Some Post Netroots Nation Thoughts

Jun 24th, 2013 | Posted by

I’m a bit exhausted after the long Netroots Nation weekend. And there are a huge pile of comments on the previous post, so here’s a new open thread. I should be back on a regular posting schedule this week, but guest posts are always welcome – just look at how much attention Clem’s post got.

I was able to meet several longtime blog readers and commenters in San José over the long weekend and it was a pleasure to do so, as well as to catch up with fellow transit and HSR activists. The assessment I got from them matches my own perception – that while everything seems headed in the right direction for the Central Valley groundbreaking, there’s still the looming question of how to fund the rest of it. And there is broad agreement that the connection from Bakersfield to Los Angeles is the key piece for not only this project but for passenger rail more broadly in California.

From there I think there is growing awareness of the shortcomings with transit funding as a whole in California. BART still hasn’t fully funded the extension to downtown San José. Caltrain needs an interim operating funds solution. Metro needs funds to accelerate its great rail planning work in LA. And so on. Perhaps the next big step forward is for California to figure out a bold new mass transit funding solution. With Congress under the control of a radical group of anti-transit ideologues, California will have to continue charting its own course.

So it’s no surprise that I heard frustration from environmental and transit advocates that the final budget deal did indeed move the cap-and-trade revenues into the general fund rather than be used for things like transit. My understanding is that this is a temporary borrowing, and we have seen that Governor Jerry Brown is interested in potentially using those funds for mass transit and high speed rail. So hopefully there will be movement on that front for 2014 and beyond.

In any case, feel free to use this as an open thread – I know the previous post is creaking under the weight of 600+ comments…

  1. morris brown
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 14:14
    #1

    John Phillips: High-speed rail’s ‘father’ now disowns bullet train

    Quentin Kopp now calls project ‘The Great Train Robbery.

    By JOHN PHILLIPS / Register columnist

    You don’t need a TiVo full of Nancy Grace’s show on HLN to know that parents are always willing to defend their kids – regardless of what horrible thing they’ve been accused of doing.

    A kid could steal a car – on video, at high noon, in front of eyewitnesses – and when the news catches up with Ma and Pa, all you’d hear is, “Junior would never do anything like that; he’s a good boy!”

    This is why it’s so shocking that former San Francisco Independent state Sen. Quentin Kopp, father of California’s high-speed rail program, not only wants to pull the plug on it, but he wants to yank it like he’s starting a lawn mower.

    This is huge. It’s the equivalent of Col. Sanders telling us to lay off the fried chicken and go vegan.

    Kopp in 1992 introduced the first bill to create high-speed rail in California. He tried to push the program through the Legislature again in 1996 and then, again, as chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority. In 2008, he urged voters to pass Proposition 1A, which authorized $10 billion in bonds to pay for initial work on the proposed 800-mile system.

    Since then, millions have been spent and billions more are in the pipeline – including $3.5 billion from the federal government – but nothing has been done.

    Even worse, the state’s current plan doesn’t resemble Kopp’s vision or what voters approved in 2008.

    In a recent interview with CNN’s Drew Griffin, Kopp said, “[W]hat happened was the collapse of the plan to run genuine high-speed rail, and I call it ‘The Great Train Robbery.'”

    The idea of passengers boarding a train in downtown Los Angeles and exiting that same train two hours, 40 minutes later in San Francisco is history. The current plan is a “blended system” – which means the “bullet train” will have to share the tracks with other transit agencies – requiring it to go slow in some parts of the state and fast in others. Kopp says that’s not high-speed rail.

    “Under this plan, we’re getting ripped off. No question about it,” Kopp told CNN.

    A rip-off is right.

    Estimated construction costs for the train have doubled, to $68 billion, since voters approved it five years ago. And we’d better figure that number in bananas, because apes will be running the world by the time this train actually gets on the tracks.

    In an attempt to find out when this project will actually begin, CNN’s Drew Griffin tried to interview Dan Richards, the current chairman of the High Speed Rail Authority. But Richards refused. His staff told CNN they “don’t like the tone” of the cable news network’s reports.

    Instead, the CHSRA released the following statement, “California’s High Speed Rail program is moving forward with a cost-effective and efficient plan that was approved by the Legislature. We look forward to breaking ground this summer and begin creating thousands of jobs.”

    Since when does being 100 percent over budget qualify as “cost-effective” and “efficient”? If that’s the case, Ricky Ricardo owes Lucy an apology.

    California voters deserve a revote. The difference between what voters approved and what they’re going to get is so huge you could drive a bullet train through it. It’s bait-and-switch at its worst.

    If CHSRA officials are so confident the public is enthusiastic about this project, then having that support reaffirmed by the voters would only strengthen their hand.

    Or, voters could see this project for the boondoggle it has become, take the advice of the “daddy” of California High Speed Rail, Quentin Kopp, and put this monstrosity out of its misery.

    After all, father knows best.

    Register opinion columnist John Phillips hosts a radio show on KABC/AM 790.

    mike Reply:

    Wow, you agree with Quentin Kopp that quadruple-tracking the entire Peninsula corridor is both an economic and legal necessity. That’s surprising to hear coming from you.

    James Leno Reply:

    I think it’s important to point out that Quentin Kopp opposes the plan now, not because he is opposed to the concept of HSR in general, but because the current plan doesn’t go far enough for him.

    Kopp wanted full HSR down the peninsula, and all the way through the LA Basin. When those plans were removed, he removed his support, saying it wasn’t true high speed rail.

    Kopp wants it to be all HSR, or none at all. Most other opponents of the project simply want none at all, so they now claim him as an ally

    Peter Reply:

    Enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    synonymouse Reply:

    What precisely is Kopp’s plan?

    He always opposed the TBT tunnel in favor a terminal at 4th and King . He must be aware that 4 track hollow-core aerials or berm are simply not going to happen in PAMPA. He did mention on one occasion that BART tunnels would be easier to construct. Perhaps he favors Ring the Bay, but then that would only be with a PAMPA subway and hsr terminating at San Jose. Maybe he is not averse to the Altamont-Dumbarton entree.

    If Kopp wishes to move to the next level of dissidence and opposition he needs to provide a range of specifics defining his minimal criteria for an acceptable hsr project.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If one were to use BART as an analogy to CAHSRA this how it would look. The orphan ARRA IOS would be tantamount to BART from San Leandro to Hayward and the DogLeg analagous to the BART Transbay Tube. You have just enough money to build the East Bay segment and then you study the Tube alignment to see if you can figure out how to do it and then look for the money. And then wait.

    The orphan IOS will have about the same kind and level of ridership you would have with a BART consisting of San Leandro to Hayward.

    Jerry, you got some ‘splaining to do.

    synonymouse Reply:

    uh, barebones diesel San Leandro to Hayward.

  2. Howard
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 14:44
    #2

    A California oil extraction tax could pay for extending high speed rail to LA (matching prop 1A bonds), pay for other feeder/commuter rail extentions and improvents, like BART and Metrolink (matching prop 1A bonds and local funds). This oil severence could also fund needed highway maintence in order to get broad public support. Every other oil producing state has an oil severence tax, including Republican Texas and Alaska. Lets pass it.

    jimsf Reply:

    A heavy tax on fracking the monterey shale earmarked for transportion funding only.

    VBobier Reply:

    I like this idea, oil from CA to help pay for HSR, transit and highway maintenance, It would come out of oil pumped out of the ground of CA and would not effect Californians pocketbooks, unless one is in neck deep with Big Oil which has been getting away with taking oil out of the ground without paying CA state Government for the privilege. SB241 though is earmarked for Education and Parks instead of towards HSR, transit and highway maintenance…

    $2 Billion in New Revenues to be Earmarked for Education, Parks

  3. Derek
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 15:22
    #3

    Perhaps the next big step forward is for California to figure out a bold new mass transit funding solution.

    Making the roads pay for themselves would reduce their burden on taxpayers, allowing tax money to be spent on transit, while increasing demand for alternatives to driving (such as transit) and thereby making those alternatives more cost-effective.

  4. trentbridge
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 15:31
    #4

    Just as many liberals opposed Obamacare aka the Affordable Healthcare Act because it wasn’t a single payer healthcare system so Mr. Kopp has to now dump on CAHSR because it’s not the ideal outcome – the entire project – that he wanted. At some point, you despair of such liberals because they’d rather complain about the failure of society to fully embrace their dreams than accept that real progress comes in little steps forward. They get bitter because their giant leap of faith in the sanctity of “worthy” Government projects isn’t shared by the rest of the population. And who does this provide the most aid and comfort to? The extreme right wing Ayn Rand type that believes that public transportation is the onset of rampant socialism.

