Level Boarding on the Peninsula

Oct 10th, 2013 | Posted by

On Monday evening at 6:30 pm Friends of Caltrain is hosting an event at Mountain View City Hall to discuss level boarding on the Peninsula rail corridor. Adina Levin of Friends of Caltrain describes the importance of this discussion to effective passenger rail service on the Peninsula:

Caltrain will make key decisions affecting the long term capacity of the blended system with High Speed Rail by 2015, when it chooses what electric rail cars to buy. On October 14, come learn and discuss these issues with representatives from Caltrain, the High Speed Rail Authority, and the Transbay project, hosted by Friends of Caltrain

Caltrain and High Speed Rail are still intending to have incompatible platform heights, and set-aside areas in the space-constrained Transbay station, limiting the amount of rail service that can be provided in the “blended system”.

Can Caltrain and High Speed Rail agree on platform heights to provide more service and lower cost? What are the barriers to doing this?

The good news for San Francisco and Silicon Valley is that Caltrain is leaning toward level boarding – a major step forward – but there are funding, technical, and regulatory challenges.

Right now, riders need to climb stairs to get aboard Caltrain. Caltrain has to stop for up to two minutes at each station stop, and up to 5 minutes for passengers in wheelchairs. BART, by comparison, stops for 30-40 seconds. Caltrain can’t schedule transfer connections to be on time. Boarding Caltrain is difficult and time-consuming for people with mobility issues (and strollers, and luggage, and bikes).

Can Caltrain have level boarding? Can Caltrain and High Speed Rail share platform heights? What are the technical, legal, and cost barriers to solving these problems? What would it take to overcome them? How can we community members help?

Join Friends of Caltrain on Monday October 14, 6:30pm at Mountain View City Hall for a panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of level boarding and platform height.

Panelists:
Marian Lee, Executive Officer Caltrain Modernization
Bryan Dykes, Transbay Transit Center Project
Ben Tripousis, Northern California Regional Director, High Speed Rail Authority
Clem Tillier, Caltrain/High Speed Rail Compatibility Blog

Those interested in attending are strongly encouraged to pre-register here to help organizers with logistics.

It should be a good discussion that can help both Caltrain and California high speed rail figure out how to use the blended corridor effectively. Now is the time to get this right.

  1. Robert Cruickshank
    Oct 10th, 2013 at 21:08
    #1

    An editorial note: when I logged in tonight there were 787 spam comments. Virtually all of them were actual spam written in kanji. There’s been a wave of this going on for about a month but it’s gotten much worse this week. I mass deleted the comments, and may have swept up some legitimate pending comments in the process. My apologies for doing so. Since the spam comments come from very different IP addresses, it’s hard to pre-emptively ban them.

  2. Elizabeth
    Oct 10th, 2013 at 22:22
    #2

    Have you tried Akismet (free wordpress plugin)?

    Resident Reply:

    Hi Elizabeth (or Morris), Any word yet on the CHSRA/AG response in the taxpayer lawsuit – wasn’t today the response deadline? Is there anywhere we can see their filing? The Sacramento Superior court website doesn’t have any updates yet.

    joe Reply:

    Fresno Bee just posted this Tim Sheehan article.
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/10/10/3546320/contractors-asked-to-qualify-for.html

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority issued a request for qualifications Thursday to companies interested in bidding on a 60-mile segment from the south end of Fresno to the Tulare-Kern county line near the historic community of Allensworth. The request for qualifications is a preliminary step; only contractors deemed qualified by the rail agency will later be allowed to submit formal bids next year to design and build the project.

    Contractors have until Dec. 6 to submit their qualifications.

    Resident Reply:

    saw that earlier today. par for the course.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah, PB-Tutor

    morris brown Reply:

    @Resident

    The deadline for the AG response brief is today (Oct 11th). It may be a few days before it gets published on the Court’s website.

