language affirming that Anaheim will continue to be a part of the high-speed rail system and committing that the Authority will work to identify an alternative that will provide a one-seat ride from San Francisco into Anaheim.

CHSRA Chair Dan Richard gave credit to civic and business leaders in Orange County, who came forward with a proposal for a lower-cost way to serve Anaheim with a one-seat ride. In particular, the Orange County Business Council, supported by US Rep. Loretta Sanchez, State Senator Lou Correa, and State Assembly Member Jose Solorio, emphasized the critical need for full high-speed rail service to Anaheim.

“Once again, some of the best ideas in our revised business plan have come from the communities themselves,” Richard said. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the leaders in Orange County to make sure Anaheim will receive one-seat high-speed rail service. Put more simply, it is our intention to provide one-seat service to both Los Angeles and Anaheim by 2028.”

The Authority Board directed staff to work collaboratively with the regional agencies, including OCTA, LA Metro and BNSF, to identify an alignment that can connect San Francisco to Anaheim, using a one-seat ride, at a lower cost.

“We want to provide connectivity, but we also need to ensure the project is cost effective,” Richard said. “We believe we can do it – but only through coordinated efforts with our regional partners in Southern California.”

I’m all in favor of this. Orange County, with 3 million people, deserves a high speed rail connection as soon as is practical and feasible. The Authority was always planning to deliver HSR service to Orange County, and this decision shows they are serious about that commitment.

  1. Peter
    Apr 13th, 2012 at 09:23
    #1

    I’m amused at the fact that the Authority is criticized for not being responsive to community concerns, and then when they are responsive, they get criticized for “changing” their plans.

    Tony d. Reply:

    Peter nailed it! The rodents at CAARD still haven’t answered to this hypocrisy …imagine that.

    VBobier Reply:

    CAARD just doesn’t like a target that responds to input from the public & others, they’d rather have a sitting duck to shoot at & kill.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hey, go easy on the rodents – 51% of all mammalian species belong to the order Rodentia. Aeons from now gophers will be happily tunneling around the submerged equestrian statues of Jerry Brown.

    Where will PB find that $6bil of savings with holy site Palmdale off-limits to jettisoning? Rocket scientists from North Korea can be a better job of planning the CHSRA than Brown and Richard.

    Here’s an image of what one party monopoly political corruption will do to California in time:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428604.100-italys-triangle-of-death-linked-to-premature-ageing.html

    BruceMcF Reply:

    What $6b? We do not have all the details, but the one detail we have is that we are talking about less than $6b. That’s directly implies by “a lower-cost way to serve Anaheim with a one-seat ride.”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The criticism is not that they are responding to concerns. The criticism is that they took several months to craft a plan, sell it as a good plan, and then they change it less than 24 hours after they approve the plan.

    It begs the question…How much thought went into the original plan if you are willing to change it less than 24 hours after you approve it? Flexibility is fine, but changing with the blowing wind is not

    Peter Reply:

    In other words, they are not allowed to make even minor changes once they decide on a plan? How long should they have to wait, in your esteemed opinion, before making changes? A week? A month? A year? Never, because a finalized plan is “final”?

    joe Reply:

    The answer to his question:It begs the question…How much thought went into the original plan if you are willing to change it less than 24 hours after you approve it? Flexibility is fine, but changing with the blowing wind is not.

    The answer is Orange County changed its mind at the last minute when OC’s economic interests businesses & stakeholders realized the bullshit from their local politicians cost them a single seat ride from SF.

    Derek Reply:

    How much thought went into the original plan if you are willing to change it less than 24 hours after you approve it?

    It means they did a really good job building the spreadsheet. Good planning like this is to be commended, not ridiculed.

    julietr Reply:

    It would be simple if OC was one giant group think, but it’s not. There are HSR advocates in OC and the ones who stood up for Anaheim’s interest are supporters of HSR all along. No one’s changed their minds. The CAHSRA probably decided, smartly, that it wasn’t a good idea to lose OC supporters from the project, as positive sentiment for HSR is in increasingly shorter supply.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But in the process, they may have reminded OCTA that the HSR supporters include one or more influential large business enterprises ~ influential enough to bring the Orange County Business Council along in pursuit of their objective.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    John, that’s horse pucky. Is the plan getting better or not? If it is, why do you oppose improvement? If not, where would you like to see it further improved (knowing of course that improvements are in fact changes)?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That’s the beauty of it. Out of on side of their “do it right” mouth they can complain that the the Authority is unrepsonsive to concerns. Out of the other side they can complain that the Authority was responsive to concerns. So no matter what the Authority does it isn’t “doing it right”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You don’t think 24 hours is a little soon. It implies they did not really consider Anaheim properly in the first place. So what…they forgot about it…but then after they publish the report and people complain they realize..ooppps, we should have included it.

    Just 3 days ago the athority argued it was not worth it because it was 600 million per minute of travel time. Now they are saying it is worth it. MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!!!

    So is it a better plan or not because on Monday they told me it was not worth it and today they are telling me it is worth it. Shouldn’t they be the experts? Did somehting fundamental change in this week?

    It is just bad project managment. I don’t object to high speed rail nearly as much as I object to the poor managment of the project.

    joe Reply:

    No. No, bogus implications are necessary. The facts are clear:

    The Orange County assholes who opposed HSR had their bell rung by Orange County businesses who realized the local Pols fucked up.

    Disney et al made Orange County recant their position and support HSR.

    Kudos to the CAHSRA for responding to OC – CAHSRA listened when the assholes ran the show and did not want HSR and now that the adults took over and overrode the self-destructive politicians, the CAHSRA responded.

    Excellence.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yep, sounds like someone knows how to pivot at Warp speed…

    julietr Reply:

    Nice story, but anti-railers suddenly decided to play along and change course? It’s an imaginary victory. Not likely, especially when OC Supervisors just a few days ago were praising the decision to leave OC alone.

    It seems to me CAHSRA decided to ally with Anaheim despite OC County opposition. But Anaheim was never the enemy in the first place. And Loretta Sanchez was never criticial of HSR. No one’s minds have changed. The positive thing is that CAHSRA figured out who to collaborate with.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Except the story is not, “anti-railers suddenly decided to play along”, but “The Orange County assholes who opposed HSR had their bell rung by Orange County businesses who realized the local Pols fucked up. Disney et al made Orange County recant their position and support HSR.”

    The story there is not that anti-railers “decided to play along”, its that anti-railers turned out to have less influence than it at first appeared, once the big guns in the local business community turned their attention to the shenanigans of Orange County officials grandstanding for people in the cheap seats.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    I love how any opposition to piss poor plans is not an opposition to piss poor plans but rather “EVIL RAIL HATING ASSHOLES.” Can we please, please please stop with the damn cheerleading?

    Eric M Reply:

    It’s not that people here hate the opposition and view them as “EVIL RAIL HATING ASSHOLES”, but rather the disingenuous groups that claim to be “for high speed rail……but its not done right” as a premise for undermining the project to get it stopped. Constructive criticism is one thing, down right lying is another.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    And it’s been constructive criticism by OCTA. Seriously, it’s rather disingenuous to accuse them, of all groups, of being assholes who oppose good rail given that they funded increased rail service since 1990 (the OC Commuter San Diegans which later became the OC Line of Metrolink) and they’ve consistently been funding increased rail service.

    joe Reply:

    No. The Nov 2011 threat to issue a symbolic vote of no confidence for the entire project is NOT constructive criticism. Not even close and n fact not representative of the economic interests in OC – proved by actual events where their idiotic posturing, once codified in the plan, was reversed in a matter of days.

    It’s OCTA grandstanding. A meaningless symbolic vote – wasting time and money – and offers nothing constructive not is that in the economic interest of OC: “CAHSR should go away and die.”

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I love how any opposition to piss poor plans is not an opposition to piss poor plans but rather “EVIL RAIL HATING ASSHOLES.” Can we please, please please stop with the damn cheerleading?

    If you are going to project cheerleading into comments that do not contain it, then stopping the cheerleading would be up to you.

    If you trying to give evidence that some members of the OCTA Board were not pandering to anti-rail assholes, funding for local rail in 90’s seems to be a red herring ~ the partisan polarization of intercity rail is a political strategy of the last three years.

    Indeed, underlining that they have current rail funding to protect from the anti-rail assholes gives a clearer idea why they were pandering to the anti-rail assholes on the HSR issue, until the OCBC intervened.

    joe Reply:

    With recent news stories indicating that the OCTA Board was considering taking a “no confidence” vote regarding the entire High Speed Rail program, OCBC joined forces with labor to underscore that an adequate transportation system that can efficiently move goods and people through the LOSSAN corridor is critical to meeting the needs of Orange County’s residents and businesses.

    joe Reply:

    “The business community sees it as an imperative that Orange County retain its rightful place at the table for discussions about California’s limited transportation resources, especially as it pertains to connecting major employment and economic centers.”

