Amtrak Sets Another Ridership Record

Dec 10th, 2012 | Posted by

Nobody rides trains in America, except of course when they do so in record numbers:

In what is rapidly becoming a post-Thanksgiving tradition, Amtrak has announced that a record-breaking number of riders boarded its trains during the holiday travel week.

Amtrak announced that 737,537 passengers used its trains between Tuesday, Nov. 20, and Monday, Nov. 26. That breaks the record set last year, when the rail agency carried 724,051 riders; that, in turn, broke the record set in 2010 when 704,446 passengers took Amtrak; and that, of course, eclipsed the record-setting mark of 685,876 riders in 2009.

The busiest day of this year’s Thanksgiving travel window was Wednesday, Nov. 21, which saw 140,691 riders. That also set a record for the highest single-day ridership in Amtrak’s history, topping the mark set a year earlier, when 138,736 riders traveled on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Americans, and Californians in particular, will flock to trains if they are given the choice to do so – if they have reliable services that go where they want to go.

The Pacific Surfliners were an especially useful option this Thanksgiving. I took the photo above on Thanksgiving Day at San Juan Capistrano station. On the way back to Tustin (where I was born and raised) I saw some insanely nasty traffic on Interstate 5 headed south toward San Diego. A friend posted on Facebook that the delays were several hours long just to get to Oceanside. I don’t know of the Surfliners were sold out, but for someone heading to coastal San Diego County from LA or Orange County, the Surfliners would have made for a very comfortable trip free of annoying freeway delays.

As gas prices soar and population continues to grow, high speed rail still makes a lot of sense to help move people around California.

  1. Alon Levy
    Dec 10th, 2012 at 19:39
    #1

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to deal with rushes like Thanksgiving is to avoid celebrating holidays. Nobody living today knows a 17th-century pilgrim, and about 98% of the first-world population doesn’t need to care about the harvest festivals the holiday really comes from. Ditto Christmas. Celebrate personal things instead – birthdays, anniversaries, other days important to you and your family and friends. Rushes like summer holiday travel to places you don’t want to spend winter in, or Northeastern fall foliage, or Japanese cherry blossoms, I can understand. Some random standardized holiday? Fuck that, your family will be just as glad to see you in April as in November.

    This spreads out travel demand (no need to build parking and travel capacity for a few peak days), job security and stress (no Black Friday rushes followed by January layoffs), food demand, etc.

    So, relax, come in for a normal day’s work if you can, and take your vacation days in April or something.

    joe Reply:

    College, work, school, all give those holidays off. That’s a unique time when everyone can gather some place and deadlines are managed. You want kids to see their cousins, uncles aunts and extended family. Dependencies with others time off make the holidays hectic.

    Also, colleges shut down dorms and some close. Stanford U for example gives staff time off without pay. So paying some premium for a ticket or dealing with traffic beats the alternative of temporary housing at the locality.

    Spring break isn’t coordinated so family can’t expect to plan a spring get-together. You can have a planned vacation for off-season destroyed by a slipped deadline or work milestone. People expect you be there when everyone else is working.

    Travel isn’t horrible – we trekked LA via car Thanksgiving Tuesday return Friday. No problem on I-5 and the Marriott hotel was 50% discounted.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joe, what you’re saying is true only in some very specific sets of circumstances. You’re assuming people live at a distance from their parents that’s convenient for a 4-day getaway, but not for a 2-day trip. You’re assuming people don’t have flex-time and can’t work from home, but also don’t have fixed schedules and can be called in to work on a moment’s notice. You’re assuming there can be downtimes at work in which nearly all employees are away. And so on.

    So basically what we’re getting is a holiday for tech workers who migrate over long distances but only within the US. Color me unimpressed.

    joe Reply:

    Alon

    University, High school and grade school schedules constrain vacations. You can’t pull a kid out of CA school for a vacation. Spring break is not coordinated – they do no coincide. Most spouses work.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’m in academia. I know this. It’s a good thing those vacations are not coordinated – that would create yet another rush for no reason. (In France, they stagger the vacations by a few days in each region to reduce holiday traffic jams.)

