Turkey Looks to Expand HSR Network

Jul 23rd, 2014 | Posted by

As California HSR finally moves toward construction, Turkey is moving ahead with plans to expand its own existing HSR network, including the all-important Ankara to Istanbul line set to open on Thursday:

The Ankara-Istanbul highspeed rail line, the next stage of the high-speed train project, part of the government’s plan for a major overhaul of the country’s crumbling railroad infrastructure, will be launched on July 25, bringing the length of high-speed train railways to 1,420 kilometers. High-speed train services are expected to cover more cities by 2023 according to the government’s plans….

Turkey now aims to reach the goal of 25,000 kilometers of rail lines with 3,500 kilometers high-speed train railways and 8,500 kilometers regular railways by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. High-speed rail projects are also underway with a tender being launched for a high-speed train line between Sivas and the eastern province of Erzincan. Construction continues on high-speed rail lines that will connect Konya province to Gaziantep in the southeast through Mersin, Adana and Osmaniye in the south.

All in all, 17 provinces where almost half of Turkey’s 76 million residents live will be connected by high-speed trains. Turkey will also acquire seven sets of high-speed trains that can travel 300 kilometers per hour and 106 sets of highspeed trains. The first 20 sets of 106 high-speed trains will be obtained from foreign companies while the remainder will be jointly manufactured in Turkey by foreign and Turkish companies.

It seems that Americans have, for the moment, given up on any hope of catching up with the rest of the world when it comes to 21st century technology. We’re living through reactionary times, where the dominant political and media mindset is one of standing in the way of progress in order to preserve a failed status quo.

California is the exception so far, having to step up where a Tea Party Congress refuses to do so. The rest of the country will catch up, and thankfully California’s political leaders remain rightly supportive of the HSR project.

  1. Jerry
    Jul 23rd, 2014 at 22:36

    Turkey’s rail line and tunnel connecting Europe and Asia was engineered and built with the help of Japanese financing.

  2. Neville Snark
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 02:12

    But …. Merican exceptionalism! Benghazi!

  3. Alon Levy
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 04:43

    Erdogan is literally everything you hate in a leader.

    Not that I oppose Turkey’s investments in rail – Marmaray is amazing – but Erdogan’s steamrolling infrastructure over neighborhood opposition is authoritarian like fuck and often includes infrastructure for the sake of infrastructure. For example, Marmaray’s stated goal is to bring Istanbul’s transit mode share from the single digits to Parisian levels, but at the same time the city’s building a third bridge for cars.

    Eric Reply:

    Where’s the boundary between “authoritarian like fuck” and NIMBY? Is Marmaray+another car bridge really worse than NYC’s inability to build the Second Avenue subway?

    (Of course there are many other things to criticize about Erdogan, like his corruption, suppression of the press, and encouragement of ethnic hatred.)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s a good question. However, what Erdogan does is definitively on the authoritarian side.

    The corruption in Turkey is partly related to the huge, often at odds with itself infrastructure program, with construction decided based on political goals; one of the criticisms of the third bridge is that they’re planning to name it after a sultan who massacred Allawis. The immediate impetus for the protests was the plan to build a mall at Gezi Park; the contractor chosen is politically connected to the AKP.

    Scramjett Reply:

    I don’t know Turkey very well and if they have eminent domain laws like we do in the US, but if they do, it would seem that these neighborhoods should be compensated for being “steamrolled.” As Eric touched on, how do we know that these neighborhoods have legitimate concerns or are just being NIMBY’s?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    how do we know that these neighborhoods have legitimate concerns or are just being NIMBY’s?

    Jesus fucking christ.

    Sometimes I think I’ve read the stupidest ever thing possible in the entire world, right here on this blog, but then another dipshit pops up and one ups the resident logorrhoeic cast of morons.


    synonymouse Reply:

    Thanks for the new to me word. Roughly akin to bloviate.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    “but at the same time the city’s building a third bridge for cars.”

    First, it’s a rail and road bridge. Second, it’s primarily a bypass for through freight traffic. You make it sound like it connects Fatih with Üsküdar like Marmaray does, when it’s actually more than 20 km away.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Indeed, it’s a bypass. So what? Most of the car infrastructure built in cities is bypasses. The original through-road gets congested, a bypass is built, the bypass gets congested, another bypass is built, etc.

