Christmas Open Thread

Dec 24th, 2013 | Posted by

Hope everyone is enjoying the end-of-year holidays, whichever ones you choose to celebrate. And if you’re taking a train as part of those celebrations, all the better!

I’ll have some more posts later in the week on high speed rail, but for now, feel free to use this as an open thread.

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  1. JB in pa
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 18:17
    #1

    Robert
    Thanks for the blog.
    Happy holidays and a good new year.
    James
    Palo Alto

  2. Paul Druce
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 19:05
    #2

    NARP has given us data junkies an early Christmas gift with the FY13 statistics for Amtrak

    http://www.narprail.org/resources/ridership-statistics

    jimsf Reply:

    Judging by the annual totals, hsr phase one should be LAX-SAC not LAX-SF

    The two busiest stations, and its been this way a for a while

    1.2 million for la and 1.1 million for sac. SF never shows up because neither caltrans nor amtrak acknowledges there is a station there. but emy is only half a million.

    jimsf Reply:

    in fact mey sjc and okj barely add up to sacs total.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    While I’m in agreement that LAX-SAC is a preferable firstish routing (of all the northerly ones at least, LAX-SAN along the coast is ideal first route), keep in mind that there is an issue with selection bias. For instance, Ohio currently has very poor ridership. Does that mean that it would make for bad rail corridors? No, it’s a reflection of the fact that the current trains stop at absolutely terrible times for intercity rail service.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The population density of France is 114 per square kilometer or 295/mile. Ohio’s is 109/km or 282/mile. Pennsylvania is ever so slightly higher at 110 or 285. Cleveland to Philadelphia or New York is within HSR range. As is Columbus to Philadelphia or New York. Pittsburgh is along the way. Or Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany if the train from Cleveland goes that way. Throw in Toronto if it does go that way. And Boston. Montreal for some people…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Judging by where people in Sacramento take the train it should be Sacramento-San Francisco. Los Angeles isn’t even on the list of top destinations for Sacramento. And Sacramento doesn’t make the list of top destinations for Los Angeles. Nothing in the Central Valley does. And Los Angeles isn’t on the list of top destinations for Bakersfield. Emeryville is though.

    Andrew Reply:

    Cheap and profitable IOS Sac-SF (4.5 minutes from SF Financial District via BART connection at 7th & Maritime, Oak):
    https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zXYnDtoJOux0.kF4BAGQLue_k

    Michael Reply:

    So if I may play this game, there is no demand whatsoever for rail service between LA and Las Vegas because there is more ridership on AMTRAK today between Hanford and Madera in the latest batch of AMTRAK statistics than between LA and Vegas.

    jimsf Reply:

    bfd-emy is high demand thats why I always hoped for an IOS north first as I have more interest in fast mobility around the part of the state I access most, ( northern and central ca) than in getting to socal from norcal ( where I can fly fairly easily for the number of times I need to in any year)

    Clem Reply:

    SF never shows up

    Right around 3 million annual riders. Does that count as busy?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    I do believe he’s forgotten that there’s no station in San Francisco and that people instead transfer at Emeryville.

    jimsf Reply:

    Funny cuz I was working in that ticket office… the one with several million in annual ticket revenue.. for many of the past 13 years.

    I had access to the ridership numbers for all the SF stops as well but can’t remember them. The numbers were surprisingly impressive considering the necessary transfer.

    Clem Reply:

    There is very much a station, just no Amtrak. Here’s hoping it stays that way…

    jimsf Reply:

    it is amtrak. its an amtrak ticket office. Its part of the amtrak national system. serving the california zephyr and the coast starlight from way back before the capitol, and surfliner buses, and when the san joqquin was one daily round trip. It was in the TBT, then it was moved to the ferry building until loma prieta, then the port moved it into the ag building.

    jimsf Reply:

    SFC

    Its always been a bit of a dump. Not to toot my horn but as lead agent there I spend considerable time and money doing what ever modest improvements I could. I painted, brought in interior and exterior plants, miniblinds, improved safety, lobbied caltrans for better way finding signage, lobbied the city for proper bus stop street painting and generally annoyed any and every manager at as many levels of as many agencies as I could to make the place better.

    Then I left. I hear its deteriorating again.

    jimsf Reply:

    SFC will be relocated to the new transbay center upon completion.

    jimsf Reply:

    3 million annual for the sfc sfw sfs sfm sfv sfp and sff stops? sounds familiar to the numbers I recall. I wish I could remember.

    Clem Reply:

    3 million annual is 4th & King only (about 20% of Caltrain ridership).

    Ted Judah Reply:

    What the data shows is that ridership is highest serving the two cities explicitly not part of Phase One: Sacramento and San Diego. But notice the sixth highest ridership pair is Fresno – Bakersfield. Thus, it makes sense to start there and extend service outward.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    No, Fresno and Bakersfield are the highest passenger generating stations but there’s nothing in the data to show that they are the highest ridership pair.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Looking at that data, I’m not sure, but it does not look like it breaks out Thruway bus service. Can someone confirm that is correct?

    So any city pairs that require Thruway bus connections will not be calculated. For example, no Central Valley to LA numbers will appear since they require Thruways.

    It will also skew the numbers at connecting points like Bakersfield or Stockton where rail passengers switch to bus service.

    aw Reply:

    By the fact that San Francisco doesn’t show up in the list of stations in the California summary, it’s pretty clear that Thruway routes aren’t included. In fact, I’m thinking that the data for city pairs doesn’t include any linked trips.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Correct. We posted on another thread the breakout of one particular train the % of thruway people (80% of bakersfield ridership!). We have data from a year or two ago that does have point to point ridership but not sure where that it right now

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Some extraordinary postings here based on completely flawed data. Who would look at passenger counts for a service taking say 8 hours with a bus transfer to project where to build HSR? And yes indeed at least a half the total SJ count at Bakersfield is passengers using a bus connection. SF numbers will be low because there is no direct intercity service, duhhhh! Does that mean we should ignore it for HSR planning? We also have savvy riders who buy tickets to places like Corcoran to use the bus between LA and Bako. Beware data in the hands of the ignorant.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Beware data in the hands of the ignorant.

