State Asks FRA For Flexibility on Buy America Rules — But Only For Prototypes

Apr 10th, 2014 | Posted by

Currently there are no makers of high speed trains in the United States. Companies like Siemens have US-based facilities, but do not currently build bullet trains there. That presents a paradox to the California High Speed Rail Authority, since federal “Buy America” rules currently prevent them from buying prototype trains abroad to test in this country – even if the plan is to ultimately build those trains here.

So California is seeking a waiver from the “Buy America” rules, but only for those prototypes:

So in late February, the state rail agency and Amtrak each requested a waiver from the Federal Railroad Administration asking to be excused from the Buy America requirements. Each wants permission to purchase two prototype trains that are built overseas, but to American specifications, for testing purposes until the chosen manufacturer can build a production factory — or modify an existing plant — in the U.S. to build the trains….

California’s rail authority “decided to apply for a waiver in the event that the manufacturer that made the best offer wouldn’t have the ability to assemble a prototype in America that meets the Authority’s and Amtrak’s strict schedules for procurement,” said Lisa Marie Alley, the agency’s press secretary.

That is a sensible approach. The Authority wants to comply with the Buy America rules when they actually order the trains that the system will use. But if there are no US-based manufacturers at this time, it is reasonable to allow them to purchase those prototypes overseas. After all, the winning builder will open up a new factory, or a new production line at an existing factory, in the US that will employ a lot of people here. And that’s the entire point of the Buy America rules.

The FRA ought to grant this reasonable waiver, as doing so actually serves the goals of the Buy America program.

  1. Donk
    Apr 10th, 2014 at 21:18
    #1

    Update about biz plan. Also endorsements from OC organizations, including Disney and the Ducks.

    Calif. high-speed rail board adopts new business plan

    Read more: http://www.kcra.com/news/local-news/news-sacramento/highspeed-rail-board-adopts-new-business-plan/25419106#ixzz2yY2XBDfb

  2. Richard Mlynarik
    Apr 10th, 2014 at 21:28
    #2

    California doesn’t need and can’t possibly need any high speed trains for nearly 20 years.

    Any “specification” or “prototyping” or “testing” before then is purest fraud and agency/corporate welfare, not just unrelated to but actively opposed to any public need.

    The trains will be rusted out and obsolete long before the tracks they could use have been constructed.

    “This is a sensible approach”. Right.

    synonymouse Reply:

    My money’s on Bombardier. But just park them in Pueblo and send Steinberg, Perez et al over to take the tour and pictures for the voters back home.

    And thence to the Boeing Vertol Museum.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Bombardier makes good equipment. So does Siemens. So does CAF. So does Talgo. So does Alstom. So do several of the Japanese consortia (which I can never make sense out of due to the interlocking ownership).

    As long as it isn’t Skoda or Breda.

    Nathanael Reply:

    As noted below, Richard didn’t actually read any of the dates: these prototypes are supposed to arrive less than 3 years before high-speed service begins.

    joe Reply:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_mule
    A development mule or a test mule in the automotive industry is a vehicle equipped with experimental or prototype components for testing. Automakers evaluate aspects of vehicles before a full pre-production car is built to find problems. Mule cars are drivable, often years ahead of actual production.

    jonathan Reply:

    Please explain, with references, how your quote-diahorrea has *ANYTHING* to do with CHSRA’s requirement for an established, service-proven, train-set with little or no modification.

    joe Reply:

    No thank you. The wiki reference explains that test mules are common and reasonable years ahead of actual production. The article linked by Robert explains their purpose why they are needed sooner. iI you disagree then write why, ask Robert to delete my quote-diahorrea or skip over it.

    jonathan Reply:

    According to your own citation, “test mules” are for *brand-new* designs.

    An of-the-shelf HSR trainset with little or no modification does not require such a ‘”test mule”.

    Honeslty, Joe, you need to learn to read. Your son could teach you a lot about reading for comprehension.

    joe Reply:

    BTW You might want to quote more completely….

    http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/678/822/Amtrak-California-RFP-HSR-Trainsets-ATK-14-011.pdf
    b>A goal of the procurement is to identify whether established high-speed rail equipment manufacturers have service-proven designs that can meet both the short-term needs of Amtrak and the long-term operational needs of the Authority and Amtrak with little or no modification.

    .. so you don’t miss an important part of the procurement.

    Clear a goal is to determine whether i.e. if it is possible to use a proven design with little or no modification.

    The test mules are needed to determine whether it is possible.

    Andy M Reply:

    Isn’t it clear that the relevant trains can be used. You only need to go to their relative home countries to see ample evidence of that. I don’t see how running tests to prove the obvious will prove anything we don’t know already.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Taking this argument into the past, why did, when Amtrak tested for their new locomotive for the NEC, the French locomotive, which has been a very successful design in France (around 300 or so units built) failed that badly?

    As they say, prototypes are the mother of the china box…

    Eric Reply:

    Because the Acela has nothing more than a superficial appearance in common with the french TGV built by bombardier. The french refer to it as “the pig” because it is so heavy compared with their trainsets, as a result of being built to FRA crash standards.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express#Train_design

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Eric, I am referring to something way earlier. In 1977 Alsthom borrowed the CC21003 from SNCF and adapted it trials in the NEC, turning it into Amtrak X996 (see http://www.amtrakhistoricalsociety.org/x996.html for more about the history). Nicknamed “French Fry”, it did compete against the “Swedish Meatball”, an Rc4 by Asea, numbered X995.

    FWIW, MFO/BBC were also interested in those trials, and they allegedly tried to borrow a Re6/6 from the SBB, but they refused, claiming that they did could not spare one (so much for helping the domestic industry to be successful exporters…). But IMHO, it would have performed extremely well, and, who knows what had happened.

    Clem Reply:

    Good find, I wrote that article. I am everywhere on the web :)

    jonathan Reply:

    Max,

    yes, but *none* of those locomotives was a heavily-instrumented, pre-production prototype.
    Which is what Joe means by a “test mule”. that’s what Joe asserts CHSRA needs. He’s full of it … as usuall.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Clem: yeah, I had a little chuckle when I read the author of the article…

    @jonathan: my comment was an answer to Andy M’s message. Now, just for tests “does it work”, you don’t need to record machine parameters etc. That would be necessary for tests “how exactly does it work”.

    @all: In an earlier message, I mentioned that the design used were built in around 300 units; I was wrong on that, there were about 80 built (I was confused and thought they were sending a BB22200). Note to self: check before you write…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    BTW, the TGV has been and is as such always built by Alst(h)om (they dropped the h some time ago). Bombardier’s high speed train family is called Zefiro, and Siemens’ is Velaro.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I say go TALGO Trainset systems nationwide. 200MPH Bullet trains should be banned on most rail corridors. 135MPH Talgo-types go in half the time at half the cost/impact.
    California NERDS want 200MPH type, whaah, boo hoo.
    Nerds like whoever most of yall get your info.
    Talgo Made in USA during/after WWII.
    What, you call yourselves patriotic?
    I don’t think so.
    The Fresno-Madera IOS is stupid, period.
    Drop it quick.
    Go hybrid Sac-to-Bak in Phase 1.
    Go ahead,
    do tell us what you don’t like about THAT IOS?

    Lewellan Reply:

    The plug-hybrid battery pack can be distributed at 5 – 10x the number of households for modest backup emergency portable power supply and better match with smaller photovoltiac solar arrays. PHEVs ‘solve’ this power supply thing far better than Battery EVs, the Leaf, the Tesla.
    The PHEV also leads to shorter routine driving, thus longer tire life.
    Whadjaknow… Hybrids are better cars & trains than all-electric BEVs & Bullets.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    … and what do these message have to do with the statements they are supposed to be answering?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I think it’s as beta test of Turing-test machine to replace Synomouse.

    joe Reply:

    They’re asking for a wavier. The US wants to buy product modified for the US market, to test and train on them.