    The initial step of building the IOS will demonstrate whether the CAHSR is capable of completing a project of modest engineering within a time constraint and budget. Isn’t that what we all want?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The general public will not see it that way. To them it will be a nowhere to nowhere fiasco, just sitting there depreciating.

    They would be better off just banking the money(the crones can figure out how to accomplish this)and going back to the voters to overrule Antonovich and Reid and reboot the mountain crossing.

    This Las Vegas centrism just rubs the wrong way. I know a lot of flaming liberals who just loathe Vegas. They consider it the essence of what’s is wrong with the country. blatant materialism and superficiality for starters.

    Walter Reply:

    trentbridge, spot on. Too often, progressives let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Much of the time, they’re not wrong, but they’re not helping. Note that these progressives nearly uniformly criticize Republicans for refusing to compromise.

    Yeah, I’d love a 220 mph train on dedicated tracks following exactly the route I think is best, and for it to be fully funded today and start construction tomorrow. I’m not going to get that, so I instead advocate for badly-needed incremental improvements in California’s transportation network.

    jimsf Reply:

    +1

    VBobier Reply:

    +2

    Jerry Reply:

    Thank you Trentbridge and Walter.

    Wells Reply:

    The IOS (or MOS) of Madera-to-Fresno is wasteful any way you look at it. Best segment for electrification? No. San Francisco-ACE/Altamont-Sacramento justifies electric catenary. Stockton-to- Los Angeles need not be electrified nor ever exceed 135mph. Best ridership? No. Best site for maintenance facility? No. The 200mph mandate was a sure way to kill HSR. Valley conservatives won’t refuse the money even as they intend to waste it.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Just so..Caltrain electrification should never be a stand alone project. Once you have equipped, mobilized and trained a wiring crew you need to keep them working. Otherwise it’s like tooling up to build 100 passenger cars and then stop. Oh, someone is telling me we do that all the time. Keep paying for that ramp up and learning curve, never collect the dividends of long production runs. Well, it’s only the taxpayer, they don’t know the difference.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Sure it is. People in the real world wire up 80km lines all the time.

    It’s really easy civil and electrical engineering: use a standard design from somebody who knows what the fuck they’re doing (I pick DB-Netz “Re200”; Caltrain of course made up something completely insane and unique); bore a bunch of holes where the CAD system says to do so (you don’t need much training for even very special needs monkeys); erect some poles; clip on some hangers (standard design, don’t you know); build a few substations (I think even we just about have this skill in hand) using exact same design that grown-ups elsewhere else; drive the wiring train through, with perhaps a dozen total special personnel; test; go.

    It’s really easy signalling: use a standard design from somebody who knows what the fuck they’re doing (I pick ERTMS/ETCS; Caltrain of course is systematically defrauding the public of over $100 million dollars though its limitlessly corrupt staffs’ and consultants’ criminal CBOSS uyndertaking). Test; cutover; go.

    This is simple simple reptilian hind-brain stuff. Completely routine. Everything is a completely known quantity. There’s no need for state-wide mobilization. There’s no need for fictional economies of scale. There’s no need to hire and train battalions of do-nothing dead-weights. Wiring up simple little near-zero-traffic train lines is all prior art. Maintaining power systems for simple little low-traffic 80km shuttle lines is all perfectly understood and quantifiable and straightforward.

    A couple thousand stanchions and a couple thousand hangers is a perfectly fine “production run” for any steel fabricator. You’re positing economies of scale a factor of 10 away from where they exist.

    Also, building 100 passengers cars (or 50, or 20) is fine as long as you’re not bat shit insane (ie Caltrain) and have your special snowflake special needs friends at LTK Engineering Services design your own special snowflake trains to be assembled in a sheltered workshop by the developmentally disabled. (Hell, Stadler would probably build you an order of 3; flexible design and flexible manufacturing by skilled workers is part of some peoples’ business models.)

    Caltrain electrification is a perfectly fine and reasonable stand-alone little project. (An incremental 50% phased project say SF-Palo Alto wouldn’t fall into anybody’s “too small to bother” basket either.)

    Random talk about “state wide rail systems”, let alone, God save us, common procurement with Amtrak NEC simply ignores the reality that small- and medium-scale little regional rail systems (of the quasi-Caltrain scale) elsewhere undertake small little undertakings like electrification and resignalling and rolling stock renewal all the time, and do it without the need to drag in geographical irrelevancies like San Diego or Bakersfield or New Haven or Chicago.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    “Completely known quantity”, not on this continent. We don’t have the depth of experience, the order book from local purchasers, we are not currently in that business. Stadler might build you three of something but only because they have built 300 for somebody else. Of course if you want to import everything, you have to sell something to pay for it, coal for example. If you want to recreate a US RR industry you have to look at things differently. I never mentioned “state wide” and certainly not Amtrak. My old firm sold to Amtrak, I know whereof I speak.
    Looking around both California and the rest of the USA we seem incapable of delivering small scale rail projects at a reasonable price and therefore my suggestion is an attempt to introduce economies of scale and standardization. Brighter people than me (there’s plenty of those) have researched how much more has been spent in the UK because of the stop – start government policy regarding electrification. Perhaps your real world experience is otherwise. Please share it with us.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The difference between the US trying not to import trains and the rest of the world trying not to import email and social networking services from the US is that Stadler trains don’t come with code that lets the Swiss secret police control them. In a world that has trade, of course it is possible to import, and then if the US can’t manufacture things at the required scale, it should get them from countries that can. This means creating a railroad industry should be a secondary concern, the primary concern being improving transportation in the US.

    The UK is actually innovating in automating electrification. Although its general construction costs are very high – HS2’s projected per-km cost is on a par with that of the Chuo Shinkansen and the Gotthard Base Tunnel and much higher than what’s projected for CAHSR – its electrification costs are less than a million dollars per track-km (link), less than in France and much less than in California.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    This means creating a railroad industry…

    North America has a thriving railroad industry. Assembling high speed train sets isn’t all that much different than rebuilding PATCO cars or spitting out NYC subway cars or Silverliners or M8s or..

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Those are done by foreign companies, and the CAP people are against that and think Kawasaki is evil.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And I supposed the people at CAP are posting this online by telegraph? Or are they driving down to the Western Union office in the ‘Murcan made car? Better not be wearing jeans or Nike or Addidas or any of the other brands of sports shoes/sneakers when they are wearing those jeans either. And give up coffee tea and their favorite Burgundy. Unless it’s Gallo Hearty Burgundy.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Google “Citizen Kawasaki.” Their account of the collapse of the US rail industry, which doesn’t even mention that St. Louis and Pullman made defective products and collapsed after New York sued them, is especially golden.

  5. Keith Saggers
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 15:42
    #5

    The perfect is the enemy of good is an aphorism or proverb meaning that insisting on perfection often results in no improvement at all. The phrase is commonly attributed to Voltaire whose moral poem, La Bégueule, starts[1]

    “ Dans ses écrits, un sage Italien
    Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

    (In his writings, a wise Italian
    says that the best is the enemy of the good) ”

    Aristotle, Confucius and other classical philosophers propounded the principle of the golden mean which counsels against extremism in general.[2] The Pareto principle or 80–20 rule explains this numerically. For example, it commonly takes 20% of the full time to complete 80% of a task while to complete the last 20% of a task takes 80% of the effort.[3] Achieving absolute perfection may be impossible and so, as increasing effort results in diminishing returns, further activity becomes increasingly inefficient. Watson-Watt, who developed early warning radar in Britain to counter the rapid growth of the Luftwaffe, propounded a “cult of the imperfect”, which he stated as “Give them the third best to go on with; the second best comes too late, the best never comes.”[4]

    jimsf Reply:

    that is the key to living.

  6. synonymouse
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 15:53
    #6

    I remember we once had a Mars lander that hewed “imperfectly” to your 80-20 rule.

    Dunno if they found it yet.

    JB in PA Reply:

    Synon you sure have a way with words. I cannot comprehend a more ironic and illogical statement. Interplanetary exploration vehicles, it seems to me, are poor examples for a Pareto analysis the any level, system, part, software… Do you have any idea what is involved in space flight? Maybe I can attempt an example: It is as if having a train successfully enter a tunnel depends on an accurate understanding of the location of Australia.

    synonymouse Reply:

    80-20 applied to signalization – we don’t worry about it after it works 80%

    I am sure Amalgamated-TWU would like to apply 80-20 to no-shows. Get 80% done then drop a dime. Or don’t if you get undocumented, I guess.

    jimsf Reply:

    you should not eat the mushrooms that grow in you backyard.