    OCTA’s no-confidence tantrum woke-up OC’s business community.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Bruce…. no….

    OCTA hasn’t budged (and since the County Supervisors sit on OCTA, neither have they.) CHSRA’s actions closely resemble this famous moment in TV history:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/103339/the-devil-dive

    joe Reply:

    OCTA moonwalked backwards from the ridiculous no-confidence vote.

    1)” With Pringle gone, no one on the OCTA board spoke up for the rail system during Monday’s meeting.”

    “A vote of no-confidence would come in part from a Republican-dominated board and be directed at Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators and members of Congress who support the rail plan.”

    Petty politics disregarding OC’s economic needs.

    2) “With recent news stories indicating that the OCTA Board was considering taking a “no confidence” vote regarding the entire High Speed Rail program, OCBC joined forces with labor to underscore that an adequate transportation system that can efficiently move goods and people through the LOSSAN corridor is critical to meeting the needs of Orange County’s residents and businesses.”

    Adults get involved and Labor pushes back.


    3) ” The business community sees it as an imperative that Orange County retain its rightful place at the table for discussions about California’s limited transportation resources, especially as it pertains to connecting major employment and economic centers.”

    OC’s Business community wakes up.

    Clearly A bunch of assholes decided political grandstanding was more important than doing their jobs.
    Thank god the adults got involved.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Why was that reply directed at my comment?

    I pointed out that julietr‘s description of what joe had written was a gross and blatant mischaracterization of what joe had actually written.

    If you do not agree with what joe did in fact say, wouldn’t you direct that dispute at joe?

    Now, from what I’d been following, joe seems to be right in broad outline, but whether he’s right in every detail is something I’m happy to leave to be chewed over by the transit blogger types.

    julietr Reply:

    “Disney et al made Orange County recant their position and support HSR.”

    Nothing was mischaracterized in what I said.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    You said,

    but anti-railers suddenly decided to play along and change course?

    What joe wrote does not >b>say “anti-railers suddenly decided to play along”, it says that anti-railers got beat by the OC Business Council. So that’s a mischaracterization.

    Jon Reply:

    ‘600 million per minute of travel time’ refers to the difference between the blended approach and the $6 billion full build. They’re not committing to the full build, just saying that HSR trains will continue to Anaheim on existing tracks as a one-seat ride rather than forcing a transfer to Metrolink/Amtrak as the business plan suggested.

    That doesn’t mean they have changed their position and decided that 600 million per minute of travel time is now justifiable. The implication is that they’re now willing to stump up the cash for electrification + PTC + track capacity enhancements rather than just grade separation. This will not add up to $6 billion.

    The real questions are:

    1) Will the FRA let them run high-speed trains mixed in with BNSF freight trains?
    2) How BNSF’s PTC system will work with HSR’s PTCsystem?
    3) Will they be able to add enough track capacity for HSR + Metrolink + Amtrak + BNSF while staying within the existing ROW?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    On (1), a critical question is what is “mixed”. That is, what is the time separation between the HSR and the freight that is the threshold between mixed operation and time slice.

    On (2), I don’t know whether to be more worried that BNSF’s PTC system will be interoperable with the HSR’s, or whether the HSR’s will be interoperable with HSR’s, if HSR is funding the CBOSS experiment.

    On (3), they didn’t publish any commitment to all HSR terminating at Anaheim, so if the “lower cost option” that the Business Council set forward involved not every service running through to Anaheim, that would reduce the capacity pressure from HSR as such.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    For what it’s worth the freight PTC, whatever acronym they are using this week, has been tested with ACSES and it’s inter-operable.

    Jonathan Reply:

    That’s not worth squat. The engineering consultants for CHSRA identified requirements for a safety-critical signalling system for HSR. The requirements included multiple vendor availability; and demonstrated sucess in true HSR systems. ACSES doesn’t make it on either count.

    That particular PB report identified ETCS Level 2 as the sole feasible signalling system.

    If CSHRA pays for the CBOSS crap (as opposed to an _interoperable_ signalling system), I for one am willing to contribute to a court challenge.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    There’s $600m in Prop1a HSR funding, $231 for “PTC” and $1,225m for electrification and vehicles. Of the funding, $21m is dedicated PTC funding, so the question is where the balance of $210m is coming from makes it a bit murky who, exactly, the MOU would open up to a lawsuit.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Note that the “implies that they didn’t consider Anaheim properly” forgets that if Anaheim is part of the LA Basin bookend, its the tail end of the bookend. Any “do it right” approach would prioritize sorting out how to get from the San Fernando Valley to LA Union Station, because if you don’t have a way to get from the San Fernando Valley to LA Union Station, what’s the point of a plan to get from LA Union Station to Anaheim?

    Then once you’ve sorted a baseline plan to get to LA Union Station, and given that the OCTA is refusing to work with you on a Blended Operations path to Anaheim, evaluate the incremental benefit versus the incremental cost of getting to Anaheim via the $6b corridor. A “do it right” approach would make that decision based on the benefit/cost ratio. The incremental benefit could well capitalize to over $2b present value, and still fall well short of the existing plan.

    The transparent “do it right” approach would be to then say “we found that we could not justify including the $6b for the existing plan to get to Anaheim, so our baseline plan for the completed bookends model is SF to LA Union Station”.

    That might, hypothetically, get business leaders who want the HSR to come to Anaheim to raise the question with the CHSRA staff whether it might be done cheaper, and on determining that it could be, given sufficient cooperation from the local Transit Authority, push for that solution.

    At that point, the transparent “do it right” approach would evaluate whether the revised, lower cost approach would be justified on the basis of the present value of its incremental benefit.

    Now, of course, all of the people involved in this except for the CHSRA staff themselves are influential people, and so its certain that not everything that went on in the process was saintly or pure … but if it conforms to how things would have gone under a pure “good government” approach, isn’t complaining about the fact that many of the participants had impure motives and intentions along the way just complaining about the fact that there are people involved in this process?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Interesting theory….I could almost believe it was true if I had enough faith in the intelligence of the authority to believe they were smart enough to think it up. I don’t…I think they are just trolling for votes and realized that pissing off the OC was not helping their cause so now they have an undetermined plan with an undetermined amount of money. So once again we don’t know how much it is going to cost because it is 68 mil plus whatever Anaheim costs.

    And for the record, process does matter. Motives count and the ends do not justify the means. It makes me old fashioned..even though I am only 40

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If process matters, why are you criticizing them for doing the process right?

    You are the one theorizing about motives and incentives. But if process really mattered to you, the fact that the actions conform to what the actions should be under good government precepts would elicit praise rather than condemnation, justified by a theory of bad motives for correct behavior.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    You seem to be criticizing the Board for doing its job.

    Given that the Orange County Transport Authority refuses to work with the CHSRA to sort out an arrangement to get to Anaheim under the new Blended Operations plan, sorting out an appropriate arrangement with the support of elected representatives from Orange County and the Orange County Business Council, to replace the $6b Kopp-style plan ~ that seems like it deserves applause.

    Indeed, one of the things that makes this plan such an improvement over the Kopp-style plan that it replaced is that if a suitable corridor with suitable paths can be made available, the HSR service can run on that corridor to Anaheim, without having to burn through $6b to do so.

    This looks like it could all have been sorted out at a staff to staff level, if OCTA had not been busy grandstanding, but its not like the CHSARA staff have the clout to prevent grandstanding by OCTA.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Good comment

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed.

    Alan Reply:

    This blog really needs a “like” button next to the comments…

    VBobier Reply:

    And an edit button too, but I don’t think either is in the cards, not unless the blog goes to a Facebook compatible blog.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Well, when you’re a critic, every action is something to criticize.

    If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Alan Reply:

    Case in point: TRANSDEF’s David Schonbrunn, who was quoted in a sound bite on KCBS this morning. His new claim is that HSR can’t happen because UP will insist on clearance on the Peninsula line for double-stacks, so the overhead has to be really really high to electrify the line.

    It took me a few minutes to stop laughing.

    Making SF a container port is the Port of SF’s wet dream, but in reality, it’s never going to happen. UP has never raised that concern in any of their comments that I’ve read. And I’ve never heard anyone in their right mind suggest that SF could become a container port.

    But if it affects HSR electrification, it would also affect Caltrain electrification, to which the JPB is fully committed. If by some chance UP tried to play the double-stack card, maybe it’s time for the JPB to exercise its legal right to abandon freight service on its line.

