Would Palo Alto Reject Caltrain Modernization out of Spite?

Feb 10th, 2014 | Posted by

The long-awaited Caltrain modernization plan is about to begin, using funding that comes from the Prop 1A high speed rail bond. And that has Palo Alto conflicted. First-term Palo Alto City Councilmember Gail Price was recently appointed to the VTA board. The VTA board recently voted to file an amicus curiae brief in support of the California High Speed Rail Authority’s efforts to get an appeals court to overturn Judge Michael Kenny’s ruling from last year that puts a dent in the ability of the Authority to tap the Prop 1A bonds.

And that has put Councilmember Price in an awkward position in a city where anti-HSR activism is loud enough that they’re willing to jeopardize Caltrain modernization:

“It was my feeling that as a member of the VTA board, it was in our best interests to go along with it,”: Price said.

She called the vote a “difficult choice,” which came down to Caltrain funding.

“If we don’t have the funding source for this, it will fall back on the partnering agencies,” Price said….

Though Price defended her vote as consistent with the council’s support for Caltrain and its acceptance of the “blended system” design in which Caltrain and high-speed rail share tracks on the Peninsula, she acknowledged that it could become a political liability. Price is now in the final year of her first council term and she told the Weekly that she plans to seek a second term in November. She also stressed that to characterize her vote as in support of high-speed rail would be to ignore the complexity of funding Caltrain’s modernization, a project that has been in the works for more than a decade and that finally has a chance to come to fruition.

It’s insane that voting for Caltrain modernization could be seen as a political liability. But then this is Palo Alto, which since 2009 has been working as hard as it can to stop the region and the state from implementing 21st century solutions to common problems. Their opposition to HSR is bad enough. The city’s consistent refusal to support additional growth, particularly in housing density, is also a major factor contributing to skyrocketing housing costs for Bay Area workers.

Palo Alto will benefit significantly from Caltrain modernization as well as HSR. Higher property values, more jobs, lower transportation costs, and lower CO2 emissions are just some of those benefits. I won’t rehash the whole long argument between this blog and Palo Alto’s failed political leaders, longtime readers are familiar enough with them.

But Caltrain modernization is such an obviously good thing that it should be backed no matter how it is funded. I don’t know enough about Councilmember Price to know whether she deserves re-election. Her vote for Caltrain modernization and for the amicus brief are signs that she at least has some sense. And that’s welcome on that council.

  1. morris brown
    Feb 10th, 2014 at 22:07
    #1

    Robert ignores the plain simple fact that the SB-1029 appropriation of $600 million for CalTrain and $500 million for MetroLink down south are blatantly illegal. The State Legislature allocated these funds, even though the legislature is mandated to allocate funds as designated in an approved “funding plan”. There was no funding for these regional projects in the only funding plan that has ever been approved, and that funding plan has been found to be illegal under Judge Kenny’s ruling(s).

    joe Reply:

    Robert ignores the plain simple fact that the SB-1029 appropriation of $600 million for CalTrain and $500 million for MetroLink down south are blatantly illegal. T

    No. The appropriation is not illegal. The incompetent plaintiffs did not even litigate the legality of the Legislature’s appropriation. Plaintiffs tried to admen their lawsuit but Kenny did not allow them to include the legislature.

    Judge Kenney did not rule the appropriation was illegal.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Damn! Folks like Morris really, really , REALLY don’t want to see anything done on the Peninsula corridor. For them it’s probably the diesel status quo or no rail at all. How pathetic!

    Alan Reply:

    As usual, Morris displays his ignorance of reality and the law. The spending for local transit funding–Caltrain and Metrolink, among others–is authorized by SHC 2704.095, which says absolutely nothing whatsoever about including these local projects in the CHSRA’s funding plans. The reason is simple. It’s not CHSRA’s money to spend, so why should they have to be required to account for the way it’s spent? Answer: They don’t.

    It’s only illegal in Morris’ world of senility, where anything that doesn’t take the Peninsula back to the 1950’s is “blatantly illegal”.

    Take your meds, Morris. The nurse is waiting for you.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Alan… Why don’t you read and understand? The section 2704.095 ….

    2704.095. (a) (1) Net proceeds received from the sale of nine hundred fifty
    million dollars ($950,000,000) principal amount of bonds authorized by this
    chapter shall be allocated to eligible recipients for capital improvements to
    intercity and commuter rail lines and urban rail systems that provide direct
    connectivity …

    is referencing the “connectivity funds”, which as I have written could be used for regional projects.

    The $600 Million for CalTrain electrification and $500 million for MetroLink down south were allocated (SB-1029), from the $9 billion of funds from Prop 1A reserved from High Speed Rail.

    Maybe Alan needs new glasses, because he certainly doesn’t understand the law and perhaps can’t or won’t read it.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The $1.5 billion program is funded through a nine-party agreement that leverages local, regional and federal funding to match $705 million in voter-approved high-speed rail bond revenues

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I like to cut and paste.

    Joe Reply:

    You like to bully people – it’s insecure, immature behavior to find someone to pick on and go at it.

    Joey Reply:

    Not all humans can pass a Turing test.

    Alan Reply:

    Morris, your senile ravings are getting a bit tiresome. Unlike you, I read the law and I actually understand it.

    You first claimed that the funding provided to Caltrain and Metrolink is “blatantly illegal” because it is not included in the CHSRA funding plan. BULLS***! SHC 2704.095 does not say a single word about any CHSRA funding plan–first, second, or fifteenth. Not one syllable.

    Once I pointed out how full of s*** you are, you tried to move the goalposts, lamely whining that SB-1029 allocated the local funding out of the HSR share of the bond funds. Again, another senile, bulls*** foaming from Morris.

    AB1034 provides that ALL of the proceeds from the authorized bonds are paid into a state account called the “High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Fund”. That includes the portion allocated for the local connectivity funding.

    SB-1029 properly appropriates the local funding from the “High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Fund”. Where else would the money come from, O Wise One? AB1034 did not create a separate fund for the local part of the bond money.

    So once again, Morris, you’re being pigheaded, and desperately trying to read things into the law WHICH DO NOT EXIST, to try to support your incredibly selfish attitude.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “[Jerry Brown], your senile ravings are getting a bit tiresome.”

    Moonbeam’s Palmdale Crusade reeks of dementia.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Morris does not realize if the Caltrain modernization is deemed illegal, and I think it could be, then PAMPA just lost a lot of leverage in this. Now CAHSR can recoup those funds for use in the Central Valley without another vote by the Legislature. Jerry Hill, Joe Simitian, and Mark DeSaulnier all end up holding the bag with nothing to show for it.

    This also strengthens the hand of BART, MTC, and Wiliie Brown in pushing Ring the Bay. Be careful what you wish for Morris, you just might get it…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The above politicians would suddenly be much supportive of putting Prop 1a back on the ballot.

