Five Bids Received for Second Construction Phase

Dec 19th, 2013 | Posted by

The California High Speed Rail Authority is moving ahead with its plans for the second phase of HSR construction in the Central Valley – a 60 mile segment from Fresno to the Tulare-Kern County line. Five bids have been received:

• California Rail Builders: Ferrovial Agroman US Corp. and Granite Construction Company

• Dragados/Flatiron/Shimmick: Dragados USA, Inc., Flatiron West Inc. and Shimmick Construction Co., Inc.

• Golden State Rail Partnership: OHL USA, Inc. and Samsung E&C America, Inc.

• Skanska-Ames a Joint Venture: Skanska USA Civil West California District Inc. and Ames Construction, Inc.

• Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a Joint Venture: Tutor Perini Corporation, Zachry Construction Corporation and Parsons Transportation Group Inc.

The last one, of course, was the winning bidder for the first construction segment in Fresno.

The Authority’s press release includes some more details of this construction project, estimated to cost between $1.5 and $2 billion:

The Authority will now review the applications and establish a list of the most highly qualified firms to provide design-build services for the project. Firms will be selected based on experience, technical competency, ability to perform and other factors. The qualified firms will then be eligible to submit formal design-build proposals in 2014.

The selected design-build firm will be responsible for delivering final designs for bridges, culverts, trenches and tunnels, utility relocations, aerial structures, grade separations, security and drainage. The environmental clearance for the route is already underway and is anticipated to be final by summer 2014.

The $1.5 to $2 billion design-build contract will bring thousands of jobs to the Central Valley, an area with one of the highest unemployment rates in California and the nation. The route will also provide environmental benefits, relieve roadway congestion and spur economic development.

It will be interesting to see if this plays out differently than the previous bidding process. Some of the review criteria were changed before bids were submitted for the first construction segment, leading to some controversy after the Tutor bid was selected despite having the lowest technical score.

What matters most is that this is another sign of progress toward construction of the HSR project in the Central Valley. And despite some of the recent legal setbacks, that progress continues.

  1. Clem
    Dec 19th, 2013 at 20:40
    #1

    Correction: Zero bids have been received. Five statements of qualification have been received.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Are they going to be paid to submit bids?

    Most likely would be a repeat of the first contract. And one should expect “setbacks” if what you are doing is illegal.

  2. Tony D.
    Dec 20th, 2013 at 10:01
    #2

    “Five statements of qualification”‘s have been received, but will they ever be able to build? That is the question..

    VBobier Reply:

    We’ll find out sometime between Jan 2014 and May 2014 I’d think.

  3. Keith Saggers
    Dec 20th, 2013 at 11:07
    #3

    Illinois Department of Transportation announced on December 19 that it had selected Siemens for a contract to supply approximately 35 diesel locomotives with maximum speed of 200 km/h.

    The deal has still to be finalised, but a notice of intent has been issued by IDOT, which is leading a joint procurement on behalf of Illinois, California, Michigan, Washington and Missouri.

    The Federal Railroad Administration has allocated $808m to fund a ‘next generation’ passenger fleet to operate inter-city services in the five states. As well as 35 locomotives, this includes 130 double-deck coaches ordered from Sumitomo and Nippon Sharyo in a process led by California Department of Transportation

    Railway Gazette

    jonathan Reply:

    Hm, Vectron DE machinery in an ACS-64 derived, FRA-compliant body?
    That’s got to really hurt EMD; they have orders for what, 10 F125s total?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Cummins engine

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Siemens Press Release:

    Siemens and Cummins Team up in the U.S. to Provide Advanced-Technology Diesel Electric EPA Tier 4 Locomotives Designed Specifically for Today’s Passengers
    Siemens’ North American diesel electric locomotives will now incorporate Cummins’ new state-of-the-art QSK95 diesel engines for a modern diesel electric locomotive offering that will be made for, and in, the U.S.

    December 3, 2013, Sacramento, CA, Columbus, IN — Today, Siemens Rail Systems and Cummins announced a partnership that will bring one of the most modern and efficient passenger rail, diesel electric locomotives in the world to the U.S. marketplace. Cummins’ QSK95 diesel engines will be used in Siemens’ diesel electric locomotives in the U.S., resulting in one of the most energy-efficient, lightweight, smart, diesel electric locomotives available today in North America.
    Leveraging Siemens proven rail technology, these locomotives will be designed and built specifically for today’s new train passenger, providing a smoother, more reliable and more energy-efficient riding experience. The state-of-the-art locomotives will also deploy a new engine aftertreatment system that will deliver a cleaner ride with better air quality and reduced emission rates. Importantly, these smarter, lighter trains are being developed with passenger and crew safety top-of-mind.
    “Today’s announcement acknowledges a new type of diesel-electric offering, one that is built with the passenger in mind,” explained Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rail Systems in the U.S. “Our goal is to provide high ride-quality with smooth, safe and efficient performance — for both the locomotive engineers and the passengers– with cost savings for the operators and maintainers,” he continued.
    “Our engines are the perfect answer for today’s diesel electric needs: they’re more efficient, lighter and cleaner than engines of its type in the past,” said Ed Pence, Vice President and General Manager – Cummins High-Horsepower Engine Business. “We believe that our high-speed QSK95 engines will not just bring cleaner operation, but will achieve higher performance and lower operating costs than any system utilizing traditional medium speed powered locomotives,” Pence further explained.
    The diesel-electric locomotive is uniquely designed, based on Siemens’ global rail expertise with input from U.S. passenger rail operators. This new rail equipment can help operators achieve cost savings, while improving reliability and efficiency for its passenger rail service. The lighter weight of these locomotives ensures the ability to safely operate the locomotives at speeds of up to 125 mph more efficiently, requiring less maintenance.
    To further boost American manufacturing through investment in rail, the locomotives will be built and assembled at Siemens’ solar-powered transportation manufacturing facility in Sacramento, California. Siemens has also established a robust and diverse base of U.S. rail suppliers representing all sizes of business across the country that can be leveraged as part of the development of future passenger rail locomotives.
    Cummins diesel QSK95 engines will be made in Seymour, Indiana, representing state-of-the-art, Made-in-America technology at its best. The 4200-hp (3132 kW), 95-liter, prime mover is the most powerful high-speed 16-cylinder diesel to be installed in a locomotive. The first QSK95-powered freight locomotive, with Siemens AC traction equipment and traction control, will begin commercial service operation with the Indiana Rail Road Company (INRD) by mid-2014 as the first heavy-hauler repower QSK95 installation and is ready to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 ultra-low emissions regulations.
    May be good for some applications but LOSSAN/Surfliner really needs a hybrid. Note also that Tier 4 is really not very clean compared to truck standards. Still, work for Californians at the Sacramento factory.

    jonathan Reply:

    Okay. Vectron DE (longer frame than E-lok); Vectron machinery; but a Cummins diesel instead of the Maybach diesel in European Vectron DEs.

    Will the loco be FRA-compliant (with heavyweight, ACS-64-style mods) or a regular Vectron frame?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    It has to be FRA compliant, it will be running in mixed traffic.

    jonathan Reply:

    Even with ITCS, and by the time they’re delivered? Oh well,I can see why IDOT has to place an order compliant with current regulations.

    Not that this particular order is relevant to LOSSAN, but what do you think of the VR (Finnish) order of hybrid Vectrons – E-looks, with diesels for “last mile” trips to ports, industrial sidings, etc? I have no idea how powerful the diesel is, or what the range (fuel bunkerage) is, but it might be interesting to you.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    They are dual mode rather than hybrid

    jonathan Reply:

    Uh, so you don’t want an ALP45-DP either? What do you want?

    Michael Reply:

    “Dual mode rather than hybrid”? What are you getting at?

    As I understand it, every “diesel” freight and passenger locomotive you see tooling around on the tracks here is like a “hybrid”. They are all (I don’t think any of the hydraulics form the 60’s are still running) a diesel-fuled engine that powers electric traction motors, same as a Prius with the exception of a different fuel.

    I doubt they’re “dual mode”, as in can use electric or diesel as their energy source, like some locomotives that I think still are used around NYC to haul trains into Grand Central.

    What do you mean by “hybrid” for LOSSAN? Is there a locomotive out there that you can offer, because I’m not understanding what distinction you’re making.

    jonathan Reply:

    I doubt they’re “dual mode”, as in can use electric or diesel as their energy source, like some locomotives that I think still are used around NYC to haul trains into Grand Central.

    NJT uses the ALP-45s to haul trains across breaks iin the overhead electrification system. The AL-45s run off overhead catenary where available; and have a diesel engine and generator for when it isn’t available. Such locos are widely known as “dual mode”, but Paul Dyson says they aren’t the “hybrids” he thinks LOSSAN needs.

    I don’t have a clue what he means by “hybrid”. I wonder if he does himself.

    jonathan Reply:

    … maybe some kind of storage system, to allow diesels to use regenerative braking?
    If so, why does LOSSAN have a special need for that?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Heard of a Prius? That’s a hybrid
    Best application ? Multiple stops
    LOSSAN? Multiple stops ditto Metrolink
    Ergo we need a hybrid
    Technology exists super capacitors
    Just need someone to ask for it then it will be built
    Understand now ?

    wdobner Reply:

    Energy storage will remain a sticking point for any locomotive which will have a high duty cycle on its prime mover, like a passenger unit assigned to a local run. Battery electric and battery/genset locomotives from Railpower and NRE are designed to replace locomotives where the engine spends much more of its time near idle, as on some local freights and switching duties. At least one study focused on the use of a dedicated battery car to house the batteries and supercapacitors, and while this isn’t much of a problem for a freight train, it’s not exactly ideal for passenger use. Squeezing the batteries required to equal current diesel performance alongside a generator capable of recharging those batteries between stations onto the frame of existing (and admittedly very large) passenger diesel locomotives will likely prove exceedingly difficult.

    IMHO the Japanese approach of utilizing multiple unit passenger trains fitted with batteries for trips away from electrification infrastructure may be the best bet. As with the traction equipment being distributed under the train in an EMU, so are the batteries, so that there’s no need for a dedicated car. They’re not worth much now, but with the eventual electrification of the LA-Anaheim corridor a few strategic recharge points could be placed between Anaheim and San Diego, allowing electric operation on the LOSSAN corridor without the supposed visual intrusion of wires.

    Of course all this development of battery powered vehicles should be weighed against simply electrifying the corridor. The simplest way to do regenerative energy storage for a railroad is with the battery bank sitting still in the substation. There will no doubt be a hew and cry as to the impact of those wires, but aren’t there wires along that corridor already?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I think a two unit passenger locomotive is well worth considering. The objective is to improve performance in that first quarter mile out of the station. With 8 powered axles instead of 4 and stored electric power to boost acceleration you could achieve something approaching “electric” performance. I view this as an intermediate step before electrification. Metrolink and the LOSSAN corridor have not even begun to plan for that and we’ll have a whole generation of locomotives before we see catenary. The industry needs to be challenged with the notion that simply building another fleet of similar diesels with only marginally improved performance is not good enough. “Eventual electrification” is about as useful as high speed rail in solving today’s transportation problems. It’s like sitting on a beach waiting for a coconut to fall to provide lunch, not a practical plan for today or for the next decade or more.

    Clem Reply:

    There are several technical misconceptions going on in this discussion.

    1) adding weight and adding axles is nice for maximizing tractive effort, which is what you need for hauling freight. That’s why freight trains have lots of locomotives with lots of wheels and lots of weight. For a high-speed passenger locomotive, it matters far less–what you need is POWER, as in 2000 hp per axle. It’s not just the first quarter mile that matters; the 2nd and 3rd quarter miles matter even more and that’s where diesels fall behind, due to lack of power. So a two-unit passenger locomotive is not at all worth considering. It would not approach electric performance and it should be no surprise that such a unit does not exist in the multi-billion-dollar locomotive market.

    2) In an electrified system, regenerative energy storage is not required. Regenerated energy is fed back into the electric grid, to feed other trains, toaster ovens, air conditioners, etc. right at that instant.

    3) Hybrid trains with on-board energy storage are in their technological infancy, and are many years from becoming a workable alternative. There are numerous challenges with the energy density of storage (both mass and volumetric), efficiency, durability, and scalability. For now, the hybrid train can properly be viewed as the unicorn of the rails.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Clem, I disagree with your conclusions. Unless you determine that 80 – 90mph is high speed then we are discussing different needs. LOSSAN and Metrolink trains rarely exceed 70mph and top out at 80 (with a brief exception through Camp Pendleton). A key reason that a hybrid loco does not exist is that almost all railroads have moved away from locomotive hauled passenger trains, and few have to deal with the heavyweight cars we have invested so much money in. We’ll see what develops with super capacitors etc. in the next few years. For sure you will not see 2,000hp per axle with a diesel. On the other hand 8 axles driven gives some of the characteristics of mu service. The concept is being pursued, we’ll see how successfully.

    TRANSDEF Reply:

    Unicorn alert!!! My God, there’s a whole flock of them: supercapacitors 1, supercapacitors 2, and flywheels.

    Please note that, in an electrified system, wayside energy storage is useful in preventing excessive voltage drop.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why didn’t the people using flywheels use superduper capacitors? Why didn’t they put them in the vehicles instead of at the substation?

    TRANSDEF Reply:

    Sorry, Bombardier updated the link to supercapacitor 2 since I saved it.

    Clem Reply:

    Paul, there’s nothing to disagree about when it comes to equations of motion.

    A basic surfliner (F59 + 6 cal cars) takes 130 sec to go from 0 to 70 mph.
    Let’s double the mass on drivers at the same power: now it’s 152 sec. The extra starting tractive effort helps, but is swamped by the extra weight (+120 metric tons).
    Let’s double the power with the same mass on drivers: now it’s 78 sec.
    Let’s double both mass on drivers and double power: now it’s 77 sec, because despite the extra weight (+120 metric tons) you have more tractive effort at lower speeds to make up for it.

    Compare to a modern high-power EMU (Stadler KISS @ 6MW): 47 sec

    The solution to your problem doesn’t involve supercapacitors or flywheels or coconuts falling from trees. Stick a diesel on both ends, and you’re done! Granted, that’s not the most energy-efficient solution out there, but performance-wise it gets you what you need. Now. Cheap.

    Hybrid technology simply is not scalable to the train weights we’re talking about here (above 1 million pounds)

    Clem Reply:

    here’s a plot. (Note I threw in an extra 4 seconds above, since the plot represents what would happen if all the power were instantly available… in practice it takes a few seconds to rev up to max throttle)

    jonathan Reply:

    Clem,
    before you can say that there’s “nothing to disagree about when it comes to equations of motion:, first you have to get everyone in the discussion *up* to where they’re discussing equations-of-motion.

    That rules out Paul Dyson, just the same way it rules out Joe.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Jonathan, I am always ready to accept expert opinion, I don’t profess to be a mechanical engineer. If Clem, you and all the gathered wise men say the only way to achieve better performance without electrification, and of course meet AQMD goals, and reduce fuel consumption, is to hang a loco on each end (as Terry Miller did for BR in the 1970s) I bow to your greater experience. It seems a pity that your profession has made no progress in 4 decades but if those are the facts I won’t argue.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The “last mile diesel” diesel engines are usually rated at 500 to 800 kW, compared to the electrical power rating of 3000 to 4000 kW (example TRAXX), or 360 kW diesel and 1500 kW electric (example SBB Eem 923). This type of locomotive is called “electro-diesel”.

    jonathan Reply:

    Max,
    The ALP-45s have two ~1.6 Mw diesels, totalling 3.1MW at shat, or 4,100shp.

    VBobier Reply:

    At least until 2015, after that even a TGV would be ok to run according to the FRA.

    Joey Reply:

    That’s still pending approval from the host RR. I don’t know what FEC’s stance on this would be, and the only thing we have to go by is UP’s universal no.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    We have no such thing. In the past, to get a waiver to use a non-compliant design, you had to kick freight off the tracks for the daylight hours. Post-2015, you will be able to run non-compliant designs (with some modifications, though so far they don’t seem huge) *commingled* with heavy freight, no waiver necessary. So it’s really a very different proposition than the old waivers, and unless UP’s said something about their stance post-2015 that I missed, we can’t assume they’d be opposed.

    Joey Reply:

    I think we can. Their stance toward HSR thus far has been “not on our property at all, except to cross over or under, and even then, support columns must be outside too.” To the extent that they have any say what happens outside their ROW, they have pushed for very large separation between their tracks and any non-FRA tracks.

    jonathan Reply:

    Surely the host RR would have to grant approval for overhead catenary? And isn’t UP’s answer to that “No”?

    There’s not much point buying a TGV (or AGV) trainset, if all you’re going to do with it is haul it around with diesels — at the same speed as the predominant US diesel freight traffic. Not that you’d ever want to go much faster, given the terrible condition of US freight rail tracks.

    Joey Reply:

    jonathan: correct. Mainline freight and modern passenger operations aren’t really compatible even under the new regulations. The place where they are going to make a difference is on corridors with low freight demand and high passenger demand, for instance LOSSAN south of Fullerton.

    VBobier Reply:

    Quite true on the Host RR lines, not on HSRs own line, as that is what I was thinking.

  4. Brian_FL
    Dec 20th, 2013 at 14:03
    #4

    It will be interesting to see what All Aboard Florida decides to go with. They have always said they would purchase foreign designed train sets. They said they were working with a foreign based company on the design of their train. The Siemens locomotive would appear to be a very good match with AAF’s requirements. I believe AAF is trying to obtain an FRA waiver to operate light weight European type trains. Last I heard was that they have been talking with the FRA for most of 2013 about this.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Meant that as a reply to Keith Saggers comment about the IDOT decision.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    They needed an FRA waiver when they started looking; now the FRA says they’re going to be allowing off-the-shelf-ish European rolling stock by 2015-ish.

  5. joe
    Dec 20th, 2013 at 19:20
    #5

    http://www.citywatchla.com/8box-left/6184-california-high-speed-rail-revolution-evolution-or-devolution

    The need to escape the giddy atmosphere of the past, and to “smell the coffee” and focus on the realistic future, has never been greater. The adherence to issues long-dead, particularly how to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco via a train as fast as a plane, needs to end. It’s tunnel vision…train-tunnel vision.