    In the automotive industry, manufacturers own the design and still build test mules when adapting product to meet US market regulations and consumer tastes.

    “Automakers evaluate aspects of vehicles before a full pre-production car is built to find problems. Mule cars are drivable, often years ahead of actual production.”

    It’s not controversial given the size of the purchase.

    Zorro Reply:

    Only nimbies with ulterior motives would be against this idea, I’m for it.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Who here hasn’t been on the Amtrak Cascades TALGO.
    Just give it some thought.
    Hybrid systems can evolve to all-electric in segments.
    Talgo was engineered in the USA circa 1940’s-50’s.
    Why do the Madera-Fresno stretch first and.. superfast?
    It’s bad RR engineering, substandard in specific substantial terms.
    Spend the money on electrifying the Peninsula sure.
    Get LA new grade separation and safety crossings.
    Fix Sacramento-to-Stockton rail with hybrid
    That is the simplest Phase 1.
    Mader-to-Fresno is poorly done and stupid.
    Steve Jobs is rolling over in his magneeto coccoon.

    Zorro Reply:

    Talgo in CA is not going to happen.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Most of you have not given a thought to in all probability the BETTER trainset system. Who hasn’t ridden the Talgo from Portland to Tacoma or Vancouver BC? I’ve been on 40-some times. Only done an Acela trip once, northbound NYC-to-Boston, the 150mph stretch, calm morning/afternoon,
    and was not impressed. Talgo way way better ride. Right or wrong, supposedly sincere HSR supporters would ‘rather’ assume the 200mph Bombardier-type train is better, when it’s not NOT better in many ways, impact mainly, lack of attention to existing rail corridor services, obvious drawbacks to many of us long-time rail advocates, not just me. To not go hybrid in the first phase is absurd.

    According to the new stats.
    Your new train top speed is 165mph.
    Talgo does 125mph – 135mph.
    It’s got to be a hybrid for First Phase.
    All-Electric gets you nutheeng, duuh…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Why not a waiver for the prototype new BARTmobile?

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Why do we need those mules when we can buy off shelf? Let the locomotive manufacturers do the research later on. We haven’t even built a single inch of rail for this HSR corridor.

    joe Reply:

    US can’t buy locomotives off the shelf.
    CAHSRA wrote a set of reasons – like them or not they’re listed in the waiver.

    jonathan Reply:

    So CA could by some Deutche Bundesbahn BR 403s really *really* cheap.
    They’re *already* rusted out!!

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB-Baureihe_403_(1973)

    Max Wyss Reply:

    FWIW, there is an organization which is dedicated to get at least one set back to running order and have it approved for operation. It could be a very interesting offer for chartered tours.

    If looking out for cheap second hand fast trains, there are a bunch of Fyra trains available; only a few 10000 km on the odometer … (g, d & r)…

    jonathan Reply:

    Fyra? For shame, sir, for shame.

    It’d be neat to see a “Donald Duck” running again. i wonder if it’d be restored to DB livery or to the Lufthansa Airport Express livery..

    Max Wyss Reply:

    There are two websites up about the “Donald Ducks”: http://www.et403.com is run by the organization who is involved with the restauration, and http://www.et403.de is a well-informed fanpage.

    In short, it is the German subsidiary of National Express who got the franchise for two regional lines in Nordrhein-Westfalen, and they are now working on one set, as their marketing tool. The livery will not be original, but appears to be decent. There are apparently talks that they may even get the permission to operate the trains in scheduled services.

    jonathan Reply:

    I was thinking of a . RainFaneurope.net? Other? site,which has a whole contact-sheet’s worth of photos of the trainsets, in situ, now. Broken windows, discoloration, graffiti, and all.
    Granted, one can’t see the oxidatoin and ? fractures ? which took them out of servce — IIRC, many nundreds of thousands of Euro worth of repairs, *then*.

    Meh. If CA really wanted to make money with legacy train-sets, before ~2030, I* think they;d be better off buying a VT 11.5 set from BahnPark-Ausberg. Or assembling another RAm consist, with a re-engined NS power car. I think they’d get more Euro-nostalgia passengers, paying a lot more per seat, than ICS commuters.

    But.,… FRA rules, again
    (yes, a long lead-in to a bad pun)

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    RailfanEurope.net has been taken down. I used to follow that for the links to the infrastructure webpages.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Richard M: Quite right. This is a combination of jobs for the consultants and Amtrak desperation, trying to get their nose in the CA tent. Total waste of public funds at this stage. If anything the CHSRA should be looking for some kind of mixed traffic unit that can handle conventional corridors and short HS non electrified sections, since that’s all we’ll have for two decades.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They have something that can handle conventional corridors and short HSR corridors

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superliner_(railcar)

    Emmanuel Reply:

    You better be kidding. Having been on one of those, it’s border-line cattle express.

    joe Reply:

    Do you think it is legal for the CAHSRA to purchase equipment incapable of meeting prop1a requirements. I’m not that sure.

    I do think Amtrak would have trains for the conventional corridors – maybe the new locomotives built in CA/IN and cars in IL or the ones for Amtrak under review in this RFP.

    Finally, what entity is scaring Amtrak? If there’s some operator or train set purchase that’s a rival to Amtrak then maybe CA should partner with it too.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    No real point in partnering with someone if the requirements are so different
    The NEC is mixed traffic medium speed and always will be

    synonymouse Reply:

    Jerry Brown plans for Amtrak to take over PBHSR. Federalize the operating deficits.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Syn, you are totally uninformed on this. Amtrak is simply an operator in California paid for by the State. If Amtrak takes over the HSR in CA the state will have to pay Amtrak to run it. See PRIIA 2008.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The party bosses occupy a different universe wherein the Democrats will take over the national government just as in Xanadu here. The Cheerleaders live there too.

    In their vision a few decades down the road Amtrak will the be umbrella for a nationalized railway system.

    Kumbaya chavismo.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Except where it goes 160mph

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    160mph is medium speed these days. And in the context of the NEC its pretty much a waste of money and done for prestige. They should be investing in “going slow less often”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Where should they go slow less often and how much does it cost to fix? There’s long stretches south/west of New York that have the geometry for higher speeds but are restricted to 135 because the catenary is 75 years old. Should they replaced it with catenary that can support 220 or catenary that can support 135? In very round numbers there’s 90 miles of 135 MPH track west of New York. 90 miles at 135 takes 40 minutes. 90 miles at 160 takes 34 and 90 miles at 220 takes 25. Should they take that 15 minutes or just wait for the 75 year old catenary to turn 90 and fall down? How many minutes of heat delays will that cause over the next 15 years?

    EJ Reply:

    Where should they go slow less often

    Connecticut, for starters. There are some curves, but plenty of straightish bits where all it would take is track and signalling upgrades.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    specifically where? It’s nice an curvy all the way across Connecticut.

    Michael Reply:

    Mr. Comfy Wooden Chair (sorry, but that’s what I always think of when I see Adirondack) is right. The NEC needs to fix the f’d up OCS from NYC to Washington pronto, as we say in the West. The rusted towers that “celebrate” the Penn need to give way to the 21st Century, no pun intended.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    Sorry but that would imply that the people responsible for this would have brains. We would first have to buy test brains and see if they can come up with such a rational conclusion.