    Data — in-hand, at arms’ length, slipping thorough the fingers, being massaged within an inch of their life, or simply non-existent — never seem to trouble Cambridge Systematics, Parsons Brinkerhoff or Steve Heminger of the MTC.

    Ridership numbers are infinitely malleable where the numbers involving corporate revenue are at stake.

    Joe Reply:

    The GAO reviewed the CAHSR ridership model and there is a peer review panel also involved with the model. Have you sent either of them your detailed findings?

    datacruncher Reply:

    Have to dig deep beyond the passenger numbers to really understand the true traffic.

    Corcoran’s (and Hanford’s) passenger numbers get skewed due to locally subsidized tickets sold at $6.50 roundtrip between Corcoran and the county seat in Hanford. That allows Kings County to operate only a single KART bus between the cities each afternoon. The San Joaquins were turned into the local transit between those two cities by Kings County for Corcoran residents shopping or conducting business in the county seat.

    Hanford’s numbers also see an increase due its promotion as a destination for the Kids n’ Trains program. Fresno, Hanford and Bakersfield are all in the SJ’s zone 5 which means a group child ticket for a day outing on Amtrak runs $6 from one of those larger cities to Hanford. I’ve wondered in the past how much of the Hanford passenger count consists of elementary school field trip train rides from Fresno and Bakersfield.

  3. Emmanuel
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 20:44
    #3

    On a funny note. Here we go again. “Venture capitalist proposes California 2.0, a plan for six new states”

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2082880/venture-capitalist-proposes-california-20-a-plan-for-six-new-states.html

    VBobier Reply:

    Saw it, having the voters vote to secede from California is unconstitutional, the US Constitution says the Legislature of a state and Congress has to agree to this(see below), otherwise forget about it, it’s mentioned Here. So I very much doubt this would happen and a ballot imitative to do this would be challenged immediately in the courts. There have been 220 attempts to do this since 1849 and only 27 were even close to being credible…

    Secessions from a state

    Article IV, Section. 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitutions reads: New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress. Some of the movements to partition states have or do identify themselves as “secessionist” movements.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Let us recall that my state of West Virginia came out of Virginia in June of 1863. A little incident called the Civil War may have helped this out.

    West Virginia briefly held the name of The Reformed State of Virginia; one of the alternate names considered for it was Kanawha, which is also the name of the county in which the capital city of Charleston is located, and the river that flows from the conjunction of the New and Gauley Rivers to the Ohio.

    There are some who question the state’s legal standing today. Doubt anyone would get far with it though, considering the state has now been around for 150 years.

    VBobier Reply:

    I seriously doubt West Virginia will be repeated anytime soon DP, but you have a valid point, I think the reason for that was that the area that was Virginia was considered a territory as it wasn’t a part of the Union anymore, so dividing a territory was legal and did not fall under the clause I cited. The rest of Virginia had to accept this as it was a conquered rebel state, as was the entire south…

    The south fired the 1st shot and lost the war when they did, as from that point on the South had no chance of out lasting the North which had all that it needed, while the South lacked a lot, including cohesion…

    Derek Reply:

    Anyone who complains that a California voter has less influence in national elections than the average American, should learn from West Virginia. If California were split into 6 states, we would instantly increase our electoral votes by 10.

    VBobier Reply:

    Then We’d need a 55 star US flag, kind of like this one…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You know some of those votes would be GOP now, since they would be winner take all for 1 state anymore. Still like the idea?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That should read “won’t be winner take all for 1 state anymore”

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed John.

    John Burrows Reply:

    But not a good thing for Democrats—Looks like most of the California Democrats would be dumped into the new states of “Silicon Valley” and “West California”—Probably end up with six Republicans and six Democrats in the US Senate.

    And not too good for high speed rail either. There’s enough trouble for CAHSR in the San Joaquin Valley right now without The Valley suddenly turning into a Republican state.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I’m reading Ecotopia again, pretending its prescription for ecological sustainability – starting with the abolition of personal automobile use – will one day be reality. And it will! Northern California, Oregon and Warshington seceeded (much too conveniently) as the story goes to envision and elaborate upon a future without a domineering corporate structure of waste and innocuous degradation. Maglev was its long-distance rail transport system – I don’t think so – with (smallish) electric buses shuttling around reorganized urban settings, a “string of pearls.” Los Angeles opted out of succession. Author Ernest Callanbach couldn’t imagine LA evolving. Back in the 70’s, the Bay Area had hope; LA, not so much. Mass transit should however be considered a ‘fundamental’ mode of travel, organized and innovatively implemented as such in practical and appropriate modes.

    Joe Reply:

    No Reaping or Lottery with black spot?

    Lewellan Reply:

    Ecotopia is certainly an interesting read about a sustainable future. It’s a little dated, 1970’s, and deals with how society might adapt to a supposed necessity to reduce waste and pollution. Back then the most pressing concern was automobile exhaust emissions. Its main recommendation was banning private automobiles, implementing mass transit systems, structuring land-use and development patterns that necessitated cooperative public institutions and living situations. Popular culture today presents more movies and novels depicting apocolytic scenarios. The ruling class would rather entertain the rest of us thusly and give up all hope while we sink into the tar beds of history. But whatever.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t get this attack on dystopian fiction at all. Orwell wasn’t a shill of either the capitalist ruling class or the communist one. The Iron Heel, We, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, RUR – these were social critiques, not attempts to make people hopeless.

  4. joe
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 20:57
    #4

    If he were serious, he’d go Tolkien.

    The South is Gondor, the Bay Area, Arnor. West CA is Rohan, Central CA is Mirkwood, The Misty Mountains are North California and north-most Jefferson, would be Mordor for their volcanic geology and being so whinny.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, no, the South is Mordor, according to a climate simulation.

    BMF of San Diego Reply:

    And Northern California, as referenced her, would be far Northern California. North if Redding, and, parts deemed rural.