    Kopp is the #1 advocate of Ring the Bay. No TBT tunnel and 4th & Townsend would be redeveloped by Lee & Co. PAMPA gets its subway. Could easily still happen.

    Eric Reply:

    BART ring the bay + HSR via Altamont terminating in downtown Oakland? I’d take that.

    Zorro Reply:

    Actually as part of either Prop 1a, about $950 million was supposed to go towards local transit…

    about $950 million of the bond proceeds would be available for capital projects on other passenger rail lines to provide connectivity to the high-speed train system and for capacity enhancements and safety improvements to those lines.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yes, but CalTrain was awarded funding from the main tranche of Prop 1a bonds.

  2. morris brown
    Feb 10th, 2014 at 22:13
    #2

    The AG today filed with the 3rd district court, a reply brief support the Authority’s petition to essentially overturn Judge Kenny’s rulings.

    This reply brief can be viewed at:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/206340038/High-Speed-Rail-Authority-reply-brief-Feb-10-2014

    A brief synopsis of this document would be that Judge Kenny had no right to issue the writ or deny Prop 1A validation. Accepting these arguments is saying the restrictions in Prop 1A are meaningless, and that the Legislature can appropriate Prop 1A funds and the Authority can spend these funds, however and wherever it wishes.

    Zorro Reply:

    Here’s a quote from that brief.

    Real Parties also fail to grapple with the fact that the trial court’s
    decision in the Validation Action casts substantial doubt on public finance
    procedures that have been in use since at least the enactment of the state
    General Obligation Bond Law (Gov. Code,§ 16720 et seq.) more than
    60 years ago. This is precisely the kind of circumstance-an issue of first
    impression with far-reaching implications-that warrants review by
    extraordinary writ. (Rodrigues v. Superior Court (2005) 127 Cal.App.4th
    1027, 1032 [''writ review of an appealable order is appropriate where it is
    necessary to resolve an issue of first impression promptly and to set
    guidelines for bench and bar"], citations omitted; Elden v. Superior Court
    (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 1497, 1504 [writ review permissible where petition
    raises "novel issue oflaw"].)
    The trial court’s decision in the Validation Action has implications
    for other infrastructure projects. If the Authority were to forgo appellate
    review, the trial court’s decision would remain problematic for other
    general obligation bond-funded projects. Real Parties’ answer to this is
    non-responsive. In a footnote, they argue that the trial court’s decision
    would not be binding in other bond validation actions. (Preliminary
    Opposition of Real Party Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. (“Howard Jarvis
    Opposition”), p. 2, fn. 2.) While true in the sense that the trial court’s order
    does not create a rule of law that is binding on other courts, this side-steps
    the real-world consequences of the trial court’s decision. A trial court
    ruling calling into question established procedures used by state finance
    3
    committees to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds is alone
    sufficient to make it more difficult for bond counsel to issue unqualified
    bond opinions. The standard for issuing an unqualified bond opinion is
    extremely high.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Allow me to translate

    “It’s true this foes not set president but we don’t like being held to the law so we are assuming a problem that does not exist to make this seem bigger, scarier, and more complex than it is to bully you into ruling against it for the good of the State”

    Alan Reply:

    No, rejecting those arguments means that Morris and John fail to understand that the simple mechanics of issuing bonds are a separate and distinct legal issue from the use of the proceeds of those funds.

    And yes, because Prop 1A does not prevent the Legislature from acting in the event of a (supposedly) inadequate funding plan, the Legislature can do pretty much what it sees fit. Judge Kenny correctly ruled that he has no authority to interfere with the Legislature’s exercise of discretion.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so in your world they can take the 9 billion in bonds and spend them on highways…the text of the law once the bonds are appropriated has no force of law?

    You cant tell me you think that is right. There is a court system for a reason. No branch of government has absolute power

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    oh and i love how supporters have stopped even paying lip service to the notion they are following the law. Now all the arguments revolve around how the law no longer matters. So all that talk about ensuring no stranded investment was apparently just talk.

    Good to know that their integrity can be bought for nothing. At least officials who take bribes get something in return for theirs. CAHSR officials are willing to lie for free.

    Joe Reply:

    Actually we are in support of the law. That’s why the appeal is important.
    The legislature acted and the court has not invalidated their constitutional delegated powers to appropriate funds. The funds were appropriated.
    The proposition offers no relief – he followed the law. He could not invalidate the appropriation. That’s the law in action. Love it for all that it is.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Answer the question joe. Do you belive that the legislature could apply the bond funds to highway construction in opposition to what the law requires. That is what the state is arguing. That the legislature can do whatever they want. I don’t hint he courts will have a lot of love for that argument.

    And stop acting like the opposition lost…they won…the current ruling is they can’t spend the bond money so regardless of if the appropriation was found ok, the bonds can’t be spent…that is the ruling as it stands now

    joe Reply:

    You are on a roll.

    The judge found the nothing in the law that allows him to invalidate the appropriation. The plaintiffs lost on many of their arguments.

    We’re awaiting an appeal.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Still have not answered the question: You you believe the administrations argument that the legislature has the power to spend the bond money without restriction or interference even if in direct opposition to the law? Answer the question.

    Joe Reply:

    It’s a question premised on a caricature. The legislature has the power to appropriate. It is their core constitutional power. The judge found no basis to invalidate their appropriation.
    I’m afraid your interpretation of what happened isn’t consistent with his ruling.

    Alan Reply:

    That’s not what the administration is arguing, John, and you know it. If the CHSRA did something like try to spend the money on a highway or school (other than relocations for the HSR project), Laurel and Hardy (aka: Brady and Flashman) might actually have a legitimate case.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    that is exactly what the administration is arguing. They are arguing that the requirements are for the funding plan only to inform the legislature, but once the legislature has voted to appropriate, that vote is beyond court ruling even if it is in direct conflict with the underlying law.

    Judge Kenny didnt strike down the appropriation, but he did issue a writ that prevented spending those funds until the EIRs were complete and all the money for the 1st usable segment identified. Both black letter, hard requirements of the law.

    Answer the question, do you agree that that the legislatures power to appropriate is absolute and beyond court review. Because if you believe that then any requirement in a proposition is worthless as long as the legislature votes. Think about the implications of that argument for a moment.

    Answer the question.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What parts of the usable segment are unfunded and which parts still need final environmental

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Just read about it in the latest business plan. They are 20 billon short and the EIRs won’t be done for more than a year. Let’s be honest, they want to ignore the law because they need to spend the federal money fpbefore 2017 or they lose it. So they are basically asking for permission to ignore the hard requirements because they can’t get everything together before the lose that fed money

    PS. Still waiting Joe for your answer. Do you agree the legislature does not have to follow the black letter requirements of the law and they can appropriate the money for anything they wish?

    joe Reply:

    PS. Still waiting Joe for your answer. Do you agree the legislature does not have to follow the black letter requirements of the law and they can appropriate the money for anything they wish?

