Cathleen Galgiani’s Smarter, Faster HSR Plan

Jun 16th, 2014 | Posted by

Yesterday the California Legislature approved the 2014-15 budget. It includes $250 million for high speed rail, and will give 25% of cap-and-trade revenues to HSR in future years.

At the floor debate in the Senate over the budget, Senator Cathleen Galgiani – a longtime supporter of HSR – offered what she called a Smarter, Faster Plan for how to use the HSR funds.

The first part is using the Altamont Corridor Express tracks to set up a “test track” from Bakersfield to San Francisco:

So here is the political question we should be asking ourselves.

How can we take best advantage of our initial investment in the Central Valley Test Track?

A test track I consider to be from Bakersfield to San Francisco.

And here’s why.

Once we finish the test track in the Central Valley, we can connect it with the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) system to Santa Clara.

In Santa Clara, passengers can walk across a platform and board a newly electrified Caltrain system from Santa Clara to San Francisco. Because of high-speed rail funding, Caltrain will be electrified and ready for service by 2019.

High-speed connectivity from Bakersfield to San Francisco, can be established using existing funds we already have today.

What I hear her saying is that ACE can help bring passenger rail service from the tracks about to be built in the Central Valley to the Bay Area and San Francisco. It’s an interesting service plan to be sure.

Sure to be even more interesting are her comments on what to do in Southern California:

Next Stop – Palmdale to Burbank & Anaheim to Los Angeles

In Southern California, residents in the Antelope Valley have the longest commute time in the country.

Commuters using Metrolink spend one hour and fifty minutes each way, traveling back and forth from Palmdale to Los Angeles. Cooperation between Metrolink and the High Speed Rail Authority will reduce daily commute times closer to twenty minutes from LA Union Station to Burbank, and twenty minutes from Burbank to Palmdale.

Here’s how.

LA Metro owns much of the property within an existing rail “right-of-way” from LA Union Station to Burbank, and Palmdale. Transportation leaders in the LOSSAN corridor (San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles to San Diego) have agreed to move forward with a “shared corridor” concept, and plans are underway to “double-track” much of this corridor so that high speed rail can run within the existing Metrolink corridor.

If we were to prioritize funding on the sub-segment from Palmdale to Burbank alone, and make capacity improvements at LA Union Station, we could reduce these daily commute times of one 1 hour and 50 minutes each way, to 30 or 40 minutes each way from Palmdale to Los Angeles.

And if we prioritize Los Angeles to Anaheim, we reduce emissions in a 30 mile corridor that nearly equal the emissions in Los Angeles to Fresno.

Interestingly, the only segment not addressed here is the missing link between Bakersfield and Palmdale, a gap which prevents the existence of a true statewide passenger rail network (apologies to the Coast Starlight). What Galgiani is suggesting here is a phasing that would meet some of the political demands from coastal legislators that they see some of this money sooner, especially the investment in the SoCal corridors.

The flipside is that this risks using the HSR funds merely to upgrade existing rail service without necessarily getting us much closer to a bullet train from downtown SF to downtown LA. It’s only a risk, and this plan meets the basic goals of HSR by upgrading existing corridors, something that had been long planned. But it also kicks some of the bigger and more important pieces of the project down the tracks a bit.

Much remains to be determined about the next steps for HSR in the years to come, especially now that its financial future is looking a LOT brighter with the use of cap-and-trade funds. Personally, I think the priority should be spending to build HSR tracks from Bakersfield to Palmdale and close this key gap. But this Smarter, Faster Plan could also help us get toward the ultimate goals of the bullet train system.

  1. Jerry
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 13:13
    #1

    There should be an emphasis where you have 2, 3, or 4 train systems sharing the same tracks or ROW.
    ACE, Cap Corridor, Coast Starlight, and CalTrain all have overlapping segments of tracks and ROW.

  2. Paul Druce
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 13:22
    #2

    This is an incredibly ignorant plan that exists only in an attempt to destroy IOS-South and redirect the money back up north.

    EJ Reply:

    How so? Isn’t upgrading Palmdale to LA a key component for completing the IOS?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It depends on what strategy you see being played out … one way to view building from LAUS to Palmdale and then to Bakersfield is to assume that the effort is being made to wedge LA interests into putting closing the gap between Palmdale and Bakersfield onto the backburner in return for earlier commuter service.

    In any event, a focal point of Bakersfield to Palmdale in the event of a Federal HSR policy unlock come 2017 would not now fall over because that is not sufficient on its own for the IOS … provided that hypothetical HSR funding is at more moderate 80:20 match, the state matching funds could be provided from CnT revenues, and then there would be no issue regarding using Prop1A(2008) funding for the Palmdale to the San Fernando Valley section to join with the shared use corridor.

    Clem Reply:

    Back up north? Was the money ever up here to begin with?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Clem, see supra, CalTrain electrification.

  3. Joe
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 13:24
    #3

    Jeff Denham CA-R is an ardent supporter of ACE which services his district.

    Galgiani’s plan to use ACE complicates things for him.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Maybe this an attempt to avoid McCarthy’s district? That would seem pretty unlikely as the GOP establishment isn’t vehemently anti HSR. But maybe they think he will oppose it there and this derail the current plan?

    Joe Reply:

    Kern Co wants the HSR maintenance facility and the high paying jobs it brings.

    If they avoid Bakersfield then the chances it moves to Fresno Co increase and Kern co is at a significant disadvantage.

  4. Minivet
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 13:43
    #4

    Since ACE starts at Stockton, is this to say that she wants to actually just build Bakersfield to Stockton first?

    That sounds like a pretty tedious and complicated transfer pattern, even with across-the-platform transfers. First get on Caltrain, then change to ACE, then change to HSR. And it seems ACE only runs four times a day M-F each way, westbound in the morning, eastbound in the evening. And it would mean going up to the latitude of SF/Oakland and then backtracking down to the South Bay – how much extra travel time would that add?

    Now, if you could have HSR cars run on ACE tracks, even at regular speeds, that would be a little more bearable.

    Joe Reply:

    There are plans to expand ACE service to Merced

    http://www.modbee.com/2013/07/06/2796341/ace-eyes-fast-track-for-extending.html

    Joey Reply:

    HSR trains will not be able to run on ACE tracks because Union Pacific owns those tracks, and Union Pacific made it abundantly clear that they want HSR trains nowhere near their property.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, that’s the key. In order to pursue that option you need to build an all-non-UP alignment from Merced to the Bay Area … and then its not a “test track” anymore, not for actual HSR trains.

    And while the multiple transfers are bad, mid-route transfers make them even worse. If you have to have two transfers, the best of a bad situation is one fairly close to your origin and one close to your destination so that you can settle in for a long ride in between.

    If the point is to put the cat amongst the pigeons, propose adding as a “test track” a once each way Amtrak CA service on the extended ACE ( http://www.modbee.com/2013/07/06/2796341/ace-eyes-fast-track-for-extending.html ) through to Bakersfield via the initial construction segment, timed so the outbound connects to a northbound San Joaquin to Sacramento and the inbound connects with a southbound San Joaquin from Sacramento.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Hub airport

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Hub airport …. as far as mid-route transfers? Yes, if a non-stop is not available I much prefer a short hop to a hub airport and then a direct flight the rest of the way to a long flight to a hub airport in the middle then another long flight out of the hub airport.

    And I know that at least some other people agree with me, because all too often when buying trips by low price, I have to pay a premium to get the kind of trip I prefer.

    So when setting up the route matrix, you try to make the “main line of travel” transfer free, and have the transfers open up opportunities that is better than available alternatives for some part of the population … even if not the ideal single trip ride.

    Until there is passenger track running south or southeast from Bakersfield, Bakersfield is a fixed transfer point to a bus connection. And if there was the money to build a twin track electrified alignment that could sidestep UP through Altamont, there would be money to start building Bakersfield through to Palmdale, so I’m not seeing that the “test track to Caltrain” as a serious plan. It seems more like a talking point to deploy against the “train to nowhere” talking point that the Big Oil funded propaganda mills push.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There is a route to the end point of “main line of travel”, the faster route to Emeryville. In very very round numbers it’s 300 miles from San Francisco to Bakersfield and 100 between Fresno and Bakersfield. 100 at 100 MPH takes an hour, 100 at 200 takes half an hour. Going to Emeryville makes up that half hour.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Except there’s not going to be any trains in service going 200 miles an hour until you have an actual electrified route set up for the IOS, so that part of the State Senator’s notion seems like an idle fancy.

    And the IOS, on its face, I expect that to be driven by the balance of financial power, so its most likely to involve connecting the south end of the Initial Construction Corridor into an Initial Operating Service into the LA Basin.

    So setting aside the substantial hype part of the State Senators bag of notions, the reality of any “test track to the Bay” would be some kind of political teaser service to placate the North while the expensive construction was going on to connect that San Joaquin Valley to the LA Basin.

    In the context of actual practicable hybrids of conventional and Rapid Rail service billed as a “test track” connection into Northern California as a political sop, catching a bus to Bakersfield to catch a San Joaquin to Merced to catch an ACE to Santa Clara to catch a Caltrain to San Francisco is obviously daft ~ cause its more transfers and also slower. You don’t transfer off the express to get onto the all-stops unless the all-stops station is enough closer to your destination to make up for the slower trip.

    Catching a bus to Bakersfield to that “Amtrack-CA ACE” or catching it in Bakersfield or Fresno to ride onto the extended ACE route because its a quicker trip with the same number or fewer transfers to your final destination somewhere in the southern part of the Bay Area, other things equal that’s not daft.

    So out of the Northern part of this collection of trial balloons, that’s the only version that I would be unsurprised to see actually end up being squeezed out of the State Legislative sausage grinder.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Today’s trains that leave Emeryville for Bakersfield can clip along at 125 if they have track that can handle it and a locomotive that can haul them at that speed. ( According to Wikipedia on California Cars. )

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, if the “test track” term is hijacked to mean pre-IOS use of the Initial Construction Segment (ICS), both the faster northern alignment and the slower central alignment would be running at the same speed along the ICS.