  5. joe
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 21:15
    #5

    Gilroy will soon receive 600K and assistance from CAHSRA to better plan the proposed downtown station.
    http://www.gilroydispatch.com/news/city_local_government/high-speed-rail-still-on-track-says-representative/article_9d0d4caa-6c44-11e3-b84b-001a4bcf6878.html?success=1

    Ben Tripousis, northern regional director with the CHSRA, says he’s working with City staff to better plan the proposed station in downtown Gilroy through a $600,000 grant the City will likely receive by Jan. 1. Based on preliminary designs presented in 2011 during the Gilroy High-Speed Train Station Visioning Process, the proposed downtown station would be located near the intersection of Hecker Pass Highway and U.S. 101.

  6. John Nachtigall
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 21:22
    #6

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Thank you, and same to you

  7. BMF of San Diego
    Dec 25th, 2013 at 10:06
    #7

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    The below link is to a California Rail message board on Yuku. It might become interesting if it gets more use.

    http://carail.yuku.com/directory

  8. Clem
    Dec 25th, 2013 at 11:58
    #8

    Merry Christmas. May 2014 be even more interesting than 2013.

  9. Neville Snark
    Dec 25th, 2013 at 11:58
    #9

    I spent xmas eve with two UK civil engineers with professional experience or interest in rail, HS2, and trams. It was encouraging to hear their stories — California has by no means a monopoly on fraud, intrigue, and a general lack of scruples. They spoke almost wistfully of Germany and France, where CEs call a great many more shots, not politicians.

  10. James M in Irvine, CA
    Dec 25th, 2013 at 12:06
    #10

    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Festivous, happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year to all!

    Thank you, Robert, for keeping the blog going. And thanks to all responders, pro or con, for keeping the conversation going. I learn a lot of things on here, and quite a few aren’t even train related.

    Jim

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Hanukkah was a month ago.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It was very confusing having latke with Thanksgiving but I found that cranberry relish on latke is very very good.

    jimsf Reply:

    I LUV latke

  11. joe
    Dec 25th, 2013 at 13:10
    #11

    Former BP geologist: peak oil is here and it will ‘break economies’
    Industry expert warns of grim future of ‘recession’ driven ‘resource wars’ at University College London lecture.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/dec/23/british-petroleum-geologist-peak-oil-break-economy-recession
    Dr. Miller is co-editor of a special edition of the prestigious journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, published this month on the future of oil supply. In an introductory paper co-authored with Dr. Steve R. Sorrel, co-director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex in Brighton, they argue that among oil industry experts “there is a growing consensus that the era of cheap oil has passed and that we are entering a new and very different phase.” They endorse the conservative conclusions of an extensive earlier study by the government-funded UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC):
    [quotes are from this paper].
    http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/article3539-Special-Edition-of-Royal-Society-Journal-on-the-Future-of-Oil
    “… a sustained decline in global conventional production appears probable before 2030 and there is significant risk of this beginning before 2020… on current evidence the inclusion of tight oil [shale oil] resources appears unlikely to significantly affect this conclusion, partly because the resource base appears relatively modest.”

    In fact, increasing dependence on shale could worsen decline rates in the long run:

    “Greater reliance upon tight oil resources produced using hydraulic fracturing will exacerbate any rising trend in global average decline rates, since these wells have no plateau and decline extremely fast – for example, by 90% or more in the first 5 years.”

    Tar sands will fare similarly, they conclude, noting that “the Canadian oil sands will deliver only 5 mb per day by 2030, which represents less than 6% of the IEA projection of all-liquids production by that date.”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Just not true

    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Debunking-The-Myth-Of-Peak-Oil-Why-The-Age-Of-Cheap-Oil-Is-Far-From-Over-Part-1.html

    And the oil sands and Tar sands contain more oil than has ever been used

    The problem with the argument is it assumes it will always be “hard” to extract the oil and we will never find more. Both have been disproven time and time again.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    It’s odd that it claims that we are simultaneously in an age of cheap oil and oil permanently above $80/bbl. And admittedly I only skimmed, but I didn’t see a response to EIA or anyone else pointing out that global production has plateaued while demand is continuing to increase (thanks to rise in living standards for China and India).

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Part of the issue is that the US dollar is in decline against other currencies and oil is the only commodity where policymakers can’t hide this fact. Remember the 2006 State of the Union that proclaimed “we are addicted to foreign oil”? Notice too the boom in North Dakota hasn’t made gas any cheaper either.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If gasoline got cheaper they couldn’t make money sucking oil out of North Dakota.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The inflation adjusted price of gas is week within historical range and is not the highest it’s been

    http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Gasoline_Inflation.asp

    I remember every state of the Union address since the 1970s claiming we were addicted to foreign oil. Remember the Carter administration. How about we go old school and talk about Nixon and the WHIP inflation movement due to oil prices.

    But if you are concerned then good news, the US has become a net exporter for the first time in many decades. So now foreign governments are addicted to US oil.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The problem is that Nixon effectively replaced the gold standard with the “black gold” standard which ties the value of the dollar to the world price of petroleum. To John’s comment about being a net exporter, normally that would strengthen the exporter’s currency and it would make gas cheaper. Instead, no amount of oil exporting can reverse the erosion in the dollar which contains to collapse.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Are you about to argue the US dollar is anything other than the defacto world standard?

    Collapse??

    There is this little thing called the Euro crisis. The Yen is tied to an economy that has been in deflation for 30 years. The Chinese believe so little in their currency they buy dollars.

    Get real

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, the Chinese believe in preventing their currency from becoming overvalued, which is standard neo-liberal advice, and buy dollars to prevent currency appreciation from making their exports uncompetitive. It’s not about believing in anything.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    A man has to believe in something. I believe I will have another beer.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s simple. $80 a barrel is cheap.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    “The problem with the argument is it assumes … we will never find more”

    Except no one is actually saying that. We are finding more, it’s just that our discoveries have been consistently lagging behind consumption for the last 30 or so years.
    http://planetforlife.com/images/growinggap.jpg

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Then why have reserves doubled in the last few decades. We are finding it faster than using it. Because there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what consitutes “found”. I had a professor in college in extractive metallurgy. And on the first day of class he asked us to define “what is ore”. After letting us struggle for 30 minutes he gave us the answer. Ore is a rock that contains something valuable that can be profitably extracted. So on Monday you may have ore, but if the price drops on Friday you may have a rock.