    James in PA Reply:

    Signalization. Someday CBOSS 80-20 will hit the fan. Yahoo :P

    jonathan Reply:

    “signalization”?

  7. Paul Dyson
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 16:00
    #7

    Robert seems to have listened to some sensible people; the priority has to be bridging the gap, L.A. to Bakersfield, as RailPAC has proposed for years. Glad to see you catching up. The argument that we have insufficient funds for it and therefore should begin in the SJV has been shown to be hollow. We won’t start the ICS on time and it has no transportation value when done. We could still get started from LAUS and keep going as funds permit. Immediate benefits in LA and along into the San Fernando Valley where we would have a grade separated RoW. Hang the HSR flag on it and keep some support down here where most Californians live.

    jimsf Reply:

    so that would give us what… a high speed line from laus to san fernando? Or are you saying laus to palmdale? I think the sjv was chosen cuz the feds said if you want the money you have to start in the valley. at least that what i read here.

    jimsf Reply:

    because my understanding is that they are going to do improvements such as grade separations between laus and san fernando. Imjust trying to understand what you propose be the ICS and what would it be good for unless you connect to convention rail at bakersfield via either tjon or palmdale. And if such a high speed ICS ran between laus and bakersfield you wouldn’t be able to run through amtrak trains on it so it would mean a transfer at BFD to an hsr electric train from BFD to LAUS, So that doesn’t make a useful IOS until you also build hsr up to merced. I think the end result is the same thing in the same amount of time.

    Personally with caltrain electrification in just a few years, and tbt in just a few years, and the valley ICS in just a few years, Id actually advocate for closing the pacheco gap, and extend the catenary from san jose to bakersfield and bam, theres a full true hsr system from sf to bfd. completed much sooner than anything else would be.

    Joey Reply:

    Have they set a timetable for actually completing the DTX? The station box is under construction of course but what about the approach tunnels?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    No. No timetable, no funding, no operating plan, no rational engineering, no fucking clue. But tons of cash paid to PTG! Mmmmmm.

    (Quick suggestion to all: stop replying to “jimsf”. It’s all noise, with negative signal.)

    jimsf Reply:

    Its a legitimate question. I he wants to build the ics from laus north. how far north does the ics have to go before it becomes a useful ios?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Bakersfield.

    The problem is that the ICS doesn’t go as far as the LA Basin right now.

    jimsf Reply:

    ok so laus to bakersfield, be it via tejon or palmdale…. that would be what, built to hsr standards yes? So are you proposing that it be electrified as an IOS from BFD to LAUS because it wount be otherwise useable for conventional trains, and would not have independant utility.

    And if you are proposing laus to bfd as a full hsr ios, would that make any money?
    just asking. what would the scenario be?

    Joey Reply:

    Probably slower (~125mph) electric trains making all stops until the Bay Area is reached.

    jimsf Reply:

    you mean the stops between laus and BFD? via tejon? with transger to san joaquins at bfd. via tejon there arent any stops beyond san fernando so its not real useful as a regional. If you propose building the ics and ios via palmdale at 125mp electric operation with a conncection to san joaquins, that I could get on board with though Im not sure its any better than whats already planned in reverse.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Transfer to the San Joaquins in Fresno.

    Joey Reply:

    If the mountain crossing had been built first then it would have made sense to do Tehachapi.

    jimsf Reply:

    I think if they had had the funding to build an ics from laus to fresno they would have gone ahead and done it. which would have been great.

    jimsf Reply:

    if they had done laus-palmdale-bakersfield as the ics that would have been good. but since they plan to do that next anyway, i think its not that big a difference. And the valley was stipulated for political reasons that have to be part of the equation.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    by the time they finish up with the preliminaries for Bakersfield to Los Angeles they part between Bakersfield and Fresno will be built.

    wdobner Reply:

    Probably slower (~125mph) electric trains making all stops until the Bay Area is reached.

    Why? Are the people at those local stops not deserving of the faster trips to LA which are to be provided to those going from LA to SF? Or do we just want the IOS to be as absolutely uninviting to potential riders as possible?

    The station spacing is more than sufficient to allow those trains to spend a significant amount of time at the line’s MAS, so why wouldn’t you order HSTs and run them to the fullest extent of their capabilities? Hell, the cost of providing twice as many trains to maintain a given headway, even if its measured in hours rather than minutes, is going to be far more than the marginal cost increase to run at 220mph rather than 125mph.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s more a question of distance rather than “deserving.” Admittedly 125 is a bit low, especially now that Fresno and Merced are sure to be reached in the IOS. And of course this is all in the interim – once Phase 1 is complete 200+mph trains would be run on all SF-LA service, be they local, limited, or express.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    ok so laus to bakersfield, be it via tejon or palmdale…. that would be what, built to hsr standards yes? So are you proposing that it be electrified as an IOS from BFD to LAUS because it wount be otherwise useable for conventional trains, and would not have independant utility.

    Yes. But given already-committed money for Shafter-Madera, this would realistically be an LA-Fresno(-Madera) IOS. Train speed can be anything from 200 km/h to 350 km/h – there’s plenty of space to reach full speed in the CV, but the difference in travel time may not enough to justify buying more expensive 350 km/h trains, so a slowdown to 250 might be advisable. Might.

    I do not know whether it could make money. I don’t have the tools to make good ridership projections at this scale. At longer distance – LA-SF and even LA-Fresno – there’s enough data out there to make sanity-check estimates, but because LA-Fresno traffic is fairly light, it might suffer from not enough economies of scale. Paying variable operating costs is very easy, and paying operating and maintenance costs is also not too hard; if the no-operating-subsidies language of 1A means “assuming all capital construction money comes from the tooth fairy, the system is profitable,” then it’s going to be very hard to screw up profitability.

    Unlike LA-Palmdale, LA-Fresno is not a commuter market, but it’s still short enough for day trips, so it’s likely to have a broad peak and a low peak-to-base ratio, both of which are financially favorable. Basically, if you can get away with running the same frequency all day without making the off-peak trains too empty, then profitability is guaranteed.

    jimsf Reply:

    oh but the original comment was that they should not have done the the current ics, but started north from la. SO the question was had they not chosen madera to bakersfield, and started with la north, how far north could you get with the inital ics and what kind of ios would you get?

    Anyway it doesn’t matter now because they are starting with the valley and the upgrades to caltrain..

    wether they build south from bakersfield or north from la I dont think matters.

    jimsf Reply:

    and I still really prefer this as the ios anyway oh well.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    oh but the original comment was that they should not have done the the current ics, but started north from la. SO the question was had they not chosen madera to bakersfield, and started with la north, how far north could you get with the inital ics and what kind of ios would you get?

    Ah. Sorry, I’d misunderstood. In that case, LA-Bakersfield wouldn’t been a fine IOS.

    jimsf Reply:

    I just think that its going to be what it is so make the best of it. Its not all bad news. would it kill us to have a post about the positive aspects or is everyone just super cranky?

    Alan Reply:

    “Quick suggestion to all: stop replying to “jimsf”. It’s all noise, with negative signal.”

    Wow. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. If there’s anyone here with a negative signal-to-noise ratio, it’s Mlynarik.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Fail!

    jimsf Reply:

    you’re like a broken record.

    jimsf Reply:

    the dtx will get done, dont even worry about it.

    richard, what is your ICS then. I hear you complaining and badmouthing america, but I don’t see your solution

    Jonathan Reply:

    I don’t see Richard badmouthing America. I do see him badmouthing a particular transport-construction-government complex, particularly as it operates in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Why pull out a “patriotism” card, when there are so many valid issues on which you can criticize Richard?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Because Richard’s not from the US, so any time he says something negative about some aspect of the US, it’s because he’s an Islamist atheist communist Nazi anti-colonial elitist.

    jimsf Reply:

    no , just regular anti american with his mockingly facetious usa usa usa chant.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    LAUS would take a big chunk of the money. Rebuild as a through station. At least you’re spending money on a station that is actually providing service to passengers as opposed to TBT. Grade separate to Sylmar. Then you have a choice, keep heading NW to Tejon or turn right and go to Palmdale. I’m inclined to Tejon with the branch to Palmdale as suggested by Clem.
    As for IOS, since wherever you operate it will be a big money loser without both end points it’s best to kick that can down the road as long as possible. Run a regional service to Palmdale with fast emus and try to kick start Palmdale airport? LAUS to Bakersfield Parkway? There are no great choices. Contributors here who somehow think that HSR, wherever you run it, is a magic key to profitability are deluding themselves, unless you adopt the Amtrak method of counting such items as rolling stock maintenance as a capital cost.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I agree with your priorities.