    EJ Reply:

    You mean, very specific circumstances like working in most any type of office, or a bank, a school, or a government agency?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Work in retail and you will be working on holidays. You might, if you are lucky get Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas day off. The rest of the year the store is open…. Unless you are really really lucky and work in one of the stores that open at 8PM on Thanksgiving or Christmas for the extra special sales.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    More specific than these. People get vacation days already, so it’s not unheard of to go on vacation outside a government- or religion-approved holiday, even in the US. The admin people I know at universities take vacations with their days all the time; in general, school environments are really good about letting you disappear in the summer as long as you get your work done.

    For an example of something that is as specific as I want, at the MTA the shifts are so tightly scheduled that you need to give a year’s notice if you take a vacation, or so the union members who comment at SAS say. You can take that vacation no problem, but you just need to plan very far in advance.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are 20 people at my Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter table. At the moment none us is old enough to be retired or young enough to still be in school. Get 20 employers to co-ordinate. If you think that is possible be sure to schedule your wedding for a Wednesday. The reception hall will be much cheaper. And you’ll have a lot less guests because they won’t be able to get the day off.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    When my then-girlfriend and I were visiting Shanghai for the eclipse, she just told the PIs at the lab she was working at that she’s going, the PIs said okay but only for a week, and we went.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most people don’t work in places like that. You wanna take a week off in July you better schedule it in January when the new vacation calendar starts. You better hope that you have the seniority to get the week you want.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Science labs are famous for treating lab techs and junior researchers like dirt, but still.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It depends whether you’re in a civilized country with a large number of government-guaranteed vacation days — in which case they’re usually pleased to give you a week off *other* than the standard one, because they want *someone* to be at work when everyone else is on holiday —

    — or if you’re in the US, where there is no legally required paid leave AT ALL.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    My ex had 2 weeks of paid vacation. The bosses refused more than 1 consecutive week, which limited our plans since I’d have rather made it a 2-week trip than burned one third of our trip flying or sleeping off our jet lag.

    Anyway, it’s not just a mandated leave issue. It’s also something specific about the distance at which people live from their families. If you think in terms of the Eastern US, then 4.5-day long weekends are perfect: a weekend is too short, but 4 days is fine. But the world is bigger than that. You can’t fly too far and still have time to see people. Your parents live on a different continent or in a distant part of North America and there are no direct flights, making trips shorter than a week impractical? Fuck you. Your entire social circle lives in Greater New York and you can see them on a weekend if you’d like? Have two extra days to socialize with the cousins you can’t stand, or go out and camp out in tents for protesting Black Friday discount shopping.

    Donk Reply:

    I think holiday traffic has gotten better over the past 5-10 years. Traffic in LA seems to be more spread out now before holidays, as people seem to have much more flexible schedules.

    Donk Reply:

    I think we should do the analog of the English-Metric shift on our US holidays. Too many holidays are too closely bunched up and their dates make no sense. Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are too close together and there are no holidays in late April, May and June.

    I propose that we spread things out. We can start by celebrating the solstices and the equinoxes instead. Merge Christmas and New Years together with the winter solstice (nobody knows what day Jesus was actually born on anyway), and put Easter and Thanksgiving on the equinoxes. Sprinkle a few holidays in between these four, and we are good to go.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’re still thinking in terms of holidays everyone celebrates, instead of overlapping vacation days and personally important days. Personally, I’m not Pagan. I don’t care about solstices any more than I do about Christian holidays or American holidays.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Easter and Passover are after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox.

    Derek Reply:

    Memorial Day is in late May.

    Andy M Reply:

    I’ve experienced great atmosphere on long distance trains in the immediate pre-Christmas period. A great camaraderie develops between the passengers and between passengers and staff and to me it’s all part of what makes life great and what makes Chritmas great. I’d much rather spend Christmas Eve on a long-distance train that in some insanely overcrowded store.