    Clem Reply:

    Point of order: the Acela Express doesn’t go 160 mph anywhere in revenue service.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Correct, I misquoted on a section around Trenton that Amtrak is renovating for 160 mph, current top speed is 150mph. I apologise.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Joe: Amtrak is not purchasing the IL cars and CA locomotives, the States are. Amtrak still owns most of the Surfliner rolling stock but not the Cap Cor or San Joaquin. Given the age of the Surfliners it wouldn’t take much to buy them out, with some helpful legislation. Thus does CA need Amtrak with its multi layered bureaucracy and high cost structure? The answer may be yes given Amtrak’s rights over the common carriers but again that can be solved by contract or legislation if the will is there. Amtrak lost the VRE contract and the Caltrain contract, and New York Joe recently e-mailed his employees saying that dozens of other contracts are in jeopardy.
    Amtrak is in a bind. The NEC is falling apart, 1930s catenary etc. won’t last forever. They have done next to nothing to re-invest in the western l/d trains but still have a federal mandate to provide a national system. They used to rely on cash flow from the states and commuter operations where they had minimal commercial risk and could charge high prices. Now these agencies have seen that there are other operators out there (Herzog, Keolis et al) who will take them on. Not a pretty picture.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Acela has helped Amtrak capture a 75% share of air/train commuters between New York and Washington in 2011, up from 37% in 2000. Due to this competition, some airlines have even canceled service between Washington and New York. Between New York and Boston the Acela Express has up to a 54% share of the combined train and air market.

    The Acela carried more than 3.3 million passengers in fiscal year 2013; second only to the somewhat slower and cheaper Northeast Regional, which had over 8 million passengers in FY 2013. The Acela Express had a total revenue of US$530,820,821 in 2013, up from $409,251,483 back in 2009. The Acelas accounted for approximately 25% of all total revenue generated by Amtrak services. Another 25% came from Northeast Regional traffic, and roughly 25% each for long-distance trains and state-supported corridor services throughout the rest of the country.

    wikipedia

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “Post hoc ergo propter hoc”

    Source: cut and paste [citation needed]

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    ^ “Frustrations of Air Travel Push Passengers to Amtrak”. The New York Times.
    9.Jump up ^ Goldberg, Bruce. “Metroliner’s Amazing Rave.” Trains June 2006 (53)
    10.Jump up ^ “Acela run expected to match U.S. rail speed record of 165 mph (266 km/h)”.
    11.Jump up ^ “Air Travel’s Hassles drive riders to AMTRAKs Acela”. August 15, 2012. for Acela express passenger numbers only[dead link]
    12.Jump up ^ “The Information: Most popular airline routes”. Financial Times. January 17, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
    13.^ Jump up to: a b http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/730/658/FY13-Record-Ridership-ATK-13-122.pdf
    14.Jump up ^ “Amtrak Sets New Ridership Record, Thanks Passengers For Taking The Train”. Amtrak. October 11, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2012

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Not a difficult task given the distance. But barely a couple of percent of the total travel market.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    They don’t have the capacity for more than said couple of percent, hence the absurdly high fares for Amtrak NEC (even the Regionals have yields 30-50% higher than HSR in other countries). Meanwhile they’ve had to pour hundreds of millions every year, money that could’ve gone to the NEC, into the long distance trains.

    joe Reply:

    “The NEC is falling apart, 1930s catenary etc. won’t last forever. They have done next to nothing to re-invest in the western l/d trains but still have a federal mandate to provide a national system. ”

    Given the hostility to Amtrak in Congress, I can’t see why you’d lay blame at their feet for not investing in infrastructure. Mandates without budget are meaningless. We have a few trillion in unmet infrastructure needs so what’s the point of making this national deficiency about Amtrak?

    Breaking Amtrak and selling off the profitable parts is in full swing. It’s sad that transit advocates feel that the solution to transit is some magic rebirth – such a focus on commuter rail and modest instate service. That’s seems to be Railpac’s mandate and it’s a sad one.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I’m not blaming Amtrak Joe, although their misallocation of investment has a lot to do with it, I’m just describing the situation in which they find themselves. I’m glad you acknowledge that the profitable parts of Amtrak are the state and commuter contracts. Acela certainly isn’t. We support High Speed Rail, we don’t support the blended hoax. We submitted comments about the so called Business Plan, if you can’t track them down I can e-mail them. And yes, we do support further investment in regional rail, because that is where the people are and they can use the money now, not perhaps provide a service in two decades.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Class I’s (the real power behind Amtrak) do not want a viable threat to their business model for freight. Some sort of dismemberment would open the door to real competition and given the geographic oligopoly of the rail business…that last thing anybody from Phil Anschutz to Warren Buffett wants.

    Amtrak could consolidate its long distance routes and save money there. It could expand the use of the Auto Train, and it could phase out the Northeast Regional in favor of Acela.

    But the Class I’s are very eager to make Amtrak be a crummy product because they don’t want other players getting into passenger rail and then taking what is a lucrative business away from them.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The Class Is deliberately hamstring Amtrak service at every possibility, including their 40-year record of illegally delaying passenger trains for freight trains.

    joe Reply:

    Well Paul

    Bridges, roads, sewers water systems … all in the same situation as Amtrak infrastructure. Difficult to see how it’s Amtrak’s fault when our entire society has been underfunding infrastructure investments. Apparently super human efforts were not taken to maintain the Amtrak system.

    Interesting that you want regional improvements for the timely access to better service rail simultaneously call the blended portions are Hoaxes. Blended sections provide service sooner, as the system is being built and demand warrants.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    CHSRA 2014 Business Plan

    To further advance the statewide rail modernization program, Governor Brown’s 2014-15 Proposed Budget, submitted to the Legislature in January 2014, proposes to use $250 million in Cap and Trade proceeds for high-speed rail and, $50 million for urban, commuter and intercity rail projects. The Governor also proposed an ongoing state commitment of Cap and Trade proceeds to facilitate closing the state’s north to south rail gap through the Tehachapi Mountains and implement the IOS

    joe Reply:

    Jerry Brown’s now sunk to trolling Paul Dyson.

    Spending Cap and Trade to fill the state’s N-S rail gap changes the discussion from HSR blah blah and and onto the fact the State needs this infrastructure.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    CHSRA 2014 Business Plan

    SB 1029 also appropriated $2 billion—that will leverage approximately $5 billion in additional funding—for bookend and connectivity projects. The Authority is collaborating with our state and regional partners to begin implementing these critically important projects that will provide early benefits before they are eventually integrated with high-speed rail

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “I’m glad you acknowledge that the profitable parts of Amtrak are the state and commuter contracts. Acela certainly isn’t”

    The Acela Express had a total revenue of US$530,820,821 in 2013, up from $409,251,483 back in 2009. The Acelas accounted for approximately 25% of all total revenue generated by Amtrak services

    joe Reply:

    “Amtrak is not purchasing the IL cars and CA locomotives, the States are. Amtrak still owns most of the Surfliner rolling stock but not the Cap Cor or San Joaquin.”

    Okay then why this?

    Total waste of public funds at this stage. If anything the CHSRA should be looking for some kind of mixed traffic unit that can handle conventional corridors and short HS non electrified sections, since that’s all we’ll have for two decades.

    The CAHSRA does not need to nor can it buy trains NOT compliant with Prop1a requirements. The State of CA can buy trains and operate them outside of Prop1a restrictions including no operating subsidy. There’s no constructive purpose to directing the Authority to violate or litigate on Prop1a.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Joe, you are right. I should have written that the need is for etc.etc. not that CHSRA should buy. As someone else has pointed out though, perhaps the putative operators should be figuring out what sort of trains they want to run. Why should CHSRA be involved, especially at this stage, except to feather the nests of the consulting community. It’s the same as doing community outreach in San Diego, which will be lucky to see service by 2035, just to feed the consultants.
    Whoever purchases the trains, they are a generation away from being needed and presumably the models available for operation in 2029 will be much improved upon from today’s kit.

    joe Reply:

    “Why should CHSRA be involved, especially at this stage, except to feather the nests of the consulting community.”

    That’s both unfair and counter productive statement. The reasoning is here and it’s a whooping two trains.
    http://www.fra.dot.gov/Elib/Document/3588

    Nathanael Reply:

    Trains don’t improve that fast. The difference between the trains of 15 years ago and the trains of today is…. not that much, really.