    Tony d. Reply:

    Man, the bull shit that keeps coming out of the rear of naysayers never ceases to amaze! Double-stacks!? Are you @#$%& kidding me!? What next, UP needs to ship cell phone towers in the vertical position up to SF?

    joe Reply:

    The ports in SF wained when the transcontinental railroad service came to and stopped in Oakland. Only idiots would think that 19th century shift in port location was reversible.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And you can serve a container facility, sea-rail, rail-rail, rail-truck, with single stacks. The railroad would prefer not, but they can. It’s called filleting or toupeeing, depending on whether the double stacks are made into singles or the singles into doubles. Not that there’s a few hundred acres of land just laying around on the west side of the bay that could be used as a container port.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Making SF a container port is the Port of SF’s wet dream, but in reality, it’s never going to happen

    True.

    That doesn’t seem to change the indisputable fact that the Port of San Francisco (along with a couple of other similarly irrelevant and economically meaningless nothings) get to dictate the operational and regulatory environment of the SF Peninsula rail corridor.

    You on the other hand get to make Public Comments.

    Thank you for your input. Staff motion “white is black” is approved unanimously. Next agenda item.

    joe Reply:

    The GAO investigation in CAHSR and Issa’s investigative oversight committee – operators are standing by – use the google and find the forms.

    Send them your Opus.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I believe that the UP has freight rights “in perpetuity” on the peninsula. Only the freight operator can file for abandonment of the freight service.
    The Port of SF long since gave up any notion of being a container port. There has been discussion about shipping finished automobiles (import and /or export) and these are optimally handled in multi-level railcars that need almost as much clearance as double stacks. Automobile ports require a lot of land, which might be available around Piers 80 and 96. The are stretches of the NEC that have catenary that is high enough to provide clearance for these types of freight railcar.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The trackage rights agreement has a clause allowing the owners to kick UP out if it upgrades the corridor in a way that’s incompatible with freight operation. The intention was to let BART kick UP out, but because of the ruling grades of the grade separations, the same right could be used for modern standard-gauge service.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Clause 8.3.(C) allows that in the event of “significant change in the method of delivery” of commuter service. One could argue, and during abandonment proceedings I imagine that freight users would argue, that electrification alone is not sufficient to trigger this event. For example, freight service still exists over the lines of the San Diego trolley. I’d guess that the drafters of this clause had in mind a conversion to BART or Maglev. Freight users have their rights and this is interstate commerce.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Electrification alone is not enough. However, the following are:

    – Frequent all-day service, with nighttime maintenance.
    – Grade separations with 3% ruling grade.
    – Possibly, catenary in constrained tunnels.
    – Viaducts with 17 t axle load limit.
    – Reliability requirements that are incompatible with standard US-style freight.

    And UP loses money on the Peninsula.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Catenary will only be an issue with Plate F cars and then unlikely. There should be enough night time slots for the traffic on offer. 3% grades for short distances are not the end of the world. For seismic purposes I suspect that viaducts will in fact end up with heavier weight limits. If the STB decides that freight should stay they will have to.
    I doubt that you have any evidence to substantiate the last statement.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    How does heavier weight limits for seismic purposes work? If 17t axle weights require heavier viaducts because of seismic threats, then wouldn’t permitting 33t axle weights require still heavier viaducts? Unless there is a physical law in California that earthquakes wait until freight trains clear viaducts?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Maybe he’s trying to say “once you reinforce for seismic conditions the axle load is higher” or “if uyou are pouring all that concrete for seismic safety you might as well design it to carry heavier loads” or

    Clem Reply:

    The last statement is correct. I heard the same from people in a first-hand position to know. The only reason UPRR keeps pissing away money on the peninsula is that their customers would sue their pants off if they tried to stop. Business is business.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But if the only reason UPPR operates in the Peninsula is to avoid lawsuits for stopping, then wouldn’t being “forced” to stop be a good thing, from their perspective?

    Clem Reply:

    Yes. Someone would still have to buy out the customers. Just imagine the outpouring of concern that would be unleashed in PAMPA if public funds were spent on behalf of a private corporation, resulting in thousands of additional trucks on 101?

  2. Neil Shea
    Apr 13th, 2012 at 09:34
    #2

    Of course OC should be served, as the third largest county in the state, attracting millions of visitors, making use of metrolink and building a major new multimodal station. One one hand you can see how it was removed from the draft plan due to the $6B to expand a heavily used freight corridor in one of the most built-up parts of the country.

    But you can also see a bit of Richard/Brown politics at work. By making them scream and fight to get added back, the story is that “even in OC leaders are fighting to get them some of that HSR”. It’s great optics. And it frames the issue nicely for wavering Dems, as “we have to allocate limited resources. If the most conservative county in the state wants it, are you saying that you’re not sure?”.

    Meanwhile technically, I’m curious are they going to hook a FRA diesel locomotive to the HSR trainset at LAUS and tow it down to ARTIC? Will we need a waiver to do that, and is that problematic? And don’t tell me the CHSRA really need the OCBC to suggest how to make it work…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    A 110mph path with catenary and a mix of upgraded level crossings and grade separations should burn through anything like $6b.

    Full grade separations and a tunnel to ARTIC, though, that would burn through a lot of money.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Grade separations are bad and evil. Just say no to piss poor spending.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Grade separations have costs and benefits. If it weren’t for the costs, we’d put in grade separations everywhere, but if the difference between 110mph and 125mph is not large, and the cost of the incremental additional grade separations is large, we may not end up putting in as much as we would like to do if we had access to special grade separation fund that was topped up by the Fed everytime it ran down.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    I can’t believe that anyone could possibly dismiss grade separations as “bad and evil”. They make life a heck of a lot of easier. All you car lovers, consider freeways. Are they “bad and evil”?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Bad and evil is a bit of overblown rhetoric granted, but they suck away tremendous funds for next to no benefits to rail. For what OCTA is paying for a set of grade separations, for instance, you could electrify to Laguna Niguel.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Being able to run at higher speed is often a substantial benefit. And not all grade separations are road and rail ~ there are some handy rail and rail grade separations being built in Chicago.

    The question of how it should be funded is a different issue. Having rail pay for a grade separation with a public right of way that existed before the rail corridor seems defensible. But in the west, a “latecomer pays” system would see most funding come from road funds, since it was the railroads that brought the people in the first place.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Rail/rail grade separations are another matter. The reason is that trains are timetabled and cars aren’t, so as soon as you introduce an at-grade conflict between trains, you need to rewrite schedules to reflect this. It’s not a big deal if these are low-traffic lines, but put two 4 tph lines running on a takt with a grade crossing or a flat junction and you could have major problems. (Yes, I know Metro-North does this with a 12 tph line and a 36 tph line; it gets away with it because of a complex dance that requires huge parking space for trains at Grand Central. For new build, it’s a lot cheaper to grade-separate the junctions than to build a 60-track station in an expensive CBD.)

    Clem Reply:

    They’re bad and evil because they’re paid for with rail funds and don’t benefit rail. It’s as if we asked for road funding to build separate bicycle facilities. With a straight face.

    joe Reply:

    Really?

    I see Transportation. That’s where road and bike funding is lumped.

    Grade separations are part of transportation.

    Rail, road, bike and pedestrian.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I wish it were true. But in reality, there are separate piles of money for road and for transit. Every time a road project gets billed to transit – say, a big parking garage at a train station (e.g. in Rhode Island), or court-mandated mitigations for freeway traffic (e.g. in Massachusetts) – road users get to have transit users pay their bills.

    On top of that, the state has the right to compel private railroads to spend their own money on grade separations, even if the railroad was there first. In Kentucky, the state I found when Googling this, the rule is that the railroad pays half if it was built before 1926 (i.e. almost certainly before the road) and everything if it was built after 1926 (i.e. maybe before the road and maybe after), and in either case the state may require a grade separation and the railroad only gets to participate in the grade separation design.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Of course “road funding” should include funding for dedicated bikeways, so long as it includes funding for dedicated car expressways. If 1% of trips are by bike, then 1% of any dedicated motorway project budget dedicated to exclusive cycleways is a perfectly reasonable allocation of “road funds” among different “road” vehicles ~ and would, of course, represent a massive expansion of existing cycleway funding.