    Travis D Reply:

    “Taxpayer lawsuit” what a duplicitous name for it. A better one would be “lawsuit by idiots who wish to ruin the future.”

    I, for one, can’t wait for the groundbreaking so I can gloat and feast on their tears.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I sure hope you are Mark Zuckerberg rich so you will have the means and connections to avoid those groaning taxes to pay for the hefty subsidies it will take to keep a few mostly empty trains running over the DogLeg.

    Do you really think Pelosi, Feinstein and Boxer are going to pay those taxes? Not any more than they are going to go on ObamaCare.

    “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes”

    -Leona Helmsly

    joe Reply:

    When did your wife realize she married a misogynist?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Shortly after she discovered his large cache of peyote….

  3. Mattie F.
    Oct 10th, 2013 at 22:23
    #3

    I don’t suppose there are any plans to stream the event, or record and post later?

  4. Adina Levin
    Oct 11th, 2013 at 00:05
    #4

    We would welcome someone with the ability to video-record the event and post to Youtube/Vimeo. If you have the gear and skills, let me know at adina dot levin at friendsofcaltrain dot com. I’ll ask people who have pre-registered if anyone has the ability to video.

  5. Keith Saggers
    Oct 11th, 2013 at 10:58
    #5
  6. Joey
    Oct 11th, 2013 at 12:21
    #6

    BART, by comparison, stops for 30-40 seconds.

    BART trains typically have their doors open for 15-20 seconds, and the opening/closing takes maybe an additional 5 seconds. What exactly are they measuring here?

  7. morris brown
    Oct 11th, 2013 at 14:49
    #7

    @Resident and others interested…

    The Attorney General’s reply brief in the Tos et al vs. the California High Speed Rail Authority can be viewed at:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/175441551/Attorney-General-s-reply-brief-in-Tos-et-al-vs-CHSRA

    There will be yet a rebuttal brief to this response from the plaintiffs and a court hearing on the matter on Nov. 8th.

    This is only the first part of what is really a 2 part lawsuit. This is the writ part, which will be followed by a Declaratory Relief action (526a), yet to be scheduled.

    joe Reply:

    Followed by Part 3 Unicorns, Pony’s and Katy Perry.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Kamala Harris: Our legalese is more impenetrable than yours. neener neener neener

    joe Reply:

    “Tos Cannot Rebut the Presumption the Authority Will Follow the Law.”

    “…This relief is also not properly granted because one party speculates the other will refuse to comply with the law.”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Well we are going to see how far one of the favorite arguments in this board is going to go with the court. They are arguing they are spending federal and state funds, not bond funds, and therefore do not need to comply with the 2 sections of prop 1A they were ruled not to meet.

    They do say in the filing, that when they get around to spending bond funds they will comply so even if they win they are only buying time since there is no more federal money

    Joe Reply:

    Correction.

    They claim to be spending federal funds only.

    The state committed to matching the federal funds. It can be prop1a or any other state source.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …but there’s more State money through other channels. Secondly, the impoundment of the bond funds would also apply to the bookend portions.

    I am pretty confident that all Kenny will do to restrict the Authority is require them to have a completed funding plan for each segment in place before bond funds are used on that segment. In other words, the Legislature though they were getting quid pro quo and instead it will be all CV all the time.

    Meanwhile, John should realize that everyday the government shutdown continues, it gets more and more likely the GOP will lose the House and put Democrats in charge again who will probably appropriate 5 to 10 billion for HSR a year.

    joe Reply:

    Worse, CA districts are not gerrymandered.
    Three districts where a Generic Democratic challenger leads incumbent:
    CA-10 (Jeff Denham), CA-31 (Gary Miller), CA-25 (Buck McKeon)

    Alan Reply:

    Game, set, match to the state. The fact that the Authority can use federal money exclusively for the current contracts, and provide the state match later–maybe years later–leaves the court with no viable option. The court has no authority to prevent the use of the federal funds that are in hand. Brady and Flashman–the California bar’s Laurel and Hardy–try to argue that the restrictions that apply to Prop 1A bond money apply to any funds received by the Authority. There’s no basis in law for that claim–their justification is essentially, “Because we said so.”