    The last major technological change was AC induction motors.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    California doesn’t need and can’t possibly need any high speed trains for nearly 20 years.

    Most likely, these prototype “high speed” trains are actually 160mph. If you believe the Business Plan (I know…) the IOS opens in 2022, and the prototypes are to be delivered in 2019. 3 years is barely enough time to drive the trains around circles in Colorado, verify the “F” is painted properly on the locomotive, and ensure there aren’t any metric conversion errors.

    A more interesting question is why it will take 5 years for the vendor to develop these supposedly “off-the-shelf” trains.

    joe Reply:

    Because these are NOT supposed to be off the shelf trains.

    jonathan Reply:

    You forgot the grab-irons. how they’re going to put grab-irons onto aluminium monocoque structures is beyond me, but the grab-irons are required along with painting the “F” on the , ahem, *distributed traction EMU trainset*.

  3. Lewellan
    Apr 10th, 2014 at 21:31
    #3

    Funny that yours truly should arrive upon what I consider a most exellent use of wording by our forum host, Richard Cruickshank, with appreciative regards, thanks, but regrettably with my appeal once again for balanced decisions about which coach to consider: the high-capacity 200mph Bombardier ‘or’ the mid-capacity 125MPH Talgo hybrid XXI-type locomotive with (potentially) 150mph ’tilting’ coaches. I’ve said this many times here before and repeat it again, GO TALGO my friends, my peers, my political adversaries. If you won’t help me stop BNSF from fn hauling more coal/oil/NG, then I won’t be as appreciative on you over-hyped 200mph dream train trip gone fizzle-poop by Valley Biz Boys.

    jonathan Reply:

    […] decisions about which coach to consider:

    You’re biasing the deck, right there, and in favor of sometihng which has *no* *hope* of meeting the Prop 1A service-time requirements.

    A “(potentially) [250 km/h]” train-set is a non-starter. As Bill Clinton said: *ARITHMETIC*!

    Lewellan Reply:

    How could you leave off “balanced” before your “decisions about which coach to consider” supposedly biasing my deck. Your deck is as biased and moreso, therefore, my premise is proven with your curt reply. No biggie, but you haven’t given a thought to a in all probability THE BETTER trainset system. Have you ridden the Talgo from Portland to Tacoma? I’ve been on it more than 40 times. I’ve only done 1 Acela trip northbound NYC-to-Boston, the 150mph stretch a calm morning/afternoon and was not impressed. Talgo has the better ride. No, right or wrong, you all would just ‘rather’ assume the faster Bombardier-type train is better.
    According to the new stats.
    Your new train top speed is 165mph.
    Talgo does 125mph – 135mph.
    It’s got to be a hybrid for a decent Phase 1
    duuh…

    jonathan Reply:

    your idea of “balanced” is a slope too sleep for even an HSR trainset.

    Eric Reply:

    “Richard Cruickshank”

    Do you mean Robert Cruickshank? Or maybe Richard Mlynarik?
    A chimera of the two would be interesting.

  4. Alan
    Apr 11th, 2014 at 04:00
    #4

    “…If you won’t help me stop BNSF from fn hauling more coal/oil/NG, then I won’t be as appreciative on you over-hyped 200mph dream train trip gone fizzle-poop by Valley Biz Boys.”

    What the h*** are you talking about?

  5. AlanF
    Apr 11th, 2014 at 10:15
    #5

    The Amtrak and CHSRA requests for waivers are available on the FRA website eLibrary section and were posted there on March 14, 2014. I would suggest that people read them to understand the reasons for the waivers and how Amtrak and CHSRA expect their trainsets to differ (depending on who wins the contract). There is a lot of information in the waiver requests. This link should work but it is an embedded search, so it may not: http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Find#p1_z10_kprototype%20high%20speed%20rail. The documents can be manually found by going to http://www.fra.dot.gov, clicking on eLibrary, and then either step through to the March 14 entries or do a search for “prototype high speed rail trainsets”.

    Amtrak is seeking to receive the prototypes in 2017 and then a production run of 28 trainsets starting in 2018. CHSRA wants their prototypes in 2019. The timing of the Amtrak and CHSRA schedules indicate that their idea is that the Amtrak HSR trainsets (which I expect will be branded Acela IIs) will be built first, then the CHSRA trainsets.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The difference between the requirements for Amtrak and for CHSRA is insignificant. Unfortunately.

    If CHSRA had gotten *Full waivers* from the nonsense FRA rules, then the requirements difference would be substantial. But with the FRA rules the same for both, it’s just a difference in top revenue speed, which is frankly an insignificant difference.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    any day now anything running in the Northeast will have PTC. The M9s, Arrow IVs, Shoreliner V are going to be much different. So will Amfleet IIIs or whatever they decide to call them.

  6. synonymouse
    Apr 11th, 2014 at 11:00
    #6

    Why PBHSR via Mojave could never be profitable:

    http://news.kron4.com/news/bart-board-approves-3-7-percent-raises-for-top-executives/

    Incompetent management gets rewarded in the public owned and operated model. transit welfare

    Zorro Reply:

    I’d rather have that, then CorpoRATe Welfare and insane baggers getting elected to Congress…

    synonymouse Reply:

    VBobier?

    Zorro Reply:

    Who? I saw that somewhere, ok?

  7. Eric
    Apr 11th, 2014 at 14:11
    #7

    I’m hoping that Siemens will win the contract. They have a plant in Sacramento already building light rail vehicles and cars but have space to gear up for HSR. It would be a great boon for the sacramento economy.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Dig a hole, fill it. Jobs for the boys! Watch the cash disappear! Slosh on extra gasoline!

    If you’re hoping that anybody wins a contract for joint procurement with Amtrak (AMTRAK!) you’re delusional.

    If you’re hoping that CHSRA (not a train operator with any sort of clue) itself places an order for any sort of rolling stock, ever, you’re crazy.

    If you’re hoping that any train operator places an order for high speed equipment in California any time in the next decade or decade-and-a-half, you’re completely unclear on the concept.

    California cannot use any high speed trains at any time in the near future. Buying high speed trains is a clear-cut, unambiguous, total waste of money.

    How hard is this to understand?

    How, precisely, are any of these craptastic, built-in-America, Amtrak-tastic, shop-queen, super-priced jalopies going to be used any time before 2025?

    synonymouse Reply:

    static photo-ops in Pueblo.

    therealist Reply:

    better than in ca. !!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Jerry, if he is still with us, will put the mock-up on a semi and pimp it around the State.

    joe Reply:

    How hard is this to understand?

    It’s hard to understand why your argument doesn’t connect to the request and rational given in the waive.

    You don’t seem to have bothered to look at the waiver request. There’s the usual ranting – possibly generated with an editor macro.

    How, precisely, are any of these craptastic, built-in-America, Amtrak-tastic, shop-queen, super-priced jalopies going to be used any time before 2025?

    Well the the waiver request gives the timeline for starting Phase I HSR as 2022, so your eye-rolling date of 2025 is off by three years. BFD.

    Update the act. It’s as fresh as the Bob Hope Christmas special.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Richard’s core point is still accurate: there is no need to procure the locomotives until revenue service is scheduled to begin.

    However, we have to consign ourselves to the fact that a couple prototypes will be acquired ahead of revenue service as a a package deal to secure foreign investment from Japan, China, or the EU. If the FRA dumbs them down with safety and weight restrictions it could get ugly real quick.

    jonathan Reply:

    Locomotives? What is this crap about 19th-century technology? We’re talking about wasting money on HSR trainsets which will be ~20-year-old technology by the time CA has anywhere to run them. That’s *EMU trainsets*, not *locomotives*.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The expensive and lucrative part is the locomotive, obviously. 20 year old rail cars can be paired with much newer locomotives with minimal adjustments. The locomotive is what makes it possible to satisfy Prop 1a.

    jonathan Reply:

    Again: What is this crap about “locomotive”?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I didn’t know VOlkswagon built HSR trains….since I am pretty sure any other firm still puts the engine in first train car, not the last.

    jonathan Reply:

    Ted, which part of “Electric multiple unit’ (EMU) do you not understand?
    They *dont* *have* *locomotives*. Configurations with a power car at one end are technologicallhy obsolete. And as for “first car, not the last”: you do understand that modern HSR trainsets drive in both directions, don’t you?