    Jon Reply:

    I completely share your desire not to travel during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to celebrate them. Just stay where you are, spend time with your friends and loved ones, and build a community in the place where you live.

  2. Edward
    Dec 10th, 2012 at 21:53
    #2

    Canada showed great national Intelligence by picking a different day for Thanksgiving.

  3. Ryan
    Dec 10th, 2012 at 23:17
    #3

    I just bought a ticket for Christmas eve travel from Portland to California’s central coast for the holiday. Yeah it’s 24 hours long, but it appears it will be a very peaceful and relaxing trip. The roomette was nearly the same price as a one way flight, and I’ve just become so fed up with the cattle car mentality and security lines of airline travel.

    My only regret from this trip is I have no idea when they’ll connect CAHSR to Oregon and Washington. I’ll love for this trip to go from 24 hours to 8.

    Eric Reply:

    there are no current plans to connect CAHSR to Oregon…current plans don’t go north of SF or Sacramento. You”d need to connect to coast starlight in sacramento. The Siskiyous are a great impediment to rail alignments through to Oregon.

    Ryan Reply:

    Hence my regrets that I love train travel so much…

    But then I start to think, in Europe, the fricken Alps are not considered an impediment… why are the Siskiyous?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Mostly because no one lives there not because of any engineering issues.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    Between Portland and Sacramento is 580 mi by highway, thinly populated, and with lots of mountains in the middle. It’s a HSR non-starter unless some politicians from there show unusual pork-barrel talents.

    As to the Alps, big cities are closer. Stuttgart – Milan is about 500 km, about 1/2 Portland – Sacramento.

  4. D. P. Lubic
    Dec 11th, 2012 at 04:41
    #4

    Off topic but maybe of interest–a perspective that the Chinese accomplishments aren’t all they are cracked up to be, and a look at our own:

    http://transitsleuth.com/2012/12/10/chinese-railroads-arent-the-advertised-achievement-were-sold/

    I think, more than anything, this plays into my point about our technological society hitting points of diminishing returns, although the author doesn’t see things that way.

    Andy M Reply:

    Interesting article, but hops around abit and picks its data points to prove a point.

    The US railroads were built in a different era, where there was no alternative to rail transportation. Thus virtually every town of any significance got a line of some sort. You can’t compare that to China today where in parellel to the rail system, roads and airports are also being rapidly developed. So the fact that China is not building as many railroads today as the US was building back then proves very little in my opinion.

    As for speeds, yes, the author has a point here. But this is not just China. Train speeds across the world have reached a somewhat static plateau. You can’t extrapolate increases in speed of the last 100 years and expect the same percentage increase in the next 100. The laws of physics are kicking in and although technically feasible, you are looking at energy costs that don’t justify that.

    I do expect that at some point in the next 15 years or so, the world’s rail speed record and also the world’s fastest commercial train will be Chinese – if only for image and propaganda purposes. Just because they haven’t done it yet doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t. Remember that the whole high-speed rail thing is still relatively new to China. Once things settle and they grow comfortable with the technology I’m sure they’ll start innovating beyond the technologies that were licensed to them by European and Japanese manufacturers.

    Jo Reply:

    Do not underestimate the Chinese. Despite early failures with HSR, they will get it right and excel.

    I disagree that high speed trains have reached a static plateau in regard to speed. Talgo is already marketing the Avril, with an operating speed of 236 MPH. Siemens is already designing their next generation high speed train which they claim will be able to achieve 248 MPH. By the time California is ready to roll out its high speed trains in about 20 years, these are the types of speeds that will be offered.

    It is too bad that high speed train technology is so foreign to this country. If we had put are minds and resources to it, we might have been competitors in this market. The Chinese, Japanese, French, Germans, Spanish, Koreans, Canadians are all competitors in high speed trains, but we are not – go figure.