    I’ve read the briefs from both sides. The plaintiff’s brief, from Laurel and Hardy, reeks of desperation. It’s their “Hail, Mary” pass. Brady and Flashman have tried for years to be the giant killers who bring down HSR. All they’ve managed to do is cause delay. If they can’t complete the Hail, Mary and get an order restraining construction, their HSR gravy train ride will come to an end, and they’ll have to go back to chasing ambulances.

    On top of the weakness of their arguments, they couldn’t even follow the court’s instructions–where the court ordered them to brief on exactly what expenditures were illegal, the plaintiffs’ brief essentially reargues the part of the case that’s already been decided. They demanded a restraining order until the 526a part of the case is heard–but they failed to make a proper motion to get such an order. There’s also a matter that the plaintiffs would have to post a bond to cover the Authority’s losses, just to get a restraining order. The state, in its brief, estimates those losses to be $300 million. Good luck getting that bond with a totally weak case.

    The state made mincemeat of the plaintiffs’ arguments, and basically mooted the whole thing by making clear that the Authority wouldn’t need Prop 1A money for the initial construction contracts.

  8. D. P. Lubic
    Oct 11th, 2013 at 15:59
    #8

    Keeping an eye on the competition:

    http://quickrelease.tv/?p=1882&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+quickrelease%2Frxiu+%28quickrelease.tv%29

    And an unfortunate event in West Virginia:

    http://www.theintermountain.com/page/content.detail/id/565368.html

    http://www.statejournal.com/story/23669628/1-dead-51-injured-in-log-truck-train-crash-near-pocahontas-randolph-county-line

    http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201310110061

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    In other news, Amtrak is looking to expand service in Virginia, including returning trains to Roanoke.

    http://narprail.org/news/narp-blog/2399-roanoke-oct9-mtg

    We won’t see it, but I can’t tell you how much I would like to see those Amtrak trains powered by steam–specifically, Norfolk & Western steam.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTitj_onk8A

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeuPEE-Meso

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPOz_i38GQA

    About that article–one of the most interesting things in it is the claim that the existing Lynchburg service has an operating cost recovery ratio of 156%! Wonder what it would take to get Amtrak as a whole to 100% or better? We could thumb our noses at the Cato and Reason crowds then!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Direct service to New York and Washington.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Not quite enough, I say, from my upstate NY vantage point, which does have direct service to New York City.

    (1) It has to run on time. This usually means the passenger operator must control, maintain, and dispatch track, unless the freight operator is friendly. Norfolk Southern is currently friendly; CSX is not.
    (2) It has to be operated competently. On another forum, I’ve discussed particular operational problems with the Empire Corridor in particular, related to excessive boarding delays.
    (3) It has to be sufficiently fast. (Not the biggest problem here, actually; it’s faster than legal driving. There’s too damn much illegal driving. Station dwell times are a problem, particularly at Albany.)
    (4) It has to be sufficiently frequent. (Somewhat of a problem.)

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I would add that it needs some expansion. Some of it would be additional regional trains, along the line of the Lynchburg service (which could also be considered extensions of corridors); another would be to look at making the tri-weekly trains daily (which requires more equipment), and in some cases, making the long-distance trains a twice-daily service, the runs separated by about 12 hours (eliminating the situation of the only train through town being at 2:00AM).

    Despite what would be a bit of controversy here on the long-distance part, the idea behind both is to grow the business at a faster clip than it has been. Indeed, isn’t Amtrak equipment-constrained as it is?

    Nathanael Reply:

    “Indeed, isn’t Amtrak equipment-constrained as it is?”