    Especially given that so much of “road funding” is just a transfer from the general fund in the form of a sales tax exemption for gasoline.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Rosecrans/Marquardt, an intersection straddling a grade crossing, is already closed to highway traffic 50% of the time during the day. A solution is needed whoever pays for it.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Could just close the intersection.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    Grade separations are indispensable on a line that will carry eventually more than a hundred thousand people a day ; each accident would delay nearly as much people in their activities for several hours ; when it comes to HSR it means forcing lots of people to stay overnight when they planned to just come and go in the same day.
    It would also give CAHSR a bad reputation, which it doesn’t need, with all the mud poured on HSR in your country already.
    Look at the TGV accidents list on Wikipedia : practically all of them occured on grade crossings, on non-dedicated HSR lines, and all casualties occured because of those accidents (generally the people who were still in the vehicules involved plus the train engineer).
    No wonder eliminating all grades on all TGV routes is now a priority for RFF and the SNCF.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    For lines running at high speed, or a very high traffic density, you’re right. But a medium-speed (i.e. 160 km/h), medium-traffic (about 10 tph peak) line doesn’t need grade separations, not immediately. Add them later.

    I’m not saying they should emulate Japanese practice and keep lines at grade until they reach subway-like frequency, but given that the plan is to ramp up HSR frequency slowly, it’s fine to leave it at grade when there are 2 or even 4 HSR trains per hour to SF. When traffic increases, grade-separate.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    Well then prepare the opinion to a few deadly accidents.
    One of them occured while I was on a Brest-Paris trip in 1995 ; it delayed the trip by three to four hours and killed all the people in the vehicule involved ; a very upsetting experience, though we didn’t see nothing, it occured at night and we were told of the seriousness of the accident only after changing trains.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Are you referring here to the LA Union Station to Fullerton section, or the Fullerton to Anaheim Station section?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    SF-SJ. But also Fullerton-Anaheim.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Then yes ~ I don’t see how a speed limit of 90mph or 110mph Fullerton/Anaheim is any kind of major issue if there were willing to set the speed limit Redondo/Fullerton to 90mph on the two track mixed passenger rail viaduct option.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    As I understand the issue is that the right of way doesn’t have room for new tracks and the existing tracks are heavily used for freight and will have difficulty getting an FRA waiver to run lighter passenger EMUs.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    There’s apparently room for a fourth track (and even more with viaducts) and the Authority thought it could run side by side with conventional Amtrak and Metrolink trains, so I don’t see that really being a hangup.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The HSR would have to stick to the non-freight track, while the Amtrak and Metrolink trains are FRA compliant and could use either. Its certainly a lot simpler to specify an HSR viaduct over
    the lot, but “even more with viaducts” implies substantially more $/mile.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    The HSR would have to stick to the non-freight track, while the Amtrak and Metrolink trains are FRA compliant and could use either. Its certainly a lot simpler to specify an HSR viaduct over
    the lot, but “even more with viaducts” implies substantially more $/mile.

    Right now it is a triple track route (by end of year). There is apparently room to quadruple track it, so sayeth the dedicated proposal which had two viaducts and 4 BNSF tracks. For whatever reason the shared proposal eliminated the ROW for quad tracking but still had a good amount of viaducts. So up to four at grade, but in excess of four requires viaducts.

    As for sticking to non-freight track, if they can run with FRA compliant Surfliner and Metrolink (the shared proposal), they can run with freight. Since they believed they can get the waiver for the one, they can get it for the other.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Running adjacent to freight is likely to be exactly as much trouble as running on the same track as freight.

    Shifting loads, derailments: they’re a built-in managed cost of doing business.

    The additional liability that comes from “routine” derailment and unsecured loads lancing through a big box full of soft non-employee bodies isn’t one they wish to be burdened with, as we see in the rest of the CHSR route where the RRs are demanding — and being given — incredible yawning horizontal separation from the passenger tracks.

    I can imagine a safety regime in which the non-FRA passenger train might only be allowed to operate on a track adjacent to a stationary freight train, but I can’t imagine that being feasible LA-Anaheim.

    As far as I can see, the problem with the original LA-Anaheim business wasn’t with the concept of separate non-FRA tracks (something fervently to be desired, pretty much everywhere, as an ultimate goal), but with the lack of whole passenger rail system thinking (Metrolink-HSR Compatibility Blog!) and any sort of value engineering or cost control They just threw in everything they could think of, a good deal of it redundant, and some of it completely stupid.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    “routine” derailment and unsecured loads lancing through a big box full of soft non-employee bodies isn’t one they wish to be burdened with

    Yes the NEC, SEPTA branches, the LIRR etc. are regularly splattered with commuter guts from the accidents with stray freight. Same problem in Europe and Japan.

    Clem Reply:

    You’re purposely missing a couple of important nuances: NEC, SEPTA, and LIRR trains are built like tanks, and euro freight runs smaller and better-maintained trains. In both cases the big box full of soft non-employee bodies is safer.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    From their perspective, RRs are being exposed to additional (de facto, if not de jure) liability.
    If a load shifts and spears a passing HS train, you can bet everything you own that there will be suits filed — regardless of any indemnification that has been signed — and that the dangerousness of flimsy non-freight-compatible trains will be front and centre.

    They’re unhappy enough with the FRA Amtrak and commuter trains placing hundreds of mobile lawsuits waiting to happen into the middle of their industrial plant. The things that makes passenger rail function better (lighter, faster, more frequent, etc) are all downside to their rational corporate self-interests, particularly from the liability perspective.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    just how many accidents have happened since the Penn Central went belly up leaving behind …um um less than ideal tracks, that speared commuters? I can think of only one, where the rail being moved from the work car fell out into a train and decapitated a passenger. Through the nice flimsy side of the train. Woodbridge I think, but I could be wrong. Pity there isn’t a morbid foamer somewhere with the authoritative list of splattered commuters. Feel free to wade through the detailed chronology on the PRR Historical Society site.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Yeah, I’m also wondering, when has this actually happened? Lanced rail passengers would actually make news. This sounds extremely theoretical — and from the professor who expects expects others to be fully prepared to back up their assertions, I’m surprised that this claim is not being backed up with data.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Only one I can think of is a a grade crossing strike in Portage, IN. Steel coil went into through an NICTD EMU and killed three riders. Overmatched contemporary FRA standards and current ones as well I believe.

    Clem Reply:

    Here’s one interesting case of shifted-load-induced accident: the Smithfield, NC derailment of Amtrak’s Silver Meteor in 1994. As Adirondacker will doubtless point out, no commuters were speared in this case. There were only several hundred injuries.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    This sounds extremely theoretical

    So “theoretical” that CHSRA’s system costs have increased by hundreds of millions of dollars solely to increase the distance from freight tracks in the “shared corridors” that were going to be so cheap and so enviro-groovy and so TOD-tastic.

    Thanks for playing. It’s not much of a match.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And thanks for confirming that in your mind this is a competitive game rather than a normal discussion … it would seem played for points imagined by you and awarded by you.

    That has indeed taken place at the insistence of the UP, the corridor owner. Who is the corridor owner in the segment from LA Union Station to Anaheim.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    That has indeed taken place at the insistence of the UP, the corridor owner. Who is the corridor owner in the segment from LA Union Station to Anaheim

    BNSF from LA to Fullerton, OCTA from Anaheim south to the county border on behalf of SCRRA.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So if BNSF was willing to contemplate (they of course reserved right to reject it later) the footprint in their corridor of the 2-track viaduct, that would also be the footprint of a single track between the end of the presumed junction with the San Diego section and the overpass in the mixed use alignment option to get to the station before Fullerton.

    But that option is not viable unless OCTA plays ball, unless “Anaheim Station” is placed in Fullerton.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Quite right. I had even heard $12 billion mentioned with some iterations. Perhaps we have to do something radical like extend the Alameda Corridor and direct the freight railroads to share their routes in the L.A. basin, leaving LAUS – Fullerton passenger only with local freight access only at night.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    As for sticking to non-freight track, if they can run with FRA compliant Surfliner and Metrolink (the shared proposal), they can run with freight.

    That does depend on whether the Surfliner or Metrolink rolling stock on that service is conventional locomotive hauled or is “Alternatively Designed Passenger Rail Equipment for Use in Tier I Service” … FRA Tier I Service Alternative Compliance is certainly the baseline to plan for, but given the time horizons here, available options under the regulatory standards when bookend service begins is not necessarily the options available today.

    StevieB Reply:

    When I spoke to the HSR Authority engineer for the Anaheim segment the desire of the freight operators was for three tracks and passenger service two tracks. Dedicated HSR tracks if implemented would be in addition to these five tracks.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I wanna drink what they’re smoking. How many places in the world have 5 tracks? Tokyo? Chicago? If you squint real hard Port Newark?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The LIRR is more or less six-tracked through Sunnyside. Come 2016 or whenever ESA actually opens there will actually be six usable through-tracks in one direction and eight in the other.