    Kind of like how some folks still opine (and whine) about how the right route of the CAHSR project should have been routed via the Altamont Pass instead of the Pacheco Pass, when it’s a dead issue and entirely irrelevant to the immediate problem.

    I doubt I’m the only one sick of hearing about Altamont vs. Pacheco, and the “Aaaaaltamont, Aaaaaaaltamont, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaltamont!” screams ignore the other, more urgent needs of the transit-riding (and wannabe transit-riding) communities.

    Certainly, it’s OK to admire the Governor for his initiative…but his lack of flexibility and courage makes that admiration harder to sustain. While the hybrid CAHSR project we now have is much, much closer to a project that is more realistic than that presented to the voters, it is still a project that is illegal with respect to the rules and laws in which it was passed, and which will leave it unfundable (and, ergo, unbuildable).

    Clem Reply:

    Suck it up! You’re gonna be hearing a lot more about Altamont.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Go for it, Clem. You are the best friend CAHSR has.

    And if by chance you were ever wondering, as I, where Bernanke was sending that $85bil/mo:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdesk/2013/12/what-happened-to-the-feds-tril.html

    BrianR Reply:

    If Altamont is chosen over Pacheco the CAHSR may find that the most efficient and effective alternate means of providing direct high speed service to downtown San Jose would be something along the lines of the following:

    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6198/6072257511_87584f110d_o.jpg

    That’s just an example of a concept. I am assuming California appropriate “road names” would be adopted to match whatever paint scheme and branding is ultimately realized for that “inevitable” future HSR that could only “possibly be realized” with an Altamont/I-5/Tejon routing.

    Think about all the cost savings that would be realized without the need for any new expensive infrastructure! All it takes is a code-share agreement and paint. Why trek all the way from San Jose to Fremont or Redwood City to connect to a mainline HSR station when there is already an existing and underutilized transportation facility conveniently located adjacent to downtown San Jose and accessible by free and frequent shuttle bus service from VTA light rail, multiple bus routes and Caltrain?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You might ask the same question today: why trek all the way to SFO or Oakland, or drive, when there’s an airport in San Jose?

    BrianR Reply:

    well it’s a matter of where you are headed. If you are booking a flight to Los Angeles or Ontario,CA (CA meaning California not Canada) San Jose should be able to meet your needs well enough unless you are hoping to catch a flight that leaves after 11:00 PM or like at 3:00 AM. Obviously for service to other parts of the country your options are much more limited at SJC but I am assuming the primary subject here is travel between northern and southern California.

    Competition from multiple carriers at SFO or Oakland may lead to cheaper prices but not everyone finds it a good bargain to travel another 50 miles to save 5 to 10 dollars on airfare. Otherwise at SJC it’s the type of situation where you plan around their schedule if it works reasonably enough for you. I’ve taken jetBlue’s daily nonstop redeye from SJC to JFK and at the time it was actually cheaper than the equivalent flight from SFO. I’ve also taken US Airways “faux non-stop” flight from SJC to JFK that stops in Phoenix except you continue on the same plane. It was a relatively cheap flight too. With a guaranteed connection like that who wouldn’t want to stop in Phoenix Sky Harbor! I happen to be big fan of airport architecture so maybe I am just biased! My once and first ever stopover in Phoenix was an experience of personal enrichment I would not replace for anything! I used all the allocated stopover time to explore as much of the terminal as possible. I just hope that route is maintained post merger with American.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, SJC has primarily local traffic, by a large margin. The problem is something different. First, even more people fly out of Oakland. Counting only passengers to the five LA airports, SFO has 3,500 passengers per day in both directions, SJC 4,500, and Oakland 6,700. (For the record, before checking I thought SFO had the most rather than the least LA-bound traffic.) There are more people who live in the East Bay than in Silicon Valley, and for them driving to Fremont to take Altamont-HSR is easier than driving to San Jose to take Pacheco-HSR. I doubt many would take BART, but for them, it’s easier to get to Fremont or Livermore than to San Jose as well.

    As a destination Silicon Valley is more important than the East Bay, but SF trumps both by a large margin. As I like pointing out, downtown San Jose has about the same job concentration as downtown Providence (and is much less walkable). Silicon Valley has a lot of job sprawl, which is going to show up in lower rail mode share and higher road mode share, and many of the HSR riders will have to connect to Caltrain either way. This subtly advantages Altamont in that it’s easier to blend HSR and Caltrain if HSR goes via Altamont, even though the trip to points south of Redwood City would be longer. Within Silicon Valley, the most promising station as a destination is Palo Alto, and serving it requires Pacheco, but the business plan documents suggest that the HSR Authority is going to put the mid-Peninsula station at Redwood City either way, since Redwood City is pro-HSR whereas Palo Alto is filing lawsuits. Riding Pacheco-HSR to San Jose and then connecting to Caltrain to get to Palo Alto and Mountain View is in principle faster than riding Altamont-HSR to Redwood City, but it requires more infrastructure to blend Caltrain and HSR on the full SF-SJ segment.

    If anything, HSR would cause SJC to be closed, under either option. Pacheco serves San Jose better, but Altamont is good enough that people would switch – they’d drive to Redwood City or Fremont, or maybe take BART to Fremont. Nobody lives in downtown San Jose anyway. Under either option, express trains do RWC-LA in about 2:30; under Altamont, subtract a few minutes for Fremont-LA. It’s easily capable of outcompeting air, and then SJC and Oakland are going to see a large drop in passenger volumes. SFO, which has much more long-distance traffic, is less dependent on short-hop flights and more capable of replacing them with long-distance flights. Counting all domestic travel, SFO has 26,000 daily passengers, SJC 13,500, and Oakland 17,500, so SFO has about 13% of its domestic passengers going to LA, SJC 33%, and Oakland 38%. If you add in San Diego, where HSR trains would take 4:00 from Silicon Valley and be competitive, though not enough to wipe the air travel market, then the proportion of domestic passengers rises to 18% for SFO, 45% for SJC, and 48% for Oakland. If you also add in Las Vegas, this rises to 22%, 54%, and 56% respectively. It’s possible the airlines will add in long-distance flights to compensate, but the international flights have large planes and too few passengers who care much for Silicon Valley.

    Tony D. Reply:

    No body lives in downtown SJ? Talk about a straight up lie! Also see two residential high rises being built as we speak and three more in the pipeline in DSJ. Even if what you said was true, you don’t build a major rail passenger system and bypass the largest, wealthiest city in the region; and it’s only getting larger and wealthier!

    Look all, I’m now all for a hypothetical Altamont, I-5, Tejon HSR route, but current plans have such a route terminating at Diridon/SJ, a completely reborn ACE line. Look it up! A Dumbarton crossing would be nice as well and should be the ultimate goal ,but it would not be “phase 1″ Altamont if you will..

    Tony D. Reply:

    Look up Altamont HSR Commuter Overlay from a few years back.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    By the standards of how many people live within easy commute distance of downtown San Francisco, nobody lives in downtown SJ. I’m not counting buildings, I’m counting how many hundreds of thousands of people might be interested in flying out of SJC.

    And yes, you totally bypass the largest city when it’s only the largest because it amalgamated with the right suburbs. Just like you totally bypass the largest county in New York when riding Amtrak.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And Amtrak passes through but doesn’t stop in the second biggest or fifth biggest and doesn’t even pass through the fourth and sixth biggest.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Regardless of new development, the number of people who live in San Jose, by standards of similarly large cities, is miniscule. Alon is correct-saying that San Jose is the 9th (or 10th, whatever) largest city in the country is disingenuous. San Jose is an amalgamation of suburbia without a proper downtown.

    Tony D. Reply:

    You are more than entitled to your opinion. So who made you and Alon experts at defining cities?

    Tony D. Reply:

    BTW, it appears that none of you urban “experts” are aware of the massive AM/PM commutes on 880/680 to/from Silicon Valley/San Jose. But yet you laugh at the BART to SV/SJ extension and claim SV/SJ doesn’t need a HSR connection via Altamont. Silly us, what were we thinking by improving/advocating access into our region…

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Tony D.,

    It’s odd that you feel that this is all about you, and all about personal insults to your “hometown”.

    The laughing! The “experts”! Our region!

    Yes, they’re all out to get you. The East Coast Intelligensia. The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism. The Pencil-Neck Geeks with their Slide Rules. The Shiftless Urban Cosmopolitans. The Foreigners Abusing the US Census Web Site.

    Oh, how they all chortle at you and your SOV commuting. So droll!

    Joey Reply:

    The problem isn’t that San Jose doesn’t have jobs, or people, the problem is that they’re spread out, and thus very difficult to serve effectively with transit.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not about how many people live in SJ, it’s about how many people live close enough to the airport that they’d find it more convenient to drive to the airport than to drive to RWC or Fremont.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Ironically (or is that perversely?) the best way to serve Silicon Valley’s transit needs is by the VTA actually doing its job (and totally reworking the LRT system), not Pacheco or the VTA spending money on being BART’s Santa Clara County booster.

    jonathan Reply:

    Amanda,

    what do you mean? Sounds to me like a VTA that isn’t VTA anymore. “Reworking the LRT system”? You mean abandoning much of the current trackage and laying more sensible routes elsewhere, or what?

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    jonathan: since when is VTA’s primary mission to bring BART to San Jose (and eventually northwards along the Caltrain ROW with the nonsensical Santa Clara Caltrain Station stub)?

    jonathan Reply:

    Amanda;how about we take it that BART (the political, bureaucratic-empire-building part) is a vampire.

    I’m asking, what do you think VTA *should* be doing? How can they fix LRT, short of ripping it out and starting over? (And to think Rod Diridon got a “lifetime achievement award”partly for that, and partly for his separate-and-unequal ‘apartheid track’ plan for HSR!)

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    You describe how San Jose grew – an amalgam of housing subdivisions. Developers call the shots at that stage, and current residents can’t be ridiculed for what some developers pulled off 50 years ago.
    I don’t think that’s where San Jose is going, however. San Jose is one of the few places in the Bay Area that attracts dense residential development. It’s trying to build a real downtown. It’s emphasizing transit projects that will support more dense development in its core. Unlike almost everywhere in the Bay Area, it’s supportive of high speed rail.
    San Jose is also a huge expanse of relatively flat land, while the Bay Area is generally hemmed in by mountains and water.
    If anything, San Jose is a much bigger part of the Bay Area’s future than it is at present. If actual working people are going to be allowed to live in the Bay Area, many of them will be living in San Jose. Planning for future transit facilities should reflect that.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    jonathan: elevate light rail all along North 1st and Tasman. Probably cheaper than BART, and would positively affect much more people. Besides, almost no one lives directly along Tasman or North 1st-it wouldn’t be a eye sore for people. That’s my VTA fantasy, based on so many slow rides along North 1st and Tasman. It’ll never happen, though.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Peter-wanting decent public transit for Santa Clara County (i.e. San Jose) means VTA, not boondoggle BART or Pacheco HSR.

    Howard Reply:

    VTA should consider an El Camino Real, Santa Clara Street and Alum Rock Ave subway. That bus line, #22, is the only very congested high ridership bus in the South Bay. It looks like the BRT line will not get exclusive lanes. The question is should it be a BART extention or light rail like Muni. Stevens Creek Blvd should also be studied.

    jonathan Reply:

    Amanda: I guess you don’t go as far north as Caltrain’s Mountain View stop?

    Is it possible to interlock the traffic signals so that VTA light-rail doesn’t have to stop at traffic signs?
    I guess not, not when the local transport-industrial complex is promoting CBOSS as great value-for-money.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Jonathan-from Lockheed Martin to downtown MV, light rail has precedence over cars-its probably a vestige of it running along a former freight spur. I can’t remember if the intersection at Java and Mathilda has the light rail stopping for traffic-and I’d add Java Drive along with Tasman as areas in which the LRT has to stop at lights. In my fantasy world, I’ve long since thought that that would be the one thing that would speed up light rail tremondously. And, it has the added benefit of being in an area where very few people live right next to the light rail-you can’t really blight remote suburban office parks.

    egk Reply:

    [Can't beliwve we are back to this, but..]

    Pacheco DOES NOT serve San Jose better, it serves trips between Southern California and San Jose (slightly) better.

    But since Sacramento, not Southern California, is by far the largest travel market for San Jose (both as origin and destination) an Altamont alignment clearly serves the total travel needs of San Jose (and the entire Bay Area) better.

    Weekly commuters – who make up much of the Sacto/San Jose travel market – are very good HSR customers (as anybody who has lived in Germany knows).

    Tony D. Reply:

    Agree.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The comment I was making was specifically about air travel out of SJC. Altamont’s better service to Sacramento is irrelevant; nobody flies between the Bay Area and Sacramento.

    joe Reply:

    Yes, SJC has primarily local traffic, by a large margin. The problem is something different. First, even more people fly out of Oakland. Counting only passengers to the five LA airports, SFO has 3,500 passengers per day in both directions, SJC 4,500, and Oakland 6,700. (For the record, before checking I thought SFO had the most rather than the least LA-bound traffic.)

    Why the surprise? SFO has limited capacity. Airlines defer less profitable flights to other airports.
    That’s why SFO doesn’t dominate the market for local flights from SoCal. It’s also a sign that SFO has little if any capacity room to accommodate additional flights and HSR will not do much to relieve SFO air traffic since SFO has so few % of local flights.

    Bigger planes can help SFO (they use larger planes now mostly) but these planes take longer to board which reduces the number of open gates available per hour. Most air traffic growth ove rtth next few decades will happen by adding and shifting flights to OAK and SJC.

    So no HSR is not going to put SJC out of business unless SFO adds more runways.

    BTW, Palo Alto RWC is not the center of the SV – it’s further south. It’s closer to San Jose SJC than SF SFO. That matters in the alignment decision.

    The most obvious problem is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    CAHSRA has a ROW from San Jose to SF all lined up. Morris Brown and CARRD are gadflies on the Peninsula. The Pols all support the Blended plan. It’s all done.

    Altamont throws all this hard work out and reboots the bay area. It attempts to bring HSR to SF via a new route in the East Bay and throws in a new bay crossing. Also, it requires track to San Jose and eliminates the argument for HSR to co-pay for blended Caltrain.

    No one can show the impacted East Bay cities would welcome HSR. Such a non-trivial oversight to throw out a sure thing and try something better because politics are always stupid and engineering is the end al and be all.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Also, it requires track to San Jose and eliminates the argument for HSR to co-pay for blended Caltrain.

    No it doesn’t the train can either go across the bay and then go down to San Jose or people in San Jose can just get on BART and go to Fremont.

    jonathan Reply:

    Go across the bay? ROTFL. Trains flying over empty space? Shades of Terry Pratchett!

    Clem Reply:

    You would impact Fremont, period. Instead of Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto and the affluent parts of Menlo Park and Atherton.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s gonna be in a tunnel from Fremont to the mainline out in Stockton? Or is it that the people on the other side of the pass aren’t really in the Bay Area and therefore don’t count?

    joe Reply:

    So Fremont’s okay with it – great. For a moment I thought the alternative alignment wasn’t vetted with the Easy Bay cities.

    Interesting that San Jose will not be impact by the Altamont alignment.

    Clem Reply:

    What people? The people of Pleasanton and Livermore would only be impacted if you ran the train right through their towns, which is the only option that CHSRA and PB studied so as to get maximum justification for withdrawing Altamont alternatives. The SETEC route is in the boonies as soon as it departs Fremont, all the way to the Central Valley.

    San Jose gets a fantastic BART connection, what more could you wish for?

    jonathan Reply:

    San Jose gets a fantastic BART connection, what more could you wish for?

    I’m looking for the irony and still not seeing any.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    OOOOOO sounds like a plan put the passenger railroad where there are no passengers. Why bother to go all the way to Stockton? Swoop around all those pesky people and use something out along 580 to avoid them all? There’s a whole lot of nothing out in the Delta, build it out there when the time comes to build to Sacramento. A beetfield station for Sacramento halfway to Davis and it will make it easier to get to Davis!

    Clem Reply:

    Could you repeat that with words strung together in such a manner as to make a point?

    Joey Reply:

    Stations need to be where people are. The track between stations is ideally far away from where people are.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Alon’s analysis neatly leaves out that the only two airports in California seeing passenger growth are SFO and LAX.

    The reason is pretty simple: the more the industry consolidates, the less of a reason there is to compete. If we end up with four major airlines nationally, HSR is going to be the tool that airlines use to expand stagnant market share. Much of San Jose’s or Oakland’s market share is going to be gobbled up by an ever expanding SFO. Expect Sacramento and San Diego’s share to also grow.

    So how does this relate to Altamont? Even if BART didn’t oppose Altamont 105%, even if San Jose rolled over and agreed with it, even if it wasn’t totally unworkable for Sacramento, Altamont would keep alive San Jose’s airport as a viable rival to SFO. And doing that would pull ridership off the whole CAHSR system and probably to the point where it’s not economically viable.

    In fact, Altamont is the Northern California version of Palmdale. There is a big incentive to develop it for commuter traffic, but it’s no help for statewide service.

    Clem Reply:

    How would Altamont impede service to Sacramento? Trying to follow your logic…

    jonathan Reply:

    In fact, Altamont is the Northern California version of Palmdale. There is a big incentive to develop it for commuter traffic, but it’s no help for statewide service.

    Amen!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Trying to follow your logic

    Category error.

    Clem Reply:

    SJ to Sac would be extremely well-served by Altamont. It is not at all in the same category as Palmdale, which puts all NorCal destinations an extra 13 to 18 minutes away from all SoCal destinations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Until they build Cajon when everything not Los Angeles is much faster since it’s not toddling along for 50 miles on either side of Los Angeles.

    Joey Reply:

    adirondacker: The time difference between SF-Tejon-LA-IE-SD and SF-Tehachapi-Cajon-IE-SD is negligible.

    Clem Reply:

    He probably does have a point, Joey, but nobody is talking about punching a second hole through the San Gabriels (a.k.a. Cajon). It’s right up there with Las Vegas. $$$$

    Joey Reply:

    Probably? I did some (admittedly handwavy) analysis a while back that said that Tehachapi-Palmdale-LA-IE would be 15-20 minutes longer than Tehachapi-Cajon-IE. Subtract off the time savings from Tejon and what do you get? Do you have more accurate time estimations?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Altamont necessitates a south to north alignment for HSR to serve Sacramento. However, that sets up a real problem given that Sacramento’s existing train station faces east-west. Unlike most cities in California, you have a very compact city center that also has a lot of historic architecture that would stand in the way of building a fast viaduct.