    Very much so. Regarding long-distance services: A year or so ago Amtrak issued a rare presentation showing *direct costs* rather than the usual meaningless allocated costs. The Auto Train and Silver Meteor were profitable on “direct costs” (meaning that discontinuing either train would make Amtrak lose money), and the Lake Shore Limited was at break-even. The Auto Train is constrained by CSX train length limits and by availability of head-end power from the locomotive. But the Silver Meteor and Lake Shore Limited are constrained mainly by lack of cars. New single-level long-distance cars in particular would improve Amtrak’s profitability.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Link to the home page of the affected railroad :
    Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad
    http://mountainrailwv.com/

    Ted K. Reply:

    Link to the home page of a short line that’s a neighbor of the D+GVRR :
    Buckingham Branch Railroad
    http://www.buckinghambranch.com/index.htm

    NB – This ties to DPL’s link to the Narp-Blog post about future Amtrak service to Roanoke, VA.

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    The Buckingham Branch Railroad currently carries Amtrak’s Cardinal between Culpeper and Gordonsville, VA. I have to wonder if the Virginia political establishment wasn’t so hostile to public transportation generally, would they buy the line and upgrade it so the Cardinal and a day train to Staunton would run faster?

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    A bit about the Buckingham Branch handling the Amtrak train–that’s the former C&O Mountain Division, which is owned by CSX and leased to the Buckingham Branch. I don’t know what its current condition is, but I believe it still has jointed rail. This road was noted for some rather sharp vertical curves, supposedly sharp enough that new men on it got nervous approaching the crests of the two major grades on it, feeling their locomotives would go charging into the air!

  9. morris brown
    Oct 11th, 2013 at 22:02
    #9

    The LA Times has just published an analysis of the State Attorney General’s reply brief in the Tos et al suit.

    See:

    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-1012-bullet-money-20131012,0,4716116.story

    State says federal funds can be used to start bullet train work

    This article contains this side note:

    State Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s office said Friday he is not willing to sell high-speed rail bonds, which would generate funds for the project, until a separate court case is resolved. A ruling in that suit may not come until late December.

    joe Reply:

    CA does not need to issue bonds in 2013. It would be a waste of funding to raise money before its needed. Why issues bonds and pay interest when CA has to spend the Fed funds first?

    Thank God the LATimes is there to add value.

  10. morris brown
    Oct 11th, 2013 at 23:04
    #10

    State bullet-train project now a step closer to oblivion

    San Diego Union Trib:

    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/oct/11/bullet-train-court-fight-illegal-state-plan/

    joe Reply:

    Fall of the Union tribune
    How A Major GOP Donor Turned A Respected Paper Into A Corporate Shill
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/12/06/the-fall-of-the-san-diego-union-tribune/191710

    What’s going on here? It appears the state finds hope in the section of Kenny’s Aug. 16 ruling in which he expressed doubt over his authority to block funding of the project. But Kenny’s ruling made clear that Proposition 1A’s taxpayer protections had teeth, starting with provisions limiting the financial risk to the state from starting a huge project with inadequate funding.

    Not quite….

    The brief states that “The Court could not determine whether there were subsequent approvals that committed or expended bond funds…The Court therefore requested briefing…”

    The brief mentions the standard for taxpayer plaintiffs is not ‘financial risk’ but waste. Also the brief clearly states the State’s commitment to the ARRA funds can also be met without Prop1A funding.

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah, the Union Tribune went from being conservative, but readable, to outright right-wing hackery when Manchester bought it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And what else is new?

    As far as the print media are concerned the 4th estate is mostly dead. The WSJ is a propaganda conduit for the GOP whilst the NY Times performs the same function for the Democratic Party.

    And the SF Chron is pure Pelosi Pravda.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Reality has a liberal bias.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Who died and made David Brooks and Ross Douthat Democratic propagandists?

