Appeals Court Stays Judge Kenny’s Ruling

Feb 15th, 2014 | Posted by

Late Friday, Governor Jerry Brown and California’s future got some good if temporary news when the Third District Court of Appeals (state, not federal) granted Brown’s request for a stay on Judge Michael Kenny’s ruling blocking the release of more bond funds while the court hears the governor’s appeal:

In a brief announcement, the appeals court said it was granting the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s request for a fast-track review of a decision by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny, in which he ruled that the state had violated safeguards established in a 2008 bond act and did not have the right to issue any more bonds. A second decision by Kenny found that the state failed to follow proper procedures in issuing the bonds. That ruling will also be reviewed by the appeals court….

An actual order to rescind the funding plan that failed to meet state law was issued last month by Kenny. The appeals court stayed that order but did not reverse the earlier decisions that the order was based on.

The state is still restricted from issuing bonds. The appeals court asked the original plaintiffs, Kings County and two farmers, to file a brief by March 17 and the state to respond within 15 days.

This doesn’t mean that the governor has won this case, far from it, but it’s at least a sign that we can expect a speedy resolution to the issue. If the courts rule in HSR’s favor then that grants some breathing room while the governor and legislators figure out long-term HSR funding solutions, and gives activists time to press the case for using the cap-and-trade funds. If the courts don’t rule that way, then the pressure will be on for quick action.

  1. jonathan
    Feb 15th, 2014 at 08:50


    The good news for Jerry Brown and CHSRA is that the Appeals court has agreed to an expedited review. They could instead have let Judge Kenny’s lower-court ruling stand.

    The Appeals court will have briefs from both sides by April 1. That gives very little time for the court to rule before by “April”, which is when CHSRA says they need to start spending bond money, to keep the project financing viable.

    I think the bigger news is that on Friday, Judge Kenny heard arguments from both sides about whether the “Blended” plan can actually meet the time requirements of Prop 1A.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    here is a news story on the “time” trial

    Most interesting point for me. From the story, they never actually say they will meet the times. The closest they get is

    the agency is “committed to building a high-speed rail system that will meet the requirements of Prop. 1A.”

    which is to say they are really going to try, but at no point do they come out and say “Yes, we are going to hit the times”

    This is really getting to the level of farce. Why don’t they just admit they can’t meet the requirements of the law and work to modify the law rather than shoehorn in a defecient system. Most likely because Gavin is right and Brown does not have enough Democrats in the legislature to pass a new law.

    It is really sad because it did not have to be this way. They had political support at one time, if they had not managed the project so poorly and faced up to the challenges directly (no money coming from the fed, cost was severely understated, etc.) they could have made the changes necessary to keep the project going. Now they are attacked on all sides, support is eroding, and they have few options to address the critical shortcomings.

    Alan Reply:

    Why don’t Laurel and Hardy and their clients just admit that they can’t prove anything? Given the fact that large parts of the system do not yet have final alignments determined, to say nothing of final design, there’s no way that the Tos plaintiffs can meet their burden and prove that the plans, as they currently exist, do not comply with Prop 1A. The law says that the project must be designed to meet certain criteria. It does not say that the state must prove it beyond all doubt before construction may commence.

    There is also no language in Prop 1A which gives a court authority to restrain construction just because a group of NIMBY’s think they know better than the professionals who have spent millions of dollars and more than a decade working on studies and plans.

    Finally, unless Judge Kenny also has a degree in civil engineering and the experience to back it up, to go with the law degree, I don’t see where he has any real choice but to accept the expertise of those who do.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Because Laurel and Hardy don’t care if their suit has mertis. They get to charge billable hours. Their clients may not care. Delay it long enough and it may not get built.

    Clem Reply:

    Does that also imply that Parsons Brinckerhoff cannot prove that their plans can meet the requirements of the law–unless they build it first and find out?

    Simulating travel times is not rocket science, and it most certainly isn’t the sole province is so-called “industry experts”

    jonathan Reply:

    “Industry experts”? Does that have the exact same denotaoitn as Richard’s “America’s Finest transportation Professionals”?

    joe Reply:

    Does that also imply that Parsons Brinckerhoff cannot prove that their plans can meet the requirements of the law–unless they build it first and find out?

    Or maybe plaintiffs will need to find uncorrectable counter-examples in the plan and/or a willful lack of commitment to achieve the requirements.

    This isn’t an engineering review, its a lawsuit. I would expect a different standard then in a review to assess a design. The later which puts more onus on the developer to show they can achieve success.

    jonathan Reply:

    Poor Joe. The plaintiffs don’t need to find their own counter-exampes.
    Clem has already produced the counter-examples for them.

    Did you know that the Authority has conceded, in writing, that Caltrain (PJPB) owns the “blended” right-of-way, and will control the “blended” right-of-way. That means the Authority’s plan has to fit within whatever constraints Caltrain sets. Those constraints are part of what the HSR system has to deal with, just like terrain, sharp curves, and other speed restrictions.

    So, does the Authority’s plan deal with those constraints? No, it diesn’t: the Authority’s plan yields a guaranteed-not-to-be-less-than trip fime for SF-SJ of 40 iminutes. During some parts of the day.

    40 minutes is exceeds 30 minutes. So the “blended” plan does not meet the requirements of the law, which are for a _maximum_ servce travel-time exceed 30 minutes. And you will stipulate that 40 is greater than 30, surely? I truly cannot comprehend how anyone can be either so stupid, or so willfully, *obviously* *pointlessly* dishonest, as to deny that. Yet you do.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so 1822 seconds was cause for stopping the project and now it’s 2400. you sure it’s not 2389?

    joe Reply:

    You are “dialoging” like a Saturday morning cartoon villain. Do you rub your hands together.

    Design requirements are not operational requirements. When you evaluate operational service times, please stick to the operational requirements – such as no operating subsidy.

    jonathan Reply:

    The constraints which Caltrain places on the Authority for use of Caltrain’s track *is* a design constraint on the Authority’s plans. It’s not an “operational” constraint, because it’s not the Authority’s choice, or even the choice of a franchise operator chosen by the Authority. Constraints imposed by Caltrain are constraints the Authority has to plan to deal with, just like the Authority has to deal with tight curves or other speed restrictions.

    Joe, do you *still* not understand the difference between “maximum” and “minimum”?
    Or are you just so profoundly immature and dishonest to admit when you’re wrong?

    joe Reply:

    First, constraints are not requirements. They can be managed.

    The Authority can and will modify the Caltrain ROW and level of to achieve their desired performance characteristics. Caltrain holds no power over the State. If necessary the ROW can be taken just as any other property can be taken using the power of the State.

    As HSR service consumes Caltrain capacity, the locals can decide if limiting capacity is in their best environmental and economic interest. Locals can also decide if 15 minute per hour gate closure is tolerable. Any county, regional or state funded grade crossing improvements will be engineered to accommodate increased track. MTC isn’t interested in funding infrastructure that locks out additional track.

    synonymouse Reply:

    What political universe are you inhabiting? Jerry Brown practically soils his pants at the thought of talking to the Tejon Ranch and the PAMPA people have enough money to buy out Tejon and Disney together. Who is going to mess with them?

    What “Authority”. When they have to divest the DogLeg and auction it off there won’t be any authority. Where the **** is the NdeM? They aren’t going to be threatening anybody.

    Yeah, the State is going to seize BART. Over Amalgamated’s dead body.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    I didn’t know that Prop 1A overturned judicial review in California.

    Alan Reply:

    It didn’t. Judicial review extends only so far as the Legislature or the Constitution grant the authority to the courts.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Maybe Judge Kenny can refer to the civil engineering experts who built the iconic Millbrae BART station.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It has to meet 2:40 when it’s complete. It won’t be complete with the blended plan.

    jonathan Reply:

    No. The blended plan *is* complete, for the “blended” segments. That’s the official position.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Then give up. If the blended plan isn’t an interim step just give up. No one is ever going to be satisfied that it meets the requirements of the Prop unless it erupts simultaneously from the bosom of the earth while trains filled with revenue generating passengers glide down from the sky.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Agreed. Give up. The current plan is fatally flawed. I am glad to see you finally saw the light

    jonathan Reply:

    No, Adirondacker, you don’t understand. The “blended” plan, officially *is* the final plan.
    There is nothing more to erupt spontaneously from the forehead of Jove, or the bosom of the Earth, or anywhere else. The Authority swears that the “blended” plan *is* the final plan, that “blended” meets the requirements of Prop 1A.

    You seem to be under the misapprehension that the “blended”plan is some interim step towards a greater plan. That’s simply not true anymore. Officially, and also as a matter of local law.

    joe Reply:

    “The “blended” plan, officially *is* the final plan.”

    Officially means what? It has a stamp on it – “Final and do not ever change?”

    Peer review and CAHSRA documents describe blended as a low cost way to initiate service to SF, a law was passed describing how the blended alignment can be expanded to increase capacity if/when needed. The authority is committed to improving travel times by improvements to the ROW and trains.

    Ca we finally debunk the myth the blended is the final plan.

    jimsf Reply:

    its ridiculous to suggest that blended is final. There is no prohibition to expanding and upgrading the project. Are you suggesting that its illegal to, once the initial phases are complete, to ever touch the system again. No upgrades, no extensions into new territories, no improvements to rolling stock, no new stations..Since when do we do that with infrastructure. Ridiculous.

    Clem Reply:

    Have you heard of this law that is now on the books?

    jimsf Reply:

    not worth the paper its written on.

    jimsf Reply:

    Sure there is oppostion now, but that opposition will fade as demographics change. Nothing is permanent in california. just as someone demanded this now, someone else will demand the opposite later and it will happen at about the same time that capacity/demand calls for it. Californians want what they want, until they decide they want something else, then they get that too.

    Have you people not been paying attention to how things work in this state for the past 50 years? Well I have. and I know exactly how this is going to play out over the next 50.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Laws can be repealed. Especially when the 98 % of the people in San Mateo and Santa Clara county, who aren’t paying attention now, are stuck in traffic because the grade crossing gates are down again and begin to demand something be done about it.

    joe Reply:

    With the current ROW, PAMPA cities will have longer gate down times with Blended electrified HSR and Caltrain service. Growth continues and trains are filling.

    Any funds for improving grade crossings (such as Ravenswood/Menlo Park) will require accommodating additional track.
    Menlo Park’s City Council has a lot on its plate tonight (Jan. 14).

    Among the items up for consideration:

    Changing a policy that currently limits the Caltrain corridor in Menlo Park to two tracks.

    The discussion about rail tracks stems from the city’s application for $750,000 in county money to study ways to improve the train crossing at Ravenswood Avenue. County Transportation Authority officials said they can’t fund the project unless the city is willing to say it might someday consider a third set of tracks in the city, which could support future development of high-speed rail.

    A position statement adopted by the council in October 2012 specifically rules out a set of “passing rails” through the city.

    joe Reply:

    Mr A;
    I agree. The blended plan is an interim step – it was proposed as such. Improvements between blended to a full build will have greater impact on improved capacity than in speed but this memo concludes 1) blended is compliant and 2) travel times can continue to improve.

    jonathan Reply:


    the facts disagree with you. That document is headed “Phase 1” of CHSRA is the “full build” from SF to LA (or possibly Anaheim). “Phase 2” adds HSR routes to Sacramento and/or San Diego.

    It’s also one of the “drag-race”, pedal-to-the-metal, all-braking-at-emergency-stop simulations which are not achievable in practice. And it’s one of the simulations where PB has the trains going through urban areas at 220 mi/hr.

    You don’t even read the web pages you cite. You call yourself a scientist. Do you cite papers you’ve never actually read, too?

    joe Reply:


    the facts disagree with you.

    You don’t even read the web pages you cite. You call yourself a scientist. Do you cite papers you’ve never actually read, too?

    Such a petty and insecure thing to write.

    Okay hot-head:

    Based on the CHSTP computer model simulations and stated assumptions, a 2hr 40 min travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles and 30‐minute travel time between San Francisco and San Jose can be achieved for the Phase 1 Blended service.

    When you wrote this

    That document is headed “Phase 1″ of CHSRA is the “full build” from SF to LA (or possibly Anaheim).

    Can you help clarify what you were quoting beyond peppering your comments with snippets of text?

    It is not the full build from SF to LA.

    Assessment of Phase 1 Blended Modeling
    Phase 1 Blended infrastructure consists of proposed full high‐speed rail only improvements between San Jose and Los Angeles combined with blended service alignments on the Caltrain Corridor between San Francisco and San Jose. Travel times are generated from the California High‐Speed Train Project (CHSTP) computer simulation model1.

    Are you a muppet or man?

    Clem Reply:

    Interestingly, they also admit for the first time that they won’t run at 220 mph through urban areas, contrary to all the run time simulations that Parsons Brinckerhoff has produced. This is about a two-minute hit per urban area traversed. Gilroy, Madera, Fresno, Bakersfield (already cut to 115 mph), Lancaster, Palmdale, Sand Canyon, Sylmar, San Fernando, that’s a whole lot of places that used to show 220 mph… that’s a lot of minutes!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Highlighting the great upside to the I-5 racetrack. And probably one of the main reasons, correct or not, why I liked the median. It is already an environmental no mans land that would drown out the decibels of 160-180mph quite nicely.

    jonathan Reply:

    So about 16 minutes total? Clem, do you have a more accurate number?

    Alan Kandel Reply:

    What I haven’t heard anyone yet say is that the planned train’s top speed is absolute. What if speed wasn’t limited to 220 mph? Provided the system gets built, might top sustained speeds reach 225 mph, or 230 mph or faster by 2027, the expected date of Phase 1 completion? Why speed needs to be held to 220 mph, absolutely, is beyond me. Witness the 357 mph TGV test run a while back.

    jonathan Reply:

    Okay. Suppose the operator decides to eat the extra electricity cost, and the faster depreciation.

    Suppose that there is a total of 150 mles of track which is dead straight, dead level, signalled for 250 mi;hr, *and* where the trains are neither slowing down nor accerleating for a turn, or to pass through a station. Sppose that the operator increases speed, on that 150 miles, from 200 mihr to 250 mi/hr. You just saved a total of (200/250) hours, or 12 minutes, per 200-mile stretch of 250 mi/hr running.

    With the assumption of 150 miles where the trains can run at top speed, you just saved a total of 9 minutes. If you recalculate for a current top speed of 220 miles, you save only about 60% of that; call it 6 minutes. Do you want an exact calculation?

    6 minutes is not a whole lot, for a route which is heading for a scheduled time of 3 hrs or more.
    Doesn’t get you a whole lot closer to 2:40.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    1 mile at 220mph 16.36 seconds.
    1 mile at 225mph 16.00 seconds.
    1 mile at 230mph 15.65 seconds.
    1 mile at 250mph 14.36 seconds.

    Starting to understand why top speeds don’t matter and why increasing top speeds has rapidly diminishing return?

    To make up, say, two minutes lost by sub-moronic alignment choice by the work-harder-not-smarter technique of upping top speed from (an already completely unrealistic in an energy-constrained world) 220mph? That would be 330 miles of running at a higher 225mph speed … excluding the many additional miles required to accelerate and decelerate. 169 miles of 230mph. 61 miles of 250mph.

    Oh, and your peak power consumption just went up by 29% … (Send the overage bill to PB. Good luck!)

    And, meanwhile, America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals plan on parking “high speed” trains running at 0mph for 40 minutes at congested terminal stations. You can’t make this stuff up!

    joe Reply:

    Slide #3 of

    Update to Peer Review Group of work in
    progress on Train Performance Calculation
    (TPC) Trip Time Analysis

    July 2013

    Infrastructure inputs are based on a 250 MPH design

    Although no assumption are made for operating speeds in excess of 220 MPH, the system is
    being designed to handle operating speeds of 250 MPH over much of its length. This will provide
    an opportunity to improve trip times and keep pace with technological improvements as the
    system grows

    ha ha ha.

    Design and operation are different. A design to accommodate 250 isn’t a requirement to operate at 250 MPH. So the design is saving 2 seconds a mile, a minute every 30 miles. Thanks.

    jonathan Reply:

    Dear Joe,

    what you need to consider is a “design” for track with a shared tenant, where the shared tenantl’s plans restrict the *best achievable* speed during rush how to 33% above what the law requires.

    I have already stated, several times on this blog, that the Technical Memoranda which PB wrote for CHSRA specify that, where geography permits and it would not add excessive cost, the track shall be designed and signalled for 400 km/hr.

    You need some remedial lessons on “greater than required’ and “less than required”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Where does it say all of the trains have to do it in 30 minutes. Where does it say they have to offer that service at all?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The basic problem is that given the curves and the station throat, it’s unlikely any non-tilting train that currently exists will be able to achieve that. Tilting trains, sure, but there are only 2.5 of them that go above ~250 km/h.

    Joey Reply:

    In practice it’s much less than a minute every 30 miles because acceleration is very low near the top speed, meaning that it will take a huge distance just to accelerate to 250 from 225. You need a very long section of uninterrupted straight track for those kinds of speeds to bring any appreciable time savings.

    joe Reply:

    huge distance ….
    appreciable time savings.

    Every second counts.

    Joey Reply:

    You save much more time per dollar spent by speeding up the slowest sections rather than the fastest ones.

    jonathan Reply:

    Every second counts.

    .. Except, of course, when Joe decides the seocnds don’t count. Like the 22 seconds in PB’s 30:22 bullshit 4th-and-King to SJ simulation.

    joe Reply:

    For Design?!?

    How much does increasing the track design from, 220 to 250 MPH cost?

    Operationally it costs more to improve travel times by operating trains at 250MPH but no case has ben made that the cost of building 250 MPH over 220 MPH track is any more — they will need straight track which of course improves safety and operational efficiency at lower speeds.

    250 MPH track helps meet design requirements – capacity for travel. Every second counts in the court room.

    joe Reply:

    Except, of course, when Joe decides the seocnds don’t count. Like the 22 seconds in PB’s 30:22 bullshit 4th-and-King to SJ simulation.

    The authority hasn’t begun the blended construction and will be running a long series of experiments, tests and simulations to design and construct a compliant ROW.

    As they do this engineering, fuck-tard people will be very confused and find proof and conclusive evidence there is law breaking and illegal-isms. I expect you to be in the front leading the way.

    “Hey, Clem can you compute a poop index for me?”

    Clem Reply:

    250 MPH track helps meet design requirements – capacity for travel.

    Actually, higher speeds reduce throughput capacity (trains per hour) due to increased braking distances and headways.

    joe Reply:

    Yes. That’s right.
    Yet maybe the full quote would help clarify what I wrote.

    250 MPH track helps meet design requirements – capacity for travel. Every second counts in the court room.

    In the court room there’s an anticipated challenge over required travel times.
    I know of no Prop1a requirement for the number of trains per hour.
    If capacity refers to trains per hour I’ll use a different term – what would like me to use?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    1A requires the system to support 5-minute frequencies.

    This, by the way, is where you could argue about whether the 1A language is “and” or “or.” Briefly: it’s quite possible to build a system in which express trains can do 2:40, but there aren’t enough overtake locations to allow 12 tph, but if all trains make all stops then the capacity is 12 tph. Does such a system satisfy the requirements?

    swing hanger Reply:

    And therein lies the folly of having a ballot measure dictate service details that should have been determined by the actual rail operator (preferably one that has previous experience actually engineering and running a high speed rail service).

    Clem Reply:

    determined by the actual rail operator

    Not much will be determined by the actual rail operator. It will be too late and the concrete will have been poured.

    jonathan Reply:

    And therein lies the folly of having a ballot measure dictate service details that should have been determined by the actual rail operator

    Categorically false. There are no requirements in Prop 1A that an operator operate trains at *any* specified frequency. What the law says ist that the HSR system has to support 5-minute headways. In other words, the operator has to be able to run at 5-minute headways, should they choose to do so.

    jonathan Reply:

    The authority hasn’t begun the blended construction and will be running a long series of experiments, tests and simulations to design and construct a compliant ROW.

    Joe, that is a bald-faced lie. The Authority has submitted one (1) simulation regarding the “blend” on the Peninsula, and the Authority stilulates that that one (1) simluation shows that the “blended” plan meets all requirements of Prop 1A.

    joe Reply:

    Joe, that is a bald-faced lie.

    Rude –

    The simulation isn’t a design.

    The memo regarding travel times certainly does not claim they meet all Prop1A requirements. It even cautions the alignment may change. The memo states their simulations have shown travel times are achievable with appropriate assumptions.