    The other option is to do what the San Joaquins do and run at 15mph or so through the city limits. Personally, I think this is unacceptable because CAHSR needs to be able to serve Tahoe (some day) and Oregon and Washington. Just like with the Phase 2 extension to San Diego, I think the alignment is really misguided. But I think Phase 1 is more or less what needs to be built.

    Joey Reply:

    I don’t think building a new ROW between Elk Grove and Sacramento is really going to be much of an issue. Some houses would have to be taken but there’s only one area where a lot of property takes would have to occur between CSU Sacramento and the I-80 crossing. Curve radii near the station itself don’t have to be huge, and the only other problematic curve near I-80 could be realigned easily. Where exactly are you anticipating problems?

    You can also enter Sacramento from the west even if you’re coming through the Central Valley. Stick to I-5 coming out of Stockton and then transition to the ex Sac Northern ROW in West Sacramento. You’d have to bridge a few wetlands but so would any SF-Fairfield-Sac upgrades.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Some houses would have to be taken but there’s only one area where a lot of property takes would have to occur between CSU Sacramento and the I-80 crossing.

    Oh, you mean the most desirable neighborhood in all of Sacramento, the Fabulous Forties? Good luck with that. Maybe you can use the same tunnel design as in Palo Alto….

    You’d have to bridge a few wetlands but so would any SF-Fairfield-Sac upgrades.

    The Fairfield area wetlands are going to suffer massive subsidence from pumping to the Peripheral Tunnel and Clifton Court Forebay. The Sac Northern ROW is actually a great idea otherwise.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Ah, our old friend the Altamont vs. Pacheco debate, just in time for the holidays- the whole thing has come full circle, it’s deja vu all over again, and all that. And some airplane stuff too- maybe another profane ex-pilot will join in on the conversation. Carry on, gentlepersons!

    Howard Reply:

    HSR can go to Sacramento from Stockton via the unused old Central Califonia Tracktion ROW, then turn north onto the 83rd Street spur, then turn west on the publicly owned Sacramento- Folsom track and stop at a station at the Power Inn light rail station. This alterate route can be built without effecting the UP mainline. Riders can transfer to light rail to go downtown and the HSR station is close to Sac State. Lots of Europen train stations are not in downtown. Later a subway could extend HSR downtown.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If you put the HSR station there, good luck extending it anywhere. I know Sacramento is out of sight out of mind for most people on this board and in California generally. But my guess is that in the Bay Area BART and CAHSR will share ROW but not tracks or stations. I think this allows Capitol Corridor service to survive and limit the number of stations between San Jose and Sacramento.

    Joey Reply:

    Oh, you mean the most desirable neighborhood in all of Sacramento, the Fabulous Forties? Good luck with that. Maybe you can use the same tunnel design as in Palo Alto….

    Regardless of how high property values are, the cost of acquiring them isn’t going to be much. People will complain (as everywhere else), but there’s not much they can do in the end. And it’s a lot simpler than Palo Alto – there are no crossings to deal with so everything could be at grade. Though the neighborhood would probably be improved by a new pedestrian crossing or two.

    The Fairfield area wetlands are going to suffer massive subsidence from pumping to the Peripheral Tunnel and Clifton Court Forebay. The Sac Northern ROW is actually a great idea otherwise.

    What are we comparing to then? You have to get to Sacramento somehow. If you’re proposing to follow the Capitol Corridor route then you have to deal with the same wetlands.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joey,

    If you look at a map, you will see the Capitol Corridor route fords the Delta north of the proposed intake tunnels for the Peripheral Tunnel. Altamont is below the Delta, so it is easier to cross the San Joaquin River. But Sacramento’s core grid is so old even using the existing ROW would present challenges.

    Also, I think the water table is to high to use tunnels in a meaningful way.

    Joey Reply:

    Okay, but I still think you’re overstating the challenges of either route, especially compared to your stated alternative (CC route). How do you propose to deal with the challenges of ROW in the East Bay (noting that the existing one is UP-owned), particularly north of Richmond, necessary tunneling north of Hercules, either urban construction through Vallejo (Vallejo route) or crossing huge swaths of wetlands (Benicia route)? I’m purposefully ignoring the second transbay tube because that will probably happen under any scenario.

    Joey Reply:

    By contrast, other than the minor issues you have stated, it’s a flat, straight shot north from Stockton to Sacramento. A few miles of urban construction at the north end (or shoring against future subsidence), and nothing else. No tunneling, intermediate slowdowns, few to no wetlands to cross, no regional trains to compete for capacity with in the second transbay tube. What makes you think that Stockton-Sacramento is going to be so much harder than San Francisco-Oakland-Sacramento?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Hmm, given Tehachapi vs. Tejon and Altamont vs. Pacheco and supposing you can only choose one, which one would you choose? That is, is Tejon more important than Altamont, or visa-versa?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ted, Sacramento is supposed to be served from LA on the exact same alignment regardless of what mountain pass is used to get to the Bay Area. North of Manteca and south of Chowchilla, nothing changes either way.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The surprise comes from the fact that SFO is the region’s primary airport. At the LA end, LAX is the plurality airport for Bay Area-bound fliers, although not overwhelmingly so (about 4,600 vs. 3,200 for each of Burbank and Santa Ana). In both regions, the secondary airports have a much larger share of their traffic going to cities at HSR range, but I thought that the plurality airport would still be the primary one. It turned out to be true in LA and false in the Bay Area.

    Re Silicon Valley, I think PA is about the center – it certainly is as a destination – and RWC is a bit too far north and MV and SJ too far south. It doesn’t have a definitive center the way SF does, but instead has a string of secondary job centers, ranging from RWC to SJ. Stanford just has a central location in that string.

    I’m purposely avoiding political alignment questions (Caltrain vs. Altamont options) in this subthread. Plenty of other places to discuss Dumbarton tunnel options. I’m saying something narrowly related to blending, which is that it’s easier to blend for 45 km than for 80.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    So there’s no surprise:

    Southwest is the dominant intrastate carrier. Southwest, with Wal-Mart like precision, finds the airport in a region with the lowest landing fees and uses that as the base of its operations. Unlike most primary airports in the US, LAX has the lowest landing fees in Southern California. Ergo, Southwest uses LAX as its base and is the plurality airport.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Why does LAX have lower landing fees than the secondary airports, out of curiosity? It’s an unusual situation.

    joe Reply:

    Re Silicon Valley, I think PA is about the center – it certainly is as a destination – and RWC is a bit too far north and MV and SJ too far south

    Palo Alto has Stanford – students and what not. If you work in SV, the large employers with buses trucking people in to work are south of Palo Alto – so too are the start-ups.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I believe the reason for LAX having lower landing fees is that all of its terminals predate deregulation. Tom Bradley was paid for partially by the Olympics, thus, until the City has to take on a lot more debt, fees will stay low.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The census’s On The Map tool shows Stanford and downtown San Jose as about equal in job density. It may not be representing big institutional employers like Stanford or Adobe accurately, though – e.g. look at what it does in Queens around JFK. But there’s also some job concentration in southern San Mateo County, around RWC.

    But Stanford has the students in addition to the employees, which means a lot of extremely peaky travel around holidays but also some less peaky travel every weekend. It also means that for commuter rail it’s the biggest Silicon Valley destination, but that’s only relevant to a small market of high-speed commuters.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Caltrain station rankings:

    #2 Palo Alto
    #3 Mountain View
    #4 San Jose
    #5 Millbrae
    #6 Redwood City
    #7 Hillsdale
    #8 Sunnyvale
    #9 San Mateo
    #10 Menlo Park

    If you look at ridership of Palo Alto and nearby stations (Menlo Park, Redwood City, Mountain View) then it is quite clear where the demand is.

    joe Reply:

    Demand for commuter rail.

    The silicon valley is NOT measured by Caltrain commuter transit – Palo Alto has Stanford U and Hospital. Just pretend the SF google bus protests never happened.

    HSR isn’t a commuter system. The SiliconValley, if Brainiac wants to discuss it, doesn’t center on Palo Alto. Sorry. Cisco, Apple, Adobe, Yahoo, Microsoft, Google. These are center south of RWC and Paly.

    I think the Aaaaaaalamont advocates quickly forget the topic. Its a CA HSR crossing, not a commuter system or commuter bay crossing.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s difficult to talk about a center of Silicon Valley because it’s so spread out. There are definitely a lot of jobs south of Palo Alto, but there are also a a fair number of jobs north, in Redwood City, Belmont, San Carlos, and San Mateo (particularly on the east side of 101).

    Actually, the current trend is that the center is moving northward, but that’s mainly companies moving into SF proper (e.g. Twitter) rather than moving up the peninsula. This is the same trend that’s fueling SF’s current housing boom.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Oracle is in RWC, EA is in RWC, Facebook is in Menlo Park, HP is in Palo Alto.

    Tony D. Reply:

    This idea that SV is “moving northward” to SF is utter nonsense. Just because of high profile Twitter going public, and a bunch of other smaller Internet companies sprouting in SF, doesn’t make the claim so. The bread and butter of SV is still in Santa Clara County. Cisco, Ebay, Brocade, Sanmina, Apple, Yahoo, Google, HP, Facebook ring a bell (I could go on and on)? Throw in the new Patent Office in downtown SJ and SF has to crawl hands and knees southward to get their ideas trademarked. Any questions?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Menlo Park $latex \notin$ Santa Clara County.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Tony D. Your statement is the one that is utter nonsense.

    “This idea that SV is “moving northward” to SF is utter nonsense.”

    No, it’s not. The reality is that SF’s gravity is increasing and companies are gradually moving further north in one way or another. Mostly this is because a significant number of employees want to live in SF. So companies in the heart of Silicon Valley either run the “dreaded” tech buses from SF or often also open large satellite offices in SF (e.g., Yahoo, Facebook, and even Google). (Marissa Meyer spends part of her work week in the Yahoo SF office because she lives in SF!)

    So where would I put a start-up? In San Jose? Where I would be competing with large companies that can afford to provide shuttle service from SF while my employees have to live in SV or else endure over an hour commute? The last two companies for whom I’ve worked, relocated to mid-Peninsula so to be more central to all of their employees.

    And those smaller Internet companies? What happens when they become the big companies of tomorrow, and are located in SF? Where’s the nexus of Silicon Valley then?

    Tony D. Reply:

    J. Wong,
    The truth obviously hurts because you’re full of crap. Basing your entire argument on some tech buses, where some young techies supposedly want to live and where Marissa Meyer works part time is utterly ridiculous. FWIW, I reside amongst tech workers in the Evergreen area of SJ and a “tech bus” serves our community 2 blocks away. Apigee from Palo Alto to SJ? Polycom from Pleasanton to SJ? Google airport at SJC? This is to easy; any questions?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not sure about now, but traditionally the startups first located in Palo Alto and then moved elsewhere in Silicon Valley, both north (Facebook) and south (Google).

    BrianR Reply:

    Interesting: I didn’t realize SJC had just a bit over half the daily passengers as SFO. If those numbers are still current I would say that’s not half bad considering SJC’s diminutive size. I always assumed passenger counts were significantly less in proportion to SFO. Even considering Google’s proposed executive terminal on the west side of the airfield SJC still has room to expand (on the east side). Terminal B was originally planned to have twice the number of gates it currently has. The limiting factor of course would be runway capacity and runway length but it seems unlikely that would be a threshold SJC would bump up against. That is unless the age of single aisle jets comes to an end. If that were the case SJC would need to revisit the prior proposals to extend the runways over the 880 which I think were last considered back in the 90’s.

    Howard Reply:

    The best way to expand the San Jose Airport would be to move it to Coyote Valley where there is room for two main runways. The new terminal could be directly served by HSR (instead of unwanted MV/PA/RC station), Caltrain and Capitols. The rest of the Coyote Valley could be preserved as an airport safety and noise control measure. There could also be night flights. The old San Jose airport could be torn down redeveloped as a whole new dense downtown. Moving San Jose airport would also remove the building height limits in downtown San Jose, allowing taller building to make downtown San Jose more dense, urban and transit friendly.

    BrianR Reply:

    If HSR came through Coyote Valley via Pacheco there would be very little need for an expanded San Jose Airport. HSR alone with a stop in San Jose would significantly reduce flight demand at SJC.

    A move to Coyote Valley would put the airport outside the range of useful distance not only for people on the lower peninsula and south bay but for those within San Jose itself. Remember, it can take a long time just to drive from one end of San Jose to the other. Many who currently find SJC a convenient alternative to SFO would likely find it easier to travel to SFO instead.

    And besides, I thought Coyote Valley was a significant part of San Jose’s “green belt” as designated in the 1970’s. Few things seem more inconsistent than building a brand new commercial airport in a green belt.

    BrianR Reply:

    I also want to add that SJC currently has no need for expansion. It is currently underutilized and can easily accommodate additional traffic with no new facilities or additional runways. From what I last heard due to the prior recession and other issues it had actually seen a decline in traffic in recent years.

    Reedman Reply:

    One reason that the proposed BART extension to downtown San Jose continues on to Santa Clara is because the Santa Clara terminus is the closest way to link to San Jose Airport without actually going onto/into the airport.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Expanding light rail to the airport would be much cheaper than a subway under The Alameda for BART.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    These are just domestic O&D passengers. International and connecting traffic isn’t counted. By the same methodology, there’s more passenger traffic at LaGuardia than at JFK, even though JFK’s actual passenger count is about double that of LaGuardia. And if you’re comparing post-HSR traffic, then the gap grows considerably. It doesn’t really matter whether HSR takes 2:10 or 2:25 to get to LA; there’s some marginal difference, but in either case, LA-bound air traffic will take a major hit.

    wdobner Reply:

    Why can’t CHSRA HSTs servicing San Jose simply use UP’s Alviso Line, or something constructed next to it to get from the HSL’s northern end in Fremont down to Diridon? Now is the time to start working on the FRA and UP to electrify the route, add tracks as required, and set up some sort of blended operation. I would think San Jose would stand to benefit tremendously from being a northern terminal rather than another station along the route, and rather than refusing to serve the Bay Area’s third city simply because the HSL does not pass directly through town it is well worth bringing the trains to them regardless of where the HSL ends up.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Environmental issues going through the wetlands at the southern tip of the bay.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Would it really hurt the wetlands that much if the existing Alviso line were widened by 2-3 tracks? Just asking..

    joe Reply:

    California Environmental Quality Act.

    @wdobner: “would think San Jose would stand to benefit tremendously from being a northern terminal rather than another station along the route, ”

    I don’t get the benefit. What is it?

    I can see why being a stop before SF puts SJ at an advantage – the trip is that much shorter so locations at SJ are closer to LA than SF.

    I can see why HSR between SJ to SF line connects SJ to SF and helps SJ.

    Also a SJ stop puts it as the gateway to the bay area, and not a Bags End.
    An East Bay stop to two means the East Bay has advantageous connections to SoCal and to SF.

    I can see why San Jose would object. I can see why the powers want the Pacheco route so the arguments against Pacheco need to recognize the interests and what’s at stake. It ain’t simple.

    Observer Reply:

    Also agree. Having to make a loop up at Altamont and back down to get to Los Angeles from San Jose does not seem to make sense. Same could be said for getting to San Jose from Los Angeles, that is – again having to make a loop up at Altamont and back down to San Jose. Advantage Pacheco.

    Observer Reply:

    The East Bay could also be served very well this way – using San Jose as a gateway – thru Pacheco to get to Los Angeles or any other point south.

    Clem Reply:

    It does cost 10 extra minutes for SJ riders, but does not impede any other markets (in the way that Palmdale puts all NorCal destinations an extra 13 to 18 minutes further from all SoCal destinations). San Jose riders would also be many more than 10 minutes closer to Sacramento, to make up for that.

    The downside for SJ is way overblown! Imagine the loop to go from SJ to Sac via Pacheco.

    joe Reply:

    Clem

    Certainly you’ve both thought about it and done analysis. I respect that work and your approach. The quotes I found mocking the debate interested me because even HSR opponents/critics are tired of the argument. That expression of fatigue was interesting to me.

    I was writing (above) about the San Jose perspective. What are their interests in the alignment debate and why I think the area would oppose a realignment. Also, consider the positive impact Gilroy sees’ (so far) on the alignment so it is not a negative and there is a minimal impact on Morgan Hill since it is not going through town…

    A general impression I have of the San jose area is that being closer to Sacramento isn’t a plus. Maybe it should be. It’s a consolation prize IMHO. Both San Jose and Sacramento get tagged with Cow Town labels. We might call it the Cow Town express.

    The realignment means a New Bay crossing, redoing the Caltrain electrification, throwing away the effort local Pols who secured the approved alignment from SF to San Jose and the reshuffling of geographic/infrastructure towards the East Bay. The East Bay many oppose this plan. It all makes a realignment a difficult sell.

    I can see it happening but ironically the greater the fight over, IMHO bogus issues, the less I see The State conceding any ground right now.

    Joey Reply:

    @Clem:

    It does cost 10 extra minutes for SJ riders

    10 minutes was using the program alignment, wasn’t it? Using a highly unoptimized alignment through Fremont and Pleasanton. With SETEC it might be under 5 minutes.

    @Joe:

    The realignment means a New Bay crossing

    Yes, but it’s not as bad as you make it sound. A new crossing near San Francisco (which will need to happen at some point) would be quite an ordeal. Near Dumbarton, the bay is much narrower and shallower. The ecological impact is an issue for a bridge, but not for a tunnel. A tunnel could be bored parallel to the recently completed water tunnels, making soil conditions nearly 100% known, a major factor in the higher cost of tunneling.

    redoing the Caltrain electrification

    Why? CalTrain electrification still needs to happen, and HSR will still be sharing half of it. It does bring into question whether HSR funds could be used for the other half (since IIRC all of the connecting transit funds are programmed already), but if we have trouble putting together such as small amount of money for a reasonable and long overdue transit improvement, we might as well give up anyway.

    The East Bay many oppose this plan.

    Do they? Back before the Pacheco decision was finalized, the only major opposition I recall was coming from Pleasanton, which would be bypassed under SETEC.

