Anti-HSR Zealots Sue To Stop Project, Claiming It Makes Climate Change Worse

Jun 23rd, 2014 | Posted by

Of all the lunatic claims touted by those who oppose high speed rail, this has to be the craziest. Stuart Flashman and David Schonbrunn of TRANSDEF, two leading anti-HSR advocates, are suing to stop high speed rail because they claim that an electric train powered by renewable energy would somehow make climate change worse:

TRANSDEF contends in the suit that instead of reducing greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, cement production for construction of the rail line “would result in significant increases in … emissions.” The suit contends that the Air Resources Board disregarded testimony presented by TRANSDEF and its president, David Schonbrunn, at public hearings last month before finalizing its approval of high-speed rail among projects qualifying for cap-and-trade money….

“High-speed rail should not be shown … as a GHG emissions reduction measure,” Schonbrunn testified on May 22. “The claimed GHG emissions reductions are a very expensive fantasy: they depend on $30 billion of project funding that the (California High-Speed Rail Authority) doesn’t have and can’t get.”

This is absurd, but it is also an extremely dangerous threat to the effort to reduce CO2 emissions. Anything we do to reduce CO2 emissions may in the immediate term actually cause some increase in emissions, but as long as the long-term effect is a significant reduction then it’s worth building.

But even that logic doesn’t apply here. The California High Speed Rail Authority is spending money to offset emissions produced during construction. So the construction of a carbon zero project will be carbon neutral. The state’s CO2 emissions won’t get worse, and a project will be built that the California Air Resources Board has said is essential to achieving long-term CO2 reductions.

Anti-HSR forces are getting increasingly reckless in their desperate attempt to fight the future. They are determined to kill this project at literally any cost – even if that cost is inundation of coastal California and an ecological disaster from soaring CO2 emissions.

Ultimately this is another reminder of the real obstacles in the way of solving the climate crisis. The oil companies and the right-wing are part of the problem. But so are NIMBYs and folks like TRANSDEF who shortsightedly find reasons to oppose essential carbon zero infrastructure. We will never solve our carbon emission problems until we have defeated these kinds of attacks on HSR.

  1. Jerry
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 13:55
    #1

    Now I know who killed the EV1.

  2. JCC
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 14:04
    #2

    The Anti-HSR crowd WILL say anything to stop it.

    Of course, and any second now, they will start adding to the comments section below.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Global warming is a function of population growth. Development schemes such as commute “hsr” accommodate population growth if not encourage it. Self-defeating and not even competitive with air. Jerry Brown has become a developer shill.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It slows the population growth in Buffalo effectively. It does when Clevelanders emigrate to Arizona too. Or Syracusans to Florida.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Clevelanders emigrate to Hudson, or Columbus, mostly.

    Ray Wise made it to Hollywood. I have to ask my relatives if Akronites even know their native son made the big time.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Your source for this assertion is?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Shitload of relatives in the old country – Hudson is the uber-affluent exurb Clevelanders flock to away from the crime of Cuyahoga County.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Not so affluent ones land in Mesa Arizona.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They are making a run for the border to score Geritol and Laetrile.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ya can get Geritol and Serutan in any Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS etc,

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Clevelanders coming down to the northern suburbs of Akron isn’t emigrating. After all, the Akron urbanized area and all the outer suburban development between it and the Cleveland urbanized area are all still part of the Greater Cleveland area.

    But convincing people to move to one part of the US instead of another only has an effect due to difference in the climate impact of the typical resident of the two areas, and given Ohio’s reliance on coal and recent surrendering lower utility bills of Buckeyes from renewable power standard to protect the market for steaming coal … it would seem like population growth in California at the expense of population growth here would be a net improvement from a climate crisis perspective.

  3. JCC
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 14:43
    #3

    LOL. That is hilarious Syn.

    I’m guessing that you can’t help yourself and write the first piece of whatever babble fills your mind. Those sentences are some great non sequiturs.

  4. Richard Mlynarik
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 15:21
    #4

    Fight the Future™!
    For great choo choo!
    Against wicked cyborgs!
    Go go go choo choo racer!
    Fight KasKariBot™!
    Fight SierraClubSkeltor!
    Kill it with fire!
    FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

    joe Reply:


    Morgan Hill police: Middle school student arrested in bullying incident

    In a news release, [Morgan Hill] police Chief David Swing said, “I encourage others who have been bullied by this suspect or by others to report it to a teacher or other responsible adult immediately so that they do not have to endure pain from immature and insecure children.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_22444485/morgan-hill-police-middle-school-student-cited-bullying

    Eric Reply:

    I don’t think Richard has enough social skills or bodily strength to be an effective bully. He more comes off as noise.

  5. J. Wong
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 15:21
    #5

    Basically their argument is that the total funding is not allocated, so HSR won’t be completed, therefore none of the funds from Cap&Trade allocated to HSR will result in any reduction. Seems a little chicken&egg to me.

    synonymouse Reply:

    C’mon the Cap and Trade was a tax meant as a sop to the genuine green cadres, some monies they could devote to upbeat, feel-good and obvious eco plans and inventions. Instead it turns out a gas tax to go to the likes of PB and Tutor, the construction arm of the big polluters.

    It is an insult. What did you expect?

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://www.pbworld.com/capabilities_projects/project_portfolio.aspx

    A few road projects sure, not a big percentage.

    joe Reply:

    That argument was made in Appellate Court May 23rd and didn’t seem persuasive. A skeptical sounding Judge countered that CA’s massive water project had the same issues and with fewer protections than Prop1a. He noted the risk is inherit with any large project and not unique to HSR.

  6. Lewellan
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 15:40
    #6

    We need an extensive national passenger-rail system more than a few all-electric Bullet trains.
    Hybrid diesel/electric locomotive passenger-rail would do as much or more to reduce CO2 emissions than an all-electric bullet train in California and elsewhere. Electricity infrastructure should be directed to where it can do the most good. More municipal transit systems should run electric. More cars should run electric, but counter-intuitively, Plug-in hybrid technology has more potential to reduce fuel/energy consumption and emissions than the all-electric Nissan Leaf and Tesla.
    There is no real need to electrify the Madera-to-Bakersfield corridor.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You already have diesel trains. If the train isn’t faster than flying normal people will fly.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Wrong. The current Amtrak Coast Starlighter trip is 11-12 hours. A 125mph hybrid (raising pantograph) Talgo XXI trainset via the Tejon/Altamont routes is a 5 hour trip. Fast enough to serve most traveller.
    Overhead catenary installed where the benefit of electrification justifies the expense. Forget the 200mph science fiction crap.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A pantograph using train can’t go through curves or around freight trains any faster than a diesel burning train.

    Lewellan Reply:

    The pantograph is raised along segments that justify the cost of catenary, dense urban settings (Altamont/Peninsula) and in tunnels. The Talgo XXI is a ’tilting’ trainset that reaches 125mph.
    No one has sufficiently explained why the San Juaquin corridor couldn’t be upgraded, sidetracks and grade separation. Bakersfield is a ghost town.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If it has it’s pantograph raised it can’t go through the 40 mile an hour curve any faster than 40. How much less does a grade separation for 125 MPH trains cost versus a grade separation for 225 MPH trains?

    Lewellan Reply:

    Grade separation of 225mph systems is essentially their entire length. A grade crossing (roadway underpass) designed to handle freight trains and 125mph passenger-rail (electrified or not) need not include additional rails for Bullet trains, an obvious reduction of construction costs.

    I believe the continued insistence upon 200mph will kill the CAHSR project. I’ve supported Talgo XXI trainsets since 2008 as the most effective LA-to-Sacramento Phase 1, then via Altamont to SanFrancisco, then to San Diego. These extensions also face insurmountable obstacles (cost & impact) related to 200mph system design. I wish it weren’t so, but there you have it. I think you’re trying to kill HSR. How much are the Koch Brothers paying you? Do you work summers on Dakota oil rigs?

    Peter Reply:

    I think you’re trying to kill HSR. How much is Talgo paying you? Do you work summers at Talgo’s factory in Madrid?

    Seriously, your Talgo XXI spamming is quite annoying.

    EJ Reply:

    Amen. We’re all well aware that lightweight 125 mph diesel trains exist. The British have been running them since 1976. Doesn’t mean they’re suited to LA-SF HSR. Now, I think you might be able to make a case for that type of equipment on LA-San Diego, or SJ-SAC, etc. But a 5 hour train trip between LA and SF just isn’t a market winner.

    Lewellan Reply:

    A 5-hour train trip LA-to-SF is the minority travel market among others between stations along the route. Altamont increases this travel market more than the Gilroy route.

    To serve Palmdale, should the faster, less expensive Tejon route be eventually selected and built, I’m wondering if a spur from Bakersfield to Palmdale/Lancaster might work better, especially using
    TALGO XXI trainsets
    which could continue on to Las Vegas
    and continue on to Salt Lake City,
    and continue on to Denver,
    or continue on to Portland.
    Yeah, the TALGO XXI trainsets could do all that,
    whether the smart ass among us find it annoying or not.

    EJ Reply:

    OK, I think I’ve got it.

    1. Spend unknown billions of dollars to build new lines and upgrade existing lines to 125 mph capability.
    2. All research says that 2-3 hours is the sweet spot for hsr trips, but 5 hours is fine, because you say so.
    3. Talgo XXI is the Talgo XXI best because Talgo XXI. Hitachi, Kawasaki, Alstom, and Siemens don’t make high speed trains. The only other maker of high speed trains is Bombardier, who are dumb and bad, for some reason.
    4. Given all the above, the difference between revenue and cost, ie totally unknown – totally unknown, can’t help but lead to an economic, environmental, and social benefit.

    Does that sum it up?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Nobody except train enthusiasts is going to take the train from San Francisco to Denver. Even if it’s a system with an average speed of 200 MPH. It would take too long.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    SF to Denver would get more than train enthusiasts if sleepers were cheaper than driving and a night in a motel. Rail, even at slower speeds is competitive if you think about the time saved not slowing down at night. But if we do a little investment here and there I think rail could make a comeback.