    I don’t answer nonsensical hypotheticals.
    Not even sure what are black letter requirements. Why does color matter ?

    What matters is to what things they pertain. The requirements you refer (I think form what you write refer to the funding plan requirements – hard to tel since you are using euphemisms and generalities) There is a Mandated Funding Plan which is the 2011 funding plan for HSR. They do not pertain to anything else.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not going to cost 20 billion dollars to build the first usable segment.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Keep dancing around the issue Joe, I will keep asking. Do you belive that the CA HSR authority is required to identify all the funds for a usable segment and the EIRs or do you belive it is just a requirement for the funding plan, and as such once the money is appropriated they can do with it what they wish?

    And adirondacker you are right, the first IOS is 31 billion, they are 20 billion short. Look it up in the business plan, the IOS and the cost are identified in the table

    joe Reply:

    Do you belive that the CA HSR authority is required to identify all the funds for a usable segment and the EIRs or do you belive it is just a requirement for the funding plan, and as such once the money is appropriated they can do with it what they wish?

    It’s a rigged question that presupposes I must answer A or B only and only your way.

    The requirements refer to the mandated funding plan. The legislature appropriated money for HSR.

    Kenney ruled the funding plan was not compliant and he ruled he had no legal basis to invalidate the appropriation. So he ruled they can appropriate as they did and your hypothetical examples are irrelevant.

    You hammer on the first and refuse to accept the second part of his decision.

    What’s interesting is he also cautioned in his Aug ruling that he could not provide remedy that enforces an abstract right. he asked for the Nov hearing.

    The State correctly calls reworking the 2011 funding plan a useless act that enforces an abstract right since the funding plan does not impact the appropriation which funded that plan. He ruled the appropriation described in the plan was legal. So Kenney knew his remedy was at risk and forecast the current challenge.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A usable segment is not the same as the initial operating segment.

    Zorro Reply:

    ‘the initial operating segment’ is a concept that should never have been used since it appears nowhere in Prop1a from what I’ve read. But that’s My opinion.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Which is the heart of the question. As you said the state calls reworking the funding plan a useless act. So once the appropriation is done, it is no longer needed. But they go further than that. They argue that the requirement for identifying the funds and completing the EIR are for the funding plan only, not the bond money itself. This argument, if accepted, means that once the money is appropriated, there is no restriction on use of the bond money imposed by the law anymore.

    The question is simple, do you agree with the States argument?

    As for adirondacker. The authority choose to make up the IOS term which does not appear in the law. However, during the court case, in the appeal, and in the business plan, they define the IOS as the first segment that will be used. Unlike what they testified in front of the legislature, they did not redefine the IOS to equal the ICS (another made up term). So by the authorities own definition the IOS = usable segment. As joe is so fond of saying, they could solve this with a word processor, but they dont, because they know as soon as they redefine the 1st usable segment to just a 30 mile segment, they fail the other requirements of a usable segment defined in the law including no subsidy, must have power systems, etc.

    Its a fine mess they have backed themselves into. All just to hold on to the federal money for which they dont have a match anyway.

    joe Reply:

    They argue that the requirement for identifying the funds and completing the EIR are for the funding plan only, not the bond money itself. This argument, if accepted, means that once the money is appropriated, there is no restriction on use of the bond money imposed by the law anymore.

    .

    That’s your incorrect interpretation. I’m not obligated to explain your speculation.

    The authority isn’t required to change the IOS to ICS. They go one further, the editing of the 2011 Plan isn’t needed since it has no impact on the appropriation. A new, proposition 1a mandated funding plan is not needed until the next appropriation.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You are back to arguing it all has to erupt instanteously or it doesn’t meet the requirements of the law. The law says a usable segment has two stations. it doesn’t say it has to be used until another usable segement or two or three are built. Or that it has to have power systems, signals or for that matter tracks though one could argue it’s not usable without tracks.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Obviously you are not willing to answer joe, which is proof enough that you want HSR to win, but you don’t really support their argument. Regardless, we will see what the appellate court thinks of their case soon

    And adirondacker I have posted that section of the law over and over again. You know that the requirements of a useable segment are much more than 2 stations. I am not wasting time posting it again so you can ignore what it says

    joe Reply:

    My answer is “your interpretation, poised as a question, is wrong. ”

    Do you support HSR or are you a communist? Answer the question.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    My answer is neither. But that I did not ask you that kind of question. The question is simple.

    Do you agree with the logic of the State’s position on why the Kenny ruling is wrong?

    Joe Reply:

    I do not agree with your incorrect interpretation.
    I never will.

    You are entitled to be wrong but not ask others to accept a false statement and respond.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    No interpretation required. Do you agree with the state? It’s a simple question

    joe Reply:

    I agree wit the state’s petition. What you describe/summarize/interpret is not correct.

    Alan Reply:

    John, try reading and comprehending Judge Kenny’s decision. He specifically stated that a bond validation action has nothing to do with the use of the money from the sale of those bonds. The judge wrote that after the bonds are sold, if someone feels that the CHSRA or the local agencies are using the money in a manner contrary to Prop 1A, they are entirely free to file a new action claiming such.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That is not the whole story. He ruled that the authority did not complete the EIR and did not identify the funds and as such did not meet prop1a and issued a writ to prevent use of the funds until the requirements were met.

    Yes, if they use the funds and the line does not meet the time requirement they can sue again, but he ruled they were already in violation of some requirements.

    Alan Reply:

    You’re still conflating two separate issues. The bond validation does not, and never has had anything to do with the funding plan. That’s the Tos action. The judge correctly ruled that any dispute on the use of the funds has nothing to do with a validation action.

    joe Reply:

    The Validation ruling applies to all bonds. Schools Districts are particular concerned bond sales will now be ligated to death. Kenney went over a line.

    Nadia Reply:

    @ Joe, out of curiosity, have you attend the trials at all or have you listened to the audio of the trials or do you read the documents and media reports to form the basis of your conclusions?

    Joe Reply:

    I read the Petition. It’s part of the State’s argument.

    If you disagree, I hope you do so based on attending or listening to the trial. There’s no exclusive application of that ruling to the prop1a bond. It’s a dangerous precedent.

    Anyone doubting the risk to bonds hasn’t read Morris Brown’s comments.

    BTW what’s do you think of Menlo Park’s plan to post large eye-sore bill boards to generate funds for school funds?

    Nadia Reply:

    @Joe

    I’ve actually listened to the validation trial and attended the other trial. If you (or anyone else) would like to watch some of the trial, you can find them on the following Youtube channel (and for the record, this is not CARRD’s channel, but it is very handy for reference).

    http://www.youtube.com/user/derailhsr?feature=watch

    The validation suit is pretty simple, the committee is really a rubber stamp committee. The Authority or agency make the request, they write a brief something stating their request, (really – it could have been anything) and the request is granted.

    In fact, if you read the docs, you know that the public doesn’t even have the right to do a public records request of what documentation was submitted because it is considered a quasi-legislative committee and they can deny the request without any recourse for the public.