    The speed advantage of the ACE alignment or whatever Super-ACE emerges from the wizards at CHSRA is only in those areas south of the San Joaquin terminus where the time of the connecting service is longer than the time of the connecting service out of a station along the ACE (or Super-ACE).

    Which is what relegates the ACE (or Super-ACE) to supplementary status, given that it seems to me that the entire SF/Oakland urbanized area is in the zone where the San Joaquin terminus wins, plus a chunk of satellite urbanized areas along the San Joaquin route.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are no plans to electrify it. Doesn’t make much sense to electrify it until one of the mountain crossings is under way.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Which is apropos of what? One of the balloons in the cluster of trial balloons that the Hon. Senator Galgianas released into the air?

    Super-ACE would have some short tunnels, under the preliminary alignment options ~ the cover of the 2011 AA report has a very pretty picture of an electrified rail corridor coming out of a mountain tunnel onto a viaduct. And I imagine that pretty pictures may have as much to do with whomever came up with Senator Galgiana’s plan as dry technical details.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    That’s too many “If”s in one sentence.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The Surfliner & California cars are all supposedly 125mph capable.

    How much will it to upgrade the Richmond/San Jose segments to 110mph, and have adequate track capacity to allow the San Joaquin to run from Oakland through to Union City. I believe the capacity expansions alone are in the $250m range.

    Then, if some of the CnT transit funds could be used to restore the money stolen from the Dumbarton Rail project, the San Joaquin could run across the rehabilitated Dumbarton Bridge to Redwood, which offers faster Peninsula connections because of not requiring passengers to ride all the way to San Jose to reverse direction and get to their destination.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Though note that that added more ifs than it subtracted.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    there are no plans to rebuild the Dumbarton crossing. Well none that anybody is going to build.

    Clem Reply:

    That’s right, the plans for a Dumbarton crossing are about as advanced as HSR plans for a mountain crossing. No money and no EIR, just reams of consultant studies.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Of course there are no plans ~ the money to do the planning was taken for something else. Hence the “if”.

    Alternatively, if the funds stolen from the Dumbarton Rail project can’t be stolen back, then run express to San Jose, eg, Oakland / Union City / San Jose.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They’ll have BART to get from San Jose to Oakland.

    Alan Reply:

    Who said anything about running HSR trains on the ACE (UP) tracks? I read the Senator’s comment as indicating a transfer between HSR trains and ACE trains. Yes, it would involve a transfer, but if it cuts an hour or two off the travel time between San Jose and Bakersfield, it’s worth considering. One thing the plan could do is get actual HSR trains running on the HSR line sooner, thereby shutting up the opponents who whine about the ICS not having any real value by itself.

    As far as there being no mention of Bakersfield-Palmdale in the Senator’s comments–it might simply be that she realizes that that section is nowhere near the point in the environmental review and design process where it could be considered ready to go, and her plan relates to things that can be done relatively quickly. Everyone, including (I’m sure) the Senator realizes that the mountain segment needs to be built–there’s just a lot of work that has to happen first.

    wdobner Reply:

    IMHO too much is made of Union Pacific’s hostility to passenger rail service. They are first and foremost a business, and all it should take to convince them of the error of their ways is a plan which sees them receive some benefit from improvements or transactions made for passenger rail service. If that means the state of California buying their route over Altamont with generous trackage rights to the improved track for UP, then so be it. But it could just be that some funding for improvements in California directly related to CHSRA or not, are what is needed. It’s just a matter of making UP see the benefit of passenger rail service.

    flowmotion Reply:

    The Altamont pass is another case where you really don’t want UP’s old tyme ROW, even if you could have it. (See Joe’s link above.) Freight trains sure look pretty poking around those curves though.

    wdobner Reply:

    To be sure. But just because some money is invested in the Altamont pass route to get HSTs from the IOS to the Bay (whether electrified or hauled behind a diesel) does not mean we’re going to be stuck with that as the final arrangement. The construction of a true high speed line over Altamont or Pacheco would remain a project to be completed at some point in the future.

    I’d prefer to see SETEC’s alignment over Altamont pursued, but it’s not the end of the world if other alignments are chosen.

  5. Keith Saggers
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 13:43
    #5

    Please don’t let politicians in on the planning of CHSR, it will never get built

  6. Michael
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 13:53
    #6

    The San Joaquins should be part of the north, as a San Joaquin from Stockton to SF is as fast as ACE from Stockton to San Francisco, via bus from Emeryville. If ACE expanded south, as I assume this plan assumes, and somehow figured how to get on the UP from Merced to Lathrop, it could turn west 20 minutes sooner. But why put money into the UP in the Valley when we’ve been putting money into the BNSF in the valley for years?

    ACE from Tracy to Fremont won’t get much faster without billions for tunnels, so assume a trip on ACE as envisioned via San Jose to San Francisco would be about an hour longer than the San Joaquin via Emeryville and bus. ACE works for the South Bay, but one should not pretend it works for SF.

  7. adirondacker12800
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 14:04
    #7

    “In Santa Clara, passengers can walk across a platform and board a newly electrified Caltrain system from Santa Clara to San Francisco. ”

    A very very quick look at the schedules for ACE and San Joaquins… why would anybody do that? It takes an hour an 35 minutes to get between Stockton and Emeryville and two hours and seven minutes to get from Stockton to Santa Clara. If the choice is to take the train to Emeryville and be in San Francisco or take the train to Santa Clara in the same amount of time, which one are people going to choose?

    Joe Reply:

    Possibly CA would improve the track which would cut transit time and allow for more service.

    http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/templates/print.cfm?ID=25613

    Joey Reply:

    Even if you cut travel time by half an hour, which is a long shot, it’s still not going to make sense.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Not the proposed trip to SF. For an inter-regional trip to Livermore/Tracy, Union City / Fremont, San Jose / Santa Clara & points south, Mountain View and Stanford, it may well make sense.

    Somewhere on the Peninsula is the “breakeven” threshold, so trips TO SF and Oakland would be faster via the San Joaquin until an actual HSR corridor connects through to San Jose or Redwood City (depending on alignment).

    An alternative not raised is focus the most serious money getting express speed on the common overlay section of the Capital Corridor and the San Joaquin, which pushes that “breakeven” territory further south and, of course, improves the highest frequency existing service on the part of the HSR network that, on the current business plan, is going to be quite a while coming.

    Then a portion of the Super-ACE east of Tracy, with a 580 alignment to BART Dublin/Pleasanton, running from Merced on the proposed ACE extension, and the current ACE also using that part of the Super-ACE, but mostly running on the current alignment, gives connections onto the San Joaquin in the initial period and connections into the HSR IOS once it is ready to start up. The stations at the overlay section lets ACE serve as a connector to new ACE2 from Dublin/Pleasanton to Merced, there is some modest commuter benefit to west-of-Livermore ACE commuters via the section of new alignment they get to use, and Livermore ACE station stays where it is, without Livermore residents being subjected to the trauma of upgraded access for their trips to the South Bay.

    Joe Reply:

    It makes sense for San Jose and south county bound commuters and travelers. That’s why it’s in the state rail plan.

    Tony D. Reply:

    A 12800,

    In the interim probably would be quicker for SF, OAK commuters to make a BART transfer to ACE in the Tri-Valley vs Santa Clara.

    Joey Reply:

    Unlikely, given that ACE and BART do not actually connect, and won’t any time soon.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, “OAK Commuters make a BART transfer to ACE” means get off at BART Dublin/Pleasanton and take the shuttle to ACE Pleasanton. So if it was using ACE to connect to further to the southeast, likely better to make a BART transfer at a BART / San Joaquin multi-modal and skip the shuttle transfer.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Precisely. If the service were provided, at feasible speeds, there would be a breakeven boundary somewhere where a trip with flexible starting time leaves Stockton and has about the same scheduled arrival whether connecting from the San Joaquin or connecting from the extended ACE corridor.

    And at the sub $200m funding they are talking about for the ACE extension, that breakeven boundary is clearly south of SF and south of Jack London Square. So therefore (1) the corridor is not a replacement to the San Joaquin but rather at most a supplement to it and (2) any time spent waiting on a transfer connection onto the ACE pushes that breakeven boundary further south.

  8. Tony D.
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 14:24
    #8

    Wow! Her approach sounds much like my “bookends” approach I’ve been championing for awhile now…AND I LIKE IT. More like ICS AND bookends/commuter rail in SoCal/NorCal. So now Cap and trade have folks thinking more clearly now on how to move forward with statewide HSR…I LIKE IT.

    BTW, is Galgiani advocating a completely upgraded ACE ala Caltrain modernization? If so…I LIKE IT.

    Joey Reply:

    The main difference between CalTrain and ACE, other than a couple of orders of magnitude in travel demand, is that UP owns the ACE tracks and will not allow electrification or lightweight trains.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    A girl can dream, can’t she?

    Zorro Reply:

    That dream, Galiani’s proposal are both DOA cause of the UPRR & Gov Brown, nothing short of a rewriting of Prop1a and submitting it to the voters will change anything and a vote on a new Prop1a ain’t happening, the money is just not there.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It looks like politicking to me … making ambit claims that aren’t actually legally or physically possible is not such a big thing to many politicians, since they don’t expect to get their ambit claims anyway. They expect that the end result will come out quite different to what they proposed.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    The CnT funds do not have the Prop 1a retrictions. Prop 1a will be spent out, sooner rather than later, and future fund can be allocated more flexibly.

    But for the state to make a big commitment to Bakersfield-Palmdale, it would be great if SoCal provided some investment to improving the Palmdale-Burbank-LAUS route. Then we could more easily tell NorCal to wait.

    Zorro Reply:

    As has been said HSR won’t go on UPRR tracks, no matter the source of money, I didn’t concern Myself with CnT money, just Prop1a. Galiani’s proposal will still go nowhere fast.

    First We need an EIR for Bakersfield-Palmdale, so far there isn’t even a Draft EIR to be had and who knows when that will be ready.