    That said, in most parts of the world, including the Eastern US, freight and passenger rail don’t run on the same corridor so often that they need so many tracks. What happens is that as routes gain popularity as passenger lines, freight tracks routinely get cannibalized for passenger rail. The inner tracks of the NY-DC portion of the NEC used to be for freight but were turned over to express passenger trains, two of the Stadtbahn tracks used to be for freight but are now used for non-S-Bahn passenger traffic, and the Yamanote Freight Line doesn’t run freight anymore. Even the Musashino Line, built as a freight bypass around Tokyo so that the Yamanote Freight Line could be turned over to passenger trains, now hosts frequent passenger service.

    Leroy W. Demery, Jr Reply:

    Try getting your facts straight, Levy.

    The Musashino Line was not built “so that the Yamanote Freight Line could be turned over to passenger trains.” It was planned and built long before anyone dreamed of doing this. The “freight tracks” are still used by freight trains, although at levels much reduced from the 1960s, or even the early 1980s.

    Rail freight traffic in Japan was decimated by truck competition from the 1960s. The Yamanote Freight Line would still be a freight-only line if rail freight traffic remained at levels of, say, 1970. On the other hand, the Musashino Line might have been built only in part, if at all, if anyone during the early 1960s had anticipated that rail freight traffic would fall to today’s levels.

    swing hanger Reply:

    The Musashino Line was indeed built (proposed in 1927, but delayed by WW2) as a bypass route to allow most freights to avoid using the crowded Yamanote Line, and was part of a move by JNR to shift freight movements and handling out of the Tokyo city center to the periphery. Of course, the Yamanote freight line still handles freights, a limited number of mainly through trains between western Japan and the Tohoku region.

    Leroy W. Demery, Jr Reply:

    Again: Contrary to the above, the Musashino Line was not built “so that the Yamanote Freight Line could be turned over to passenger trains.”

    The Yamanote Line itself was opened in stages, 1885-1903, as a single-track line. It was then doubled, in stages, 1904-1910. Quadrupling (with tracks three and four designated for freight) began in 1915, and was completed in 1925. By then, it was clear that additional tracks would be needed – but the cost of building them was prohibitive due to very high land acquisition cost. Thus, the plan for the Musashino Line.

    My point – again – is that no one dreamed of using the third and fourth Yamanote Line tracks for a high-capacity passenger rail service at the time the Musashino Line was started. The volume of freight traffic that would continue to use the Yamanote Line route was then too great to permit this. However, this was no longer a problem following a period of rapid decline in freight traffic.

    . . . or, at least, that’s the story I’ve seen in every source I’ve checked (in Japanese).

    Perhaps, “swing hanger,” you have a reference to a source that states something different; if so, it would be nice if you posted it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And the tunnel portals to the place where the Port Washington branch diverges is what? Two miles? Three? LA ain’t Manhattan and they are going to struggle to get the main line be as busy as the Port Washington Branch.

    Jon Reply:

    If you check the docs, the options under consideration were:

    1) 2 HSR only tracks + 4 Amtrak/Metrolink/BNSF
    2) 2 HSR/Amtrak/Metrolink tracks + 3 Amtrak/Metrolink/BNSF

    I expect what we’re going to see now is 4 tracks for HSR/Amtrak/Metrolink/BNSF all together, except for Fullerton – Anaheim which will remain at 2 tracks total (narrow ROW and no freight on that section.)

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    There is some freight on that section (I’ve passed it while in Metrolink), but there isn’t much, about eight trains per day I believe.

    Spokker Reply:

    You’ll see freight early in the morning at Anaheim Station when it’s still dark out. It gets the early bird commuters excited because they think the commuter train is coming, when it is simply a short freight rumbling down the tracks.

    jimsf Reply:

    lol

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I’d thought I’d read that as no freight on that section during HSR operating hours.

    jimsf Reply:

    my thoughts exactly. It was possible brilliant work to take it away so that they’d scream to get it back, thus making the point that hsr is still in demand.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A double-edged strategy.

    Some one else is going to have to lose the $6bil that Anaheim is demanding is rightfully theirs. Now I wonder who could that be?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    What $6b would that be? Anybody who decided to believe that the $6b LA/Anaheim plan was put back into the plan wasn’t paying attention or was suffering heavily from confirmation bias:

    CHSRA Chair Dan Richard gave credit to civic and business leaders in Orange County, who came forward with a proposal for a lower-cost way to serve Anaheim with a one-seat ride.

    Joe Reply:

    Don’t mess with Micky Mouse.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTrHwH2gEY8

    joe Reply:

    no thanks.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    If Richard and I met in person, he couldn’t say “Hello, stranger,” to me; he’s stranger than I am!

    DavidM Reply:

    I love Negativland, a great band from here in Contra Costa County. I went to see some of them play in Alameda last week.

    BrianR Reply:

    me too, but I haven’t been paying attention to what they’ve been doing for at least the last 10 years. Actually I am surprised to hear they are still around. It’s nice the way youtube can reacquaint you with these things. Unless I had been shuffling thru boxes full of old dusty CD’s I probably never would of thought of Negativland again. I remember being really fascinated by them at the time.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yep, don’t mess with the Mouse. :)

    Neil Shea Reply:

    When Richard says they will keep the same 2028 date, I don’t think they are talking about spending the $6B. Maybe this OC public pressure is needed to get OCTA to focus on how to make a solution work (e.g. with the 3rd track).

  3. Roger Christensen
    Apr 13th, 2012 at 10:15
    #3

    I’m curious about Union Station run thru tracks.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    This has a link to the 2005 EIR.

    You mean the current state of play?

    StevieB Reply:

    The Los Angeles transportation authority is preparing two plans for Union Station, one with HSR and another without that are expected to be made public this year. In the wish list of improvement items Southern California rail desires funded by CAHSR run through tracks at Union Station are the single largest item at $350 million.

    BrianR Reply:

    Interesting. I didn’t realize thru tracking LA Union Station was a possibility. I always had the mental image of it being on a stub aligned almost perpendicular to the main like a giant wye. I didn’t realize it almost parallels another main. I guess if they can just cross the 101 and cut thru that downtown industrial area they can rejoin a mainline that heads somewhere. Hopefully it heads towards Anaheim but honestly I got to admit my understanding of southern California rail geography is a bit cloudy.

    StevieB Reply:

    Exactly correct. There are some pics of LAUS in these plans for the run through tracks.

  4. Paulus Magnus
    Apr 13th, 2012 at 11:22
    #4

    Between run through tracks at LAUS and the LA-Fullerton triple tracking, I’d be amazed if they couldn’t get 2tphpd on existing track to Anaheim (or even Irvine), which is all that they’d need until Sacramento gets added on as well (remember: Paris-Lyon sees two trains between the two of them). The $6 billion plan was for 3tphpd plus another 5 Amtrak and Metrolink separated from the BNSF rails and was opposed to the “Oh aren’t we special” dedicated 5tphpd plan of CAHSRA before (in neither case does the number of HSR trains make any sense unless Anaheim is the dedicated southern terminus for all trains).

    EJ Reply:

    BNSF runs over 80 freight trains per day between Redondo Jct (near LAUS) and Fullerton. It’s pretty unlikely the FRA would give CAHSR a waiver to run non-compliant equipment in that environment, so they’d be stuck with heavy, customized equipment like the Acela for the whole system. They need separate tracks for that reason alone.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    80 freights per day is about as many commuters and Surfliners that they would interact with as well (probably fewer freights than passenger trains actually). If they thought they could get waivered for going alongside FRA compliant heavy passenger trains, they can get it for freights as well, the same safety systems would be in involved.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    They need a separate passenger rail track for that reason alone ~ though of course with time separation that could be built to also be used as an express freight bypass during the HSR curfew.

    Clem Reply:

    The waiver process is apparently going to get overhauled by the FRA. With renewed emphasis on active safety and accident avoidance (rather than a primary reliance on passive crashworthiness and accident survival) the safety case can probably be made to mix heavy freight and HSR without any operational restrictions. It’s not a done deal, but LA – Anaheim would make a good test case.

    Peter Reply:

    About frakkin’ time, too. If we can run UIC-compliant trainsets anywhere with PTC, half the battle is won.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    There’t not a snowball’s chance that the FRA is going to allow UIC equipment.

    It will be heavily customized, boutique production run, US-specific equipment, just as today, but perhaps with slightly lighter vehicle mass. Grab irons and air horns and COTS stencils and corner posts and crew doors and glazing standards and on and on and on, all in inches and pounds.

    Meanwhile other regulation that cripples operations (massive overstaffing, extremely inefficient inspection and maintenance regimes) isn’t touched.

    Don’t get your hopes up.