    Observer Reply:

    I think we need to look at the entire statewide rail modernization plan. Remember that both the Altamont and Capital Corridors will both eventually be upgraded; this, together and in conjunction with the HSR section between Merced to Sacramento will provide very fast and efficient connections between the bay area and Stockton/Sacramento. To me the primary goal of HSR is to provide a high speed connection between the bay area and Los Angeles (San Diego also) and in the process get HSR service to the isolated and much more poor central valley (and also future growth area); Pacheco along with upgraded Altamont/Capital Corridors will do this. Granted I am still wondering about Tehachipi vs Tejon; but, I will accept Tehachipi.

    In other words let us get this funded and get on with building it.

    Joey Reply:

    I’m not quite sure what “upgrades” to Altamont everyone seems to be talking about. The curves in Niles Canyon and the Altamont Pass itself effectively mean that you can’t speed things up much if at all without boring new tunnels.

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain electrification requires HSR funds.

    It’s simple to offer hypothetical and make counter factual arguments. Replacing a funded electrification plan with funding with a empy promise is what Aaaaaatamont does to Caltrain.

    Clem Reply:

    Aaaaaaaltamont still requires Caltrain blending, so I don’t know how it would jeopardize the funding package for electrification (which is far from a done deal by the way)

    jonathan Reply:

    If HSR is routed via Altamont, then spending HSR dollars on Caltrain electrification south of the HSR junction is in flagrant violation of Prop 1a/AB 3034. Unless you can show that spending HSR dollars on a never-to-be-HSR suburban shortline, does not impact or slow down HSR construction elsewhere. Which, in a world where funding is _the_ main constraint, is impossible.

    As for the rest of Aaaaaatamoooont, … why are East Bay residents going to be any more accepting of HSR noise than Peninsula residents? Any less worried about the trainsets jumping off the rails and hitting schools?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Altamont requires blending north of where the important people who are very concerned about it all being done right live. they will get to keep their beloved grade crossings and diesel fumes. Because as we all know as soon as the first train travels over Altamont all construction on anything anywhere will stop as we all bask in it’s glory. And wallow in the world peace and end of hunger. Probably cures teenage acne and halitosis too.

    BrianR Reply:

    if past actions are any indication I would think PAMPA and it’s lawyers assisted with “watchdog group” CAARD will fight to the death to make sure that no Prop 1A money is spent on the electrification of Caltrain south of Redwood City (given selection of an Altamont alignment). They will surely find a provision in Prop 1A that could be interpreted as prohibiting upgrades not exclusively serving the requirements of HSR. It would be inconsistent for them to not do that.

    It will be like the brouhaha over the ‘Blended Service Plan’ repeated all over again. Their mouthpiece; Palo Alto’s Daily Post will be sure to spin every “scandal” it can think up about it. So far I am led to believe that PAMPA and CAARD are not only Pro-Deep Bore Tunnel but Pro-Diesel, Pro-Level Crossing, Pro-Loud Horns, Pro-Hyperloop and Pro-Rails to Trails conversion for the Caltrain ROW (and for their part there is no inconsistency there). It’s like “I got my Tesla Model S, I am doing my part so FUCK YOU ALL!”

    Joe Reply:

    Aaaaaaaaaaltamont would start in San Mateo Co thus cutting out all of Santa Clara Co so no it’s not going to get the full system electrified. Tamien is much further south of that crossing.

    Now if they run south on the Caltrain RoW I’d have to laugh at all the NIMBYs south thinking that alignment would keep the trains away. There we’d have the same impact on Caltrain cities plus a bay crossing.

    I still think Pachecoooooooo .

    Clem Reply:

    Since HSR dedicated infrastructure starts just south of Lawrence station, should HSR dollars be strictly prohibited from paying for Caltrain electrification from Lawrence to San Jose and Tamien? Isn’t the current plan in equally “flagrant violation”?

    Joe Reply:

    Remember. HSR has the green light in the peninsula. It’s a done deal. Electrifying Caltrain is what it took to get that approval. Thunderbirds are go!

    All bets are off in the East Bay.
    Toss away a sure thing for a sure unknown.

    Joey Reply:

    As for the rest of Aaaaaatamoooont, … why are East Bay residents going to be any more accepting of HSR noise than Peninsula residents? Any less worried about the trainsets jumping off the rails and hitting schools?

    Where would it be an issue? The SETEC alignment bypasses Pleasanton and Livermore and there’s plenty of room for a relatively cheap cut-and-cover tunnel through Fremont (not the case in PAMPA, plus hydrology issues).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Jonathan, spending money on fully electrifying Caltrain south of the junction allows it to run EMUs all the way. This means reduced HSR construction costs north of the junction: the EMUs accelerate faster, so there’s less need for overtakes, and can also climb steeper grades, so the grade separations can be shorter. Electronik vor Beton, etc.

    jonathan Reply:

    Why? CalTrain electrification still needs to happen, and HSR will still be sharing half of it. It does bring into question whether HSR funds could be used for the other half (since IIRC all of the connecting transit funds are programmed already), but if we have trouble putting together such as small amount of money for a reasonable and long overdue transit improvement, we might as well give up anyway.

    Then we should give up now. MTC has already decided to put their money elsewhere.

    joe Reply:

    “Since HSR dedicated infrastructure starts just south of Lawrence station, should HSR dollars be strictly prohibited from paying for Caltrain electrification from Lawrence to San Jose and Tamien? Isn’t the current plan in equally “flagrant violation”?”

    Yes, the current plan is controversial with the HSR board and critics. So let’s not mess with it and see what happens.

    After HSR Board approved Blended (it took two votes) an additional concession was made to Jerry Hill that now limits track to the current ROW with expansion veto power given to any one local interest.

    And the current plan does not fund electrification at 100%. Asking HSR to build elsewhere and use less of the ROW with the additional restrictions to expansion, reduces if not eliminates the rational for the project and easily would cost hundreds of millions in electrification cost sharing.

    I think a reasonable State centric approach would look to drop the blended, eliminate any dependencies with Caltrain and cross elsewhere and/or run dedicated track. Where or how? I don’t know but politics are statewide, not just local.
    None of this however, would stop CBOSS.

    jonathan Reply:

    Jonathan, spending money on fully electrifying Caltrain south of the junction allows it to run EMUs all the way. This means reduced HSR construction costs north of the junction: the EMUs accelerate faster, so there’s less need for overtakes, and can also climb steeper grades, so the grade separations can be shorter. Electronik vor Beton, etc.

    Alon, just *where* is any of that relevant to AB3034? Under an Alatmont alignment, there’s no compelling need to “blend”or to electrify Caltrain. Just quad-track from Redwood City north.

    Alon, I know you like to invent facts out of thin air to support your positions, but here there are facts. Article 2, sec 2704.04 (b) 3. The wording leaves it up to the Authority, so a legal challenge’d be needed to stop any such CHSRA finding. It’d be perversely interesting to see whether CARRD acutally gives a damn about “responsible design” provided any and all designs stay away from their back-yard.

    Clem Reply:

    there’s no compelling need to “blend”or to electrify Caltrain. Just quad-track from Redwood City north.

    That’s ridiculous. “Just” quad track through downtown San Mateo? Sure… “Just” quad track tunnels 1 through 4 in San Francisco? Sure… I’ll have some of what you’re smoking.

    In general, from the foregoing discussion it seems that Pacheco boosters think that Caltrain electrification depends solely on that alignment having been selected (thanks entirely to MTC kicking the project to the curb…) and that bringing up Aaaaaaltamont is tantamount to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. I disagree on both counts. Electrification is getting to the point where it’s far enough into the public’s consciousness that it’s going to happen, HSR or not. Look at the Bay Bridge: they found an extra $5 billion between couch cushions to finish it. If $700 million of HSR funding suddenly goes “poof” (and it may anyway, due to ongoing litigation) I think the project will still survive.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Jonathan, the last two times you accused me of inventing facts out of thin air I asked you to point out when I’d done that, and you didn’t respond. The first of those times you were accusing me of inventing facts about a topic I don’t remember ever having written about, namely the aerodynamics of FRA-mandated bells. The second time was when I talked about Anglophone political culture vs. Continental European ones; at least there you can quibble that there are differences between the US and Australia and New Zealand, although if you read the right sources (for example, French politicians and pundits) you’ll see serious people lumping the Anglosphere together.

    As for “just quad-track from Redwood City north,” if that’s more expensive than electrifying from Redwood City south, which it almost certainly is, then there is a compelling need. At least, it’s no less compelling than the need to electrify the local tracks on any four-track overtake segment. After all, the NEC has segments with some tracks electrified and some not, for example the T. F. Green Airport station’s platform track is not electrified and only sees MBTA trains. What is the legal difference between the plan to electrify tracks adjacent to HSR tracks and a plan to electrify tracks hosting trains that run through to HSR tracks?

    jonathan Reply:

    @Clem

    *shrug*. if there are tunnels where it’s not practicable to quad-track, then electrify and interlock the tunnels. There is _no_ need_ to electrify all of Caltrain, merely to “blend” from Redwood City north. iIf necessary, eat some of the time savings from spending longer at high-speed in the Central Valley, by running at lower speed for the “Blend”. Much of which has speed restrictions due to cuves in any case.

    And please, there’s no need to disparage anyone who disagrees with you as a “booster” of something else.

    jonathan Reply:

    @Alon: you really need to look at a map, or a globe. Lumping Australian and New Zealand into an “anglophone” vs. Continental European is just plain ignorant. If French pundits do it, then that only underscores my point. (Hm, how do you like your state-sponsored terrorism?)
    But when you say the range of points on “gun culture” in New Zealand or Australia, is the same as or comparable to the US, you are *making shit up*. And that’s the *nicest* interpretation.

    Re Caltrain electrification: don’t be obtuse. Electrifying tracks 50 miles south of any HSR, and calling that an “HSR expense” isn’t gong to stand up in the court of popular opinion, never mind lawyers and judges.

    jonathan Reply:

    @Clem:

    regarding whether the Caltrain “blend” is in “flagrant violation” of Prop 1A: you should know I think spending HSR money on CBOSS is just that. I’ve said so enough on your own blog. Heck, even Caltrain employees have made that exact argument — though they’re so irredemably ignorant about their own program, they used the argument to insist that CBOSS *must* compatible with HSR signalling, or HSR wouldn’t give them money for CBOSS ….. was it you who reported that? I confess I forget.

    jonathan Reply:

    And lest Clem or Alon or anyone else take “quad-track it all the way” too literally:
    what I meant by that, was :
    build “full-fat” HSR along the Peninsula right-of-way, north of Redwood City, exactly as would be done for a pre-“blend” HSR north of Redwood City.

    There. Simple. Rod Diridon’s “our tracks’ and “Their tracks” — shared wherever those tracks would have had to be shared anyway. No need for HSR dollars to electrify Caltrain. Endit.

    joe Reply:

    I disagree on both counts. Electrification is getting to the point where it’s far enough into the public’s consciousness that it’s going to happen, HSR or not. Look at the Bay Bridge: they found an extra $5 billion between couch cushions to finish it. If $700 million of HSR funding suddenly goes “poof” (and it may anyway, due to ongoing litigation) I think the project will still survive.

    Bay bridge is being paid by tolling the bridge. Caltrain cannot recover costs at the fare box and lacks a secure funding source. We call that soft money in academics. Bay Bridge is a tenured faculty.

    The fact electrification is not easy is demonstrated by the fact it has not been done and that Caltrain routinely plans (costly) due to unstable budgets and possible service cuts.

    The basic toll (for automobiles) on the seven state bridges was raised to $1 by Regional Measure 1, approved by Bay Area voters in 1988.[63] A $1 seismic retrofit surcharge was added in 1998 by the state legislature, originally for eight years, but since then extended to December 2037 (AB1171, October 2001).[64] On March 2, 2004, voters approved Regional Measure 2, raising the toll by another dollar to a total of $3. An additional dollar was added to the toll starting January 1, 2007, to cover cost overruns concerning the replacement of the eastern span.

    joe Reply:

    and…
    Due to further funding shortages for seismic retrofit projects, the Bay Area Toll Authority again raised tolls on all Bay Area bridges (excluding the Golden Gate Bridge) in July 2010.[66] The toll rate for autos on other Bay Area bridges was increased to $5, but in the Bay Bridge a variable pricing tolling scheme based on congestion was implemented. The Bay Bridge congestion pricing scheme charges a US$6 toll from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. During weekends cars pay US$5. Carpools before the implementation were exempted but now they pay US$2.50,

    jonathan Reply:

    at least there you can quibble that there are differences between the US and Australia and New Zealand, although if you read the right sources (for example, French politicians and pundits) you’ll see serious people lumping the Anglosphere together.

    So Alon, you;re saying that the most authoritative source for comparison of gun culture, between the US and Australia and New Zealand, isn’t facts, or Wikipedia, or academic articles, or deaths by firearms, or even comparing actual *laws*. No, the accurate source is French Politicians. That’s priceless. Almost as good as “Yes, Prime Minister”. I’m going to have to share that with friends.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Jonathan, gun politics is a fifth-rate issue, and I said nothing of it in the original thread. It’ll be helpful if you stick to things I actually say when you accuse me of things. I talked about health care outcomes (where the Anglophone countries lag Western Europe, e.g. check infant mortality statistics) and immigration. The French pundit cites is specifically about immigration politics; French people distinguish French assimilationism and monoculturalism with Anglo-American multiculturalism, except they do it to talk about the primacy of France (30% Algerian-French unemployment for the win!). It’s very obvious in Canada – the PQ racists propose different laws from the CPC ones, based on French rather than American racism.

    I could cite comparative politics articles if you’d like, although the references I know best deal with party politics rather than political culture, and certainly not social policy. Patterns of Democracy is your friend on that last point. New Zealand changed its electoral system twenty years ago, but I’m not sure how much of its political culture has changed as a result.

    Or maybe I could point that the Five Eyes strangely enough do not include France or Germany. Remember that next time you talk about state-sponsored terrorism. Key is far more of an American lapdog on that issue than Merkozy ever were.

    Or, if you want a specific issue relevant to this blog, Brisbane’s tunnel is really expensive. The Sydney CBD Metro would’ve been more expensive per km than the Central Subway. The worst Continental boondoggles I know of are cheaper than the Sydney CBD Metro. Auckland’s electrification is cheap, but the UK electrifies for cheap, and the US electrified the NEC north of New Haven for cheap, and don’t tell anyone but the LIRR, SEPTA, and Metro-North pay the same for EMUs as Auckland. The LIRR + Metro-North PTC installation cost per km and per trainset is actually a hair less than Denmark’s ERTMS cost – it’s an inferior system, but it’s not a cheap freight-based system but is rather similar to ACSES. The big difference in cost is not the electronics, but the concrete – there’s an almost perfect separation of subway tunnels into “English common law” and “rest of the world” based on cost. That’s what makes CBOSS and Caltrain electrification so frustrating; in the World’s Freest Nation, these are done for like one third the cost elsewhere. The Central Subway is a stupid project but it’s not more expensive than any other American equivalent.

    As for “electrifying tracks 50 miles south of any HSR,” I’m not sure what the length of a mile is where you’re from, but if 1 mile = 1.61 km, then RWC-SJ is 22 miles, a hair less than half the length of the corridor.

    jonathan Reply:

    Alon,

    The article you link to is not the one I’m alluding to .If I could find it, I’d give you a link.
    Frankly, if you want to conflate NZ or Australian politics or culture with US culture, on either healthcare or guns, purely on the basis of what French politicians or pundits say, then go right ahead. From where I came from, you’re well into either riotous laughter or fighting words, depending on how your audience takes it.

    t’ll be helpful if you stick to things I actually say when you accuse me of things. I talked about health care outcomes (where the Anglophone countries lag Western Europe, e.g. check infant mortality statistics)

    You might like to check NZ infant-mortality statistics . NZ had the lowest infant-mortality rate in the world in the first half of the 20th century, and the second-lowest in the 1950s. Look, I caught you at it again: you are *making shit up*. Do you understand why that’s offensive?

    New Zealand’s infant-mortality rate has continued to drop since then, but not as fast as other countries; so NZ’s infant-mortality rate is now about the same as the UK or Greece. (We could have a discussion about Maori vs. non-Maori rates, but that’s beyond this disagreement, never mind Rober’ts blog). Now, if you want to talk about correlations, I wonder where I could find data relative decrease-rates of infant mortality, with the French-imposed restrictions on NZ trade with the UK? There’s one in your eye.

    “Five Eyes”? Five Eyes? You mean you never heard the US declared ANZUS “inoperative” with new Zealand after the Lange government refused to accept NCND. Are you saying Key is a US lapdog because the RNZN started exercises with the US again after an 27-year hiatus? Maybe that’s a fair cop. You know that Key is such a non-entity that the British press described him as an “unknown” guest, in a photo at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, right?

    And As far as I know, I’ve never said that the Bay Area’s — or California’s — problem with infrastructure costs, or at least rail infrastructure costs, is a US-wide problem. It does seem to be a real problem in the Bay Area. And as for state-sponsored terrorism? Can you say “Rainbow Warrior”? Sure you can. And NZ political culture changed a lot since PR.

    And yes, i meat 50 km, not 50 miles. Thanks for correcting that.

    But yeah, anytime you say NZ or Aus has the same range of views as the US over gun politics, or over health care, you’re making shit up. And if you say that *there*, and say that “French politicians ay so”, you’re likely to get a couple of litres of beer emptied over you. And for “assimilationism” (your word)… don’t you dare lump New Zealand and Australia together. Those are fighting words. If you knew *anything* about the 27 million people you malign, you’d know that.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t recall ever such things about gun politics. Or about health care politics; I was talking about outcomes. Yes, New Zealand used to be very good. So did the US. In the 1950s, France was a basket case. Today, it’s the reverse. Wikipedia has historic numbers going back to the 1950s. Alternatively, see here for overweight rates, and focus on comparing the five Anglospheric countries in question to Western Europe.

    The part about assimilation is the way the French think about it. They still use the term positively and have pejorative terms for multiculturalism, and it influences their political attitudes toward immigration. See the headscarf bans. Britain is only starting to pretend to be secular as a way of bashing Muslims, and English Canada is doing nothing of the sort, even in secular areas like British Columbia (whose Chinese population is quite conservative). All over the Anglosphere the nativists complain that the immigrants are forming separate communities, but it leads to restrictions on migration and maybe on language rights but not on private cultural practices (again, the UK is a partial exception).