    Perhaps there is the slightest chance frustrated PB engineers might brusquely drop a very unappetizing menu of pricey Tehachapi selections on the CHSRA board table.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    La dame grosse n’a pas chante

    synonymouse Reply:

    Il parait q’elle n’est pas encore meme entree en scene.

  8. Reality Check
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 17:17
    #8

    Published Tuesday, June 25, 2013, by Financial Times

    US latest frontier for high-speed trains

    By Robert Wright

    There could be few landscapes more different from the densely-packed urban corridor between Tokyo and Osaka and the rolling farmland of California’s Central Valley. But, some time in the next few months, high-speed rail – a technology originally developed to link the two Japanese cities – will start to arrive in the central valley. Bulldozers are due to start work later this year between Madera and Fresno on a new, dedicated high-speed rail line that should eventually carry passengers at up to 220mph (350kph) via the Central Valley between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

    The California project illustrates much about how far high-speed rail has come in the nearly 50 years since the initial dedicated Japanese high-speed line opened in 1964. Projected top speeds for the California project are nearly twice the 200kph on the original Tokyo to Osaka line. Traction systems have become far more efficient and powerful and signalling has significantly improved.

    However, the challenges surrounding the California line – which should eventually form the basis of a network linking Anaheim and San Diego in the south to San Francisco and Sacramento in the north – also illustrate a new challenge for the technology. With the opening up of China to high-speed rail and expansion in Europe, many of the most obvious routes for high-speed rail have already been developed. Future projects are increasingly likely to feature the challenges of the California project, running on a range of different track types, climbing steep gradients and needing to run at very high speeds to achieve the required journey times.

    Armin Kick, director of business development in the US for high-speed rail for Germany’s Siemens, says the California project demands trains maintain speeds of 220mph for over an hour. That is necessary to ensure the trains can make the Los Angeles to San Francisco trip via the roundabout Central Valley route within the three hours necessary to compete with air.

    Since Rick Scott, Florida’s governor, turned down federal funding for a projected Tampa to Orlando high-speed line in 2011, California’s project has been the only US project that would be internationally recognised as high-speed rail. Such projects tend to run at about 300kph or faster and to use mostly or exclusively dedicated track.

    “That’s a high-speed rail project that’s up to par with any other high-speed rail project in the world,” Mr Kick says of California. “Deriving from that obviously is the need for systems and rolling stock designed for true high-speed rail projects.”

    One of the key choices facing California after its choice of route is the decision about which of the three main high-speed rail technologies running worldwide is best suited to the rigours of climbing California’s mountains and maintaining the high sustained speeds required. Each of the main technologies reflects the circumstances for which it was developed.

    Japan’s Shinkansen trains – as its high-speed trains are known – run entirely segregated from other trains, which in Japan use a different track gauge. Because there is no risk of encountering a heavy freight train and the Shinkansen lines have no level crossings and reliable, modern signalling, the trains can safely be built without the heavy trusses that protect most other passenger trains in crashes. The trains – which have grown gradually lighter and more efficient since the first line opened – use far less energy than most rival technologies.

    However, Shinkansen-derived technology looks an unlikely candidate for California because the trains look set to be ordered in a batch with new trains for the mixed-use northeast corridor between Boston and Washington. The trains are also likely to share tracks with other types of traffic on the approach to San Francisco’s Bay Area. They will consequently need to meet new requirements propounded in June by the US’s Federal Railroad Administration to ensure they can withstand end-on collisions with conventional trains.

    The new rules – which open up the US market to European-designed trains – mean competition to supply California is likely to be between Siemens – whose Velaro high-speed design is based on Germany’s ICE3 300kph train – and Alstom, builder of France’s TGV.

    Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chief executive of Alstom’s train-making division, says his company is “obviously” interested in supplying both California and the northeast corridor.

    However, Alstom has less experience supplying distributed-traction trains – one with the motors hidden under the floors – than Siemens. Alstom’s first distributed traction high-speed train, the AGV, entered service for the first time with Italy’s NTV only last April. The Californian line’s steep gradients are likely to favour distributed traction trains – which climb hills better – over trains with traction motors concentrated in power cars at either end. The TGV uses concentrated power.

    Alstom fought a lengthy court battle against Eurostar, operator of the high-speed rail service between London and continental Europe, to try to force it to reverse a decision to buy new Siemens trains in preference to Alstom.

    Mr Poupart-Lafarge also expresses concern about the long, slow build-out of the US projects compared with supplying trains in Europe, where he says order rates are “more stable”.

    “Depending on the speed of implementation of these projects, you would get growth [as a supplier],” Mr Poupart-Lafarge says. “But the growth rate would vary.”

    Mr Kick sounds far more enthusiastic. He expresses optimism that the Velaro – initially developed to cope with the steep gradients of Germany’s Frankfurt to Cologne high-speed route – could be ideally suited to be North America’s first true high-speed train.

    “We’re very excited about the opportunity to bid on high-speed rail equipment,” says Mr Kick. “We’ve spent a lot of effort getting ready for that so we’re obviously excited about the opportunity to actually progress.”

    nobody_important Reply:

    “However, Shinkansen-derived technology looks an unlikely candidate for California because the trains look set to be ordered in a batch with new trains for the mixed-use northeast corridor between Boston and Washington. The trains are also likely to share tracks with other types of traffic on the approach to San Francisco’s Bay Area. They will consequently need to meet new requirements propounded in June by the US’s Federal Railroad Administration to ensure they can withstand end-on collisions with conventional trains.”
    This author is apparently unaware of caltrain’s FRA waiver. Yet still Japan doesn’t seem that interested in CAHSR anymore since now it has to share tracks with Caltrain, even though by then Caltrain will have non-FRA-tank EMUs and freight will be gone.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Caltrain’s FRA waiver isn’t what you believe it is.

    Or what any rational person (none of whom for work Caltrain, FRA. or especially Caltrain’s rent-seeking consultants) might wish it might be.

    These are the same “humans” responsible for incompatible platform heights and no level boarding. remember. A waiver that isn’t a waiver and conditions that guarantee fixed bids and tons of consultant kick-back-ery is business as usual.

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals!

    nobody_important Reply:

    Can you give me a legitimate reason why I should read your posts?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    No, of course not. You’re quite free to believe that Shinkansen equipment might run in service to San Francisco any time in the next 30 years. One can only imagine that it gives you a warm feeling of some type.

    nobody_important Reply:

    No, I don’t think it’s likely that that will happen. If we get anything from Japan it’s probably gonna be customized, and different from actual Shinkansen equipment. I don’t know if investment from Japan could come with that too or not.

    Joey Reply:

    I think CalTrain’s waiver allow UIC-compliant equipment. Shinkansen trains are even lighter than that.

    swing hanger Reply:

    I think the comments of Mr Poupart-Lafarge are telling- since this project is taking so long, who knows 10 or 15 years from now what the conditions will be? That period of time is already equivalent to at least one generation of rolling stock design- by then the AGV will be dated, and the Velaro positively ancient, barring evolutional improvements in efficiency of said designs. Looking at Kawasaki Heavy’s Business Plan from April of this year, their export model HSR design, efSET (which will adhere to any FRA regulations at the time) is not slated to be introduced until around 2018~2019, which puts it right around the sweet spot for implementation in CA.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Just to nitpick, I wouldn’t call the US the last frontier of HSR. Although the NEC is the lowest-hanging fruit for first-world HSR today, and several other US lines including California are also low-hanging, there are some other very good potential lines: Toronto-Montreal, London-Birmingham-Manchester-Glasgow, Mexico City-Guadalajara, Sao Paulo-Rio de Janeiro, Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne, maybe Cairo-Alexandria. Taking future Asian economic growth into account, I’d say the biggest opportunity is Jakarta-Surabaya, since Java is very densely populated and has a linear population distribution.

    Eric Reply:

    What about the US midwest? Surely the flat terrain makes it higher priority.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It does, but on the other hand most cities require a new line to connect to Chicago – the population distribution isn’t linear as in the Northeast.

    Andrew Reply:

    Nice list. Also Seoul-Kaesong-Pyongyang-Sinuiju-Shenyang, a nice mass-employment project after unification. Move the capital to Kaesong for good will. And speaking of linear population distributions – Chile. Concepcion to Santiago up the central valley, maybe extending to Vina. Also Argentina, once they have a president with half a brain: BA-Rosario-Cordoba. And in Asia again: KL-Melaka-JB-Singapore.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Oh, yeah, I forgot BA-Cordoba and Singapore-KL. Concepcion is too small, though.