    Tony d. Reply:

    Man! You’re pretty much against any positive news/developments that come out for HSR. pretty pathetic if you ask me!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Tony,

    Please feel free to share with all of us the contradicting information that is available to you (and to you alone, of all the manly men in the world) that clears the way for operation of any train which is not extensively customised for unique US regulations.

    The FRA has not issued anything remotely along those lines to the public, or discussed anything remotely like that with any of my industry contacts.

    So what have they been telling you?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The first thing they have to customize is making those narrow stubby things Europeans ride around in wider and longer.

    jimsf Reply:

    It looks like about 25 miles could they build a single elevated track with some passing areas to keep the hsr separated?

    Jonathan Reply:

    @Adirondacker:

    Say what? Do you count Russia as part of Europe? they’re running a Velaro derivative on a wider track-gauge and loading-gauge than the US. Even antique UIC-X rolling stock was a standard 26.4m. Dining-cars and bar cars were 27.5m How’s that “stubby” compared to 85 ft?

    Even the ICE-2 was built to a gauge too big for French TGV lines. The ICE-3 is noticeably narrower and wider, so it can fit on TGV and other international lines, which the ICE-2 could not.

    Not to even mention Scandinavian loading gauges!

    too lazy to log in Reply:

    @Jonathan – convincing Adirondacker does not make much sense, I’ve seen him ignere precisely the same examples at least once…

  5. jimsf
    Apr 13th, 2012 at 13:03
    #5

    Wouldn’t it be true that including ANA in phase one does NOT mean that ANA has to be part of the IOS. Its not the same thing. They can start service on any chosen segment at any time prior to the full completion of phase 1.
    They can still start with a merced to burbank revenue segment while working to finish phase one. sf tbt to la-ana

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Certainly its true ~ indeed, given that the baseline First HSR Service does not guarantee running to LA Union Station, and that was not modified, Anaheim is not in the baseline plan for the First HSR service. Its just been promised to be part of the LA bookend.

    VBobier Reply:

    Which is fine with Me, If It keeps ANA happy & content, Don’t mess with the Mouse, He likes His trap.

    julietr Reply:

    Does anyone know the estimated speed of ANA to LA as it is in the revised plan compared to if it were actual dedicated HSR?

    It’s important that Anaheim is guaranteed inclusion in the first phase but eventually they need dedicated HSR down the line. It’s still 40 miles away. Unless someone can prove that the speeds are still comparable.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The time difference between the existing conventional rail and the dedicated HSR corridor is rather famous ~ that’s the 10 minutes for $6b. I haven’t dug through all the reports to find the time difference between the shared use alternative and the dedicated HSR alternative, but if difference between conventional rail and the dedicated HSR is ten minutes, then the difference between shared use express passenger track and a dedicated HSR corridor is going to be smaller than that ~ perhaps five minutes, perhaps less.

    The two track mixed use viaduct from the Redondo Flyover past LA Union Station to Santa Fe Springs station before Fullerton Junction, was planned to have a speed limit of 90mph, but that seems to be the $5.6b option rather than the $6b option. The difference between 90mph and 125mph maximum speed limits over the distance from LA Union Station to ARTIC depends on the speed profile ~ on the LOSSAN alignment there’s a curve at the Redondo Flyover, a curve in Santa Fe Spring, a curve in Norwalk, a couple of what look like shallow curves in Buena Park and Fullerton, a sharp curve in Fullerton, what looks like a shallow curve coming into Anaheim and a curve coming in to Anaheim Station, so it doesn’t look like it could be traveling 125mph flat out from LA Union Station to Anaheim Station.

    The “original draft” 2012 business report cost estimates were $5.6b for the lower of the two alternatives carried forward, including ~$1.2b for signaling, electric traction, professional services and unallocated contingencies, with the balance of ~$4.4b in:
    $1.7b for track structures and track
    $0.5b for stations, terminals and intermodal, and
    $2.4b for sitework, right of way, land and improvements.

    … and $6b for the higher of the two alternatives carried forward, including ~$1.2b for signaling, electric traction, professional services and unallocated contingencies, with the balance of ~$4.8b in:
    $2.4b for track structures and track,
    $0.8b for stations, terminals and intermodal, and
    $1.5b for sitework, right of way, land and improvements.

    Trading cost for tph capacity would seem to be a possibility in the first of the two, but whether it would involve any increase in transit time and how much of that 10 minutes total saving from a dedicated HSR over conventional rail is sacrificed by the lower capacity, lower cost alternative.

  6. jimsf
    Apr 13th, 2012 at 20:23
    #6

    i found the fact sheet but not the full version of revised plan???
    any so there still planning on this

    Step 1—Early Investments for immediate Statewide Benefit
    Construction of dedicated HSR infrastructure begins in the Central Valley with the first segment of the Initial Operating Section (IOS). Service will launch in 2018, the current San Joaquin rail system will use this new infrastructure to cut travel time on the country’s 5th busiest Amtrak line and connect with other regional commuter systems

    jimsf Reply:

    found it. wow lots of juicy details in there….
    New Northern California Unified Service
    The first construction segment of the IOS will be put into use immediately upon completion for
    improved service on the San Joaquin intercity line. This service, the fifth busiest Amtrak line in the
    nation, already serves more than 1 million riders a year and will link with other systems, such as ACE and
    Caltrain, to create a new, improved network reaching from Bakersfield to the San Francisco Bay Area
    and Sacramento. Immediately, California’s rail network will be able to carry passengers faster and more
    reliably than ever before.

    joe Reply:

    This link has a table which is sortable by passengers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Amtrak_routes

    5th busiest is 6 trips daily (4 Oakland-Bakersfield, 2 Sacramento-Bakersfield)
    Total ridership is 929,172.

    Three of the top 5 busiest Amtrack routes are in CA.

    jimsf Reply:

    Im just finding these details too. I like this idea:

    Northern San Joaquin Valley
    The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is working with the San Joaquin Regional Rail
    Commission (SJRRC) and others to identify early investments for connecting regional rail service to the
    first segment of the IOS using the San Joaquin intercity service and Altamont Commuter Express (ACE)
    service. Service improvements are being planned in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and the East Bay
    Area to improve and enhance existing commuter and intercity services to create much needed mobility
    in the Central Valley and improve access to metropolitan areas. Together the SJRRC, the Caltrans
    Division of Rail, the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, and Sacramento Regional Transit have
    developed a Northern California Unified Service Concept, as shown on Exhibit 2-1. Unified Service would
    use the first IOS segment in the interim period until the initiation of full high-speed service. This concept
    would include speeds on the first IOS segment of 125 mph (compared to a maximum of 79 mph and an
    average of 50 mph on the existing line) and improved sections of existing rail up to 90 mph to significantly
    speed up rail travel from Bakersfield to Sacramento, Oakland, and San Jose. Once high-speed rail
    becomes operational, the improved network becomes a critical feeder service to the high-speed rail
    system

    joe Reply:

    I like it too – Northern California Unified Service Concept.
    e pluribus unum

  7. Reality Check
    Apr 13th, 2012 at 21:29
    #7

    Driver and Passenger Escape Caltrain Crash with Minor Injuries

    MENLO PARK (KRON) — A woman and her mother appear to be okay after a Caltrain train hit the back end of their car during Friday afternoon’s rush hour.

    Authorities say the adult woman and her mother were driving a 1996 Saab heading west on Ravenswood Avenue when they got caught in traffic straddling the train tracks. The train hit the back end of the car. Both people inside the car went to the hospital as a precaution but neither suffered serious injuries.

    Investigators say there were vehicles in front of and behind the Saab trapping the car on the tracks. They warn drivers to be sure to make sure there’s enough room to cross the tracks before approaching them.

    Trains were delayed by about 90 minutes during the clean-up and investigation. Everything was back on time by late Friday evening.

    Spokker Reply:

    West on Ravenswood you say? Well, here’s the approach. On the sidewalk there is a sign that warns drivers that there is a railroad crossing ahead. It is two tracks. If the sign is missed, giant letters in the street suggest a railroad crossing is coming up.

    As we continue driving, we notice huge letters in the intersection that warn drivers to “KEEP CLEAR.” This requires drivers to scan ahead, a basic skill that all drivers are required to posses.

    If you do get stuck in the intersection, another sign has some good advice. Don’t stop on the tracks. This also requires drivers to scan ahead and it is even easier to do so here. All you have to do is scan a few feet ahead and determine whether or not there is room for your car to get across the tracks. You don’t even have a huge intersection to contend with. If there is traffic, one might want to err on the side of caution and refuse to cross the tracks until traffic is moving again.