    You might quote the memo but then how can you throw around invective when you have to actually show your work.

    jonathan Reply:


    Why are you saying I don’t unerstand diminishing returns? Did you mean to reply to Alan Kandel instead? I’m well aware of diminishing returns from increasing speed. I even know what a hyperbolic looks like. And on the off-chance you were replying (and condescending) to me: please do look elsewhere in this post of Robert’s. Hint: search for “numerator” and “denominator”.

    And if you didn’t intend to reply to me: no offense taken, no harm done, I trust.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Following on what you replied to Alan Kandel’s misconception, that’s all.

    Clem Reply:

    Higher speeds bring ever-diminishing returns at greater energy and maintenance cost. Higher top speeds are almost always the wrong answer. The way you optimize a rail system is by speeding up the slow parts first.

    For example, our good friends at PB have engineered a slalom through downtown Bakersfield with a 115 mph speed limit, costing a full two minutes for an express. This is exactly the sort of bottleneck that should be engineered OUT of the high-speed rail system, but these incompetents are doing the opposite and contorting this train to the point that it won’t ever be high-speed.

    Higher speeds are the wrong answer and cannot make up for fatal flaws of the current plan.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Then why stop in San Jose? That slows down the train. Why stop anywhere? The great circle route saves many miles and lots of time. Doesn’t serve anything except downtown San Francisco and downtown Los Angeles but it would be fast.

    Clem Reply:

    I’m glad you mentioned San Jose. All trains will be slowed down in San Jose by 50-mph reverse curves on an “iconic” viaduct that is fully in compliance with all Visual Design Guidelines (VDG). Another fine example of our civil engineers so brilliantly adding obstacles and speed restrictions to California’s (formerly-)high-speed rail system.

    Joey Reply:

    And despite San Jose being a slow zone, the still plan to put bypass tracks in the 60′ high elevated station.

    jonathan Reply:

    No surprise there. The CHSRA technical memoranda say that in all stations, a train must be able to by-pass the station at main-line speeds.

    As Richard M. has observed, the key to getting very very rich, as a transport-industrial contractor, is is writing the rules so as to maximize profits.

    Clem Reply:

    That’s just paint-by-numbers adherence to the design manual. It can be done blindfolded, which helps so you don’t have to behold the crappy outcome.

    jonathan Reply:


    Yep, it’s pretty brainless to just follow the brainless manual. But what do you mean by behold? Beholden? Oh, you mean if you design whilst blindfolded, you don’t have to *see* the misbegotten abortion of a design you come up with? Or do you mean not seeing the final, finished product?

    …. while I remember: the DTX/Transpay station result is also the result of mind-numbingly bad design rules. One of the Technical Memoranda says that high-speed portions of the track can follow those garlic-eating European-style high-speed rail design rules. But, yard and station track, and track below some high-speed threshold, shall follow the AREMA manual.

    Which is why the designs for the Transbay terminal throat can’t have abominations like curved turnouts. They’re “stations” and they have speed limits below the HSR threshold.

    He who writes the design-manual, gets very very rich.

    joe Reply:

    Higher speeds bring ever-diminishing returns at greater energy and maintenance cost. Higher top speeds are almost always the wrong answer. The way you optimize a rail system is by speeding up the slow parts first.

    The project is tied up in a court room, not a engineering review.
    The goal is not to speed up HSR – the goal is to use whatever including contradictory attacks to kill it off.
    Recall the “illegal” blended plan was recommended by the independent peer review to save on costs. It’s illegal according to opponents who were the same that demanded cost cutting.

    Morales gets it. They need to straighten HSR’s alignment but also not have the proejct delayed and lose the funds.

    Tandy [Bakersfield’s argumentative City Manager] pointed out that rail officials can’t alter the existing Bakersfield to Palmdale alignment through downtown without redoing their environmental analysis to reflect the changes.

    “It’s not the kind of thing where you can have one line drawn on a map and say that was going to be it,” Tandy said. “Restarting the environmental analysis, going through different alternates, was what we were requesting.”

    Morales noted that there are people in Bakersfield who support bringing the project through downtown because of its economic benefits.

    He added that his agency is open to local suggestions on where the train should run. But at this point, he said, they should pertain to how to “straighten” the route from Bakersfield to Palmdale.

    Clem Reply:

    The humor isn’t lost on me: Morales said this weeks after they selected the 115-mph Bakersfield Hybrid alternative as the only alternative to be carried forward for the FEIR. Way to “straighten” it!

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    jonathan Reply:

    Clem writes:

    For example, our good friends at PB have engineered a slalom through downtown Bakersfield with a 115 mph speed limit, costing a full two minutes for an express. This is exactly the sort of bottleneck that should be engineered OUT of the high-speed rail system, but these incompetents are doing the opposite and contorting this train to the point that it won’t ever be high-speed.

    And more to the point ihere, people like Robert Cruickshank are cheerl-eading for these bottlenecks, because they will “renovate city centers” and encourage “transport-oriented development”.

    The question of just who wants to live in an apartment complex across the street from a 115mi/hr train line, seems not to occur to them.

    John Burrows Reply:

    When I hear about “midnight specials” the freight trains that come lumbering by the front of our apartment in the late night hours at a speed of around 11.5 mph come to mind. The grinding of metal on metal, the fact that our place shakes a little, especially when the strings of gravel cars come through, you might think would be a big problem, but you get used to it. For years now we have slept with the windows open.

    As far as running trains through Bakersfield at 115 mph—I don’t know. Maybe those apartment complexes across the street would sell out

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They’d probably do as well as the ones in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts that are next to even faster trains.

    Derek Reply:

    The way you optimize a rail system is by speeding up the slow parts first.

    The economically optimal way to optimize a rail system is by speeding up the sections with the greatest potential ROI first. Straightening a curve in LA or SF will speed up a slow section, but at a very high cost compared to speeding up an already fast section in the Central Valley.

    jonathan Reply:

    Derek, do *try* to keep up with the play. There is only so much you can gain from speeding up already-fast sections. You may even have heard of this, under the name “diminishing returns”.

    In case it needs to be said: I absolutely agree with you, about getting the best-speedup-for-your-buck first So does Clem’; *read* his blog page about speeding up curves, for crying out loud. . But the discussion has already moved way past the graphs-with-no-units-on-the-axes which are your stock-in-trade. Years ago. Gotta love that damn signal S-bend in San Carlos.

    Clem Reply:

    One of my favorite de-motivator posters

    jonathan Reply:

    Ouch! You *had* to do that, didn’t you?

    I just realized I could never put that in a model railway. Anyone with a clue would point it out as thoroughly unrealistic. It osts more, in time and money, to put the kink in, than to move the signal.
    Dunno if that holds true for Caltrain, though. (Did Caltrain actually save money somewhere for once? It’d have to be something tear-jerkingly insane like this, wouldn’t it?)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Raising the top speed costs more than you imagine, in energy and maintenance.

    jonathan Reply:

    Huh? You think Derek has an actual cost estimate in mind? What makes you think that, Alon?
    I’d be very surprised if Derek had so much as an order-of-magnitude estimate.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t know; it’s just that it’s very easy to think that you can cheaply retreat up to higher speeds on straight track, since the costs of concrete don’t seem to be very high. (Seem is the operative word; the noise mitigations get more expensive.) At lower speeds, it’s actually true – going from 250 to 300 km/h doesn’t actually raise energy costs too much. So it’s not just diminishing returns at higher speed, but also a concave-downward cost curve.

    Thomas Reply:

    So if the HSRA wins the appeal, would that affect the 2nd part of the Tos/Fukuda case? Would whatever ruling from this 2nd part likely be appealed as well?

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    what is the impact on kings county landowners and farmers of the speed of high speed trains?

  2. joe
    Feb 15th, 2014 at 10:25


    the agency is “committed to building a high-speed rail system that will meet the requirements of Prop. 1A.”


    This is really getting to the level of farce. Why don’t they just admit they can’t meet the requirements of the law and …[blah]

    How you can quote A and interpret B is beyond my comprehension.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There was a middle part to that logic stream you left out. The part were I pointed out that saying “committed” is not the same as saying ” we will comply”. Committed =trying and as Yoda would say there is no try or don’t try. Only do or don’t do

    They don’t need to be committed to building a compliant system, they just need to do it. Which they have not so far

    joe Reply:

    “They don’t need to be committed to building a compliant system, they just need to do it. Which they have not so far”

    You are very imprecise and sloppy in your terms and pedantically picking at the authority’s words.

    They need to just do what? They are committed to building a rail system tomeet the requirements and you instead jut want them to … build? “just need do it”

    The words committed and build are defined and you need to use them correctly – committed is a dedication. It’s a stronger word. Perhaps you want them to quote Romans. The Centurion with the sick servant and Jesus perhaps? Is that the right religious lesson we have tonight? The correct way to make a vow.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    We are going to have pedantic arguments now.

    Fine, joe. Allow me to re-phrase.

    I do not believe the authority is committed to building an HSR system that is compliant to prop 1a. Why? For the IOS (usable segment) that they have self identified and re-identified less than 2 weeks ago…

    1. They have not identified all the funds for the IOS which is not only a requirement of the law but a feature that was used during the campaign to help pass it

    2. They have not completed all the EIRs for the IOS which is again not only a requirement but a selling point of the law

    3. They can not meet the time requirements given the current plan. They even admit that under impossibly optimistic assumptions that can not be true they still miss the SJ to SF time by 22 seconds. More realistically, they will not be able to achieve the times in either a single “idealized” run or standard operations.

    4. They have created a Harvard Business Study on how NOT to conduct community relations with the communities along the route.

    5. The management formally worked on the Bay Bridge which was way over budget and has serious safety violations.

    6. They continue to ignore the reality that the federal government will not be providing 70-90% of the funds for construction.

    In short, I have seen no commitment in actions beyond press releases.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They aren’t using money from the current round of bond sales for the IOS.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They would have if Kenny hadn’t stopped them. Without that bond money they are 28 billon short not 21

    joe Reply:

    I do not believe the authority is committed to building an HSR system that is compliant to prop 1a.

    They even admit that under impossibly optimistic assumptions that can not be true they still miss the SJ to SF time by 22 seconds.

    Belief and misinterpretations.
    Slide 15 – San Francisco to San Jose can be achieved with a 30 minute trip time.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Go ahead and read slide 15 there sport. Zoom in on the graph. It says 30:22. Which is 22 seconds beyond the maximum time AND they didn’t stop the train. Do you expect to throw people out as they wisk by?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So you are the one joe that wants precise use of language.

    Maximum means they can’t go over by a second much less 22 and they are supposed to be operational non-stop times so they have to stop in SJ, unless you definition of a non-stop train is throwing people out as they go by.

    But thanks for posting proof of my point, I appreciate it

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The law doesn’t say 1800 seconds is says 30 minutes. Some days they’ll have a tail wind and make in 1799.998

    jonathan Reply:

    Actually, Adirondacker, the law says *service* *travel* *time*.

    The simluation which PB did for the Authority — where the Authority obviously told PB to come up with a number under 30 minutes – is flatly impossible as an in-service time. PB’s simulation also doesn’t actually give an SF-SJ time The law defines the SF terminus as Transbay, and the Authority’s simulation leaves from 4th and King.

    Why? Because there’s no fucking way to come up with the SF-Sj trip time that the law requires which is anywhere even close to 30 minutes. Not even at drag-race, all-braking-at-emergency-stop-application, throw-the-passengers-out-of-their-seats ride. No way at all. None.

    So even if we accept the Authority’s bullshit numbers –which aren’t achievable in real life– the Authority isn’t making the 30 minute number. Which part of that is unclear to you? Which part do you think will be unclear to a judge? Do you seriously think the Judge will accept a drag-race, all-braking-so-hard-we-throw-riders-from-their-seats, as a “service number”?

    Do you really think the Judge will confuse a “minimum” with a “maximum? Kenny hasn’t already committed himself in public to a stupid, untenable position like that.
    Judge Kenny has no reason to insist that black is white, or that 40 “does not exceed” 30.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I love it. Now 30:22 is not more than 30. This is going to make HSR timetables a joy to read. The schedule says 1 hour but in real world time it is actually 2.

    I think this is a great plan to increase ridership. If you ride HSR you age slower. I could stay on HSR trains and live longer.

    30 min is a defined quantity and 30 min plus 22 seconds is more than that quantity. If you are too ignorant or stubborn to admit even that then I can’t help you. There are serious people around the world who’s entire job it is to measure, record, and display the concept of time. It is a mathematical and temporal reality. As is the concept of “maximum”. Also a mathematical certainty. So unless Jerry Browna no the democrats are going to pass a law that redefines the definition of 30 minutes, they have not DESIGNED even under the ideal (unrealistic) assumptions a system that meets the time.

    So for all you and joes bitiching redefining, and moaning, they still don’t meet the law

    joe Reply:

    I love it. Now 30:22 is not more than 30.

    30 min is a defined quantity and 30 min plus 22 seconds is more than that quantity.

    Oh god.

    On Wednesday, a contest for a gold medal ended in a tie. This was a first in an Alpine Olympic event, Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland both finished the women’s downhill in 41.57 seconds. But according to Bill Pennington, who’s covering the Sochi Games for the New York Times, three people at the Olympics know which of those two very fast skiers was just a little faster than the other. Pennington joined Bill Littlefield on Only A Game.
    BL: Bill, who are those people?

    BP: One of them is the head time keeper, and then there’s a backup time keeper — in case the head time keeper loses his way — and then there’s just a computer programmer basically. So, it’s these three guys.

    There were other people in the booth, including their boss who maintains, which I somewhat find hard to believe, that he didn’t even look to see who won. The time was there. They record it to a 10,000th of a second, so four digits beyond the decimal point. But they don’t record it that way because the rule is only to the hundredths, and they said, “Oh, this is the rule. This is the way we’ll go.” But of course you know all of us are wondering, “Oh my God, there are three guys walking around with a secret.” That’s quite a secret to have for the rest of your life.

    The Law is in minutes, not seconds. The correct method for the test is to measure win nearest minute.

    It’s not hard.

    Clem Reply:

    The precision of a specified value is not necessarily one unit of the units that are used to specify the value, and the law says nothing about measuring to the nearest minute. Everybody is just reading into it a little too much, which is why we have courts to interpret the law.

    joe Reply:

    The precision of a specified value is not necessarily one unit of the units that are used to specify the value, and the law says nothing about measuring to the nearest minute.

    We have the High Speed Rail Authority which is a government agency charged with building the system. They will establish how time is measured and reported as part of their assigned duties.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t say anything about to the nearest second either. If you want to be all anal retentive about it the 5:05 AM express from San Francisco to Los Angeles, that would only stop at San Jose and Burbank other times of the day, can stop at 22nd Street and pick up one passenger twice a month. From the time the doors finish closing at 22nd Street to the time they are fully open in San Jose it will be 1705 seconds. The last north bound run of the day using the same station pattern can do it in 1712 seconds.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The concept of maximum is a real thing. Stop disrespecting math.

    If you have a 1 gallon container and you try to put in 1.2 gallons of water guess what happens. You end up with 1 gallon in the container and .2 on the ground. Even if the container is only marked in gallons.

    I will give you an even better example. I am responsible for the quality and safety of medical devices. We test these devices before they are used in humans. If the specification is “the bond will exceed 5lbs” then a sample that tests at 4.9 lbs is a fail, because it is a minimum of 5 pounds even if we could have rounded up. I enforce those requirements despite engineers trying to use the same logic you are using now (you are welcome).

    You are mixing 2 seperate mathematical concepts. Significant figures and simple limits. If the law had said the trip needed to take an average of 30 minutes you would actually be much closer to correct, but maximum means nothing above it.

    You accused me of not using precise language above joe, now you claim that precision is overstated. Ask yourself how far you are willing to bend your principles to build a train…a compromised train at that. But regardless of what you think, the concept of “maximum” is fixed, it can not be changed

    joe Reply:

    If you have a 1 gallon container and you try to put in 1.2 gallons of water guess what happens. You end up with 1 gallon in the container and .2 on the ground. Even if the container is only marked in gallons.

    If you have a 1.0 gallon container.

    I may have a 1 gallon container that can hold 1.4 but I rounded it’s described capacity to the nearest whole number.

    It’s a mathematical concept taught in the third grade here in Gilroy.

    The Authority sets up the test, runs the test, they measure the performance and they report the results. I bet they use standard units of time, minutes.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    and in 7th grade they start to teach significant figures. Its not until college that they teach you when to use either.

    You dont have a 1.4 gallon container, thats the point. Your container can hold a MAXIMUM of 1 gallon. the train can take a MAXIMUM of 30 minutes.

    Let me try this again. The 2nd half of an American football game is 30 minutes long. The same as the HSR requirement. They time the game. They dont run the half to 30 minutes and 22 seconds (even though the trailing team would love that). The game ends at 30 minutes because that is the MAXIMUM time. Rounding DOES NOT APPLY. Its a simple maximum.

    the authority did set up the test (theoretical), ran the test, and measured and reported the results in minutes AND SECONDS. You posted the memo yourself (thanks for that). So I will take your bet because you have already lost. For winning I want you to publically admit that 30 minutes and 22 seconds is beyond the maximum of 30 minutes.

    You constantly harp of percision and accuracy of language joe, why are your standards for math so much lower?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The law doesn’t say that every train has to do it in 30 minutes. Or that they schedule trains to do it every day or every week day.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    NO train can do 30 minutes according to their own memo

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    they started their simulation at 4th and King. They can start them at 22nd Street.

    jonathan Reply:

    Here we go again. The CHSRA simulation is a _lower bound_: it’s not pssible to go any _faster_ without breaking the laws of physics, or exceeding the limits of the fastest possible trainset.

    And, as Clem notes, even that number is not actually obtainable: the Authority ignores some S-bends in Palo Alto, for which the train has to slow down.

    That number is a _lower bound_. A _minimum_ The law specifies a _maximum_ which _shall not be exceeded_.

    Joe, just which branch of science do you practice, where no-one distinguishes between minima and maxima?

    Zorro Reply:

    The IOS can be anything the CHSRA wants the IOS to be, since the IOS is the creation of the CHSRA and is nowhere to be found within Prop 1a/AB3034, so that means the IOS can be Merced to Bakersfield, since that area will have at least 2 stations.

  3. Alan
    Feb 15th, 2014 at 10:42

    I think the Court’s announcement is a good sign for the state, as it clearly indicates that the Court rejects the argument of Laurel and Hardy that a multi-year appeal process is an adequate remedy, and accepts the state’s argument that the bond validation issue is a matter of public importance going beyond HSR.

    joe Reply:

    Neither Laurel or Hardy were available for comment.

    Two of those attorneys, Stuart Flashman and Michael Brady, did not immediately return messages seeking a response.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Really? Accepting you will hear the argument = the case is already decided. Isn’t there something in the oath about impartial?

    jonathan Reply:

    In the California appellate courts, in 2009, about one case in five is overturned Slightly over two-thirds are upheld. About ten percent are affiirmed with modification. Three percent were dismissed without considering the merits (late filings, failure to file briefs, or appealing non-appealable orders).

    Yes, I’m lazy, I looked at a secondary source which quoted the 2010 Court Statistics Report, which is published by the Judicial Council of California. If you care, you can find the 2013 report – which covers cases in 2012 – at

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Not good odds for the state

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    its not a casino

    synonymouse Reply:

    Actually you should hope it is a casino, that Jerry owns. And in Nevada where the casino most always prevails in court.

  4. jimsf
    Feb 15th, 2014 at 10:44

    Too many people are assuming the blended plan is permanent and once in place the system will never change expand evolve improve after that for all eternity.

    The blended portions can be improved for higher speeds segment by segment. In fact the entire system can over time be upgraded as needed for higher speeds, new technology, trainsets etc.

    highway 99 started as a two lane cowpath 80 years ago. And has never stopped evolving, and never will. Same goes for hsr.

    240 can be met. It may not be met this year or next year but it will be met eventually. The law only requires that it be able too. It doesnt say specifically when it has to be able to. And they are allowed to use, the portions that are built for any purpose in the meantime.

    jimsf Reply:

    Keep in mind that even before the blended bookends, the top speed on the bookends was still listed at 125. So if they improved the blended portions to support 125 blended, the nothing changes. There may be capacity issues and other issues. But the law only requires that it be possible to make a trip in 240. It does not require every trip to be 240. It has to be doable, but it doesnt have to be done.

    jonathan Reply:

    jimsf, you need remedial reading lessons. Specifically, you need to learn the meaning of the word “maximum”, and the phrase “shall not exceed”.