    The exciting thing with oil is that we used to have a bunch of rock. But thanks to advances in technology and the increase in price, now we have lots of oil. The economy runs just fine at a price of $100 a barrel or less.

    Simply put, we are not running out of oil. The price of oil is not going to skyrocket because the reseves that can be profitably extracted at $100 a barrel are very very large. Peak oil is just wrong

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    BTW the error in your chart is that it only includes “conventional oil”. Whatever that is. I assume they are excluding the oil and tar sands because it ruins their arguments since it is a huge reseve that can be profitably extracted at less than $100 a barrel

    Joe Reply:

    These tar sands are included in the analysis. It’s a serious analysis by professionals using repeatable documented methods.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So is my article. The one that says that reserves have doubled. Their analysis can’t be right. The tar and oil sands contain more reserves of oil then have ever been burned

    Joe Reply:

    And your “article” took a swipe at evolution and made other whimsical comments about global warming.

    One source is peer review special issue from a prestigious UK publication. The contrary source is web post with seat of the pants comments posing as analysis.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You want to talk bias? The website quoted is 100% biased. The name is even biased. Show me 1 article on the site that is anything but peak oil and global warming.

    You can argue about global warming, I think there are credible arguments on each side, but peak oil is a total myth. They have been arguing it for decades and it is not coming true.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Just to prove my point

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

    The estimated worldwide deposits of oil are more than 2 trillion barrels (320 billion cubic metres);[3] the estimates include deposits that have not yet been discovered. Proven reserves of bitumen contain approximately 100 billion barrels,[4] and total natural bitumen reserves are estimated at 249.67 billion barrels (39.694×109 m3) globally, of which 176.8 billion barrels (28.11×109 m3), or 70.8%, are in Canada.[1]

    oil sands reserves have only recently been considered to be part of the world’s oil reserves, as higher oil prices and new technology enable profitable extraction and processing. Oil produced from bitumen sands is often referred to as unconventional oil or crude bitumen, to distinguish it from liquid hydrocarbons produced from traditional oil wells.

    Joe Reply:

    Best to prove your point by referring to the scholarly articles and try to verify your guess is correct.
    They include tar sands.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Do the math joe, the estimate did not include “unconventional sources”

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    Well, we obviously use the term “Peak Oil” differently. Because as far as I’m aware the term “Peak Oil” usually means “Peak conventional oil”. If the issue is production of “conventional oil” then of course the chart didn’t include “unconventional oil”. And it is considered an issue precisely for the reason why sources like tar sands are considered “unconventional”. Because the oil contained within is considered harder to extract.

    If we suppose this is true (I am honestly not sure, my knowledge in this field is limited), then when the conventional oil production starts to decline and is being substituted with unconventional production the supply curve will go up. But this will of course have adverse impacts on demand. By: a) more efficient use of oil (f.ex.: more efficient engines), b) shifting away from oil (electric cars), c) behavioural changes (public transit instead of car) d) demand destruction (not making a trip at all). Each of these require either substantial capital investment (with the added bonus of harder to extract oil constraining supply) in case a) and b) or making do with less in case c) or d). Most people would consider these effects quite negative, even if they make the oil price rise very slowly or at all.

    So in the end, “Peak Oil” isn’t really that much about oil prices. So, if you say that we have decades’ worth of less than 100$ per barrel oil reserves, you maybe very well be correct. I just don’t think it is as good news as you think it is.

    Eric Reply:

    We only care about peak oil because of its effects on oil prices, transportation choices, and global warming. For all these issues, what matter is the total amount of available hydrocarbons, not whether they come from conventional or unconventional sources.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    “For all these issues, what matter is the total amount of available hydrocarbons, not whether they come from conventional or unconventional sources.”

    Well, what really matters is how costly in material terms is the oil to extract, not whether it comes from “conventional” or “unconventional” sources, per se. If oil from source B is significantly harder to extract (i.e. you need more effort/energy to get the same amount of oil) then from source A, then it really doesn’t matter how big the source B reserves are (in short term, when you begin substituting oil from source A with oil from source B), the price of oil will be pressured to rise.

    wdobner Reply:

    It really shouldn’t matter how much or how little oil there is that can be extracted from the crust. Provided a sufficient source of energy can be found room temperature liquid transportation fuels can be manufactured from basic carbon feedstocks. We know how to create the sufficient energy part, and if it’s set up right it’s pretty easy to make those fuels carbon neutral to boot.

  12. jimsf
    Dec 25th, 2013 at 13:29
    #12

    Oh good hopefully 2014 will bring the to phase one

    jimsf Reply:

    I seem to have lost my ability to post anything correctly.

    The pollock pines hsr extension in phase one.

  13. jimsf
    Dec 25th, 2013 at 14:50
    #13

    Sacramento: northeast corridor plan An area of sac that is similar to NoHo,…. downtown adjacent but neglected and with high crime… gradually converting to arts and higher density to cater to the new demand for urban living.

    VBobier Reply:

    Nice pdf Jim, hopefully the plan can be executed without a lot of delay…

  14. synonymouse
    Dec 25th, 2013 at 18:43
    #14

    Cool Yule, everybody.

    Clem Reply:

    So Californian :-)

  15. joe
    Dec 25th, 2013 at 22:04
    #15

    NYTimes’ dialect tool thinks I’m from Aurora, IL. Ugh.
    I might of known it would be pretty good. Maybe youse guys would like to take it with. Here. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/12/20/sunday-review/dialect-quiz-map.html?_r=0

    Spouse is Irvine CA – not perfect but pretty darn close.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It thinks I’m from San Jose, Portland, or Seattle. The problem is that most of those words are words I almost never use (there’s no such thing as sneakers – they’re just shoes), so I gave a different region’s answer to each question.

    joe Reply:

    Vancouver?