    In general, the idea is that this is a committee made up of key people, who know their job, understand the request, reviewed the request and are simply the last check before authorizing the bond sales.

    HOWEVER, in this case a number of unusual things happened.

    First, the usual committee members (who presumably were chosen for their deep knowledge and expertise) weren’t all available, so some alternates went. Do the alternates know the subject matter or are they as expertly chosen as the original members – no idea – but that made this unusual.

    Next, the documentation, which usually says something to the effect of “we are asking for X money to put towards Y thing that is legally called blah blah blah” and goes on to explain the need, is turned in to the committee.

    In this case, the Authority’s request simply said – we think now is a good time, so give us our money. They didn’t actually turn in any other paperwork – which again, could probably be a pizza menu and usually wouldn’t matter, but these guys didn’t even do that. More on this in a minute….

    Finally, the entire meeting lasted under 2 minutes. That’s 8 billion dollars in under 2 minutes of review – maybe this is normal – but it seemed weird to us – but who knows….

    Unfortunately for the Authority, a CARRD rep. naively asked to see the paperwork (because we were curious how it all works). And the Dept. of Finance, who apparently had never received a similar request in maybe – forever, naively responded back – well we don’t have any paperwork – we just give the money.

    If you read the docs, you know the judge makes it clear that the since this is a quasi-legislative committee, he can only rule on whether the procedure was followed (not even on whether the docs they turned in were adequate).

    And he points out, that under normal circumstances the committee did not need to respond to us and thus would NOT have admitted there was no paperwork. And, that if that had happened, the judge would not be able to rule against the Authority because he had no evidence and he could not request the evidence of the committee.

    But, since this one time, they did respond and the judge received that information through another person’s public records request, then the evidence is legit- and since they admitted that they didn’t turn in even so much as a pizza menu, then he had no choice but to rule against the Authority.

    (Which is why this whole idea that this judgement affects the ability of the State to conduct its business is silly since as long as they don’t respond to any public records requests – which they don’t have to do – they have nothing to worry about).

    To be clear, the remedy here is simple: call another meeting, turn in a pizza menu, and we’re all set. I would hope this isn’t how things happen when we are talking about $8 billion, but that’s the way the law goes…..

    The problem is that now that Kenny has ruled against the Authority in the other ruling, the Authority can’t be sure that the Treasurer and the rest of the committee would still authorize the bonds.

    That is the real reason they are asking the Appellate courts to step in.

    I’d encourage you to watch the videos – I think you’ll understand that reading the documents doesn’t give you all of the background you need to understand the arguments being made. Also, throughout the trials, Kenny always gives as much deference as possible to the agency (which is how the law works – since it is assumed that an agency or Authority always act as good stewards of money for the public).

    You can see this in the way he poses questions and scenarios to Stuart Flashmann. And keep in mind Kenny served on CARB – so he knows how this works. The fact that he ruled against them is actually a really big deal (despite how everyone tried to downplay the significance of the rulings).

    Given that the Authority has a remedy available to them (just go ask again), it will be interesting to see if the Appellate courts take the case or tell them to exhaust their remedies first.

    Joe Reply:

    I’m not a lawyer so watching the trail would be as useful as my watching the Olympics to learn ski jumping.

    I am familiar with the summary arguments and yes the complaints the legislative sub-committee is a rubber stamp. Just do it over the way the Judge wants it to be fine.

    His judicial oversight and use if litigation to govern is a power grab by courts and disgruntled citizens. The real reason they want an appeal is Kenney’s ruling will allow any party to litigate how the legislature conducts it’s business. Opponents want to litigate away HSR by crippling government.

    His rulings are very significant as you note. That’s why it will be taken on Appeal.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You think everything has to be paid for before it erupts simultaneously from the boson of the earth from San Francisco to Los Angeles as a trainloads of passengers glide down from the sky. Judges probably won’t see it that way. That they haven’t completed the paperwork for San Bernandino to Palm Springs doesn’t affect whether or not they spend money for Fresno to Bakersfield.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I guess they shouldn’t have written the law that way then. I don’t think they should have, supporters made a real mistake when they wrote the law that way, but the reality they did.

    The judge agrees they wrote the law that way. It must be quite hard for you because Judge Kenny found against your fanciful argument that the truth is not the truth

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They didn’t write it that way and judges aren’t going to see that way. A usable segment has two stations and they will assemble usable segments that someday make a system.

    James in PA Reply:

    Or a station and a terminal.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Judge Kenny saw it exactly that way, so that is 1 judge

    Alan Reply:

    And he was wrong, and that’s why we have courts of appeal.

  3. Paul Druce
    Feb 10th, 2014 at 22:13
    #3

    But Caltrain modernization is such an obviously good thing that it should be backed no matter how it is funded.

    Selling the organs of orphaned children on the black market?

    Mac Reply:

    well said, Paul. So tired of hearing this sort of riduculous logic.

    jimsf Reply:

    disingenousness alert! you know “no matter what/howetc” is figure of speech and you know he meant within reason.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sorry, but no. Would the way that Thomas MacDonald subverted Congressional control of spending by giving himself the authority to distribute federal road money be within reason? How about the methods of his law enforcement counterpart, J. Edgar Hoover?

    jimsf Reply:

    what are you talking about. What I read was caltrain modernization should be be funded, whether by hsr money, local funds, bond sales or what have you because it needs to be modernized in order to keep up with the demands of a growing bay area eonomy.

    But I read it that way because I am reasonable.

    Zorro Reply:

    $950 million was for local transit enhancements, as It says Here. So I doubt spending bond money on Caltrain and Metrolink is illegal under Prop 1a. Though some will claim that it is.

    Meanwhile, about $950 million of the bond proceeds would be available for capital projects on other passenger rail lines to provide connectivity to the high-speed train system and for capacity enhancements and safety improvements to those lines.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    It is illegal when you’re spending money specifically allocated to high speed rail on non-HSR uses. There is a formula within Prop 1A which defined how that $950 million would be allocated.

  4. jonathan
    Feb 10th, 2014 at 23:05
    #4

    But Caltrain modernization is such an obviously good thing that it should be backed no matter how it is funded.

    Caltrain modernization sounds like a good thing.

    Pissing away money on CBOSS is a *DUMB* thing. And yes, since CBOSS is from the very same people who brought us BART AATC, it *is* pissing away money.

    Spending 3x-4x prevailing world rates for Caltrain electrification is *NOT* a good thing.

    Don’t conflate good things with execrable implementations of what *should* be a good thing, but isn’t, due to abominable and overpriced execution. CBOSS is *not* a good thing, and will never be a good thing. It is not compatible with HSR, and will never be compaitble with HSR.
    End of story. The live-cycle costs of making HSR compatible with yet-another signalling system will, quite likely, dwarf the costs of CBOSS.

    Robert, do *try* to keep up with simple technical facts, once in a while.