    I say Key is a lapdog because of the joint exercises but also because he’d have sent troops to Iraq. He may be a non-entity, but honestly Canadians tell me the same thing of Harper, until he opened massive amounts of reservation land for fracking and tar sand mining, and Idle No More became a thing. In the longer term, yes, New Zealand stopped joint military exercises over opposition to nuclear power, but the intelligence sharing and mutual spying didn’t stop. Even Sarkozy didn’t cooperate with the US to that extent, let alone Merkel and Chirac.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Would it really hurt the wetlands that much if the existing Alviso line were widened by 2-3 tracks?

    Note that you’re talking about widening a freight railroad berm through the wetlands.

    So, two choices:

    Either you end up with two freight/Amtrak tracks, connecting (especially on the northern end) to a completely suck-tastic, super-low-speed freight line with sharp curves and no grade separations, snaking and crawling through Fremont, [in summary, completely worthless, except to foamers] or …

    You’re building a new non-freight non-Amtrak pair of tracks, which UP will require are separated from the existing derail-o-riffic freight line by 50 or 100 feet … and which still connect to nothing of any rapid rail transportation value in Fremont.

    So, yes, it does hurt wetlands to dump extra fill, and more importantly, it gains nothing at all to do so in along the Alviso—Drawbridge—Newark line. What’s the point? All pain, no gain. (Doctor it hurts when I do this. So Don’t Do That.)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But but but there’s an alluring irresistible BART station in Fremont. They can then take HSR from San Jose to Fremont and transfer to BART instead of just getting on BART in San Jose.

    Clem Reply:

    That’s right, just like Metro North riders take the Acela Express to Stamford and then transfer. The many layers of sarcasm are just indecipherable.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    “They” can always drive, and probably will!

    wdobner Reply:

    Sounds like you have it the wrong way around. The Alviso line looks to be more constrained at the San Jose end than the Newark end. That is of course so long as you use one of the SETEC alignments and diverge from the UP track south of the water tunnels. Even with the southern end being more congested there are clearly provisions built into bridge abutments and even the bridges themselves to extensively double track the alignment through Santa Clara county.

    As for the environmental impact, it’s not going to be any worse than either what is there now or the impact of the eventual Dumbarton connector through the same wildlife refuge. We’re constantly hearing how the wildlife refuge is a nonissue for Dumbarton, so you can’t change your tune and claim that the same EIS process will now prohibit construction just south of there simply because you don’t like the project.

    San Jose becoming the second northern terminal is an ideal solution to the problem created by the lack of capacity at Transbay and on the Caltrain corridor. Bypassing San Jose forces Transbay to take all the LA-Bay Area traffic, potentially to the detriment of Caltrain corridor commuters. With the addition of Sacramento it’d be easy to alternate express/local trains between LA and SF/SJ with SF/SJ trains to Sacramento, such that there’d always be either a direct train to the destination or an easy cross or same platform transfer available at Fremont, Livermore, or Tracy. Relying on the (extremely slow) BART connection between Livermore/Fremont and San Jose cannot offer that sort of flexibility in routing trains into the Bay Area while fully utilizing the high speed trunks.

    There’s no need to try to hide your hatred of San Jose behind handwaving explanations.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    There’s a wye with a sharp turn that really slows down the train heading into Fremont.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Excellent wdobner! Could not have said it better myself!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    San Jose becoming the second northern terminal is an ideal solution to the problem created by the lack of capacity at Transbay and on the Caltrain corridor.

    Yes, that was the case.

    And guess what? People have been raising this issue at every opportunity for fifteen years. Thanks for belatedly getting on the clue train! Enjoy the ride.

    But sadly PBQD wanted a PBQD-profiting BART extension to SJ as well as a PBQD-profiting statewide HSR alignment, and so there’s no way that can be on the table any longer. So enjoy the BART connection; you bought it, everybody else paid for it, everybody (except the corrupt contractor mafia) comes off much worse.

    There is simply no way to build or justify a second parallel, redundant passenger rail line in the Fremont—SJ corridor. It’s all over. It fucking sucks, it’s completely the wrong outcome, but it’s what PBQD and their paid-up stooges and their idiot sycophants wanted.

    it’s not going to be any worse than either what is there now or the impact of the eventual Dumbarton connector

    The question was about “the existing Alviso line were widened by 2-3 tracks”.
    A Dumbarton connection, which I have reason to believe would be below grade for all of nearly all of the distance between Fremont and Redwood Junction, and TBM-bored across the width of wildlife refuge, is a quite different matter from what would amount to a new surface line of twice the length.

    you can’t change your tune and claim that the same EIS process

    No cigar. Not even a nice try. (You know, I don’t just type random shit but do try to think things through, generally years in advance. Try it some time.)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    There’s no need to try to hide your hatred of San Jose behind …

    No cigar. Not even a nice try.

    I was on on record for over a decade with the position that San Jose—Livermore—Tracy should be the very first section of CSHR constructed anywhere in the state.

    (For basic Californian political reasons I knew this would have to be balanced by a project of some type in SoCal but, preferring to keep my mouth shut about things I don’t understand, I had no concrete suggestion, other than suspecting that LAUS—Palmdale or LAUS—Tejon—Bakersfield were likely too big to bite off at once.)

    jonathan Reply:

    There’s no need to try to hide your hatred of San Jose behind handwaving explanations.

    There’s not enough to San Jose for it to be worth hatred.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Richard M. is entirely correct.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Re SJ; some of you just won’t stop (or can’t help yourself). Oh well, to quote the great Mr. T., “I PITY THE FOOL!” No, Richard M. is not right syno, but it’s your world; reside in it as you see fit..

    joe Reply:

    Richard forgot to put the bolded accent on San Jose this time.

    Wanting to start HSR in the East Bay over the Aaaaaaaaaalmont Pass to Tracy doesn’t invalidate a long list of silly derogatory directed at San Jose.

    wdobner Reply:

    ASB:

    There’s a wye with a sharp turn that really slows down the train heading into Fremont.

    One would hope that any connector between San Jose and the HSL would diverge, possibly into a tunnel, south of that point toward a flying junction with the tracks of Dumbarton.

    RM:

    Yes, that was the case.

    And guess what? People have been raising this issue at every opportunity for fifteen years. Thanks for belatedly getting on the clue train! Enjoy the ride.

    Yes, Caltrain Metro East would have been better, but what is done is done, and the construction of SJ BART does not mean there is no case to be made for direct HSR service to San Jose. If anything forcing high speed rail sets out onto the Alviso line makes things a bit easier. Connecting something like the SETEC alignments to the CME roué would have proven very challenging.

    Incidentally San Jose can still be a northern terminal with service running over Pacheco. It’ll just have none of the advantages for Sacramento-bound travel as trains terminate in San Jose that Altamont brings. If you petulantly insist that Altamont service requires cutting San Jose out of the system entirely because of the grudge you bear over BART to SJ being selected over CME then you leave the powers that be no alternative but to select Pacheco and short turn selected HSR trains at Diridon.

    RM:

    A Dumbarton connection, which I have reason to believe would be below grade for all of nearly all of the distance between Fremont and Redwood Junction, and TBM-bored across the width of wildlife refuge, is a quite different matter from what would amount to a new surface line of twice the length.

    A TBM through that muck? I wish I could share your blind optimism that they’ll be able to tunnel through the marshy soil and do so economically. Immersed tube with surface approaches seems a much more realistic alternative to trying to tackle the geotechnical challenges of running a TBM through that soil.

    Joey Reply:

    New water tunnels were bored (with TBMs) under Dumbarton very recently. Immersed tube is never going to happen there (for environmental reasons) nor should it.

    The water tunnels present another opportunity – a sizable proportion of tunneling cost is uncertainty in the geological conditions which will be encountered. Following the water tunnels, such conditions are almost completely known.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    One would hope that any connector between San Jose and the HSL would diverge, possibly into a tunnel, south of that point toward a flying junction with the tracks of Dumbarton.

    Just a small technical detail, then!

    Step 1: Build a new rail berm through the wildlife refuge via happening Drawbridge to the south-eastern edge of Fremont.
    Step 2: ?
    Step 3: Profit!

    Just because something says “rail right of way” on a map doesn’t mean it’s useful for non-laughable passenger rail service today.

    … grudge you bear over BART to SJ being selected …

    So your solution is to ignore the BART line altogether, and throw billions of dollars duplicating it with a parallel train line on a much worse alignment? Genius! You sure you don’t work for PB?
    The SJ BART extension represents a fact in the ground. Deal with it. Make lemonade from cyanide-laced kool-aid.

    A TBM through that muck? I wish I could share your blind optimism

    Blind optimism? More like facts in the ground. Not that facts seem to trouble people here in the slightest. (They might even be on-time and on-budget facts.)
    “Bay Division Pipeline 5″. Use teh googles.
    Here’s your muck: http://www.jacobssf.com/images/uploads/09_Caulfield_Bay_Tunnel_RETC.pdf (Figure 4) Enjoy wallowing in it!

    Tony D. Reply:

    Agree.

    jonathan Reply:

    Followed by imperatives to spend money on the Expo Line and fixing LA Metro;s buses and their “miserable commute”, before spending 80-$100 bn on HSR.

    joe Reply:

    Great Idea. Let’s hold up everything until we build out LA.

    We can use the savings with the Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaltamont alignment to buy metro buses.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    That’s right
    Spend the money where it’s needed
    Not on your Lionel set

    joe Reply:

    Hello Judge Kenny, Paul Dyson’s given me a permission slip to spend HSR Prop1a on LA Metro.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Divisa et victa.

    This is how it starts. Convince a quarter of the State they will never see a benefit from HSR. Then have this bloc of voters demand all State taxpayers subsidize a transit system they would be certain to never use.

    L.A. needs to pay for its own transit. Most of the light rail construction has been a waste. The Expo Line has finally opened eyes and people are upset that it took this long. Southern California has no one to blame but itself for going cheap and getting surpassed by the Bay Area as a result.

    joe Reply:

    LA will. They missed it by that much. 66.11%

    http://www.metro.net/projects/measurej/
    The ballot effort to extend the Measure R transit sales tax by another 30 years fell just short of the necessary two thirds voter approval. In the final vote tally, 66.11 percent of voters

    Requiring super majorities to fund transit is dumb.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “L.A. needs to pay for its own transit.” Right on – that would be Palmdale in spades

    “Southern California has no one to blame but itself for going cheap and getting surpassed by the Bay Area as a result.”

    Are you referring to wretched BART, who runs over its own employees and is illiterate? The “surpassed” of Dugger, Crunican, Billy Ray Stokes, the Bechtels, PB, Willie Brown, Heminger et al and ad nauseum? They make Mayor Rizzo of Bell look good.

    Think of it this way:

    cable cars = narrow gauge(3’6″)cute museum pieces.

    BART = broad gauge(5″6″)ugly museum pieces.

    synonymouse Reply:

    5’6″

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Bay Area is much healthier economically than Southern California and part of that economic vitality is to due to BART, which allowed more controlled development patterns.

    You are always worried about the sideshow, the stuff that doesn’t matter. BART’s sister systems like WMATA and MARTA have the same type of problems despite having no broad gauge and no sign of Willie Brown’s palm prints.

    L.A.’s weakness (and San Jose’s, San Diego’s, and now Sacramento’s) is that “light rail” ain’t going to cut it as the transit-using population explodes because Millennials can’t afford two car payments. MUNI is going to have lots of competition for ineptitude. BART, at least, threads the S-Bahn design to help minimize infrastructure costs.

    Just imagine if Metro cuts back the subway to La Cienega and uses the extra cash to build branches from the Expo Line to Venice, Westwood, and the Marina. Conventional wisdom says no one would ride it, but I think it would end up doing better than the Subway to the Sea.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    BART most definitely does not minimize infrastructure costs. It may be operationally an S-Bahn, but the costs are much higher because it can’t run on legacy infrastructure anywhere. If BART were a proper S-Bahn, then it would’ve had the key downtown tunnels in SF and Oakland just the same, but then it would’ve cut through to an electrified CalTrain, with the grade crossings, and run similarly on legacy lines to Fremont and Richmond. Maybe it would’ve had the extra Berkeley subway and the tunnel to Concord for more direct service, but outside those tunnels it would’ve leveraged legacy infrastructure to reduce construction costs. The BART to San Jose tunnel would’ve been unthinkable.

    WMATA has the exact same problem. Some of its lines clearly want to be S-Bahns. For example, the Yellow and Blue Lines in and south of Arlington look a lot like a mainline with some short detours, like how there’s a detour in the Zurich S-Bahn network to serve the airport. The Maryland lines also follow legacy railroads for the most part, and Bethesda, the most important Maryland suburban destination not on or near MARC, is on an abandoned B&O branch line.

    jonathan Reply:

    BART most definitely does not minimize infrastructure costs. It may be operationally an S-Bahn, but the costs are much higher because it can’t run on legacy infrastructure anywhere. If BART were a proper S-Bahn, then it would’ve had the key downtown tunnels in SF and Oakland just the same, but then it would’ve cut through to an electrified CalTrain, with the grade crossings, and run similarly on legacy lines to Fremont and Richmond.

    And just how would this “run on legacy infrastructure” — freight railroad tracks, owned and operated by UP (formerly SP, but JPB bought the Peninsula right-of-way”)?

    Buildling to FRA “safety” (really, vehicle-survival-after-crash, the regulations are about preserving RPOs in a collsiion, not people) costs mass. A *lot* of mass. How exactly would those massive FRA-compatible dino-trains run on aerials through all the greenfield areas in the East Bay and elsewhere? Answer: they couldn’t.

    How exactly would that crazy side-running third rail work on non-grade-separated crossings? Answer: it wouldn’t.

    Someone might have designed a very different system, with a different route, different track gauge, and much, much heavier cars, with a completely different electrification system, which might meet your goals. But that system would’ve necessarily have had very different routes, and would look nothing like today’ BART. And if that hypothetical system were to be operated under the same practices (both labo[u]r and management) , as today’s BART, it’s still have very high running costs.

    Is it true that BART’s wheel-profile is flat, not coned (or canted)? That’s so special, it almost justifies Richard M’s rants about AFTP.

    Do try to keep up with the facts.

    Jon Reply:

    I think we have a new candidate for the title of “Most Pompous and Condecsending Commenter On This Blog”!

    Pretty sure Alon was assuming that FRA regulations could be reformed and the electrification system could be overhead rather than third rail. And that the end result would necessarily look a little different than today’s BART. Ergo, you’re not telling him anything he doesn’t already know.

    jonathan Reply:

    You’re missing the point: even grant all of Alon’sfantasy was doable in the 1960s — which is granting an awful lot — it wouldn’t make a fig of difference to BART’s operating costs.

    If the best Alon can do is reasoning-by-analogy, “BART is sorta like a European/German-speaking S-Bahn; make it a little bit more lke an S-Bahn and Presto! — it will cost the same to operate as an S-Bahn ” then Alon deserves ridicule.

    One might as well argue like this: electrification is done on S-Bahns, therefore if Caltrain electrifies (sort alike an S-Bahn, except at 25kV, obviously), it will cost about the same as electrifying an S-Bahn”.

    Totally vacuous.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why would costs be higher in California?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yay, at least I’m being criticized for things I actually said. That’s an improvement.

    Well, sort of. I did mention “infrastructure costs,” as opposed to operating costs. The problem with BART isn’t operating costs. It’s construction costs. Tunnels would cost pretty much the same, but the above-ground infrastructure could be made cheaper. There is such a thing as third-rail grade crossings. The LIRR has them, the Chicago L has them, and at the time BART was built, New York had just grade-separated the last ones on the subway and Staten Island Railway.

    Using fright lines was not deadly then, when many freight railroads were collapsing and would’ve been happy to sell secondary ROW. Caltrain is an insignificant freight line, and given the Port of San Francisco’s decline, I doubt it was a major freight line when BART was built. At the Marin County end (which, you may recall, was part of the plan until fairly late in the process), there was a railroad that’s now abandoned that it could hook into. In the East Bay, there were two parallel railroads much of the way and one could be acquired. The central tunnels would’ve had to be built either way, but the outlying lines probably wouldn’t have had to be aerial – and the probably isn’t about third rail grade crossings, but about the rail-must-grade-separate-on-its-own-dime attitude of the era.

    Ad the FRA, regulations change. They’re changing now, which nobody seems to notice. I’m not 100% sure why now and not, say, in 1996, but I suspect that Caltrain’s waiver request has to do with it. And as for the dino-trains moniker, the lighter FRA-compliant EMUs today are only a bit heavier per unit mass than the single-level RER trains and a bit lighter than the bilevels. The compliant EMUs of the 1960s were actually a good deal lighter, if you believe this. The really big weight difference is in things other than EMUs, because then the US market is either basically nonexistent (DMUs) or basically freight vehicles with streamlining (locomotives, especially diesels). Based on the state of the technology of the 1960s, FRA regulations weren’t a huge deal. Today, they’re a much bigger deal.

    Jon Reply:

    Oh noes! Third rail with an at-grade crossing! http://goo.gl/maps/ocp8J

    jonathan Reply:

    BART most definitely does not minimize infrastructure costs. It may be operationally an S-Bahn, but the costs are much higher because it can’t run on legacy infrastructure anywhere.

    Alon, given the above introduction, i thought you were talking about operational costs.
    iIf you weren’t, if you were talking about infrastructure costs, then I misunderstood you, and not only apologize, I’m embarassed for ridiculing a strawman of my own concoction. That said, BART does have operations-cost issues.

    I don’t know why you say no-one is noticing that FRA regulations are changing. I see several posters here, not just me, applauding that fact (and lamenting how slowly it’s happening).

    I stilll sincerely don’t understand how you think an S-Bahn-like infrastructure could have been a feasible design-point in the US of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Rohr cars have an axle load of 20,000 lb )10,000lb/wheel); call it 10 tonnes. Just where are the contemporary freight-rail-compatible vehicles with 10-tonne axle load? Metroliners are a tad more than twice that

    I think you’re just plain flat wrong that BART could have been built in an S-Bahn like fashion.
    Double the axle-load, double the weight-per-unit-length, and you’re going to roughly double the weight requirements for the aerial construction. (Which *has* to be a lot more than you assume, because the freight railroads don’t want pesky commuter trains, and aren’t gong to play nice in dispatching passenger-cooties trains on their tracks.)