    No wonder Richard M. goes ballistic about people who want a “choo choo”….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push-pull_train

    Nathanael Reply:

    Ted, what the hell? You have to have the trainsets the day you start revenue service, which means you have to order them five or more years in advance.

    So yes, you have to procure the locomotives (order them) well before revenue service is scheduled to begin.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Actually, no: unpowered coaches need to be built to withstand high speeds as well.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yes, but the coaches that can do 160mph will likely be compatible with those that can go 220mph….

    jonathan Reply:

    No. High-speed trainsets require what are effectively airtight connections between carriages.
    Even DB’s non-articulated ICE trainsets are effectively permanently coupled. These aren’t compatible with conventional rolling stock for in-service use: the end layouts are different.

    You ‘re just making stuff up as you go along, aren’t you?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s unclear if he means old trains and new trains on the same track, old cars coupled to new locomotives or old cars and new cars coupled together. All kinda academic until someone defines loading gauges and platform heights etc.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Oh for shit’s sake: are you telling me that there is ZERO interchangeability between various train set families from the same manufacturer? I am not talking about hitching up Surfliner and CalTrain coaches, I am talking about the coaches that would come with a train set today versus what came with the same set five years ago etc.

    The technological improvement comes from the propulsion, not from the fabric you use for the seats…if it’s really that finicky than Richard is right about being twenty years away from needing to buy rolling stock.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    are you telling me that there is ZERO interchangeability between various train set families from the same manufacturer?

    Be more specific about what you are proposing to do and the equipment you are proposing to do it with.

    jonathan Reply:

    I am not talking about hitching up Surfliner and CalTrain coaches, I am talking about the coaches that would come with a train set today versus what came with the same set five years ago etc.

    No, that’s not what you said. And please, for about the 4th time, modern HSR trainsets are *not* locomotive-driven; they’re EMU trainsets, with transfomers and power electronics distributed throughout the train.

    It *is* possible to take some older-technology HSR trainsets which are locomotive-hauled (aka “power cars”), and substitute one vendor’s “power cars” for another. EuroTrain did that in Taiwan: Siemens ICE-2 “power cars” and Alstom “coaches”. But that was a prototype demonstrator; they probably custom-rigged a “multiple unit” control between the driving cabs. But, no, you can’t really mix-and-match Alstom TGV coaches with ICE-1 or ICE-2 coaches. The Alstom coahes are articulated, for a start. And, while technically the ICE-1 and ICE-2 coaches are supposed to be interoperable, in practice DB never does that (as far as I know).

    And, yes, you really *don’t* want to mix-and-match half of a Velaro set with half of an AGV set.
    The power buses through the vehicles aren’t compatible. The control systems aren’t compatible.

    Yes, Richard is basically correct. I don’t buy his “+1000” on buying used DMUs, though.

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh for shit’s sake: are you telling me that there is ZERO interchangeability between various train set families from the same manufacturer?

    Given the consolidation that’s taken place in the European market, with Bombardier, Siemens, and Alstom gobbling up almost all the smaller European players … In the “regional” market, even vehicles from the same manufacturer which are branded in the same “family” aren’t necessarily compatible: Coradia “LINT”, formerly LHB, vs Alstom in-house designs.

    Or look at how Talents can’t operate in MU with Desiro…..

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Well in that case:

    Richard +1000

  8. Ted Judah
    Apr 11th, 2014 at 18:11
    #8

    I am left to wonder how the Authority can get a waiver on this but Desert Xpress could not. I suspect this is posturing after the State was cornered about STB jurisdiction and the joint RFP with Amtrak. It wants a way to have the Chinese come in and offer train sets at a fraction of developed world prices with a commitment to contribute money for construction.

    It’s going to be California asking the White House how far it will go to get HSR off the ground before Obama leaves office. Not sure it will work, but at least it makes sense why they are making such a move.

    AlanF Reply:

    Desert Xpress I believe wanted a waiver on the entire HSR trainset fleet along with components of the track and power system. I don’t recall if DX actually filed a waiver request or tried to work around the Buy America requirements in the RRIF loan application.

    Anyone know what is going on with Desert Xpress these days? They have been quiet.

    joe Reply:

    “I am left to wonder how the Authority can get a waiver on this but Desert Xpress could not. ”

    CAHSR wants a waiver for two trains for testing and training. Also want to learn how they are built in the vendors established facility which will not be in the US.

    That’s why they want a waiver.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment, joe.

    Nippon Sharyo, Talgo, Siemens, Alstom, & Bombardier have US factories where these prototypes can be built even if it requires retrofitting. The manufacturer that can’t pull this off is the Chinese obviously.

    And the test track argument is questionable: the reason CHSRA needs to buy locomotives is that it sets the specifications for future orders and locks in technology transfers.

    joe Reply:

    Both desert express and CAHSAR claim their are not HSR manufacturing capabilities in the united states.

    The waiver discusses plans for observing and learning about the process for HSR manufacturing of the prototypes in an established facility that builds reliable HSR systems. Retrofitting a US facility here takes time, there are no skilled US staff to do the work and this defeats the ability to evaluate the design and quality while holding factors constant – al this is stated in the waiver.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joe,

    I read the letter. I know what the Authority said. But it’s a weak argument because they wants deliveries in 2019, which is more than enough time to retrofit existing US facilities.

    joe Reply:

    That’s not the full explanation of why they want prototype product from a proven facility.

    In fact the precursor activities to building a US facility include training workers and transferring best practices and monitoring the practices and quality with the baselines from the overseas facility.

    So you read the letter and decided to ignore their argument.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Amtrak’s train sets are scheduled for delivery two years BEFORE CAHSR yet there is insufficient time to train staff and learn best practices between 2017 and 2019?

    joe Reply:

    The question indicates you still haven’t read the entire waiver.
    It’s explained in the waiver.

    How do you train staff and from where does the knowledge needed to oversee and evaluate product come? I bet the waiver explains how that’s to happen.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    joe…

    Do you get that Amtrak is going to procure, without suspending Buy American rules, a trainset for delivery in 2017?

    That manufacturer will have a factory which if the Authority orders rolling stock from would meet their order by 2019.

    So what this means is that CHSRA is NOT going to buy the same train sets as Amtrak for the NEC. Almost certainly that means a foreign off-the shelf trainset which will have no benefit until electrification is done but will lock in the specs for the future. That’s all this is…we buy an Alstom trainset, they help with building the track…we buy Chinese trains and they help with the construction etc….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Alstom has an American plant that spits out all sorts of things. They’d be able to wedge in two trains in between all the other stuff they produce.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    > They’d be able to wedge in two trains in between
    > all the other stuff they produce.

    That made my day. There is exactly one plant in the whole Alstom conglomerate who has the knowledge and is allowed to build the carbodies for TGVs.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s only a few plants in the whole world that make car bodies.

    Nathanael Reply:

    This sort of waiver has been granted repeatedly — IIRC, SEPTA got a couple of prototype EMUs on its Silverliner Vs which were entirely built abroad, before the mass production started.

    By the way, setting up a production line to build something different is the time-consuming and expensive part. It is difficult and expensive to build a prototype on a production line which is producing something else — it wastes months of retooling. You do not do it.

    For a full order, the companies are happy to do the American retooling. For a prototype, no way.