    However, that is the last thing the Class I’s, airlines, oil companies, etc. want.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Can I haz free cheeseburger instead? The fare is already subsidized.

    Alan Reply:

    Nobody except train enthusiasts is going to take the train from San Francisco to Denver.

    And your proof of that is what? There must be a helluva lot of “train enthusiasts” going from SF to Denver, because it’s hard to find space on the Zephyr most days.

    More to the point, however, is the fact that your position completely ignores one of the great assets of the long-distance trains–providing transportation to smaller communities at a reasonable cost. And the fact is that most ridership on the long-distance trains is not endpoint-to-endpoint, but intermediate point to another intermediate point, or an endpoint. For example, I’ve made many trips on the Zephyr, and a number of trips on the Empire Builder. But I’ve never gone from Chicago to SF or Seattle straight through.

    Beyond that, you’re entitled to your opinion that even at 200mph average, “it would take too long”. But you’re not entitled to make that decision for other people.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    there are no intermediate points between Salt Lake City and any place else that doesn’t already have Frontrunner service to make stops at.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Which alignment? SF / SLC and SLC / Denver would themselves have a higher mode share than SF / Denvers, and between those points there’s Reno between SF and SLC, and on the northern route there’s Fort Collins, Cheyenne and Laramie between SLC / Denver.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There aren’t a whole lot of people in Nevada that isn’t in Clark County. There aren’t a whole lot of people in Wyoming and there isn’t a whole lot of people in Utah. Or Colorado either.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the HSR train is moseying along at 40 MPH because of the curves it doesn’t need to be grade separated just like the 125 MPH train doesn’t need to be grade separated when it’s moseying along at 40 MPH through the curves.

    Lewellan Reply:

    This is an embarrassingly weak argument against the more practical alternative.
    TALGO XXI – MADE IN USA during/after WWII. World’s 1st true ’tilting’ HSR. A fine ride.
    Affordable. Technologically advanced. NOT STUPID like a Bombardier Bullet.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Shinkansen have been running for 50 years. They are technologically advanced too.

    wdobner Reply:

    Lewellan – Adiondacker’s argument isn’t weak, he’s pointing out the fundamental failing of your approach to high speed rail. If you want to do anything in excess of about 110 mph in this country you will be heavily rebuilding the track you want to use. If you want to stay at a speed higher than 110mph for a distance long enough to get the average speed competitve with automobiles you’ll be building yourself a new-build right of way. But once you buck up and start building passenger dedicated infrastructure the cost does not rise proportional to the design speed (at least to a point, which these days is likely in excess of 300mph). Thus you’re best off getting the very most you can out of the infrastructure you build and running at 200mph on it so as to deliver the highest average speed and best product possible.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, this was why the Rapid Rail version of the Columbus Georgia to Atlanta corridor came in as so much more expensive per route mile than the Rapid Rail Columbus Ohio to Chicago corridor that the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association is pushing … because a substantial portion of the Columbus GA corridor is abandoned corridor that has to be rebuilt.

    Andy M Reply:

    Wrong, throughout Spain you see sections of rail line that have three speed limits. One for talgos and one for everything else passenger and one for freight.

    So I don’t see why you assume a talgo cannot go faster than anything else, with or without panto.

    wdobner Reply:

    No need to look as far afield as Spain. The Pacific Northwest has similar signs denoting tilt train speeds along the Cascades route. I believe when they were forced to run some Amfleets time had to be added to the schedule because they were restricted through the curves.

    But the difference between the Talgo speed and the speed for regular equipment is nominal. The highest I’ve seen is 15mph. When you’re restricted to 79mph doing 55mph around a curve that otherwise would be 40mph saves an appreciable amount of time. But no amount of tilting is going to get a Talgo down an extant mainline at 125mph or anywhere near an average speed of 70mph. That’s Acela-like performance and would require significant infrastructure investment, assuming the host railroad lets you play with their tracks. So you’re stuck building a 125mph corridor, probably 75% the cost of a 220mph route, to get a quarter the travel market share. Once you undertake the process of building passenger dedicated infrastructure just design it for 250mph, and use it to the fullest you can from the earliest opportunity. A 220mph train can be pulled off the HSL and will go around that 40mph curve on the alignment Lewellan would run the Talgo over, but it’ll reduce average speed on the new build segments and be readily integrated into the eventual full build out. No need to totally give up on the Prop 1A requirements because they’re “science fiction”.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    First, fast enough to serve most travellers and fast enough to attract most travellers are two different things. Five hour rail trips are typically well under half the mode split of three hour rail trips to the same destination. Indeed, 3hrs is in the middle of the fairly noticeable transition between 2:30 and 3:30.

    Second, five hours is not fast enough for same day trips, so that’s an entire market segment entirely excluded from the five hour mode split, both passengers shifted from air and from induced demand.

    If we charged full economic cost, we’d electrify the corridors for freight rail, and the benefit of electrification would justify the expense because the main freight rail corridors would already be electrified. Not charging the full cost of using the atmosphere as a dump is another one of the the tacit subsidies to gasoline cars, and diesel truck and rail freight.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Who in their right mind makes 1000 mile trips, there and back in a day. That’ ridiculous and so is electrification to achieve 200mph as proposed, nevermind to haul freight. As for exhaust emissions and global warming, a diesel locomotive is still more fuel efficient than driving and flying.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People who fly from Chicago to New York or Denver to Chicago? Or Boston to Atlanta? Or Jacksonville to San Antonio?

    Eric M Reply:

    Heck, add San Francisco to Denver

    jonathan Reply:

    Lewellan, people make 500 mile trips there, and 500 back, for business meetings, every day. Thousands of them.

    The only people “not in their right minds” are those who say that doesn’t happen.

    Lewellan Reply:

    These sort of trips are absurd. If you weren’t accustomed to having every wish fulfilled, you’d agree. Wasteful luxury travel is coming to an end. Nevermind. Keep pretending that some psuedo-science fiction technofix won’t make our future world less inhabitable.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You don’t get to decide if the trip is wasteful or not.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Obviously, a 1000 mile trip, there and back in a day to do ‘business’ is wasteful.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    to you, to the people on the airplanes who do it, not so much. If it was wasteful their boss wouldn’t let them spend the money.

    EJ Reply:

    You keep using this word, “science fiction.” I do not think it means what you think it means.

    EJ Reply:

    Unless you maybe think Japan, France, and China are fictional?

    Lewellan Reply:

    I would support a 200mph system were it not for the reality of severe impact and prohibitively
    high cost. If 125mph systems can lead to building many times more passenger-rail lines,
    this is not science fiction.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    For the umpteenth time how much cheaper is 125 MPH railroad versus a 220 MPH railroad.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Electrification accounts for ~30%.
    Guideway viaduct and tunnel account for ~20% difference in cost.
    Engineering differences between the types ~10%.
    When I calculate 125mph HSR “as cutting cost in half” I’m not exaggerating.
    Even it could only represent a cost savings of say 30%, that’s enough to apply
    to similarly low-cost HSR projects desperately needed to wean the US off fossil fuel dependence.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    not building the guideway to make the train go 220 instead of 40 means the 125 MPH train has to go 40 and you won’t be able to make it between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 5 hours.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Electrification accounts for ~30%.

    [Citation needed.]

    (My recollection is that in the Central Valley, the cheapest segment, electrification is less than 10%; the relative cost of systems drops as the civil infrastructure gets more difficult.)

    Lewellan Reply:

    Yes, viaducts, tunnels, elevated stations are more expensive than electrification. That 30% figure came from some study of a line with least expensive (ground level) track. Differences in cost between 125mph and 200mph are also due to the maximium straightening of curves. I’ve never believed a 2hr 40min trip time was possible and round the trip time to 3 hours. A 5-hour trip thus doesn’t sound like such a sacrifice. It is also an estimate roughly based on maintaining an average speed of 100mph. Fast enough and faster than a gold-plated Bombardier Bullet that is never built.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    you can go through the 40 mph curves at 100. fixing that needs tunnels and viaducts.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That 30% figure came from some study of a line with least expensive (ground level) track.

    Yes, and I’m asking you to find the study, because the unit costs in the CAHSR business plan point to a far lower percentage.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “I’ve never believed a 2hr 40min trip time was possible and round the trip time to 3 hours. A 5-hour trip thus doesn’t sound like such a sacrifice.”

    Precisely ~ that argument is not about whether it DOES substantially cut the mode share of the rail service but what the difference “sounds like”.

    The difference is more substantial in terms of market demand for travel than it “sounds like” it would be. Which is a PR issue, not an issue in whether the extra benefit justifies the extra cost.

    Peter Reply:

    I’ve done it to take a one-day course that had to be attended in person in order for a professional license. I would have preferred to do it via low carbon transportation, such as, I dunno, an electric HSR train, but since they don’t exist outside of the NEC, I had to fly. A 125 mph train wouldn’t have cut it. And it will never cut it for business people.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    A 125 mph train on a good alignment likely translates to 80mph transit speed, which gives a 200 mile radius for a 2.5hr trip, a . A business person may take that from Cleveland / Columbus or San Diego / Santa Barbara or Chicago / Iowa City, but not for a 500 mile trip with a faster available air connection.

    EJ Reply:

    Business travelers do it all the time. Who do you think is on all those planes flying back and forth between SF and LA during the week? They want a service where they can make a morning meeting, go out to lunch with the client or whomever, and get back home at a decent hour. You can do it if you fly. You can do it, just, with a 2:40 train trip. You can’t do it with a 5 hour train trip, and that’s going to cut out that market, no matter how much more pleasant the train trip is.

    You can see it play out in the rest of the world – for example, one of my relatives lives in Scotland and frequently travels to London on business. The Virgin Pendolino express trains (max speed 125 mph) from Glasgow to London make the trip in about 4:30. They’re pretty nice trains, he’d take them if it was practical. But he flies, because that allows him to get home in time to have dinner with his family, or at least tuck his kids into bed. Hundreds of other people make the same decision, and that’s one reason Virgin’s franchise gets a government subsidy.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Following your transportation planning philosophy (have fun polluting the planet til the oil wells run dry) we’re doomed. How about another Oil War? You’ll have to support it, no matter the death toll. How dare those Iraqi peons control our oil supply? Flying around the world for the hell of it requires a sacrifice. Still, it’s like they say, “He who dies with the most money wins!, right?”