    Peter Reply:

    Whether they can run faster is different from whether it makes sense to run them faster. Electricity demand skyrockets, making anything faster than 300 km/h a lot less efficient (and possibly not worthwhile).

    swing hanger Reply:

    A competent operator runs its trains as fast as required- based on customer needs and competition with other modes of transport, and balanced with safety, environmental and cost considerations- rather than as fast as they can.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Electricity is cheap.

    Jo Reply:

    Remember, one of the main goals of California’s high speed rail system is sustainability – something fossil fueled systems will never be able to even approach.

    And speaking of electricity, one of the goals of the Spanish HSR system is to provide electric charging stations for electric vehicles along its routes using the HSR rail electric grid. Talk about efficiency/sustainability.

    Jo Reply:

    PS: get the the feeling that California’s fossil fueled transportation system is getting a little behind the times – I do.

    Nathanael Reply:

    At some point we’ll hit the pantograph contact limit.

    Andy M Reply:

    Growth is often measured in terms of a lag-log-lag model.

    When something is totally new and not yet fully understood, it’s initial growth is lag, meaning it is sub-exponential (sometimes even sub linear). Then when it takes root it goes into exponential growth (think Moore’s law) but at some point natural feasability limits are reached. At that point the growth does not stop but growth falls behind the exponential curve once again. Think commercial aviation. Speeds grew exponentially through the 1960s and 1970s and Concorde was the last point on that exponential curve. Since then commercial speeds have receded (compared to Concorde) or at best grown sub-exponentially (compared to pre-Concorde). It’s not that the technology won’t permit faster planes, but it’s a tipping point in the economics that has been reached. So just the fact that faster train technology is on the horizon does not mean we are still on the log growth path.

    Jo Reply:

    This is not the way they think of it in Asia and Europe. European manufacturers are developing viable and faster trains that will be offered on the market. Technology today advances far faster, far better and far more viable than in the past. If we ignore new technology and do not use it in our infrastructure we will be at a disadvantage.

    Think of the U.S. automobile manufacturers who refused to embrace new thinking, and what happened to them.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t think you’re right either in terms of your example or in terms of the model.

    First, the model. Here is US car ownership per capita in each year from 1900 onward. The fastest 5-year growth was between 1900 and 1905, when car ownership grew by a factor of 8.5. The fastest single-year growth was between 1900 and 1901. This suggests a log-lag model, similar to the growth in e.g. the number of articles on Wikipedia, rather than a lag-log-lag model.

    And second, the example of plane speed is just wrong. In fact, plane speed grew from invention to the 1950s. The 707 was the pinnacle; subsequent subsonic passenger jets have not been any faster, except by having more range to fly you longer distances without changing planes or having stopovers for refueling. The Concorde was a one-time thing, an aberration – it never caught commercially. The advances in the last 55 years have not been in speed, but in efficiency, range, safety, and reliability. The 707 needed 4 engines to carry about as many passengers as a 737 carries today. Nowadays, twinjets are far more powerful, and ETOPS has clawed back at restrictions that favored trijets and 4-jets.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Your car numbers are missing the lag period for motorcars, which is pre-1900. Yes, there were functioning motorcars pre-1900.

    The plane speed model is perhaps better considered a log-flat model, because the commercial limit was hit.

    I don’t think we’ve hit the commercial limit on train top speed, actually, but we may be close. We’ve hit peak air travel, so…. people really are going to travel less, which imposes a commercial limit.

    Eric Reply:

    Rail cars were much shorter and lighter in the “good old days” compared with today. Railroads are also far more congested today than back then – such high speed running might not be possible in many areas.

    Nathanael Reply:

    We had a lot more *tracks* then (in most of the country, Pacific Northwest is an exception) which is one reason the railroads were less congested. (Of course we also had a smaller population back then.)

    The history of railcar weight and length is really complicated and interesting.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The signaling systems used then were lower-capacity than now. Norfolk Southern would restore four-tracking on the PRR Main Line, CSX on the NYC Main Line, etc. if they could.

    Nathanael Reply:

    DP: we definitely hit points of diminishing returns to any given tech. We’re about to enter a new era of cheap solar electricity, though, so if (and only if) we can manage to halt global warming, our technological society has at least one more period of development….