    Nathanael Reply:

    From the waiver request:

    “Interviews with HSR trainset manufacturers have identified a 1-1/2 to 2 year time period to establish the required facilities to support a domestic high-speed trainset assembly capability.”

    Which is probably optimistic.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Its not as though they have a prototype production line laying around. Why would retooling in the US cost more than retooling in Japan, Germany or France?

    Joe Reply:

    Well, you have to get a supply chain spooled up and there’s no pool of trained manufacturing skill to hire. The manufacturing equipment is not domestic.

    Joe Reply:

    And of course the waiver explains they want the prototypes built in established facilited with experienced workers.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    None of these comments address my point to joe:

    If a prototype takes a long time to make even overseas, why seek the waiver if you will use the same manufacturer as Amtrak? If the prototype can be cranked out from anywhere, why seek the waiver if the firm has a domestic plant?

    The train sets are clearly leverage for foreign investment. If a $1 billion order yields $50 billion in money for construction, worthy trade off. If not, we get stuck with proprietary technology that May or may not satisfy Prop 1a.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    there’s no pool of trained manufacturing skill to hire.

    The usual suspects have manufacturing plants in the US with experienced staff.

  9. Brian_FL
    Apr 11th, 2014 at 18:37
    #9

    Not to beat a dead horse but here is the FRA document that was received from the CHSRA back in February. This was posted back on the Mar 21 Blog here on Mar 25th.

    http://www.fra.dot.gov/Elib/Document/3588

    This letter more clearly spells out why the CHSRA (and Amtrak) is requesting the waiver. I just wish Robert Cruickshank would have spent more time to investigate the details as the FRA letter pretty much explains it all more clearly than the Fresno Bee article does. It also details a timeline of expected delivery and testing.

    Jerry Reply:

    Thank you Brian FL
    After reading the request document I have a dumb question. Why does the Amtrak NEC operate with three different voltage systems for their trains? (The CAHSR will have only one voltage system and will need a different train set design.)

    AlanF Reply:

    The NEC has 3 different voltage-frequency configuration because it is a corridor created from different railroads. The southern NEC from DC Union Station to NY Penn Station to New Rochelle NY was built by Penn Railroad. From New Rochelle to Boston was owned by the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. The Penn Railroad section was built at 25 Hz, 12 kV. The New Haven line which was electrified to New Haven was originally 25 Hz, 12.5 kV, but was converted to 60 Hz. The NEC from New Haven to Boston was not electrified until the late 1990s when it was built as modern constant tension catenary at 60 Hz, 25 kV.

    Converting the southern half of the NEC to 60 Hz was in the 1970s NEC Improvement Plans, but it was never done because it would be an expensive and challenging task. All the SEPTA regional rail lines are at 25 Hz, so the entire SEPTA regional rail system would realistically have to be converted as well. Then there are the NJ Transit electrified lines. The main difference for 25 Hz operation is bigger transformers, so Amtrak and CHSRA can have the same design and platform, but the NEC version would have different transformers. The CHSRA trainsets would only see modern 60 Hz, 25 kV power.

    The wikipedia entry on the Northeast Corridor explains its complicated history and infrastructure.

    Jerry Reply:

    Thank you Alan.
    I would assume that CalTrain will be using the modern 60 Hz, 25 kV power when they electrify their system.

    jonathan Reply:

    You could always check CHSRA’s Technical Memoranda, which spell this decision out very clearly.
    No assumptions need apply.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    These voltage/frequency changes have become much less of an issue with modern (3 phase AC driven) rolling stock. For sure, the transformer may be a compromise, but the power rating under lower voltage (12 to 15 kV) may be about 10% less than under 25 kV). Fact is that you nowadays almost have to pay more for a strict single AC voltage/frequency locomotive than for a dual voltage/frequency unit.

    However, more critical might be the effects of modern rolling stock on the signalling system (that’s why Communication-based signalling systems have their big appeal)…

    jonathan Reply:

    Max,

    I recall reading that the 16.7 Hz systems had a slight advantage over the 50 Hz (European grid frequency) systems, because of inductance of transformers. I’d have to go dig it up to be sure.

    Any savings on single-voltage Loks is purely an artifact of volume. It’s cheaper for the vendor to produce,and stock inventory for, a single series-oroduction unit. Excluding different pantos, single-voltage vs. multi-system is a component and software issue.

    The _real_ cost driver is installing all the different, legacy, non-ETCS signalling systems. That cost dwarfs multi-system vs. single-system costs; at least for Siemens products.

    Not that I’m a buyer; just an informed spectator.
    Hey, if you ever visit the Bay Area, do get in touch.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    jonathan,

    The advantages of the low frequency systems had (a good 100 years ago) something to do with the commutation (if I remember correctly). I too would have to look it up.

    Note that at that time, 3-phase installations running at 50 Hz existed (Marienfelde – Zossen, the first “high speed line”, where 200 km/h were reached in 1903, and some cog railroads (Brunnen – Morschach – Axenstein, Corcovado). The more famous cog railroads (Jungfraubahn and Gornergratbahn) were running on 40 Hz (reason: to be in synch for the maximum allowed speed downhills on 25% grades). Interestingly, the big 3-phase network in northern Italy ran at 16 2/3 Hz…

    Aside from motor-generator applications, it was only in the 1950s when 50 Hz installations started to come up. And then, of course, with the development of railroad-enabled rectifiers (beginning with mercury vapor tubes, and then solid state devices), the advantage of high voltage, higher frequency started to prevail. The advantages are, however, not that important to justify a conversion of the existing 16.7 Hz networks. And, as said, nowadays you can feed more or less anything into your locomotive, and it can deal with it.

    I fully agree with the cost of the legacy signalling systems, and not only that, they take a lot of space and weigh quite a bit.

    Actually, me too, I am not a buyer nor vendor, but just an informed spectator. I take you by the word when ever I make it to the Bay Area (well, get enough people together for a smart PDF workshop, and I will hop on the next plane…), and offer the same whenever you can make it to the Provence…

    jonathan Reply:

    Max,

    … it’s not that straightforward, but the details are probably beyond this forum

    yes, low-frequency Ac made the impedance issue much more (ahem) tractable, 90-odd years ago.
    (yes, before that there was the Siemens-Shuckert 1903 experimental/early 3-phase; it’s 4am here, I’ll dig out references tomorrow. Do you have more detail than Horst j. Obermayer’s Taschenbuch? I don’t think I have more data on that installation. I’d forgotten about the scheduled-service in northern Italy.

    I take some small issues with your chronology of mercury-vapo[u]r rectifiers.

    But the point I was originally making, is that the 16.7 kHz German/Swiss/other systems, currently (no pun intended) actually have a small advantage over the French/world-wide systems, when it comes to transformers to feed into rectifiers for a train-set/Lok DC bus of ~3 kV.
    Before that: yeah, SNCF BB 12000 vs. 13000 vs 14000 vs 14100, usw.

    Thank you for the offer. Growing up in New Zealand, I find the Bay Area rather ho-hum. I suspect you’d enjoy my Spur-1 collection more than the scenery, but maybe that’s my own bias speaking.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    On the other hand, higher frequency means slightly smaller transformers. The 50 Hz Pendolino weighs less than the 16.7 Hz one. On Metro-North, the M8 is so heavy that they could only give it a 60 Hz transformer rather than a 25 Hz one without being even more overweight, and therefore the train can’t run south of New York (whereas it can run under both 12 kV and 25 kV all the way from New York to Boston).

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Maybe put the M8 on a diet. And suddenly the multifrequence transformer fits…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They don’t need to run on 25Hz. There’s third rail anyplace they plan on running where the catenary is 25Hz. Not that they have enough M8s to do that regularly. Or that they could do that regularly until after East Side Access opens.