    In point of fact, AB 3034 *does* require that any non-stop SF-LA service does have to be less than 2:40. More, every SF-SJ service has to be *not more than* to 30 mins.

    CHSRA’s numbers for an SF-Sj trip are, for all reasonable purposes, a *minimum* time. It’s not feasible to make that trip any faster than the Authority’s time. And the Authority’s number does not “stop8 at SJ, so it’s not a ‘service”. For a “service”, you need to actually stop in SJ.

    Add any reasonable allowance for delays due to Caltrain operatiing — for example, during peak hours — and even the Authority’s SF-SJ number is unattainable.

    2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
    to this chapter shall be designed to achieve the following
    (a) Electric trains that are capable of sustained maximum revenue
    operating speeds of no less than 200 miles per hour.
    (b) Maximum nonstop service travel times for each corridor that
    shall not exceed the following:
    (1) San Francisco-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40
    (2) Oakland-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40 minutes.
    (3) San Francisco-San Jose: 30 minutes.
    (4) San Jose-Los Angeles: two hours, 10 minutes.
    (5) San Diego-Los Angeles: one hour, 20 minutes.
    (6) Inland Empire-Los Angeles: 30 minutes.
    (7) Sacramento-Los Angeles: two hours, 20 minutes.

    See those words “Maximum” and “shall not exceed”? One-time speed-stunts , for which the track is closed to other users, are irrelevant.

    jimsf Reply:

    and you can meet those times once full build is complete to 125 on the bookends. That doesn’t prohibit using whats built with slower trip times in the meantime.

    jonathan Reply:

    what “full build”? The “blended” approach is the current official plan. There *is*no plan for any future development on the Peninsula. The local cities have even forced an agreement that they’d all, unanimously, have to apprpove any proposal to quad-track the Caltrain corridor on the Peninsula.

    Claiming that CHSRA’s official JSR plan does not have to meet Prop 1A;s rime requirements because that plan not a “complete build”, is lying. End of story.

    Zorro Reply:

    There was also no plans to expand the 15 freeway from 2 lanes each way to 3 between Victorville and Barstow CA, or the 10 freeway from 4 lanes to 6 lanes near Colton CA, yet it was done in both cases, so never say never on the Caltrain corridor expansion from 2 to 4 tracks, as never is a very long time and people are riding trains more and more everyday.

    jonathan Reply:

    Did Caltrans, and all the municipalitis and counties between Victorville and Barstow agree that 2 lanes each way was the final configuration? And that all the above parties would have to agree, *UNANIMOUSLY*, to expand SR-15/I-15 (whichever it is for that stretch) from 2 lanes to 3?

    If not, then your comparison is irrelevant.

    Zorro Reply:

    What municipalities? The area cited is raw desert, nothing smaller than the County is out there, then I’d say it was unanimous.

    jimsf Reply:

    and when you consider the final alignments and station locations haven’t even been determined yet you can’t say that those times can’t be eventually met. Again I don’t see where there is a prohibition to using available infrastructure in the meantime so long is eventual end result is to meet the trip times. In fact they are suppose to use the infrastructure ( useable segments) in the meantime.

    Even the planned Merced- San Fernando Valley IOS obvisouly does not meet the la-sf trip time of 240. But they aren’t prohibited from running service from merced to the valley in the meantime.

    Trying to stop it now based on travel time would be like saying,
    “we are putting a halt to the la-san deigo segment because it can’t make the trip time” when we don’t even know what the alignment and station locations are yet.

    you can’t make that determination.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    The station locations relevant for 2:40 have already been determined.

    Zorro Reply:

    And to meet 2:40 one also only needs just 2 stations(SF and LA), not all of them of course.

    Clem Reply:

    when you consider the final alignments and station locations haven’t even been determined yet

    They have been narrowed down to a handful of equally poor options. There is no way that they can hide behind the argument that nothing has been decided yet and we won’t find out what the run time really is until everything has been decided.

    Run times can already be determined to the nearest minute before anything is ever built.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    IF they don’t build anything they don’t have to meet the run times.

    Clem Reply:

    That would be a neat way to skirt the 30 minute requirement for the peninsula: let Caltrain build any overtake tracks as needed for blending under separate environmental process and funding, and just don’t call it part of the HSR system. The fact that high-speed trains would accidentally run through to Transbay would not attract anyone’s attention.

    jonathan Reply:

    CHSRA is already giving money to Caltrain for the “blended” corridor….

    jonathan Reply:


    Please learn to read for comprehension. Look at the Authority’s own numbers for SF-Sj.
    That run-time makes several requirements which, in the real world, are un-fulfillable.

    Now take Clem’s analysis of those numbers. Any competent lawyer would look at Clem’s numbers, and ask the Judge: okay, so what’s the best non-stop *service* SF-SJ (DTX to Cahill St), which HSR can make during peak commute hour? The only honest answer to that, is that it’s the same service time as a service which stops in Millbrae. Any “:non-stop’ service is going to have to sit at Millbrae (or just outside the station) with the doors closed. There aren’t slots on the track for it to do anything else.

    And, bingo. You get a perfectly realistic non-stop service time which is grossly over 30 mins.
    It’s irrelevant whether a 3am “special” can make Sf-SJ in 30 mins, with the track otherwise empty What matters is the maximum non-stop service time. In fact, the maximum non-stop service time for which the line is <b.designed

    Any halfway decent lawyer can quote the numbes from Clem’s analysis: that if CHSRA’s assumptions were reasonable, the existing Caltrain diesels could make an SF-Sj run in 39 minutes. Anyone can find the actual *service* times by checking a Calrain timetable.
    See Clem’s blog post from Feb 2013, just after Lynn Schenk voted against the “blended” plan, for exactly these reasons.

    Unlike you or Joe, judges actually understand words like “maximum” and “shall not exceed”.

    Clem Reply:

    This was my analysis a year ago. The argument now revolves around the meaning of “shall be designed”

    jonathan Reply:


    Actually, I think it revolves more about he meaning of “maximum” and “shall not exceed”.
    Far too many people misread that, and interpret it as meaning that the travel-time numbers are a *minimum* which can be satisfied by a one-time, rigged, demonstration run. In fact, the law clearly and plainly states that the stated numbers are a *maximum* which cannot be exceeded.

    I don’t see how anyone can argue with a straight face that the said “shall not exceed” numbers can be met by the operator carefully choosing when and where to run the trains, so as to avoid time-windows where the “shall not exceed” numbers will clearly and unavoidably be exceeded. And by flagrant margins, too.

    But that’s just me.

    Clem Reply:

    It really depends on what the meaning of “is” is. I think precedent for that was set circa 1998

    StevieB Reply:

    It seems you are confusing the design time of nonstop travel on a corridor and the operators scheduled time of travel on a corridor. The two need not be the same.

    jonathan Reply:

    Who are you saying is conflating design time and operator’s schedules?

    joe Reply:

    If it’s illegal t run a train greater than 30 minutes, do they arrest the crew for defrauding the taxpayers when any train’s travel times exceed 30 minutes?

    I see this

    2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
    to this chapter shall be designed to achieve the following

    Not this:
    2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
    to this chapter shall be designed to operate with the following

    joe Reply:

    or really they could have written it this way but they didn’t

    2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
    to this chapter shall operate with the following

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe, have you learned the difference between “minimum” and “maximum” yet??

    joe Reply:

    Scrat found an acron

    Joe, have you learned the difference between “minimum” and “maximum” yet??



    Which part of “maximum” and “shall not exceed”do you not understand?

    Lets see how long you hammer on this important insight.

    jonathan Reply:

    So you still insist that the Prop 1A requirements can be met by a one-time “Cannonball Run” demonstration? I guess you then also agree that the maximum sentence for an offense with a mandatory three-to-five years, is three years. That is *exactly* your reasoning.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You are right Jonathan, but they are never going to admit it. They know you are right, they still won’t admit it. They have let the dream of HSR blind them to the reality of the law that was passed. They believe the ends justify the means so they are willing to compromise the principle of law to achieve that vision.

    The sad part is that even if they prevail in court, the lack of funds and the lack of political support beyond Brown, and most importantly the lack of management competence is going to doom this project, regardless of the court cases

    joe Reply:

    So you still insist that the Prop 1A requirements can be met by a one-time “Cannonball Run” demonstration?

    There are different ways to verify a requirement. A demonstration is a more rigorous way to do requirement verification. Requirements can be verified by calculations or simulation. They may use Caltrain to validate that their analysis techniques for the peninsula are reliable.

    Slide 8

    Caltrain has performed simulations of the
    “blended service” on their corridor in a
    mixed use environment.
    Their simulation
    plan did not call for operation of a SF to SJ
    express trains.

    Caltrain TPC runs for express trains
    between San Francisco and San Jose
    confirmed run times as calculated by the

    I guess you then also agree that the maximum sentence for an offense with a mandatory three-to-five years, is three years. That is *exactly* your reasoning.

    No. I don’t agree with you at all. You just need to understand the implication(s) of your interpretation.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s possible that this is how it’s judicially interpreted, but it’s weird. Consider the following (hypothetical) situation:

    1. Caltrain is ignored for the purposes of this exercise.
    2. The technical nonstop time from SF to LA, without padding, is 2:31.
    3. If there are no overtakes, then the required padding by experiment and simulation is 4%. This makes the runtime 2:37, which is legal.
    4. If there are overtakes, then the required padding rises, and if there are 12 tph in total including both locals and expresses, then the padding is 7%. The nonstop travel time is now 2:42, which is illegal.

    Now, the frequency is written into 1A, so if the padding depends only on frequency, it’s obvious that the design is illegal. However, stopping patterns are not. Presumably 1A implicitly requires locals, and then the situation is illegal. However, consider the following modification of assumption 4:

    4′. If there are 6 tph each of locals and expresses, then the required padding is 6%, which is 2:40, legal. If instead the frequency is 8 tph of one and 4 tph of the other then it rises to 7%, since more overtakes are needed.

    Under 4′, some clearly-legal, clearly-reasonable service pattern exists, but the traffic demand may be such that the frequency is 8/4 or 4/8 and not 6/6, and then the nonstop travel time will grow beyond the legal limit.

    joe Reply:

    Show the operational requirements. I don’t see them.

    The design requirements are not operational requirements. A design capability is not a operational mandate.

    This is not in the proposition:
    2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
    to this chapter shall operate with the following

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    its not designed to meet the time requirements either. The simulation they did between SJ and SF was 22 seconds short of the goal and they did not stop the train in SJ. Even with your interpretation of the law and using theoretical (not actual) tests they still fail themselves

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Start timing from 22nd Street then. It will be under 1800 seconds that way.

    Joe Reply:

    The design is compliant.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I want to put you both on a non-stop plan from Chicago to Denver. It actually starts in Pittsburg and lands in LA but a adirondacker is going to jump on in Chicago and they are going to both jump off in Denver!!

    Doesn’t it bother either of you that you are looking for loopholes rather than demanding excellence from the authority in planning? Doesn’t it bother you that the voter and law intent is being bastardized to build some half assed system instead? It bothers me that the law and intent is not being respected, I don’t understand why it does not bother you.

    Alan Reply:

    John, let’s be honest. You would oppose this project no matter what. Even if the state came up with funding plans and construction plans which met Prop 1A to the very letter, you’d find some way to object to it. The project is not being “bastardized” simply because it does not meet with your approval.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    actually, no. My objection is the the fact that they are not following the law and the management of the project is beyond poor. While it is true I believe the money could be spent in a wiser fashion, there was a vote and the citizens voted to build the system. As a citizen of a democracy I can live with that. I would be happy to ride the train rather than fly, I am no fan of airline travel.

    When they can out with the 100 billion plan, I think that was the cost of the law that was actually passed. I would rather see them fund that plan and actually build a system that was compliant to the law that was passed then some politically expedient interpretation. And I say that knowing that if they built the 100 billion system they would raise taxes on me again, the 1% guy.

    joe Reply:

    This is one of the most watched projects in the world. Every aspect is being litigated by individuals seeking to file before project even beings certain actions.

    A major theme of the political opposition is to stop HSR and they have held multiple hearings and even sent the GAO after the project.

    Sadly, the GAO found the project was using many best practices. They recommend the authority adapt more and the CAHSRA committed to improving.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The law says from San Francisco to Los Angeles Union Station, If they had intended it to be from Transbay Terminal, a place they refer to in other parts of the law, they could have specified it.

    jonathan Reply:

    The design is compliant

    No, Joe, it isn’t. Which part of 180 > 160 do you not understand?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The judge will have to make a series of decisions in relation to the 2:40 proviso.

    Certainly is this meant to be a regular service capability or a one time in the history of the universe burn out a trainset extravaganza performance with a phalanx of cops lining the route from end to end?

    Certainly what is a realistic and effectively legal time frame in which CAHSR must be completed? Sort of like the expected service life used in computing depreciation.

    Of course if a obsequious higher up machine court buys into PB’s jedi mind trix the debacle will grind on. And Jerry will guarantee the label “Moonbeam” will be his Legacy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Gavin and Van Ark are going to win in the court of history .

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …along with William Mulholland and Fred Eaton?

    HSR WILL happen in CA because the short haul flights will become so economically infeasible that there won’t be any other options left. Gavin is turning against HSR because he realized there is no seat left for him in the musical chairs that is California politics. He and Nathan Fletcher should run as “independents”.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    HSR IS happening in California, CHSRA IS buying over a 1000 parcels of land in the Valley, Caltran IS moving 99 in Fresno.

    jonathan Reply:


    Certainly is this meant to be a regular service capability or a one time in the history of the universe burn out a trainset extravaganza performance with a phalanx of cops lining the route from end to end?

    which part of Maximum nonstop service travel times and shall not exceed is unclear? Which part of the preceding … shall be designed to achieve the following characteristics: is unclear?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Brown, Richards and PB are going to argue that once in history is compliant. The question is whether such jedi mind trix will work on up the judiciary. I am a pessimist; I expect the worst. That way I am not too disappointed and somewhat prepared.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Of course he will, if he plans to take up the 2:40 proviso. He could ignore it but that would seem to invite an appeal, since it is intentionally quantified in Prop 1a.

    Overall I would hazard the Judge would have to make an even more elemental decision, that is whether to believe PB or not. I hope PB lays on its happy horseshit real thick and it has the exact opposite effect of what was intended.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “The judge will have to make a series of decisions in relation to the 2:40 provison”.
    Dream on.

    jonathan Reply:

    Keep in mind that even before the blended bookends, the top speed on the bookends was still listed at 125. So if they improved the blended portions to support 125 blended, the nothing changes. […]

    Jim, the pre-blended plan for the Penisula was to have separate-and-unequal, segregated HSR tracks and Caltrain tracks. In that plan, capacity constraints between Caltrain and HSR do not exist (well, okay, except at the terminal, but that’s a story for another time.)

    jimsf Reply:

    and that can still happen. its not going to happen right away.

    you aer assuming that nothing ever changes.

    jonathan Reply:

    But the law only requires that it be possible to make a trip in 240. It does not require every trip to be 240. It has to be doable, but it doesnt have to be done.

    Jim, you need to be more careful and more precise. It’s true that the law says that non-stop services between the specified points, have to be made within the specified times. It’s also true that the law does not require all trips between those points to be non-stop service.

    However, the law clearly does require that the system shall be designed such that anynon-stop service between the designated points, (I quote) shall not exceed the following [[stated times]].

    So, if CHSRA runs a service which travels the Peninsula corridor during peak rush your, the system mustpermit a non-stop service time, during that Caltrain peak rush, which shall not exceed 30 mins between SJ and SF.

    If the system design doesn’t achieve that, then ipso facto, it fails to meet the requirements of Prop 1A.

    And that’s not playing hardball. If I wanted to play hardball, I’d ask: what’s the best-case SF/SJ time, if an HSR train, scheduled to not stop between SF and SJ, happens to leave right behind a stops-at-all-stations Caltrain local? That’s the relevant system-design parameter for the requirements of Prop 1A.

    I don’t get it. Is the difference between “maximum” and “minimum” really so hard to understand? Why else do you, and others, treat the Prop 1A service-time requirements as a *minimum* that has to be met, and not the *maximum* allowable?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    don’t run non-stops during rush hour. Problem solved

    jonathan Reply:


    Does the current design allow for non-stop service during rush hour to be within the “shall not exceed” service times stated in Prop 1A No? Then that design does not meet the requirements of Prop 1A. It’s that simple.

    If the current design allows for rush-hour non-stop service of (say) no less than 50 minutes, it doesn’t matter whether the operator runs a train at that time, or not. It doesn’t matter whether the rush-hour trains are non-stop, or stop at all stations. If the current design can’t meet the “shall not exceed” maximum service times, then the design is in violation of Prop 1A.

    Do read AB 3034 Sec. 2704.09. That section specifically limits the *design* of the system to meet certain characteristics. Amongst those characteristics are maximum, shall-not-exceed service times for non-stop services. If the design can’t guarantee that non-stop service times are equal or less than the stated shall-not-exceed times, then the design does not meet the requirements of Prop 1A. Specificaly, if the current design means rush-hour non-stop SF-Sj service exceeds 30 minutes — which it does, by a very large margin — then the design does not meet the requirements of Prop 1A.

    There’s no exemption for “at peak times” or “we decide not to schedule a service at peak times, because it won’t meet the required service times”. . Prop 1A says the system *design* has to meet certain maximum — that means, worst-case — non-stop service times which shall not exceed the stated values. There are no loop-holes for a design which flagrantly fails to guarantee the worst-case non-stop service times are within the Prop 1A numbers, but where the operator (or Authority) says “oh, that doesn’t matter, we don’t plan to run non-stops during rush hour”. Such weaseling is specifically *disallowed*

    Which of “the high-speed [..system…] shall be designed to … ” , … “maximum non-stop service travel times”, and “shall not exceed” do you not understand? I’m guessing it’s “design”, as you are appealing to operational choices to bypass the required conditions. But the law explicitly disallows that.

    I wonder if Tos et. al. are smart enough to make that argument. I also wonder if they’re smart enough to subpoena Lynn Schenk, a CHSRA board member who refused to vote for the “blended” plan — would in fact have voted against it, until Dan Richard withdrew the MOU vote from that Board meeting.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t say how often the non stops have to run. How often does it have to run? If it has to run once an hour during rush hour does that mean it has to run once between 3AM and 4AM even though no one is on it half the time and the rest of the time they sell a dozen tickets on busy nights?

    jonathan Reply:


    Which part of “maximum” and “shall not exceed”do you not understand?

    It seems very clear that CHSRA asked PB for a simulation which would show SF-SJ could be done in 30 minutes or less. PB obliged, with a simulation showing a 30;22 run-time. But, as Clem’s analysis shows, that 30:22 is a “best-case” number, and not one which could actually be achieved in service, never mind at rush-hour. Clem’s analysis is that a rush-hour, nonstop service between SF Transbay (which is where the law says the SF station is) and San Jose, is *not less than* 40 minutes. (Clem states that a timetable will show “not less than” 42 minutes, because a timetable shows departure times).

    And that’s a *best-case* scenario during rush hour, driving the train “pedal to the metal” all the time it’s moving. Tell me, just how does a 40-minute travel time “not exceed” 30 minutes?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why does the non stop have to run during rush hour? What part of that don’t you understand?

    jonathan Reply:

    Wrong. *You* have to show why the law’s clear requirement for a “maximum”, “shall not exceed” service time, somehow magically does not apply during rush hour.

    The fact is that the blended corridor *CANNOT* run a 30-minute non-stop during rush hour. The best it can do is 40 minutes. Are you arguing that 40 “does not exceed” 30?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s for non stops. If they aren’t offering that service they don’t have to meet it. What part of that don’t you understand?

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh really? Let’s try this on for size.

    Authority attorney:
    Your honor, our SF-SJ corridor allows for a simulated travel time of not less than 35 minutes, measured from the legally-defined terminus. Actual in-service travel times will be even greater, perhaps 40 minutes, because no operator will actually drive the trains at their maximum-allowed acceleration and braking Such acceleration will be too uncomfortable for the passengers and wil cause too much wear and tear.

    We asked our engineering consultants how we could get a non-stop run time of 30 minutes. And our ocnsultants came back and told us that *if* we run the train at maximum-allowed acceleration, *and* we ignore places on the track where we can’t run that fast, *and* we start measuring from 4th and king, not the TransBay terminal which the law defines as the San Francisoc terminus of the system. .. and furthermore, if we don’t actually *stop* the train at San Jose… then we can make the run in 30 min 22 seconds. That’s the best our engineers can come up with.