    And you’re the one who says the concrete is where the cost-inflation comes from! Boggle!!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The M1s were about 10 metric tons per axle, at least if you believe that link (I can’t find any other source, but usually when people on Strappies or Subchat mention numbers, they’re not pulled out of thin air). The M7s today are about 14.

    When I said that nobody is noticing FRA regulations are changing, I mean agencies, rather than blog commenters. We know. The people who procure cars for the commuter railroads don’t seem to know.

    As for the misunderstanding, I think it was because I used the word “operationally” in that sentence? Sorry if I was unclear. My point is that BART has reasonable operating patterns, but the infrastructure required to get to this points costs a lot more than the required infrastructure in France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, etc. The RER has grade crossings. A lot of it is organizational – at a time when the freight railroads were worth very little, transit agencies bought some ROW for light rail or subways/els, but not for commuter rail.

    jonathan Reply:

    Uh, you mean the MTA M1s, not the Toronto M1s?

    When it comes to what commuter rail agencies know, I judge by Caltrain. Caltrain Modernization staff say CBOSS must be compatible with HSR signalling (currently spec’ed as ETCS Level 2), because otherwise CHSRA wouldn’t be giving them HSR money for CBOSS. Enough said.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There is life east of the Sierra Nevada

    bixnix Reply:

    There’s good reasons why Expo branches won’t be built.

    Metro’s current gameplan (as evidenced in the long-range plan) is for geographic equity – a rail line for every corner of the county. If it has high density, it’ll get a subway. If not, light rail. The Venice branch would’ve be cool, but the route has been set. Westwood will be served by the Sepulveda pass project and the subway. Marina del Rey isn’t even on the radar. There will be no Expo branching until the completion of the rest of the LRTP.

    The Purple line will possibly have the biggest ridership in LA – perhaps more than the Red line (currently ~150K/day). It will serve the street in LA with the most destinations and jobs as well as development opportunities. Expo branching wouldn’t match that in the slightest.

    The subway extension is the top project for Metro and all the pols are behind it. It’s happening, no doubt about it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Metro’s current gameplan (as evidenced in the long-range plan) is for geographic equity – a rail line for every corner of the county.

    Define “current”. Back in 1968, the LA Transportation Commission laid out a 5 spoke plan that would have a mass transit line running from … wait for it… downtown to each of the supervisor’s districts.

    Approaches like that fly in the face of how land use in California is changing. Agglomeration is concentrating wealth and traffic in a very constrained area geographically.

    Ten years ago, I was a die-hard Wilshire Subway supporter and though it was THE solution to the awful traffic I had to contend with for over a decade. But I look at the land use patterns in the Bay Area today, and I look at what is starting to happen in L.A. now from afar and I realize things are on the precipice.

    Notice that SF is the “hot” place to live for Googleistas and Facebookers even though it’s nowhere close to the mega-campus locations in Santa Clara County. Notice the “hot” places to live in Southern California like Venice and Silver Lake share the same DNA of mixed use, but also an older, pre auto age design. Is it any wonder that LA’s new mayor was a councilman from Hollwyood.

    Meanwhile, it’s perfectly fine to maintain a large fleet of buses and other rail lines to make sure there’s equity between low, middle, and high income neighborhoods. But the cleaning lady riding the Blue Line to downtown LA doesn’t have the means to go explore Claremont, Palmdale, or the South Bay Galleria. That’s why BART was the right design.

    bixnix Reply:

    Yes, the 5-spoke has been around for a while, and it is a geographic equity that is being implemented. I support that equity because, without it, there would be no county-wide support for Metro and the funding propositions that have passed. Do we run a subway or build elevated LR with viaducts everywhere? Obviously, no. We run a cheaper, at grade, light rail to get something reasonable done with the money we have. More money will be spent on the built-up areas by building subways.

    Remote areas like Palmdale are staying with Metrolink, and the Claremont Gold Line will be funded only after the next ten or so projects on the table now are funded, so I don’t know where you’re going with that.

    Take a look at population density in LA County. Note that the densest areas are actually around downtown, and south and east of downtown. They are not necessarily the hottest neighborhoods in town, as they are largely minority. But they have filled in over the years into the densest tracts in LA County – and they might get even more dense. Yes, the traffic in the Westside is awful – the worst. Yes, the money is on that side of town. But auto traffic is now bad all over the county, and telling the huge populations on the eastside that they’ll have to do with buses won’t fly.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I support that equity because, without it, there would be no county-wide support for Metro and the funding propositions that have passed.

    Can’t say I agree. You are describing the sort of abject dysfunctionality that always compromises public policy in Los Angeles County and by extension, California. It’s the single biggest argument to break up LA County and install Bay Area style regional governance.

    bixnix Reply:

    Geo equity may not be the best way of doing things, but it’s a way to unify political districts towards a common goal. It’s also essential unless the supermajority rule on taxation is relaxed. On breaking up the county, transit-wise, we’ll just have to disagree. From what I see, LA Metro is moving forward faster and more effectively than the Bay Area. For other LA County issues, there may be other solutions, but that’s a discussion for other websites.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think I understand your argument now:

    Something is better than nothing. And if money isn’t spent wisely, at least we have something.

    Eric Reply:

    “telling the huge populations on the eastside that they’ll have to do with buses won’t fly.”

    The midday frequency on the Blue Line is just once every 12 minutes. If that’s all they can support, than then adding more lines there does not seem like a priority.

    bixnix Reply:

    @Eric – And goes to every 6 minutes during rush hour. Metro would run more trains, but is limited because they’re short of trains (there are more on order now) and the combined track with Expo, which means 3 minute headways at rush hour on the shared downtown track. IIRC, they will move to 2.5 minute headways on the shared track once the new trains are received. And, if you get a chance to ride the Blue – you’ll notice that the trains are packed.

    bixnix Reply:

    @Ted – Google is 1.6 miles away from the Santa Monica station of the Expo line. They can always move closer if they wish, or use bikes. In the meantime, there are better routes for rail construction, with huge ridership possibilities, both in the urban core and outside of it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Here’s the thing: there’s a racial element to your theorem.

    You can’t presume heavily populated neighborhoods will respond to light rail like white ones. Extending trains to an area where no one has a car to park and ride makes little sense. I really think as executed the Blue, Green, and Orange lines will prove to be big failures while Crenshaw, Expo, and the Gold line will succeed. The subway will work if it is repuposed as a circulator.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Extending trains to an area where no one has a car to park and ride makes little sense.

    Just let them keep on riding the bus and inhaling the fumes?

    Joey Reply:

    Blue, Green, and Orange failures? The Blue Line is so busy that they actually can’t add any more capacity without grade separations or longer platforms. The Orange Line is getting high enough ridership that light rail probably would have been justified (and still might be). The Green Line has moderate ridership despite not connecting to any important destinations. Please see here, for some perspective.

    I’m not sure why you think park-and-rides are so important. They’re better than nothing, but their ridership flounders miserably compared to dense, walkable areas.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Carless people can walk to light rail. It’s the drivers who are unlikely to use the trains when they can drive all the way. And the Blue Line is to my knowledge the second most ridden light rail line per dollar spent on construction (with about $10,000 per weekday rider), after Houston’s Main Street Line (with about $8,000 if memory serves).

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Blue Line is so busy that they actually can’t add any more capacity without grade separations or longer platforms.

    Quite a feat, I say! Sacramento’s Gold Line has managed to have the same sort of problems, and only 1/8 of the population of LA county. San Diego should take note; this will show those evil greenies try to change their regional transit plan!

    The Orange Line is getting high enough ridership that light rail probably would have been justified (and still might be). The Green Line has moderate ridership despite not connecting to any important destinations.

    Alon mentioned Houston…keep in mind both Houston’s light rail and Muni see about double the boarding per mile that all of Metro’s nonsubway lines do. Which underlies my point: A transit system with the capacity of small city dropped into the second largest metropolis in the US is bound to look busy. But that doesn’t mean what the region needs is more of the same.

    Boston sees 9,000 riders per mile on its light rail lines. WMATA sees nearly as many on its system, which is double what BART and MARTA manage.

    Success isn’t going to be LA building more transit capacity, it’s going to be using that transit to transform land use patterns.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Change land use patterns? LA is the nation’s densest urban area!

    http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/03/los_angeles_is_the_most_densely_populated_urban_area_in_the_us.php

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Houston’s Main Street Line gets 5,000 boardings per weekday per mile and the LA Blue Line gets 4,000. LA is being dragged down by underperformers like the Gold Line.

    Donk Reply:

    Agreed. Just one minor correction though – Marina del Rey isn’t completely off the radar – they do have that 1990s Metro/MTA/RTD plan for the Lincoln extension of the Green Line that terminated in Marina del Rey. But yeah, it isn’t on the LRTP. Hopefully they update the LRTP at some point and add the complete 405 line (starting from LAX) and add the Norwalk Green Line gap.

    Eric Reply:

    What exactly makes Marina del Ray such an important destination? Its population is low and it’s dissected by waterways, making it pedestrian-inaccessible. Is it just that Culver Blvd is a wide ROW? I think Venice Bvld is a better one.

    bixnix Reply:

    Are you aware of the LA County Props A, C, and R that pay for LA rail construction? Voters approved Prop R five years ago with a two-thirds majority. BTW, the author of the Citywatch article (Ken Alpern) is very aware of this funding – he is involved with the Transit Coalition, which pushes better public transit in LA — his eyes certainly weren’t just opened by the Expo line.

    Based on the amount of upcoming rail construction, LA will be surpassing the Bay Area. I do agree that the rest of southern California is mediocre (San Diego) to poor (OC, IE), transit-wise.

    StevieB Reply:

    Los Angeles is in construction on four rail segments, in design on three and in planning on five more possible lines.

    synonymouse Reply:

    San Diego is mediocre? Have you ever ridden Muni or AC? Even BART – be sure to bring along your industrial strength ear plugs.

    BrianR Reply:

    re: BART:
    industrial strength ear plugs are better than nothing but you would be even better off with over the ear industrial grade ear muffs. That high pitched squeal can pierce anything. It should be mandatory for there to be warning signs at the the entrance to every BART station warning of high noise exposure. Kind of like the way the state of California requires warning signs at the entrance to buildings containing trace amounts of lead and other toxins dangerous to pregnant women.

    Donk Reply:

    Ted you have no idea what you are talking about. LA is funding a large chunk of its transit on its own already. LA has been more forward looking than the Bay Area in terms of transit since 1990 and will soon “surpass” the Bay Area the way things are currently going up there.

    And your discussion about the Purple Line and light rail is just nonsense. If you have ever driven or taken transit in LA before, the Purple Line HAS to go to Westwood and this will be one of the most valuable transit lines in the country when build.

    Currently the light rail system in LA is relatively well designed, with the exception of the Blue Line (which is old and slow) and a couple short segments of the other lines. The Crenshaw Line will be a complete waste since it was only chosen for political reasons. But once we get a 405 Line from the Valley to LAX, LA will be back in business.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    My comment was directed at the op-ed that joe put up there. I am fully aware that LA County has ponied up multiple ballot measures in addition to the myriad of other funding streams Metro has at its disposal.

    But I support the Governor and think that shifting General Fund bond debt from a statewide project to local projects is an overreach. I am know there is unmet need for both the Bay Area and Southern California but this is not the way I think you meet those needs.

    This isn’t 2001. I think the economy and land use patterns have changed enough to force a total re-think of Southern California transit planning. SCAG and the others need to crack open Plan Bay Area and figure out what to do.

    Donk Reply:

    Yep, once they finish the Regional Connector, the Purple Line to Westwood, and the 405 Line, it will probably become a free-for-all with politically chosen projects. Right now the needs are so obvious that the planning (with the exception of Crenshaw) more or less makes sense. Hopefully by the time the planning for next wave of projects starts, the country will have evolved enough to not make the same mistakes again. Unfortunately I am not too optimistic.

    StevieB Reply:

    The next rail projects will most likely follow the Metro owned right of way extending the Green Line south on the Harbor Subdivision and something on the old PE Santa Ana right of way.

    jonathan Reply:

    joe writes:

    Great Idea. Let’s hold up everything until we build out LA.

    We can use the savings with the Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaltamont alignment to buy metro buses.

    Joe, that’s from the EXACT source which YOU quoted:

    http://www.citywatchla.com/8box-left/6184-california-high-speed-rail-revolution-evolution-or-devolution

    The one with the

    “Aaaaaltamont, Aaaaaaaltamont, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaltamont!” screams

    Your reading-comprehension skills are atrocious.

  6. Tony D.
    Dec 21st, 2013 at 16:35
    #6

    Hey Richard M.; You’re a funny guy! Thanks for bringing comedy to this forum..

    BrianR Reply:

    I was just thinking Richard M. should publish a book of original catch-phrases, new terminology and memorable quotations. He could even go on the circuit promoting it. It may run the risk of having limited appeal but there got to be a few “crowd pleasers” in there.

    swing hanger Reply:

    “Death is too kind a fate- My journey through the underbelly of the Bay Area Transit Cabal”

    BrianR Reply:

    I look forward to reading his list of people deserving ‘fiery deaths’ and description of various levels of punishment to be meted out according to a given “crime”.

  7. Bus Nut
    Dec 21st, 2013 at 21:28
    #7

    From the Hyperloop to the proposal to split CA into 6 states, it seems like this HSR project terrifies Silicon Valley “thought leaders”. Just like in the 1980s when they fought to prevent conventional commuter-oriented rail service.

    I wonder why.

    BrianR Reply:

    the problem is that these Silicon Valley “thought leaders” that might make pretenses of being “socially responsible” (because it “tests and markets well among consumers”) are in reality very libertarian and don’t care much for the role of government unless they have something personally to gain from it in terms of contracts.

    These “thought leaders” also fetishize Ayn Rand too much who in reality had a fascination for serial killers, using them as models for her characters demonstrating the “unlimited potential of mankind” based on people “not being constrained by empathy”.

    If you really want to make yourself vomit watch a non-stop string of TED talks. Neo-Randian thinking is rampant there.

  8. Donk
    Dec 21st, 2013 at 23:23
    #8

    While we are sort of still on the topic of LA County rail, here is a quick summary of where things stand at the end of 2013 with LA’s transportation network:

    http://thesource.metro.net/2013/12/20/the-sources-big-honkin-2013-roundup-post-has-landed-take-it-its-yours/

  9. John Burrows
    Dec 22nd, 2013 at 01:36
    #9

    If you draw a 5 mile radius on a map of Santa Clara County with Diridon station as the center you get a population that is more than miniscule. I would guess that around half of the 1,000,000 who live in San Jose would be within this circle, in addition to over half of the 160,000 who live in the adjacent cities of Santa Clara and Campbell. Altogether somewhere around 600,000—roughly equal to the number who live within 5 miles of the San Francisco Transbay Terminal.

    And San Jose is growing at a pretty good rate—over 15,000 between July 1, 2011 and July 1, 2012. At this rate of growth, the population would be between 1.2 and 1.3 million by the time high speed rail arrives, hopefully on schedule.

    And from what I can see a lot of this growth is going to be downtown and in the adjacent Midtown section which is actually closer to the train station. Tony D mentioned the 2 highrises (close to 700 units) going up downtown plus the projects working their way through the permit process. Within walking distance of where I live (Midtown) two medium-rise projects totaling 500 units are half finished, and another 880 units that I know of are in the pipeline.

    One of the drawbacks to public transit that I have seen in this area is that unlike San Francisco, it is just too easy to get around by car. If you can drive to your destination quickly and if parking is not too much of a hassle when you get there, then chances are that you are going to drive. It does seem like the last 6 months or so driving has become more of a hassle. If over the next few years the high-rises and the mid-rises keep going up at the current pace, driving may become enough of a hassle that we will make much better use of public transit, including VTA light rail.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I would guess that

    http://www.census.gov/main/www/access.html

    And from what I can see

    The plural of anecdote is “data”, after all.

    much better use of public transit, including VTA light rail.

    Just give it another three decades or so and it might achieve its ridership projections … for 2000.

    blankslate Reply:

    Such a radius would give you a very small fraction of Silicon Valley jobs, and practically nothing that tourists are interested in. A BIG difference from Transbay.

  10. Reedman
    Dec 22nd, 2013 at 11:52
    #10

    Santa Clara County ponied-up it’s own money in 2008 to get the BART extension built. It met the two-thirds majority — 66.781 percent (passed by a margin of 711 votes out of 620,431 total).

    Joey Reply:

    And after all, it’s not twice as expensive as the next reasonable alternative, nor is it competing with other more useful projects for funding.

    joe Reply:

    How does this competition work?

    Citizens vote, a super majority no less, to tax themselves to bring BART to their county.
    No BART, No tax.

    The counter-factual arguments run like this:
    Twice as expensive as …. [reasonable alternative]
    Competing with …. [reasonable alternative]
    Not as compelling as …. [reasonable alternative]
    Not as useful as …. [reasonable alternative]

    What reasonable alternative and didn’t anyone put that reasonable alternative on the ballot?
    The reasonable Alternative was both a BART alternative and reasonable, and also has all the other characteristics.

    Joey Reply:

    The alternative is standard gauge, 25kV OCS regional rail. No world proprietary 1000 V DC power or world proprietary signaling, full HSR and CalTrain compatibility (preventing that they came to their senses about CBOSS for the moment), off-the-shelf rolling stock.

    Of course, I’m not blaming Santa Clara County voters for any of this. They were never offered an alternative. But that doesn’t exonerate those in charge at the MTC and VTA who put together the plan.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Firstly, Santa Clara County taxpayers voted for a whole pile of non-BART stuff that has pretty much all been cancelled subsequently to fund BART and nothing but;
    secondly, they mostly voted for other people’s money, not their own. Federal funding that could instead go to non-worse-than-useless projects; state funding that could instead go to non-worse-than-useless projects; regional bridge tolls(!!?!!) because that’s the slush fund that MTC’s ultra-corrupt chief uses to cash-up all his very very very very very very special friends, despite less than zero “nexus” between a BART line that doesn’t cross the Bay and a BART extension; San Mateo County(!!!) sales taxes; dedicated Dumbarton Rail cash; Flood Control District cash; VTA sales tax funding supposedly dedicated to Caltrain electrification; etc etc … the list is almost endless.

    joe Reply:

    Firstly, a super majority of Santa Clara voters approved the BART enabling sales tax initiative.
    Defeat the initiative and BART falls. Fail and it’s a super majority behind BART.
    It passed.