  5. morris brown
    Dec 11th, 2012 at 08:33
    #5

    Once in a while a bit of reality needs to be posted:

    California High Speed Rail Fiscal Cliff – Oped in Orange County Register

    http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/rail-380240-high-speed.html

    VBobier Reply:

    Ah yes, more Repugnican claptrap and spew from a bunch of stuck in the mud senile old fogies…

    Nathanael Reply:

    It appears to be the well-known anti-rail hack Wendell Cox, who lies routinely when it comes to rail. Not even worth reading, but it is worth asking the OC Register why they allowed this fellow, who has an infamous record, to write a full-length op-ed.

    joe Reply:

    An op ed by Wendell Cox, principal of Demographia, a public policy advisory firm in the St. Louis area.

    In July HSR was going to cause more green house emissions than it saved.
    In Oct HSR was going to cause Prop 30 to fail and hurt out schools.

    It’s December:
    Wendell links HSR to cutting social security COLA’s.

    “The “federal share” for high-speed rail is about the same as two years of savings from lowering Social Security cost-of-living increases for the nation’s retirees, as has been suggested in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.”

    He also blatantly disregards positive GAO’s findings. The GAO findings summary say the CAHSRA approach, when compared to GAO best practices shows has Strengths and Weaknesses.
    some strengths:
    1. the ridership model
    2. the quality of the estimate
    well he mocks that.

    GAO backhandedly compliments the plans for containing “few mathematical errors.” “Few mathematical errors,” and insufficient risk analysis and cost documentation? This is just further indication of a project that has been poorly planned and administered.

    Yuck, yuck.

    Realty = cherry pick the bad and omit the good – that’s why it’s Morris approved.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Wendell Cox is an infamous anti-rail hack who mostly writes anti-rail screeds with no respect for facts or logic. Other name which comes to mind in that category is Randall O’Toole. That’s the both of them, I can’t think of anyone else with that particular “special” reputation.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Nothing new here. The Valley orphaned line was a very risky idea from the start. I suggest Van Ark was trying to rattle the cage when he first proposed Borden to Corcoran – the obvious nowhere to nowhere segment.

    Brown, Richard, Villa, Antonovich and the rest of the cabal are on auto pilot here. They are just going to stumble on and see how far they get. PB does not care so long as the checks keep on being cut.

    Peter Reply:

    I bet an in-person conversation with you would be highly amusing. Do you conspiracy-theorize then, too?

    synonymouse Reply:

    When I theorize conspiracy it hopefully should be a lot more elaborated than this.

    The Borden to Corcoran proposal seemed from the outset to be optimized to bring on the cries of “nowhere to nowhere”. I suggest Van Ark was trying in his own way to focus attention on the clear downside potential of orphaned trackage in a remote area. Pretty straightforward.

    That Brown & Co. are hunkered down also seems pretty clear. Brown is oblivious, blinded by the true faith that his plan must work, and CEO Richard is there to spinmeister. They are just going to push on, grabbing monies wherever they can and pouring concrete. Pretty much the BART strategy, which continues to prevail, turning out ever more miles of expensive mediocrity.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    BART ridership like Amtrak, continues to increase

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Caltrain ridership also continues to increase

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    If van Ark acted to undermine the business plan as you say, then he almost sounds like a “fifth column” for SNCF’s plan.

    Here’s another way to look at what you saying. Did you know that most of the State’s Thurway bus services correspond to the San Joaquins? Do you realize that if you overlay the money-losing, sure to be cut by PRIIA San Joaquins with a service that can break even or better you have solved a major issue for the state?

    Merced to Palmdale is a no-brainer that only sounds absurd when PB insists they are going to blow express trains through stations at 220mph.

    But otherwise I’ll leave it to Steven Smith and the other journalists to figure out what SCNF America was really up to and if the criticisms have any merit….

    synonymouse Reply:

    I would rather think out of frustration with the highly conflicted plan laid out by the high conflicted outsized egos on the CHSRA board at the time.