    Palmdale-Burbank might require a few cuts and tunnels, but it would be better than Metros current round about route, nothing a TBM couldn’t handle and it would be possibly a good place for CnT money, I doubt LA can raise that type of money, though almost any amount they could contribute would undoubtedly help, but I’m just speculating here.

    Alan Reply:

    And as has been said, nobody has proposed putting HSR on UP tracks. BTW, if you’re going to diss the Senator’s plan, you could at least spell her name correctly.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If “test track” at least suggests actual HSR vehicles, then using the ACE corridor to run through to San Jose at the very least suggests putting HSR on UP track.

    However, I think its important to pay attention to the context of the statement than the details ~ this was not a blog post by a transit blogger arguing the merits of some particular package of investments, this was a political statement in the California State Senate setting out the *possibility* of moves *like* this as the basis for urging an Aye vote on the budget including the 25% CnT allocation to the HSR project.

    If there are *specific* issues, either in terms whether parts of the suggestion need to be better specified to be sure whether its feasible, or in terms of whether parts of the suggestion involves ambit claims for Stockton that need to be negotiated to reflect the warranted needs of other parts of Northern California … then an appropriate response is, “Those are quite interesting ideas that you have express in the Senate, Senator, is there an opportunity to talk through some of the details with a member of your staff?”

    Alan Reply:

    Did you actually read the Senator’s full statement? Nowhere does she suggest putting HSR equipment on the UP.

    “If “test track” at least suggests actual HSR vehicles…”

    What else would you test there? Boeing 787’s?

    As far as context goes: This was a statement by a California state Senator, yes–but on the floor of the Senate while the budget vote was in progress? I don’t know. The press release on her web page was dated Monday, 6/16 and IIRC, the budget votes were on Sunday.

    Given that Galgiani was the author of AB3034, this was a bit more than a statement from a random senator. Context, you know…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People in Southern California pay state taxes.

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    I tried searching Google but it was little help, what is “CnT funds”? Perhaps this can be put in the glossary?

    Thanks for any help,
    Jim

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    Cap and Trade funds.

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    Wow, with all I have read about “CnT” over the past week or 4, you think I could have figured that out! Thanks for the reply, and I will try to let the coffee kick in more next time!

    Jim

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Sure ~ LA can direct their share of the transit component of CnT funds toward the local tracks as part of building up the LOSSAN from LAUS to Burbank, while CHSRA directs part of the amount surplus to their need for the state match for the Initial Construction Segment to the express tracks part, so when the IOS is started it can go all the way to LAUS instead of stopping somewhere in Sylmar or Burbank.

    Alan Reply:

    Nobody is rewriting Prop 1A. I don’t see anything in the HSR/ACE connection beyond an INTERIM step. I didn’t read anything in the Senator’s proposal which said we should abandon the full buildout envisioned in Prop 1A. What I saw was a proposal to make a more effective use of the ICS than simply rerouting Amtrak onto it. One factor in the proposal is the fact that the stations on the ICS would need to be finished sooner than the Authority currently envisions–but that’s not a change in Prop 1A, merely a change in the Authority’s construction schedule.

  9. Paul Dyson
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 15:09
    #9

    The northern end ideas have some problems without an “all new” rather than improved Altamont. The south end is absolutely the way to go. It provides useful transportation on a busy corridor and revolutionary improvements in journey times which then provide a sales tool for the rest of the project. My only caveat would be to extend south to Laguna Niguel to make an upgraded corridor from Palmdale to Southern OC.
    Finally some common sense, and as I pointed out at the DeSaulnier hearing, the existing business plan would not generate revenue ending at Palmdale or using existing tracks Palmdale to L.A. Effectively building from the south first and meeting in the middle makes much more sense.

    EJ Reply:

    I agree, the southern half of this proposal seems to make a lot of sense; the northern half, less so. That’s why I was confused by The Other Paul D’s response.

    The Northern proposal seems like a stealth way to get Altamont built. “Oh look, now we’ve got a high speed ROW all the way from Stockton to Fremont. Now all we gotta do is rebuild that bridge and we can send trains over to the Peninsula!”

    StevieB Reply:

    Senator Cathleen Galgiani proposes electrifying from Los Ángeles to Anaheim and running on Metrolink track at the same speed as Metrolink. She offers a greenhouse gas savings but not a speed savings. While this is ecologically laudable the reason the Anaheim HSR section exists is to provide one seat connectivity to the state HSR system. Anaheim is a section to build last after a north to south connection exists.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    When the LAUS – Anaheim segment was initially studied (it was to be the first segment you may recall) the engineers came up with about a $4 billion plan that saved 3 or 4 minutes compared to a non stop Metrolink schedule. I think $4billion can be better spent elsewhere.
    If indeed work is started on Palmdale to Burbank it makes a lot of sense to continue electrification to Anaheim or more sensible Laguna Niguel, the southern terminus of the current OCTA shuttles. Will give us a one seat ride across the region along 5/14 corridor that might actually have an impact on transportation needs. Useful transportation! Combination of High Speed running and regional service up to 80 or maybe 100mph using appropriate emus. HSR trains would come when the N-S link is complete.

    StevieB Reply:

    Electrification to Laguna Niguel could happen in the second half of the century.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    we’ll all be dead by the 2400s

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    It could happen this decade if the County wanted it.
    Unfortunately Metrolink is taking cutbacks because the counties, especially San Bernardino, don’t want to or can’t pay. The shortcomings of the County JPA model coming home to roost.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    it coulda happened last decade and it didn’t and the decade before that and it didn’t and the decade before that when the governor was governor for the first time and it didn’t happen. Don’t hold your breath.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I gave up holding my breath years ago.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    What is the alternative? The county JPA model is all that Southern California can handle unless there’s a gigantic shift and all the players decide to be like the Bay Area. You know Orange and San Diego won’t go along, leaving Ventura, the Inland Empire twins and Los Angeles to do something bold.

    StevieB Reply:

    A century is a period of 100 years not 1000 years, adirondacker12800.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    2500 is 486 years from now. He didn’t say the end of this century he said the end of the century without specifying which century.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Sure, by the second half of the century, but as adirondacker12800 points out … the question is which century?

    StevieB Reply:

    The second half of the century is but 36 years away. Not long in the time scale of planning and construction of major transportation infrastructure.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So is that “could happen” in a pragmatic sense, or in a technocratic, “assuming its approved and funded, we can do it like this” sense? Since pragmatically, there are grounds for concern that the opening might not be the second half of THIS century.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If there is no Federal money on hand to build the track for the IOS, preparing the Burbank through to Anaheim section so its able to take the HSR as soon as the IOS gets through to the San Fernando Valley would be an excellent use of funds. And if the Anaheim to LAUS can be done first in support of local transport services, all the better.

    Anaheim is a terminal segment, and one off of the central trunk as well ~ an extra five minutes on that segment is much less of an issue than an extra three minutes at Bakersfield.

    StevieB Reply:

    Anaheim to Los Ángeles is a good place to start electrification of Metrolink and goal to work toward in the 22nd Century.

    Clem Reply:

    What’s wrong with stealth Altamont?

    Tony D. Reply:

    “Stealth Altamont” would actually be an ACE HSR commuter Overlay from Stockton to SJ/Diridon. “Stealth Dumbarton Rail” would be a much later phase (if it ever makes it out of stealth mode).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I don’t reckon its “Stealth Altamont” unless its can satisfy Prop1A(2008) timings … and since staying in stealth means you can’t raise a stink about 125mph versus 160mph east of Livermore, I’d expect that the Stealth Dumbarton Crossing might be a requisite part of a successful Stealth Altamont.

    However, to avoid it showing up in google searches, I would rather we refer to them as “SA” and “SBC” instead, even at the risk of attracting a number of puzzled Sunbelt Conference fans.

    EJ Reply:

    Nothing at all, IMHO.

    Randyw Reply:

    My sense is that the Altamont Alignment died before because of the political power that San Jose’s Ego wields to be the center of the bay area not at the end of a spur. That same political power that successfully pushed the irrational (based on ridership/cost numbers) Bart to San Jose, is the same political power that would kill any stealth Altamont HSR.

    It also goes up against BART’s ego (and political power) by duplicating some of their route at twice the speed. Good plan or not, politically I just don’t see it happening, and fixating on it could likely mean no HSR.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But staying in stealth mode would imply pushing for other purposes projects that would serve to make the switch easier for a later alignment revision … but all the while strongly supporting the Business Plan staging.

    Because “no HSR without Altamont” is not an “Altamont stealth mode” game plan, its a “no HSR” game plan, and that implies “no HSR with Altamont, either.”

    Meanwhile the Business Plan staging has the work on the transition into the Bay following establishment of the IOS, and people in Altamont stealth mode would not have to uncloak until that point in time.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    On stealth Altamont, it could well be that the only way to get high capacity Dumbarton rail connection is to do so when its not on the HSR preferred alignment. It will, after all, receive substantial environmental opposition in any event, and if seen as essential to the HSR project will get the added support of those looking for any means available to delay or derail the HSR project.

    Those pushing a stealth Altamont wouldn’t say so ~ because then there is no stealth ~ but my hunch is that if there is any coalition of interests that would line up behind a stealth Altamont, that will show up in the alternatives that get pushed in the Altamont “commuter overlay”.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t doubt there would be faux-environmental opposition, but why would there be actual environmental opposition? There’s already the water tunnel along the same alignment.

    Clem Reply:

    I think Bruce alludes to refurbishing the bridge.

    flowmotion Reply:

    That old bridge can’t really be “refurbished” to be HSR-compatible, can it?

    This states it would be “a completely new movable bridge”:
    http://www.smcta.com/Assets/Dumbarton+Rail+Corridor/documentation/DRC_PSR_Summary.pdf

    Joey Reply:

    No, but the refurbished bridge would work for the perennially defunded Dumbarton commuter service.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Do you mean the project I linked above that clearly states a new bridge is needed? Or some other project or possible train-spotter pipe dream?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Referring to the actual Dumbarton Rail Corridor proposal ~ noting not simply what it cannot do (be part of the HSR alignment, where a single track, moveable rail bridge is not an option), but also what it can do, which is to provide connecting service from Union City to both downtown SF and directly through PAMPA without having to go south to San Jose to come north again.