    EJ Reply:

    What in God’s name are you blathering about?

    Lewellan Reply:

    EJ, a priviledged little pinprick like you wouldn’t understand.

    EJ Reply:

    Keep it real, Lewellan.

    Lewellan Reply:

    You can’t handle the truth. You’d like to pretend long-distance travel and transport is a sensible, sustainable way of life. You’d like to pretend the electricity required to operate a 200mph train should take priority over other more productive uses of electricity.

    Peter Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWSx0bBiNIs

    Peter Reply:

    The proportion of electricity that HSR in CA will use is a rounding error in comparison to other uses.

    EJ Reply:

    I’m talking about choices that people are going to make. I’m not endorsing anything. If it makes you feel any better; I’d probably take a 5 hour train trip over an hour flight, but I’m a foamer. I don’t represent the average punter who just wants to get from SF to LA as quickly as possible.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    why is a 450 mile 5 hour trip in a train hauled by a diesel engine more sustainable than a two and two thirds hour trip in an electric train that uses non carbon electricity?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Answer, its not.

    A 450 mile 5 hour trip on a train hauled by an electric locomotive that uses non-carbon electricity might or might not be more sustainable …

    … it depends on load factors and rail regulation. The 80mph electric train if its a relatively light weight EMU may be less per seat-mile, but if it has lower load factors could well be a wash per passenger mile. An 80mph electric train that is FRA compliant under status quo regulatory standards wouldn’t have as much advantage per seat mile (if any), so is less likely to be as sustainable per passenger mile than a lightweight EMU.

    But given that the status quo is clearly unsustainable, the priority for leading edge investments ought to be on those which will attract the greatest mode shifts from the suicidal status quo.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    if you want to go rummaging around someplace somewhere in Amtrak’s financials are the numbers for their electricity bills and diesel bills. In nice round numbers the ACS-64s are gonna cost a half billion. Over their lifetime they will save 300 million in electricity. It’s difficult to brake a diesel train by running the diesel engine in reverse and have it put diesel fuel back in the tank. If there’s another train in the section of catenary the electric train can dump anything not being used by HEP so the other train can use it. With the right substation it can go back into the grid.
    It’s hard to make power plants that fit inside a locomotive efficient, It’s a lot easier to make power plants that stay in one place efficient.

    … it’s even more difficult to have the trains carry around hydro, nuclear, pumped storage, wind or PV….

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Indeed. The wind resistance in carrying a built and erected 90 meter tall wind turbine on top of a train would be quite substantial … indeed, if they didn’t have any wind resistence, that would kind of defeat the whole purpose of the turbine.

    For a lot of our most abundant sources of renewable, sustainable energy, instead of harvesting the energy as fuel and then burning it to create electricity, with a loss of efficiency in the process, we are instead harvesting the energy as electricity, and if we want to convert it to fuel (methane, ammonia) than THAT is the process with the loss of efficiency as a result.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Electricity to anything other than electricity is a last resort. Converting water to hydrogen is not particularly efficient and never will be. Physics or chemistry, depending on how you want to look at that, is a bitch. Converting electricity to hydrogen and then converting the hydrogen back to electricity, burning it directly or to a different fuel is even less efficient.

    I shoulda saved the link. If I had it would have evaporated by now. It’s more efficient to charge your electric car than converting the electricity to hydrogen and then burning the hydrogen. Even if you are transporting the electricity long distances. It might have made sense when batteries were much heavier. And it’s debatable if it made sense then either.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In practice, HSR is more electricity-efficient than slower trains, because it tends to run on newer lines at constant speed, without the frequent acceleration and deceleration cycles of legacy lines.

    Eric Reply:

    Alon, wouldn’t a new train on a legacy line get around that with regenerative braking?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Eric: It depends on whether the grid feeding the line can stand that additional energy it receives. Best with regenerative braking along a long grade is when you have another train climbing the grade. Then the regenerated energy goes directly into that train.

    Aside of that issue, with modern circuitry, you can get back 70 or so percent of the energy used to climb the grade (or accelerate the train).

    jonathan Reply:

    underlining Maxs reply:

    The SBB regularly runs more Re 10/10 (Re 4/4 II + Re 6/6) *downhill* on the Gotthard ramp than is at all necessary. They do this for two reasons. First, because in the long run, the locomotives have to go downhill in order to come back uphill. But — also importantly — because they need two locos’ worth of regenerative braking, to feed energy back into the catenary, to power the trains coming uphill. Having one locomotive “dead-heading’ would reduce regenerative braking capability.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Jonathan:

    Well, the main reason is that the “Re 10/10″ pack simply runs through from Basel to Chiasso. This is in fact cheaper, and also necessary, because it is not only the Gotthard which has steep grades, but there are grades all over the place.

    However, there were very heavy (for Swiss railroads) trains over the Lötschberg line (not the base tunnel), which came with a double header of Re 465 from Basel to Spiez, where another Re 465 was added as a rear end helper. And this Re 465 remained on the train to Domodossola, where it could use the regenerative brakes at full power, without any limitations (and with the more recent software release, the Re 465 can develop the same braking force as tractive force at a given speed).

    Steven H Reply:

    Oh good lord, it’s not just “privileged little pinprick’s” who make 1000 mile round trips for work! I made one a few weeks ago, and I’m just a lowly government peon. I travel by rail as often as I can; but my employer (your government) is not going to pay me to sit on a train for five hours when I can get to my destination in two or three hours on a plane. There’s absolutely no way that I could justify that. Additionally, if I can turn a two day trip into a one day trip, I avoid hotel and per diem costs. Believe me when I say that my employer is very much aware of potential savings that make my work travel less vacation-y.

    You really shouldn’t just assume that everyone will be just fine taking a slower journey on a train when a faster (and sometimes cheaper) option is already available. Most employers, mine included, will almost always insist on the faster option, even if the slower one is likely better for the global (i.e.
    someone else’s) bottom line.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I work for a profit oriented company. We have to book all of our travel through the travel office. They have some sort of guidelines… they are for salaried people because most of the people who travel are salaried. I remind the person booking my trip that I’m hourly and what my overtime rate is. It doesn’t make sense to put me on a flight that is 50 dollars cheaper and then pay me more than that to watch the planes take off and land in Cleveland. And buy me dinner at the prices restaurants on the airside in Cleveland charge.

    Peter Reply:

    Clients aren’t happy either when their attorneys spend 48 hours traveling versus 16, given that they’re paying them by the hour. If I can get to a deposition and back in less than a day, versus two or three, how is that wasteful?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Just FWIW, Virgin does not get subsidies for the WCML franchise. Quite au contraire, they pay a nice amount of money for the right to operate this line.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’re confusing average with top speeds. A 320 km/h train will average 240-260 km/h, so the 3-hour radius is about 750 km, half of the travel distance you insist nobody should go. A 200 km/h train running substantially on legacy track will be lucky to average 140, and the examples I know of that achieve that speed are electrified (WCML, running Pendolinos).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    That’s (1) straw horse and (2) concludes the opposite to observed fact.

    Its a straw horse because its pretending that 1,000 mile trips are the primary market for Express HSR, when that’s false.

    And its contrary to observed fact because given 1,000 trips that can be completed in three hours, we see people making 1,000 mile return trips. What drives return trips is not miles distance, its hours required.

    This is the kind of online comment that passes for “political debate” in much of the internet, but its of no interest for people who are interested in actual empirical analysis.

    jonathan Reply:

    Electrify the corridors for rail frieght!? But then you could never run HSR on those tracks.
    And even if you tried, the corridors would still take far too long for most inter-city trips.

    Observer Reply:

    Talgos are beautiful trains; 125mph may be sufficient for say Fresno to SF or LA, but between SF and LA, five hours would never be able to compete with flying between SF and LA – just too long. Also, even upgrades for 125 mph trains, diesel or electric would be costly. Remember, between SF and LA, it is still only a mostly single track system for both freight and the existing San Joaquin service. It all depends on what type of rail passenger service this state really wants. For me it is HSR – 200+mph HSR service where needed – and it is needed for SF-LA service, otherwise forget about competing with the airlines between SF and LA.

    jonathan Reply:

    Observer:
    I was responding to Bruce McF. Your response seems to be in response to Lewellan, not me.

    Lewellan Reply:

    The LA-SF travel market is the minority among other trips between these and other stations.
    Altamont increases the travel market more than Gilroy. I’ve been on the Acela 150mph stretch between NY-Boston. The scenery became dizzyingly blurry. I’ve been on the Amtrak Cascades many times, never faster than 80mph, never a dull moment.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Normal people don’t care a whole lot about the scenery. Or they wouldn’t be taking the Acela to get from New York to DC which is mostly industrial underbelly for a lot of the trip.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Oh, now you’re equating your opinion as commonly held among “normal” people? Hah!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    so the people on Acela and the regionals aren’t normal people? The look moderately normal to me. They blend right in with the commuters on the platform except for the luggage.

    Eric Reply:

    People who travel a route once are interested in the scenery. People who travel the same route dozens of times are only interested for the first couple trips. Most passengers on a train fall into the latter category.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t know, when I ride the NEC I try to get a window seat on the side of the train facing southeast, for (a few) Connecticut waterfront views.

    Needless to say, if it involved paying more, or taking a longer trip, I wouldn’t do it. I’d happily switch to a high-speed line that went farther inland along I-95.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Regular business travelers on the shinkansen worry more about whether their seat has an electrical outlet than what they can see out the window.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    On the NEC, every seat has an outlet. Some of them even work.

    Observer Reply:

    Blurry? Wow. I have been to europe and have ridden high speed trains. I have never noticed blurry scenery.