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    From the “Fall of the San Diego Tribune” item:

    “But prior to purchasing U-T San Diego, one industry in which Manchester did not have experience is journalism. ‘I consider them amateurs in the newspaper business,’ said one current staffer who requested anonymity fearing retaliation for criticizing Manchester and Lynch. ‘I think they’ve made some strategic mistakes. Doug Manchester doesn’t know anything about running a newspaper.’”

    This ties in with an opinion I’ve had for years, coming out of dealing with all sorts of business owners.

    I think every type of business requires a certain “touch,” for lack of a better word. About the best way to describe that would be to note that a garage owner likely wouldn’t know how to run a restaurant, the restaurant owner couldn’t run a cab company, the cab operator would likely flub running a jewelry or clothing store, the store people would be absolute flops at running the garage. . .

    I’m also of the opinion that bankers and lawyers shouldn’t run anything but banks and law firms! Too bad others don’t see that!

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    On the lighter side, from the comments following this piece:

    “I live in Orange County, and occasionally pick up a copy of The Reg if it’s lying around where I’m eating lunch or something. IT’s embarrassingly bad considering it’s the major newspaper in the county. So bad it makes people choose the LA Times instead.

    “The Op-Ed pages are a combination of a rogue’s gallery of the most shamelessly right wing syndicated columnists and local apologists for any crimes by business or the cops.

    “But it’s the letters to the editor that always make it for me. I’d ballpark the average age of the writers at about 110 year old, and the Fox news consumption at 10-12 hours a day. The editors don’t seem to make any corrections to letters that include blatant lies or fictional facts.”–Andy Kreiss

    “That’s my hometown newspaper which I stopped reading after the nutjob editorials MMFA mentioned. The U-T is now Fox in print. We mock state run news in places like North Korea but this isn’t far from being the same thing.

    I hear Mr. Manchester has shown interest in the Los Angeles Times if they sell.”–Joe Friday

    “If the likes of Douglas Manchester and Rupert Murdoch are going to buy all these media outlets, why not go all the way? Let’s have Darth Vader buy the NYT and Voldemort buy the LAT!”–Connie Hines Dorothy Provine

    A different goal in reality?

    “One thing to keep in mind about newspapers owned by people like Manchester is that the normal business model is different.

    “When Apple opened stores a lot of people laughed because they believed they would not turn a profit. But Apple saw it as marketing, and if that marketing drove sales it would justify the losses on the stores.

    “Manchester won’t see declining circulation or a P&L showing red ink as a negative if it gets him what he wants in his other business ventures. This is what keeps much of the Murdoch press alive today, it serves other interests other than generating a direct profit.”–D.B Hebbard

    “I’m a San Diego native and I can tell you that he got a LOT more than paper and ink. He’s a real estate developer and the UT sits on a prime piece of real estate in Mission Valley. I read recently that the the UT buildings will be torn down and the property developed into a large mixed use residential-commercial venture. I thought at the time when Manchester bought the paper, that it was a plaything, and the real prize was the property.”–dsinlp

  11. Nathanael
    Oct 12th, 2013 at 17:54
    #11

    Regarding the actual topic, I’m not seeing much hope. Caltrain is proposing to use a unique-in-the-world boarding height, which will presumably result in CAHSR ignoring them and using a different boarding height. Neither of which will be compatible with Amtrak. Or ACE.

    “BART thinking”.

    Joey Reply:

    Amtrak/ACE compatibility is far from necessary, and maybe not even desirable – if the most unreliable trains are kept in their own corner of Diridon, it’s better for CalTrain and HSR. The real issue is getting HSR and CalTrain to adopt the same platform height. Compared to that, exactly what the platform height is doesn’t matter all that much.

    Eric Reply:

    And what about MetroLink?

    Joey Reply:

    Metrolink compatibility is a good idea but much less important than CalTrain compatiblity.