  10. Donk
    Apr 11th, 2014 at 21:08
    #10

    I hate these discussions about train sets. They are pointless. They should just buy a couple used DMUs from somewhere to drive around the 15 passengers they will have until the system connects to either LA or SJ/SF. There is no reason for CHSRA to even have discussions about train sets right now.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    +1000

    jonathan Reply:

    +1k on which part? Buying used DMUs, or CHSRA having no reason to even discuss buying train-sets?

    Going outside the ICS requires FRA-compliant rolling stock. “Used DMUs” which are FRA-complaint means… buying clapped-out Budd RDCs and re-building them. That’s a waste of money, too.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    -1000

    jonathan Reply:

    Nett: zero.

    Jon Reply:

    “Going outside the ICS requires FRA-compliant rolling stock.”

    By the time the ICS is built, there will probably be PTC on the BNSF and UP lines, and reformed FRA rules allowing “alternative compliant” DMUs to run to PTC lines. That would be the most sensible use of the ICS – Oakland/SJ/Sac to Bakersfield using DMUs. No point electrifying the ICS, buying high speed trains, and forcing a transfer at Merced just for the sake of running true high speed service for the last 100 miles.

  11. morris brown
    Apr 11th, 2014 at 21:49
    #11

    The AG has filed its reply brief in the Tos et al case before the appeals court today (4-11-2014)

    The attempt to have Judge Kenny’s rulings overturned is now fully briefed. Those interested can view this reply to the opposition brief at:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/217762039/Reply-to-Prelim-Opp-appeals-court-C076042

    With this statement from the brief:

    The Legislature and the voters have given the Authority discretion to
    decide how to implement the requirements of the Bond Act.

    the AG is claiming here the Authority gets to decide what Prop 1A mandates and nobody, certainly not the courts, not the public has any right to tell the Authority what they can and can not do. Amazing!!!

    joe Reply:

    That’s a misrepresentation Morris.

    The AG writes:

    The Authority’s exercise of that power may only be reviewed for abuse of discretion based on the administrative record.

    Clearly the courts have a role but not the one you want — to micromanage the project.

    The public does NOT have any right to tell the Authority what they can and can not do. The Authority was given quasi-legislative power to direct the development and implementation of the high-speed-rail system.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Your version of carte blanche does not appear in Prop 1a. TehaVegaSkyRail with large and ongoing subsidies and government operation will have to be specifically authorized in new legislation approved by the electorate.

    joe Reply:

    The State AG is explaining case law for the legal team of Laurel & Hardy.
    It’s not in the Prop 1a Song Book.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So for prop 8 and homosexual marriage the courts can step in (rightfully) when the public and legislature are opposed.

    But when it comes to prop1a the CAHSR authority has complete unfettered authority?

    Tell me joe what legal principle allows this because I was under the impression that judicial review was available for all laws, not just the ones you dislike.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The public and the legislature aren’t opposed to same sex marriage.

    joe Reply:

    Right.

    Furthermore, there is no claim that Prop1a is unconstitutional. No claim that Prop1a or the CAHSRA taking a way a civil right or discriminating against a class of individual.

    Unhappy citizens want to sue to delay and kill the HSR Project. The intention is to misuse the courts and laws against wasteful spending to argue HOW the Authority complies with the law.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s violates the right of rich straight old white guys to try to convince themselves that it’s still what they think 1955 was like.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    A failure to follow any law, not just the constitution, is subject to judicial review. And Citizens have the right to sue and see laws enforced even if it does not regard human rights

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Prop 8 passed a public vote.

    The legislature still has not changed the law to allow for marriage ( the court just ruled they had to allow it)

    So yes, the public and legislature both opposed it

    joe Reply:

    When a law is struck down by the court and appeal are over, it’s no longer law.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Which has nothing to do with the original statement that the public and the legislature both opposed gay marriage.

    I remember the vote. No one thought it would pass in CA but the black vote put it over the edge. It was a whole kurfuffle.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/06/AR2008110603880.html

    joe Reply:

    But when it comes to prop1a the CAHSR authority has complete unfettered authority?

    Tell me joe what legal principle allows this because I was under the impression that judicial review was available for all laws, not just the ones you dislike.

    You need to quote – I dislike you making up strawmen and arguing with me about your made up nonsense. So quote me – no paraphrase or silly examples.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Every time you don’t want to actually respond you accuse me of making a strawman or a silly example.

    Your quote was that the public does NOT have a right to tell the authority what they can and can not do, That was the direct quote.

    The direct evidence contradicts that, Tos is a private citizen. He was granted standing to sue. His case resulted in the court telling the authority not to use the bond funds (despite the authority to issue them remaining). So just based on the facts already in evidence, you are wrong

    That’s not a straw man, that’s not a silly example, that’s the facts

    I am actually happy the State’s argument boils down to “courts can’t stop us”. Courts, even liberal courts, take a dim view of that argument. Other than foreign policy at the federal level there is very little that has not been subject to judicial review. Certainly if the state and it’s agent are not following the law they are subject to court review. This is a serious breech of the law, not some day to day micromanagement issue.

    joe Reply:

    But when it comes to prop1a the CAHSR authority has complete unfettered authority?

    I never wrote that statement.

    In fact I posted from the legal brief and commented the courts have a role.

    The Authority’s exercise of that power may only be reviewed for abuse of discretion based on the administrative record.

    Clearly the courts have a role but not the one you want — to micromanage the project.

    Easy and viola.

    And the ruling and Tos standing is being appealed so it’s not evidence- the appeal by the AG is evidence the issue is not settled.

    Section 526a does not allow the judiciary to exercise a veto over the legislative branch of government merely because the judge may believe he expenditures are unwise, that the results are not worth the expenditure, or that the underlying theory of the Legislature involves bad judgment. […] The wisdom of the Legislature’s decision to allow federal grant funds to be used to construct a portion of the high-speed rail system is a political and legislative one, not subject to judicial review.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The ruling has not been overturned or stayed. The ruling is the current state of law.

    And way to avoid what I actually wrote. You stated the public has no right. I quoted you and gave an argument why you were wrong, and you as usual ignored it.

    At least you didn’t accuse me of making a straw man again.

    You are wrong about the publics rights…admit it

    joe Reply:

    and

    Section 526a does not allow the judiciary to exercise a veto over the legislative branch of government merely because the judge may believe he expenditures are unwise, that the results are not worth the expenditure, or that the underlying theory of the Legislature involves bad judgment. […] The wisdom of the Legislature’s decision to allow federal grant funds to be used to construct a portion of the high-speed rail system is a political and legislative one, not subject to judicial review.

    If Real Parties [Tos et al] were correct, then Section 526a would be an open invitation to avoid the boundaries of mandamus review. Under Real Parties’ logic, any agency action could be labeled a waste of public funds, since even a small expenditure or threatened expenditure of public funds suffices to provide section 526a standing. […] All administrative agency decisions would then be subject to challenge in trial complete with percipient and expert witnesses. [to allow action for waste alleged mistake of public officials in matters involving exercise of discretion “would invite constant harassment…by disgruntled citizens.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That is the State’s argument. The argument that Judge Kenny rejected.

    joe Reply:

    The argument the Supreme Court requested the Appellate Court consider.
    The argument the Appellate Court agreed to expedite and hear.
    The argument the Attorney General made on behalf of the public and legislature.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    PS. The ruling did not prevent use of the federal funds, hence the reason the project continues for the moment. So the argument is moot and hopefully the court will once again confirm that,

    The ruling is very simple, they can’t spend the prop1a money until they meet the terms of the law. Kenny didn’t stop them from spending the fed money

    joe Reply:

    They argue there is no injury because Petitioners have not been enjoined from spending federal grant funds (or any other funds). This argument, however, fails to grapple with the practical consequences of the superior court’s erroneous ruling. Specifically, Real Parties fail to address the shortness of time. It is due to the Tos litigation that the Authority cannot access Proposition 1A, the safe and reliable high speed rail train bond act for the 21st century) Real parties do not contest this fact. As a result, there are no funds committed to meet the State’s matching obligations under the federal grant agreement. If the state cannot meet its matching obligation, it could lose the federal grants funds not spent….