    Observer Reply:

    Although what was quiet a neat sensation was passing another high speed train in a tunnel going in the opposite direction. It lasted just a couple of seconds, and at first you do not know what it is. I hope to experience that sensation again – in California.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Another interesting experience is for example on the HSR between Frankfurt and Köln, which follows the main highway. It is a funny effect seeing all those trucks and cars (running at allowed speed) just crawl along.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The NEC does for short stretches too. Metro North used to have ads on the Major Deegan/I-87, which runs right along the Hudson Line for a short stretch, in that stretch, that would have things like “arrive home relaxed” and a picture of the interior of their new trains.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not an HSR thing, I don’t think. Bruce has pushed national freight electrification for a while now, independently of passenger rail considerations. In California, independently of national considerations, it would be beneficial on air quality grounds alone, since the air pollution that gets trapped in thermal inversions is disproportionately due to diesel and not gasoline.

    jonathan Reply:

    I understand Bruce pushes freight electrification. My point is that electrifying existing freight rail lines has *nothing* to do with HSR.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Don’t look now, but that is exactly the President’s plan in Illinois.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    they are electrifying things in Illinois?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Taking existing freight ROW and electrifying it and raising speeds to 125mph with FRA rule changes I thought….

    jonathan Reply:

    200 km/hr is not high-speed rail.

    EJ Reply:

    200 km/h on legacy systems is high-speed rail according to the UIC.

    jonathan Reply:

    Oh, not *that* piece of nonsense again! It’s simply *false*. *Not true*. You can get away once due to ignorance; but don’t ever repeat this falsehood.

    Do you know where that definition comes from? It’s from a UIC document which mentions *SEVERAL* definitions of high-speed rail. *Several*. (Not “*the*” UIC definition, as you state).
    Anyone who bothered to read the Wikipedia article on ‘High Speed Rail” should know this; it’s the very first point, “Definitions”, after the introduction.

    And do you know where that specific “200 km/hr on legacy systems” comes from? It’s from EU Directive 96/48/EC . Which is a declaration by the EU Council of Ministers. (Since this is a rail, or transport, directive, that means it’s from all the rail Ministers or transport Ministers of the governments of eacy EU member nation).

    Historically, this declaration had one purpose: to force a *lower bound* on how fast HSR trainsts had to run, on “legacy’ rail systems. One effect — arguably the most important — was to force the UK to build a faster line than the “legacy” Southern Railway line, electrified at 3rd-rail 660V DC. That electrification scheme can supply only limited current, which severely limited the speed of Eurostar. The EU Council of Ministers was forcing the UK to spend money, to make the Eurostar run faster between the Channel Tunnel and London.

    jonathan Reply:

    they are electrifying things in Illinois?

    Illinois is buying Siemens FRA-compatible, Eurosprinter/EuroRunner/Vectron-ish diesel-electrics with Cummins diesel prime movers. California is buying them too; so is Washington state, Michigan, and .. Missouri?. California selected the cars for the PRIIA-funded purchase, for all states; Illinois selected the locomotives.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Jonathan,

    I know that 125mph is not what purists consider to be HSR. My point was just that the Administration changed their approach in Illinois from CAHSR speed service.

    EJ Reply:

    If someone is going to call me a liar I would expect them to refute something I said, somewhere in that word salad.

    Do you know where that definition comes from?

    Yes.

    *Several*. (Not “*the*” UIC definition, as you state).

    I typed one short sentence, which does not say or imply that there is only one definition. Is your reading comprehension that poor?

    And do you know where that specific “200 km/hr on legacy systems” comes from? It’s from EU Directive 96/48/EC .

    Yes, it’s a EU directive that UIC adopted. How does that make it not UIC’s position.

    Historically, this declaration had one purpose: to force a *lower bound* on how fast HSR trainsts had to run, on “legacy’ rail systems.

    So what? How does that make what I stated false?

    Here’s tne UIC’s actual definitions page. https://www.uic.org/spip.php?article971

    Note the second definition: “Specially upgraded High Speed lines equipped for speeds of the order of 200 km/h,”

    That’s pretty plain English right there. You don’t seem to understand that because you don’t want something to be true, that doesn’t make it false.

    jonathan Reply:

    EJ,

    You are a fine one to talk about words!

    First, I **DID NOT* call you a liar. I was very careful not to.

    But what you stated *IS* false. The UIC does *NOT*, repeat *NOT* define HSR as “200 k/hr on legacy lines”. The UIC *QUOTES* from EU Directive 96/48/EC, Appendix 1. That is *NOT* the UIC’s definition of high-speed rail. Right after the UIC document says that there are several definitions of HSR. That’s just a fact.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And EU directives are defined using SI units. Does that mean they aren’t EU directives because the Eu doesn’t define SI units? If the definition the UIC uses isn’t good enough for you, whose definition is?

    EJ Reply:

    And in the paragraph before they quote the EU directive, they say “At all events, high speed is a combination of all the elements which constitute the “system”: infrastructure (new lines designed for speeds above 250 km/h and upgraded lines for speeds up to 200 or even 220 km/h, some worked with tilting trains, some not)”

    I would suggest that the reason they say that they consider 200 km/h trains to be high speed under certain conditions is that they consider 200 km/h trains to be high speed under certain conditions.

    EJ Reply:

    Does that mean they aren’t EU directives because the Eu doesn’t define SI units?

    How do we know it’s even written in English? Maybe it’s some other language that resembles English but all the words mean different things? I mean it’s not defined anywhere what language it is.

    EJ Reply:

    Also. http://www.uic.org/IMG/pdf/20101124_uic_brochure_high_speed.pdf

    Observe the maps on page 13 with the European high speed system. Which apparently includes the 125 mph lines North of London.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    …why does the map list the US as having lines faster than 250 km/h?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    One line and the definition they are using is “greater than 200 on legacy tracks” there’s big chunks of that between New York and Washington DC.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They have separate colors on the map for “>250 km/h” and “250 color.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    On the European map they have

    o More than 250 kph in operation
    o More than 250 kph in development
    o 180 < v < 250
    o other lines

    on the Americas map they have

    o High speed in operation
    o High speed in development
    o Incremental speed

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’re not looking at the right map. Go to the world map on PDF-p. 3.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    EJ Reply:
    June 24th, 2014 at 11:55 pm…. Observe the maps on page 13

    The one on the next page would seem to be the most pertinent.
    It operates over 155 MPH between New Brunswick and Trenton,infrequently. only late at night when the weather cooperates. Rumor has it they did the same in Maryland a few times too. The same as it does in England though the English did it a bit more frequently.

    jonathan Reply:

    A mixed reply, to Ted Judah and EJ:

    First, UIC does *not*, repeat does *not* identify HSR as “200 kmr/hr on legacy lines”. Nor do they identfy “200 km/hr on legacy lines” as HSR. The cited UIC web-page *opens* by stating that there is no single definition of HSR. No “one-size-fits-all”.

    Indeed — though it undermines my point — the cited UIC web-page says, explicity, that if your rail system is bad enough, even 160 km/hr (100 mph), comfortable, reliabie, service, may count as “high speed rail”. (I read that as: third would countries. As a New Zealand citizen, 160 km/hr in NZ would probably qualify as HSR, given the tiny loading gauge, sharp curves, mountainous terrain, Swiss-style steep gradients, world-famous spiral, etc., etc., )

    I would be astonished, astonished I say, if anyone wanted to put the US in the same basket.

    Specificaly to the point about 200 km/hr rail, as funded by PRIIA: the maps I have seen make a sharp distinction between “faster’ rail (up to 125 mph) and “high speed rail” — listed as 125 to 250 mph. I take issue iwth their definition of HSR, at the low end.

    I freely admit that that’s a purist definition. But *much* *less* so than, oh, um,. calling someone out for describing dual-mode locomotives/train-sets as “hybrid”.

    That’s one reason for the bluntness of my response to EJ. Another is that iit’s a calumny I’m very, very tired of hearing. But more the former.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Then NY to DC is HSR because Acela runs at 135 on it and even the lowly regional trains do 125 on it.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its possible for a train to run on a HSR corridor for part of its trip and a Rapid Rail corridor for part of its trip … that leverages the investment in the HSR corridor and by increasing the number of trip pairs that benefit from the HSR corridor, can strengthen the political support for the HSR corridor.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    You can’t run Express HSR at speed on paths built for 40mph-60mph heavy freight, so how is there anything lost there?

    You can’t run them at anywhere near full speed on paths built for 90mph Rapid Freight Rail either … though if there were paths built to leverage the opportunity for 90mph Rapid Freight to take away road freight markets, at least you could run them on those paths to a reliable schedule, since ability allow trains through at Interstate Highway transit speeds or better on a reliable schedule is one of the market requirements to take over those higher margin markets presently dominated by diesel fueled heavy trucks.

    EJ Reply:

    Seriously, the Talgo XXI is not a hybrid. I believe the word you’re looking for is dual-mode.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Oh well, ex-cuuuse me, ‘dual mode’. Oh, a new word! Oh yeah!

    EJ Reply:

    Words mean things, dumbass. No one’s likely to think you’ve got a clue what your’re talking about for very long, but at least if you used the words correctly you might fool them for a little while.

    Also, protip, just because you’ve never heard a word before doesn’t mean it’s new. People who actually design and build trains refer to a train that can run on diesel or electric power as “dual-mode.”

    Lewellan Reply:

    Yeah whatever, smart ass. You’d rather not consider my long-held and voiced here viewpoint, preferring instead to find fault, however meaningless. I AM a supporter of HSR. I AM NOT a supporter of prohibitively expensive, high impact, 200mph luxury trains BECAUSE they cannot address the real need this country has for a functional passenger-rail system.