    EJ Reply:

    Why is Caltrain compatibility more important? The proposed CAHSR alignment actually has more stations in common with Metrolink (if you factor in the line to Irvine and the IE-San Diego Extension) than it does with Caltrain.

    Joey Reply:

    No highly constrained CBD terminal station which will be at capacity from day one. Wide right-of-way in the San Fernando Valley plus at least one non-HSR track guaranteed for UP. 0-1 shared stations in the constrained shared segment between LA and Anaheim (Anaheim itself has lots of room). No current plans for Metrolink modernization. Like I said, it would be a good idea, but it’s much more critical on the Peninsula.

    jimsf Reply:

    Sacramento could pass a law requiring all state trains, ( the three amtrak lines, the metrolinks, caltrain and coasters, along with hsr) to use a standard platform statewide. Then give x number of years, say, ten, to reach compliance. They could say its a needed law now that things are being broekn down more into local feifdoms , jpas, etc. It would also create local construction jobs or the ten year period. The state could provide the funding year by year, route by route, according to highest priority. and could mandate a gradual phasing in of high level rail cars statewide. It would take time but they have the ability to mandate it in order to reach the eventual goal of statewide compatitbiliy. ..mandate a single type of car design as well.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Great idea.

    Such an attempted law would certainly flush out PB’s Bechtelian instincts. They would certainly oppose as they plan to re-invent the wheel down at their orphan ARRA “testtrack”.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Sort of like the law which mandated standard gauge rail tracks, or the one which mandated knuckle couplers? Yeah…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Joey, CHSRA is pursuing a joint request for rolling stock with Amtrak’s “Acela replacement” request. Amtrak is going to be looking for 48″ platform boarding. CHSRA is most likely going to go with 48″ platform boarding as a result.

    Western Amtrak trains and ACE need 18″ for level boarding.

    Caltrain is proposing…. 25″ ?!?! Which they justify by giving examples of systems using… 23″ ?!?!?!?! “Non-thinking” is probably approximately right.

    Nathanael Reply:

    (Oh — Metrolink is the same as western Amtrak, for reference.)

    jonathan Reply:

    “Non-thinking” would be more accurate. Caltrain just doesn’t get it. The lifetime of their Bombardier fleet is small, as is its value, compared to rebuilt platforms with a lifetime of a century or more.

  12. EJ
    Oct 12th, 2013 at 20:30
    #12

    Aren’t we overstating the real value of a common, level boarding height between commuter trains and HSR? Sure, in a perfect world it would be nice. It hasn’t actually been achieved in most parts of the world where HSR trains and commuter trains share track (most of Europe doesn’t have true level boarding).

    Most train systems I’ve been exposed to worldwide, commuter, long distance, and HSR trains don’t typically share tracks, for operational reasons, at major stations, even if there’s no technical reason why they couldn’t.

    Now, ability to share tracks would give flexibility as tracks are taken out of service for maintenance, but that’s fairly infrequent. But take, for example, the SF TBT. Either CAHSR needs 4 tracks, or they don’t. If they need those 4 tracks, well the ability to share them with Caltrain is pretty much irrelevant, isn’t it? There isn’t capacity for Caltrain, even if they could technically use the tracks.

    For the 2 mid-peninsula stations, who cares. At worst they become 6 track stations instead of 4. Big deal.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    6 track station cost, very very roughly, 50 percent more than 4 track stations. To build and to run.

    EJ Reply:

    I’m still not sure I follow the logic. Even if there was a common boarding height, HSR trains cannot simultaneously occupy the same platform as commuter trains. So you’re going to need extra platforms regardless.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    At the ridership level that Caltrain expects, it’s not a problem to alternate between HSR and express Caltrain trains on the express tracks on four-track segments.

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah, again, in a perfect world, I totally get that the 2 mid-peninsula stations could be 4 track stations if Caltrain and CAHSR found a common boarding height. Just not sure why an extra couple of tracks in 2 stations is really that big of a deal, in the grand scheme, compared to all the other questionable expenses that have been proposed for California high speed rail.