    Donk Reply:

    Just curious – has anyone at Caltrain ever acknowledged that CBOSS might have higher cost and/or might not be compatible with HSR? What happens when this argument is made to them?

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Additional CBOSS Benefits for Caltrain
    The Caltrain CBOSS PTC Project also specifies additional capabilities to enable increased safety and operating performance for Caltrain and future high-speed rail service. These additional benefits include:
    •Increased operating performance of the current signal system, enabling more frequent and more dependable passenger service to meet growing demand.
    •Improved grade crossing warning functions.
    •Integrated communication among all subsystems (such as the central control facility, train and wayside) for improved safety performance for highway vehicles and the riding public.
    •Safe operations between Caltrain and other tenant railroads including future high-speed rail
    Caltrain Modernization Program 2019

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “Safe operations between Caltrain and other tenant railroads, which will be forced to install CBOSS in addition to their own off-the-shelf system, driving up locomotive costs.”

    Corrected.

    jonathan Reply:

    And creating wholly un-necessary safety risks, wherever HSR trainsets have to switch from HSR Automatic Train Protection, ETCS, to the incompatible CBOSS. Or vice-versa.

    (no, I’m not going to call ETCS “PTC”!)

    jonathan Reply:

    Keith,

    You need to separate Caltrain marketing materials from fact. Here, the relevant facts are not what those responsible for CBOSS claim CBOSS; but rather, what *other*, *much cheaper* signalling systems could do instead.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Jonathan,

    If you read the first sentence of Robert’s post above I think you wil see we are past the marketing phase.

    jonathan Reply:

    Keith do you think cutting and pasting well-known press release material is somehow making a contribution to the discussion? Can’t you simply post the URL? Do you think the readership here is not capalbe of following a link?

    The material you quote _is_ marketing. It’s a Caltrain press release, for crying out loud.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://www.caltrain.com/projectsplans/CaltrainModernization/Modernization.html

    point is that the argument (CBOSS) is over. Regardind links, people frequently dont go to them, heck some people dont go to the ones they post themselves.

    joe Reply:

    It’s Robert’s blog so don’t let the comments police tell you how to write a comment. In particular avoid dude who is the poster child for a popular book.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Asshole-Rule-Civilized-Workplace/dp/0446698202

    jimsf Reply:

    agreed. much like many of the “issues” the decisions have already been made and the constant rehashing is a waste of time. As for links, I’d agree that reading directly is better than going to a link. At least if its not more than a couple paragraphs.

    Joey Reply:

    None of this is unique to CBOSS.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I really like to cut and paste.

    jonathan Reply:

    @Donk:

    No. I’m told that Caltrain employees have insisted that CBOSS “must be” compatible with HSR, otherwise HSR wouldn’t have given them money for CBOSS.

    Joey Reply:

    Trains have multiple signaling systems installed all the time, but it’s more expensive than only having one.

    jonathan Reply:

    trains *can* have multiple signalling systems. As you say, that adds significantly to the cost of the train. It’s also a safety issue, because you have to switch from one system to the other.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    However, it happens hundreds of time a day worldwide. Every time, a TGV enters or leaves a HSL, the signalling system changes. Every time an ICE enters or leaves a HSL, the signalling system changes. Every time, a train enters or leaves the Lötschberg base tunnel, the signalling system changes.

    And all those changeovers happen at speed.

    So, it is proven. However, I agree that if it could be avoided, it should.

    joe Reply:

    The 5 billion dollar Stanford hospital expansion dwarf’s CBOSS. It will produce many new trips and the success depends on Caltrain (employees get free transit passes to discourage traffic).

    The criticism of CBOSS has to be put into perspective. Billions in development and investment depend on Caltrain modernizing.

    You want to hold up Caltrain because CBOSS make you sad? Anyone not sad isn’t serious or technical. Well that’s most of the Peninsula. And if you showed thee poorly informed people the choice, they’d pick electrifying Caltrain.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe,

    Here’s a fact for you, Joe. CBOSS doesn’t “make anyone sad”. CBOSS *doesn’t exist*! Caltrain is paying for a brand-new, unique-in-the-world, signalling system. It’s paying a contractor who has a history of *total failure* in delivering new signal systems in the Bay Area. (see: BART AATC).

    The best you can respond with is ad-hominem? And you claim to be a “scientist”!

    Joe Reply:

    Nobody in the community cares about CBOSS. The Dollar cost is dwarfed by the projects in the peninsula that depend on Caltrain service. It’s not an issue that will hold up Caltrain modernization. If you think otherwise, prove it. Show a city council or news paper clipping about CBOSS and how it had to be stopped.

    Caltrain is critical in the EIR of PAMPA approved development projects. None of them account for capacity limits on the service. They assume availability of service without constraint. That’s what matters.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s not an issue that will hold up Caltrain modernization.

    It may. Implementing a new signaling system will require a lot of safety testing and troubleshooting which could lead to major service disruptions.

    Joe Reply:

    To the public, CBOSS is not an issue. It’s invisible.
    All projects carry risks – few come in on time and in budget. Many fail. Smart money is on them being typical. Since HSR blended comes later, I’m not sure how much it will delay modernization. Show it will.
    Technicals in blog comments don’t reflect public concerns. Show there’s an unmanageable CBOSS driven delay.

    Joey Reply:

    Why is the technical knowledge of an average member of the voting public relevant to this discussion? Most people aren’t aware of the issues that can come up with a proprietary solution, or for the matter that there are cheaper, simpler to implement, and more reliable alternatives. Go ahead and ask people whether they think the control software should be written in C++ or Java. A few will tell you that one of those choices is definitely wrong, but the rest will have no opinion.

    Joe Reply:

    The post is about Palo Alto and Caltrain, not CBOSS. See:
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2014/02/would-palo-alto-reject-caltrain-modernization-out-of-spite/

    The objections to modernization have nothing to do with CBOSS and arguments that/if some other tech would be cheaper. Trains are full, trains are loud, trains disrupt traffic, train modernization means blended service and etc. That’s what matters.

    Most software projects are late, over budget and/or fail to meet all initial objectives. Many fail. That’s the norm in industry, not government, industry. To have insight that CBOSS will be late, over budget, fail to meet objectives is playing the averages.

    As for control software, you have no requirements so your personal language preference is irrelevant. The only defensible argument one might make would be for using C in place or either if the software is absolutely must be certified to the highest standard and assured correct. I don’t subscribe to computer language dogma, it depends. Certainly I could see justifications for using JAVA or C++ for control software.

    jonathan Reply:

    Who is this idiot who thinks a language with builtin garbage-collection — non-real-time garbage collection — is suitable for a real-time, safety-critical train signalling system?

    Joe Reply:

    Safety critical systems have and can be written in JAVA. I can even show these systems can be tested thoroughly for absence of race conditions and have the benefit if reduced programmer overhead and error.