    EJ Reply:

    I and others have considered your opinion (which is all it is, you’ve never presented any reasoned argument for it), and explained why it’s wrong. You don’t respond to arguments though – you either fly into hysterics or write shitty poetry about how nobody understands your genius idea, so I’m not going to rehash the arguments here. It is funny watching you make a spectacular ass out of yourself though, so carry on.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Look, smart ass. If you and others here had actually addressed my preference for Talgo ‘dual mode’ HSR, I wouldn’t be as offended by your lies claiming otherwise. This forum is like a typical bureaucratic closed-door operation with their phony displays of concern for contrary viewpoint. I don’t expect you EJ to understand anything but your own viewpoint. If the project falls apart, it’s your fault. If the project goes forward and completed eventually, it won’t do a damn thing to prevent economic collapse and environmental devastation. It’ll become last resort luxury travel for upper class.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    we did and you response was neener neener neener

    EJ Reply:

    @Lewellan – see, now you accuse me of lying when I say I addressed your points. We did, we gave you real world examples, and you went on a looney rant accusing me of supporting wars in the middle east or something, even though all I was talking about were lifestyle choices that research and experience has shown people will make. You attack me personally without knowing anything about me.

    You simply keep insisting that 5 hours is fine, with nothing to back it up other than your own personal preference, as if you’re literally incapable of understanding that often one’s personal preferences don’t necessarily reflect the market. It’s like if I were to insist that World War Z bombed at the box office because I personally thought it was dull and poorly written. I’m done arguing, as I’m beginning to suspect you have some serious problems.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Obstinately, you ignore cost and impact, EJ, while I try to find compromise solutions. Your problem is obstinance. Full speed ahead, nevermind legitimate concerns presented by those who viewpoints differ from your own gold-plated version of what rail travel could or couldn’t be. I’ve explained my position fairly, but you shoot it down as if I’m looney. Screw you pal.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    give us numbers you aren’t pulling out of your nether regions

    Alan Reply:

    It’s hard to take your “viewpoint” seriously when it clearly does not comply with Prop 1A; other people have tried to explain that to you; and you repeatedly ignore that and continue trolling, “TALGO TALGO TALGO”.

    There may well be places in California where Talgo trains could make a significant difference–for example, supplementing the Coast Starlight to provide much more frequent service between Sacramento and the Redding area–a totally ignored market for passenger rail. But you’re not doing anything to encourage that kind of prospect by insisting that Talgo equipment should be substituted for true HSR, despite the clear language of the law.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Pretend a Talgo system could comply with more important imperatives. First of all as a Plan B to replace the failing gold-plated Bombardier Bullet, to build any starter HSR, to offer opponents a political compromise. A Talgo system could align with the ‘blended’ systems in LA County and the Peninsula which also do not comply with Prop 1A, acceptance of which shows that Talgo can be considered viable. You just don’t want to hear it. You want to go on pretending your ‘limited’ viewpoint won’t result in project cancellation, even as you find new ways to jack up the cost while ignoring impact. How dare I contribute to the discourse of a ‘public project’ that you consider yourself to be the final arbitrator?

    Alan Reply:

    Listen, dummy, to what a lot of us have been trying to tell you: TALGOS DO NOT COMPLY WITH PROP 1A! Nobody is listening to your viewpoint because you’re at least a decade too late–certainly almost six years too late. The HSR system as it is defined BY THE LAW is what we’re discussing here. You’re just shilling for an alternate technology which does not, and cannot comply with the law.

    When you blather on that the blended systems do not comply with Prop 1A, please specify exactly where in the law you find support for your claim.

    I do not consider myself to be the arbiter of anything. I do consider myself intelligent enough to read the legal requirement for an electrified system capable of 220mph and conclude that your precious Talgos, which barely reach half the speed, do not comply.

    You also completely blew off my statement that there are places where improved services with Talgos may provide a useful benefit. But the HSR backbone is not one of those places. You got a problem with that, take it up with the Legislature.

    Lewellan Reply:

    I have mentioned Talgo potential extensions to Las Vegas, SLC, Denver, Portland several times here. Any rational person can infer that combining Talgo system arrangements is another major cost saving over Bombardier Bullets. THE LAW is BULLSHIT. Were it not for the ‘blended’ system compromise along the Peninsula and through LA County, this debate would be over and nothing accomplished. An approximately $30 billion lopped off the project cost, snap, just like that. Yet you pretend to take credit for keeping the project alive. Why shouldn’t these amenable cost savings that worked in liberal LA and Bay Area not work for conservative Central Valley? Answer: Conservative business interests kill rail by making it too expensive, and supposedly progressive advocates like yourself fall for their dazzling ploy of Bullet trains they know cannot be built.

    Alan Reply:

    You may think that the law is bullshit, BUT THE LAW IS THE LAW! If you don’t like it, too bad. The time for objecting to it was in 2008. If you haven’t noticed, it’s now 2014.

    You have some kind of mental block that refuses to permit you to see reality. Reality is the fact that HSR is going to be built as an electrified system compliant with Prop 1A. Will it be with Bombardier trainsets? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on whether or not they bid, and if they do bid, if they’re the winning bidder. If they are, I’ll laugh in your face.

    As far as Talgos go, they might be useful on corridor services. I’d probably ride one from Eugene to Portland or Seattle, but if the Starlight works into my plans, I’d take it in a heartbeat. But a cross-country network of Talgos? Forget it. I’m not sitting up in one of those tin can all night.

    I’m not taking credit for keeping anything alive except myself, my wife and our cats. The rest of your screed makes about as much sense as the idiotic poetry you infllict on us.

    Go tell your boss at Talgo that you’ve posted a lot for him, and he should pay you now.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    lop off 30 billion dollars and you won’t be able to make 5 hours either.
    they build fast trains all over the world, California is special but not that special

    EJ Reply:

    I’m not sitting up in one of those tin can all night.

    Have you ever ridden in a modern Talgo train? They’re quite nice actually.

    They have a fundamental design issue in that for a given length of train, they have significantly less passenger space than “conventional” trains, but they’re quite good for secondary routes.

    Alan Reply:

    If I wanted to cram myself into “significantly less passenger space”, I might as well fly. For a few hours on a corridor, it’s probably ok, but for overnight, I want the space and amenities provided by conventional equipment.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The actual comfort level is similar to what you’ll find on other trains. Second class on HSR has converged on a seat pitch of about a meter, same way that airline economy class has converged on 80 cm of pitch. The lower amount of passenger space translates to fewer seats per unit of train width.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    *unit of train length, of course.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Alan, Amtrak Cascades Talgo coaches are much more comfortable than Amtrak ‘dreamliner’ double-deck and single-deck coaches I’ve ridden; more stable for walking between coaches and a restroom on the same level. There is a cafe car and dining car adjacent though no dinner service. Riding is not a ‘tin can’ experience though that may be your personal, irrational bias. Overnight coach sleeping is of course uncomfortable sitting. To remedy that, I propose Amtrak aim for 2-Train daily service on overnight routes to offer patrons the option of hotel accommodations and catch the next train 12 hours later. Though this is another slowing of trip time, it maintains the notion that train travel is a more a marvel than a draconian efficiency. Every insult you hurl at me will be returned with equal derision. Your perspective is stupid. You are not helping the important cause of building passenger-rail in this country.
    I detest your pig-headed belligerance.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    twice a day so Amtrak can lose twice as much? Though there probably won’t be a whole lot more demand so the fares aren’t going cover as much of the expenses and they’ll lose more than twice as much.

    EJ Reply:

    @Alon

    Thanks, that’s what I meant.

    @Alan, pretty sure you’ve not ridden on modern Talgo trains, as Alon says the level of comfort and amenities are about the same as other trains. I think the lower passenger capacity is kind of a deal-breaker for CAHSR (as it seems to be on Spanish HSR as well – most of the highest traffic lines use Siemens Velaro derivatives and not Talgo equipment), but they’re not any less comfortable than “conventional” trains.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    EJ, since there wouldn’t be many more riders having low capacity wouldn’t be much of a problem.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Alan, there is indeed a Talgo 350, which does 330 to 350 km/h. It has been ordered for example for the Mecca – Medina HSR. However, as it has been mentioned, seat capacity could become an issue, if the system ends up to be really successful (but that’s what would happen with any single-level train). Being able to run at the intended speed, such trains could be handed down for “local” services. But then, having an uniform fleet would be preferrable for maintenance reasons.

    However, note that the dual power model used in Spain will have even less capacity, and its only reason to be is because of the different gauges of the main network and the HSR network; the Talgo system provides currently the easiest and fastest gauge change on the market. That allows (in Spain) a faster connection of relatively remote cities to the capital.

    Hmm… considering that, we may have some members of this group’s wet dream (and the majority’s nightmare: gauge changing Talgos using BART on the Peninsula and then the HSR from San Jose… …aaargh…

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    (but that’s what would happen with any single-level train

    Indeed.

    CSHR ought to be 100% double deck from day zero.

    The reason is catastrophically bad terminal capacity (SF Transbay is designed not to function as a rail passenger terminal in any way) and moderate-bad line capacity in badly conceived over-long “blended” sections.

    Plus the huge advantage that double deck trains with lower level boarding are automatically 100% compatible with low-level level-boarding Caltrain and future Metrolink.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Speaking of SF Transbay, it seems the signature rooftop park is the latest victim of cost blowouts:

    Transbay Transit Center will open without signature park

    The $1.9 billion Transbay Transit Center will open without its signature rooftop park unless the city of San Francisco can come up with $24 million in private donations and nonprofit grants to pay for the green space.

    Cost overruns have added $300 million to the cost of the project at First and Mission streets, so money that was supposed to go toward building Rooftop Park — 4.5 acres with gardens, a children’s play area and an amphitheater – will instead go toward constructing the four-story bus terminal and underground train station.

    [...]

    The park’s delay comes as the TJPA is eliminating a roster of design features to shave costs. The building’s undulating glass skin was replaced with perforated aluminum to save about $17 million. An additional $53 million was scratched by eliminating the glass-fiber flecked finish from the walls. Fixtures that were to be stainless steel will instead be galvanized and painted steel.

    [TJPA spokesman Adam] Alberti said all the “trade-offs” are aimed at “making sure the transit center comes in on budget and on time.”

    Alan Reply:

    Llewellan–you act like an idiot, expect to be treated like an idiot. Your lust for Talgos for everything is completely irrational. Requiring overnight passengers to get off of one train, spend the night in a stationary hotel, and then get on another train is a great way to kill the service, not improve it.

    Someday, when you come out of your mommy’s basement and act like an adult, you’ll realize that there’s a difference between “belligerence” and actually knowing something about the subject at hand.