    Joey Reply:

    Much of the added expense is in and around San Jose, where segregated platforms are requiring a completely new elevated station to be built over the existing one without disrupting service, plus several miles of viaduct and an “iconic” bridge to go with it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    At non terminal stations the train comes in, people get off, people get on, the train leaves. why would you need 6 platforms?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Extra platforms (tracks)? Can you explain?

    Clem Reply:

    With segregated platforms, all inbound Caltrain must cut in front of all outbound HSR, and vice versa. With shared platforms you send trains to the platform that causes the fewest conflicts with other traffic.

    With segregated platforms, predicted service levels are cast in concrete. With shared platforms you can dynamically allocate platform slots as needed to serve actual (not predicted) demand, as it develops.

    EJ Reply:

    Ideally, yeah. But where does this actually happen in the real world? Are current estimates so badly off that we can’t figure out what the likely usage of HSR relative to Caltrain platforms is?

    EJ Reply:

    I mean, not that LAUS is some idealized model for an urban train terminal, just happens to be train station I’ve used most recently – but there would be serious operational issues if Amtrak and Metrolink had to share platforms – different dwell times, different servicing requirements, etc.

    Seems to me when I’ve traveled around Europe, at terminals commuter and short distance trains generally don’t use the same platforms as long distance/high speed trains, for pretty much the same reasons.

    Again I’m not denying that it would be ideal if CAHSR and Caltrain/ACE/Metrolink/Coaster/Capitol Corridor/Surfliner/San Joaquin could all platform together, just seems that the downside may be overstated.

    Joey Reply:

    In normal operations certain services will almost certainly use the same platforms. In the event of a service disruption (disabled train, medical emergency, …), it makes sense to be able to reroute trains such as to minimize cascading delays, particularly at a constrained station like Transbay.

    EJ Reply:

    Which, services, in particular, would use the same platforms?

    Joey Reply:

    How should I know? If the scheduling works out properly then it’s better for passengers if HSR trains typically leave from the same platforms, and the same for CalTrain, possibly even for specific service patterns to use the same track most of the time. Can the schedule actually be designed that way through the flat station throat?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You certainly would not want to do cross-platform connections with different heights on each side. Clem is right, you need to design in maximum operational flexibility from the beginning. Why make operational life more difficult when you can start life without compatibility problems? Of course we’re discussing the outfit that is bringing us C-BOSS. Surprised they are not advocating a change of gauge.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s possible to have cross-platform connections with different heights on each side, by putting the tracks at different levels. That doesn’t make it a good idea, at least in the long term.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Paul, don’t give PB ideas. Remember Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove, beating down his arm wanting to give the fascist salute? That’s PB coping with its Bechtelian roots and impulses to go 5.5′.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    PB does work worldwide and builds many many projects with standard gauge.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    In terminals, particularly stub end terminals, platforms may be more or less fixedly assigned to certain services, but in intermediate and run-through stations, it is a necessity to have unified platform heights. To repeat the European example, there is not that much of an overlap between platform assignments for regional and interregional trains, for example in Zürich HB (but there was before the Museumstrasse station got operational), but, for example Zürich Airport has 4 tracks with two island platforms, and the S-Bahn and long(er) distance trains share them. The same will be the case with the new Zürich Löwenstrasse station when the new line between Altstetten and Oerlikon opens.

    Depending on the scheduling, the demand for platform space varies throughout the hour. Dwelling time does not really matter, as long as it has been taken into account in the scheduling.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “I mean, not that LAUS is some idealized model for an urban train terminal, just happens to be train station I’ve used most recently – but there would be serious operational issues if Amtrak and Metrolink had to share platforms – different dwell times, different servicing requirements, etc. ”

    That’s because it’s the servicing terminal. At midline stations, Amtrak and Metrolink share platforms, pretty much universally.

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