    Real parties distort the record when they assert that “Petitioners have themselves stated that they will continue to spend those grants funds and expect to fully expend them prior to 207, regardless of the continued trial court proceedings in this case…..

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So lying then

    Hedlund and California High Speed Rail Authority’s board chairman, Dan Richard, told lawmakers that there was no reason to stop federal payments to the project in spite of the setbacks.

    “We are going to be building high-speed rail in California,” Richard said. “We believe we have the funds in hand.”

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/01/15/214651/despite-legal-setbacks-officials.html

    Or lying now

    joe Reply:

    “Real parties distort the record” and you did too.

    The brief continues and explains the common sense situation. I’m not going to type the entire brief into the comments field. Call them liars and be proud of it.

    When I feel like it, I may type the rest of the brief.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They should really pick a narrative.

    In public they claim “all is calm, carry on”

    In the filing they claim the federal funds are at such urgent risk that the court has to superceed regular procedure and rule now.

    I have no respect for people who lie. They are specifically trying to make it appear to the public that there is no issue to keep the political costs low while claiming urgent disaster to win the court case

    Joe Reply:

    Sure.
    Well they don’t have your respect.

    The most recent legal brief calls your phraphrased criticism a distortion and lays out the facts to the appellate court.

  12. Robert S. Allen
    Apr 11th, 2014 at 22:44
    #12

    I asked CHSRA yesterday to defer Peninsula service and truncate HSR for now at San Jose, with transfers there to Calttrain, Capitol Corridor, and the planned Silicon Valley BART.

    Grade crossings are hazardous at 79 mph (witness Bourbannais Train Accident), and much worse at higher speeds (110-125 mph+?). Unless Caltrain were completely grade separated, HSR there would be highly vulnerable to accidents, sabotage, and significant train delays; it would not be the “Safe, Reliable” HSR of 2008 Prop 1A.

    CHSRA should stop squandering HSR money on Caltrain for “Blended Rail” that HSR cannot safely use.

    jonathan Reply:

    Mr. Allen, take your propaganda, and your explicit desires to “annex” the Peninsula, and stuff them.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Mr. Allen, the schtick is annoyingly repetitive. Why don’t you start with an acknowledgement/apology about the non-standard BART design choices that make it so inflexible and expensive to maintain?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, indeed, “an acknowledgement/apology about the non-standard BART design choices that make it so inflexible and expensive to maintain” is decades overdue. But don’t hold your breath, BART’s idea of innovation and modernization is plug doors instead of dumping signature-Bechtel aluminum sandwich wheels and cylindrical contour in favor of solid steel wheels and conical contour. Legendary hubris.

    But how about an apology from Mssrs. Richards and Zoeller for the exorbitant and pathetically misconceived Tehachapi Detour which equals Indian Broad Gauge in irresponsibility and betrayal of the public trust? At least BART at the time had the excuse the SP was way too powerful to stop with its two Bechtels as moles and assets.

  13. Max Wyss
    Apr 12th, 2014 at 01:17
    #13

    Dear Mr. Allen, as I understand it, you are active in the industry. I really hope for you that your current position is your last one before retirement, because the repetition of all the same message at fitting and not so fitting places may seriously hurt your professional reputation (if it hasn’t done so yet).

    synonymouse Reply:

    Mr. Wyss –

    Do you know BART top staff do not even know how to read a labor contract?

  14. Robert S. Allen
    Apr 12th, 2014 at 17:33
    #14

    HSR needs a secure route: no grade crossings.
    Caltrain has scores of grade crossings.
    “Blended Rail” is neither safe nor reliable.
    “Safe, Reliable” HSR cannot use “Blended Rail”.
    Hence:
    CHSRA should not squander bond funds on Caltrain for “Blended Rail”.
    HSR to Bay Area should stop at San Jose until a secure route north is feasible.
    Plan nearly seamless transfers at San Jose to Caltrain, Capcor, and planned SV BART.
    Forget “One Seat Ride” from San Francisco for now.
    Make HSR better, safer, more reliable, and less costly. This is about HSR, not BART, guys.

    Jerry Reply:

    CalTrain crossings were recently eliminated in San Bruno. As they will be in other locations. Then as you say: a secure route with no grade crossings. It will be safe and reliable.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Therefore, if she weighs the same as a duck … she’s made of wood … and therefore …

    Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    HSR needs a secure route: no grade crossings.

    Why can’t it have grade crossings?

  15. Robert S. Allen
    Apr 12th, 2014 at 18:51
    #15

    Jerry, that’s great, as were closing of the Lenzen and Stockton crossings near College Park. Usually the train in pull mode – with a locomotive in front – survives a crossing accident with little damage and few passenger casualties. Then there is Bourbonnais, where two locomotives and 11 of 14 cars were derailed on 79 mph track like Caltrain’s. Amtrak hit a truck loaded with steel.

    When Caltrain approaches full grade separation, that’s the time to talk of “Blended Rail”. But how could trains run safely at 110 or more mph past a suburban station? I’d still be dubious of HSR on Caltrain’s tracks. A near-seamless transfer at San Jose might well serve more people better than a “one-seat ride” for San Franciscans.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But how could trains run safely at 110 or more mph past a suburban station?

    the same way they do in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Except they need to run at 165 to hit the time from SF to SJ. Or are we just forgetting that

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Wait, what? When they run at 125, they almost make it. Why do they need to run at 165?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    My mistake, I meant 125

    Max Wyss Reply:

    And 125 mph happens routinely between Hamburg and Hannover, between Strasbourg and Mulhouse, and in several other places throughout Europe. They used to do test runs with TGVs at higher speeds between Strasbourg and Mulhouse, but in these cases they put up signs to stay back a bit further.

    So, what’s the problem?

    AlanF Reply:

    A through train passing through a suburban station at 125 mph, 135 mph, 150 mph (in RI and MA for the Acela) is done every day on the NEC.

    There are more than a few who post to this blog who could learn about how higher speed trains operate by taking the NEC a few times. Or observe NEC operations from stations and various popular vantage points. The NEC is constrained in many ways by the state of it physical infrastructure with old catenary and power system designs, many curves, moveable bridges, slow speeds, capacity chokepoints, wide range of station platform lengths, stations which were rebuilt or modified in the 1960s-80s in a downsizing era that now need to be expanded to handle ever more passengers. But the NEC does work on a daily basis.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Express trains will routinely pass locals at Fresno, Bakersfield, Palmdale CHSRA stations. What would Robert SFB Allen propose to do about that?

  16. joe
    Apr 12th, 2014 at 19:03
    #16

    “Bourbonnais ! Slowly I turned … step by step … inch by inch …”

  17. Donk
    Apr 12th, 2014 at 22:19
    #17

    This blog has turned into the joe vs John Nachtigall show. Maybe you guys should team up and get a show or something, like Hannity and Colmes.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    No we are just the only people up late on Saturday with nothing to do but write in a blog….I feel really really depressed now…really depressed

    therealist Reply:

    hookup with the mouse&RULE THE WORLD !

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Why would you want to rule the world? I manage 11 people and it’s hard enough. 7 billion would be a huge headache.

    I would settle for a mid to upper level henchman position in the new cabal. Like evil assistant sub-overlord of food production for the western US. High enough to get perks, low enough to avoid the headaches.

    therealist Reply:

    ’nuff said…forget it !!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It happens. Santa Clara County (where joe and John live) isn’t known for nightlife.

  18. leroy
    Apr 13th, 2014 at 09:23
    #18

    Good HSR article from the Badger State. Walker will beat her 52% to 48%, baked in the cake.
    http://www.maciverinstitute.com/2014/04/mary-burke-supports-high-speed-rail/

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