    You need to show the garbage collection latency of the selected VM would violate a performance requirement. Real-time means a time constraint. It can be milliseconds or as long as days. It just means a response had to happen within a specified time.

    What is a real time constraint for trains and the latency for garbage collection with a COTS VM?

    jonathan Reply:

    Joey,

    It may. Implementing a new signaling system will require a lot of safety testing and troubleshooting which could lead to major service disruptions.

    Joe is not capable of following that line of argument. Uh. Doesn’t Joe work as a software QA engineer?

    Joe Reply:

    I don’t work as a QA engineer.
    The argument you quote is sophomoric. Testing is part of the planned and managed activities to develop the system. Testing should not impact service at all. Trouble shooting is a layman term. Maybe it’s reference to correcting problems found during testing, verifying it works and validating it’s the right system. That should not have any impact on the service. These events occur before they go operational.

    So no. The new system called CBOSS would not be any less proem to operation issues as any other system for which the same risks can be found. Reliability is totally dependent on the environment the system is deployed. Off the shelf alternatives in a new application is also a risk.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe, you assshole, stop posing a false dilemma. You keep pretending that the only choices are 9a), business-as-usual, with incompetent decision-making; or do nothing at all. That’s a false dilemma. that’s bogus. There is another choice: stop making bad decisions which are *un-necssarily* expensive. Stop repeating the mstake of buying fromc contractors with a history of failure (GE Transportation Systems';see BART AAATC). *Stop* insanity like inventing a new, unilque-to-the-world, safety-critical software project (i.e., a unique-in-the-world signalling sustem) for a tiny, insignificant, run-of-the-mill commuter railway.

    Do you have some personal stake against Caltrain (and by extension, HSR) marking smarterchoices?

    Do you really think that a muitl-billion-dollar development project justifies pissing away a quater-billion dollars of public money on CBOSS — a system which WILL be late (look at the pror record of the contractors: total, abject failure for BART AATC, a decade late and 10mph slow for ITCS).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    but but Caltrain needs extra special signals that no one else in the world produces.

    jonathan Reply:

    Tell it to Joe.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Palo Alto uber alles …. Palo Alto uber alles…

    Joe Reply:

    That’s for labeling me an asshole. It’s nice to see you can call me out for invective by being the example.

    No one can cite CBOSS is the source of any objections to Caltrain modernization. It nevertheless must be true because you called me an asshole.

    No one cares right now. Maybe they should but they don’t. Too bad for you.

    Stanford has a 5 billion dollar hospital expansion going up and many new employes. I don’t think your worries over CBOSS matter in the context of what’s at stake for the new projects and traffic all along the ROW that depend on improved Caltrain service.

    Just saying you guys have a unique perspective on what most people worry about. If CBOSS fails, they’ll have a problem to worry about but I doubt it will impact service. HSR comes much later.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe, what goes around, comes around.

    Joe, if you are concerned about Stanford hospital expansion, then you should be *very* concerned about CBOSS. Because it’s not going to work as promised, not without years and years of repair, and the best part of a billion dollars in cost overruns.

    But wasting money simply *doesn’t matter* to you, .. well, because. Do I have that right?

    Joe Reply:

    I don’t live there. I am not concerned. Nothing is coming back to me.
    Just telling you guys what’s important to the peninsula. They depend on a service they don’t want to maintain.
    If they’re against Caltrain then god bless them, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the looming surge in traffic.

    CBOSS matters to you guys – rip it all you want. It’s a fine way to show your technically astute and in the know. It ain’t an issue for PAMPA.

  5. Donk
    Feb 11th, 2014 at 04:18
    #5

    Whatever happened to D.P. Lubic? I haven’t heard about the generational gap of rail supporters in a while.

    Joe Reply:

    Maybe he drank the water?

    Not sure. No indication of any issues so many just some time off.

  6. Jos Callinet
    Feb 11th, 2014 at 12:25
    #6

    At the rate things are going, HSR and Caltrain electrification will never amount to anything more than hot air on Robert’s blog!

    At least historians will have reams of debate to ponder! Better than nothing at all, I suppose.

  7. jimsf
    Feb 11th, 2014 at 18:07
    #7

    oh lord not the cboss discussion again. If we must rehash, how about something about the heavy maintenance facility. We haven’t done that one lately. I’m still for Merced, although I’m thinking maybe Palmdale would be a good spot.

    Joe Reply:

    CBOooooooooSS

    I think that facility is in the new business plan and about 10 miles out of Fresno, south I think. Certainly not any near and at the mercy of the Neanderthals that run Bakersfield. “Tandy mad. Tandy smash. Tandy want pretty money or Tandy smash more.”

    Another facility for less intensive maintenance work is described as of Morgan Hill CA, ( why use that city as a reference point and not a gilroy I don’t know) there is ample Space there for a facility and people who would appreciate the jobs too. HSR AM service is starting from GLY north to SJC and to STB.

    jonathan Reply:

    welll, when Robert writes:

    But Caltrain modernization is such an obviously good thing that it should be backed no matter how it is funded.

    then he’s begging (as in, begging the question) to have the flaws of Caltrain management’s “modernization” plan raised. Only the very hard-of-thinking would miss that.

    Clem Reply:

    You should the 2014 business plan supporting documents. The assumptions are in there, with a big disclaimer that these choices aren’t final.

    Brisbane (supports Transbay)
    10 miles south of SJ (supports SJ / Gilroy during Bay to Basin)
    10 miles south of Fresno
    15 miles north of Palmdale

    They get away with storing trains in Palmdale because all the early morning runs will be commuter service from Palmdale to LAUS, that double as re-positioning for northbound express service.

    jimsf Reply:

    aahh I see. ok. well. I just don’t want anything going to benefit anyone in kings co. ten miles south of fresno is too close. They should go ten miles north to madera.

    agb5 Reply:

    Fresno proposes building the HMF here: http://www.fresnoedc.com/fw/docs/FresnoWorksPitch.pdf

    jimsf Reply:

    Nice presentation. They are seriously wanting business in Fresno. Which is great since the city seems to have floundered for so long.

    having a direct link to silicon valley via both hsr and the planned 152 corridor will be a big help in bringing Fresno into the fold.

    Their biggest issue though is crime. Until they can crack down on that there will be a problem.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The crime is being fed by overpopulation, which the PB scheme is meant to encourage.

    California has too many big cities already. For some idiotic reason San Jose wants to be LA. I guess they need a big LA style riot to wise them up.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Crime rates have been dropping in big cities and fastest in the ones that are most densely populated. New York City is safer now than it was in the early 60s.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not in Oakland and San Jose. I also consider mowing down pedestrians a crime at least worthy of a DUI.

    Crime is somebody else’s concern until they try to roll you. Then you enjoy Charles Bronson’s Death Wish series on a whole other level.

    Tony D. Reply:

    My God your an idiot syno..

    synonymouse Reply:

    That is my wife’s opinion.