    As for the Other Peoples money rant – that is right wing talk radio propaganda. You simply substitute San Jose or whom/whatever for some ethnic/minority group. They’re stealing your transit dollars and wasting them. These people are the stooges of powerful BART (etc) interests looting the public treasury.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/bart/ci_11198672
    “Given that voters have endorsed BART not once, but twice,” VTA General Manager Michael Burns said, “from the staff’s perspective the priority is clear, and that priority is BART.”

    VTA sales tax revenue fell $6 million from July through September. The one-eighth of a cent tax approved in Measure B last month can only be used to pay for BART operations, not building new train lines or expanding bus routes. And, the VTA is spending $60 million of $150 million it takes in annually from the 2000 tax to cover the operating costs and bond debt of the current transit system, leaving even fewer dollars to pay for BART and other projects.

    Choices will have to be made and, from Burns’ view, there’s only one choice.
    “It’s clear we can’t see the BART project getting ($750 million in federal) money if we’re spending our local money on other projects,” Burns said in an interview earlier this week. “That just doesn’t add up.”

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/bart/ci_11198672
    “Given that voters have endorsed BART not once, but twice,” VTA General Manager Michael Burns said, “from the staff’s perspective the priority is clear, and that priority is BART.” “

    Could it be that people don’t have anything to compare to other than shitty once per hour Caltrain service?

    BART is sold as the panacea to traffic gridlock and all transit woes. There is a ton of Engineer/consultant/contractor money to back up/promote BART to Silicon Valley propaganda.

    Caltrain is stuck with FRA mandated pre-historic operating practices.

    With Caltrain you have to plan your life around the schedule. While the peak commute hour periods have more frequent service, there are cases in which some stations are served just once per hour. People don’t like to wait around for a train that goes to their stop once an hour; even every half hour is pushing it. People like having their cars because it is convenient for them to leave whenever, with Caltrain you don’t have that option.

    With BART you don’t have to think about the schedule, you go to the station and within a few minutes your train is there.

    Joe Reply:

    BART connects to a large part of the Bay Area. It has the benefit if this network effect to entice voters to connect to the system.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Joe: “BART connects to a large part of the Bay Area.”

    Yes that’s true but should we be throwing all our resources into the BART basket?

    Wouldn’t BART be better off by focusing on operating and maintaining the core system rather than building hugely expensive, underperforming extensions?

    BART extensions add more wear and tear and more crowds to the aging core system. BART needs to replace its entire fleet of cars at a significant cost, perhaps instead of wasting money on needless extensions; the money wasted on extensions could have been used to procure new cars. The money saved could be going to other needed transit improvements. As Richard M points out, Santa Clara taxpayers voted to fund a lot of non-BART projects that are now in limbo because it’s BART and nothing but BART to San Jose…

    There were proposals to connect to the BART network through improved bus services and improved conventional rail such as ACE/Caltrain. Creating a truly intermodal station in Fremont/Union City area would be a worthwhile investment. We have an example of how NOT to build one here in Millbrae engineered to the maximum ineptitude by America’s finest transportation professionals.

    Joe Reply:

    ” As Richard M points out, Santa Clara taxpayers voted to fund a lot of non-BART projects that are now in limbo because it’s BART and nothing but BART to San Jose…”

    We did vote with a supermajority to build BART the extension. We did this purposely and the tax cannot be used for other projects. Richard doesn’t care.

    As for wearing out core BART, u of Montara Lubrary would hold monthly academic journals in the back room to stop them from being read and worn out. I was one of several who had that policy changed and issues were put on the shelves and read. If BART is used then that’s good. No reason to draw up the ladder and not let anyone else join.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Unless of course, its a weekend and you need to make multiple transfers to get to where you are going, and possibly wait 30 minutes if you miss them.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    In the case of Caltrain, if you miss your connection the wait time is 60 minutes.

    When BART is operating the “X” service, they have timed transfers at MacArthur and 19th Street in Oakland, so missing your connection is probably pretty rare.

  11. Lewellan
    Dec 22nd, 2013 at 15:00
    #11

    HERE ARE MY MAIN POINTS OF DISAGREEMENT:

    1)Debate on 200mph vs. 125mph not honestly forthcoming…
    2)Debate on all-electric vs hybrid Talgo-type also lacking…
    3)Debate on 1st Phase electrified SF-SJ-Sacramento Line via Altamont, why not?
    4)Debate on 2nd Phase Stockton-Bakersfield with Talgo XXI hybrids, again, why not?
    5)Debate on fixing the San Juaquins vs. fast viaduct rail elsewhere.
    6)Debate on 3rd Phase Tejon Talgo Hybrids vs. Bombardier Tehachapi.
    7)Debate on CalRail south to Gilroy/Monterrey.

    8)Debate conduct: publicize, invite public participation, promise an “Immediate” and open public review aferwards. Until these debates are settled, the sensibly slow alternative (believed impossible among 200MPH holdouts who write more words than make fair debate), the 125MPH TALGO XXI hybrid.

    Incidentally, the world’s 1st true HSR, engineered in the good old USA circa 1940s-50s. Yea! Us!
    The Initial Operable Segment Madera-to-Fresno COST & IMPACT can be reduced/minimized and SHOULD be preferred. Rail advocacy groups are split on the CAHSR Project as/is.
    Central Valley Interests OUGHT to do the same as Peninsula & LA County communities
    with satisfactory rail upgrades for ‘their’ Initial Operable Segment.

    isgota Reply:

    Hello!

    I think it’s important to make a few comments about the Talgo XXI:

    1. The Talgo XXI trainset (now Talgo BT) was mainly an experimental train, it has a quite unusual diesel-hydraulic transmission instead of the more common diesel-electric one and it seems it had some realibility issues. Now this train is used as a measuring train:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talgo#Talgo_XXI

    2. The so-called “hybrid Talgo” is in reality a Talgo 250 with 2 diesel generators instead of the ending passenger cars. While it can go in electric and non-electric lines (it’s more a dual-fuel train than hybrid in the sense of automobiles) it has its drawbacks, its a bit slower with a max. certified speed 240 km/h (about 150 mph) in 25 kV AC, and 180 km/h (about 110 mph) in diesel mode, also it has less seats (262 vs. 299 of the Talgo 250):

    Talgo 250
    Talgo Hybrid (in Spanish)

    That is the most realistic model you can get to work as an “hybrid”, but in general RENFE only uses them when the non-electric part is only about one thirth of the total travel time, if the diesel part its longer it still uses only-diesel traction (like the Amtrak Cascades). So I don’t think going to 125 mph will be as easy as you think for Talgos from the start.

    One advantage though, is that Talgo 8 are based on the Talgo 7 version, and those can go 200+ mph in a proper HSR line with powered enough electric locomotives. So you can reuse the same passenger cars with little modifications (I think you only needed to add an extra disk brake per axle).

    Best!

  12. Lewellan
    Dec 22nd, 2013 at 15:25
    #12

    One particular text error to correct, sorry:

    I wrote, “The Initial Operable Segment Madera-to-Fresno COST & IMPACT can be reduced/minimized and SHOULD be preferred.” I meant Madera-Fresno IOS SHOULD NOT be preferred.

    Let’s have the better rail projects built first, shall we?
    Electrify SF-SJ-Sacramento with the electric infrastructure, uh what?
    Bombardier @200MPH Vs Talgo-type @125MPH.
    The debate WAS held and Talgo WON in Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and yes, California.
    Stop writing the checks to the wrong philosophy, or the casual professionals who dismiss sensible alternatives, disregard valuable advantages. I’ll say it again, “200MPH holdouts who write more words than make fair debate,” probably won’t say much nor write a word about the 125MPH point of view.
    It just do not compute.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I don’t think Talgos stand a chance unless you can somehow convince Jerry Brown to eschew “Son of Acela”.

    Observer Reply:

    Actually, we should have debated this and gone with 125MPH Talgos at least 20 years ago. And now we could have been discussing whether to upgrade to 200MPH on certain sections. It would have been a whole lot easier – not to mention less expensive; putting things off has a cost. Now we have to play catch up. Whether 125MPH or 200MPH, this country is certainly behind Asia and Europe in rail travel.

    Observer Reply:

    P.S. Talgo at the time was also ready and willing – because they knew it made absolute sense for us to do this; but as always the powers that be were clueless.

    Michael Reply:

    Talgos are the most comfortable trains running in the US right now. Their finishes and ride quality are far superior to the dual-level crap we keep buying for every other corridor besides the Cascades.

    They even make sleepers! http://www.360cities.net/image/innotrans-2008-talgo-hotel-train-sleeper-cama-berlin#428.23,8.71,80.0

    Observer Reply:

    Agreed, I wish California had them. Oregon and Washington are on to something. Wisconsin blew it; just imagine the reputation and good image Wisconsin could have had by having the Talgos.

    isgota Reply:

    Actually, California still has a chance to get the 2 trainsets built for Wisconsin, Talgo has sued the state and wants the trains back (plus some extra cash):

    Talgo seeks $65.9 million from state for abandoned high-speed rail line

    Observer Reply:

    Where would they be maintained though. I believe Talgo does their own maintenance on any and all trainsets that they sell.

    Joey Reply:

    UP has explicitly stated that they will not allow electrification or higher speeds or more trains on Oakland-Sacremento.

    Observer Reply:

    Then let us do a new alignment; it can be done.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    San Francisco—Redwood City—Fremont—Livermore—Tracy—Stockton—Sacramento
    Rocket Science!

    synonymouse Reply:

    precisely

    Clem Reply:

    If San Francisco – Redwood City – Fremont – Livermore – Tracy could be done in 35 minutes, would the Capitol Corridor be toast?

    jonathan Reply:

    Who;s going to pay HSR prices for daily commute travel?

    joe Reply:

    State workers who live in SF and commute to work in Sacramento.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And you worry about “commute” service to Sac when Jerry and Richards plan to deviate big time to Palmdale solely to provide a subsidized commute op.

    How many orders of magnitude in population and importance is the State Capital greater in relation to Sprawldale?

    joe Reply:

    I worry about nothing of the kind. I ask how many state employees can afford to live in SF and commute the distance to Sacramento?

    Clearly this is just a BART commuter replacement – Some guy with a vendetta against the system and prime contractor dreams of a BART replacement using Swiss EMUs.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    There are more people living in the East Bay that work in Sacramento than you might think…

    synonymouse Reply:

    “a BART replacement using Swiss EMUs.”

    That’s Palmdalebahn allright.

    blankslate Reply:

    I think you have a pretty rosy vision of what state job salaries are like. An average state worker can afford to buy a house in Carmichael or Elk Grove and drive or take light rail (for free) to work. Maybe the 98th percentile and up could afford SF rent plus daily roundtrip HSR.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The reality is that high level consultants and advisers already make the trip. The more lowly paid folks wouldn’t move to SF to work for the state, but if they already live there….

    Lewellan Reply:

    The Capitol Oakland/Sacramento arrangement
    complements Altamont Electrification.
    Stockton-to-Bakersfield, later with Talgo XXI hybrid.
    Tejon V Tehachapi debate fairly held, later later.
    Thus IOS – Madera-Fresno – unproductive.
    Goodwork, clem. UtheMannn

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s a long conversation and the thread is pushing 300. I will try to either write something about your medium-speed rail proposals at my place or here at the beginning of a future thread.

    synonymouse Reply:

    no lossy transfer

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I dunno would it be?
    http://www.amtrak.com/pdf/factsheets/CALIFORNIA12.pdf

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No. Capitol corridor has a bunch of intermediate stops and if you go through Altamont you lose the East Bay. Especially if it is extended to Monterey, there will be plenty of travellers eager to ride it.

    Joey Reply:

    Why would you loose all the intermediate stops unless you (separately) decide to cancel the existing service?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No. If you build HSR from SF to Sacramento, you would have at most one or two intermediate station. Capitol Corridor has around 10 to 15 and so those individuals wouldn’t switch to HSR especially if the route utilized Aaaaaltamont….

    Joey Reply:

    Except for the intermediate stops which have been in since the program alignment? Do the words Millbrae, Redwood City, Fremont, Livermore, and Stockton ring a bell?

    Joe Reply:

    Livermore, Fremont, Millbrae are BART stops. So this adds little value to the SF bound traveler. Faster? $ure it i$. It doesn’t replicate CC which has more stops so we’re expecting to build a line that will help additional number of Sacramento workers live in the Bay Area and commute east.

    Oh and a bay crossing for HSR transfers to Caltrain desiel service.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    None of those cities are on the current Capitol Corridor alignment except Fremont. And Fremont’s station is not accessible to BART without hoping in your car. Due to the time involved, most of the Sacramento-bound passengers on the CC originate in Berkeley or Oakland. Altamont doesn’t help those people. It will be great for the seven or eight people in Palo Alto that need to get to River City in a flash… but that’s it.

    Joey Reply:

    When was it a stated goal to help those specific people? The idea (one of the ideas) of Altamont is to get fast service between key points in the Bay Area and Sacramento. Obviously there is still demand along the existing CC route but why is that a problem? They still get service.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    We are talking in circles. The only key points in the Bay Area that Altamont serves via HSR is Milpitas. SF based riders can take BART and the Capitols faster.

    Joey Reply:

    No they can’t. The capitols are slow, and are going to continue to be until you effectively build a new parallel line. SF-Sac via Richmond BART currently takes about 2:18 including a grossly underestimated 10 minutes transfer time. The CAHSR Program EIR gave a SF-Sac express travel time of 1:06, and that was using the program alignment. Using SETEC that is easily under an hour.

    So to reiterate, that’s under an hour SF-Sac travel time at no additional cost compared to Phase 2 HSR.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I believe the EIR estimate is for a non-stop train. When CAHSR had its old website, I remember the trip calculator for SF to Sac via Pacheco was more than 66 minutes. But even if you are right. The ride for East Bay passengers is way longer unless they want to crowd in somehow on BART to get to TransBay. On the other side, with no fast VTA connections, nothing improves over current Capitol Corridor service.

    Joey Reply:

    Add a few minutes for each stop. Even with a transfer, it’s still faster via Altamont for anyone south of Richmond.

    Joey Reply:

    And Capitol Corridor is over 3 hours to San Jose. Even Pacheco wins for Santa Clara County.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Excuse me, the “ride” might be shorter, but the “journey”, for East Bay riders will be longer as they have to connect in San Jose (Fremont’s station is too small). The State should consider using the 680 as the ROW for Sac to San Jose HSR.

    Joey Reply:

    Fremont is too small? As a major transfer point, it’s very likely that nearly all trains would stop there, particularly on shorter runs like SF-Sac.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Fremont’s station footprint can’t handle that sort of traffic. I would suggest you build a table each Capitol Corridor station and then pit the current travel time to ST against Pacheco or SETEc with the provision the connection can not be made by car. Then see what you come up with.

    Joey Reply:

    I’ve been doing so for years, and the conclusion is nearly always the same: travel times on the Capitol Corridor are terrible. If you want a comprehensive list, I can do that when I get home tonight. As much as I’d like to pour over the relevant EIRs right now, I can’t.

    Clem Reply:

    Is there some sort of underlying political turf issue that would cause CHSRA to stay away from threatening to poach Capitol Corridor riders?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joey,

    I am very interested to see what you have come up with. Email me at mrtpsm at gmail if you build an actual table out of the data. I think it would be a very good piece of info to have.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …travel times on the Capitol Corridor are terrible…. actual table….

    http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/720/138/Capitol-Corridor-Schedule-011314.pdf

    Clem Reply:

    Are you reminding everyone that San Jose – Sac (133 miles) is covered in three hours? At an average speed of 45 mph?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    This thread just won’t die, lol. The assignment, for whoever wants it, is to compare travel time by ridership from each capitol corridor station and then do the same for sf to sac hsr via altamont but adding in a time penalty for public transit connections to account for east bay who currently don’t drive.

    Clem Reply:

    The thread won’t die because these ideas urgently need to be discussed, and a significant faction believes they should not be discussed because they could destabilize the project. You will see considerably more detailed analysis in the coming months.

    Jon Reply:

    The thread wont die because the technical folks don’t consider the political issues to be sufficiently important to get in the way of the technically superior Altamont alignment, and the political folks don’t consider the technical issues to be sufficiently important to justify throwing away the politically sealed Pacheco alignment. You’ll never gain consensus because the importance of political vs. technical issues in a project such as this is a subjective judgement made by each individual according to his or her personal background. (It’s no coincidence that Clem and other pro-Altamont folks come to this project with an engineering background, and Robert and other pro-Pacheco folks come to this project with a political advocacy background.)

    Jon Reply:

    In other words, you could agree with Clem on every word of his argument, but still be in favor of Pacheco because you reason that the technical benefit of Altamont is not worth upsetting the political apple cart. There will never be a consensus because the two sides are speaking different languages.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Are you reminding everyone that San Jose – Sac (133 miles) is covered in three hours? At an average speed of 45 mph?

    I’m reminding people that trains have these things called schedules, which they may or may not adhere to, that tell you in detail how long it takes to get from one station to the next to the next to the next…

    significant faction believes they should not be discussed because they could destabilize the project.

    how much does it cost to upgrade the Capital Corridor to get from San Francisco to Sacramento in an hour versus upgrading Altamont, bringer of peace harmony and clear skin, to get to from San Francisco to Sacramento in an hour? 90 miles at an average speed of 90 versus 140 miles at an average speed of 140?

    Clem Reply:

    It all depends on whether you agree that Altamont hits multiple birds with one stone. If you get 1 hour SF – Sac, 1 hour SJ – Sac, AND hit the 2:40 requirement for SF to LA while delivering a fast Sac – LA link, any discussion of spending billions on the Capitol Corridor (which serves a much narrower transportation purpose) is pretty much moot.