    Right now, you’ve managed to poison the name Talgo among a group of serious rail transportation advocates. However, you’ve also managed to unite two groups of people who normally have opposing opinions on this blog, so maybe you’ve accomplished something.

    Alan Reply:

    The Transbay park may not be quite as dead–KCBS reported this morning that at the mayor’s urging, the Transbay TPA has agreed to finish the park on schedule, although they don’t know at the moment where the money will come from.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Easy, just use the Sunday parking meter revenue. Oh wait! Mayor Lee just single-handedly killed Sunday parking metering.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Speaking of SF Transbay, it seems the signature rooftop park is the latest victim of cost blowouts

    Q: What do you get when you the nanometric layer of lipstick from a four billion dollar pig?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Right now, you’ve managed to poison the name Talgo among a group of serious rail transportation advocates.

    Very serious, much poison.

    Observer Reply:

    The Talgo 250 comes in a hybrid version; at least Talgo calls it a hybrid.

    jonathan Reply:

    Or perhaps someone mis-translated the name from Spanish?

    In English, rail vehicles which can run off either electricity or diesel, are called “dual-mode”.
    Diesel-powered rail which can store “unwanted”, otherwise-unused energy (such as from dynamic resistance braking) and re-use it later, are called ‘hybrid”

    Observer Reply:

    You are correct. Talgo used to call it hybrid, seems that now they call it the Talgo 250 dual.

  7. morris brown
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 15:54
    #7

    Robert:

    Before you announce to your readers, your conclusions, you really should read the complaint that TRANSDEF has filed.

    It can be found at:

    http://transdef.org/HSR/ARB.html

    In particular here is a section that says the ARB, omitted completely CO2 production from the needed tons and tons of cement that the project will need. Knowing the chemistry involved in cement production, if the ARB indeed did not include CO2 generated in cement product, they created a very serious omission.

    ……

    PETITIONER submitted a written comment letter on the Draft Updated Scoping Plan.
    The letter specifically pointed out that the GHG Report submitted to ARB by CHSRA, and
    specifically referenced in the Draft Updated
    Scoping Plan at footnote 72 on page 63, grossly
    misrepresented the GHG emissions impacts of its proposed high-speed rail project. The CHSRA
    Report did so by not only understating the construction-related emissions compared to the
    asserted operational GHG emissions reductions, but perhaps even more importantly and
    egregiously, by omitting entirely the GHG emissions
    impacts associated with manufacturing the
    many thousands of tons of cement that would be needed for the project’s construction. ARB
    made no changes to the Updated Scoping Plan or its EA in response to PETITIONER’s letter

    Eric M Reply:

    And what do you propose using cap and trade for?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    What do you propose using money for?

    It’s all just one happy and completely fungible and inexhaustibly deep slush pile, after all, so anything maximally always.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The highways, airport runways and things like airport terminal expansions that would have to be built instead, the concrete in them is carbon free?

    joe Reply:

    Oh my.

    TRANSDEF has long been a supporter of High Speed Rail (HSR). We believe that building HSR is the best way to provide connectivity between California’s regions. It will encourage land use plans to emphasize proximity to transit and minimize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the goals of SB 375. HSR is an important part of California’s strategy for the future.

    T

    Alan Reply:

    Well, first of all, the great attorney Flashman (aka “Laurel”) screws up again. He named the CHSRA as a defendant, and then filed suit in the wrong court. He stated that venue is proper in Fresno County under CCP 401. However, the Public Utilities Code specifically requires that any action naming the authority be filed in Sacramento County:

    “185038.

    “Any legal or equitable action brought against the authority shall be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in the County of Sacramento. For purposes of this section, subdivision (1) of Section 401 of the Code of Civil Procedure does not apply.”

    Oops.

    Then, Flashman tries to get a court to undo an act of the Legislature. Evidently, he’s completely forgotten, or is ignoring, the specific words of the justices of the Court of Appeals. At least he remembered to include the request in the original petition, and not forgetting to do it until a reply brief.

    Basically, the petition is the Great And Powerful David Schonbrunn pouting and whining that nobody will listen to his One Best Way, and presuming to speak for every resident of the state.
    Waah Waah Waah!!!

    Peter Reply:

    Nah, he’s sneakier than that. The Authority is allegedly just a “Real Party in Interest”, not a “true” defendant. Hence the claimed ability to forum-shop. Is there anything similar about proper venue for actions against CARB?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If the Authority is an RPI, then who is the named defendant? Jerry Brown?

    Alan Reply:

    I think the court will see this for what it is–an attempt at forum shopping. Laurel can try to make that argument, that a RPI isn’t a defendant. That may or may not work. The state can claim that the CHSRA should be a named defendant, because the action is trying to enjoin the Authority from spending the appropriated cap-and-trade funds.

    And now that I think about it, Laurel *did* screw up in trying to have the appropriation declared invalid–the Legislature was not named as a defendant in this action. Judge Kenney already got him on that one. To answer Ted’s question, CARB and 10 unnamed Does are the defendants.

    Alan Reply:

    My bad–the 10 Does are RPI’s, not defendants. Although as I said above, there really isn’t much practical difference.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    My comment was tongue and cheek anyway. Unless I am horribly mistaken, I don’t know how you file a civil suit in California without at least one named defendant.

    Peter Reply:

    It’s possible, at least as a temporary procedural measure. I believe AT&T did it a few years ago after someone cut through the fiberoptics leading to the South County area, literally cutting off ALL communications to Gilroy and Morgan Hill. They did it so they could file subpoenas duces tecum.

    And to answer your above question, the defendant is CARB.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Suing CARB before they dish out the money is a great way to get your case dismissed.

    joe Reply:

    TROLLDEF attacks the CAHSRA’s GHG and claims it is deficient.

    The fig leaf is the CARB should have done independent verification of the CAHSRA GHG estimates.

    From TROLLDEF’s site

    The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is responsible under AB 32 for planning how the State will reduce its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The compilation of that planning is known as the Scoping Plan. TRANSDEF filed these written comments with ARB on its Draft Update to the Scoping Plan. The full set of comments contained attachments, including the TRANSDEF critique of the CHSRA’s GHG report and comments on the discussion draft of the Scoping Plan Update. The critique relies heavily on a paper by Drs. Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath, which concluded that the HSR project would be a net emitter of GHGs for the first twenty to thirty years of HSR operations. An earlier version of this paper formed the basis for the Legislative Analyst’s skeptical report on HSR (p. 14).

    The earlier version of the paper was wrong. Clem Tiller caught and posted his analysis on CAHSR Blog.

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/12/hsr-emissions-paper-was-wrong/
    Leaving aside for the moment the unprecedented notion of high-speed trains being operated at 10% seat occupancy–in reality, service frequency would be dropped to achieve higher loads–the numbers used in the study show that energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and sulfur dioxide emissions are dominated by emissions from “Vehicle Active Operation,” i.e. electrical power consumed for the purpose of actually running trains.
    Unfortunately, that is where the study falls apart.
    Berkeley’s numbers are undone by a simple unit conversion error committed by a CHSRA consultant.

    The 2012 scientific paper TROLLDEF cites has this in the abstract:

    A high-speed rail system that is deployed with state-of-the-art trains, electricity that has met renewable goals, and in a configuration that endorses high ridership will provide significant environmental benefits over existing modes.

    and just to show limitations of their approach .

    While a fuel economy standard does not translate to actual onroad performance, the range of economies modeled is intended to illustrate future potential performance of improved vehicles. Congestion effects are not modeled and it is acknowledged that this would increase the automobile footprint.

  8. Tony D.
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 16:25
    #8

    Talk about a serious reach by the obstructionists! By their logic, nothing should ever be built because construction contributes to global warming. Heck, perhaps they’ll go after gas lawnmowers as well!

    They see Cap and trade as a serious funding mechanism that just might make HSR a reality in our state. Hence this stupid, I MEAN STUPID lawsuit…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    http://www.cleanairyardcare.ca/sustainability/environmental-facts/
    http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/14660

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most people don’t mow the lawn at night. If they switch to an electric and it’s running on solar electricity it solves all sorts of problems with emissions. But then electric lawnmowers don’t advertise to the whole neighborhood that you are mowing the lawn.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Electrics still make an appreciable amount of noise.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    mine doesn’t not compared to the real he-man mowers the neighbors use. Or the real he-man snowblowers they use. Or the real he-man weed trimmers they use. Or the real he-man leafblowers. They don’t have hedges so the electric hedge trimmers I use are probably the noisiest in the neighborhood.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I wish they would go after leafblowers

    Observer Reply:

    Agreed. Note that is not the only way that they are going after cap and trade; about 16 democrat state legislators are already asking that CnT be suspended for oil companies that will take effect 01/2015 which will raise gasoline prices about 15 cents a gallon. If they get their way, other groups of carbon producers may also ask that they be exempted from CnT. So eventually CnT may be diluted without killing it. I hope Governor Jerry Brown stays firm.

  9. John Burrows
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 20:30
    #9

    BART has been in operation for 42 years and is still a work in progress. San Francisco to San Jose commuter rail has been in operation for 150 years. It would be interesting to know how many years high speed trains will be in operation in California once that initial segment is up and running? I would guess that they will be around for a very long time.

    If the trains start running in 2022, they will reach their 42nd year of operation in 2064 and it might be worth trying to figure out how their operation might effect CO2 emissions during this time period.
    And if you really want to go way out there—How about the first 100 years of operation?
    We are likely to be dealing with CO2 emissions for centuries to come, and far into the future high speed trains will likely be helping to curtail them.

    And speaking of trains of the future and CO2, here’s a scary thought—-

    Freight trains have been operating for 200 years—The first ones carried coal.
    Today, freight trains carry 70% of all the coal mined in the USA (about 700 million tons per year).
    One hundred years from now, how much coal will they be carrying?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    No mineral coal, to be sure. We will have either stopped using the stuff or we will have crashed our industrial economy.