    The Autorithy futher stipulates that during rush-hour, travel-time will be at least 3 minutes 30 seconds longer, because we have to slow down or stop the trains in order to avoid running into Caltrain services in front of the HSR train. But we submit that this time meets the legal requirement for a non-stop time of 30 minutes, because we plan to never actually offer non-stop service during rush-hour.

    Therefore, Your Honor, the Authority submits that the “Blended” plan for the San Francisco-San jose corridor meets the legal requirements of AB3034 for a maximum service travel-time between SF and SJ, of not more than 30 minutes.

    I am not a lawyer. But when you put it like that, I wonder if Judge Michael Kenny might not hold the Authority’s attorney in contempt.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    how many times as day do they have to offer non stop service?

    joe Reply:

    Mr A;
    My understanding is that below clearly qualifies the design, not the operation

    2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
    to this chapter shall be designed to achieve the following

    A operational requirement would be written like this :
    “high-speed train system … shall operate with the following characteristics. ”

    Would a crew operating a train making an illegal trip, one taking 31 minutes, be arrested or just fined? Should passengers be refunded?

    Alan Reply:

    Jonathan, you’re absolutely full of s***. You read things into the law that are not there, and then through a combination of arrogance and outright bullying, try to force everyone to accept your view as fact.

    The fact is, none of the things you claim are in the law are really there, except for the phrase, “shall be designed to achieve…” That phrase means exactly what it says. The phrase does not require the Authority to operate an express, non-stop service at rush hour, at the 2:40 timing. In fact, it does not require the Authority to *operate* anything. It does not require the Authority to operate a certain number of 2:40 expresses, to operate them for a certain period of time, or to operate them during rush hours.

    There are good reasons for that. The Legislature clearly intended to give the Authority the flexibility necessary in a project of this magnitude. The Legislature clearly understood that in a project of this size, changes would be necessary. What you’re trying to suggest is that the court should lock the Authority into a design today, in 2014, and require that every little change order that might affect running time be submitted for judicial approval. That’s absolute nonsense.

    Your surname wouldn’t be Tos, would it? Your arguments are about as lame as his (or at least the arguments that Laurel and Hardy submit in his name). Whether or not that’s the case, you don’t get to impose your will on the entire state.

    Eric M Reply:

    Alon, he is probably from the group on the peninsula, not CARRD, but derail HSR, which has an active campaign to spread negativity in all online article via the comments thread. Here is no different. The more they try to post, they hope people will believe.

    Eric M Reply:

    Ooops. Alan. Sorry to misspell your name.

    Alan Reply:

    No worries, Eric. And you’re probably right, “Derail HSR” has definitely taken the Joseph Goebbels approach to their propaganda and scare tactics.

    jonathan Reply:

    Alan, please restrict yourelf to facts. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own fats. I already quoted the relevant section of AB 3034: Here it is again:

    2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
    to this chapter shall be designed to achieve the following
    (a) Electric trains that are capable of sustained maximum revenue
    operating speeds of no less than 200 miles per hour.
    (b) Maximum nonstop service travel times for each corridor that
    shall not exceed the following:
    (1) San Francisco-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40
    (2) Oakland-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40 minutes.
    (3) San Francisco-San Jose: 30 minutes.
    (4) San Jose-Los Angeles: two hours, 10 minutes.
    (5) San Diego-Los Angeles: one hour, 20 minutes.
    (6) Inland Empire-Los Angeles: 30 minutes.
    (7) Sacramento-Los Angeles: two hours, 20 minutes.

    See there, right in black and white. “Maximum nonstop service travel times”. Right there in the law.

    Note the :maximum, which i have emphasized. Note the “service”, which means actual in-service times, not pedal-to-the-metal peak acceleration at all speed-ups, followed by emergency-stop braki applicationfor all slow-downs. Those are simply not acceptable as routine, everyday parts of commercial revenue service. (When was the last time you were in a commercial aircraft or bus which braked at emergency-stop rates?) Note the “shall not exceed”, which means. that 31 minutes exceeds 30 minutes, and that 2hr 43 exceeds 2hrs 40 mins.

    There is _noting_ that am reading into the law which is not there. Nothing. Not a single thing.
    It’s all there in black and white. You may not read it the same way I do, and that’s your privlege.

    But please don’t repeat that I am reading things into the law that aren’t there. They are there in black and white, and being called a liar often offends.

    agb5 Reply:

    When a new highway is built, the taxpayers will be assured that it is “designed to achieve” 70mph. It is unreasonable to expect that a guaranteed rush hour commute time could be promised for 21 years in the future.
    There must be some legal precedents for how design performance was specified for previous infrastructure projects. What is the industry standard?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t say they have to run in under 30 minutes during rush hour or that they have to offer the service during rush hour or that they have to offer the service at all.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    What is the industry standard?

    Nothing involving miles, feet, miles per hour, tons, pounds, Buy American, PB North America, AREMA turnouts, CBOSS, 40 minute turnbacks, 350kmh through city centres, project lead operations planners who are unfamiliar with the word throughput and have never ventured beyond the US except for one trip to London (true story!), or a billion dollars spent without a single piece of project delivered, that’s for sure.

    joe Reply:

    Safety requirements for an Off Ramp design: Designed must allow safe travel of a vehicle at speeds no less than 70 MPH.

    Operational requirement: Vehicles must operate at speeds no faster than 55 MPH.

    jonathan Reply:

    Design requirement for California HSR in Prop 1A: maximum service non-stop travel times between San Francisco and San Jose shall not exceed 30 minutes. *Minimum* service non-stop travel times between San Francisco and San Jose exceed 40 minutes.

    Doesn’t matter what operational requirements an eventual HSR operator requires, or whether they choose to run nonstop service during peak hours, or not. Tthe “blended’ system doesn’t meet the requirements.

    jonathan Reply:


    regarding highways; look at Joe’s example of of-ramps. Joe quotes a design requirement, that off-ramps be safe at speeds no less than 70 MPH. Please observe that that’s a *minimum* requirement: all speeds from zero up to *at least* 70 mi/hr must alllow safe travel. the off-ramp might be designed to allow safe travel at 75 mph. If hte prevailing speed limit on the highway is 75 mph, who knows, the off-ramp might be designed to allow travel at 85 mph.

    But that’s a *minimum* requirement. What Prop 1A establishes is a *maximum* requirement.
    Yes, that’s *exactly* the kind of wording which, if used for a highway, could require a guarnteed rush-hour commuite time, under law. Provided the highway was designed to meet certain aggressive capacity constraints, as California HSR is required to do (headways of 5 minutes or less, etc, etc).

    Look again at the requirements Joe quotes. They’re a *minimum* requirement, a lower bound on speeds which the design has to make safe. Look carefully at Ab 30304 Sec 2704.09., the part I quoted. Note how it doesn’t require a *minimum* requirement for travel times; it specifies a *maximum* requirement on travel times, which shall not be exceeded.

    JBy the way, oe is only digging himself in deeper, by citing *minimum* requirements when what AB3034 specifies is, in black and white, a *maximum* requirement on travel time.
    Yes, agb5, that’s exactly analogous to having legislation which authorizes a new freeway, also specifying a *maximum* requirement on commute times between two points, which “shall not be exceeded”. Yes, that’s just like guaranteeing a rush-hour commute time.

    As I understand the history of Prop 1A, that language iwas put in Prop1A *specifically* to prevent people from taking the HSR bond money, and frittering them away on non-HSR local, suburban, or regional rail mprovements which weren’t “true HSR”. So Prop 1A includes that language to establish a bar – a high bar – which money spent on “HSR” has to meet.

    Regrettably — and I do mean that — PB’s own numbers say that the “blended” plan on the Peninsula *fails* to meet that bar.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    When they build a highway they don’t make those promises in the law. Bad tactical error writing the law that way. They did it on purpose, to ensure that HSR not “faster trains” got built, but it really boxed them in a cornerNo really, not wise.

    Also bad idea writing in the funding part and the EIR part. They did it to prove there would be not be a stranded investment, but also boxed them in.

    A flawed law to be sure, but the law none the less

    joe Reply:

    Velocity = Distance/Time

    They are inversely proportional. A minimum speed for a fixed distance like a ramp de facto defines a maximum travel time. Design requirements do not define operational requirements.

    A design requirement that limits trip time doesn’t define the operational time.

    When they design highways, they design them to accommodate faster speeds than allowed by law.

    Since there is no lawsuit over the service times for HSR – neither of you has a leg to stand on.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    But freeway builders know very well that speeds are lower than the maximum when there’s traffic. The US started having serious traffic jam problems in the 1920s, so the people who wrote the Interstate standards knew that the roads they were building could be jammed due to future traffic growth. The standards they wrote still do not guarantee a maximum travel time or a minimum traffic speed, only a minimum design speed; they recommend highway widening based on LOS calculations that do look at actual speed, but do not mandate such widening.

    The issue here is that with rail, the dependence of travel time on traffic is far weaker, especially when there’s level boarding, especially when the trains are intercity and have no standees.

    Alan Reply:

    jonathan, I don’t give a damn if you take offense to being called a liar, because that’s exactly what you are. Sometimes the truth hurts.

    2704.09 specifically states that the system must be *designed* to achieve those characteristics. It does *not* require that the Authority (or its contract operator) *operate* any specific number of such expresses, it does *not* require that every train operate at 2:40 or less, and it does *not* require that trains never operate on a headway exceeding 5-minutes.

    What part of the difference between *design* and *operate* do you not understand? How is it that you cannot comprehend that it’s absolutely ludicrous to insist that Prop 1A mandates those expresses and headways at all times of the day and night, no matter how uneconomic it may be to operate those overnight expresses?

    My car was *designed* to reach a speed of at least 90 miles per hour, but you’d better believe that it’s unwise to actually *operate* at that speed, anywhere except on certain Texas freeways, IIRC.

    Prop 1A was written with enough room to give the Authority and their contractors the ability to design, build and operate a system that will meet the state’s goals, and do so at a cost within reason. But when people like you, who clearly do not comprehend what the law is intended to achieve, read into the law requirements that do not exist, you’re lying. Period. And you’re lying in your response to Joe, above, where you pour out the same drivel about minimum and maximums, etc.

    (And BTW–you’ve been implying that everyone on this board who doesn’t agree with your royal majesty is lying. So p*** off with that insulted routine.)

    jonathan Reply:

    I am not a liar. You, on the other hand, seem to need remedial reading lessons.

    You are absoutely correct; Prop 1A does not mandate that every train be run nonstop.
    It does not mandate that every train be run at 5 minute headways. It also does not mandate that operators actually run any service at all, as far as i can see.

    You *do* need remedial reading lessons. Your car may be *designed* to reach a maximum speed of at least 90 miles per hour. But that is not the same thing at all as being designed to reach a minimum speed of 90 miles an hour.

    Like Joe, you fail to understand the difference between “minimum” and “maximum”. Prop 1A requires a *maximum* non-stop travel time between SF and SJ which *shall not exceed* 30 minutes; and beteween SF and LA which shall not exceed 2 hrs 40 minutes (160 minutes).

    It seems to have escaped your reading comprehension that the laws governing freeways regulate *maximum speed*. Whereas Prop 1A, clearly and unmistakably — and I’ve quoted it twice — regulates *maximum*, *not to exceed* travel times, for service (in-service) travel.

    That’s *exactly* the same as if the law enabling a freeway requires that you be able to drive your commute at a *maximum* travel-time *not to exceed8 30 minutes.

    Which part of “maximum” versus “minimum” do you not understand?

    agb5 Reply:

    Since everyone agrees that it does not make sense for a design criteria to guarantee actual commute times 20+ years in the future, the author of Prop 1A must have had something else in mind for the word “Service”.

    The builder of a freeway could not get away with building an off-ramp that can only be safely negotiated at 70mph by a Ferrari, it must also be safe for a Bus at 70mph.

    The word “Service” here could mean that the train must be a standard 202m long 11 wagon trainset, and not the train equivalent of a Ferrari.

    In contract law the Judge can turn to the author of the document for an explanation of that they had in mind by “Service”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They aren’t going to be stereotypical short narrow cramped European trainsets. closer to Shinkansen dimensions.

    Alan Reply:

    Jonathan, go f*** yourself. My reading skills are just fine. Unlike you, I read what the words actually say, not what you want them to mean.

    Yours, however, are severely lacking. Several of us have asked you to point out exactly where Prop 1A specifies the means by which the Authority must prove the compliance of its plans, and where Prop 1A specifies the moment in time when that compliance must be proven. You’ve avoided the question like a lying coward, because you know there’s no such requirement.

    “Reading comprehension” means that not only does one understand what the words say, but also what they do not say. Joe and I understand this. You do not. You’re living in some fantasy world where the law works the way you dream that it will, whereas the reality is the fact that Prop 1A does not even provide the court with a remedy. And sorry, as I pointed out earlier, CCP 526a is not applicable to state agencies.

    joe Reply:

    The builder of a freeway could not get away with building an off-ramp that can only be safely negotiated at 70mph by a Ferrari, it must also be safe for a Bus at 70mph.

    Requiring an off-ramp be safely navigated by speeds no less than 70 MPH is specifying a safety property which can be tested. They test and accept the work. Then set the speed limit to 45 MPH and have assurance it’s a safe ramp.

    Requiring a system design capability to provide service in 2:40 is specifying a performance property. This describes the kind of system being built with prop 1a money. We’ll test it and accept the work. Then we’ll operate trains however we wish – just no subsidy.

    blankslate Reply:

    @ agb5
    That’s interesting that you brought up the highway comparison. HOT or “Express Lanes” are a typical highway project in California these days (room for capacity expansions has run out). There is a federal requirement that HOT lanes achieve a *minimum* speed of 45 mph. Operators can actually lose federal funding if they are not maintaining this speed. So in this case, taxpayers are promised that a lane will achieve a certain “in service” speed, *even during rush hour*.

    See, for example:

    jonathan Reply:


    Let me try one more time to explain what the law actually says.

    In the phrase, “maximum nonstop service travel times”, the key word we’re arguing over here is “maximum. You, and that buffon Joe misread the “maximum” and treat it as if it said “minimum”.

    If the law actually said “minimum”, then the 30;22 simulation by the Authority would be *almost* good enough. We’d be arguing about the 22 seconds, and whether the Authority was legally required to include the extra three minutes needed to run from Transbay, rather than 4th and King. And we’d be arguing over the acceleration and braking profiles.

    But the law doesn’t say “minimum”, it says “maximum”. So what matters is the *maximum* nonstop service time that the system can achieve between San Francisco and San Jose. Now, since we know that a nonstop at rush hour cannot have a travel-time less than 40 minutes without breaking the laws of physics (or using a faster permissible trainset, which doesn’t exist!), then we *know* that the maximum nonstop service time is *at least* 40 minutes. (That is why I ridicule Joe; The law says “maximum, but Joe keeps treating the 30min22 secs simulation as a *minimum*, and claims that 30min22 secs meets a *minimum of 30 mins. But it’s not the 30:22 which I’m arguing; it’s the 40 minute time.

    I agree with Adirondacker: it doesn’t particularly matter whether the HSR operator schedules a non-stop during rush hour, or not. The key point is that such a nonstop *has* to take at least 40 minutes. And, whether you like it or not, 40 minutes exceeds 30 minutes. So, whether an HSR service is scheduled during rush or or no, a rush-hour nonstop SF-SJ cannot meet the legally required “shall not exceed” time of 30 minutes.

    Therefore the Authority’s “blended” plan for the Peninsula does not meet the requirements of Prop 1A, in AB 3034 section 2704.09. It’s that simple.

    That’s not reading anything into the law that isn’t there. It’s not bullying anyone. It’s simply what the law says, and the results of simulations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Since it’s illegal to run a non stop that takes 40 minutes they won’t because the High Speed Rail Police will give them a ticket. Problem solved.

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh, goody.!

    So if the HSR Police would give them a ticket for a 40 minute nonstop run, then the Judge can give them a ticket and take away their piggy-bank, because their own numbers show that a non-stop during rush hour will take *at least* 40 minutes. And 40 fails to “not exceed” 30.

    thank you for understanding At last.

    Alan Reply:

    Once again, you do not understand the difference between *design* and *operate*. And when you refer to people as a “buffon” (which is really “buffoon”, to people who know how to spell) or in other derogatory ways and you do it repeatedly, you’re bullying. It’s uncommon for a bully to actually confess to it, so I’m not suprised by your denials.

    And you’re the one who does not understand the simple facts: 2704.09 DOES NOT REQUIRE the Authority to schedule regular-service non-stops at 2:40 or less. It requires that the railway be built to allow such. If it is designed and built in a way which allows the operator to operate at those speeds and headways, should the operator find it commercially desirable to do so, then it complies with 1A. For you to imply otherwise is lying.

    While the Legislature wrote design standards into AB1034, it wisely chose not to include *operating* standards. To do so would be to lock the system into an operating pattern for full service, which would not even begin to operate for a quarter-century after the 2008 election. That would have been grossly irresponsible. And you ignore the reality that when the operating contract is put up for bids, requiring an operating pattern which achieves the goals of 1A will undoubtedly be part of the Authority’s specifications.

    Oh, and BTW–simulations are not part of the law. You can play with Microsoft Train Simulator all you want to, but the results are not part of the law. And you’re not contributing anything to the debate by contributing lies, deceit and other assorted untruths. We get enough of that from Morris.

    joe Reply:

    : 2704.09 DOES NOT REQUIRE the Authority to schedule regular-service non-stops at 2:40 or less…

    2;40 is a stretch. That time requirement should be interpreted as a limit for the design. They meet it once and forget it.

    Exceeding the requirement, making travel time in 2:30, is possibly spending money (or compromising design) without purpose.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    joe, adirondaker, I know we disagree, but these areguments are really beneath you. The reality is the section says the system shall be designed to achieve maximum service nonstop travel times that shall not exceed…30 min SJ to SF and 2:40 SF to LA.

    As someone who constantly harps about language, there is very little wiggle room in this section, much less than in the finance section.

    It includes shall (not should).
    It says maximum and shall not exceed (not average)
    It even says nonstop service times which clearly indicates normal operating service (not 1 time runs)

    I know that you are keying on design, but the truth is if the system is designed to achieve these times it will. If it is not designed to achieve these times (because the tracks are curved, the traffic is shared, etc.) there is no simulation or real world test they are going to pass. Using your highway analogy, they design the offramp for 70 mph and they put a car on going 70 mph and it will slide off. The design target is just not acheivable with the blended system, especially the SJ to SF target.

    The 30:22 simulation is not going to hold up, they did not even stop the train in SJ. It specifically says non-stop times, a non-stop train starts at 1 station and stops at the destination with no stops in between. Judge Kenny is a reasonable man, but he is not going to let the authority abuse the language this way. His last ruling concentrated on the “plain language” interpretation of the law. The plain language is they need to design a system that hits these times in a reasonable simulation. Not blowing through SJ at full speed. Not stopping the train at the border of SF with no station to start the simulation. Not ignoring the safety limits on the curves through the peninsula.

    We had this same discussion about the finance section and that case was lost because of the same reasons, its not about finding loopholes, its about meeting the intent and letter of the law.

    joe Reply:

    “2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
    to this chapter shall be designed to achieve the following

    “shall be designed to achieve”

    My car tires are designed to achieve speeds in excess of 120 MPH. I am not required to operate at that speed.

    It even says nonstop service times which clearly indicates normal operating service (not 1 time runs)

    No – that’s what you want to believe it says.

    “shall achieve” is your interpretation which is why the interpretation the system has to provide mandated timed travel between stations is bogus.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Your arguments just don’t stand up to the plain language of the law

    What is your interpretation of “service times”. If it is not normal operational service then how do you go from service times to one-time demonstration. Give me a reasonable interpretation of “service times” that defines it as a 1t ime run

    And how is “nonstop” defined as blowing through the destination station

    But the biggest issue is that even if all those factors are ignored, the design does not meet the requirement. To use your example, the car does not achieve 120mph before the tires blow.

    There is not 1 scrap of proof on the record that HSR can go from SJ to SF in a maximum of 30 min. The low estimate is 30:22 and the high estimate I have heard is 39 or 40 min. If the design is compliant, why doesn’t anyone get numbers at or under 30 even in idealized assumptions?

    joe Reply:

    “What is your interpretation of “service times”. If it is not normal operational service then how do you go from service times to one-time demonstration. ”

    First, the Authority and Legislature have the responsibility of implementing Prop1a. They need not provide a scrape of proof before they go ahead.