    The Tehachapi DeTour is merely a backwoods connector of some commute lines. Not even TEE let along hsr. Residual connection and no real competitor up against autos on I-5 nor for sure up against air.

    But who cares – it is just another BART. Go PB. Go Tutor-Saliba.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    for the 8 gazillionth time once the full system is built the fastest way to get between any of the citied connected by HSR will be to use HSR.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    That’s not true at all, San Diego to NorCal will still be faster by plane.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    From the time the door closes to the time the door opens. Takes a long time to get off a plane unless you are in first class and are closer to the door. Takes a long time to walk from the gate out to the curb. And you have to be at the airport an hour or two ahead of your flight. The official site has San Diego to Sacramento at just over three and half hours and San Diego to San Francisco at just uder four. Expedia has the non stops running between San Diego and San Francisco at 1:30 to 1:50. That’s two and half hours from the time you cross the curb at your origin airport to the time the door pops open at your destination airport. Three hours curb to curb if you are lucky. For anything other than airport to airport trips it’s gonna be a wash or faster.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    CAHSR assumes SF-SD will be 4 hours, but with intermediate stops, slowdowns on the Caltrain corridor, compromises on LA-SD to reduce viaduct length, and such, 4:30-5:00 is more realistic. At this range, usually a small majority of air/rail passengers fly.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and by the time it’s built. not in your lifetime the way things are going, the Department of Fatehr land Security will be requiring high colonics. please get to the airport four hours before you flight is scheduled….

    swing hanger Reply:

    and bring an extra pair of undies, just in case.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There won’t be direct flights from San Diego to NorCal by then, though; everything’s getting even more hub-and-spoke. So, train still faster.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Is that really true? The low-costs are point-to-point, and even the legacies do short-range air shuttles independently of their hubs (US Airways doesn’t have even a focus city at New York or Boston).

    Jon Reply:

    Remember the syn is stuck in the past- he sees everything as streetcars and steam trains. He can’t wrap his head around the idea that at 220mph you can detour to Palmdale and only lose about 5 mins of travel time.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The value engineered Roundabout will certainly not be the fastest way.

    It is the marginal back country line of least political resistance linking some neo-BART commute operations.

    Tejon is vastly superior. The foamers are convinced that could simply not be the case because they hold as a matter of faith the CHSRA must be a resounding success; therefore could do no wrong.

    Not! All TehaVegaSkyRail has to do is turn a wheel. Taxes and concomitant subsidies make up for any and all shortcomings. Moonbeam happy, PB happy, Tutor-Saliba happy, Bombardier likely happy, TWU-Amalgamated very happy. That’s all that matters. Any dissenters be happy you still have your “carte d’identite”, green card, “papers”, passport, whatever intact. Shut up and pay your 25% cell phone and online sales tax.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The fastest way would be to build one of those new fangled vac-tube thingies but nobody is proposing that Or build a second generation of the Concorde. But nobody is proposing that either. It’s gonna be faster than flying unless you live at the airport and want to go to hotel at the other airport.

    J Baloun Reply:

    Just as a reality check, 5 minutes of HSR at 220mph is 18 miles.
    From a fixed point of view the observer would see the train pass from silent distant horizon to silent distant horizon? From beyond human sensory perception in one direction to beyond human sensory perception in the other direction? Similar to jet airline travel it is hard to relate to just how fast it is going.

    Jon Reply:

    See below.

    James in PA Reply:

    Sorry for confusion. I was just trying to imagine watching a 220 mph train go by over a five minute period 150 seconds before/after passing the point of observation….hope someday it will be real.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sylmar-Bako is not 220 mph territory.