    Note that using the Dumbarton bridge for an extension of the San Joaquin to Redwood is a a bit of an ambit claim … it likely still works to focus investment on the Richmond to Union City segment even if the policy influence of San Jose Intergalactic{*} diverts the terminus from Redwood to an express to San Jose.

    {* NB. Even if they succeed in adding San Jose to the Galaxy Express 999 route, this would still be a misnomer, since that would more properly make it San Jose Pan-Galactic.}

    Reality Check Reply:

    Although SP never got around to double-tracking the Dumbarton cut-off line — the steel bridges over the Bay are built for double-track. Similarly, and as is easy to see when driving by or on Google Maps satellite view, the Hwy 101 bridge abutments and median support just south of Marsh Road in Menlo Park are also built for double-track.

    Some photos showing this:


    SP 5242 crossing Dumbarton Bridge, 1958
    Dumbarton rail bridge
    Dumbarton Cutoff Line – Newark Slough Swing Bridge

    … as does the Google Maps satellite view.

    Of course, MTC, being co-conspirators in the politically-engineered Altamont-must-die-so-that-all-HSR-in-or-out-of-the-Bay-Area-must-pass-through-San-Jose scam that resulted in Pacheco suddenly becoming the preferred northern HSR mountain crossing, continues to conspire with the SJ BART boosters to ensure decades-old Dumbarton rail plans stay firmly and perpetually on the shelf in some dusty closet somewhere.

    Joey Reply:

    They’re trying to bury it for good now, by canceling it for lack of funding after repeatedly diverting its programmed funds to BART.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    That would be a shame if it got buried, its a good connector proposal.

    Joe Reply:

    TransDef’s explanation is boogie man crap.

    RailPAC:
    http://www.railpac.org/2014/04/19/is-the-dumbarton-rail-bridge-a-lost-opportunity/
    What lead to this decision was the failure back in the November election of 2012 of a transit sales tax for Alameda County to be passed by less than one percent of a 2/3 majority needed for passage. Without Alameda County’s funding the projects had less than half of the minimum $700 million dollars needed for this project.

    Yes when tax proposals fail to pass there are consequences. Santa Clara co voters should NOT forego BART work to prioritize a San Mateo and Alameda county project.

    Joey Reply:

    Joe: Funding was diverted to WSX, not Silicon Valley. Of course it’s not Santa Clara County’s business.

    Joe Reply:

    I need an explanation.

    The Dumbarton project is 700M-1B.

    Almaden Co rejected a transportation tax to pay for their share of the project. Transdef makes no mention of this failure. RailPAC does.

    BART to San Jose was funded by a Santa Clara voter approved tax. That’s why the BART project went forward and why Dumbarton was left under funded.

    Now the Dumbarton project is owed money. For what? They’re hundreds of millions short. Santa Clara could use the money for BART.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    BART to San Jose was funded by a Santa Clara voter approved tax

    How can one individual human be so wrong about so many things all of the time?

    joe Reply:

    How long does it take BART to travel from Fremont to Embarcadero ?

    Some guy thinks VTA is lying and their staff should be lined up and shot.

    Joey Reply:

    Yes, TRANSDEF’s explanation is a little lacking, but there’s also the MTC Report which also mentions the $91m owed to Dumbarton Rail from the BART WSX. Note that the WSX is entirely in Alameda county and not part of the Silicon Valley extension except insofar as it’s a necessary intermediate step.

    Joey Reply:

    joe: better question: how long will it take BART to travel from Fremont to San Jose? Try and find that information anywhere…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But still a low, moveable bridge, yes? Workable for a service at the frequency proposed in the Dumbarton Rail Corridor proposal, or for giving a Peninsula shortcut to a service at the frequency of the San Joaquin, but not something you want to build into an HSR corridor if there was an alternative.

    EJ Reply:

    AFAIK the bridge is pretty much derelict and would need to be almost entirely rebuilt. A big chunk of it burned down a few years ago.

    It’s worth pointing out though that if you built a movable bridge high enough to clear most pleasure craft, it would almost never need to actually be opened, a bit like the bridge metro north uses to cross the East River. Legally it has to be navigable by commercial vessels, but as a practical matter that pretty much never happens.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, the part build on creosote soaked wood piles extending from East Menlo Park toward the swing span mysteriously caught fire in the middle of a breezy night … local fire departments were not accustomed to or prepared to fight that sort of fire so it essentially burned unhindered until the rails and all collapsed into the bay. As far as I know, they never developed any good leads or suspects and whoever torched the thing got away with it. This fire came not that long after Suburban Park residents had been freaking out (packing and dominating local community Dumbarton rail meetings SamTrans was holding in places like the Menlo Park council chambers) in maximum FUD NIMBY mode (tag-team anti speakers droning on about subjects like how it would also open the door to through-freights which would sooner or later derail into their formerly tranquil back yards and kill them in their bedrooms with toxic waste and explosions and whatnot (yes, seriously, literally … I kid you not!). I remember they were going door to door in signature gathering, lobbying local as well as state electeds (trekking to the Capitol in Sac’to) against anything that could possibly advance the incipient project and looking to kill it quick. So I know some folks who mused one or more of the wild-eyed Menlo NIMBYs was probably involved. “But our Realtor told us it was just an old track that would almost certainly be torn up someday!”

    Reality Check Reply:

    As for ship traffic that might force untimely openings of the bridge, there’s next to none of that anymore with the abandonment and silting-in of Palo Alto Yacht Harbor after Palo Alto decided to stop paying to constantly dredge it. The other orgin/destinatations of ship traffic were Alviso and Moffett Field. Alviso has also silted up to the point of not being navigable and Moffett is also dormant/dead. There was some talk of Google maybe someday running employee ferry service to Moffett to build on their now-discontinued ferry-to-Redwood-City trial earlier this year. And it remains to be seen if that ever happens …

    Joe Reply:

    The tax proposal failed.

    It’s a billion dollar project and the east bay failed to pass a fractional tax increase to find the bridge and rail project.

    I’m not privy to all conspiracy theories but if the county with the most to benefit fails to find the funds, why would it not stall the project?

    2/3 voter tax thresholds are to blame.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Water tunnels don’t need ventilation buildings, catenary, make noise….

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I was thinking about refurbishing the bridge, but, yes, siting of ventilation for the tunnel could well spark environmental concerns as well.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They are also deeply deeply concerned about how the awful catenary will ruin the view.
    … go look at the Google Street View of the west side of the Palo Alto station with it’s Christmas Tree utility poles.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yeah, like the people concerned that wind turbines two nautical miles offshore will spoil their Ocean Views, forgetting that their Ocean Views are going to be underwater before much longer in any event.

    EJ Reply:

    The infamous SETEC alignment proposed undergrounding the line along the water tunnel ROW. Still would need some ventilation structures but noise and visual impact would be minimal.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes ~ in the alternatives between a high, dual track, rail bridge for HSR and a tunnel, it seems likely that the tunnel would not face as strident environmental opposition as the high, dual track rail bridge would do.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    There’s an element of credo knee-jerk reaction in any large enough movement, anywhere on the political spectrum … and you have a sensitive wetlands, you are going to generate environmental opposition, even for design solutions that would seem like they fully mitigate. “But, what if the tunnel collapses? Won’t that drain the wetlands?”

  10. Jos Callinet
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 15:22
    #10

    The preceding comments drive home to me the essence of this entire HSR affair:

    WHAT A HOPELESSLY TANGLED-UP MESS IT IS!

    What with politicians (who don’t know the FIRST THING about HSR) tangling horns with NIMBYS and LAWYERS of EVERY STRIPE, added to our own blog’s MULTITUDES of different suggested routes and COMBINATIONS of routes – HOW ARE WE EVER GOING TO HERD THIS UN-HERDABLE meowing mess of cats into one pen and AGREE on ANYTHING.

    This entire CAHSR affair is completely out of control, in the hands of one-thousand chefs, each wanting to stir HIS/HER ingredients into the pot.

    This thing is going NOWHERE, GUYS! I’m glad that HSR is getting some share of the Cap-and-Trade funds, but that alone does not in the least address my points above – ONLY COMPLICATES THEM.

    I’m damned if I can see any way how this HUGE MESS can be sorted out in any sensible or rational way that can lead to a consensus as to how the CAHSR can or should be built. Right now, we’re trying to herd cats – an impossible task!

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    To tell the truth, our country has become too immature and self-centered to be able to take on and complete large, complex tasks. That is my deeply-held conviction. We have become completely balkanized mentally.

    It will take some kind of near-divine intervention – from whom or where I haven’t the faintest idea – to unscramble the hideous mess that the CAHSR has become.

    Nathanael Reply:

    CAHSR is doing fine.

    For real trouble, look at the Pentagon.

    In 2013, the Pentagon lost $9.6 billion in… well, it was probably stolen. The books didn’t balance. That’s the amount which went missing.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/13/us-defense-budget-senate-idUSKBN0EO29K20140613

    In fact, the *inspector general’s office* at the Pentagon lost $200 million.

    We have a real problem with the federal government right now, and that problem is almost entirely the military. I’d take California government over it any day. Though I do suggest that California had better start getting its own military.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That’s like defending ISIS on the grounds that the US has killed many more people.

    EJ Reply:

    Calm down, dude. It’s just people arguing on a blog. Of course there’s disagreement, just like with every other infrastructure project ever. No need to get all CAPSY.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    I wish I could agree with you, EJ. I know this is just a blog, but I believe after all these years what we are seeing on it is a true-to-life reflection of what we are up against.

    I have a very strong feeling that the CAHSR will never be started, never mind completed. There is just far too much opposition to it, not to mention dissension even among its supporters. It will be road-blocked every inch of the way until people just give up on it in complete disgust.

    I wish I were able to be more optimistic than this – but as I said, our country has become too self-centered and shortsighted to be able to work toward a consensus.