    It’s picking up my late teens geographic location – missing the inner city Chicago which I dropped @17 starting with late HS and College i.e. youse & “of” in place of have.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’ve only lived there a year and a half. I pronounce the word about correctly, I can’t be speaking Canadian English.

    aw Reply:

    “there’s no such thing as sneakers – they’re just shoes”

    There was when I was growing up in Ohio. The same shoe was also called “tennis shoes”. Today the generic name of the logically equivalent shoe is “running shoe”, but it’s really a very different shoe.

    The problem I had with the Times quiz was that I used to have a much different way of speaking than I do now. Some of that probably does come down to living in a different part of the country, but the northwest is also much more of a melting pot than the midwest was when I was young.

    joe Reply:

    Me too.

    What was common usage in Chicago urban was regarded as lower class speech to the area where I attended College. My dialect is scored Rockford/Aurora which is where I went to private school with the local upper class and “fit in”.

    jimsf Reply:

    Mine was right on for norcal. Santa Rosa/Stockton/Fremont. (Santa Rosa Sac and Fremont would have been a perfect match for where Ive lived)

    (My Dad being from New England and my having lived in the south/texas new england and traveled extensively around the country I was familiar with and sometimes use words from other dialects just for fun…. Like kattywampus… youse, and yall.)

    They should have asked about “hella”!

    Clem Reply:

    Hella is a conscious affectation, just a fad. Nobody said that ten years ago, and people will look at you funny if you say it ten years from now!

    jimsf Reply:

    not true. hella came from the east bay. It was common when I was in high school from 1978-1982. and remains common. Its use has spread throughout cali since.

    I spent one year of high school in marblehead mass… where “wicked” was and still is, in common usage. I recently heard it out here. I hope it goes back.

    east coast… pituuey!!

    Clem Reply:

    I stand corrected– I just figured since my kids started saying it. I must not be from around here.

    jimsf Reply:

    usually the younger kids say hecka, so as not to get into trouble for saying a “bad word.” of course nowadays I guess even the younger kids have no such concern. We said hecka if parents were around.

    VBobier Reply:

    Then I guess I’m not of the younger type, since I will and can say ‘hella’ without any trepidation…

    EJ Reply:

    I didn’t realize it was that old. I’d never heard it growing up in the Bay Area, but when I went back there in 1990 to go to college it was everywhere. Anyway hella is great; I’ll use it to the day I die.

    EJ Reply:

    And when I sent that quiz around at work, the very first thing everyone from the Bay Area said was “why didn’t they ask about Hella?”

    VBobier Reply:

    That link thinks My Dialect is from the following cities:

    Seattle
    Salt Lake
    Stockton

    Though I’ve never lived in or visited any of these cities, nor has My family for that matter…

  16. StevieB
    Dec 26th, 2013 at 02:03
    #16

    Fresno group files CHSRA support statement.

    A “support statement” filed with the Surface Transportation Board by Fresno Works, dated Dec. 20, 2013, urges STB to “expeditiously grant the petition for exemption” for construction of high speed rail between Fresno, Calif., and Bakersfield, roughly 114 miles in length.

  17. StevieB
    Dec 26th, 2013 at 15:21
    #17

    Light rail in Los Angeles is cutting traffic and pollution.

    A study conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California evaluated the travel behaviors of experimental households that are located within ½ mile of a station on LA’s new Expo Line (Phase 1 of LA’s light rail development plans) as well as control households with similar characteristics as the experimental households but living beyond ½ mile from the station. Before the opening of the Expo Line, households in both groups had the same travel patterns, with no statistically significant differences in any way.

    Households living within ½ mile of the Expo Line stations reduced their vehicle miles traveled up to 12 miles per day. The households had approximately 30 percent less vehicle CO2 emissions than control group households. Individuals near the Expo Line also increased their physical activity after the line opened.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    While on the subject of light rail, we have this editorial from a Railway Age editor on the value of persistence:

    http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/blogs/doug-bowen/cincinnati-streetcar-suppliers-thank-the-advocates.html

    Other material from the same source you may find of interest:

    http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/blogs/doug-bowen/fighting-cincinnati-mendacity-with-money.html

    http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/blogs/doug-bowen/google-tv-ad-rail-is-choice-2-but-thats-ok.html

    http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/blogs/doug-bowen/california-clout-heralds-coals-ultimate-decline.html

    http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/passenger/high-performance/fresno-calif-group-files-chsra-support-statement.html

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    Those first two links are about streetcars, not light rail.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    light rail is a fancy name for streetcars.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    Yeah who needs a silly little thing like right-of-way!

    Derek Reply:

    The article only provides evidence that those people living near the stations drove less and reduced their CO2 emissions, not that overall traffic or CO2 emissions were lowered.

    StevieB Reply:

    The conclusion is that given access to alternative transportation options leads to decreased usage of dangerous and less efficient automobiles.

    Derek Reply:

    …by those people given access to those alternatives. But remember, every car taken off the road makes room for another car to take its place.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The knight of the small reference pools strikes again.

    StevieB Reply:

    Dangerous automobiles are bumper to bumper from Mexico to Oregon which emphasizes the need for safer and more efficient alternatives.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Why do you think automobiles are unsafe? Fatalities and accidents have been declining for decades. I suppose trains are moderately safer, but it’s not like autos are death traps on wheels?

    And efficiency is in the eye of the beholder. As a user my car is very efficient. I come and go as I please and I have access to 100% of the country on a “door to door” basis. Very efficient

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “Moderately”? US mainline trains are safer than US cars by a factor of 10. European trains are safer than US trains by a factor of about 5 and Japanese trains are safer than European trains by a factor of about 5. If the US highway system had the per-passenger-km safety of Japanese trains, there would be a bit more than a hundred traffic deaths in the US per year. If it had the per-passenger safety, which takes into account the fact that transit users take shorter trips than drivers, then make it about forty deaths per year. So yes, US cars are death traps on wheels.

    For sources on US fatalities, see passenger-mile numbers here and fatality numbers here and here. Because train accidents are low-probability, high-impact events, with large swings in fatality counts from year to year, I averaged US train fatalities from 2002 to 2011, but compared the numbers only to car fatalities in 2011. European and Japanese train fatality numbers are averaged over 20 years with numbers added up from Wikipedia’s list of rail accidents; for the US, the list gave very close numbers to the linked BTS figures.