  4. Ted Judah
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 07:31

    Robert, shouldn’t you point out that Saudi Arabia is also building HSR? I mean the world’s largest oil sees the precariousness of their position…why can’t California, which used to be the world’s largest oil producer not see the loss in wealth from having to become a net energy importer? I realize Nixon didn’t help things with the Shock, but, we didn’t help by banning coastal drilling.

    Eric Reply:

    Or maybe they see how prevalent MANPADs are becoming in the Middle East.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not about precariousness. First, even oil exporters have an incentive to conserve oil, so that they can export more and earn more export cash. And second, the line is geared toward serving the Hajj, which involves enormous peak demand for travel between Mecca and Medina; rail is the cheapest and most efficient mode of travel per unit of capacity, so it’s ideal for high-volume affairs like this.

  5. Keith Saggers
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 07:48


    Reality Check Reply:

    Caution, slower trains ahead!
    Slower trains will need more wagons

    An important aspect of the new tank car operating safety standards is the requirement for reduced railway speeds for most trains carrying crude oil. Slower train speed means velocity across the entire network will likely be affected. As velocity on the rails slows, we believe there will be an increase in demand for certain railcar types carried in unit trains, such as grain and intermodal.

  6. John Nachtigall
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 08:24

    “It seems that Americans have, for the moment, given up on any hope of catching up with the rest of the world when it comes to 21st century technology”

    Can we at least end the hyperbole about how America’s technology is falling behind.

    Yes, America does not have the HSR system that other countries have. But I think everyone would agree that 21st century technology extends beyond HSR.

    Scramjett Reply:

    He didn’t say it (and probably should have) but I think Robert is referring to infrastructure technology. And he is right. A few places (Portland, Salt Lake City, etc) have woken up and smelled the 21st century and started building more advanced infrastructure projects. However, most Americans seem to have their heads firmly lodged in the 20th century, and they will only come out kicking and screaming. Kind of reminds me of an aging athlete trying to recapture the glory of his/her youth…and failing at it.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Pretty soon we’ll have HSR from Berlin to Baghdad. Kaiser Bill would be pleased….

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    Berlin to Baghdad? Most of the countries along a likely route aren’t doing much in HSR, except for Germany and Turkey. But there are now several other impressive long-distance HSR routes, even if they have some discontinuities.

    Amsterdam – Brussels – Lille – Paris – Lyon – Montpellier – Barcelona – Madrid – Cordoba – Malaga is about 2800 km / 1700 mi

    London – Lille – Paris – Lyon – Milan – Rome – Naples is 2200 km / 1400 mi though with a sizable gap between Lyon and Turin

    Aomori – Tokyo – Osaka – Fukuoka – Kagoshima is 2200 km / 1400 mi

    Harbin – Shenyang – Beijing – Zhengzhou – Wuhan – Hengyang – Hong Kong is 3400 km / 2100 mi

    Max Wyss Reply:

    However, there is no through-service, not for commercial but for technical reasons. Through service would be possible between Amsterdam and Barcelona, or London and Barcelona. I think the longest run is the seasonal Eurostar London – Marseille (this direction is good, return sucks because of UK regulations, it has a stopover in Lille for about 90 minutes BIG FAIL).

    Next year or 2016, the Japanese network gets extended from Shin Aomori to Hakodate (through the Seikan tunnel).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    (this direction is good, return sucks because of UK regulations, it has a stopover in Lille for about 90 minutes BIG FAIL).

    Border inspections for the pretend-EU state on the other side of the Channel?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Yep, and their lack of willingness to do the inspection on the moving train (which was very common at other Schengen borders, and even before (Switzerland to Germany, Italy, Austria (before Switzerland joined Schengen); France to Belgium (before Schengen) *).

    *) Reminds me on a business trip on one of the last TEEs between Paris and Bruxelles; the border police and customs officers sped up the checks, so that they could get a good meal in the dining car…

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    I had taken the Eurostar between London and Paris, and didn’t have to stop in Lille. Your post confused me a little until I realized maybe the train from Marseilles has to stop at stations that don’t have customs and immigration checks, unlike St. Pancras and Gare du Nord.