    Jon Reply:

    True, but neither is Tejon. The 5 minute extra travel time is based on comparing Tehachapi with Tejon, not based on comparing Tehachapi with a flat 220mph route.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Of course not. But their speeds are about comparable, and this means that a detour has a larger effect on travel time than if it were 220 mph territory. The consensus among people here who aren’t either a) Synon or b) inclined to believe everything the HSRA says is that the difference is 10-12 minutes. It’s not a lot, but it’s nontrivial, about enough to cancel out Palmdale’s benefit of connecting to Xpress West. So then it turns purely into which alternative is cheaper, and because it turns out there is no above-ground alignment though the Soledad Canyon that avoids ecologically sensitive areas, Tejon is cheaper.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Is Tejon cheaper if you consider that Soledad Canyon is going to be built someday anyway? It’s Los Angeles’ Altamont. With Tehachapi they get everyone including the traffic to Las Vegas. Someday far far in the future they can consider Tejon/I-5 as a express bypass and Cajon as a reliever for the Inland Empire and San Diego bypassing Los Angeles. Someday far far in the future they can use the profits from the circuitous route to finance the more direct routes…

    Jon Reply:

    I’ll give you 10-12 minutes if you assume a west Bakersfield bypass, which CAHSR didn’t. It is not, however, 30 minutes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    With a straight-shot Tejon to I-5 alignment travel times from SF to LA would be faster than 10-12 minutes, benefiting from sustained express speeds on the racetrack.

    Of course the private entrepreneur understands this, and where the deep pocket markets reside, and consequently would never build the DeTour. That’s left to the permanently subsidized Moondoggle.

    In time we will have precise data for the Roundabout but never will for Tejon. I guess if one could invite Van Ark or the new dude from Amtrak to a many-martini lunch one might inveigle some interesting back of the napkin speculations about just how good the forbidden golf course alignment could be. But for CHSRA officialdom it is “We shall speak of this no more.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I thought it was all Nancy Pelosi mind rays and the threat of black helicopters that made them select the route. … and this ain’t 1956 no more, no one has three martini lunches.

    VBobier Reply:

    Tejon & i5 are irrelevant syno, since HSR will never be built there, as You do not have what it takes…

  6. jimsf
    Dec 11th, 2012 at 19:28
    #6

    RE: The conversation up top about vacation time…

    kooks;

    Of course we celebrate holidays together as a nation. Its about tradition and a shared experience. Its a good thing. Cultures have traditions for the sake of having them.

    Only weirdo foreign hippie liberals would think otherwise.

    Please. Just stop it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    People don’t need to be identical to live together.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Feel free to celebrate when you want to. The rest of us are relieved that everybody gets the same days off.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There was a short-lived attempt to give people differing days off in the Soviet Union. Complete disaster.

    This is what we call a “coordination problem”, and it’s one of those things which can only be solved by central control. It doesn’t matter exactly what days we have off — but people want the same days off so they can have parties. It benefits society for particular days to be picked. The local government would simply declare holidays in ancient Egypt and in ancient Rome.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The problem in the USSR wasn’t about that so much as about continuous production. Having a downtime for a factory or a piece of infrastructure is good, because that’s when you can do maintenance jobs that can’t be done easily when it’s operating. That’s why there are so few subways that stay open 24/7 – the maintenance is done at night. The part about different people having different days of rest was not the big issue in the USSR, which also tried to mandate that people socialize only with people with the same work schedule.

    The reason I bring up holidays and not weekends is that whereas the weekend mostly creates a trough, the national family holiday creates a peak, as people rush to travel. Troughs are good for the industrial systems; peaks are bad. That’s why France staggers the big school holidays.

  7. synonymouse
    Dec 12th, 2012 at 11:53
    #7

    McCarthy is quite correct in pointing out that the supposed “fiscal clip” savings is not even equal to the billions LaHood wants to lavish on the Moondoggle:

    http://www.thereporteronline.com/article/20121211/OPINION03/121219888/bullet-train-heads-for-collision

    The GOP should just go over the Cliff, disband, and let the kumbaya popular front take over. Let’s see if the polls like it. Meanwhile in France the left is demanding anyone who leaves the country ostensibly for financial reasons have their citizenship voided. As in Gerard Depardieu. Is Nancy ready to go that far yet?

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