    I admire Robert Cruickshank, the owner of this blog, for his perseverance in the face of these odds, but I think even he is quietly coming to realize how unlikely this ambitious project is unlikely ever to come to fruition.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    I see no way for us to edit our comments.

    The final portion of my last sentence in my reply to EJ above should read, “…., but I think even he is quietly coming to realize how unlikely it is that this ambitious project will ever come to fruition.”

    Zorro Reply:

    It’s been asked before I’ve read, Robert I take it is not a programmer, so no edit, maybe some should volunteer their skills and help. And no I couldn’t do the job either.

    Zorro Reply:

    maybe someone should volunteer their skills and help

    Bill Reply:

    Art is imitating life when it comes to this blog. So yes, we have nothing except, “construction could start in ‘X’ months. At this point construction probably could start much sooner and without so much controversy if the CAHSRA started on smaller projects like grade separations in key areas and what-not. No?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The challenge is that there is $3.3b awarded by the Feds, for building the Initial Construction Segment, and the CHSRA has to have the $2.4b in state matching funds to be able to use that $3.3b.

    And the clock it ticking. They’ve already received one time extension.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Sorry, I think that its $2.6b. (cf 10 minute edit window discussion, below).

    Clem Reply:

    No, it’s exceedingly simple: there’s not enough money to build even half of what people fantasize about. Normally, lack of money has a way of focusing plans, something we have yet to see with California HSR. After all, as of today, Palmdale is still the Center of the Universe.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I thought San Jose was the center of the Universe.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The actual center of the universe is midway between San Jose and Palmdale, but it’s along the chord between the two cities, not the great circle along the Earth’s surface.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It would make the “shortest route” fetishists happy. The HVAC might be a problem.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Apparently, the midpoint would be 4 km under the surface, comparable to deep shaft mines. And of course, trip time would be only 42 minutes, propelled entirely by gravity…

    Zorro Reply:

    Nah, can’t be, though I could have swore it was located in Hollywood somewhere.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There’s plenty of money. Governor Brown and the legislature just have to realize that they can print money if needed, by establishing a state-owned Bank of California.

    The Pentagon actually has $9.6 billion unaccounted for from 2013 alone — its books have never been balanced. CAHSR is cheap.

    Nathanael Reply:

    …to put it another way, 10 years of the money *stolen* from the Pentagon, unaccounted for, causing the Pentagon to fail its audits, would be more than enough to complete CAHSR. Let alone the money which is actually spent on the Pentagon.

    EJ Reply:

    Could have sworn there were 49 other states that help support the Pentagon. Besides, whatever the Pentagon wastes doesn’t mean squat when it comes to HSR funding in California.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    there’s something like 27 states that help fund the Pentagon. The other 23 are basket cases that spend most of their time whining about how they are getting too many subsidies.

    JB in PA Reply:

    The Economist takes a look at ‘If states were countries’ in economic equivalents.

    http://www.economist.com/node/17910000

    BruceMcF Reply:

    One thing is, in all of that tangle … there’s one corridor that they are going to be building. The funding that is required to build that will come first. And there’s the money lined up to build it, both the State share from the CnT and the Federal share already authorized and appropriated, and with the State share being from the CnT, its no longer under legal jeopardy from the lawsuit over disbursement of Prop1A(2008) funds.

    People can thousands upon thousands of castles in the sky in the time it will take to finish that corridor, but they merge into a cloud, and with so many pulling in so many different directions, the inside track is the plan of approach already agreed to.

    And the second thing is, as the initial construction segment is nearing completion, it won’t be a castle in the sky, it will be a real capability, and in the nature of things, the question of how to use that capability is going to narrow down to only those alternatives that have sufficient critical mass to require being addressed head on.

    The risk has always been that the initial construction segment would itself be delayed long enough that it would be derailed. There is substantial reason to hope that that risk has now been averted.

    And once construction of that has been completed, then the extension of it in one or the other direction will start to imply impacts in “real money” terms … and similar to the way that Disney called the Orange County Commission to heel when they got too deeply into pandering to tea party anti-rail hype, when we hit that point, 99.99% of the castles in the sky are likely to just vanish into a puff of smoke and periodic “what might have been” blog posts by sore losers.

  11. Ted Judah
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 17:40
    #11

    I don’t think The ultimate resolution of the lawsuits will allow us to do this plan.

    It’s also completely abandoning the project and not worth my tax money.

    This is an attempt to open up more land to development to try and restart the California the old fashioned way. It also is completely unrealistic with our new tech-driven economy.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Restart the California economy, excuse me

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    I DO wish this blog could be set up to allow us to edit our posts!

    Is there a valid reason why an edit feature cannot be added?

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    Robert has stated that the no-edit feature is to keep from editing comments after a thread is started. If one comment or poster starts a flame war, then edits the post later, that poster cna look more reasonable then they were prior to editing. At the same time, what might have been fairly reasonable responses now look way out of proportion to what the comment was edited to look like.

    O.P., “2+2=5″ before editing.

    50 comments saying “You’re wrong, you idiot!”

    After editing, “2+2=4″.
    O.P., “Whos the idiot?”

    Hope this helps,
    Jim

    BruceMcF Reply:

    A lot of sites address that with:
    (1) A preview feature, to fix mistake before hitting submit, and/or
    (2) A short window of time to edit, like 10 minutes.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Cool how we both came up with the same idea!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yeah ~ though I’m reporting on observation rather than coming up with an idea … both the SB Nation sports blogs comment system and CorrenteWire.com work with the short editing time window, and both allow preview before submitting.

    Woody Reply:

    The Railroad.net blog allows a Preview.
    Amtrak Unlimited blog allows a short time window to edit.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Thank you, Jim – very good reasoning.

    As for me, I will have to VERY carefully proof-read my posts before I commit them to these pages.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    It just occurred to me that perhaps a compromise could be reached regarding our being able to edit our posts – which would in effect prevent what you, James, have described as Robert’s main concern – and that compromise would be that we have, say, ten (10) minutes from when we post during which time we can correct any errors we happened to overlook.

    After that, our window of opportunity to edit closes. This may be more difficult to implement than it appears at first sight – I don’t know.

    In any case, it’s incumbent on all of us to proof-read our comments before we post them!

    Michael Reply:

    It’s about the available software. The best solution, to quell Robert’s concerns, which are viable, would be an editing function that preserves the edit, via a strike-through font and time-stamps the edit. I don’t know if that exists.

    Personally, I’d like a “Like” and “Dislike” function, so people could express agreement without having to comment.

    Who wants free ice cream?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The software is available.

    It’s that Robert does not have the expertise to update the old WordPress installation upon which cahsrblog runs, and nobody has stepped forward to help him.

    (I don’t have the expertise, but could certainly do it with some non-trivial starting-from-scratch amount of completely thankless effort, so, no, probably not.)

    We’ve been over this many times: your search term is
    https://www.google.com/search?q=site:cahsrblog.com+live-comment-preview

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Preview buttons to fix the mistake before the comment is actually submitted … I know that code exists for most comment systems, since I’ve seen it in lots of places.

    A countdown deadline so you can fixed mistakes that you notice right after you post but cannot “revise or extend my remarks” (as they do in Congress) after an argument has occurred … that is not as common, but it exists, since I’ve seen that as well.

  12. BMF of San Diego
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 17:52
    #12

    Ahem… The Initial Segment includes a Test Track. The Test Track is not the Initial Segment.

    And to be clear, the requirements of the Test Track will likely involve a flat and level length of track to support acceleration from 0mph to something like 260mph, maintain for a very short period of time (seconds), and then decelerate to a stop. That should be about 20miles. Approximate. Certainly not over 100 like what is proposed.

    Moreover, the Altamont Pass is a bone to the Peninsula.

    Eric M Reply:

    A 100 mile test track is what is needed. It is not about quick start and stops. It allows the trainsets to sustain maximum speed for a greater period of time, aka 250mph.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its just a politician liking the sound of a term and using it like they want to. She is more likely to be concerned with whether it “focus groups” well than with what it really means.

    jonathan Reply:

    What? 260 mi/hr? Where’d you get that from?

    The Technical Memoranda which PB wrote for CHSRA says that they’re constructing for 350 km/hr, call it 220 mi/hr; and where marginal cost is negigile — long straight sections — to design and build for 400 km/hr (call it 250 km/hr). Where did the extra ~20 km/hr from? Or 10 mph (note rounding)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Testing always involves higher speed running that revenue service, and +10% is pretty standard.

    Not that 350kmh revenue makes any sense in the Post Peak Oil World that is supposedly what is driving a hundred billion of concrete to Palmdale and Los Banos.

    jonathan Reply:

    400km/hr is already more than 10% higher than 350 km/hr…….
    Why go to 420 km/hr?

    Eric M Reply:

    No reason to test at 420. They are planning on running at ~350 kph, so max testing speed will be at ~390 kph

    Joey Reply:

    Out of curiosity, is it that tracks must be designed for 110% of the planned operating speed, or that you can only operate at 90% design speed? It’s a difference of 1% which hardly matters in practice but I’m curious…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Tracks as such? Dynamic load on structures? or curves? If you needed tighter tolerance on track geometry to run 10% faster, I’d expect you could do that … higher class track has higher frequency of checking, but obviously not after ever service, so it seems likely that you could keep stricter tolerances during testing.

    But you wouldn’t want to exceed safe dynamic load on structures or safe operating speed on curves, so both of those would have to be overdesigned by a sufficient margin. OTOH, neither of them seem to be things you’d want to be regularly running right up to the margin at in any event.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Civil structures are generally overbuilt by a factor of 2 or 3 or more, so the marginal extra dynamic loads of a handful of passing test trains are nothing.

    Track geometry for a given maximum civil speed is based on very conservative standards for unblanced superelevation, and here again overspeed by 10% (or even 50% …) is really nothing. Recall that the Santiago de Compostela derailment in Spain was at 180kmh through a 80kmh “design speed” curve.