    Second, there is no design, they have a business plan. There is no design plan. They cannot fail what has not yet been done. You think they will fail and they cannot prove to you they will not fail. You have no authority to demand proof and they have no obligation to satisfy you or any critic at this time.

    Third, Prop1A specifically refers to operations when referring to operating subsidies. Here it does not describe operations, it describes a design capability. It is a property of the system. properties are tested.

    Fourth the “service times” is ambiguous. The HSR Authority shall interpret what it means. They’ll balance the cost of the system with the interpretation. I’d look at various interpretations to evaluate design and costs. I’d defend my final decision and have the authority, written in Law, to back that decision. Critics will need to show it is unlawful and unconstitutional.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Critics have shown proof and logic. And they sued. Now it is back on the authority to provide counter examples, which they can’t.

    They obviously have a design plan, they released a simulation based on it so you can’t argue there is no plan and also argue that the 30:22 number is valid. It’s either 1 or the other.

    If it is only “design” then the law specifically says they SHALL design a system to meet those times.

    But the easiest argument, service times is not ambiguous at all. It is impossible to hit in a blended system, but the language is not fuzzy. They knew they were dead when they did blended. But the law does not change, it was written specifically to prevent the blended plan. Is 30 minutes magic? Nope, not magic, but it is law now, they need to design a system to meet it, they haven’t.

    joe Reply:

    “Critics have shown proof and logic. And they sued. Now it is back on the authority to provide counter examples, which they can’t.
    They obviously have a design plan, they released a simulation based on it so you can’t argue there is no plan and also argue that the 30:22 number is valid. It’s either 1 or the other.”

    There is no design since CAHSRA is issuing a design and build contracts and no contract competition for the peninsula section has been announced let alone competed and awarded.

    Running an experiment to assess feasibility isn’t a design.

    The Jan 10 2014 filing:

    Plaintiffs propose a trial in which they can present lay and expert evidence to a jury or advisory jury to challenge the basis for the Authority’s decisions.[…]

    Just as the appellate courts generally may not consider evidence not contained in the trial record when reviewing such findings,courts generally may not consider evidence not contained in the administrative record when reviewing the substantiality of the evidence supporting a quasi-legislative decision under [CEQA]. We also conclude that extra-record evidence is generally not admissible to show that an agency “has not proceeded in a manner required by law” in making a quasi-legislative decision.

    Plaintiffs likewise have no surviving claim for declaratory relief. Declaratory relief actions cannot be used to challenge a specific quasi-legislative act of a public agency. (See State V. Superior Court (1974) 12 Cal.3d 237, 249 [declaratory relief is appropriate to test validity or constitutionality of a state law but not to challenge a specific quasi-legislative act of a public agency].) Moreover, a declaratory judgment action may not be used to challenge an agency action with evidence not a part of the administrative record.

    Even if the judge allows a lawsuit, there are arguments why he cannot at this time, plaintiffs will be limited to what is in the administrative record. Laurel & Hardy cannot call their expert witnesses to litigate against the Authority.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Luckily the authority provided a memo that states they can’t make 30. Also the independent council found 35-40 minutes in the appendix of the latest business plan. Both on the administrative record.

    Hopefully that will be enough so they don’t have to repeat this again when the start building and waste a bunch more time. Because without a change in plan they are not making 30 minutes

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so they’ll change the plan to close the doors at 22nd Street and start counting there.

    joe Reply:

    They write memos.

    Frank Vacca was the chief engineer of Amtrak. He is the chief program manager of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. He authored the memo assuring times can be met.

    And they label their material

    Future TPC’s simulations…

    New TPC system simulations will be run and will be coordinated with future environmental
    ROD’s and High Speed Rail Authority Business Plan

    [footnote] “Update to Peer Review Group of work in progress”

    The Authority is committed to Prop1a and will continue and use results to aid in their design and ROW improvements.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Amtrak? I am supposed to believe an Amtrak engineer? He can’t even read that 30:22 is more than 30. They didn’t stop the train in SJ. Its farce and just because he is willing to sell his soul for his employer does not make him right

    We will see what the judge says. Even if he turns it down now they will just sue again when they publish the design specs.

    They are committed to building for sure. I even believe that they believe they are ding the right thing by stretching the law, but they are not committed to following prop 1a. They have proven that conclusively.

    Is there even a station at 22nd street? I thought there were only the 2 stations in SF?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Two and half in San Francisco right now. 4th and King, 22nd and Bayshore.

    joe Reply:

    Amtrak? I am supposed to believe an Amtrak engineer?

    No. You’re not involved at all so what you believe is irrelevant.

    Mocking the former chief engineer for Amtrak is classy.

    We will see what the judge says. Even if he turns it down now they will just sue again when they publish the design specs.

    Sue on what grounds … Critics can’t sue because they don’t like or don’t believe the Authority. They can’t litigate design specifications. They have to show the Authority is wilfully and systematically breaking the law to defraud the public. Then they sue.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    the man put his name on a document supported by a simulation that did not even meet the requirement on its face, much less when you take into account the ridiculous assumptions that were made. And since he was the chief engineer of Amtrak, he had control over what a complete and utter mess it is so I have no problem mocking him.

    As for the case, you and I agree that neither of us has any say, so we will see what Judge Kenny thinks soon enough

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Or after many many years of looking at public and employee railroad timetables he understood that they were calibrated in minutes and 1822 seconds is 30 minutes.

    joe Reply:

    the man put his name on a document supported by a simulation that did not even meet the requirement on its face, You don’t know the underlying basis for his memo or the standard or assumptions.

    What we do know is in the memo. He states they can continue to try improve travel times and lists possible ways. He also states the assumptions and cautions alignments may change.

    Amtrak is continuing to grow rider-ship. As their Chief engineer he has demonstrated technical experienced planning systems and he now has the assigned responsibility and authority to manage the HSR project.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    nor do you know his assumptions. Here on Planet Earth railroad schedules measure hours and minutes.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    He made a definitive conclusion “can be achevied” based on unknown or assumed information. That’s just bad engineering. As for Amtrak increasing ridership, it is easy to grow something when you sell it for less than it costs. Furthermore, his area is technical and no one, even on thus blog, argues that Amtrak leads the world in anything technical, except maybe being the number 1 incompetent train service in the developed world

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1822 seconds is not 30 minutes. If it was a lot of people have malfunctioning clocks

    joe Reply:

    “He made a definitive conclusion “can be achevied” based on unknown or assumed information.”

    He wrote “shown to be achievable”. You want to assert it was past tense and claim he lied. He clearly doesn’t claim they achieved the requirement.

    “with appropriate assumptions for train assumptions operating characteristics and compliance with Fed and state regulations”

    In the memo he states The Authority can continue to try improve travel times and lists possible ways. He also states the assumptions and cautions Jeff Morales that alignments may change.

    Clem Reply:

    240 can be met.

    Not by any timetable ever in the future, even in 2040 when Phase 1 is built. As currently planned, 2:40 can only be met on a one-time only stunt that features (a) zero timetable padding, (b) the most aggressive, energy-inefficient acceleration and braking, (c) no intermediate stops, (d) no impeding traffic… all green, all the way.

    If you get rid of the Palmdale detour (saving 13 minutes by the timetable) it might be remotely possible to timetable a 2:40 SF – LA express.

    jimsf Reply:

    the original plan included palmdale with 240 and showed the google map route with speeds of sections and total.

    Clem Reply:

    Yup, assuming (a) zero timetable padding, (b) the most agressive, energy-inefficient acceleration and braking, (c) no intermediate stops, (d) no impeding traffic, and (e) 220 mph through urban areas. Don’t believe every Google map you see on the internet because the underlying assumptions are not always stated.

    Joe Reply:

    How would a defense contractor meet the requirement?
    Exactly as you described.

    The time requirement can be met with a one time demonstration.

    Clem Reply:

    In systems engineering terms (you’re a systems engineer, if I recall): Verification passed, validation failed

    jonathan Reply:

    Enigneer? Joe claims (repeatedly and sometimes condescendingly) to be a scientist. I do wonder, what field of science doesn’t distinguish between minima and maxima?

    joe Reply:

    Yes. A good summary Clem.

    The Authority will argue they are committed to and can meet all requirements.

    Opponents also also argue the system fails to achieve the desired outcome, in system eng terms, a validation test. They’ll argue the intent of the voters is X and HSR fails to achieve X.

    Kenny’s standard for judging HSR’s funding plan, all funding identified, was a high bar but he had specific language in the law he referenced to set that bar. Also, the discrepancy between the ICS and IOS cost is 10’s of billions – huge.

    If the travel time is requirement is 2:40 and they can show a “stunt” meets that time and they can show operational express service can achieve 2:50 or 3:00 then that’s going factor into his decision in favor of HSR.

    If they show the business plan and simulations runs service at realistic times like 3:00 then the consistency will help HSR. If the plan uses unachievable times, they’ll be contradicting themselves.

    jonathan Reply:

    Dear Joe,

    The “stunt”, drag-race time of 2:40 requires running through urban reas at 220 mi/hr.
    If I understand Clem correctly, he’s saying that the Authority’ latest numbers, from the 2014 draft business plan, are still *drag-race* times. The change is that the Authority’s simulations are now slowing down to reasonable speeds in urban areas.

    What the law requires is *service times*. Those are going to be well over 3 hours, LA-SF, because real paying passengers don’t like “drag-race” acceleration, or emergency-stop braking.

    Judge Kenny’ recent opinions are long (38 and 40 pages, IIRC) and closely reasoned. I think he may well be wrong on a point of law, that requiring the Authority to issue a new business plan grants no relief. But that’s what Courts of Appeal are for.

    But, since Judge Kenny is capable of close reasoning, I’m confident that he can figure out that an SF-SJ time of 40 minutes — a rush-hour “drag-race” – or a non-drag-race time of say 45 minutes — is 33% to 50% in excess of the required *maximum*, not-to-exceed service time of 30 minutes.

    Clem: what do you think is a realistic SF-LA *service* time for the Authority’s current route (Tehachapi, Palmdale, S-bends and all)? Where by “service time”, I mean a simulation using acceleration and braking typical of in-service, for-revenue HSR service world-wide; and with typical schedule padding for contingencies. Doing all braking at emergency-stop application rates need not apply.

    joe Reply:

    “What the law requires is *service times*.”

    No. It describes a design. It does not mandate operational service times.

    Several have tried to correct your mistaken belief the design is an operational requirement but you are steadfast.

    Here’s a design requirement:
    The 101 to 85 carpool merge ramp shall be designed to accommodate vehicles traveling no slower than 75 MPH.

    The operational restriction is a 45 MPH speed limit.

    Alan Reply:

    Joe…What it is for the HSR opponents at this point, is desperation. Reading things into the law that do not exist is an act of desperation. Heck, for all we know, jonathan probably thinks that 2704.09 requires Dan Richard to hang off the rear of the test train, sprinkling fairy dust on the ROW.

    A question that comes to mind, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen asked, is whether all of the simulations, both pro and con, use the capabilities of equipment existing in 2014 as their benchmark, or if the simulations assume that the technology will develop and improve by the time the system is finally ready for that LA-Transbay run in 2029. It’s naiive to believe that HSR technology will not develop in the 15 years between now and 2029. That’s actually one of the purposes of building the ICS in the Valley–as a test track to help develop the technology. If over the next 15 years, I think that a 5% improvement is hardly beyond reason. That would shrink the 30:22 SF-SJ trip down to 28:52–well within the Prop 1A requirement. Maybe Clem has some thoughts on this…

    Because the law does not prescribe either the method for proving compliance, or set the time for that proof, it’s really up to the CHSRA, the agency with subject-matter knowledge in the area, to document compliance. In Federal jurisprudence, it’s called “Chevron deference”:

    “The Supreme Court held that courts should defer to agency interpretations of such statutes unless they are unreasonable. ..”

    In other words, “unreasonable” = “abuse of discretion” by the agency. *Not* “unreasonable = “some jerk on a blog with an axe to grind doesn’t think it will work”…

    I’d imagine that California courts follow a similar standard with regards to state agencies and state law.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “If over the next 15 years, I think that a 5% improvement is hardly beyond reason.”

    You could say the same thing of maglev or hyperloop. Or airline performance. It is speculative.

    If you are already losing money, it is difficult to get the suckers to pony up any more money for putative improvements. Nothing has happened with boosters’ calls to extend the LV Monorail to McCarran.

    Has BART upped its speeds by 5% in the last 40 years?

    It is likely that Prop 1a is internally and inherently self-contradictory. Ergo you can’t put Palmdale on the trunk line and meet 2:40. So you have to prioritize provisos. Put Palmdale on a branch like Sac and Oakland. Sometime in the future.

    The Judge will have to make some judgments and assumptions or just throw up his hands and bless PB and all its works.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    BART hasn’t changed it’s track or trains in 40 years.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “If over the next 15 years, I think that a 5% improvement is hardly beyond reason. That would shrink the 30:22 SF-SJ trip down to 28:52–well within the Prop 1A requirement.”

    Actually, it kind of is, based on the problems with the Peninsula curves.

    Alan Reply:

    “BART hasn’t changed it’s track or trains in 40 years”

    Well, not quite. Control systems have been upgraded, the C cars were improvements over the originals, and the new cars on order will doubtless be improvements as well. As I recall, the computers in Central Control were long ago replaced, and I’d bet that if someone looked closely, the newer parts of the system would show signs of improvements being incorporated, based on experience gained since 1972.

    And BART probably isn’t the best example. Chicago and New York, to name two “legacy” systems, have both completed extensive replacements and upgrades to both fixed and rolling infrastructure in the past 40 years. When was the last time you saw a PCC-derivative car running on the CTA rapid transit?

    The point is simply that it’s foolish to base assumptions for a system which will begin full operation in 2029 on technology which exists in 2014.

    Alan Reply:

    Actually, when we’re talking about a necessary savings of 22 seconds–shaving 30:22 down to an even 30:00–that’s a bit more than 1 percent. Are you really saying that in 15 years, not even a 1 percent improvement is possible?

    I think it’s more likely that the powers-that-be at the PCJPB will grow a pair, buy the land, and straighten those curves as much as possible.

    Joe Reply:

    I suppose critics think Voters will revolt if the trip takes 31 minutes and not 30.

    The documents I’ve seen from the high-speed rail authority indicate future trainsets are part of their plans to make the travel time requirements.

    For example they specifically mentioned 250 mile-per-hour trainsets and the future possibility of securing such trainsets.

    Between San Jose and San Francisco, I expect the authority will do whatever it takes to make the time requirements imposed by any judge. They will take property and build grade separations. They will run trains and I bet they will even get a waiver for speed limits because the president is committed to updating these outdated regulations.

    Tos is a farmer in the Central Valley. He could give a s**t about the impacts and consequences of litigating speeds in the peninsula. Residents should really really be careful about pushing this 30 minute time requirement. There’s enough money and political consensus statewide to do whatever it takes.

    Residents of Atherton are not sympathetic characters to a state that desperately needs to expand infrastructure. The tracks of been there for 150 years what do they expect.

    synonymouse Reply:

    California needs to controls its population much more than it needs to expand infrastructure.

    If you are really getting off on higher speeds trade on up to maglev which has already achieved them. The way PB blows the billions why the hell not?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Alan, first, I don’t know about Chicago, but in New York speeds have not improved in the last hundred years. On some segments there have actually been slowdowns in recent decades, for safety, for example 125th-59th on the A/B/C/D. And in the Metro-North tunnel from 125th to Grand Central, travel time today is the same as it was in the 1880s under steam power, because the better performance of EMUs has been canceled out with the more complex and slower Grand Central station throat.

    Second, 30:22 is a fake number, based on faulty assumptions: looser curves, no stop in SJ, an SF terminus at 4th and King and not Transbay.

    Third, we don’t actually know what direction future train technology improvements will go in. It’s possible there will be a focus on energy consumption and not speed, as with planes ever since the 707. It’s also quite likely, given HSR needs around the world, that most companies will not keep developing tilting trains capable of 300+ km/h. Using today’s technology there are trains that do better than the example train used in the simulations we’re all referencing (although they’ll still get stuck behind slower Caltrains), but only 2.5 different vendors for such trains, so de facto it’s not really worth it for CAHSR to reduce rolling stock competition just to save a few minutes.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    … it’s not really worth it for CAHSR to reduce rolling stock competition …

    It would be quite the precedent for CHSRA=PBQD to take any action that was not wholly about gaming contract “competition”.

    joe Reply:

    Wow – any citation of the history of subway speed since inception of the NYC subway would be appreciated.

    30 minutes is a fake number – there’s no consumer driven or physical basis for that number. If the system routinely takes 35, no one’s going to revolt. What matters is running a demonstration to meet a number required by a law. It’s necessary once and maybe even met by running simulations.

    If the peninsula trains have to run faster to meet a court order – they will.

    If Ca needs to order train sets capable of 250 to meet a court order – they will.

    There’s no way the project is going to stop due to the travel times. What’s available will in part be decided by the buyer. We’ll order faster trains if the courts decide it’s mandated by law.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The law doesn’t say Transbay Terminal even though the same section specifies Los Angeles Union Station. I don’t know why the people who are so concerned about that weren’t up in arms in 2008.
    Rerun the simulation with those trains from two and half vendors and come up with 29:59. It will make the anal retentive types happy. Since those trains won’t be available in 2030, being hopelessly obsolete by then, they can from a wider variety of vendors and pick the one that can do it 30:31 when the tracks are clear. There’s nothing in the law that says all of the trains must do it in 30 minutes. Or that service has to be offered.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe, you need some remedial lessons on: system design and service time, and the difference between minimum and maximum

    The one-off demonstration run you describe establishes a minimum time. But the law requires something else: a maximum service time, which shall not be exceeded.

    If the design doesn’t ensure that non-stop services *never* exceed the shall not exceed times, then the design does not meet the requirements of the law. Endit.

    jimsf Reply:

    where is that map

    Clem Reply:

    They took it down when they redesigned the web site. I have all the KML files stashed away.

    jonathan Reply:

    Clem is totally correct about the assumptions behind a “stunt” run. And such a “stunt’ run, by definition, does not meet the clear requirements of the law.

    Alan Reply:

    Please point out exactly where Prop 1A specifies the method by which the Authority will prove their design. And please specify exactly where in Prop 1A your “definition” appears, which a “stunt run” does not meet.

    Alan Reply:

    Two days later, and nothing but the sound of crickets from the All-Knowing One…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Prop 1a does not provide for violation of safety regulations or procedures.

    Who’s paying for your stunt run and who’s insuring it, ie. assuming liability?

    joe Reply:

    The State. And if need be, waivers would be issued for the test run. It’s their job – not the Courts.

    People interested in building things don’t become judges.

    The State’s January 10th 2014 filing goes over case Law and how the Executive and Legislature hold authority, not the courts and why a trail by jury over travel times is unlawful.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No way in hell the FRA, STB, or CPUC is going to permit peoples’ backyards to be turned into a Bonneville Salts Flats testbed to accommodate PB Dr. Strangeloves burning out their toy trainsets. The stakeholders will have this idiocy in court immediately and the amount of bad press will be unimaginable.

    Gavin Newsom is right – this thing is in the crapper. Jerry is a moron – he fired the competent railguy who was beginning to set things aright and plugged in a hack who failed the first and foremost criterion, that is to accept and implement Prop 1a.

    synonymouse Reply:

    PAMPA pols should begin immediately to amend that blend legislation to prohibit PB from conducting any “sideshows” on Caltrain tracks.

    Joe Reply:

    Get off my lawn?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Tejon Mountain Village’s lawn

    agb5 Reply:

    What would the SF-LA travel time be if they upgraded to 250mph trains for the first run in the year 2029?

    jonathan Reply:

    Doesn’t help the Peninsula one iota, since even the “full-fat” quad-tracked plan for the Peninsula llimited speeds to 125 mi/hr.

    For the broader system: it really does’t help much. CHSRA’s standards (the Technical Memoranda written for them, at great cost, by PB) say that where the terrain is flat and level and straight, the track should be desgned and signalled for 400km/hr. But, due to facts of arithmetic, the travel time is dominated by the segments where the trains travel slowly.