    Carrying some biocoal is a feasibility for a hundred years from now.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Meh on biocoal. Turn the biomass into “town gas” locally and ship the electricity from the high efficiency generating station next to the town gas plant.

  10. Jos Callinet
    Jun 23rd, 2014 at 20:50
    #10

    I am doing all I can to refrain from saying, “I Told You So!” when it comes to the endless stream of lawsuits that are being and which will continues be brought to bear against this project. The one that is the subject of this particular thread is only the latest in a long succession of lawsuits yet to come.

    There are literally hundreds of lawsuits brewing against the CAHSR project, all queued up in a long line not unlike the crowds who show up hours, even days, before the Apple Store begins selling its latest iPhone!

    I have said on this blog – repeatedly – that lawsuits alone are going to prove to be the undoing of the CAHSR project.

    MARK MY WORDS : By the time the courts have wended their way through every last lawsuit brought against the CAHSRA and its project, years will have passed, and STILL not one solitary shovelful of dirt will have been turned.

    Robert, you are so right in saying that efforts to mitigate climate change – like this high-speed rail line is intended to help achieve – cannot and will not happen as long as lawsuits like the one described in this thread continue to control the agenda – and there are hundreds of vested interests hell-bent on seeing that the status-quo prevails for decades to come.

    Unless something remarkable and unforeseen happens that puts a stop to these kinds of idiotic lawsuits, I don’t see how this project – and others like it – are ever going to see the light of day.

    Darrell Reply:

    Opponents in the Cheviot Hills area to the Expo Line light rail to Santa Monica went the lawsuit route — over its FEIR at trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court, and its grade crossing approvals before the CPUC — and ultimately lost on all. Tracks are now laid and grade crossings are built in that area.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ..well.. there are lawyers around who will advise their clients that they have a snowball’s chance in hell and clients who will forge ahead anyway and gladly pay the lawyer by the hour to do it.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    The very local scale and nature of the five-mile Expo Line extension to Santa Monica from its current terminus in no way compares to the extent and complexity of challenges that are being and – guaranteed – will continue to be, brought against the five-hundred-mile-long line the CAHSRA intends to build.

    Seriously, Darrell, you’re comparing Apples to Bananas.

    I appreciate the point you’re making, however.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    I associate the CAHSRA with bananas – ‘coz there will be so many “ap-peels”! LOL

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    NOT TO MENTION THAT ALL THESE DELAYS ARE DRIVING US HSR SUPPORTERS – BANANAS!

    EJ Reply:

    Jos, I get the impression that you’re maybe not originally from California? Because this is how we do things out here – sue the shit out of everyone, all the time. I’ve lived in this state for decades and as far as I can tell it was ever thus. But stuff happens eventually, in spite of it all.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Commonly overheard in middle-class neighborhood California schoolyards circa 1982: “if you hit me my parents will sue your parents!”

    EJ Reply:

    Non-Californians probably think you’re joking, but it’s pretty much true.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The only way a lawsuit stops the project is with a stay. The Tos litigation is making others think they too an suspend construction indefinitely by the courts. But once Judge Kenny rules, it’s game on.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    When’s Judge Kenny expected to issue his ruling – any guesses?

    jonathan Reply:

    Or off, if Jiudge Kenny rules that CHSRA’s plans don’t meet the time requirements in Prop 1A.
    And they don’t meet the time requirements. The Authority’s own simulations prove that.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Kenny’s issue was with future funding, not time requirements. But keep reaching if you must…

    jonathan Reply:

    ” reaching”? What planet are you on? The Tos & Fukuda suit is in two parts, and I’m alluding to the the 2nd part. Judge Kenny ruled bacik in March to try the 2nd part:

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/mar/04/judge-oks-second-phase-california-high-speed-rail-/

    Tony D. Reply:

    So if some crystal ball simulation currently exhibits slightly slower travel times then what was “promised” to voters, then are you suggesting Kenny will strike down THE ENTIRE project? Really? Like I said, a complete reach…

    jonathan Reply:

    Not a reach at all, Tony.

    jonathan Reply:

    … it’s not a question of “striking down the project”. The issue being tried is whether the Authority’s plans actually meet the law. Requiring the Authority to meet the law is hardly “striking down the project”.

    joe Reply:

    Tony’s right.

    The HSR plans are to be 100% complaint with travel times. There’s nothing to show they intend to do otherwise.

    Kenney can’t strike down the project over simulations (and have it withstand appeal). The Authority shows intent and commitment to be 100% compliant and they have the capability too be compliant.

    There’s no fraud or waste. This isn’t the Minority Report with precognitive lawsuits for anticipated, future fraud or waste.

    Intent is important since the Laurel and Hardy Legal team refers to case law where the publicly stated intent of the government was to disregard the bond language. That’s the law they cited and it’s not applicable to the project.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The blended plan isn’t illegal per se.

    The 2012 appropriation of Prop 1a funds did not demonstrate sufficient funding for all the usable segments and corridors contained theirin. There needs to be an actual match for construction on the bookends to proceed there. The ICS is more or less ready to go once Kenny issues his decision.

    joe Reply:

    How TRANSDEF Settled a lawsuit.

    Lawsuit settlement with MTC is here:
    http://mtcwatch.com/pdfiles/3-04_TRANSDEF.htm

    1. MTC will prepare a 2005 Regional Transportation Plan 1 (“2005 RTP”) and include in its Draft EIR an alternative entitled “TRANSDEF Smart Growth Alternative.” MTC will model this alternative using assumptions supplied by TRANSDEF, as described below. The description of the alternative will clearly identify the conditions and assumptions that are beyond current MTC authority or funding constraints. MTC will run the travel d>emand model using these assumptions and provide the results to TRANSDEF as well as incorporate the results of the TRANSDEF Smart Growth Alternative into the Draft 2005 RTP EIR. MTC is under no obligation to adopt the TRANSDEF Smart Growth Alternative.

    And here is the 2005 MTC report with TRANSDEF’s Material.

    http://www.mtc.ca.gov/planning/2030_plan/downloads/EIR/Appendices-Part2.pdf

    TRANSDEF has developed its own set of land use assumptions for this alternative, which are different than those used in the Proposed Project and the other four EIR alternatives. These land use assumptions have not been reviewed by local governments or by the public and are not the current set of land use projections adopted by ABAG (Projections 2003).

    <bHigh Speed Rail

    To move people long distances across the region, the TRANSDEF alternative relies on a few key projects and a redeployment of existing services. The TRANSDEF alternative assumes that a statewide High Speed Rail (HSR) system will be operational within the next 25 years and will enter the Bay Area using the I-580 Altamont Corridor between the San Joaquin Valley. It would replace the existing Altamont Commuter Express trains, tie into BART (via very short extensions) in west Livermore and Fremont, and connect Fremont and San Jose.

    Oppps!!!

    There’s TRANSDEF once again promoting concrete intensive HSR.

    The attack on HSR appears bogus. TRANSDEF wants HSR concrete poured their way. Objecting to GHG / CO2 is an excuse.

    Alan Reply:

    Exactly. The Great and Powerful David Schonbrunn, Ruler of the Republic of California, wants things his way, or not at all. Period. “We’re gonna have HSR via Altamont, or by God, NOBODY gets HSR. Pout. Whine. Hyperventilate.”

    Filing the suit in Fresno is a pretty obvious attempt at forum shopping. Laurel and Hardy have found the Superior Court in Sacramento to be rather unfriendly, and the Court of Appeals to be even more so, so Laurel is hoping that a judge in Fresno might be more easily swayed. He might as well have filed suit in San Diego. Still isn’t legal.

    What the state needs to do is ask the court to rule the filing to be frivolous. A ruling like that might land Flashman before the State Bar and cut the anti-HSR lawsuits by about 80%.

    Joe Reply:

    TRANSDEF testified that cement manufacturing emissions should be considered in the CARB cap and trade scoping plan.

    Is cement manufacturing part of the HSR project impact? Is steel? I am quite skeptical the project has to account for emissions of material manufacturing.

    They may have to reply to TRANSDEF which why he generates a laundry lists of issues to chew on. Maybe not if material manufacturing is not part of the project.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The concrete and steel in the additional highway and airport that would have to be built would be sourced from all natural cement orchards and organic rebar farms.

    joe Reply:

    It’s turtles all the way down. Where does the State define the system boundary when calculating an impact? Consistency in the CARB Scoping Plan has to matter. Is manufacturing cement a CA HSR emission?

    TROLLDEF has experience with CA Law and a history of kitchen Sink litigating – some lawsuits end due to lack of funds. Others result in legal fees paid and physic concessions like TROLLDEF getting the State to run their models with TROLLDEF’s fantasy data inputs. (see the 2005 MTC report).

    When TROLLDEF takes on the HSR project – it’s on like Donkey Kong. It’s big league lawsuit and frankly I hope they litigate until the bitter end. If this doesn’t stall funding then let this run up a large legal; bill and see if TROLLDEF walks away or they bet the farm on micromanaging HSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The lawyers who do this by the billable hour love it.

    Alan Reply:

    I’m curious…exactly how many dues-paying members does TROLLDEF really have? Or is it just a way for Shonbrunn to make himself look more important than he really is?

    Alan Reply:

    I don’t think I’d be quite as pessimistic. These early suits are establishing precedents that will make it easier to dispose of future actions.

    The Tos action is claiming that the blended plan for the Peninsula is a violation of Prop 1A, because it changes the project from what was presented to the voters. Unfortunately for Tos, Judge Kenney has already ruled (in one of the Atherton actions) that the blended plan is simply one method of executing the same project described by Prop 1A. I think it’s very unlikely that the judge will overrule his own ruling.

    We can also gather from the hearing at the Court of Appeals that the Court places great emphasis on not hearing matters that are premature. That would apply to the 526a matter–it’s extremely premature to claim that the design violates Prop 1A *when it has not yet been fully designed*. The law does not say that the Authority must prove their designs with simulations. In fact, the law says nothing about simulations. The simulations are part of the design process, not the verification of the design. Only the NIMBY’s who see the simulations as a life preserver think otherwise.