    I think that IF Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and (if they aren’t in the Schengen Zone), Croatia were willing to build international train stations where you had to go through the inspection station before going on or after getting off the platform, a Eurostar service to Athens and Istanbul could work.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I think that IF Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and … Croatia were willing to build … train stations where you had to go through the inspection station before going on or after getting off the platform …

    Independent, far-flung nations each undertake to spend hundreds of millions of euros (and cripple major railway station capacities!) solely to speed the journeys of a few dozen daily Little Englander tourists? I’m sure they’re all lining up for this deal.

    Eric Reply:

    I don’t expect Athens to get (or deserve) HSR in our lifetimes. Greece and the Balkans are quite mountainous and seriously lacking in major population concentrations, except for Istanbul which has historical hostility towards Greece.

    Eric Reply:

    I should say, Istanbul’s current Turkish inhabitants have fought several wars with Greece in the 20th century, including kicking out the Greeks who previously lived there.

    Eric Reply:

    Why would anyone take a 6+ hour HSR ride from London to Barcelona when they could take a 2 hour plane ride instead? We can expect HSR to eliminate most domestic flights in Europe, but not international flights.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    What about London – Paris and London – Bruxelles? These are international connections.

    At the moment, neither Eurostar nor DB (the two operators having Channel tunnel capable vehicles (DB is planning to do London operations in 2015 (or 2016; also depends whether Siemens is catching up with the deliveries of the Velaros))) have shown interest to do London – Barcelona direct. The big problem with the airlines is that it is essentially low-cost airlines covering the London – Barcelona market, and if you go to a vacation, you will have considerable amount of baggage, which becomes a huge bother. And, besides, for the train, “the way is the goal” applies.

    The mentioned London – Marseille Eurostar is intended for vacationers (the same with the Eurostar service from London to the French Alps).

    Eric Reply:

    Of course, the main factor is distance, not nationality (though see http://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/international-links-underperform/ ).

    So London/Paris/Brussels works because the cities are close. Barcelona-Marseille should work for the same reason. But countries like France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Poland are at about the maximum size for a desirable HSR trip, and in most of those countries a radial HSR network from the capital is coming into existence. If you leave London, then traverse all of France and part of Spain to get to Barcelona, the trip will be long enough that almost everyone will prefer flying. That’s the kind of international HSR trip that is not viable.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Then onward from Hakodate to Sapporo by 2035.

    Andy M Reply:

    In fact through services have been destroyed. Prior to HSR there were very distinguished Elipsos night trains between Madrid and Barcelona. Rather than allowing thes to use the HS line, or at least leave them where they were to complement HS service, they were abolished. Madrid to Paris by HSR is somewhere in the region of 8 hours. Over that sort of distance a night train is a more attractive proposition but sheer bloody mindendess prevented it.

    Andy M Reply:

    sorry, I meant the Elipsos trains went from Paris to both Madrid and Barcelona.

    There still is a night train between Madrid and Barcelona, and although the train culd do with a substantial facelift or maybe even new cars, it is still passably well patronized, despite competing directly with HSR.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There’s also a train to Moscow from the French Riviera. I have no idea where it starts; I’m guessing Marseille, but I don’t really know.


    Max Wyss Reply:

    It is Moscow to Nice.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    But this train is not a high speed train, which the OP specifically mentioned.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Probably this guy:

    http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query2.exe/en?ld=96248&seqnr=23&ident=fb.02782248.1406410606 (not sure how permanent or otherwise that “U”RL might be)

    Duration: 48:02
    Train changes/connections: 0
    Train type: EN, R

    Nice Ville dep: Sa, 26.07.14 20:52 EN 19
    Monaco-Monte-Carlo dep 21:18
    Menton dep 21:28
    Ventimiglia dep 22:00
    Katowice dep 21:23
    Warszawa Zachodnia dep 01:13
    Warszawa Wschodnia dep 01:51
    Terespol dep 05:10
    Brest Central dep 09:15
    Baranovichi Centralyne dep 11:08
    Minsk(BY) dep 13:02
    Orscha Central dep 15:44
    Smolensk dep 18:03
    Wjasma dep 20:10
    Moskva Belorusskaja Mo, 28.07.14 arr 22:54
    Moskva Belorusskaja arr: Mo, 28.07.14 22:54