    It’s traction power supply, train braking, and train power which are most stressed by over-speed running, not any civil engineering or any contemporary track. Recall that kinetic energy goes as v^2, as does bluff body drag.

    Eric Reply:

    In the Post Peak Oil world we’ll use solar instead. That is to say, our trains will use solar power. Planes will not, and electric cars might not have enough range for typical HSR trips. So electric-powered HSR will have a great advantage against its current competitors.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Fascinating theory.

    In The Future, Solar will be Too Cheap To Meter, so might as well run trains at 5000kmh.

    Eric Reply:

    Solar won’t be too cheap to meter. But its cost will be similar to the cost of fossil fuels now. According to some reports, in sunny regions it already is. That means any electricity-based vehicle, such as a HSR train, will be able to rely on a solar power plant and operate at the same cost as at present.

    joe Reply:

    500 kmh.
    You need to delete Waterworld and The Road Warrior from your iPad.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Shhh. Richard’s favorite movie is actually “Tank Girl”.

    Reedman Reply:

    Why not a Pacheco “test track” to Gilroy? No UP ROW issues to deal with, and connects to Silicon Valley/San Francisco.

  13. Reality Check
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 19:43
    #13

    Steady future money big boost for high-speed rail
    Democrats dedicate funding source

    The $108 billion 2014-15 general fund budget approved Sunday includes $250 million this year from the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions fund. More important to rail supporters is the promise of 25 percent of all future cap-and-trade revenue each year, which could eventually total $3 billion to $5 billion a year.

    […]

    AECOM, a Los Angeles-based engineering firm, wrote that multi-year funding “sufficient to move the project forward on a more aggressive timeline, would attract our firm and private sector competitors from around the world.” The letter addressed to legislative leaders and Brown also said the money should be “sufficient to complete the project, in combination with funds from the state.” The revenue included in this year’s budget falls short of that.

    […]

  14. Jos Callinet
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 21:25
    #14

    Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, said the financing could be unconstitutional because the investments will not directly help meet California’s air quality targets.

    “They barely put a dent in the emissions reduction goals this state has set as a priority,” he said.

    Expect the Cap-and-Trade agreement to be challenged in court! This is why I said above that the CAHSR project will be lawsuited to death – and why it’s unlikely it’ll ever be built.

    California must be pure heaven for lawyers! More than enough work to keep them rolling in money for years from the CAHSR controversy.

    Zorro Reply:

    He’s against HSR, so for Him to say that means nothing and He is nothing on HSR funding.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The actual legislative language for the CnT is more open, and the legislative intent in awarding HSR 25% of CnT funds on an ongoing basis not in any doubt, so we should hope that the lawsuit is filed quickly so it can be dispatched quickly. It would only be an impediment if a judge grants a motion to hold up construction pending resolution … so unless that happens, its likely in the “sound and fury” basket, to convince people (such as yourself) that the program is going to be tangled up in courts and is never going to be built.

    When there is video of heavy equipment moving earth building the thing, most of the propaganda return on all of the financial investment into convincing people its never going to be built goes up in smoke.

    joe Reply:

    Good reminder that the CnT HSR money is not Prop1a money.

    The HSR project has a spending problem – a lot of money to spend by ARRA deadline. Remove the Prop1a obstacle and money is clearly not a problem for the next few years while there will be over a billion over that time frame in CnT.

    Possibly CnT HSR finds can be “loaned” and spent elsewhere on rail improvements with the IOU from the state to show compliance with prop1a’s “show me all the money” requirements for usable segments.

    Build to HSR to Merced and spend the HSR CnT money from 2015-16 and 17 expanding the ACE ROW. The state gives HSR an IOU for the funds to show there are funds for future work.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    There are bottlenecks, and there are things that can be pursued in parallel. The CnT funds appear to be enough to finance the state match for the ARRA funds, so what to do after the Initial Construction Segment is finished construction is something that can be pursued in parallel.

    And not expending Prop1A bond funds on Gov. Scharwzenegger’s reckless promise of a 50:50 match for a substantial chunk of the ARRA funding means that if the Federal funding dollars unlock after denying political wins to the Obama administration is no longer a standing objective of a House majority … then the Prop1A funding is available to be used with the kind of leverage required to get the Initial Operating Segment built.

    The projected cost of the IOS is $31b, of which $6b would be covered by the Initial Construction segment, leaving $25b. Even without private finance, at an 80:20 match that’s $5b in Prop1A funds, at a 75:25 match that’s $6.25b in Prop1A funds.

    The CnT funds are not enough to fund the IOS on their own, but if the amounts of Federal funding is below the scale to be able to fund the IOS in a single bite, then they can be used as state matching funds for smaller construction segments, and then Prop1A funds used when the “next construction segment” allows starting up the IOS.

    joe Reply:

    Yes parallel work is possible – outside of the CAHSRA. They’re going to be tied up with the current work and deadlines. If Prop1a is used now (or soon), they can do work on other sections with CnT.

    One way to get the CV to LA basin segment funded and built is to have substantial systems on either end worth connecting. I think that’s what you are suggesting.

    Using ARRA and CnT takes the Prop1a lawsuits and compliance arguments off critical path – they can litigate until resolved. The opposition would try to re-open the alignments which should be reconsidered on occasion but not flippantly.

    FWIW, HSR opposition is not going away even if we allow open carry of 30 mag AR-15’s.
    Kevin McCarthy seems headed to Majority Leader and a staunch opponent of HSR who promises to defund it. He’s in a 30% Hispanic district. As CA continues to invest, he’ll be more and more challenged to keep his seat.

  15. Andrew
    Jun 16th, 2014 at 21:56
    #15

    Much better than Galgiani’s plan, for the same money, would be high speed from Fresno to Stockton to Oakland (7th & Maritime), connecting with all 4 transbay BART lines.

    https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zXYnDtoJOux0.kF4BAGQLue_k

    Cheap and profitable

    Joey Reply:

    Problematic. The BART link in question is saturated at rush hour. The ROW between Richmond and Emeryville is also owned by Union Pacific with little room to expand – running high speed trains on that segment would require carving out a whole new ROW. Even if you used FRA-compliant diesels, UP has capped the number of passenger trains on that corridor to the current 20 trains per day.

    Eric Reply:

    UP’s market capitalization is $90 billion. Much more than Tejon Ranch Company, but no more than the projected cost of CAHSR. You could buy it, then sell it except for a few key ROWs (in CA and the Midwest) and get most of your money back. There really is no reason why a single company’s obstinacy should hold up transportation projects that have broad benefits for society as a whole.

    Zorro Reply:

    Tejon is dead and no HSR tracks/row will be built there, all HSR work is focused on Tehachapi CA, not Tejon.

    Trentbridge Reply:

    +1

    BruceMcF Reply:

    You could buy it if you had the money … but its not like CHSRA is actually funded for $70b, nor that it could use those funds in that way even if it were fully funds, since $50b of its business plan is “hope for HSR funding from the Federal Government to start flowing again.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …we owned what’s now CSX and NS in the Northeast and Midwest but the private sector fetishists made us sell it.

    Woody Reply:

    If Amtrak had received from Conrail just one (1) east-west line connecting the NEC to Chicago, it would be a different world for passenger rail.

    Lessee, New York Central, Erie Lackawanna, the Pennsylvania RR, Chesapeake & Ohio, Baltimore & Ohio, the Norfolk & Western, and I’m probably leaving out a few smaller routes that could have been linked to make the connection.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There were TWO New York Central routes (the route through Canada/Michigan) and the route through Cleveland). (Through NY State, there were *three* parallel NY Central routes: the mainline, the “West Shore Line”, and the Auburn route.) There were TWO Pennsylvania RR routes (the Fort Wayne route and the “Panhandle of W. Virginia” route). :-P Conrail owned ALL of these, and more or less abandoned all but one of them before the final one was sold off to CSX and NS.

    Frankly disgusting.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I am not sure much would be different, Woody. Even using HSR, Chicago to NYC or DC isn’t a viable competitor to air or driving compared to other city pairs.

    Eric Reply:

    Given how often ORD is crippled by storms, I’d take a 4 hour comfortable reliable train ride from Chicago to the East Coast over a 2 hour plane ride that quite often turns into a 10 hour adventure of uncertainty and waiting.

    All the more so if I lived in Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, or another significant city along the way where the rail trip is shorter than 4 hours, and the planes less frequent.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Four? More like six. All the starting and stopping would add a lot of time to the schedule. My bet is that the airlines will ensure that certain lucrative routes never have a one-seat ride even of it takes 8 hours or more.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not that I endorse the conspiracy theory about airlines and one-seat rides, but Ted is right. It’s not going to be four hours. A route via Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is about 1,350 km; doing it in 5 hours is aspirational, and HSR that takes 5 hours can only capture a small minority of the mode share.

    The real reason to build NY-Chicago HSR is for all the overlapping intermediate markets – NY-Cleveland, NY-Detroit, Chicago-Pittsburgh, Chicago-Buffalo.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Cleveland-Philadelphia, Indianapolis-Pittsburgh, Harrisburg-Columbus, I betchya there are few people floating around who have business in both fairly often, Nice round numbers Cleveland-Pittsburgh-Hagerstown-DC is 250 miles. Detour through Harrisburg and it’s still only 325. Detour through Lancaster and it’s 350. And there’s Cleveland-Boston and Rochester-Cincinatti and… and… and…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s the fact that HSR is only viable where there will be a large number of passengers. The airlines have more or less coalesced into an oligopoly for most of the country’s routes. HSR is a good candidate to subsume many of those routes. But where there is still enough market share to have United battle it out with American, flying will be the only option. it won’t

    I have suggested before four major air hubs emerging with HSR radiating outward in a regional fashion: NY, ATL, ORD, and SFO. The recent realization I had was that a French style HSR only system probably happens only in the NEC and West Coast. The Midwest and South will have a system more like Germany with shared track use and slower speeds.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …Pittsburgh to DC via Hagerstown. Cleveland-DC is 400.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    First: “it won’t” is a sentence fragment – did you mean to say something that you forgot to say before hitting submit? (I’m not attacking; I do it all the time, sometimes in actual blog posts.)