    Not such an idiot as Jerry B., biggest phony and greenwashing poseur in the territory. He is obsessed with blowing mass quantities of billions on a major high desert detour just to enable and pander to some real estate developers.

    What an idiot. Better spent on LA to San Diego.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Syn, overpopulation you dont have to worry about in SMART country with your policy of “no new hook ups, we’ve got ours so the rest of you can ferk off”, but please, for for our collective sanity can you understand that the bad railway people have decided on the the route for their new train.

    synonymouse Reply:

    hell no – we’ll fight PB all the way.

    no new hook ups; surely ye jest. New tracts amidst scraped hillsides abound.

    Jon Reply:

    Where did you get the idea that San Jose is a hotbed of crime?

    The most dangerous cities in CA are mid-sized – Stockton, Oakland, Fresno, Bakersfield.

    The largest cities – San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles – are all pretty low down the rankings.

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

    synonymouse Reply:

    Stockton traditionally has been cursed – it has the rep of being downright psychotic.

    Some years ago in Stockton a 20-something flipped out and went to the school he had attended as a kid and started shooting the students. This was decades before Columbine. You just knew something was not right in that town.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oakland a big city – f*****g LA does not even have an NFL team.

    Jon Reply:

    What the hell does football have to do with anything?

    Oakland has a tenth of the population of LA, and four times the murder rate per capita.

    StevieB Reply:

    Big cities have NFL teams. Green Bay has a NFL team. Green Bay is a big city.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The whole East Bay is Greater Oakland.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    East Rutherford’s population is 8,913 and they have two NFL teams.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The 2012 FBI UCR has Fresno’s population at 506,011 and Sacramento a little smaller at 476,557 (that is only the cities proper not the surrounding areas). The 2012 numbers had:
    Violent Crime (murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault)
    Fresno – 2,748
    Sacramento – 3,520
    Property Crime (burglary, larceny/theft, vehicle theft, arson)
    Fresno – 25,737
    Sacramento – 19,967
    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/8tabledatadecpdf/table-8-state-cuts/table_8_offenses_known_to_law_enforcement_by_california_by_city_2012.xls
    The violent crime rates are opposite of what many might expect. Given Fresno’s much higher poverty levels the higher property crime rate is not a surprise. But that also might mean that an improved local economy might have a big reduction on Fresno property crime and overall crime rate.

    CQ Press (the old Congressional Quarterly) publishes a per capita city crime ranking each year using the FBI data. The 2014 list was released not long ago and out of 437 US cities ranked lowest crime to highest, here is a selection to ponder:
    345 San Francisco, CA
    346 Omaha, NE
    347 South Gate, CA
    348 Sacramento, CA
    349 Brockton, MA
    350 Fresno, CA

    359 Bakersfield, CA

    378 Merced, CA

    380 Modesto, CA

    421 Stockton, CA
    http://os.cqpress.com/citycrime/2013/2014_CityCrimeRankings%28LowtoHigh%29.pdf

    synonymouse Reply:

    Greater Sac way bigger than that.

    datacruncher Reply:

    It is by law enforcement agency so the population numbers are correct for the data.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Everything you need to know about the relative market sizes for high speed rail by city is in here

    http://www.deanrunyan.com/doc_library/CAImp.pdf

    Mac Reply:

    Clem..sort of off immediate topic, but since you brought up support documentation in 2014 business draft…am wondering what you make of the Bus Connector plan. In order to make ticket prices competitive with airlines, they are going to subsidize some of these bus connections “initially”? No one defines “initially”. Does that mean until we actually have an electrified high speed train?
    AND how long is it going to take for a one way trip on a HSR connector bus from Monterrery Co. to the IOS, so that it can then connect the rider to LA? (They use Monterrey Co. in their table) What is your take on this?

    Joe Reply:

    Monterey MST runs a Amtrak connector bus now from their transit center in monterey to the Gilroy transit center/Caltrain and on to San Jose. This bus connects to Amtrak service at San Jose.

    They can continue to run MST but more frequent and time service with possibly North HSR AM commuter service and S LA bound service.

  8. Keith Saggers
    Feb 12th, 2014 at 13:37
    #8

    Amtrak and other NEC stakeholders are well aware of the obstacles they face — they’ve come to expect them. The railroad always is facing scrutiny, whether it’s over subsidies, long-distance routes, food service or operations; there has been more analysis of Amtrak than of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman says. But amid their life under a microscope, Amtrak officials also need to be thinking long term. They hope Congress eventually will be in a position to do the same.

    “Time is ultimately on our side. Growing population, increasing travel demand, a rebounding economy — all those things will exacerbate the congestion issues,” Gardner told Progressive Railroading last month. “Congress has to make the decision to invest in American infrastructure

  9. jimsf
    Feb 12th, 2014 at 15:12
    #9

    OT but… apparently Caterpillar of Illinois, ( didn’t realize they made high speed locomotives) is mad because the order for high speed locos went to seimens in california. they claim the seimens locos will only meet the speed requirment if they are going downhill.

    to be fair, the Siemens locomotive can achieve 125 MPH, but only while operating downhill,” according to Electro-Motive’s protest

    synonymouse Reply:

    Caterpillar would presumbly provide the prime mover.

    jonathan Reply:

    jimsf,

    Caterpillar 9through Progress Rail) bought EMD back in 2010. Surely you realize EMD makes locos, including the EMD F125?

    Joe Reply:

    Yeah, it’s interesting that the initial service order was desired by mayor Rahm Emanuel for max operating speed of 110 mph but later changed to 125.
    I thought the 110 was for GE train sets. GE moved HQ to Chicago. Hizz honor should be pissed too if Siemens holds on to the award on appeal.

    Joe Reply:

    Here Jonathan

    You should have commented here.

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh. Sorry. Blame the crappy user-interface here. if you open another “submit” window, it moves your ocmments to the new window.

    Do you still not comprehend why later changed to 125 is factually incorrect?

    joe Reply:

    You have to take personal responsibility for your mistakes. Let’s continue the lesson.

    jonathan Reply:

    Joe,

    You made the first mistake here. Apparently your reading comprehension is *still* so bad, you don’t realize that later changed to 125 is factually incorrect.

    You are no scientist, Joe. I don’t recall you ever admitting to your mistakes, no matter how egregious, or how much they prove that you don’t know what you are talking about. No person who does that can call themselves a scientist.

    Joe Reply:

    egregious ?

    Well you certainly have a high standard – if you ever hold up to it, I’ll be the first to applaud you.

  10. jonathan
    Feb 12th, 2014 at 17:39
    #10

    Joe,

    Amtrak selected IDOT to contract for next-generation locomotives for the MidWest Alliance, California and Washington. Much as Caltrans contracted for new passenger cars paid for by the same pot of money (though not for Washington state AFAIK).