    The Tos complaint also alleges that the Authority does not intend to build the ICS with electrification–when in fact, the Fresno-Bakersfield FEIR very clearly spells out the construction sequence–INCLUDING ELECTRIFICATION. As I’ve said before, (and some people refuse to understand) one of the important purposes of the ICS is to serve as a test track, and you cannot test electric trains without a means to provide them with electricity. It seems obvious, but it needs to be restated for some people.

    The state can, and should argue as well that Section 2704 does not create a private cause of action. Finally, the state has argued that a 526a action cannot allow a plaintiff to introduce evidence–like simulations–that could have been introduced into the administrative record. A 526a action cannot be used to provide a “do-over” for disgrunted losers.

    Once some of these issues have been heard and decided by the Court of Appeals, and perhaps the Supreme Court, the legal waters become charted. A future judge will be able to cite Tos when he/she dismisses a future NIMBY case. The cases will still come, but they’ll be easier and faster to deal with. Of course, getting Flashman disbarred would also help a lot.

    nslander Reply:

    This should be pinned at the top of this blog.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Standing and applauding LOUDLY for Alan! Excellent! ;)

    Alan Reply:

    Aw, shucks! :)

    jonathan Reply:

    Unfortunately for Tos, Judge Kenney has already ruled (in one of the Atherton actions) that the blended plan is simply one method of executing the same project described by Prop 1A. I think it’s very unlikely that the judge will overrule his own ruling.

    Oh? Where did the Atherton suit make a case that the Blended plan for the Peninsula fails to meet Prop 1A?

    Alan Reply:

    Actually, the Atherton plaintiffs raised the issue in their opposition to the state’s motion to discharge the Atherton writs. Judge Kenney, in his ruling of 3/25/13, wrote:

    The Court finds this contention to be unpersuasive. As respondent argues convincingly, the project description for this first-tier environmental review always has been the selection of a route into the Bay Area from the Altamont Pass and Pacheco Pass alternatives, along with the selection of general track alignments and station locations based on that choice. This project has not changed in any fundamental way during the environmental review process. The new information regarding the unwillingness of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board to consider a four-track system concerns the implementation of the project as described, and not the nature of the project itself Moreover, in the Project Description section of the final EIR, the alignment between San Francisco and San Jose is stated to be “Caltrain Corridor (Shared Use)”, which is consistent with the concept of phased implementation or the blended, two-track system.

    Although the plaintiffs were directly challenging the revised EIR, they were indirectly challenging the concept of the blended plan being compliant with Prop 1A. Judge Kenney shot that down rather convincingly. Laurel & Hardy conveniently forgot that in the Tos case. Oops.

    The rest of the judge’s conclusions are equally convincing. It’s all there on the Superior Court’s website. But if you’re going to go download the ruling, do it soon. Next Tuesday, the court starts charging a fortune for access to documents.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/construction/CP1_Open_Houses_070114_070214.pdf

    joe Reply:

    High Speed Job Creation

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-janis-high-speed-rail-20140623-story.html
    “It’s reasonable to expect that if the project sticks to its core commitments, it could become one of the greatest economic development programs in the state’s history”

    The program was modeled after one developed by L.A.’s Metro in 2011 that has put thousands of disadvantaged people into union apprenticeship programs. Those who finish are prepared for permanent careers as electricians, pipe fitters or sheet-metal workers. The high-speed rail construction careers program will similarly train thousands of Californians and then put them to work designing and constructing the rail line.

    Madeline Janis is director of the Jobs to Move America Project and the national policy director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.

  11. datacruncher
    Jun 24th, 2014 at 20:53
    #11

    Crews build test piling near Madera to advance high-speed rail design

    It’s not actual construction, but the appearance of a large crane and workers assembling steel rebar marks a significant test as high-speed rail engineers design a major bridge near Madera.

    Workers for Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, the contracting consortium hired to design and build the first 29-mile stretch between Madera and Fresno of a statewide bullet-train line, spent Tuesday wiring together a steel-frame tubular cage, about 10 feet in diameter. Once the cage is completed, it will be fitted with sensors and lowered by crane into an 80-foot-deep hole to be filled with concrete, said Hugo Mejia, design and construction manager for the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
    ……………………..
    Gomez said some building demolition work in downtown Fresno is likely to be the first substantial pre-construction activity that people will notice over the next month or two. She said some events are planned next week in Fresno to let residents know about progress and demolition that they’ll see.

    More at
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/06/24/3994759/crews-build-test-piling-near-madera.html

    John Burrows Reply:

    Speaking of large cranes and 80 foot deep holes—On Saturday I was standing on a temporary sidewalk by Union Square in San Francisco, watching a large Tutor Perini drilling rig at work on the Central Subway project. Anyone know how they are doing regarding cost overruns and on time completion? Might be reassuring for the high speed rail project if no big problems have yet developed on the Central Subway project.

    joe Reply:

    Some local interests are pushing SF&MTC to extend the subway to the Warf while the machines are in place.

    Alan Reply:

    Haven’t heard anything about cost overruns, but the project appears to be on schedule. They recently holed through the bores for the project:

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Big-dig-done-on-S-F-s-Central-Subway-5576650.php

    Excavation is the biggest part of the $1.6 billion subway project, and it was completed on schedule and within its $234 million budget, Funghi said.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “Projected” capital cost: $505.9 million 1997 dollars.
    “Projected” incremental operating cost: NEGATIVE $23.8 million 1997 dollars.
    “Projected” completion date: 2010.

    Actual “budget”: over $1578.3 billion 2011 dollars. (“Projection” was $709m 2011 dollars.) $123% OVER BUDGET … AND RISING BY THE DAY)
    Currently projected incremental operating cost: ADDED (the $1.6 billion “investment” that makes things WORSE!) $15.1 million/year (per Muni’s own New Starts submission to FTA.)
    Currently projected opening date: 2019. Maybe.

    So there you have it. A decade late, 123% over “budget”, operating costs through the roof, and ridership guaranteed to be a dismal fraction of “projections”.

    Pretty much exactly what any sane individual with any reading ability would expect from a massive public works fraud designed and promoted by PBQD.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Crews are working to remove the TBMs and ship them back to the manufacturer right now:

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Big-dig-done-on-S-F-s-Central-Subway-5576650.php

    Last Friday, construction crews prepared to pull the cutter heads – the rotating front ends of the tunnel-boring machines that chew through rocks and dirt – into the extraction pit so they could be cut free with welding torches. The first cutter head was expected to be lifted from the pit Tuesday night, using two towering cranes. The rest of the machines will be cut into 20-foot sections and removed over the next three to four months. At that point, crews will put a concrete cap over the extraction shaft, which is 48 feet by 48 feet and 50 feet deep.

    “We’ll be out of here by the end of the year,” said Mun Wei Leong, the subway’s resident engineer.

    The machines will be sold back to their manufacturer, the Robbins Co. It will refurbish them and sell them to another project, possibly in Los Angeles, which has big plans to expand its rail transit network, Leong said.

    agb5 Reply:

    The planning schedule called for the test piles for the river crossings to be installed in the summer when the river levels are low.

  12. datacruncher
    Jun 24th, 2014 at 21:00
    #12

    From Bakersfield:

    Groups hold rally in support of California high-speed rail
    http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/Groups-hold-rally-in-support-of-high-speed-rail-264500511.html

    Donk Reply:

    I love when unions and other people looking for jobs “hold a rally” in support of a major infrastructure project. Clearly they don’t give a rats ass about the efficacy of the project – their only concern is getting a handout from the gubmint. To me they do more harm than good. Especially when they show up wearing union shirts.

    I love our political process. The only people that are really passionate are those with something directly at stake – either people whose backyards, property values, or children are supposedly affected, people who don’t want to pay more in taxes to pay for the project, or people who want some sort of job or kickback from the project. None of them know a goddamn thing about the project.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    People who don’t want to pay higher taxes are a very broad-based group, though. They’re not a narrow lobby like construction workers. And yet, despite the strong taxpayer lobbies in the US, construction costs are high; the issue is that the taxpayer lobbies don’t really care about making government more efficient, on the theory that if the government is more efficient then people will want more of it.

    Alan Reply:

    When did union members forfeit their right to speak out about public issues? When did the right to speak become restricted to weathy NIMBY’s and troll groups?

    joe Reply:

    A rally for HSR related Jobs in Bakersfield jobs is exactly what the City needs to demand the Council stop their dumb-ass lawsuit.

    They’re upset that HSR Jobs interfere with Bakersfield charities for the unemployed and homeless.

    http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/mostpopular/story/Proposed-High-Speed-Rail-leaves-Bakersfield/d/story/y97cLr7rTUOrvzVAghN0_w
    Proposed High-Speed Rail leaves Bakersfield Homeless Center in limbo
    “My oldest daughter has some medical issues so that’s why we had to come and go a little bit. We are here because we fell on hard times, couldn’t afford the rent,” she continued.

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-janis-high-speed-rail-20140623-story.html
    “It’s reasonable to expect that if the project sticks to its core commitments, it could become one of the greatest economic development programs in the state’s history”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just awful the way the HSR plans may move the homeless shelter away from the tracks ….

    EJ Reply:

    Who was saying they didn’t have a right to speak out? They have every right to do so – I just have a right to not take them particularly seriously.

    Alan Reply:

    You’re starting to sound like Syno. When did asking for a job become a “handout”? If anyone is getting a handout from the government, it’s the GOP members of the House. They haven’t done a thing in the last two years in terms of legislation, but now they’re going to file suit against the President for doing his job.

    I’ll take one hard-working union member any day over 100 GOP congresscritters.

    EJ Reply:

    “Handout” was Donk’s phrase, not mine. I think that’s going a little far. But considering that the building and trades council enthusiastically supports any state construction project, whatever it is (and why wouldn’t they?), I just can’t feel that their endorsement of HSR means much.

    Alan Reply:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to suggest it was your phrase.

    As far as the value of the endorsement–maybe, maybe not. But they do speak for taxpaying companies and their employees, who have a right to their say.

    Joe Reply:

    I guess it depends on whether one works in construction or owns a small business in the area.

    For the City Council, it should matter.

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