    Anyway, there are a lot of high-ridership air corridors that HSR can subsume. LA-SF is in a near-tie with NY-South Florida for busiest in the US. Boston-Washington ranks sixth, and if Amtrak did the trip in 3.5 hours and charged reasonable fares, it would probably lose a majority of its traffic. In the US, most travel between cities at HSR range is done by car rather than air, but the exceptions like LA-SF, which Elizabeth tells me is 50/50 air/highway, can be diverted to HSR just the same.

    At this stage, I’m not even sure airlines are going to bother lobbying against NY-Chicago HSR. It’s not a threat to them: the shortest trip time I can imagine is about comparable to Tokyo-Fukuoka, where the mode share is 92% air and 8% Shinkansen. I doubt it’s even a big profit center, since it’s so competitive, and the planes are small.

    Re German-style HSR, the problem anywhere in the US outside the NEC is that there are no good passenger-primary legacy rail lines to upgrade. The German approach relies on passenger priority and the possibility of incremental upgrades; it’s not really possible on lines that host 10 daily passenger trains and 30 daily freight trains. The Midwest would probably end up looking French – a central city with spokes to provincial cities. The South is problematic in that there aren’t actually enough large cities to justify sending HSR south or west of Atlanta – maybe, possibly, to Birmingham, but even that’s questionable. So it could have Florida- and Texas-internal networks, and connections from Atlanta north and northeast, but not a connected network, unlike the Northeast and Midwest. The NEC, Northwest, and California would be Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, or Italian, because of the linear population distribution.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    To drift from the original topic even more, when I say “Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, or Italian,” I’m talking about population distribution, and not the details of how the services run. In Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, the HSR lines go through cities, in similar fashion to how the NEC operates. In Italy, the major city stations are terminals, so there are HSR trunk lines with branches serving the cities, and trains often have to reverse direction to serve more than two major cities. The West Coast Main Line operates in a similar fashion, with nonstop trains rather than London-Birmingham-Manchester-Glasgow services, for different reasons, such as slow station approaches and the presence of good bypasses. Because the relevant American stations are not terminals, HSR service pattern in the US would look more Japanese or Taiwanese or Korean than Italian or British. About the only place where I can see a bypass is Philadelphia, for trains from New York to Harrisburg and points west.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Alon, I edited my comment and didn’t find the fragment.

    So your comment about ROW is interesting. I think that is the goal of the RRIF program: upgrade existing freight lines to support 150 mph traffic regardless of it being passenger rail or freight. The stumbling block seems to be that the Class I’s don’t care about speed at this point and prefer slower traffic.

    It’s possible too that each system has a mixture of grade separated and shared track, but that is the most expensive option of all. I think the Midwest network stays 100% shared, the NEC an West Coast 100% separate and the South 50-50.

    A final note: unlike the rest of the world, American settlement patterns directly relate to the level of subsidy provided for people to settle there. Free land, free water, free loans…thus a HSR network upends this a bit by reinforcing the actual value of real estate, not what perceptions dictate. It’s also important to note very few countries spans a whole continent. And the other ones tend to be sparsely populated.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s all sorts of very straight unused ROW laying around west of the Alleghenies. Half the population of the US lives east of very very roughly Indianapolis.

    think back to the threads about HSR to Denver. New Orleans is closer to Chicago than Boston. Not by much but closer. If the decision is whether or not to build Chicago to Boston, Chicago to New Orleans, Chicago to Atlanta or Chicago to Denver, Chicago Boston makes more sense. There’s more people along the way. To get Atlanta-Miami the part that has to be built is Jacksonville to Atlanta. Chicago to Miami is doesn’t need any more track.
    One day there’s going to be a network of HSR from San Antonio to Minneapolis to Boston to Miami.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ..and there is a bypass of Philadelphia. In service. It’s just that Amtrak and SEPTA choose not to use it for revenue service except in usual circumstances. A bypass of Philadelphia along I-78 might be nice someday.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think cost will prevent a Boston-Chicago-Miami-San Antonio from being completed. Instead I expect a BCS style union of Big Ten Pac 12 ACC SEC blocs served by a hub city and HSR radiating out from there. It’s just the FAA passenger data is not real encouraging in the Midwest and for Texas to Atlanta.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “It’s just the FAA passenger data is not real encouraging in the Midwest and for Texas to Atlanta.”

    But go back to a point that Alon Levy made:
    “In the US, most travel between cities at HSR range is done by car rather than air, …”

    There are a lot of trips in the Great Lakes and Midwest where the FAA passenger data is not a very good indicator of prospective total transport demand for either HSR or Rapid Rail.

    The longer you run on Rapid Rail, the further it suffers by comparison to HSR, and at the market shares it attracts the frequencies measured in trains per day rather than trains per hour, but the answer to that is to have an HSR corridor that the Rapid Rail corridors can junction with. Lay the notional Chicago and Ohio hubs on top of an HSR corridor Chicago on the Fort Wayne alignment through the countryside of Northern Ohio south of Canton through to Pittsburgh. You’ve got:

    Chicago / Indianapolis / Cincinnati stays on the Rapid Rail, but:
    * Chicago – Toledo/Detroit via HSR to junction w/Columbus-Detroit corridor
    * Chicago – Cleveland/Buffalo via HSR to junction w/Columbus-Cleveland corridor
    * Chicago – Columbus via HSR to junction w/Columbus-Detroit corridor
    * Chicago – Pittsburgh HSR all the way

    Pittsburgh/Youngstown/Cleveland remains on the Rapid Rail but:
    * Pittsburgh – Columbus/Dayton/Cincinnati via HSR to junction w/Columbus-Cleveland corridor
    * Pittsburgh – Toledo/Detroit via HSR to junction w/Columbus-Detroit corridor
    * Pittsburgh – Indianapolis via HSR to junction w/ Chicago-Indianapolis corridor

    And it would seem like a majority of the trips diverted onto those services don’t show up in the FAA numbers because they are car trips today.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Detroit-Philadelphia is more important than Dayton-Pittsburgh. Youngstown along the HSR trunk and when that’s making money think about connecting Columbus to Pittsburgh directly. Build the fiddly little shortcut between Harrisburg and Baltimore and Detroit-Baltimore is just under 600 miles and Detroit-DC is just over 600.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And they’re stronger now than they were back then.

    Eric Reply:

    This seems to me something that would be relatively easy to borrow money for. “Give us $50 billion to buy a controlling interest in UP, then we’ll sell it and probably get at least $40 billion back, possibly much more, and the rest will be made up from the state budgets of CA/IL/other concerned states.”

    StevieB Reply:

    Benito Mussolini would approve. Which California pol would you select to blaze the path to fruition?

    Eric Reply:

    The one who’s been pushing HSR.
    I’m not sure what the Mussolini cheap shot has to do with anything.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Anschutz did a reverse version of that with SP of course, selling the pax lines and keeping the freight and all the access rights for fiber optics.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Bay Area industry and ports will still need freight rail, and taking-over UP doesn’t create ROW out of thin air.

    Not to mention that most of this line does not appear suitable for high-speed service, so I’m not sure why you want it so badly. I like the general outline of Andrew’s plan for service to Sacramento, but it should be clear by now you can’t just point at some existing tracks and put HSR there.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Common sense!

    Nathanael Reply:

    I have to correct a mistake you made. Taking over UP does create ROW out of thin air.

    UP and BNSF are both sitting on excessively wide rights of way — 50 feet, 100 feet, 200 feet. They are hogging this and refusing to use it, and in the case of UP refusing to allow anyone else to use it.

    Getting the ROW out of their hands allows it to actually be used, effectively creating ROW out of thin air. 15 foot per track means that 50 feet will handle 3 tracks, and 100 feet will handle 6 tracks.

    Joey Reply:

    To my knowledge, BNSF has been willing to sell parts of their ROW that they aren’t using. Sometimes it’s complicated by the fact that the FRA mandates huge separation between full-speed HSR tracks and freight tracks. UP is the one who hasn’t been willing to cooperate at all.

    flowmotion Reply:

    This particular ROW doesn’t look excessively wide or underused. It’s also almost entirely at grade, so a ‘good’ passenger rail system would likely need to go over/under it in any case.

    There are also merits to the FRA/UP argument that passenger rail should be physically separated from derailing freight trains.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Don’t forget the issue of access to industries, existing and potential, which is a serious problem for building HS tracks on one side of the freight line.

    Donk Reply:

    Why not just build the initial segment to the Pittsburg/Bay Point station instead?

    An integrated Downtown Livermore HSR/BART/ACE station would make the most sense, but that would just be too logical. This is the sort of thing CnT transit funds should be used for – improving connectivity and efficiency of our transit systems – intermodal stations at places like Livermore, Fremont, Norwalk, LAX, Burbank, and UTC (San Diego).

    Zorro Reply:

    I think Transit is getting CnT money, so that shouldn’t be a problem and I like the idea that HSR gets 25% of CnT money from now on.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Building a 125mph electric rail corridor to Livermore for a “test track” HSR, to be inherited by a Rapid Rail commuter service connecting the western part of the ACE corridor through to the HSR corridor and a fast track to Sacramento … that looks OK to me, connecting to both BART to Oakland/SF and the ACE corridor (whatever it may end up being) to the southern part of the Bay Area.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    A station in Livermore, you wouldn’t call that HSR, that’s just an updated train. CnT or other funds could support this. Too bad BART has had to shelve their plans to go to downtown Livermore due to strong opposition from the city. Meanwhile if we extend the HSR track to Palmdale then there will be a lot of motivation in SoCal and statewide to find funds to improve the track to Burbank and LAUS. Maybe even republican members of congress might help…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    (1) “Why, this is just Super-ACE through to the Livermore area, connecting into the existing ACE corridor to the west”. (2) “Hey, look at the possibility of electrifying through to the Livermore Super-ACE and then building a short connector to BART Dublin / Pleasanton! Imagine That! What a totally serendipitous opportunity.”