    Clem Reply:

    None of these statistics matter. John’s a very safe driver, and is in fact among the 78% of drivers who consider their skills better than average.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I actually use this particular study when I am teaching newbies to show data collection bias

    And no, I don’t think I am better than average, but the truth is that the vast vast majority of people can not make an accurate assessment because they do not have an accurate comparison (or means of comparison) to the general population. Not to mention a definition of what a “good driver is”. The whole idea that someone can compare themselves to the general population without a standard reference is a fallacy to start with which is why when they try you get screwy numbers

    Now if they had a driving test like an IQ test that would be a different story

    John Nachtigall Reply:

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

    I said they were not as safe as trains. But fatalities are dropping like a rock for decades ( see graph ).

    Perhaps it is just we differ on our definition of “death trap” but less than 20 fatalities per BILLON miles traveled is no where near death trap status.

    Yes trains are safer (and air safer still). Explained by having a lot more regulation and all have professional drivers.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You used the word “moderately.” And now you’re using the expression “dropping like a rock” to describe auto fatalities. But it took about 70 years for auto safety to improve by an order of magnitude, which is the current difference between US cars and US trains. If you want to compare US cars to Japanese trains, then the difference is much larger than that between US cars today and US cars at the beginning of when accident statistics were kept.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Hmm, using Alon’s figure for Japanese rail fatalities (1 death / 54.4e9 pass-km) from [1], and John’s figure for road fatalities (20 deaths / 1e9 pass-miles), rail is three orders of magnitude safer… oO;

    [1] http://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/comparative-rail-safety/

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Trains are safer period…

    That does not make cars unsafe. And it certainly does not make them a death trap.

    Your point is that they are not as safe as Japanese trains so they are unsafe. So are trains unsafe because planes are safer?

    Less than 20 fatalities per billon miles for a mode of transit with no professional drivers and you can get behind the wheel impaired without anyone stopping you is an acceptable rate. Plus it continues to decrease

    Eric Reply:

    Why is 30000 deaths per year an acceptable rate for cars, while 2 deaths per year (Boston Marathon) is an unacceptable rate for terrorism?

    Eric Reply:

    (Unacceptable, judging by the public response. I personally think it’s acceptable, when weighed against the changes in policy/lifestyle that seem to be the alternative.)

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They didn’t stop the Boston Marathon.

    Comparing terrorism to driving deaths is a new low and you still didn’t make your point.

    Clem Reply:

    Explain how it is a “low”. A person who died a preventable death is a dead person, so should we not allocate our scarce resources towards equally preventing all preventable deaths? Eric’s point is crystal clear: we allocate a disproportionate amount of resources towards fighting deaths from terror attacks (trading away all sorts of civil liberties in the process, but that’s another story) while dismissing a huge number of road deaths and injuries as just the way things are. That’s strange.

    jimsf Reply:

    Fear of terrorism is nothing more than a political tool used by politicians to influence elections. I far more likely to die driving to work than I am to be killed by a terrorist. In fact, I’m probably more likely to be killed by a kook with a gun in a mall than to be killed by a terrorist.

    The american public’s ongoing inability to accept reality will keep our country on its downward spiral as we throw resources down a rat hole instead of focusing on the things that will truly make us stronger and healthier such as a robust economy, universal health care, and a major infrastructure overhaul.

    Auto deaths were peaking at 42-44k per year with the economy in good shape, from the mid 90s until 2008, then dropped during the recession to 32k, and began rising again with the recovery.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. Almost very death is “preventable”. But as every engineer knows you can put a price on human life and we do every day. From crash standards for cars to building codes to allowing people freedom to be stupid, everything is a balance. We could make cars safer, but that would make them less affordable, so a balance has to be struck. So the freedom and affordability of cars outweigh the 32k in deaths every year. His is true for all activities that involve risk.

    For example, even though thousands die every year from drowning

    http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

    We don’t ban swimming pools and rope off the ocean. You don’t hear people talk about how water is the most dangerous chemical on earth even though it is responsible for more deaths per year than any other chemical. Ads are no death trap, they are a boon to modern society.

    2. Comparing car deaths (accidental) to terrorism (cowardly murder) is low because it somehow it implies that they have equal impact on society. They don’t. After 9-11 the entire country shut down for 3 days and the impacts on the economy and the people lasted for years. The government (and society) spends a ton of resources to prevent crime, murder, and terrorism and it is completly justified because that is a base objective of a government, prevent crime and protect society from foreign enemies. If you think daily terrorism is no big deal ask yourself why the Middle East and Africa are total disasters. It’s rare in America because we spend all those resources.

    And as an aside, they didn’t end marathons so apparently the risk is worth it so your point is lost. In reality Americans are a stubborn lot so it would not matter if it was 10,000 deaths. They would run it just to spite them. That is why America is different than other countires. They bomb a train in Spain and they elect a government that will appease the bombers. You commit terrorism on America and Bush’s approval rating goes to 90% and everyone closes ranks on the guy who says we are going to go kill those guys. And that’s a good thing by the way. Appeasement never works.

    3. Grumpy old men (and women) have claimed America was in a downward spiral since the creation of the country. Using only recent examples, In the 60s it was the Hippies that were going to lead us to ruin. Then in the 70s it was stagflation and the oil crisis, in the 80s Japan was going to take over the world, in the 90s and 00s it was globalization and the EU. Now it is China and economy, blah blah blah.

    I could go back to decades before the 60s but I have made my point. The reson you ae not likely to be killed by a terrorist is because we spend he resources, not in spite of it.

    Joe Reply:

    “1. Almost very death is “preventable”. But as every engineer knows you can put a price on human life and we do every day. From crash standards for cars to building codes to allowing people freedom to be stupid, everything is a balance. We could make cars safer, but that would make them less affordable, so a balance has to be struck.”

    The Ford Pinto proves you can out a price on life and you can pay massive punitive damages for putting a price on life.