    Here’s a made-up but illustrative example, which can help give you some intuition. Suppose the HSR trains travel at an average speed of 100 mi/hr for half of a ~600 mile route, and travel at an average speed of 150 mi/hr for the other half. The train spends just over 3 hours on the slow part, and 2 hours on the fast part. Now suppose the trains travel at top speed for 50 miles of the “fast” part. Increase that top speed from 200 mi/hr to 250 mi/hr, and you save …. *three minutes* (50 miles takes 15 mins at 200 mi/hr, 12 mins at 250 mi/hr)..

    Or, to put it another way, travel time = (segment length) / (segment speed). to get significant gains in total time, you need to speed up the route segments where the “denominator is small”. In the fast segments, the denominator is aready big, so increasing it makes relatively little difference. It’s the medium segments where you’re limited to 30 or 50 miles or 80 miles per hour, where speed-ups make big differences. (Unless the numerator — the length of these semgments — is really, really tiny).

    To significantly improve the running time, you need to either get rid of those slow segments (as Clem does, amongst other things, with route changes like bypassing downtown bakersfield). Or you have to spend a lot of money to reduce the curve radii.

    That’s why, where Clem’s blog talks about speed on the Peninsula, he focuses on the “gorges”, the deep notches, in the speed-limit-versus-distance graph. See here:

    Clem Reply:

    The other trick is to shorten the route. Palmdale is an extra 34 miles.

  5. Keith Saggers
    Feb 15th, 2014 at 11:39

    Yahoo answers. Why is Gov. Brown called Moonbeam?

    As Governor, Brown proposed the establishment of a state space academy and the purchasing of a satellite that would be launched into orbit to provide emergency communications for the state—a proposal similar to one that would indeed eventually be adopted by the state.

  6. jonathan
    Feb 15th, 2014 at 17:36

    … I really, truly, cannot believe some of the responses here.

    The first one I can’t believe is the people who can’t tell the difference between “minimum” and “maximum”. These people think that a “maximum” time can be established by a one-time, “CannonBall Run” scenario, where all the stops are pulled out, the train is run at full speed, and always accelerates and brakes at the maximum rate for which the train is rated. Let’s call this the “drag-race” scenario.

    There are two things wrong with the “drag-race” scenario. First, it’s not a service time, but I’ll deal with that below. The second thing wrong with the drag-race scenario is that it’s not a *maximum* time; it’s a *minimum* time. Think about it: under any operating conditions, the actual run-time will be *slower* than the “drag-race time. So the drag-race is a minimum: what you can do in the best possible case. But that’s not what the law regulates. The law requires that the *maximum* time not exceed stated bounds.

    Here’s an analogy.which should make the difference clear. Consider someone who’s just been ocnviicted of a crime which carries a mandatory three-to-five year sentence. Under the best possible conditions — first time offender, otherwise of good character — the judge may sentence them to the *minimum* of three years (Heck, the judge might even make it a suspended sentence.)

    In that analogy, Joe and others here are claiming that the three-year sentence is a *maximum*. Somehow they are blin to the point that the “best-case” time is, in fact a minimum: any other (different) sentence will actually be *more* than three years.

    judges are used to sentencing, and they understand that “three” is the minimum, and “five” is the maximum. Judge Kenny will surely understand this: he’s served as a prosecutor as well as a judge. Similarly, Judge Kenny will understand that the Authority’s simulated SF-Sj time is a *minimum* which cannot be bettered.

    Which brings us to the other point: “service” times. Judges are not dummies; they understand the difference between a one-off spectacle stunt, and actual service times. And we can all be very, very sure that Tos et. al. will make the case that the Authority’s simulations are not achievable in any real service. Why can we be sure?

    We can be sure because — unless Tos et al. (by which I mean their lawyers; Brady and Flashman, iirc) are absolute, incompetent dummies — they will have researched the case. They’ve had years to do so, after all. They will have found Robert’s blog, and Clem’. They will have seen Clem’s analysis from a year ago (less three weeks). Tos et al. will therefore make the point, that the Authority’s 30:22 number is bogus: that the law defines the Sf terminal as Transbay. Even a “drag-race time for SF-SJ is what, ~36 miutes? Tos et al. can make the point that a rush-hour time will be at least 40 minutes.

    And I certainly wouldn’t bet that Tos et al. are incapable of making the point, to Judge Kenny, that both the ~36 minute (non-rush-hour) / 40 minute (rush-hour) times are, in fact “drag race” times. An actual service time has to account for in-service acceleration and braking being within passenger’s comfort zone

    I have no idea how much additional time is added for the SF-SJ run, if you change the acceleration and braking from “drag-race” levels, down to something which won’t upset cups of tea or coffee on tables But it’s going to be a few minutes.

    And I really, truly think that if an attorney tries to persuade a judge that 40 or 45 minutes is somehow less than 30, then the judge is going to throw the book at that attorney. Judges are very, very unforgiving of disrespect — to the point where some judges will tell attorneys, “I can’t hear you” if they think the attorney is not well-dressed enough for their court.

  7. Thomas
    Feb 15th, 2014 at 18:02

    So what if the state loses the appeal? Would the Authority lose access to the bond funds? Also, since the appeal hearing probably won’t be heard until late spring, what would happen to the federal funds requiring state matching funds by April 1?

    jonathan Reply:

    Executive SUmmary: If the Authority loses the appeal, then they have to continue working on, and produce, a new business plan which meets Judge Kenny’ requremens. Judge Kenny specifically says he’s not challenging the Legislature’s vote to issue bonds. As I understand it, Judge Kenny is saying the AUthority can’t spend (or can’t issue?) those bonds until they come up with a business plan which meets Judge Kenny’ reading of Prop 1A.

    New business plan means delay, which (as you note) could put Federal funds in jeopardy. If the Authority loses the appeal, they could then claim the delay is hurting them, and sue (or appeal?) for relieffrom the delay.

    Judge Kenny says the courts don’t have the authority to second-guess the Legislature’s approval to issue bonds. What Judge Kenny ruled, is that the Authority has to come up with a new business plan, showing that the Authority has identified funding for a “usable segment”, as Prop 1A defined that term.

    Until Judge kenny’s ruling, the Authority had defined the “usable segment” as their “Initial Construction Segment”, or ICS, Madera to Fresno. Judge Kenny’s ruling is that the Authority has identified the “Initial Operating Segment” (IOS) as the usable segment. Therefore, the judge ruled that before the Authority can spend bond money, the Authority had to have “identified” (in a special sense defined by Prop 1A) the funding for the entire IOS; and that the Authority had to have completed EIRs for the entire IOS. Last I checked the Authority didn’t even have the EIRs fro the last few miles of the ICS completed yet. That’s one hurdle; the other hurdle is that the current IOS will cost over 30 billion dollars. The Authority has identified only $6 bn.

    Some people say the Authority can fix the problem with a word processor: just change the “usable segment” from the IOS to the ICS. I really doubt the Judge will buy that.

    More importantly, the Judge has acknowledged that the Legislature has the right to issue bonds, and that the judiciary can’t overrule that (at least not without meeting a much higher bar than the current case).

    Re financing and meeting Federal matching requirements: the Authority says they will be in troubl by the end of April. I don’t know how much trouble. The Authority has already played games with how fast they spend the Federal money, whilst waiting for the State matching funds to be approved and issued. I vaguely recall that the FRA had set some limits on that, but I don’t recall what they were.

    Do note, though, that 6he Appellate court will have briefs from both parties by April 1. As I understand it, part of the appeal was over whether Judge Kenny’s ruling actually offered substantive relief to the plaintiffs. The grounds for the appeal is that the law cannot enforce an “abstract right”: a court cannot make a ruling which offers no substantive (read “meaningful”) relief to the plaintiffs. (In this case, the plaintiffs are Tos and Fukuda.) Do Tos &c get substantive relief from Jugde Kenny forcing the Authority to redo their business plan — while, at the same time, Judge Kenny acknowledges the Legislature’s right to issue the bonds? That’s a technical legal issue which an Appeals court could decide quickly.

    Some people here claim that Flashman and Brady screwed up by not challenging the Legislature’s auhorizaton of bond sales. But that hadn’t happened when the suit was filed, two years ago; and Judge Kenny has said pretty plainly that the plaintiffs have not shown any reason to invalidate the Legislature’s vote.

    Thomas Reply:

    Thank you Jonathan for the overview. Helps clear this complicated situation up for some of us.

    jonathan Reply:

    You’re welcome. And thank you for saying so.

    joe Reply:

    Some people here claim that Flashman and Brady screwed up by not challenging the Legislature’s auhorizaton of bond sales. But that hadn’t happened when the suit was filed, two years ago; and Judge Kenny has said pretty plainly that the plaintiffs have not shown any reason to invalidate the Legislature’s vote.

    Amend the lawsuit. Laurel & Hardy the crack legal team tried to amend the lawsuit. Why did they try to do this if it were not to their benefit?

    Their attempt was to late in the process.

    How much time passed from the date the Legislature pass the Appropriation and when L&H try to admen the lawsuit?

    Did they wait hours, days, weeks or months?

    The appropriation passed
    July 6th 2012.

    jonathan Reply:

    Fine. Go ahead. Amend the lawsuit. Challenge the Legislature’s right to appropriate and to issue bonds. See where that gets you.

    Didn’t Judge Kenny’s written opinion say he didn’t think the judiciary had the right to overturn the Legislature on that? (That’s a genuine question; I thought it did, but I might be wrong.)

    Resident Reply:

    Well, here’s the real point. SB1029 doesn’t need to be challenged. It just needs to be enforced. And the lawsuit to enforce SB1029 (the appropriation) hasn’t even been hatched yet. SB1029 specifically requires compliance with AB3034 and it requires a second business plan in compliance with AB3034, before the appropriated funds can be spent or obligated. So the outcome of the current appeal isn’t even the end (or even the beginning) of the story. SB1029 creates a whole new enforcement opportunity.

    joe Reply:

    Fine. Go ahead. Amend the lawsuit. Challenge the Legislature’s right to appropriate and to issue bonds. See where that gets you.

    Didn’t Judge Kenny’s written opinion say he didn’t think the judiciary had the right to overturn the Legislature on that?

    The Laurel & Hardy legal team tried to amend the lawsuit and failed. They realized a mistake was made on they part.

    Kenny made no such speculation about hypothetical outcomes had Tos’s crack legal team litigated differently.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ergo no judicial oversight whatsoever on Prop 1a?

    Perhaps it should have gone initially and straight to the State Supreme Court – I assume they have some say and sway over the Legislature.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Then concerned citizens everywhere would complain that they never had their day in court and things were being rushed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Point being if the California Supreme Court wanted to rule Prop 1a cannot be litigated they had the opportunity and did not. They could have taken the case and summarily thrown it out. Too late.

    I think it may be too late for CAHSR. Maybe that’s what Gavin had concluded and probably not by himself. Jerry is senile rigid at this late date and clearly has no backup plan. I guess the whole thing will just have to collapse on itself. I am sure that is what the Tejon Ranch has wanted and planned from the beginning. They won’t have to worry about any low-income types invading their upscale kingdom.

    jonathan Reply:

    Let’s read this again.

    amend the lawsuit
    Their attempt was to late in the process.

    that’s really quite amazing, Joe, you have demonstrated utter inability to correctly use terms like “before” and “after”, and “changed and “unchanged”. You got it so blatantly, embarassingly, *infantilely* wrong, that the only way out you found, was to refuse to answer the questions due to a formatting error.

    Yet, here you seem to show competence in using words like “amend”, and relative positions of time.

    So, I’m not going to answer your question about how long Flashman and Brady waited. Not until you:
    * admit that you were wrong about a point of fact ;
    * and that you tried to cover up your error of fact by bluster and ad-hominem
    * That finally, you refused to consider the point by huding behind someone else’s formatting error.

    Joe, do please tell us exactly what branch of science you practice, where you can ignore facts due to formatting errors? That’s a very _unusual_ branch of science, wouldn’t you say?

    Joe Reply:

    Jane you ignorant slut.

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh, so you concede you’re wrong? Thank you!

    joe Reply:

    Hilarious…. I thought you had this all reply thing worked out.

  8. synonymouse
    Feb 15th, 2014 at 23:01

    Required reading for every traction fan, courtesy of a poster on the Altamont site:

    I just wish I had the math, physics, and engineering background to understand the equations.

    I was not aware truck design, in particular low floor, had progressed this much.

  9. jonathan
    Feb 16th, 2014 at 09:25

    .. There’s one further thing here, made by the innumerate True Beleives in anything CSHRA publishes, which literally defies belief.

    That’s the claim that Prop 1A’s required times don’t actually matter. The law says the HSR sysem must have an SF-LA service travel time with a maximum not to exceed 160 minutes. That’s not achievable, not with actual service conditions. (it may be achievalbe in “drag-race” mode, where every acceleration is “pedal to the metal”, and every braking is an emergency-stpo application of brakes. (Try that in a bus or a plane!!).

    But some people here — Joe, explicitly; jimsf, implicitly, and others — say, oh, 2h4s 40 mins is just a guideline. 3 hours is close enough, the judge will allow that.

    The only thing I can say to that is: go drive on 101 on the Peninsula at 75 miles per hour. You *will* get pulled over, and you *wlll* get ticketed. Then, when you go to court, try telling the Judge that the Judge can’t ticket you, you’re within 15% of the speed limit, and that’s close enough.

    Better yet, try getting pulled over for a suspected DUI. When the blood-alcohol measuremen shows you are 12.5% over the legal limit, you get arrested. When you go to court, again, try telling the judge that you’re within 12.5% of the limit, and that’s close enough.

    That is _exactly_ the reasoning Joe uses, when he says that an SF-LA time of 3:00 hours is, somehow, close enough. If one is laughable — would get you cited for contempt of court if you pushed it — then surely so is the other one.

    That’s how legal reasoning works. The law is the law. It’s not a rough guideline that a judge can arbitrarily or capriciously change, to suit their whims. If the law says 2:40, it means 2:40. 3:00 does not meet the law. End of story.

    synonymouse Reply:

    One way to tackle the 2:40 issue is to consider the purpose of the proviso, which is what the framers intended. Ergo to establish a solid benchmark for the slowest travel time that would be competitive.

    So the conflict here is between the constructionists(say, Kopp)and the revisionists(Cheerleaders). The competing camps envision 2 different kinds of railroad. Kopp wants bleeding edge bonafide hsr whereas the Cheerleaders want a welfare commute TEE serving rural redoubts. So it is really HSR vs. Palmdale commute ops.

    In order to even attempt 2hrs and 40 minutes with the DogLeg the Cheerleaders would have to suspend all safety and environmental regs. Are not there constitutional issues with a law contravening existing regulations and practices_

    Prop 1a should go back on the ballot so the voters can choose between Palmdale real estate developers and the Tejon Ranch or CAHSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They want to sap your precious bodily fluids too.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Who precisely are “they”? Pushing 70, I doubt anyone wants my “precious bodily fluids”.

    But are you so daft as to not see the issue here? Are you going to grant the testing parties(for instance PB, Amtrak, Bombardier?)a priori, or retroactive exemption from any existing laws?

    This is beyond “stunt”, which would something like a Wallenda high-wiring across the Grand Canyon. If he falls, that is the extent of it. Who is going to be held liable if your 2:40 attempted stunt climbs a rail and lands on top of a house?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    they are going to impurify them too. Then fluoridate the water.

  10. jimsf
    Feb 16th, 2014 at 11:02

    Seems to me they don’t have to worry about sf la trip times or sf sj trip times for quite a while since the ios will be merced to san fernando and then bay to basin – which will be san jose to san fernando. That gives them many years to work on making sure the san fernando to la and the sj to sf portions get upgraded properly to meet the trip times.

    Clem Reply:

    Sounds like a fine approach. We should give them dozens of billions of dollars, with the proviso that they save the last $10 to purchase a stop watch to see if the trip times can be met.

    jonathan Reply:

    Provided it’s a stop-watch which is graduated only to increments of 5 minutes. Or maybe ten. Or twenty. Or even more.

    jonathan Reply:

    Sorry, not good enough. The Authority’s position is that the “blended” plan on the Peninsula *IS* the final, “full build” proposal for Prop 1A’s “Stage 1”, Sf to LA/Anaheim.

    The Authority *has* to say that. If they didn’t, there’s no way they could justify pissing away the highs-peed-rail money on suburban commuter infrastructure at the “book-ends”. And the Authority has to spend the HSR money on non-HSR, suburban commuter pork, er infrastructure, because that was the pork deal cut by back-scratching politicians like Simitian, to get the bond authorization vote through the Legislature.

    the Authority is damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

    jimsf Reply:

    ;youre full of it. If californians decide they want to upgrade the bookends, we can and will upgrade the bookends. Just like if californians decide they love the hsr and want it to go more places, they will insist it go more places ( extensions) and if californian who previoulsy didn’t want a station in their city, change their minds, they will demand a station in their city and get it.

  11. jonathan
    Feb 16th, 2014 at 11:28

    .. thinking about it, here’s a really good strategy for anyone who wants to stop CHSRA’s current plan — particularly the “blended” plan for the Peninsula.

    File a complaint with the California State Board for Professoinal Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists. The complaint will charge the PB employee who signed the report to CHSRA stating that a train can make an SF-SJ trip within the requirements of Prop 1A. The complaint should include any and all Professional Engineers, and other unlicensed persons, who produced the simluation and stated that it met the requirements of Prop 1A.

    The complaint should list charges of : fraud; deceit; misrepresentation; and violating the Code of Professional Conduct, in that the simulation knowingly misrepresents the achievable service trip times, inasumuch as the report presents a trip time as in compliance with the requirements of Prop 1A, whereas in fact the simulation relies on acceleration and braking profiles which are unachievable and unacceptable in commercial service.

    More, the complaint should charge that PB’s report does so in a knowingly deceitful way. Such deceit is fraudulent, in that it will deffaud California taxpayres by allowing expenditure of bond funds which violate the law; and also, that the consulting engineering firm has defrauded the California High Speed Rail Authority by producing knowingly inaccurate, mis-representative, and deceitful engineering documents. The ethics violations follow from the same causes.

    Then, make a press announcement. Wait for someone to admit that the Authority told PB that the Authority needed an SF-SJ trip time of 30 minutes or less. if you’re really lucky, someone may say that renewal of PB’s contract depended on them showing an SF-SJ trip time of 30 minutes or less. If you get *that* lucky, it’s time for criminal prosecutions of both PB and the Authority staff.

    Elizabeth, did you get that? ;)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    whereas in fact the simulation relies on acceleration and braking profiles which are unachievable and unacceptable in commercial service.

    No they aren’t. Clem, who runs the Caltrain-HSR blog, working with the the parameters they use in commercial service, came up with similar numbers.

    jonathan Reply:


    Please *read* the post of Clem’s which I’ve already cited once here, and Clem has cited a second time:

    Note that long list of assumptions to get the 33 minute run-time. Note that one of the assumptions is (I quote):

    The train uses the least energy-efficient, pedal-to-the-metal driving style. Brakes are applied fully and at the last moment, and acceleration is at full throttle. In the real world, where energy and maintenance do cost money, a smoother and more energy-efficient traction and braking profile would add about 1 minute.

    And, equally tellingly:

    While a special one-time midnight Cannonball Express run could be achieved in 30 minutes and 22 seconds without violating any speed limits or laws of physics, this figure is not operationally feasible in everyday service and boils down to nothing more than a stunt. Under the same stunt assumptions, a decrepit old Caltrain diesel could rush from SF to SJ in just 39 minutes.

    Yes, that’s right. The Authority’s 30:22 simulation makes assumtions under which the existing caltrain deisels could run from SF to SJ in *39 minutes*.

    Go on, tell me you think 39 minutes SJ-SF is an achievable service time for Caltrain’s diesel trains. I dare you. I dare Joe. And I’d bet you lunch somewhere that Flashman and Brady have read that; Clem posted it in February 17, 2013.

    Why do so many intelligent, educated people simply refuse to read plain black-and-white text, and refuse to see facts which are right in front of their faces?

    joe Reply:

    It’s called a test. It is executed once to verify the time requirement is met and the authority will run and pass the test when they are ready.

    The authority also defines the test time and environment and owns clock which will report the result in standard format – which in all the documents I see is to the nearest minute.

    And there isn’t a credible argument that the citizens of CA are being cheated if the test runs in 30 in this test. If the operation times the Authority chooses to run are 33 or ir 35 minutes, its perfectly fine and allowed.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    that is what is really so sad here, they should be able to ace this test. They designed the system, set up the test (theoretical, not real), and “ran” the test. They had complete homefeild advantage to make outragous assumptions (and they did) and they STILL COULD NOT PASS.