    I’m not sure about Seoul-Pyongyang. Chances are that if Korea unifies, the North will depopulate since all the jobs paying enough to eat are in the South. The line would still be a good HSR line, I just don’t think it’d be as busy as Seoul-Busan.

    Andrew Reply:

    I think that’s why they’ll make massive infrastructure investment in the North to get things going there and put people to work. The link with China would probably stop at the fantasy stage though, as nationalists in the South will want to keep the focus on reunification of Korea rather than becoming an offshoot of China. Koreans are incredibly nationalistic and unification is not going to help that any.

    Kaesong would make a perfect new capital, because of the symbolic history as the center of reunification, because it’s got room to grow, and because it’s in the North but right next to Seoul. A nice compromise.

    Andrew Reply:

    @”Concepcion is too small”. I’m sure you’re right. And the cities in between are too close together, and the whole thing isn’t really long enough. But maybe there’s room for dreaming about something a bit more primitive at more of an intermediate speed, maybe using some re-treads from Europe or something. If it were cheap enough, then you could extend it all the way down to Puerto Montt (Concepcion would then be a spur), and have expresses, with one stop per province (Rancagua, Talca, Chillan (transfer), Temuco, Lake Region (greenfield), Puerto Montt). None of these places is big, but the corridor has several factors that push people to travel N-S along this line: the Andes (obviously), the fact that it’s all one country dominated by Santiago and secondarily Valparaiso/Vina (best universities, all national institutions, all major cultural events, only sizable airport), and the fact that it’s N-S means there is seasonal variation in climate that promotes tourism. Also the ROW is mostly flat and not heavily developed.

    Coming from the south the line could go up the west side of Santiago, dump people at the subway, then go out to the airport, then out to the coast like this:
    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=205242278980764848338.0004e005f9eb46d661cc4&msa=0&ll=-33.261657,-71.136475&spn=0.646501,1.234589

    I wonder how long the Vina-Airport trip (roughly 60 miles) would come to? There’s some climbing, but with the tunnels marked would this be doable? There’s a metro to connect with in Vina.

    Andrew Reply:

    jimsf: Throw in a detour to Yogyakarta – who cares about another 15 minutes!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You can’t put Yogyakarta/Surakarta and Semarang on the same line from Jakarta to Surabaya. So it’s a question of which gets to be on the main line to Surabaya and which gets relegated to a branch (if “branch” is the correct term for a direct line to Jakarta and Bandung). Knowing nothing about Java except the population figures quoted on citypopulation.de and a very high-level terrain map I’d go with putting Semarang on the main line.

    Andrew Reply:

    Just joking, sorry.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Oh.

    wdobner Reply:

    Although the NEC is the lowest-hanging fruit for first-world HSR today,

    No, just no. It may be low hanging, but only if you don’t mind the hornet nests of NIMBYs swarming all around any alignment for a dedicated 200+mph train. IMHO St Louis-Chicago-Minneapolis is a lot lower hanging. While it may sacrifice some population in anchor cities, it lacks many of the difficulties created by the population along the NEC or the mountains in California.

    Joey Reply:

    The city of Milwaukee has been proven in court to systemically neglect transit in favor of highways … how do you think they’d respond to HSR?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Minneapolis-Chicago-St. Louis has a problem, er, two problems that CAHSR does not:

    The Union Pacific and BNSF….

    Joey Reply:

    CAHSR has both of those problems, and BNSF has proved to be less of a problem. The most difficult part is probably maneuvering within the Chicago area where nearly all ROWs are shared by freight.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If they didn’t give a crap about 150 mph trains through Mansfield and East Greenwich, they won’t give a crap about 220 mph trains.

    Only one segment of the NEC has serious NIMBY problems, between New Rochelle (arguably Stamford) and New Haven. And you’ll be surprised how many relatively takings-free opportunities there are there. For a start, total equivalent cant on curves can be nearly doubled. The Cos Cob Bridge raising can also be coupled with eliminating curves on the approaches without takings. The takings required to partially straighten the S-curve around Shell Interlocking in New Rochelle (good enough for about 95 mph, up from 30 today) are not residential.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Interesting that nobody seems to have mentioned this point:

    Armin Kick, director of business development in the US for high-speed rail for Germany’s Siemens, says the California project demands trains maintain speeds of 220mph for over an hour. That is necessary to ensure the trains can make the Los Angeles to San Francisco trip via the roundabout Central Valley route within the three hours necessary to compete with air.

    jimsf Reply:

    Well I think everyone knows that, and the express train will be able to to do that.There’s an hours worth of 220 sections between gilroy and bakersfiled

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Well, I know it. Clem knows it. Some others here know it. “Jimsf” on the other hand, does not — or at least does not comprehend the implications.

    jimsf Reply:

    There is an hours worth of 220 between sf and la.

  9. synonymouse
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 18:09
    #9

    M. Poupart-Lafarge. Un nom formidable.

    I guess they cannot build up the nerve to offer that the best way to start is build the shortest route.

    By distributed power I assume we are talking all axles motored? Are the traction motors sprung on the trucks? Simpler the better for the 13 undocumented no-show bunch.

    It’s Bombardier anyway. You gotta pay to play.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Lafarge makes cement. Concrete stilt a rail? Qu’est ce que c’est un poupart?

    synonymouse Reply:

    D’apres mon Petit Larousse il s’agit d'”Un autre nom du crabe tourteau”.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Gros crab commun sur les cotes de l’ocean, a large carapace elliptique(jusqu’a 25 cm de large)et dont les pinces ont l’extremite noire.

    jonathan Reply:

    By distributed power I assume we are talking all axles motored? Are the traction motors sprung on the trucks? Simpler the better for the 13 undocumented no-show bunch.

    TGVs, like the ICE-1, ICE-2, and Aceloa, are powered by streamlined single-ended locomotives at each end of the trainset. Some people call these “power cars’.

    Distributed-traction HSR trainsets have passengers occupying all cars in the trainset. Transfomers, inverters, and traction motors are distributed amongst the cars. IIRC NTV’s AGV trainsets are based on 3-car modules, with two powered bogies per module (Jacobs bogies). Again, IIRC, Velaro tends to alternate cars with four powered axles, and cars with four unpowered axles.

    Distributed power is something completely different: spreading MU locomotives through the length of a (very) long consist. While common on very long US freight trains and the similarly-conceived BHP ore trains, the same technique was also used in mountain lines in Europe — for example, on the Gotthard pass — to limit forces on the (relatively weaker) screw couplings.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I should have paid more attention to the distributed traction term.

    So more or less they power the minimum number of axles to get the performance they seek, that is, once they have given up on the idea of dual “power cars”.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The latest European export trains motorize about half the bogies. As Jonathan said, the Velaro alternates between cars with all axles powered and cars with no axles powered. The Zefiro is the same. The AGV alternates between bogies if I remember correctly. The Oaris powers one bogie per car.

    Asian trains motorize almost all the axles, though not all. The Shinkansen has alternated between all axles motored (e.g. 800 Series) and a little more than half (e.g. 300 Series); the N700 and E5 motorize all axles except on the leading and trailing car. The HEMU-430X’s commercial version plans to do the same as the N700 and E5.

    William Reply:

    The reason that Shinkansen 800-series and N700-7000/8000 have all axles motorized, I believe, is to maintain a good acceleration profile on the hilly Kyushu Shinkansen, which has many stretches of 3.5% climbs. So it is trade-off between spending more on infrastructure or on rolling stocks to achieve the kine of operation and schedule one wants.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It dawned on me today that both Siemens and Alstom are essentially out of the running for American High Speed Rail contracts.

    The reason is very simple. By having the FRA adopt new standards for crashes, not only do European firms get a chance to bid on the high speed rail projects, but also on cars pulled by traditional diesel locomotives. And because Talgo has effectively already put several of those cars into service, they have a huge advantage because Amtrak and the operator of any HSR can bundle both trainsets into one order.