    People should know and decide which car and crash test results are meaningful to them, or not. So engineers can decide and they better run that by the legal office and marketing depts.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Sometimes people set the balance in the wrong spot…and pay for it

    And people do know the crash test results and have access to all that information, more than ever before thanks to the internet.

    Engineering can be a thankless job, but every risk has a price, no car (or building, or activity) is not a balance

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Actually, John, US car accident death numbers are based on massively underpricing human life. The insurance value of human life is about $6 million today. Mandatory insurance requirements in the US are in the tens of thousands. If drivers had to be insured for the possibility that they’d lethally hit a pedestrian, cars would become much less affordable, reducing the amount of driving and with it the risk of death in a car collision. Moreover, even in cases when the driver was clearly in the wrong, for example driving on the sidewalk, the cops will call it a no-fault accident and refuse to investigate. So it’s not about a rational tradeoff of risks. It’s about the justice system perceiving drivers as ones of us and terrorists as others.

    StevieB Reply:

    Automobiles are the leading cause of death for those under age 35. Thousands are killed in California each year by automobiles and hundreds of thousands are injured. Tens of millions of dollars are spent each year treating the injured and hundreds of millions of dollars in wages are lost by those injured adding enormous amounts to the hidden costs of automobiles.

    Joe Reply:

    The safety technologies and design changes added during the 00’s have reduced fatalities and serious injuries. Since ave vehicle age is nearly 12 years old, the benefit will take time to trickle down.

    StevieB Reply:

    How have these improved technologies reduced injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists hit by the safer vehicles?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Good point, StevieB. In fact, the “typical” USAn car is actually a truck, and has its frontmost part just about at the height of the head of a child. From the point of view of a foreigner, the USAn car safety is pretty much comparable to the FRA safety regulations…

    But the most important safety-critical component is not taken into account, and it seems that this component gets less and less safe and reliable… (I am talking of the 86.5 percent; Clem has the wrong number in an earlier message…)

    Joe Reply:

    Some improvents do help reduce pedestrian injuries and accidents. Seriously, if this is a topic of interest that technology would be a motivation to buy a new car. Backup camera and rear radar as well as front end designs that reduce pedestrian death,

    Bump outs in CA are newer features to help pedestrians at intersections are a new feature in CS. My towns added them in the redeveloped city core.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    But those technologies do not actually reduce deaths. It’s almost always about driver psychology. How do you explain the fact that the relatively modern cars driven in the third world have the same per-vehicle-km death rate as the Model T in the 1920s?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You can’t use absolute numbers, cars are by far the most common for of travel so they will always have the highest absolute fatality numbers. See my comment above, the fatality rate has dropped for decades. Cars are as safe as they have ever been.

    StevieB Reply:

    Automobiles are the number one cause of death of children in the United States. All it takes is a momentary distraction for a car to run down a child in a crosswalk.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Again the absolute numbers. It is the number 1 form of transit. If rail was the number 1 form of transit it would be the leading cause of death. You have too look at per passenger mile or per trip

    StevieB Reply:

    If rail were the number one form of transit then the leading cause of death in children would certainly not be rail. The risks of rail are many times less than those of automobiles. More children’s deaths would be by cancer which is the second most common current death than by rail.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Twice as many people were killed in road accidents, while at work, in 2001 as in the events of September 11th.

  18. Observer
    Dec 28th, 2013 at 12:55
    #18

    Another factor is that people drive like hell; going faster than is safe, tailgating, etc. – in general a type of uncaring recklessness seems to possess people when they get behind a steering wheel – they become jerks – on highways, city streets, parking lots – you name it.

    Observer Reply:

    P.S. Accidents happen. But, in many cases we need all these car safety systems to protect people from themselves; and people get this uncaring, invincible attitude and drive like idiots.

    Joe Reply:

    Best features are improved crash worthiness
    Stability control and ABS breaks
    Air bags

    Then I find these helpful.

    Backup camera with radar.
    Blind spot monitoring
    dynamic cruise control
    Collision alert / auto breaking

    StevieB Reply:

    A better safety feature would be to place our vehicle on a fixed guideway so as to limit the possibility of collisions with objects off the guideway.

    Joe Reply:

    Sure. Not going to happen.

    More realistically, make cars safer and demand drivers slow down. Fix roads to accommodate people and bikes.

    Mercurynews today:
    “This has been a particularly dangerous year on roadways throughout San Jose, with 26 traffic fatalities involving a pedestrian or bicyclist — the highest total since at least 1997 and the most of any city in the Bay Area. The victims range from young Elijah to an 82-year-old woman, and they have left concerned residents searching for reasons for the spike.”

    StevieB Reply:

    Since a fixed guideway light rail system became available to me I sold my automobile to be dismantled and make regular use of the system.

    Observer Reply:

    I would prefer HSR in order to avoid HWYs 99, 5, 101. And also light rail and the like in cities along with better planning.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I would put fanatical (and in my mind justified) enforcement of drunk/impaired driving laws at the top of the list. How many accidents have at least 1 impaired driver at the wheel. Thanks to DUI traffic enforcement that continues to go down.

    It would be interesting to run the stats on fatalities with unimpaired drivers. I wonder if they would approach rail safety levels??

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I don’t know what the ratio of drunk driving in fatal accidents is now, but I understand it used to be that alcohol or at least some other chemical impairment was a factor in about 50% of all traffic fatalities. It’s likely still similar today.

    John Bacon Reply:

    Street center barriers, left turn arrows, air bags, and lisence suspenstions for grossly negligent driving have certainly contributed to making drivinng safer.
    A thoughtful transit station redesign effort could simultaneously make transit use safer, lower cost per passenger, and be more convenient to use. For example BART’s Collma Station users can access a bus terminal on one side and elevators to a multi-story parking lot on the other side of the station without crossing an auto traffic lane in either direction.
    A third-rail electrified Caltrain in an open cut replacing the Central expressway through Sunnyvale and Santa Clara with transit-oriented center-islannd platform stations could be a safer more convenient option for transit users. High rise buildings next to the tracks but accessed by elevators directly above the station platform would make transit use the most convenient option for those high-rise occupants. Station ground-level-plazas over the open-cut would be the most efficient railroad sound suppression method. The present Caltrain right-of-way could then become a motorway which could releave surface traffic congestion and noise parallel to the renewed railway.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    This factor is the consequence of almost inexistent training and education.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Some of you may recall the late Bill Mauldin, the cartoonist for “Stars and Stripes” in WW II whose best known creations were Willie and Joe, the grubby GIs of the European theater. He also drew the famous and tragic cartoon depicting a weeping Abraham Lincoln upon hearing of the death of John Kennedy in 1963.