    Runs as EN 19 up to Breclav, then as R 13118 up to Katowice, then as EN 19, then as EN 18BJ

    EN 19
    R 13118
    EN 18BJ EuroNight
    Schlafwagenzug, Schlafwagenzug, Reservierungspflicht, Reservierungspflicht, Teilstrecke nur 2.Kl., Globalpreis, Teilstrecke Schlafwagen

    Border crossing: Ventimiglia(fr), Jesenice(Gr), Bohumin(Gr), Brest(Gr), Osinovka(Gr)

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    I find it odd that this link doesn’t list any stops in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. Evidently, it runs through Italy to northwest Slovenia (Jesenice), through Vienna and Brno without stopping until Bohumin (Czech Republic near the Polish border). As for Italy, do the Russian travelers who take this train have a problem with Portofino? Even if it cuts north from Genoa to Milan, I would think they’d have stop in Genoa for the Portofino bound to catch a connection.

    Where do they change crews? Also, does this train have Variable Gauge Axles?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    “Hotel” crew: there are no changes; I believe to remember reading that the “hotel” crew stays on board for the whole time, and has shifts, of course.

    “Train” crews: The obvious changing points are where the train transfers to another operator, and/or when the train changes direction.

    The timetable system shows only the commercial stops, and IMHO, Genova is too late for boarding eastbound, which means that travellers for Portofino might have to backtrack to Ventimiglia. Actually, it could well be that the train has no passenger rights for Italy (Ventimiglia counts as France), Slovenia, Austria, and the Czech republic (and Poland and probably also Belarus). It is a way to get the rich Russians to the C’ote d’Azur and back.

    The trains does not have variable gauge axles; they exchange the trucks/bogies at the Poland/Belarus border. This is standard procedure and has been so for centuries (almost).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    … I suspect the majority of rich Russians who want to go to the south of France fly there….

    Max Wyss Reply:

    So, let me rephrase it: to get the better off Russians to the Côte d’Azur.

    The really rich ones have their private plane.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A really quick search of Expedia for Moscow-Nice has Aeroflot flying three non stops per day in A320 class planes. The a whole bunch of flights under 8 hours with a change of planes somewhere. The train to the south of France is for land cruise customers.

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    Thank you for your response. I was interested that they changed trucks at the Poland/Belarus border. I remember seeing a documentary that when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, they tried to regauge the tracks but could never keep up with the front until the tide of war shifted. Hitler had wanted the Blitzkrieg to be independent of railroads, which he saw as being too vulnerable to air attacks. That worked in the first 2 years of the war because even Poland had good roads. After he invaded the USSR, it didn’t work because the Soviet Union did not have good roads.

    After the front had sped ahead by hundreds of miles, German logisticians realized that they needed the railroads, and had to figure a way to get German trains over Russian tracks. The documentary I saw said that in the end, they had to unload and reload boxcars by hand–I don’t know if they meant that literally or if the Germans could use forklifts, but in either case, it was slower and more laborious than need be.

    I would think that the practice of lifting cars to switch the trucks started in 1945, when the Soviets occupied Poland and had to find a way to interchange traffic without too much fuss.

    Spanish railroaders have enough success with the Variable Gauge Axle that there isn’t much discussion of regauging their tracks, apart from the high speed lines.

    Andy M Reply:

    “Spanish railroaders have enough success with the Variable Gauge Axle that there isn’t much discussion of regauging their tracks, apart from the high speed lines.”

    Actually there is. The time delays for freight transshipment and the associated costs are giving freight trains a difficult time competing with road traffic. Several major Spanish freight shippers have been campaigning for direct access to the standard gauge. The port of Barcelona is already served by standard gauge tracks (three gauges in total as the potash and industrial traffic from FGC is metre gauge) and other locations are campaigning to get something similar.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “Yes, America does not have the HSR system that other countries have. But I think everyone would agree that 21st century technology extends beyond HSR.”