    What does that say about both their competence at design and their competence at test. They could not even tip the balance in their favor when they had 100% control!!! Asounding.

    Joe Reply:

    Not interested in your trolling – either reel it in or find someone else.

    The project had not begun work on the peninsula. The tests to verify the requirement haven’t begun.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe, you really *are* a prize. I hope I get to meet in you in person some day.

    Do tell us, which branch of science do you practice, in which simulation is simply *not allowed* and is ruled out of scope? Unfit for adult discussion?

    I thought Clem was being sarcastic when he said, okay, let’s give PB several billion dollars to build HSR, totally hands-off; and when they’re done, to keep enough money for a stop-watch to measure the result.

    But that’s exactly what you propose. We can’t make any statements, none at all — not even upper or lower bounds. (While you don’t understand the difference between those two, just about everyone else does.) No, we have to wait until the concrete is poured, and the very best time from the actual SF station (Transbay) to San Jose, running at midnight, with police blocking all the grade-crossings, and all acceleration at the max the train can do, and all braking at the max the train can do (emergency stop) — is somewhere over 37 minutes. (110 mph; slowing for the S-bend in Palo Alto; and actually coming to a stop at Cahill St Station, rather than tossing passengers off as the train zooms through).

    No, only then, after the contractors have gotten all the money and the train is too slow, only *then* can we complain.

    As a telephone pollster would ask: Do you, or a family member, work for CHSRA or any of their contractors?

    joe Reply:

    Joe, you really *are* a prize. I hope I get to meet in you in person some day.

    This is why I stay anonymous.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The comments hold true

    They are using a theoretical simulation, which is always going to be faster than real life
    They set the parameters
    They control the assumptions

    And they failed it.

    Do you really think people are dumb enough to say “well, your simulation says you are going to fail but we are going to let you build it and then see if it complies and then sue.” Now who is trolling.

    Everyone sees what is going on. Supporters know that if they can get it built and it does not meet the times it will not matter because it will be too late and no one is going to tear it back down. But those same supporters say you cant sue now until it is built. So under your plan, it would be impossible to ever actually challenge the authority with respect to the time requirements. Does that seems like a reasonable position to you?

    jonathan Reply:

    you are criminally incompetent. The testing procedure you describe is sufficient to demonstrate compliance with a minimum time requirement.

    the test you describe is inadequate and irreleveant for a maximum time requirement.

    Go find someone who mastered college, or even high-school mathematics, and ask them to give you a review of minima and maxima. Or their weaker cousins, lower bound and upper bound

    You really, really need that lesson. Because what you state holds only for a minimum requirement. if Prop 1A specified a minimum requirement, then a one-time run can demonstrate that the lower-bound has been met. If _any_ run is below the required minimum, then the requirement has been met. But when there’s a requirement that the maximum (non-stop, service) travel time not exceed a stated value, then, BY DEFINITION, any and all (non-stop, service) travel times must NOT EXCEED that stated maximum, shall-not-exceed, time.

    Joe, please *do* tell us: exactly what field of science do you practice, where there’s no distinction between <b?minimaand maxima, or between upper-bounds, and lower-bounds?

    joe Reply:

    you are criminally incompetent.

    Drama boy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and if they start the stopwatch when the doors close at 22nd Street it will be well under 1800 seconds. Clem’s assumptions are the service speeds.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Once again the real travel time loss is in Socal, at the mountain crossing, not on the Peninsula.

    They should have encouraged Palmdale to continue with its litigation; we would be a lot further along. It is probably going to be revived any way.

    If there is a violation of law it is the Tejon Ranch’s unconstitutional embargo at the Tejon Mountain Village, attempting to impose a “toll” on a natural and unique transport choke point.

    Alan Reply:

    And when the charges are dismissed for lack of evidence, the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the show when all of those professional people sue you for defamation. You see, professional licensing agencies need hard facts and evidence before they can render a decision, and publicly accusing people of fraud without evidence is defamation. And I can guarantee that PB has deeper pockets than you have.

    Alan Reply:

    Sorry, that should have been a response to jonathan. Darn no-edit blog…

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I think Jonathan may be referring to some documents that we posted on our website that show

    the Authority asked PB, after the fact, to justify an assertion they pinned on PB and that PB may not have had much of a choice but to make certain changes that may border on the edge of professional standards, given that their contract (which is one of the largest if not largest that have) was up for renewal.

    We have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.

    We do know that the current system of revolving doors and consultant-heaven is concerning.

    I personally could give a rat’s tushy whether it will take 2 hrs 38 minutes or 2 hrs 42 minutes.

    It is very concerning however that the Authority either does not understand or doe not care that a series of decisions are being made that make the chance for under 3 hr service very, very slim.

    Blending service for 50 miles is insane when you have other options. Either the people running this are insane or they are being disingenous about intentions.

    We as a state have no business building out the core FIXED infrastructure for a train system until we find a way to get back in charge of this process.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Blending service for 50 miles is insane

    What are the other options? Putting the train over on the other side of the Bay where all those unwashed East Bay residents live? That keeps it out of your backyard doesn’t it?

    jonathan Reply:

    Blending service for 50 miles is insane when you have other options. Either the people running this are insane or they are being disingenous about intentions.

    Agreed. On both counts.

    joe Reply:

    Blending service for 50 miles is insane when you have other options. Either the people running this are insane or they are being disingenuous about intentions.

    Blended was recommend by outside experts advising the Authority.
    The design cut costs, visual impact and allows service to SF.

    It is disingenuous to demand costs and impact be cut and then oppose the cost cutting.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe, that’s bullshit. Total bullshit “Blending” was dreamed up by Simitian, Gordon, and Eshoo. While nobody knows what went on behind closed doors, Simitian’s hearinsgs made it clear that he was only going to vote to authorize the Prop 1A bonds if the Peninsula got its share of pork, as “early investment” in the “bookends”.

    I don’t know whether Elizabeth really care about costs, per se. Her mantra is “HSR done right”.
    I do believe Elizabeth wants HSR to go via Altamont and Dumbarton. Which also means HSR stays well away from her back yard. But she and CARRD also consistently advocate for shortening the SF-LA route. YMMV.

    synonymouse Reply:

    My backyard is nowhere close, but I also want “HSR to go via Altamont and Dumbarton”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You want it bypass four million people too.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oh, yeah. Pick it up in Oakland and Sac.

    joe Reply:

    “Blended was recommend by outside experts advising the Authority.”

    This is not an exclusive statement. You just it read it that way because of your argumentative disposition.

    The outside experts recommended blended service to the authority. It saves money, it saves time and is visually less intrusive.

    Calling blended insane is disingenuous. It was proposed in part to accommodate CARRD’s arguments.

    joe Reply:

    “We do know that the current system of revolving doors and consultant-heaven is concerning.”

    Revolving – Who has left the CAHSRA and now works for PB in the CAHSR project ?

    Nadia Reply:

    Jeff Morales for one!

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Caltrans and CHSRA are basically sister organizations

    JEff Morales – Caltrans> PB > CHSRA
    Brent Felker – Caltrans >>>PB

    Roy Kienitz joined PB and started billing for work on the CHSRA project left than a year later

    John Porcari just left to join PB


    Porcari was Deputy Secretary at the USDOT from 2009, serving as the Chief Operating Officer for an executive branch department with a $77 billion annual budget, composed of 10 operating administrations and 55,000 employees worldwide. He was responsible for managing all DOT operations, including the funding of the national interstate highway network and its transit and passenger rail systems


    Out of nearly 1,400 applications requesting $57 billion, only 51 were selected to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) $1.5 billion Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. Parsons Brinckerhoff provided a full range of services for TIGER applications, advising public and private sector clients on federal grant program requirements and project selection differentiators, developing the business case for projects, and performing rigorous economic analyses. In the end, Parsons Brinckerhoff helped freight rail, intercity passenger rail, transit, highway/bridge, and multimodal transportation center projects secure grants from the most competitive USDOT program in recent history. Applications with Parsons Brinckerhoff support received 20% of the total funding, 4 of the top 10 grant awards, and 6 of the top 30 grant awards.

    joe Reply:

    Maybe none of you have been in a revolving door. What you object to are people having a career.

    Jeff Morales for example – Here are his credentials:

    He never left the HSR project to join PB and then came back. That is a revolving door.
    Morales didn’t leave Caltrans to work for PB and then CAHSRA. That is a selective editing of his a career transition. Someone with this experience is bad because he’;s going to complete the project. Critics want a bozo in place so they can roll him or her.

    Porcari isn’t revolving . He didn’t leave and come back – that’s what is a revoking door. Its illegal for him to work and engage the gov’t on any project for which he had involvement – criminal law applies to these violation that you toss around so flippantly.

    If we lacked people that had experience or trapped people in government jobs you critics would complain we don’t have experience.

    It’s no win – just as when the blended was offered to cut impacts on the peninsula and reduce costs – the peninsula opposition is complaining about travel time.

    joe Reply:

    Arnold pushed him out

    His resignation was not unexpected, given the change in administration, but some politicians had lobbied Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to keep Morales, saying that in Morales’ 3 1/2 years in Sacramento he had helped straighten out Caltrans.

    Stayed in CA

    Morales plans to stay in California and find a job in transportation, but said he has not yet lined up a new job. And he vowed to help the new Caltrans director — whoever that may be — get acquainted with the agency.

    Back in government.
    Competent and effective. A nightmare for CARRD.

    synonymouse Reply:

    How about a nightmare for the Tejon Ranch Co.?

    jonathan Reply:

    Jeff Morales? “Competent and effective”? Director of Caltrains when construction of the Bay Bridge started? Who presided over what, at least $2 billion over-runs on a $1.6 billion project?

    “Competent and effective”? Joe, you have surpassed yourself.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I believe the Bayconic Bridge totals out around six and a half bil.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is curious how much attention is being paid to the intricacies of the court process, which could drag on for some time. And in the end it does not seem there is support for carte blanche, ie. no judicial oversight of Prop 1a.

    Why? The underlying politics is shifting. PB-CHSRA is losing political ground. The importance of the Gavin Newsom trial balloon is being ignored. Gavin is not a rail person; his interest is public opinion. And please do not suggest he is operating in a vacuum. He was put up to this. Jerry is facing genuine concern amongst the political establishment that this project is out of control and becoming a major embarrassment and a gratuitous one at that.

    Nowhere to nowhere is a PR debacle and there is no easy way out of it. First off, who is running the show? Who is the “eminence grise” behind the decision to go for welfare rural commute ops instead of hsr. Who fired Van Ark? It looks like decision by commitee, like a sit-down of the Dons. No way to run a railroad. And no way to formulate a game plan with backups.

    The court case is making it clear PB has no laundry list of options; it is strictly my way or the highway. Even if the jedi mind trix work it’s still all downhill from here because of the gross nowhere to nowhere botch and the utter impossibility of getting any private capital that is not a guaranteed loan. And if the Steinberg types are going to raise any taxes it is going to go to the teachers’ union. And I’d love to see them put an hsr bond issue on the ballot.

    Remember Gavin is young and represents and is anticipating public opinion 5 years down the road whereas Jerry is enmired in a holy war in his own mind and cannot budge from stay the course.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sorry – two “t’s” in committee

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The underlying politics is shifting.

    Remind us again how Meg the Magnificent was going to win in a landslide and how this proposition or that proposition was going to be sounded defeated.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Mega Meg was from the outset the underdog, but maybe running did help her get into HP. I always figured the machine and the teachers’ union to win. They are always around, like the Camorra.

    But Gavin Newsom is a Republican? Maybe his remarks were meant as a wake-up call coming from higher up the food chain. They know Jerry is stubborn and cloistered – but his scheme is becoming an embarrassment.

    Those DOT guys were really stupid to take the nowhere to nowhere bait. They are on the hook now, orphaned, Queretaro style.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The revolving door can be very bad as it is one-way. I know you don’t care about other countries, but in both Israel and Japan there’s a big problem coming from the fact that the regulators then leave to join the companies they’re supposed to regulate. In Japan we saw the effects of that corruption with Fukushima; in Israel the result is that the ministry of finance routinely forgives tax avoidance by large multinational corporations while destroying self-employed people’s lives if they owe $1,000 in social security taxes.

    And no, joining the private sector isn’t inevitable for a government official. Manuel Melis Maynar went to teach at a university after leaving Madrid Metro, Jay Walder moved from the New York MTA to the Hong Kong MTR, and David Gunn moved from transit agency to transit agency until he became the president of Amtrak.

    joe Reply:

    “The revolving door can be very bad as it is one-way.”

    It’s not revolving is it. It would be nice if words had meaning and the meaning wasn’t abused to disparage people.

    Since this is about HSR – what’s the specific conflict with this one-way door? (No I am not going to spend a few day reading about japan when the issue is in CA and our project.)

    “And no, joining the private sector isn’t inevitable for a government official. ”
    I never implied or said it is inevitable. It need not be banned for life either.
    What Morales did was forced on him by a new administration – it would a crime to lose such talent just because of political churn. And even if he took at job at Stanford – he;d be working in the private sector. He’d have to find a public job teaching or move his family out of state just to avoid disturbing the delicate sensibilities of HSR opponents.

    synonymouse Reply:

    To the civilian PB and CHSRA appear linked by the revolving door.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They aren’t happy when they leave and go to Hong Kong either, like Van Ark. They see all sorts of dark conspiracies and reasons why he was forced to resign. Nothing is going to please them.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Um, no. When Walder left for Hong Kong, nobody on SAS, even the more conspiratorial commenters, complained that there was corruption involved. People got pissed that the MTA failed in retaining him, but didn’t say it was an unethical practice. Ditto when Lhota left to run for mayor: people got pissed that he used the MTA as a springboard, but again there were no complaints about corruption.

    And as for experience, some people stay in government, or come from private industries that involve a similar skill set but no regulatory conflict of interest (for example, moving from a freight railroad to a commuter railroad or Amtrak). Look at David Gunn’s career path again.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and when they do appoint someone who doesn’t have any ties they complain that he or she doesn’t have enough experience. There’s no pleasing them.,

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I see plenty of one-way examples in the repository of all knowledge in the world.

    And if you don’t want to read about Japan, then tough shit. Go argue with people in my Facebook feed who refuse to consider studies that show unemployment benefits do not actually kill jobs because those studies focus on a program in Austria as a natural experiment.

    Can you expect finance regulators to do an impartial job if they expect to be hired by an investment bank in the next five years? No? Then why the forgiveness of rail project managers who are hired by private bidders? Why the forgiveness of a legislator who proposes changes to the state’s environmental protection laws and then retires and gets hired by Chevron?

    jonathan Reply:


    think Jonathan may be referring to some documents that we posted on our website that show

    the Authority asked PB, after the fact, to justify an assertion they pinned on PB and that PB may not have had much of a choice but to make certain changes that may border on the edge of professional standards, given that their contract (which is one of the largest if not largest that have) was up for renewal.

    We have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.

    Yes, I’d seen that CARRD page. I was reminded of it when that pitiable booby Joe cited the “final Phase1 memo”

    It’s very informative to compare that to the January draft, which contains the paragraph:

    The travel times generated from the computer model account for the physical characteristics of the proposed route geometry and the times are considered “pure” travel time, or best time that might be achieved

    which Frank Vacca morphed into “[…] appropriate assumptions for train performance, operating characteristics, and Federal and State regulations”.

    I guess no-one from Caltrain told CHSRA that Caltrain’s “blend’ (per Caltrain’s final “Caltrain/Califonia HSR Operations Analysis” is only going to increase speeds on the Peninsula to 110 mph, not 125? The Authority’s memo assumes a maximum speed of 125 mph. Even PB’s earlier draft says that if the maximum is 110 mph, the SF/SJ time goes from 30:22 to 32 minutes. “Oops”.

    Somebody better tell Frank Vacca that CHSRA’s Sj-SF “best time that might be achieved” is actually 32 minutes, because Caltrain (who owns and operates the Corridor) only plans to upgrade to 110moh, not 125. Elizabeth, has CARRD asked the Authority for an explanation of this discrepancy?

    Michael Reply:

    Check me if I’m wrong, but 110mph is maximum allowed without full grade separation (FRA Class 6), so 125mph couldn’t be permitted until full grade separation (Class 7). I’m assuming the FRA wouldn’t allow Caltrain to cut the line up into chunks to make some Class 7 and some Class 6 to allow short sections of 125mph running where there are suitable distances that are grade separated, so it’s 110mph for blended.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It needs something better than two gates, flashing lights and a bell for 111. There have been some experiments but no one has actually tried for 111 without grade separation.

    jonathan Reply:


    Hey! 111 isn’t that much different from 110, In fact, 123 is closer, by percentage, to 110, than 3:00 hours is to 2:40. So, Caltrain get the corridor in compliance with FRA’s rules for 110, decide to run at 115 or 120 or 123, and a judge will okay it! Coming within 10% or 12% or 13% of the law is close enough, for HSR!

    jimsf Reply:

    Considering the amount of time, demographic shift, and economic growth that is likely to happen between now the time sf-sf service begins via pacheco, ( how many years to build pacheco tunnels etc) my guess then most of the line will be grade seperated. I think everything is going to fall into place. Just not as quickly as most of us would like it too.

    jonathan Reply:

    You mean you guys really can’t see that CHSRA’s plan to run, over Caltrain’s “blended” corridor, from SF-SJ in 30:22 only works if Caltrain upgrades their line from 110 mph to 125pmh?

    Since Caltrain has no plans to do that, and the Authority and Caltrain agree that Caltrain’s “blended” plan is the full, final build-out for Phase 1 of California HSR, then… CHSRA’s plan to run from 4th and King to San Jose (and not stop) , in 30:22, does not work. Running from 4th and King, and blasting through San Jose, will take at least 32 minutes. Running from Transbay (the legally defined terminus of the system) will take at least 35 to 36 minutes.

    But jimsf says that’s OK, because in 20 to 30 years, magic pixies will have worked, silently, unpaid and in the dead of night, to fully grade-separate the Peninsula.

    Is what what passes for “planning” in the pro-HSR community? Is that what passes for conformance with the law?

    “Oh, no, officer, you can’t ticket me for driving at 45mph in a 35 mph area. I’m sure that in 20 or 30 years, it will be an expressway, with a speed limit of 45 or more. See? So you can’t ticket me for driving 45 mph today!”

  12. Thomas
    Feb 16th, 2014 at 12:08

    If Part 2 of the Tos/Fukuda case is heard, when may that be? If it is determined that the Authority will not meet the travel times and no subsidies rule, would that stop access to Prop 1A funds, no matter how the appeals court rules?

    jonathan Reply:


    The press reports which covered Friday’s Appellate court decision, also said that Judge Kenny heard arguments in Part 2 of the Tos/Fukuda case, that very same day.

    Thomas Reply:

    Wasn’t the arguments whether or not the case should be heard, not the hearing on travel time/subsidies itself?

    jonathan Reply:

    You’re thinking of the Appellate Court’s decision on whether or not to accept the State’s appeal to Judge Kenny’s ruling in the first case, over funding and EIRs. The court decided to accept the appeal, and set dates for each side to submit written briefs.

    On the same day, Judge Kenny heard arguments on a separate matter: whether or not the Authority’s plan meets the time requirements in Prop 1A.

    Thomas Reply:

    Well, according to Kathy Hamilton’s blog, it sounds like the case itself hasn’t been taken up yet. Arguments were heard on whether the case should even move forward-

    “Coincidentally the same day, Sacramento Superior Court, Judge Michael Kenny heard arguments as to why or why not part 2 (526A) of the Tos/Fukuda/Kings County case should move forward. The second part of the case is about broken promises in the bond measure. The Tos plaintiffs will attempt to show that promises such as travel time requirements will not be met, thereby breaking their contract with the public. ”

    Alan Reply:

    That’s what I gathered from the KXTV Sacramento articles as well.

    Interesting thing–Tos, et. al., are suing under Code of Civil Procedure section 526a. However, that section, by its clear language, only applies to “…a county, town, city or city and county of the state…” *Not* the state itself, nor any agency of state government. CHSRA is an agency of state government, and so would appear to be immune under CCP 526a. Curious why the AG hasn’t argued that, unless they feel that it would it would be more convincing to get a favorable ruling on the merits. Litigation strategy…

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “On the same day, Judge Kenny heard arguments on a separate matter: whether or not the Authority’s plan meets the time requirements in Prop 1A”

    no he didn’t, he was asked to hear arguments, he did not rule on that request.

    jonathan Reply:

    Huh? Where did I say he “ruled”? You quote me saying the judge”heard arguments”.
    Did President’s Day somehow become Reading Incomprehension Day, and everyone was told but me?