    In fact, as I recall Frank Vacca of the CHSRA recently put together an RFP for trainsets. Now it makes sense why. If there’s a fairly standard HSR/ higher-speed-rail trainset, then various operators can buy customized locomotives for the various routes. Case in point, if General Electric and Catepillar want to keep building diesel-only locomotives, they aren’t locked out of the marketplace while other firms can concentrate on electric only trains.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I don’t believe loco hauled hsr would appeal to PB, hassled with the irrational detour politically forced on them and the 2:40 nag.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Amtrak and CAHSRA RFI is for distributed traction EMUs, not for anything loco hauled.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s true, but consider that distributed traction is most effective for the Acela and CHSRA services. But the Talgo 7 and 8 trainsets could be paired with existing diesel locomotives for standard state-supported services and could lead the way to new long distance trains as well.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    They’ve already selected a bilevel car for the state supported services. Seriously, you’re a couple of years behind on this.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No I don’t think so.

    The Talgos that both Wisconsin and Oregon are using for state supported services coincide with routes that the Administration wants to use for HSR but is limited by lack of federal funds to do the track upgrades or electrification.

    The RFI would make sense if the Administration changed tact and accepted that true HSR would first be built on the NEC and CAHSR corridor, and then letting state-supported routes “evolve” into HSR corridors.

    The long distance trains, meanwhile, would stay diesel powered and conventionally hauled.

  10. synonymouse
    Jun 24th, 2013 at 18:36
    #10

    gros crabe commun

  11. Andrew
    Jun 25th, 2013 at 02:17
    #11

    @Robert “I know the previous post is creaking under the weight of 600+ comments…” It would be far truer and far less egoic to acknowledge that the community discussion is a self-sustaining entity in itself, which in fact should move to its own forum that is not something tacked onto the blog of any one individual, who, as anyone else would, ends up assuming that the whole thing revolves around him. As everyone knows, the relationship between the post and the discussion is tenuous at best, and often the main contribution made by the former to the latter is merely to apply a series of biases and unexplored assumptions that then must be exposed and corrected by the community over and over and over again.

    The blog itself can serve a good purpose and is a laudable effort in itself. But a single individual’s rail advocacy blog should never have become a (the?) primary medium for community discussion about all the issues relating to CAHSR. The word count of the comments was on the order of 70 times longer than the post itself, and to suggest that this discussion somehow rested entirely on an initial post of 650 words is the height of egocentrism (and I’m sure I would have said something similar if it were my own blog). A detailed, carefully researched and thoughtfully prepared post such as Clem’s could be said to be the impetus for 500+ comments, but not an ordinary daily blog post. This implies no criticism of the blog, but only that a better forum would be a true community endeavor based on rotating posts of the nature of Clem’s, which obviously requires a large collaborative group that is at least loosely organized. Without meaning to exclude people in far-flung locations, the community should also be rooted in occasional in-person gatherings that create a true sense of community and would no doubt result in a much more civil expression of opinion than the rude, dishonest, non-transparent, hyperbolic, caustic, sarcasm-laced discussion that often dominates this blog.

    Eric Reply:

    1. All blogs are rude and caustic, that’s inevitable when you can’t see the other side and they can’t hit you when you deserve it.
    2. If you want to start a forum somewhere else, you’re free to. If it’s better run than here (I personally don’t see what is lacking here) then people will follow you. Go ahead.

    jimsf Reply:

    I think this blog is fun. But would like to see it address more less contentious topics. Less on routes maybe and more on station designs, positive local developments/transit, less critical and more excitment about whats happening. But you know, everyone has an opinion.

    nbluth Reply:

    Welcome to the internet, you must be new here.

    blankslate Reply:

    I have been skipping straight to the comments on this site for years. The last time I read an entire top post from first word to last with no skimming was probably some time in 2008.

    BMF from San Diego Reply:

    Skimming posts. Heck, me too. In fact, I have not visited this site in years. I don’t know when was the last time. Today doesn’t count, har har.

    EJ Reply:

    Arguing? On the internet???

    *faints*

  12. Andrew
    Jun 25th, 2013 at 04:09
    #12

    @”San José”: You do know this means, to avoid self-contradiction, you must now write Santa Bárbara, Santa Mónica, Martínez, Santa María, Pacífica, El Cajón, Tiburón, etc. etc.. Then what do you do with “Mission Viejo” (Misión Vieja), “New Mexico” (Nuevo México), etc. If San José is their new official name and you want to respect that, OK, that’s a consistent principle, but it’s going along with a misguided decision. Let’s not try to get clever and end up tying ourselves in knots. Just as the Spaniards could write Monterey in one place and Monterrey in another, we can write San José in Costa Rica and San Jose in California. It’s just a convention.

    jimsf Reply:

    Im against rename, re spelling etc. In california weve never pronouced the cities with their original accents. Everything is pronounced in california-ese.

    San Jose is sannazay. Vallejo is valayo. monterey is monneray, Los Angeles is of course Elay,
    and Santa Ana is sannaanna

    VBobier Reply:

    To Me San Jose is ‘San Hozay’… But whatever dude.

    nick Reply:

    i pronounce it san hozay which is why there is an accent above the e. surely nobody pronounces it as it is written i.e. jose ! mind you most in the usa call a two door car a coop not a coopay ! and herb is urb (as in the french les herbes).and nobody calls deetroit daytrwa ! (d’etroites means the narrows in french). and yes i realise there should be an accent above the “e” but i don’t know where it is on the keyboard !

    VBobier Reply:

    My didn’t like the way was/is supposed to be pronounced, He was a Republican and He didn’t like those who weren’t like Him, White and protestant, His wifes relatives were Catholic educated and well off and I think He resented that. He’s gone now of course.

    VBobier Reply:

    That should be “My Dad didn’t”… He also specifically didn’t want Me going next door, where a Latino lived with His white Red headed Wife and their child, I was forbidden to go there, I went anyway, as I knew it was safe there, I’d seen and talked to Latinos in school before.

    Derek Reply:

    What’s the wrong pronunciation of “El Cajón” that locals use?

    Andrew Reply:

    XD

    EJ Reply:

    I usually think it’s silly to get pedantic about that stuff, but even though I lived in LA for twelve years I never could bring myself to pronounce Los Feliz as “Los FEELis.” That one was just too weird.

    Michael Reply:

    San Buenaventura!

    EJ Reply:

    As has been pointed out before, it’s the official spelling. Take a look.

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/images/layout/design21/footer.jpg

    Seems like city can’t make up it’s mind. That flashy blinky thing at the top of the main page has both spellings.

    EJ Reply:

    I’m guessing the font they’re using doesn’t have a capital version of the accented E – I blame the graphic designers.

    Andrew Reply:

    Accents are optional on capitals

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    San Hoser the Capital of Silicon Vallé.

    Andrew Reply:

    Sometimes one must norm the norm

    jonathan Reply:

    or renormalize.

    Andrew Reply:

    exactly

  13. Reedman
    Jun 25th, 2013 at 09:13
    #13

    The topic of transit funding and BART is timely. The BART employees are planning to go on strike. BART is an example of how CAHSR will conduct it’s finances (i.e. the highest paid BART employee in 2012 didn’t work a day on the job, etc.).

    synonymouse Reply:

    I have been saying this for years now.

    But public opinion does not seem to be much with Amalgamated and they might settle for a relatively small raise fairly quickly.

    Certainly having one umbrella agency with one union accords too much monopoly bargaining leverage. Same thing with allowing contracts at the various ops to end at the same time.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    BART’s problem is that it has it’s own police force. The majority of cities and counties in the State are buckling under the cost of pay and pension increases for public safety, and have a direct tax subsidy to offset these services.

    BART on the other hand is a transit company (which by definition will lose money) married to a law enforcement agency (which by definition has no concept of breaking even), combined with a very limited property management firm that gets no help from local jurisdictions.

    But yeah, unions! Quelle horror! Broad gauge! Oh the indignity…

  14. jimsf
    Jun 25th, 2013 at 10:26
    #14

    Instead of spending money on signature structures at intermediate station, isn’t it true that a high speed train can use a station as simple as this (just add raised platforms). so shouldn’t all the intermediate cities be offered this basic platform and if they want extra stuff they can get developers to do the rest.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No they can’t be a simple as that.

    jimsf Reply:

    why

    jimsf Reply:

    I think the authority should come up with a basic universal station design that it can drop into place in most intermediate locations ( with minor modifications of course). That would save a lot of money.

    Joey Reply:

    Let’s look at what’s necessary for a bare-bones HSR station:

    – Siding tracks and associated high speed turnouts. This might be a significant cost in the context of the station.
    – Platforms, of course
    – A way to cross the tracks, either an overpass or an underpass. If the tracks are at-grade than an underpass is usually cheaper because the vertical clearance required for trains is much greater than the vertical clearance required for people. Also fewer stairs.
    – Probably a station agent, though I don’t know for sure if staffing is an absolute necessity. In any case all that’s needed is an inexpensive little building.
    – Ticket vending, which can be provided by TVMs and the station agent
    – Faregates and security, if those things are part of the system requirements which they shouldn’t be.