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Well when you put it that way…

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    (1) End HSR to the Bay Area at San Jose. Don’t squander more HSR funds on Caltrain.
    (2) Up-grade UP/Amtrak East Bay Mulford line to Oakland and extend to Sacramento.
    (3) Add transfer station in Oakland at the BART overhead. 6 minute ride to San Francisco’s Embarcadero station every 4 minutes.
    Far better, safer, more reliable, and cheaper. 2008 Prop 1A was for “Safe, Reliable” HSR.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    stop

  16. Donk
    Jun 17th, 2014 at 07:03
    #16

    Here is the recommended plan for LAX light rail and people mover.

    http://thesource.metro.net/2014/06/16/metro-staff-recommends-new-light-rail-station-at-aviation96th-street-to-connect-to-future-lax-people-mover/

    Donk Reply:

    LAWA has apparently hired America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals to plan the LAX people mover. They are going to build a Union Station West that does not connect directly to Metro Rail – it only connects to a huge parking lot – LAX Intergalactic Parking Center. And instead of connecting the people mover to an existing Metro Rail stop, they are going to add a completely new stop to the Metro Rail system just for the heck of it.

    Well at least they aren’t going to charge $6 to get from the LAX terminals to the Intergalactic Parking Center.

    jonathan Reply:

    Cost maximization….

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No it’s as simple as the other cities represented by Metro don’t want to pay for LAWA’s grand vision. And with LAX having really low landing fees, there is no reason for Metro to pony up. I would bet eventually the compromise ditches the extra station in favor of connecting the people mover to Union Station West.

  17. Observer
    Jun 17th, 2014 at 09:31
    #17

    Overall I like Senator Galgaini’s plan, it appears to be well thought out. I also like Congressman Jerry McNerney’s plan for a dedicated 85 mile passenger segment in Altamont. An upgraded Altamont corridor, an electrified Caltrain peninsula corridor, along with an upgraded and electrified Palmdale to LAUS corridor (would make for a 40 minute trip between Palmdale and LAUS); and an IOS pretty much shifted to between Bakersfield and Stockton does not sound too bad. Plus that would leave only a 60 mile corridor between Stockton to Sacramento for HSR very tangible. I would feel better if it better addressed the “GAP” between Bakersfield and Palmdale. But, say all of the plan’s goals are realized, that would make the “GAP” almost a given that would have to be funded. I do not look at the plan as an end to HSR or anything like that, but perhaps as an opportunity for HSR to be better understood and accepted, and realized.

    Zorro Reply:

    Doesn’t Senator Galgaini’s plan use the ACE row? If so, that is owned by the UPRR, they have stated that NO HSR will ever be allowed on their tracks and as has been said the tracks are at the UP specified capacity. I’m not for Altamont, I’m for Pacheco pass, which I think is what the CHSRA is designing for, not for Altamont, it’s a dead issue that nimbys bring up in a vain hope to get people to support a dead duck.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It specifies the ACE corridor, but since the CAHSRA is pursuing that “commuter overlay”, with some of their alignments involving highway ROW (side or median) alignments, so there is room for some ambiguity.

    I doubt that the ambiguity is deliberate, I think its more likely somebody looked at a map of California passenger rail corridors, knew about the proposed ACE extension, and came up with what is supposed to sound like a clever idea to anyone who doesn’t know details like who owns which corridor.

    joe Reply:

    There’s McNerney’s bill to expand ACE ROW for a cool 400M. Jeff Denham is a big ACE booster so opposition becomes even more awkward for the numbskull.
    http://mcnerney.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/mcnerney-introduces-bill-to-create-new-rail-project-for-altamont-0

    Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) introduced The Altamont Corridor Rail Improvement Act of 2014 to help fund the ACEForward rail program, which will expand rail service between the Central Valley and the Bay Area.

    Jeff Denham’s site boasts that he held a townhall on ACE.
    https://denham.house.gov/event/rolling-townhall-meeting-aboard-ace-train

    And this more modest proposal to join ACE to the CV track.
    http://www.modbee.com/2013/07/06/2796341/ace-eyes-fast-track-for-extending.html
    ACE eyes fast track for extending service to Modesto, Turlock, Merced

    The price tag: $161 million to build 20.3 miles of track between Modesto and Lathrop.
    The key is that the ACE tracks mostly would be built in the right of way next to the Union Pacific tracks. That route goes from Lathrop through Modesto, Turlock and Merced.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr4477ih/html/BILLS-113hr4477ih.htm

    (4) The California High Speed Rail Authority has identified
    the Altamont Rail Corridor as a critical element to regional
    transportation needs and entered into partnership with the
    major governing and operating entities in the corridor to
    improve the regional ACE service in the near term and develop
    capability for joint use to accommodate intercity and commuter
    service as well as interface with the high-speed rail system in
    the future.

    (6) The current situation of sharing Altamont Rail Corridor
    passenger service with the growing freight operations in the
    existing alignment will severely limit opportunity for service
    improvement or expansion as critically needed.
    (7) The expansion and improvement of passenger rail service
    in the Altamont Rail Corridor will have significant
    environmental and economic development benefits for the region.

    Clem Reply:

    Just to clarify, the CHSRA isn’t pursuing anything in regards to Altamont. At their June 2013 board meeting, they divested themselves of the planning work for this corridor, handing over the reins to the SJRRC (d.b.a. ACE). The latter agency has a plan known as “ACEForward” which is essentially a do-over of the environmental work, starting from scratch. None of the milestones for environmental review promised in mid-2013 have yet been met.

  18. jimsf
    Jun 17th, 2014 at 11:03
    #18

    This is a bad plan. As much as I’m for expenditures in the north or even an ios north, this plan just seems to waste hsr money on metrolink and ace, neither of which has existing row that is any good for hsr.

    The focus should be on true hsr from merced to palmdale first. Then palmdale to SFV and Meced to San Jose.

    ACE and Metrolink need to find their own money for their commute operations.

    Gagliani is behind a push for ACE to grab power and become the metrolink of the north.

    Put a stop to this.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Leaving HSR as the after-thought left-over filling between the two sandwich loaves?

    Derek Reply:

    ACE and Metrolink need to find their own money for their commute operations.

    Track rental fees from HSR operations?

  19. jimsf
    Jun 17th, 2014 at 13:23
    #19

    how about sticking with the plan that is already in place and underway. The one that is actually the serious one that the authority is pursuing.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Yup. It’s time to get serious.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The actual context of Senator Galgiani’s remarks were speaking on the floor in support of the CnT funding of HSR. So it was about FUNDING the plan already in place, even while floating some ideas that it seems reasonable to presume that she thought would sound good in Stockton in a sound bite.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Thank you

    Joe Reply:

    Improving ACE is part of the CA’s long term plan. She’s advocating CA prioritize, as I understand her comments, this segment sooner to coincide with the Merced HSR segment.

    What’s unclear is how she’s proposing to funding the upgrade. Is this upgrade part of tbe cap and trade HSR pot of funds or type prop1a compliant system?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    ACE is effectively the avatar of BART. It makes little or no sense why or how you could upgrade ACE in any way shape or form to make Stockton the next Oakland for people working in SF.

    More mysteriously, BART has unfunded plans to extend tracks to Patterson, but not Manteca or Stockton. Other than being on the near side of the San Joaquin River, I am lost on this decision. What I am pretty sure of, however, is that BART will not let HSR compete with it through Altamont, no matter what.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Aren’t Manteca and Stockton in San Joaquin County? That’s not a county that pays BART sales tax.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Why are you replying to a Markov chain text generator?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Why should he listen to someone that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Setting aside the fact that BART operates in San Mateo County without being subject to the BART yoke, Patterson is in Stanislaus and Tracy is also in San Joaquin County. Hence my confusion.

  20. Robert S. Allen
    Jun 18th, 2014 at 00:26
    #20

    I’ll be happy with BART to Livermore, and later along I-580 to Greenville Road and over the Altamont generally along the former SP (ruling grade under 1.3%) to a station at Grant Line Road/I-580 (still in Alameda County). Until Central Valley counties join BART, heavy surcharges on fares and parking at that station would help defray the cost.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    You may be happy but the current BART Board of Directors isn’t happy with extending BART further on I-580 than Isabel Ave.

    jimsf Reply:

    Bart shouldn’t go any further east than livermore. After that you are no longer in a bay area county. But e-bart from bay point will be extended south to Brentwood/Discovery bay and depending on development, continue through the Vasco road corridor to connect in livermore.

    Clem Reply:

    What I think BART should do is in this article. I would be curious to get your feedback.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Um, the US is more likely to stop invading oil rich nations than BART would adopt your strategy. You will be lucky to have BART Vader stop expanding before it reaches Santa Cruz, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Calistoga or Fort Ross.

    The developers backing Steve Glazer and Ro Khanna know the value of BART access for development. And in California, nothing stimulates the economy like development….

    Donk Reply:

    Any imbecile can obviously can see that BART should connect to ACE in Livermore and that they should reconfigure the line in Fremont. Even if they don’t ever build HSR. It amazes me that this plan isn’t even on the radar.

  21. StevieB
    Jun 18th, 2014 at 16:42
    #21

    The Los Angeles Times and its Disgraceful Reporting on High Speed Rail comes to us today from Streetsblog LA. Streetsblog determines the LA Times is biased against CA HSR.

    Under the new state budget, $250 million was allocated for California HSR in the next fiscal year. With a portion of cap-and-trade funds now dedicated to the project, it will have a way to move steadily forward. This was covered widely in the press, including in the Times. But more often than not, Times coverage has been alarmingly one-sided, substandard and inaccurate.

    Ralph Vartabedian is cited for several inaccurate articles about HSR. The Times reportedly failed to publish the authors reply to such an article while publishing negative letters. Streetsblog concludes with the following.

    For years now, nearly every bit of HSR coverage by the Times has been like the articles cited above. I once admired the newspaper and even freelanced for them. It’s not in the self-interest of any journalist to accuse editors and potential employers. But at some point every transportation reporter has to step up and point out the obvious: the Los Angeles Times coverage of HSR is deceitful and shamelessly biased.

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