    He also wrote a book, “Back Home,” about his experiences in returning to civilian life after the war. It has a whole chapter on motoring in America in 1947. One of the things he brought up was how poorly people drove, and he was not alone in this opinion. He quoted an unnamed Arm Air Force pilot who thought driver licensing should be stricter than pilot licensing. This pilot’s logic was that takeoffs and landings required a good deal of skill, but once in the air, all you had to do was check your gauges to see the engines were doing what they should be doing, and correct your course now and then. If anything went wrong, you had the whole sky to move around in.

    In contrast, in an automobile, he was in a constricted space, continually using both hands and both feet to constantly change course and speed, and was in close proximity to other vehicles, and had to move his head continuously to keep track of everything going on around him (which sounds to me like a fighter pilot in combat!)

    This is an example of the vehicle he though was easier to use than an automobile. Can you imagine going through such a routine to start your car?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOl5YpFVGYU

    And this is just to start the engines. . .

  19. Max Wyss
    Dec 28th, 2013 at 13:28
    #19

    As to the beginning of every year since 2003, the Swiss railroad engineering firm Enotrac has published a set of 4 industry related cartoons. The English version is here: http://www.enotrac.com/en/news/cartoons/index_2014.php?navid=69 .

    It is also worthwile looking at the older cartoons. Some may require a bit of in-depth knowledge on what happened in those years, and some are rather Switzerland-specific, but they are all pretty good.

    Have fun.

    aw Reply:

    The solution in 2014_4 might have some application in the USA. Particularly in Houston.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ya’d think the tracks would give them a clue.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Ha Ha… Some of those automobilists must be geniusses, missing all the signage and red lights…

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I recall that when Baltimore was about to open its then-new light rail line, they had at least one collision involving an automobile that got into what was then a transit mall that was supposed to be blocked to traffic. Keep in mind this was a test run, before revenue service. Supposedly the driver was drunk, and couldn’t understand why the train didn’t swerve out of the way of his car!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “SBB is looking for rolling stock to replace the unpopular ETR 470 tilting trains operating between Zürich and Milano. The almost new Fyra high speed trains, recently taken out of service on the Brussels-Amsterdam route, might be a cheap alternative.”

    :D

    Max Wyss Reply:

    They could only be better than the ETR 470… probably not much, but even that would be progress…

  20. Joe
    Dec 29th, 2013 at 08:30
    #20

    Security theater for rail will be driven by these types of bombings

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4514606/
    Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the nation’s top investigative agency, the Investigative Committee, said the suicide bomber detonated her explosives in front of a metal detector just behind the station’s main entrance.

    Eric Reply:

    From now on you will have to go through a metal detector in order to reach the metal detector.

  21. jimsf
    Dec 29th, 2013 at 12:29
    #21

    I went to look for one of those “59 dollar” airfares to get down to socal.
    The 59 dollar airfares sac-bur are 215- 1100 one way.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    I can find it for $77 each way Sacramento to Burbank on Southwest. $59 is probably SFO-LAX or something.

  22. Andrew
    Dec 29th, 2013 at 14:50
    #22

    The future may be dicey for any rail alignment south from LA along the soft coastside soil:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/mexico/10541454/Mexico-motorway-collapses-after-series-of-earthquakes.html

    Paul Druce Reply:

    The issues with the existing rail alignment along the coast are well known and easily, if expensively, dealt with.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The issues with constructing a lunar colony, likewise.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Yuk yuk, quite so. Having worked along the Coast for SP I hold my breath every time we have heavy rain. Best outcome is for local and tourist traffic with some modest upgrades.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Not quite that bad. If memory serves, the only real area of concern is Del Mar and it’s solved with tunneling a short distance inland instead of running right on the beach.

  23. synonymouse
    Dec 29th, 2013 at 21:19
    #23

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/29/california-counties-in-push-to-withdraw-from-state/?intcmp=HPBucket

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They’ll evaporate like the morning dew when someone points out that those awful people in the big cities will stop sending them money if they secede.

  24. Andre L.
    Dec 30th, 2013 at 00:25
    #24

    Some news from Netherlands…

    Pro-Rail, the rail infrastructure entity of Netherlands, just confirmed an accelerated investment program to deploy ERTMS over more lines quicker. This will allow higher speeds and, more importantly, higher capacity on the recently revived plan to bring major trunk lines to 12-15 trains/hour/direction in the Randstad area (between local and “fast” services). The current Dutch signaling default system (not in use in some lines) is old, can’t cope with speeds above 130 km/h and has an inherent flaw that allow low-speed signal violation, of which 52 incidents were registered in 2013.

    NS, the major railway company, is on a growing legal brawl with AnsaldoBreda over faulty V250 high-speed trains which were commissioned into service Dec. 2012 after a 3.5 years delay, operated for 6 weeks and were then retired due to critical problems related to snow. There are 9 barely used trains parked in Netherlands, several others on the Italian plant and growing accusations between AnsaldoBreda and the buyers of the V250. The got themselves into yet another controversy with the Honolulu trains, which will now be delivered on 4-car fixed sets.

    Also, an important milestone was reached on setting up the future Amsterdam-London high-speed services, which should begin in 2 years if Siemens delivers trains on their current (already revised) schedule.

  25. ericmarseille
    Dec 30th, 2013 at 02:45
    #25

    Hi to all from France, happy holidays!

    This map will give you the latest info about High Speed Rail advancement in Europe.

    http://www.rff.fr/IMG/RFF_Europe-GV_10-2013_Sup-200%20-%20New.pdf

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