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    no, he did not hear arguments

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    look at my inverted commas on the 1.26pm post, you said he heard arguments, i said he did not rule, and knock off the insults dude.

    Keith Saggers Reply:


    please respond to the remarks of Thomas, Alan and myself above.

  13. Keith Saggers
    Feb 16th, 2014 at 12:28
  14. jonathan
    Feb 16th, 2014 at 14:40

    If I may quote Robert Cruickshank, posting to this blog in March 2013:

    If, however, the “blended plan” becomes a permanent solution, then that is not workable and would need to be opposed. And there is a risk that will happen, so I can see where Kopp is coming from here.

    In point of fact, the “blended” pan *is* the permanent solution. The “blended” plan is the Authority’s official, fully-built-out Phase 1 (SF to Al/Anaheim0 plan. Extending the quad-tracking on the Peninsula has been vetoed, and it would now require a *unanimous* vote of all the cities along the Pensula corridor to change that.

    Robert, if that doesn’t count as ‘permanent”, I don’t know what does. So, are you prepared to oppose the “blended” plan yet?

    Eric M Reply:

    Wrong! SB 557 does make it harder for CAHSRA to add 2 more tracks on the peninsula on its own. But not impossible nor set it at a permanent 2 tracks.

    joe Reply:

    The MTC can refuse to co-pay for any crossing or underpasses unless the design complies with a full build or accommodates passing track.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Heminger can get “retired”.

    jonathan Reply:

    If you’re going to say I’m wrong, then please *read* what I actually wrote. SB 557 does indeed restrict the Caltrain corridor to a primarily two-track “blended” system. Quad-tracking the Peninsula has indeed been vetoed. To go beyond the “blended” system, SR 557 approval from *all* nine parties to the MOU. Here, “all” means they have to approve: they have to be unanimous. Which is what I said.

    Eric M Reply:

    I read what you posted. Just because you try to convince others it is a permanent 2 track system up the peninsula, does not mean so.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not permanent. You might be dead by the time it changes but it’s not permanent.

    Zorro Reply:

    Actually Blended is not ‘permanent’ at all, if HSR needs more room in the future, like 4 tracks, then the CHSRA can expand the ROW & that isn’t much really from what I’ve read.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Alternately half empty hsr trains can be terminated at San Jose and what passengers there are can transfer to full Caltrains.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A train whether it’s got Caltrain logos on the side, HSR logos on the side or BART logos on the side stil takes up track space.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is taking up track space sitting in San Jose, not on the blend.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    if they transfer across the platform to Caltrain or BART that train takes up space north of San Jose.

  15. Thomas
    Feb 16th, 2014 at 17:18

    According to Kathy Hamilton’s blog-, the briefs for the CA Supreme Court appeal were sent Feb 4 and 10. For the Appeals Court, the deadline for the plaintiff’s brief is Mar 17, with a reply within 15 days. My question is, shouldn’t the briefs from Feb 4/10 be the same as the ones being sent in March, since they are just the same arguments being heard in a different court? Couldn’t both sides send the briefs immediately? I am just anxious to get a ruling, one way or the other.

    “The California Supreme Court denied their request to be heard, but ordered the Appeals court to review briefs filed February 4th by the Tos/Fukuda/Kings County attorneys and was filed February 10th by the AG’s office.

    In addition the Appeals Court agreed to “stay” (temporarily suspend) Judge Kenny’s ruling for the Tos/Fukuda/Kings County case while they reviewed the case. The Authority had been required to comply with Judge Kenny’s ruling by March 21, 2014 or risk contempt of court. The Court of Appeal gave the Tos litigants until March 17th to file a brief and the Attorney General’s office has 15 days after that to answer if they wish.”

  16. Robert S. Allen
    Feb 16th, 2014 at 19:39

    2008 Prop 1-A, “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train…” on Caltrain track would be neither safe nor reliable. HSR needs a fenced, secure trackway with no grade crossings. HSR on “Blended Rail” would be highly vulnerable to accident and sabotage. Better to terminate HSR at San Jose Diridon with cross-platform transfers to Caltrain and Capitol Corridor.
    —– Phase 2, upgrade Amtrak’s East Bay route to Sacramento, with a new intermodal station in Oakland under the BART overhead at I-880/7th Street. BART trains from there about every four minutes would reach all four downtown San Francisco BART stations in six to ten minutes. Better, safer, more reliable, and cheaper.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    why are trains with Caltrain logos on the side less likely to have accidents or be sabotaged? Or Capitol Corridor trains or BART trains for that matter.

    Clem Reply:

    HSR does not need fenced secure grade-separated trackway in areas where speeds are conventional (80 – 100 mph). It’s just another train. While I can’t speak to reliability, as far as safety is concerned you will be hard-pressed to point out a single accidental death of a passenger traveling on a peninsula corridor train in the past century, which is orders of magnitude safer than the parallel highway 101.

    It’s also intriguing that your solution to perceived limitations of the blend on the West side of the bay is to propose a blend on the East side of the bay. Do you think it will be faster, safer or more reliable?

    Alan Reply:

    Horseshit. Operating HSR on Caltrain at speeds of 125 or below would be no more danger than the current NEC operation, where Acela trains mix with NJ Transit, SEPTA and MARC commuters–including on the double-track approaching the Hudson River tunnels.

    Besides, it would violate Prop 1A which requires HSR service to Transbay Terminal, not some Mickey Mouse combination of HSR to SJ, Amtrak to Oakland and BART to SF.

    Mr. Allen, a long-time BART director, is clearly trying to beef up BART’s dominance at the expense of the Peninsula. The Capitol Corridor upgrades are a sound project and should be done, but they’re not mutually exclusive with HSR and should not be seen as such. And if the best that Mr. Allen can do is to try to cry “sabotage” (read: “terrorism”) to oppose HSR, he might as well concede that he’s lost the argument.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Robert S. Allen is a former BART director with the BART mentality that BART should replace Caltrain on the peninsula and be extended to the far reaches of the universe. I have seen correspondence from Mr. Allen to Caltrain advocating for BART down the peninsula. Never mind the astronomical cost of BART and that Caltrain can provide superior service if operated the way it should be operated.

    Terminating HSR at San Jose, forcing people to transfer for San Francisco would significantly deter the ridership potential. And then advocating for a ‘phase 2’ second transfer…. How is that faster, better, safer, more reliable, and cheaper than a direct HSR ride to downtown SF?

  17. jimsf
    Feb 16th, 2014 at 21:20

    I hate to be the voice of truth and reality, but get real, no one on arguing over this stuff on this blog is “deeply concerned” about legalities.

    This is blog is populated by people who are otherwise “pro american” but simply politically opposed on the one hand( republicans, obama haters, anti poor, anti labor, anti union, anti everything except the status quo of “ive got mine to hell with you and bleeding hearts”) and on the other hand, by people who support hsr, but are mad cuz its not being done “their way” because while they have this, that, and the other, educational credentials, they also have for the most part, an affinity for other countries and a, not even thinly veiled, but fairly blatant politically based disdain for the united states, its way of life and its international policy. ( jealous much Heather?)

    Its all so ridiculous obvious and so very very tiring and predictable. boring.

    I hate to break it to you but when the trains start running you are all going to be bitter and critical and crankly and unsatisfied. and the trains are going to run right passed you and no one on board will care.

    It doesn’t matter how right or wrong you think you are. It will be irrelevant and life in california will go on.
    sorry Im not trying to be mean. but really. enough.

    EJ Reply:

    Ah, yes, calling your opponents un-American. The last resort of the lazy, ill-educated asshole. Stop embarrassing yourself.

    jimsf Reply:

    I dont have “opponents.” And what I said is true.

    nslander Reply:

    You might want to lean how to read words in their context before calling their author an “ill-educated asshole.”

    EJ Reply:

    What words in what context? Please explain what he meant when he said that people who take issue with HSR, “while they have this, that, and the other, educational credentials, they also have for the most part, an affinity for other countries and a, not even thinly veiled, but fairly blatant politically based disdain for the united states, its way of life and its international policy.”

    No, really, I’d be fascinated for you to break it down for us.

    jimsf Reply:

    I should have been more specific. I wasn’t thinking of anyone from california, just some outsiders who have made it clear.

    jonathan Reply:

    Do break it down for us.

    jonathan Reply:

    … yes, you should have made it clear. You have a list of people you think are “un-American”.
    You mention that these people oppose US foreign policy. Perhaps because they opposed George W. Bush’s foreign policy, perhaps?

    So, jimsf, you have a list of people who you call un-American, because they opposed policies of a deeply-unpopular Republican adminitration, and you’re deriding their exercise of free speech. Do I have that right? Because it does seem to be what you’re saying.

    I do wonder if Lynn Schenk is on your list: a senior CHSRA Board member, who refused to vote to approve the “blended” plan, and made it clear she would vote “no” because, in her opinion, the “blended” plan is not HSR and violates Prop 1A. Dan Richard was forced to cancel the vote (because it would have failed), and re-schedule a vote at a later Board meeting with more members.

    Do you think Lynn Schenk is un-American, too? Just curious.

    jimsf Reply:

    I dont know what you are talking about. I think you missed the point.

    EJ Reply:

    Then surely you can explain your point? Who are you referring to that opposes CA HSR because they have a “fairly blatant politically based disdain for the united states, its way of life and its international policy.”?

  18. Thomas
    Feb 17th, 2014 at 11:54

    Just would like a timeframe as to how long the appeal will take…the briefs from the plaintiff’s side are due March 17. But since this case is being handed down from the Supreme Court, couldn’t both sides basically just use the same briefs that were sent to the Supreme Court, expediting the process and allowing for a conclusion sooner?

  19. Brian_FL
    Feb 17th, 2014 at 16:10

    Off Topic
    Things I thought I would never see: Republican (and tea party favorite) FL Gov. Rick Scott wanting to spend $200 million on a new train station at Orlando airport!

    He keeps this up and pigs may fly soon here in Florida. With this announcement, AAF has all the station planning wrapped up for their system.,0,892246.story

    Donk Reply:

    I don’t understand how these stations keep on costing $200M+. Is this going to be another Transbay Terminal?

    The AAF project is great news for FL. The only beef I have is why FL didn’t figure this out earlier. CA has had Amtrak CA running throughout CA since the 90s.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    I can think of one word: government involvement.

    The new Miami airport station (aka Miami Central Station) from what I can tell cost about $162M and that was only for Amtrak service! The MIA airport shuttle train and Metrorail station portions add more cost. With the Orlando station, it is being built to accommodate AAF, Sunrail, and a future light rail system. See page 17 of this document for cost breakout:

    I would really love to know how much AAF is spending on their downtown Miami station (similar in scope) in order to compare private development vs. public projects.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Sorry for the broken link: should be –

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Where does your link say $162 million for Amtrak alone?

    Brian_FL Reply:

    I deducted the amounts for Metrorail ($518M)and MIA Mover ($52M) from the $722M (see note at bottom of p17). I assumed that the remaining money would be primarily for Amtrak. Although the different areas of work may include common infrastructure (like bus and taxi space) – the way the document describes the breakout is vague. This document is the best I have found that breaks down the different modes at Miami Central Station.

    I just discovered a $10M error in my calculation – it should be $152M for the Amtrak station. Still a very large amount of money.

  20. jonathan
    Feb 17th, 2014 at 17:05

    From Crosy, Stills, Nash and (last, but certainly in this context not least):

    Teach your parents well,
    Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
    And feed them on your dreams
    The one they picked, the one you’ll know by.

    Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
    So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

  21. JJJ
    Feb 17th, 2014 at 20:39

    Interesting article claiming that 50 seat airplanes are on their way out. Take with a grain of salt, Ive read some of their articles on industries I know more about and they werent very accurate

    That being said, the central valley lives on small regional jets. If airlines cut them out….well, one would need HSR to get to bigger airports.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    the central valley lives on small regional jets

    The Central Valley lives on highways. Orders of magnitude, people! Orders of magnitude.

    Donk Reply:

    This is an interesting article that further supports the case for HSR. If there really is a major pilot shortage on the horizon, then shifting some of the less profitable routes to HSR would be attractive. I don’t know anything about training for train operators, but I would assume that an airline pilot needs significantly more training than a HSR operator.

    joe Reply:

    No Pilot shortage. That would mean they could not hire pilots even if they increased wages 2 or 3 times. There is a shortage of pilots willing to work for low wages.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If the pilots aren’t willing to work for wages that let the airline make a profit, then there’s a pilot shortage.

    (Granted, given the state of the airline industry, arguably any positive wage is too high to make a profit for the legacy carriers…)

    joe Reply:

    When the skilled labor is available.

    The term shortage refers to supply. At higher wages the jobs are filled – that response to salary shows there is a supply. Airlines are not going to find skilled pilots to work at below market wages. Collude and suppress pilot wages across the board and pilots will seek other jobs.

    I constantly see news stories that we have a skill shortage when employers advertise jobs at 30K and cannot find highly skilled applicants.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the pilots aren’t willing to work at a wage that allows the airline to make a profit the fares are too low. But then the airlines are competing against heavily subsidized highways which make fares appear too high.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That, too.

    And then there are the asshole companies – the Allegiants, the Spirits, the fortunately dead SkyBus – that pay everyone shit wages and offer “low” fares (enjoy your $200 surcharge for drinking water on board).

    joe Reply:

    if you are using a NYC regional airport, you are paying NYC regional rents and cost of living for overnights. That burden along with more flights per day on substandard wages leads to inexperienced, over worked and fatigued pilots.
    Pilots who work for regional airlines can earn as little as $12.50 per hour, less than the average hourly wage of a New York City taxi driver, has learned.

    Rebecca Shaw — who co-piloted Continental Flight 3407, which crashed in February near Buffalo, N.Y., killing 50 people — earned an annual salary of just $16,200 at regional carrier Colgan Air, according to testimony by Mary Finnigan, Colgan’s vice president for administration.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ah, yeah, the regional airline clusterfuck. HSR can’t come soon enough on those routes. I had a “fuck cost-effectiveness, I want HSR now” episode when flying between New York and Detroit.

    Although, I think that’s a bit different from what goes on at Spirit and such. Spirit, like all other low-cost carriers, has some legitimate cost cuts – it schedules its flights to eliminate the need for crew overnights. But it also pays the sort of wages and engages in the sort of pretend cost-reductions that make communism seem attractive. At least the Trabi didn’t try pretending to be anything other than the shit car it was.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Have to convince the people in Ohio and Pennsylvania that trains don’t turn Real Americans ™ into slobbering communists. Or the TSA that being in a sealed train between Buffalo and Detroit via Windsor won’t turn you into a drug running terrorist along with convincing Ontarians that trains don’t won’t turn them into communists.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’d expect that in the progressive state of New York, where the governor is a solid Rockefeller Republican rather than a Teabagger, they’d be planning to build HSR to Buffalo. But noooo…

    J. Wong Reply:

    Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, is a Democrat not a Republican, and the son of another Democratic governor, Mario Cuomo.

    So I guess even more you’d expect him to be behind HSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They’ve been planning to build HSR in New York since the Rockefeller Republican governor was actually Rockefeller. The freshly released study can go on the shelf with all the other HSR studies that have been done since the 60s. At least they are acting on some of the short term recommendations of the HSR to Montreal study … released ten years ago. Those should be finished in a few years.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I always assumed that the media articles referring to Cuomo as a Democrat were typos. His agenda is permitting fracking, cutting funding to social services like homeless shelters, opposing transit, and using a transit-less bridge as his main public works showpiece. The party that runs on such agenda in New York is the Republican party, at least before it went all crazy with Paladino.

    joe Reply:

    In the case of Cuomo, The apple fell from the tree and rolled down hill.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Palandino was the headliner, they have been nominating the bat shit insane in more obscure races, and losing, for a while. Ask Dede I-should-have-been-Congresswoman-for-Life Scozzafava how it’s working out. I live in that district, rumors I’ve heard, they are busy cooking up a three way race between a Democrat from Planet Earth, the not quite bat shit insane Republican and a certifiably bat shit insane Conservative. The not quite bat shit insane Republican may just be waiting to show how bat shit insane she can be. Won’t know for sure until she opens her mouth. Won’t know for sure if it’s going to be three way until the filing deadline for primaries is past.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t think the apple fell too far from the tree, not when the tree ran for mayor with the slogan, “vote for Cuomo, not the homo.”

    Reedman Reply:

    What happened between New York and Detroit?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    A flight that took around 5 hours door-to-door, Ann Arbor to Morningside Heights. As far as I remember it wasn’t horrendously late or anything. At least the plane was half-empty and I could sit next to a grad school classmate who I only realized was on the same flight when we saw each other at the airport.

    JJJ Reply:

    Being a pilot is extremely expensive and requires years of work. You have to pay for hundreds of flight hours out of pocket. And you need a standard bachelor’s on top of that.

    People naturally arent going to do that for $25,000

    joe Reply:

    Now if the airlines decided to invest and train people and pay for their education and skill development, they may get a several years of service for 25K (or well below market wages) as part of this agreement.

  22. synonymouse
    Feb 18th, 2014 at 10:31

    A substantial lash-up that I perceive with the litigation of Prop 1a is that it was certified legal, internally consistent and coherent, proper and enforceable before it could be placed on the ballot.

    In other words if the Judge were to find critical illegalities in Prop 1a the election would be void and CHSRA cancelled.

    Alternately, and by far the most likely, the Judge will impose systematically the provisos of Prop 1a and the PB scheme found non-compliant in a number of areas. Since PB has no backup plan all will stop and go to appeal.

    Nowhere to nowhere is a disaster. The Feds should pull the ARRA funding immediately.

  23. Thomas
    Feb 18th, 2014 at 18:04

    Besides the lawsuit issue, isn’t there another major hurdle- agreement with UP and BNSF? Hasn’t UP said that they would not allow HSR on or near their property? Isn’t the alignment going to run right next to UP in the Fresno area? I believe the FRA funding rules says they need freight RR approval before construction. So what if UP does not agree?

    synonymouse Reply:

    There was a letter from the BNSF to PB-CHSRA detailing a number of issues in contention and that would need to be resolved.

    It seems that PB is intentionally preparing a unique scenario, Palmdale or bust. Perhaps they are burnt out on the project. It looks more like a startover from scratch attitude if you don’t approve everything we are doing. So best to just shitcan the whole thing.

    If PB-CHSRA wanted they could have recourse to California’s huge congressional delegation to work out a deal to move the ARRA funds south of Bako but they don’t have the energy apparently. So the hell with the turkey. Let Musk work on it or invite the Japanese to scope out maglev.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Gavin’s got my vote now.

    Joey Reply:

    UP has maintained quite explicitly that HSR may not touch their ROW except to cross over or under it, and even then no supports can lie on their property. I didn’t know they had any say over what happened near their routes though. Is there a source for this?

    synonymouse Reply:

    They need an operating agreement before any Amtrak trains on class one trackage, say the San Joaquin, could utilize the orphan ARRA segment. The BNSF letter spelled out the relevant details.

    Thomas Reply:

    The alignment in the Fresno area is on or adjacent to the UPRR tracks for about 20 miles or so, and is part of the 1st 29-mile construction package. Considering UP has said it won’t allow HSR on its ROW, how can the Authority claim construction will begin soon? Could UP’s position stop the project?

    Joey Reply:

    I’m still skeptical that UP has any say over what happens adjacent to but not on their ROW.

    Clem Reply:

    Freight railroads exist to serve industries adjacent to their ROW, by means of sidings and spur tracks. Their beef will be about access to current and future customers, which could be cut off by HSR.

    Joey Reply:

    This is definitely true and they have cited it as a concern, but does that really give them any say over what happens?

    As an aside, this is one aspect of their non-cooperation I find mystifying. If UP runs next to SR-99 and HSR is going to be run along the same corridor, then it’s in UP’s best interests to make sure they don’t get sandwiched between HSR and the highway, thus cutting off access to present and future customers. They could do this by allowing the CHSRA to move their ROW (at no cost to them of course) and then putting HSR in the old space, but their refusal to cooperate means that HSR is going to cut off freight spur access in many cases.

  24. Keith Saggers
    Feb 19th, 2014 at 07:54
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