    If there is no room, you just stay in the intersection. It is far better than stupidly getting hit by the train. The driver should have their license suspended. If this driver cannot scan ahead, they will be likely to create an unsafe situation whether a train is involved or not.

    Spokker Reply:

    My second link did not work, but you can roam around the area at your convenience.

    Andy Chow Reply:

    The problem with that crossing is that it has a high traffic volume (the main way to access the freeway), and the proximity to El Camino. The distance to El Camino is not short enough that it can clear traffic behind the grade crossing when the train comes, but not long enough not to have traffic back up. Because of the pedestrian street crossings at Alma, there’s no traffic light in front of the grade crossing that could prevent traffic from backing up because of the light at El Camino.

    Spokker Reply:

    Which is something that can be easily handled by a licensed driver.

    Let me correct myself. It is something that should be easily handled by a licensed driver. Getting a license, however, is easier than getting a novelty Autopia license at Disneyland.

    Andy Chow Reply:

    There’s no doubt that the driver involved is an idiot, but when you engineer something, there needs to be some degree of idiot-resistant built into it.

    Spokker Reply:

    Very true, but these arguments would be more honest in my opinion if the concern were for those who are made to be late on the train.

    Crying over suicides and accidents because of safety concerns sounds like an appeal to emotion without appealing to the facts. There is nothing inherently unsafe about at-grade railroads.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We all can’t be perfect like you.
    Sometimes people make mistakes. Some times they are just natural idiots. A few work hard at being idiots. Unless you ban people from grade crossings there’s going to be accidents. If you ban people from the crossing what’s the point of the crossing?

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    I don’t think it’s fair to characterize all of us as “idiots”. Where I live, there is generally a busy intersection before the tracks. Then the tracks. Then an intersection on the other side. And this is usually in a business district. Since traffic is funneled into a few crossings, traffic backs up. You can’t really wait until there are no cars, school buses, or trucks off the tracks one vehicle length beyond the tracks, or nothing will move. So there’s always the danger of getting stuck on the tracks, or the back of the school bus sticking over the tracks.

    The point is well taken that more of the cost of grade separations should be paid by highway funds.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    With some good will, such a situation (intersections with busy roads, grade crossing in between) can be handled with signals; before the gates get the clsoing indication, the traffic lights go red, except the one letting traffic from the grade crossing onto the road. This gives enough time to clear the stretch between the roads, and the gates can close safely. Of course, turning right on red must be forbidden.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But “there’s going to be accidents” is not an on/off switch ~ different designs for level crossings with different kinds of intersections with public right of way lead to different risks of accidents.

    If increases in risk are due to a long running series of investments in road capacity that has encouraged higher numbers of vehicles crossing the line, of course highway funding should pay for that ~ just as highway funding should pay for bus priority measures made necessary because of traffic congestion created by investment in road capacity.

    But getting to that point requires a reduction in the political clout of the highway building coalition, and so while the point should be raised where practicable as a matter of laying the foundation for moving the Overton window on the issue … first the foundations have to be laid for an integrated, auto-independent transport system, since with the option for auto-independence, the highway building lobby have too many interests by the short and curlies.

    Spokker Reply:

    I am a very good driver. I won’t apologize for that.

    Reality Check Reply:

    The surviving operator of any vehicle that gets hit by a train due to being “trapped” on a crossing, should be cited for violating CVC 22526(d), which states:

    (d) A driver of a vehicle shall not enter a railroad or rail transit crossing, notwithstanding any official traffic control device or signal indication to proceed, unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the railroad or rail transit crossing to accommodate the vehicle driven and any railway vehicle, including, but not limited to, a train, trolley, or city transit vehicle.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    question: as you seem to be familiar with that crossing, how long is the time between the gates being down and the train crossing?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yet another reason for grade separating Caltrain: many drivers are effectively idiots, which is to say driving on unthinking habits, without stopping to reflect that some of the habits can quite easily lead to their death.

    Spokker Reply:

    It is far more productive to beef up licensing requirements and treat driving with the respect it deserves. It is far more productive to not make it every idiot’s right to drive until they prove they are capable. It is far more productive to come down hard on those who disrespect the rules of the road. These people continue to be dangerous whether or not there are railroad tracks lurking about.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Fully agree! And that’s also the people who write text messages while driving, etc.

    Spokker Reply:

    And you do a great disservice to passenger rail advocacy when you go on and on about how railroads must be grade separated in an effort to pimp high speed rail. This kind of attitude will ensure that some railroad projects are not built due to cost because it gives NIMBYs ammunition to demand that projects be grade separated in an attempt to skyrocket costs and kill projects.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So you are saying that I should refrain from advocating grade separations I think would be useful, because it gives some hypothetical future NIMBY’s ammunition to demand grade separations that are not required?

    Well, no, I’m not going to do that.

    Or are you saying that I should not adopt an all grade separations, all the time stance?

    Since I have never adhered to either an all-grade-separations party line or a no-grade-separations party line, I will happily swear non-allegiance to both.

  8. JJJ
    Apr 13th, 2012 at 23:42
    #8

    Off topic: Reason 54 high speed rail is a must.

    What kind of economic powerhouse has to deal with this on the only real route between the two major economic centers?

    “The Grapevine on Interstate 5 is closed due to heavy snow, the California Highway Patrol said Friday night.

    The major highway from the Valley to Southern California is closed from the Los Angeles-Kern county line to 25 miles south of Bakersfield to Laval Road.

    For current road conditions call the Caltrans hotline at 1-800-427-7623.”

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/04/13/2799427/chp-is-escorting-i-5-grapevine.html#storylink=cpy

    HSR, of course, would not be impacted by snow, and would allow people to make trips. Especially important on a friday night when most trips are being made.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    HSR can be closed due to heavy snow. The Tokaido Shinkansen used to have major problems with snow in Maibara. The advantage is that it’s relatively easy to remove snow from railroads (high-speed or otherwise – actually, heavy locomotives are the best at it), so given enough effort HSR could be made more or less snow-proof. The Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen don’t have a huge snow problem, despite running in some of the world’s snowiest regions. I think that the Tokaido Shinkansen has gotten over its problems, as well.

    Adirondacker knows this better than me, but I don’t think the Empire Corridor shuts down for snow a lot either, but heavy locomotives really are better at pushing snow aside than ultralight high-speed EMUs.

    JJJ Reply:

    The HSR route doesnt go through the grapevine, it goes through an area that is almost never closed due to snow. The grapevine sees snow closure many times a year, from November to April. When the grapevine is closed, drivers must detour to where the hsr route is planned. I cant even remember the last time that was closed due to snow.

    Also, you must note that when the grapevine closes due to snow its not because its receiving meters of it. Remember, the grapevine is just an hour north of LA. Its the high wind speeds combined with southern californians lack of experience driving in snow which is why they close it. I dont think they even use plows, as quantity isnt the issue, conditions are.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yes Caltrans does use snow plows on the 5, It’s just that the CHP is who determines if the the conditions for driving is safe or not due to blowing snow.

    synonymouse Reply:

    tunnels, tunnels, tunnels

    snowsheds, snowsheds, snowsheds

  9. Tom McNamara
    Apr 14th, 2012 at 01:39
    #9

    Actually, this about-face on Anaheim is not a good sign at all. The outcry didn’t come from any of the elected officials who have criticized the project, it came from people like Loretta Sanchez who are Democrats in tough races this fall. Everyone in Orange County realizes this, and all it does among insiders is make it look like the Authority is somehow validating CARRD’s “principled stand on the issue” when it’s really more that some Southern California Dems wanted to make sure they were aboard the gravy train…..

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It can’t help but validate CARRD’s “principled stand on the issue” when that principled stand is to criticize the Board for “rubber stamping” staff reports and criticize the Board for amending staff reports; criticizing the CHSRA for accepting overbuilt, cost is no object plans, and then criticizing the CHSRA for rejecting overbuilt, cost is no object plans because they then proceeded to accept a cheaper alternative.

    The principled stand seems to consist of filtering the CHSRA actions through a contradictory set of demands and complaining that it doesn’t meet each one.

    Tony D. Reply:

    @#$% CARRD! (glad I got that off my chest)

  10. Leroy W. Demery, Jr
    Apr 14th, 2012 at 02:07
    #10

    If you’re going to regurgitate “Wikipedia,” Levy, then you might want to use the Japanese page as your source – rather than the English.

    The Tokaido Shinkansen problem in the Sekigahara area is, in effect, permanent, and is not primarily one of “snow removal.” Trains are slowed as necessary to prevent damage to track, rolling stock and adjacent structures caused by built-up ice falling from trains, striking the ballast and sending ballast and chunks of ice flying. It can be mitigated by use of water sprays to melt snow buildup along the line (using water heated to about 4 degrees C). However, it cannot be eliminated with water sprays because of concerns that the volume of water necessary to do this might erode or cause collapse of the roadbed.