    A nice example of a relatively minimal station in Spain. You can find more examples all over Europe. Providing HSR stations to areas with low to medium population sizes is a reasonable way to provide some local benefits on a project which the residents would otherwise have no reason to support, even if only a few trains per day stop there.

    jimsf Reply:

    YES! that station in spain is perfect. You could even dispense with with fancy architecture and go real basic to save a few more dollars.

    Marc Reply:

    What are the narrow covered stalls adjacent to the station, bike parking, or a weekend market?

    Joey Reply:

    Car parking I think.

    Derek Reply:

    For really narrow cars!

    Just kidding, it’s probably just the camera angle coupled with a long lens.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Joey,

    Order of magnitude check.

    It isn’t a couple stupid station buildings and Special American Designed Special Needs Maximumum Passenger Inconvenience Maximum Ridership Suppression stations designs that are killing CHSR.

    After all, you/they are only talking Burbank, Sylmar, Palmdale., Bakersfield, Fresno, Gilroy here.

    Blow those costs out, even by a billion dollars each, and you still have $20-$50 billion or so of American Special Needs inexplicable pork to account for before you approach something that anybody else would countenance funding.

    Consider also that it is the siting of the stations and the bullshit, 100% pork for the consultant mafiosi, civil works associated with them (mmmmmm …. let’s relocate Hwy 99 in Fresno … swill swill snort burp) that has more to do with it than the admittedly idiotic Special Californian Snowflake station structures themselves.

    A passenger-hostile mis-located mis-configured station is just a budgetary pimple compared to the festering sort of a 12 mile long 100 foot high (miles and feet!) viaduct with unique-to-California rails and power and signalling and SCADA and …

    Emmanuel Reply:

    There’s nothing wrong with building a unique station. But, when the price tag rises to $4 billion, I honestly have to scratch my head. The relatively new Berlin Hauptbahnhof cost about $725 million including the renovation required right now. How they literally screwed up, I don’t know. But, my point is that the facility employs 800 people. Yes, a simple station would do, but at what price?

    Emmanuel Reply:

    On the other hand, why not make private investment pay for construction. If they want to make business there, they should chip in.

    Joey Reply:

    Out of curiosity, does $725m include the price of the new N-S line under the city?

    thatbruce Reply:

    @Joey:

    If the tracks are at-grade than an underpass is usually cheaper because the vertical clearance required for trains is much greater than the vertical clearance required for people. Also fewer stairs.

    But then how would you appreciate the iconic details of the station? No, making people climb up from the street level to the track level, then up again to cross over to another track is The American Design Way.

    jonathan Reply:

    at which point one should perhaps ask, who signed off on that “iconic” station theme?

    Marc Reply:

    I’ve used the temporary Transbay terminal at least 3 days/week since the day it opened. It has always struck me how well it works as an urban bus station, at what, something less than 1/20th the cost of its eventual replacement? Yes, there are a few days when the weather coverage is inadequate, it could use some more bus stalls, and the central area is underutilized. If the TTBT was permanent, these things could be fixed at minimal cost. But, I can’t help but feel that the new terminal is unlikely to be all that much better for the primary purpose of commuting, even if trains someday make it to the basement.

    It seems like “signaturitis” is forcing more and more of our dwindling transportations funds to be devoted towards these imposing (and often rather ugly) monuments. Just look at the new Bay Bridge, SFOs new terminals, Oakland International’s bizarre BART connector, etc. Just how is CAHSR going to end up any better?

    Emmanuel Reply:

    I don’t think that’s the problem. In Germany, a lot of major stations are sponsored by big companies, usually beer companies. In exchange they have some large logo in the front. Stations should be a matter of lical, public and private investment. I also believe that stations should be iconic to provide passengers with visual cues of where they are. If we build it, we should build it with the future in mind so that we don’t have to go back and upgrade it again.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Emmanual,

    The “sponsoring” is just an advertising deal.

    We have the same deals in the US, though typically with much shorter contract times and involving more warren-like metro stations which lack giant train sheds from which to proclaim a brand name. (“Station domination” is the local industry term for one advertising taking over all space in one station … though in my non-current experience that hasn’t been typical in Germany.)

    “Domination” or not, there was and is no involvement by the people who get to put up large logos with the construction or design or placement or upgrades of the stations. The revenue, while non-zero and of some value to DB-Netz, is peanuts compared to (circa three orders of magnitude off) the capital cost of siting, building, and maintaining of city major stations.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Emmanuel, sorry about the typo/mis-spelling. It’s all San José‘s fault.

  15. William
    Jun 25th, 2013 at 13:48
    #15

    Meanwhile, the first SMART DMU is progressing nicely:
    http://www2.sonomamarintrain.org/userfiles/file/6-19-13%20GM%20Report%20to%20Board_Final.pdf

    synonymouse Reply:

    That’s one ugly sucker chisel-face doodlebug.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Very very very nicely, if you’re LTK Engineering Services and associated mafiosi who couldn’t possibly win any sort of competitive open bid in any sort of non-rigged market.

    If you’re a member of the public, of course, the “progressing nicely” SMART vehicles mean highest vehicle cost, highest station cost, highest trackwork cost, worst vehicle reliability, worst track maintenance costs, worst passenger environment, worst performances, worst efficiency, worst level of service.

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, delivering their very very very special goods — to themselves — as only they can. World Class!

    Elizabeth Reply:

    “Federal Transit Administration (FTA) $2.5 Million Appropriations Update:
    The submitted $2.5M appropriations grant has been routed from FTA to the Department of Labor(DOL). In
    turn, the DOL routed the grant to the seven affected unions in the SMART District (a step required for all FTA
    funds) for a 15 day comment period. Due to the PEPRA (public pension reforms) in California, which the
    unions have protested, the DOL has not been allowing the FTA to release funds to transit agencies in
    California. Larger transit agencies in California (LA Metro) have recently stated that they will lay off
    employees if they don’t get their funding soon and the Governor has weighed in with an official letter to the
    DOL. It is likely that all of the PEPRA issues will be resolved in time to execute our grant prior to the deadline
    of September 20.”

    Peter Reply:

    Why is this being pointed out?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Does anyone know anything else about this

    http://www.teamsters952.org/OCTA%202013%20PEPRA/USDEPTOFLABOR.pdf

    Elizabeth Reply:

    http://www.mst.org/wp-content/media/Agenda_MST_Jan2013.pdf starting page 15

    These are Jerry Brown’s pension reform efforts from last summer, which I thought were done deal.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    still not resolved as of april
    http://www.mst.org/wp-content/media/Agenda_MST_April2013.pdf

    Peter Reply:

    Oh dear. Logically, if something hasn’t been resolved in June, it cannot have been resolved as of two months earlier.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-165139/

    http://capoliticalnews.com/2013/05/27/central-valley-may-lose-bus-services-due-to-unions-efforts/

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Seriously people – critical bus service in Central Valley may be cut because of this holdup
    http://sanjoaquinrtd.com/publichearings/

    There is number to call and comment!

    synonymouse Reply:

    The kind of crap why I stopped being a yellow dog democrat and vote no on everything now.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Seriously people – critical bus service in Central Valley may be cut because of this holdup

    Isn’t this an opportunity for you since all these people are now going to need retirement planning services? Aren’t you excited at the thought of lots of people being tossed out of the pension system so they can people of questionable ethics lead them into investment vehicles of dubious strength that serve to enrich Wall Street first and foremost?

    Reedman Reply:

    The Teamsters and other unions are arguing that any restrictions or reductions in their pay, benefits, and/or pensions by the State of California are illegal because of federal laws about tranportation workers. The possible big effect is that anyone hired to work on CAHSR will be exempt from Jerry Browns attempts at controlling payroll costs.

    nobody_important Reply:

    Looks great.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If they chisel the snout of the SMART doodlebug any sharper it could serve as a can opener. Slice the roof off a Marin Beemer blowing the gates.

    EJ Reply:

    I agree man. Everything sucks.

    In all seriousness what’s wrong with it? Maybe it’s a little retro 1970s (e.g. original BART cars, VIA rail LRC) but IMHO that’s a good look. There’s stuff worth criticizing about the SMART project, but the aesthetics look fine.

    synonymouse Reply:

    De gustibus non est disputandum

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noS05KLOoZE

    Kinda austere interior to my taste but definitely modernistic. I guess the big bumpers are for safety purposes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I could visualize these articulated units on Geary.