    The 125 mph requirement was made by the Next-Generation Equipment Committee (NGEC). I have read that that requirement was at the request of California. Rahm Emanuel subsequently tried to get that lowered to 110, — to allow GE to compete, as you noted — but failed. You even quoted as much here in 2013. And even *then* you couldn’t comprehend what you yourself had posted.

    Joe Reply:

    I can’t comprehend what you mean. I don’t know what I knew or something ,…..,
    As long as I suck … It’s always the same with you.

    jonathan Reply:

    The Next Generation Equipment Committee was established under section 305 of the PRIIA, to develop standards for 125 mph operation. Not 110, but 125.

    The NGEC Board approved standards for 125 mph diesel-electric locomotives on July 2, 2011.
    It was NOT “later changed to 125 [mph]“. It was *always* 125 mph.

    I’m genuinely sorry for you. that your reading comprehension is so bad, you can’t see fundamental errors like that, even when they’re pointed out to you.

    Joe Reply:

    Oh I get it.

    Well you didn’t reply to my comment and instead created a new thread. Obviously you were either too stupid to use a computer or are very careless and should apologize.

    When you do apologize I’ll decided if it’s worth continuing.

    jonathan Reply:

    No,,Joe. You need remedial reading lessons on the meaning of “changed” versus “unhanged”.
    Or “before” and “after”. I’m not sure whcih.

    joe Reply:

    Congratulations on using the [Reply] button correctly – this time. Now. Try again.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Can there even be a locomotive that maintains a 125mph operating speed, while satisfying FRA requirements and consequent high axle loading, without tearing the hell out of the track?

    jonathan Reply:

    Amtrak just put one into service on the NEC. Electric, though.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Indeed. Given the same performance parameters, is a diesel prime mover + requisite fuel heavier than an all-electric setup? Traditionally, AFAIK, the European solution has been to have lighter weight high rev. diesels, sometimes in multiple, for high HP/ higher speed applications, while the U.S. goes for more cylinders (and weight) to get more HP. Maybe it’s different now.

    Clem Reply:

    Much heavier. The new Amtrak locomotive can dish out 8500 hp… that’s well over twice as much power as a typical modern passenger diesel.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    It’s also lighter at the same time if memory serves.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    That power rating is pretty much standard for a modern 4-axle electric loco intended for speeds between 200 km/h and 230 km/h (such as TRAXX, Vectron, Eurosprinter/Taurus, Asytrit, Lok 2000, etc.). And the normal weight is around 84 metric tons.

    In fact, the limiting parameter for electric locomotive’s power output is the heating up of the armatures and electronic components. OTOH, a diesel locomotive can do what it gets from the prime mover.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …and the heating up of the power electronics on the locomotive, the pantograph, catenary and the the power electronics back at the substation…. :-) Put a 20,000 kW locomotive on the line and the circuit breakers back a the substation are going to pop….

    Wikipedia says Eurosprinters have up to 6,400 kW output and weigh up to 87 tonnes.
    Wikipedia says Vectrons have up to 6,400 kW output and weigh up to 87 tonnes.
    The Amtrak ACS64 has 6,400 kW of output and weigh 97 tonnes. So they weight more than European versions but not that much more. Wikipedia doesn’t say anything about HEP, the North American ones might have some of that ten tonnes taken up by beefier HEP.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The maximum output is reached at speeds of 80 to 100 km/h (essentially at the point where maximum tractive force no longer can be maintained). In addition to the traction energy, for example, the Lok 2000 of SBB, Class 465 of BLS, EL18 of NSB provide HEP rated at 800 kW (1000 V, 800 A). Taurii, TRAXXes and Vectrons for fast passenger operation will do about the same.

    Typical maximum current transferrable via pantographs is in the 800 to 1000 A range (independent of the voltage). That’s why the SNCF (and all other 1500 VDC electrified networks) requires the second pantograph to be raised when a passenger express is at standstill.

    The ACS64 is indeed a lightweight engine (for the US), with “only” 10 or so tonnes of “fat”. FWIW, that’s about the same amount of “fat” the AEM-7 hauls along compared to the ASEA originals (which weigh around 80 t).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Wikipedia says the ACS64 have 1000 kW HEP. It’s gonna weigh a bit more than 800kW. Wikipedia doesn’t say if the HEP systems are redundant. I seem to remember that ACS64 haul around two sets. 2000kW of inverter is going to weigh more than 800kW of inverter. The nominal voltage is 12kV, the transformer is going to be bit bigger than one for 15kV or 25kV. The stuff on the wheel’s side of the inverter is the same no matter where you are – in modern locomotives. …. not all of the ten tonnes is extra iron to satisfy the FRA. Most of it but not all of it….

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Allright, I see why HEP is contributing more to weight in the US. In Europe, the hotel power line can have 1000 V, 16.7 Hz, 1500 V, 50 Hz, 1500 VDC or 3000 VDC. That means that the locomotive can be very simple: An extra winding (or tap) on the main transformer, circuit breakers and that’s about it. No need for converters or other stuff, and when running under DC, it is essentially a circuit breaker and fuses; even simpler.

    About the transformer, it may actually be a bit lighter, as it requires less iron for 25 Hz than for 16.7 Hz. But that may be in the few hundred kilogram range.

    jonathan Reply:

    hi Max,

    recent US E-loks provide HEP at 480V, 3-phase AC. AL45-DP and ACS-64 have two inverters apiece, one per bogie. Each inverter has 3 outputs, 2 for traction motors (1 per axle) and one for HEP. The HEP is thus redundant, so the Lok can stay in service if one of the HEP inverters fails.

    What’s the mass per MW for IGBT inverters? I don’t buy that it’s anywhere near 5 tonnes, but I could be wrong.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    North American ones might have some of that ten tonnes taken up by beefier HEP.

    Higher wattage seat heaters for fatter American arses?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You want 3 phase out in the cars there’s an inverter to create the 3-phase from the single phase or the DC…

    jonathan Reply:

    Clem,

    the old rule-of-thumb is that an E-lok has about 3x the power-to-weight ratio of a diesel-electric.

    Clem Reply:

    Sounds about right. There is a big cost to schlepping around your power plant wherever you go.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    …and don’t forget the fuel

  11. joe
    Feb 12th, 2014 at 19:38
    #11

    High Speed Rail is unsightly eyesore for Menlo Park. Ithas to be stopped.

    Monster Electronic Bill Boards are a reasonable way to fund Menlo Park schools.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_25118989/menlo-park-mayor-suggests-electronic-billboards-could-help

    Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller thinks electronic billboards may be the key to raising money for the Ravenswood City School District to upgrade its facilities.

    Two billboards could generate as much as $2.5 million a year in revenue, Mueller said. One of the signs could be erected near the Dumbarton Bridge in Menlo Park and the other off East Bayshore Road in East Palo Alto near the Home Depot, where it would be visible from Highway 101, he added.

    District officials are worried about where the money for facility improvements is going to come from, Mueller said, adding that he heard the needed work could cost up to $100 million.

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