    @Joe: I’ll agree when you have actually seen the full and fair technical case for Altamont. I guarantee that you haven’t as of yet, but once you have you can consider the overall technical vs. political merits to form your own opinion. Whatever you believe today is based on incomplete information.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Improving the Capital Corridor hits multiple birds with one stone.
    Someone in San Jose, navel of the universe ,who wants to go to Sacramento doesn’t care whether the train goes through San Bruno or San Leandro. They do care whether or not the HSR station is in Redwood City or Fremont or whether all of the HSR trains going to LA pass through San Jose.

    joe Reply:

    @Joe: I’ll agree when you have actually seen the full and fair technical case for Altamont. I guarantee that you haven’t as of yet, but once you have you can consider the overall technical vs. political merits to form your own opinion. Whatever you believe today is based on incomplete information.

    I look forward to it.

    Just keep the Gilroy Station. I have a model coefficient you can borrow to make it cost effective. And remember, it’s in imperial units.

    Jon Reply:

    @Clem: there’s a Joe and a Jon on this thread, so you were probably directing that at me.

    Anyway… What he said. If there’s juicy technical information on Altamont not yet in the public domain, I’d sure love to see it.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Exactly- the primary situation in the U.S. is freight rr’s owning the track and conducting American freight rr operating practices, which is fundamentally incompatible with hsr or “higher speed” passenger railroad operation. Throw in UPRR’S ideological opposition to HSR, and running anything other than 79mph pax trains on their track is a non-starter. I recall reading a think tank study of HSR in the U.S. a year or two ago (I can’t remember the authors) that basically said that the only way to establish any HSR in the U.S. is to have dedicated track, no sharing with freight rr’s anywhere. Of course, the situation is different when the state owns the track, or the HSR operator itself owns the track, as in the case of AAF/FEC in Florida.

    Observer Reply:

    The sonner we begin, the better.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You realize of course, UP and Phil Anchutz oppose fast passenger rail because Amtrak pays for UP and other Class I employees pensions. No 79 mph Amtrak, no pension. It must be that Amtrak must
    figure they would cease to exist if they didn’t rely on freight track.

    joe Reply:

    I do not now about pensions but infrastructure is subsidized. Railroads benefit from the public investments to run “timely” passenger service on their ROW.

    Dedicated track like CA’s HSR removes passenger rail from the RR ROW and they lose a subsidy. The IL project upgrades the ROW to support 110 MPH service on BNSF track.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s CN and UP track

    http://www.idothsr.org/about/overview.aspx

    joe Reply:

    Yep _ goofed. I lived there and went by memory.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Easy to make that mistake since UP is never going to let passenger trains go faster than 79 mile an hour. Except where they will sometime soon.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pity that the people in Illinois didn’t realize this and went out and spent all that money on making possible to run 110 MPH trains.

    http://www.idothsr.org/2010_const/

    …since it’s impossible to run trains on freight tracks faster than 79 MPH.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Illinois and California look about the same from the Panopticon of Upstate New York

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    i’d tell you to go fuck yourself but ya need a dick for that.

    jonathan Reply:

    It’s not CA vs IL that’s the problem, it’s confusing 110 mi/hr with 220 mi/hr.

    Joey Reply:

    This agreement spells out specifically which corridors UP may allow higher speeds (110 mph) on: Sacramento-Stockton, Martinez-Fresno (not used by passenger trains anyway), Oakland-Fremont, and San Jose-Moorpark.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Planned improvements between Sacramento and Oakland include double-track and siding upgrades, along with additional crossovers, to improve travel speeds and service reliability.
    State Rail Plan 2013

    Martinez- Fresno is used by the San Joaquin passenger train.

    Joey Reply:

    Sacramento-Oakland is already 100% double tracked.

    The San Joaquins use BNSF trackage east of Port Chicago. UP’s Martinez-Fresno West Side Line is not used by passenger trains.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The CCJPA is supporting several rail capacity projects to keep pace with growing demand for existing services. Third track and siding investments, signal improvements, and station expansions will allow for increased passenger service. For example, addition of a third mainline track on UPRR section between Sacramento and Roseville will facilitate conventional passenger rail service expansion in Sacramento and Placer counties. The CCJPA also envisions increasing top train speeds from the current 79 mph to 90 mph, where local conditions allow

    State Rail Plan 2013

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The MOU’s from UP are not written in stone, they are more like position papers which can and do change. They are saying “look we are real busy right now delivering the nation’s consumer durables (and incidently making billions because we have the pie neatly divided up) but if you throw some more money at us we could find room for some more track” IMHO.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The State Rail plan is an unfunded wish list. The Capitol Corridor is losing passengers from Placer County to Sacto to taxpayer subsidized commuter buses provided by Placer County. So is that third main between Sac and Roseville a good place to invest scarce resources? CapCor would probably be better served in improving Oakland to SJ, which I believe is being analyzed.
    As far as electrification on UP goes, there are two drivers. One is that UP doesn’t want to be forced to electrify into the LA Basin to meet air quality targets so they are trying to resist hanging wires anywhere. Second of course they are concerned about clearance. I believe that a high level pantograph exists that can work with double stack and F+ auto carriers but doubt if it is High Speed capable. Anyone have good technical information on this issue?
    Finally, as has been written here many times, higher maximum speed doesn’t help a lot on the state corridors unless they eliminate a number of station stops. More important is to go slowly less often. Of course when the route becomes a bit more crowded with unit trains of crude we’ll see what happens to line capacity….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you have enough freight to make electrification even vaguely worthwhile you have too much freight to run even higher speed passenger trains. They get in each other’s way.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1934Xdhcwc

    joe Reply:

    Monterey Co wants the Capitol Corridor to extend down to Salinas as a commuter service to the East Bay. It would stop at Castroville, Watsonville, Gilroy and Morgan Hill before reaching San Jose.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul, the hoi polloi have spoken. Eliminating stops reduces transportation equity. I would love to see data on load factors for the Capitols. BART doesn’t want competiton for San Jose Oakland. As for the issue on Roseville, that’s going to be affected by the station redesign and the fact that buses are much cheaper on a monthly basis. If we’re smart extend it to Monterey via Salinas.

    joe Reply:

    BART People Mover to Oakland Airport will be online in 2014.
    Driverless from the Coliseum BART station to OAK. ~4-6 dollars.
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-airport-BART-tram-to-open-in-fall-2014-5089455.php
    (BART and airport officials project that passengers will take 3.2 millh. ion trips on the connector each year. )
    That 3.2 figure is ~1/3 of all passengers using the airport.

    http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/mtc-approves-money-extend-smart-train-line-sonoma-/ncPZT/
    Sonoma has acquired the funds to extend SMART to Sonoma’s Charles Schultz Airport. Expects to also have funds to reach the Larkspur Landing in the South any-day-now.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Paul, clearance of freight (even out-of-gauge special move freight) and overhead systems isn’t a problem.

    More of a problem is business-as-usual derail-tastic (very out of gauge) freight and what it does to a couple miles of lineside equipment and the finger-pointing and liability and costs.

    Even if some total suckers (ie you!, the taxpayer) completely fund the traction system, and pay a huge extortion overhead for UP “coordination” and approval, and pay a huge overhead for completely new signals and a huge overhead for the “huge” extra cost of install and maintaining all the earthing for the track and all the adjacent structures and systems, for the freight RR’s it is still all liability downside with zero operational upside, and negligible (even at huge public extortion rates) benefit to the corporate bottom line.

    The only way electrification was going to happen is if the State of California had outright purchased Southern Pacific in the 1990s, which could have been done outright for about amount of cash which has been utterly wasted on just the stupid black hole of the Capitol Corridor since then.

    Observer Reply:

    Just for the sake of argument, are we framing this debate wrong? That is do we first need to decide which rail corridors in which we need dedicated track for passenger trains? Then decide whether to go electric, 125MPH, 200MPH? We have a lot of catching up to do.

    jonathan Reply:

    Very hard to do that, when the decision about “dedicated track corridors for passenger trains” is driven, in no small part, by the speed you want the passenger trains to run at.

  13. trentbridge
    Dec 23rd, 2013 at 07:54
    #13

    CA HSR CREED:

    “I believe in the California High Speed Rail Authority, the transportation project of the future,
    conceived in Prop 1B, born in The Central Valley, suffered under Judge Kenny, was declared dead and buried. (by Republicans) In 2014 it rose from the dead, and will eventually transport the quick and the red-faced CV residents. I believe in Governor Brown, the funding of high speed rail, the current route, and the high-speed rail transportation system to come”

    Amen.

    y’er welcome Happy Holidays!

    David Reply:

    haha! very nice Trent!

  14. Roger Christensen
    Dec 23rd, 2013 at 08:59
    #14

    Amen brother.

  15. Lewellan
    Dec 23rd, 2013 at 12:53
    #15

    The Capitol Oakland/Sacramento arrangement complements Altamont Electrification.

    Stockton-to-Bakersfield, do something later with Talgo XXI hybrid considered.
    Tejon V Tehachapi debate fairly held, later later.
    Therefore, the IOS – Madera/Fresno – is unproductive in too many ways.
    Fergidaboudi, 200mph boys n’ girls fanclub. Please let’s get reaaall…whee!
    Goodwork, clem. UtheMannn

    Observer Reply:

    By all means electrify Capital/Altamont Corridors; but there is life below Stockton you know.

  16. synonymouse
    Dec 23rd, 2013 at 23:33
    #16

    TGV: “Aujourd’hui une ligne sur trois n’est plus rentable.”

    http://www.francetvinfo.fr/sncf-plus-de-1000-postes-bientot-supprimes_489856.html

    The story is towards the middle of the segment.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I see no one picked up on this story. Well, it is in French, I guess.

    Point being that hsr in France is not doing so well with fares too high and competition from low cost airlines and autos on freeways. This development has everything to do with CAHSR and Prop 1a. What Jerry is insisting on building will bleed red ink; rural commute ops are just crazy and totally contrary to the self-sustaining principle spelled out in Prop 1a.

    Please ride on the Palmdale Cheerleaders, Clem and Richard, on this one – major and perennial subsidies required due to empty seats and high labor costs more than anything else. Deferred maintenance, retrenchment mode, divestiture. In France it means retiring SNCF workers are not being replaced.

    As to dumb SMART, they are talking 3 full more years even before a doodlebug turns a wheel in revenue service. Quelle farce.

  17. Keith Saggers
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 13:18
    #17
  18. Emmanuel
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 13:28
    #18

    Is there a reason why we only have the same 5 bidders every time? Is there really nobody else interested in giving us a probably better deal by building 2 or more segments at once?

    Look at the companies, I have no strong feelings towards either. I just think the company most qualified to do the job, and the one that doesn’t have a horrible history of cost overruns should do it. Of course, CHSRA will just go with the lowest bidder because we all know that price goes over quality.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is all a matter of kickbacks, er, campaign contributions.

    I assume they are all getting paid to submit a bid. Go Tutor; win another one for the Cheerleaders.

  19. Stephen Smith
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 15:31
    #19

    If you thought Fresno was bad:

    Construction of the Yancheng – Lianyungang railway will start soon. Expected to cost 26bn yuan, it will include 234 km of double track and 76 km of single-track branch, with 12 stations and 90 bridges and viaducts totalling 149 km.

    …and check out that viaduct shot!

    Alon Levy Reply:

    …and with all that viaducting, it’s $21 million/km. Beijing-Shanghai it ain’t.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Fresno is flat

    http://www.flyinphilsphotos.com/bridges/photos/rsz_6.jpg

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ..Phil’s got some really nice shots

    http://www.flyinphilsphotos.com/bridges/photos/rsz_16.jpg

    Observer Reply:

    Gee, when you think of some of the things China, Spain, Scandinavia (bridges over the sea) are doing – it makes us look sort of inept.

  20. Tony D.
    Dec 24th, 2013 at 18:13
    #20

    OT: Anyone down to further Tim Drapers idea of a separate state of Silicon Valley? How about a Bay Area/Silicon Valley City-State akin to Singapore? That’s right! Full independence from not only California but the Union as well. Ultra wealthy and prosperous, with NO TAX DOLLARS going towards Sacramento or Washington, would be an understatement. OK, need to slow down on the egg nog and Southern Comfort…
    MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!

    Observer Reply:

    Tim Draper makes us look inept too.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Draper and others will change their tune when they find out how much water will cost to be pumped in from the inland states of Jefferson, Mariposa, and Tahoe.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Hi. I’m currently in Singapore. “Ultra wealthy and prosperous” is indeed the correct description for the upper class and government officials. It is not a correct description for the median Singaporean, who’s stuck at 1.5th-world living standards.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Do you mean 1/5 the average living standard worldwide, 1.5%, or 150%?
    Question: Should most motor vehicles (in Singapore and elsewhere) be PHEV hybrid, BEVs (all-battery), hydrogen fuel cell? If (a big if) if all three are suitable technologies (disregard autonomous self-driving car nonsense), estimate what percentage of our motor vehicle fleets will each EV technology fill.
    Hint: 125mph or 200mph HSR?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, I mean 1.5th world, as opposed to either 1st world (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Western Europe) or 2nd world (Russia, Argentina, Chile, Poland, and other middle-to-upper-income countries). Wages here are about half to two thirds what they are in the US, and there’s no social welfare to compensate.

    As for your question, let me unask it and say that cities should work to have fewer cars and less driving, because the greenest car is the one that’s never built or that isn’t driven much. At present-day costs and trends all three technologies are going to remain niche until too late – have hybrids even cracked 10% of the new US vehicle fleet, let alone the total fleet? Singapore is good at reducing car ownership (via high car taxes) and bad at reducing distance driven per vehicle (because once you’ve already paid car taxes you get relatively clear freeways and fuel prices well below Western European averages). It builds auto-oriented and unwalkable pods for neighborhoods, even if they’re dense, nothing like Tokyo or even what I’ve seen of Shanghai.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Well, to me, 1/5 is 20%, and 1.5 is either 1.5% or 150%. Nevermind.
    As to the prospects of EVs becoming the auto industry standard, PHEVs have the most potential to reduce insane amounts of driving in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, assorted over-developed nations with a suspicious lack of actually functioning municipal and long-distance transit systems.

    Because PHEVs employ a single, suitcase-size battery pack, this is the more perfect match to rooftop photovoltiac solar arrays that can complement utility grids. BEVs have a 2, 3, 4, 5 and larger suitcase-size battery pack which increases the cost and reduces the practicality of rooftop solar. Therefore, PHEVs can serve that many times more households with a simpler rooftop solar power system thereby offering households a choice to use electricity for home applicances or for driving, which leads to less driving, more walking, bicycling, more practical arrangements for mass transit, more support of local economies, greater means to more closely monitor and reduce energy consumption overall.

    PHEVs reduce internal combustion overall the most by employing internal combustion sparingly. Hydrogen is also a more practical fuel in a hybrid drivetrain than in a fuel cell. Because BEVs and FCEVs offer longer distances on electricity, they can convince motorists that insane amounts of routine driving is sustainable. Electric utility companies oppose the challenge to their monopoly. Automobile-related business interests oppose giving households the economic incentive reduce average driving distances. The distinction applied to PHEVs also applies to HSR. The USA especially needs a lot of low-cost, low-impact hybrid HSR systems instead of too few ‘supposedly’ all-electric HSR systems.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Converting water to hydrogen and oxygen is not very efficient. Less efficient than charging and discharging a battery. Less efficient than transmitting electricity long distances then charging and discharging a battery. Fuel cells and combustion engines are not 100% efficient. Running your car on hydrogen, while possible, is really really stupid.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Exhaust emissions from combustable hydrogen (in a hybrid drivetrain) are the same H2O as in a fuel cell. Hybrids however have several advantages including the ability to store and utilize hydrogen at lower pressure, utilize many types of fuel, and run all-electric where practical and beneficial in neighborhoods and urban settings. There is little benefit of electric operation in rural areas such as the Central Valley.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    With all due respect, but hydrogen used in an internal combustion engine does not gnerate the same emissions as from a fuel cell. Because temperatures in the internal combustion engine are way higher, there is more NOx produced.

    Also, some 30 years ago, I assisted at a big conference for use of hydrogen; they already had prototype cars back then, which worked reasonably well. Big topic was the storage of hydrogen in sufficient quantities.

    Considering that there was essentially no progress, we can easily say that hydrogen for mass transportation use has still to prove its economic viability.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Fine, whatever. Hydrogen research still receives millions of dollars in study grants. Which application is more ideal, in a hybrid drivetrain or a fuel cell? I’ve made the case for hybrid application simply but fairly well. Purist, over-educated contrarians have had added their 2-cents worth. In the future, when no solutions are implemented and societal collapse follows, we’ll all look back and wonder what the hell were we thinking, or maybe not. Like whatever, man.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the whole point of pursuing hydrogen in the past was that batteries were heavy and weak. That’s changing. Sending electricity through the grid, then through an inverter, into a battery and then out of the battery means you get more power at the wheels of your car than you’d get by turning water into hydrogen and using the hydrogen in a fuel cell or an engine.

    Clem Reply:

    The other big cognitive shift is that Hydrogen is finally being seen for what it is: an energy storage medium. Most people used to think of it as a fuel.

    synonymouse Reply:

    My problem with hydrogen is that image of the Hindenburg in my mind.

    Clem, cannot wait for the Altamont expose. But who is going to do the financial study of DogLegRail as projected over the years? It is bound to need a fortune in subsidy to keep some wheels turning. In truth eventually all these public transit services, while desirable, will have to submit to an “agonizing reappraisal”. The BART’s, Muni’s, and AC’s are costing a fortune; their true subsidy has been swept under the rug.

    I see conditions in society greatly worsening in the near future, with huge demands for social spending – welfare, education, police and corrections – to hold the social contract together. Unless you plan to tap into existing fortunes big time to pay for all these hugely expensive programs something will have to give. Shuttling around mostly empty transit vehicles, be they intracity or intercity, is going to come under close scrutiny. Certainly in the days of privately owned transit lines, rail or bus, not that long ago, they would have simply cut those runs or abandoned those lines for want of business. Jerry Brown is trying to impose a project on California that simply does not pencil out financially and will come to grief. We deserve better.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Beeching” is bound to come up again, and don’t assume such is beneath the patronage machine..

    ‘The [Beeching] report was commissioned by a Conservative government with strong ties to the road construction lobby and its findings were largely implemented by the subsequent Labour administrations which received funds from unions associated with road industry associations.”

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Hybrids are currently 3.2% of new US vehicle sales, electric cars including plug in hybrids are 0.6% of new US vehicle sales.

Comments are closed.