    EJ Reply:

    Wow I guess there’s no accounting for taste – cuz those are some ugly-ass trams. Even by the standards of modern trams, which tend to look like childrens’ toys. Just a big blob – even the “face” created by the coupler housing and the headlights looks embarrassed to be a part of it.

    EJ Reply:

    Here are some modern trams that don’t look terrible http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FcETbIsdqg

    synonymouse Reply:

    They are not bad – quite similar to the Siemens cars on the Rheinbahn I should think.

    But now the SMART doodlebugs do maintain the general aura of boffo and irrelevant that is truly SMART. The BART fanboys want it to fail and Doug Bosco & Co. want free new tracks for their gravel trains. Dunno how far that is going to get.

    EJ Reply:

    They’re made by Siemens I believe.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Japanese.

    swing hanger Reply:

    North America, where new rolling stock looks like it just rolled out of the 1970’s. Institutional.

    jimsf Reply:

    I just hope they don’t paint it red like on the webiste.

    EJ Reply:

    Ugh, who would be caught dead in something like that? So tacky, and so pointy. And I bet the seats won’t even be fine Corinthian leather.

    swing hanger Reply:

    But please be comforted that it will have a snack counter. Cuz ‘Mericans need their cheese doodles and diet cokes.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Oh, the seats. The seats.

    By “Kustom Seating Unlimited, Inc”.

    I kid you not.

    Why would anybody buy anything from Kustom Seating Unlimited, Inc you may ask? The answer is “Because competition is not allowed,” of course.

    Designed and Made in AMERICA. To Meet AMERICAN FRA standards. AMERICAN standards designed to keep AMERICAN passenger trains safely in the 19th century, where they belong.

    World Klass!

    swing hanger Reply:

    Nuttin’ conveys good ‘ol “down to earth” hayseed hip more than replacing your C’s with K’s. Krispy Kreme, anyone?

    EJ Reply:

    Wow. That’s just very special. The important thing is they’re trying their best I guess.

    Reality Check Reply:

    ‘Buy America’ town hall set in Fresno for HSR project

    A town hall meeting Wednesday in Fresno will feature a panel of manufacturing, political and labor leaders pushing for strong Buy America requirements for California’s high-speed rail project.

    EJ Reply:

    Here’s the thing – I could have sworn that of all the times I’ve been on trains in California in the past few years, I’ve sat on seat. Which I assume passed FRA crash standards – now they were probably over-engineered, but they fulfilled the essential functions of a seat – ie a reasonably comfortable place to park my ass. So, this would seem to be a solved problem. Why is SMART messing around with Khloe Kardashian’s Kustom Komfort seats?

    swing hanger Reply:

    Maybe since ‘murikuns of late have Kardashian-sized Keesters, they need to re-test.

    William Reply:

    “Kustom Seating” is not a new company. In its website, besides Nippon Sharyo, the builder of SMART DMU, it also listed Caltrain and Bombardier as its customers, so I presume the seats currently in the Gallery Cars and the Bombardier Cars were made by Kustom Seating.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    If they paint it red it will go faster.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not according to BART – raw brutalist aluminum is duorail modern.

    Truth is BART cannot afford paint – that money goes to payroll.

    Eric Reply:

    Sometimes you guys remind me of this.
    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Tamarian_language

    nobody_important Reply:

    You’re just noticing synonymouse is a broken record with a limited vocabulary? I really want to do a word web with all of his posts.

    nobody_important Reply:

    Word CLOUD I mean.

    nobody_important Reply:

    Actually, a word cloud of richard would be funnier.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    They sell those at places to buy stuff for children. I think it is called MAD LIBS or something….

    swing hanger Reply:

    You could do a mad lib for every regular poster here, put it in the comments section after one of Robert’s posts, and nobody would know the difference- this community has been around long enough (bless them all).

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Robert’s true calling is to move back to Northern California and open a railroad theme tavern. For as much time as I spend here I might as well be able to get a bite to eat, a pint, and throw some darts.

    JB in PA Reply:

    +1

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Let me Google that for you.

    nobody_important Reply:

    You must think I’m some kinda moron. In fact, you treat everyone like they’re morons.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    ou’re just noticing synonymouse is a broken record with a limited vocabulary?

    You can bang on about Mr Mouse all you like — and God knows I think many of the same thoughts –, but the fact is that he was right, right to the tune of $10 billion or more of your earth dollars, where it really counts, and was right about it years before I and many others.

    $10+ billion buys a lot of indulgence.
    Or ought to. If anybody were to exert themselves about hard hard stuff like counting the number of trailing zeroes.

    nobody_important Reply:

    Where did I say I was against Tejon?

    Caltrain Rider Reply:

    “Richard Mlynarik Reply:
    June 26th, 2013 at 6:55 pm
    Let me Google that for you.
    [Reply]
    nobody_important Reply:
    June 26th, 2013 at 8:29 pm
    You must think I’m some kinda moron. In fact, you treat everyone like they’re morons.”

    Yeah he sure does. He also implies that some posters here are other people posting under a different name. Does anyone think that Richard and Synomouse are the same person?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Richard’s technical background overwhelms my B.A. in French.

    Caltrain Rider Reply:

    What exactly is Richard’s technical background?
    What makes him right and everyone else wrong?
    He does bring up some valid points but does he always have to be so caustic?
    More people might take him more seriously if he were more pleasent.
    Rail trasnportation does not subsist only by the ideological world of Mr. Mlynarik.

    Joey Reply:

    Does anyone think that Richard and Synomouse are the same person?

    No.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Or with flames. Heard that works too. Done by Kustom Painting, Inc.

    William Reply:

    The SMART website has it green nowadays…

    jimsf Reply:

    Well in the end they should wrap them with ads anyway to help raise money.

  16. Paul Dyson
    Jun 26th, 2013 at 08:42
    #16

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23070506
    Sell the crown jewels!

  17. Keith Saggers
    Jun 26th, 2013 at 12:35
    #17

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/24/richard-branson-defence-virgin-trains?INTCMP=SRCH

    Derek Reply:

    I like the model where California owns the track and train operators (Virgin, JetBlue, Southwest, etc.) pay to use it. And before I board, I’d like to have my luggage checked all the way to my destination when my itinerary includes one or more airline flights.

    jimsf Reply:

    I think like that idea too. I like the idea of a state run service, but what described would also be nice so long as its properly regulated and the fees they pay have to cover the maintenance.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    A State service makes sense up to the point that the HSR service is going to be viable with private transportation and if an airline was smart enough to pair their flights with it, they could make a killing while paying the State a hefty fee that could be plowed back into mass transit and money-losing routes that feed into the service. Plus an airline-HSR company opens the door to cross-border expansions that could make the company very competitive and and profitable across the whole Western US.

  18. John Burrows
    Jun 26th, 2013 at 20:11
    #18

    Guess I haven’t been paying enough attention, but today was surprised to receive a post card from ACE giving info on scoping meetings for their “ACEforward” program.

    For anybody who doesn’t already know about the program it involves increasing ACE service to 6 daily round trips by 2018 and 10 daily trips by 2022. The plan also involves extending ACE service to the downtowns of Modesto, Turlock, and Merced.

    The first of 5 scoping meetings is July 22 at the Santa Clara Central Park Library—4:30-7:30 PM.

    By the time ACE gets to Merced, could the ACE trains possibly keep going to Bakersfield on the newly built high speed tracks?

    jimsf Reply:

    Here is the plan for the ace/capitol/san joaquin unified service

    Joey Reply:

    I’m confused. All I see are the three lines represented in the same color. What does it mean? Between what points and along what routes will trains run that they don’t today?

    swing hanger Reply:

    Shouldn’t ACE concentrate on serving the commuter market better in its area by (though 10r/t by 2022 is pathetic frequency) rather than dreaming about being an intercity service (Bakersfield??)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    ACE is no more thanks to the bill that shifts responsibility for it to the San Joaquin Valley Rail Commission. Now it’s BART running the show and mixing up routes to feed its services and Bay Area population centers as needed. Bakersfield and Fresno are not part of the plan.

  19. Dario W. Underwood
    Jul 6th, 2013 at 20:12
    #19

    The OAX’s connection to the existing BART system at Coliseum/Oakland Airport station will resemble the AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark airport people movers’ existing off-airport connections to other rail transit lines. In this case however, both the airport people mover and connecting rail transit will be operated by BART and share the same fare system. The OAC’s platforms at Coliseum/Oakland Airport station will be connected to the south ends of the existing BART platforms via an aerial walkway.

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