    The problem at Sekigahara was not anticipated prior to construction. However, major potential problems with snow were anticipated prior to construction of the Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen lines, and this led to extensive research. Slab-track construction on viaduct, with water sprays, eliminates problems caused by heavy snowfall. Again, ice buildup on (actually, under) trains is at least as much of a problem as snow on the tracks.

    Ballasted track per se is not the problem at Sekigahara; it’s the fact that the overall infrastructure design is not adequate for the snow problem that developed. The Tohoku and Joetsu lines do have a few segments of ballasted track in the snow zones. These do not cause problems because the lines were engineered and built for operation in heavy snowfall.

    Clem Reply:

    Demery, the basic point remains that Grapevine snow would not be an impediment to Grapevine HSR.

    Leroy W. Demery, Jr Reply:

    “. . . the basic point remains that Grapevine snow would not be an impediment to Grapevine HSR.”

    This is true if, and only if, infrastructure and rolling stock design take “Grapevine snow” into account.

    In Japan, snow in the Sekigahara area was not taken into account. The problem was not “didn’t anticipate snow” per se, (below), but “didn’t anticipate the problems that snow would cause.” Exactly the opposite was true in the case of the Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen lines.

    See, for example:

    Kikuchi, Isao. 1983. “Snow Countermeasures of the Tohoku & Joetsu Shinkansen Lines.” Japanese Railway Engineering, 23, 2.

    Clem Reply:

    Along those lines, there’s a great story of Eurostar and snow.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Compared to places in the world where it snows, the Grapevine gets flurries now and then.

    Leroy W. Demery, Jr Reply:

    Thank you for mentioning that.

    On the U.S. East Coast, the same amount of snow that almost gets ignored (minor dusting – half an inch or so) causes major problems in Seattle. People are simply not accustomed to driving on snow in the Northwest. Moreover, local governments choose not to invest in heavy-duty snowfighting equipment that would sit unused for years at a time (and some were compelled to explain this to indignant residents fairly recently).

    Would Japanese-style “snow countermeasures” as used on the Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen lines be worth the investment on the Grapevine? These are effective, but are not cheap to build and operate. It would not surprise me to hear someone argue that such facilities would not be “cost-effective” over the Grapevine. I would argue that the benefits of being able to keep the “the only real route between the two major economic centers” open, regardless of weather, would be worth the cost. Whether installed initially or not, provisions should certainly be made for low-cost retrofitting. California rail lines don’t have the best record for doing this (e.g. L.A. Blue Line peak capacity).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But there’s no indication that’s its going over the Grapevine, that’s just syntho-mouses’ soapbox.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I kind of like having a pet troll.

    What you’re missing when you talk about permanent problems with snow on Tokaido is that counting these problems the line is still close to perfectly reliable, after a couple of decades of improvement. Those long delays happen very rarely (unlike, say, on the TGV). And that was on a line on which they didn’t anticipate snow.

    Leroy W. Demery, Jr Reply:

    “I kind of like having a pet troll.”

    And that just goes to demonstrate that you are even more of a balloon-headed a__ than I had believed possible.

    Leroy W. Demery, Jr Reply:

    Oh, and by the way, Levy, you might wish to check the definition of “troll.” I use my legal name herein and elsewhere. Unlike, say, “synonymouse;” rhymes with “anonymous.”

    Spokker Reply:

    There are no such things as trolls on the Internet, only people who disagree with you.

    Also you can curse on the Internet.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Using your real name doesn’t mean you can’t deliberately stir up shit.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The Wikipedia Machine says:

    n Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4] The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: “That was an excellent troll you posted”.

    Now, some people might be embarrassed to troll under their own name who feel free to troll anonymously or under a pseudonym, but others might be unashamed of trolling under their own name.

    Spokker Reply:

    What constitutes an inflammatory post is inherently subjective. For some people, they think someone who disagrees with them and others is trolling. The more minority an opinion is on a forum, the most likely it is to be called trolling. As someone who often takes minority opinions or seeks out to argue with people who think differently from me, I have been called a troll many times.

    The whole phenomenon of accusing people of trolling is, in my view, just part of the overall trend of “bubbling” the Internet.

    http://dontbubble.us/

    As we are segregated more and more within these bubbles, any intrusion into the bubble will simply result in more accusations of trolling.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its not necessarily trolling, since trolling (by the Wikipedia definition) includes not just an off-topic posting but also an intent to provide an emotional response or otherwise disrupt normal on-top discussion. Rather than a troll, it could have been a case of, “oh, I can put that Alon Levy in his place on {digression entirely irrelevant to the point at issue in the discussion}“, which could well be more a case of ePeen.

    Spokker Reply:

    Alon Levy has an inflated sense of importance in thinking he has “pet trolls.” Demery is an accomplished transportation researcher who likely doesn’t think about Levy beyond replying to his post in this thread. In fact, I don’t see Demery post all that much here.

    Spokker Reply:

    In other words, Levy is an intelligent guy with many good points to make, but I doubt he has people following him around with the sole purpose of getting one over on him. The Antiplanner is more likely to have “pet trolls.” For those familiar with that blog, I would cite highwayman as a “pet troll” for the Antiplanner, though I don’t think he’s a troll because I only take a very, very narrow view of what a troll is.

    A true troll is someone who doesn’t actually hold the opinion they are expressing at minimum. It is very hard to determine that.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Whether or not the troll holds the opinion is not what makes it trolling for an argument (as in trolling for fish), it whether the intention is to provoke.

    Its hard to read quibbling over details that have no bearing on the bone of contention as being trolling. So one way or another, it struck me as being something else.

    Spokker Reply:

    We’re not emotionless robots. No matter what you say, no matter how polite you say it, you are going to invoke an emotional response in not all but many people.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And people who have encountered some few people who really are trolling for an argument may be overly susceptible to believing that when they read something that does provoke them, that the person “must have been” doing it deliberately to provoke a reaction.

    The most constructive reaction to an actual troll is often to ignore them. And that’s also normally better than responding to someone as if they are a troll when you’ve misread their intentions.

    Spokker Reply:

    Ignore the “troll” is sound advice, but few actually heed this advice because engaging the “troll” is part of what makes the Internet interesting and fun for many users.

    Spokker Reply:

    And is it really productive or fun to even try to sniff out the trolls? As someone who posts at 4chan about a variety of topics, including transportation, it doesn’t make any difference whether the anonymous people in the discussion actually believe what they are saying or intend to provoke people . All that matters is the argument and whether or not you are having a good time. If you aren’t happy doing what you are doing, you go and do something else. You aren’t being paid to be on the Internet. It should be, at a minimum, fun and/or interesting.

    Getting mad on the Internet is so 2010. The idea that making someone upset on the Internet is a bad thing is laughable.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I actually did get a pet hater on The Infrastructurist – Colin Prime. Nitpicked every single thing. But I don’t think he was a troll, because he posted comments about things in general, had productive discussions with other people (and with me until he decided he hates me, which was around the time of the thread about The Big Roads), and in general seemed to have his own views to promote, rather than lurking until seeing a comment that can be nitpicked.

    For what it’s worth, a lot of blogs do treat driveby comments as a big aspect of trolling.

    Anyway, that’s why I’m talking about pet trolling. Otherwise I’d just say I’d rather have comments under my belt saying that the nearly freight-free Yamanote Freight Line is completely freight-free than ones saying that New York has more subway train drivers per train-hour than Tokyo because its trains have shorter stop spacing and are less crowded.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    “I actually did get a pet hater on The Infrastructurist. . .”

    Only one? Such modesty! (Ho, ho, ho!) Seems there were a few others there, though I might have jousted with them more than you, maybe (and maybe not). . .at least one fit that old geezer pattern, too, or at least wound up admitting that’s what he was. . .

    Do you miss the Infrastructurist? I do.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Oh, I should mention, just in case there is any misinterpretation, my little joke above is not meant as an insult to you, Alon; indeed, a mark of honor is not only who your friends are, but who your enemies are as well. . .and those nuts we both saw were certainly worthy of being considered enemies, and of being called nuts, too.

    Spokker Reply:

    Who really has enemies on the Internet?

    Spokker Reply:

    “For what it’s worth, a lot of blogs do treat driveby comments as a big aspect of trolling.”

    It’s just another way to disregard an opinion, well-formed or not. In this example, you disregard the opinion because the user is new or only has one or two posts. That they visited the site for the first time has nothing to do with the validity of their post, but some people seem to think so. It’s just another way to keep the bubble insulated.

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