    Yes, its only things like transportation, energy generation and transmission technology, communications technology, jet fighter technology where America is falling behind due to obstructionism from reactionary politicians. After all, some technologies is not as subject to political sabotage as others.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Hmmm…lets see

    Transportation: Extensive car and plane networks. Both modes of transportation created AFTER trains

    Energy Generation and Transmission Technology: Not sure what to say here other than the US grid has uptime in the 5 “9s” range

    Communications technology: communication satellites are made in the US. GPS is a US invention. Designed and developed in the US. Basically instentanious mobile communication to anywhere in the world is possible from anywhere in the US. I think we are ok with this one.

    Jet fighter Tech: F-22 and F-35 have problems but are better than the vaporware that is the eurojet and other countries versions. There is no fighter in the world that was launched with no issues. The P-51 took until version D to make it the state of the art it turned out to be.

    I think we will survive

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ah yes the market will solve all problems


    USA! USA! USA! We’re Number Ten!


    John Nachtigall Reply:

    thats why it is 99.999% reliable, not 100%

    and I am positive that intenet connection speeds does not equal technology advancement. Hence latvia is not setting the world on fire

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Latvians are better at putting the technology to use. They don’t let the electric company skimp on tree trimming. Something that doesn’t have a high tech solution. It has guys with saws as a solution.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The F-35 is better at creating jobs in key Congressional districts. At actually shooting down enemy planes without being shot down itself, not so much.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i am unaware of any F-35s being shot down. Or for that matter if it has shot down any planes itself.

    I am pretty sure it is 0-0

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How many Sopwith Camels were shot down during World War II?
    They have to put some someplace where people are shooting at them. It’s slower and less maneuverable than the planes that will be shooting at it.

    Joe Reply:

    I’m unaware of any F-35 deployments. Are they allowed to fly at night yet?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Initial Operational Capability for the Marines is set for 2015, so first deployment would likely be 2016, supposing everything goes according to plan (which it hasn’t to date, but there’s a first time for everything).

    jonathan Reply:

    Or allowed to in the rain?

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    Why is it necessary to have a new design done from scratch? Why not an update of an existing design? Or would such an update lack pork-barrel value?

    I’m impressed by those Middle-Eastern militiamen who mount big guns in pickup trucks. Talk about COTS (“Commercial Off The Shelf”) procurement.

    jonathan Reply:

    Partly “fifth generation” drumb-beating (stealth). Partly pork-barrel value. Partly a replay of the same arguments for “savings’ that were used for the F-111. And look how well _that_ turned out.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’m impressed by those Middle-Eastern militiamen who mount big guns in pickup trucks. Talk about COTS (“Commercial Off The Shelf”) procurement.

    I’m impressed by the ones who are digging deep-level tunnels on practically no budget. One day, the Gaza subway will be built for even lower costs than Madrid Metro extensions.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The widening project will be quite pricey.

    Eric Reply:

    They’re cheap because they’re built with expendable child labor.


    Alon Levy Reply:


    Woody Reply:

    Maybe put the Central American children who have been invading our vulnerable country to work usefully on similar projects?


    jonathan Reply:

    F-35: “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run”. Widely reported as being a flawed, compromised design, due to the USMC forcing a fat fuselage for a V/STOL fan. The J-31 outclasses the F-35.

    Ever heard of the “area rule”, John? Invented by the very same guy who came up with supercritical wings, and winglets.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Does that rule take into account the J-31 does not exist?

    jonathan Reply:

    J-31 prototypes have flown. The F-35 is not yet in service (not operational).
    Initial Operational Capabillity (IOC) keeps slipping back.

    joe Reply:

    That’s right.

    They’ll push the Hornet out of production and eliminate any alternatives. The F-35 will be the only option.

    The F-35 air-to-air fighter capabilities are compromised. F-35 advocates talk about its advance avionics and ability to engage more targets at a greater distance – before the enemy can strike.

    If you squint, it looks like the cold war strategy which produced the F-4 Phantom. Fly in fast – launch missiles and disengage.

    Joe Reply:

    F-22 is over. That aircraft had massive avionics failure crossing the international date line. It’s only performed well on transformers movies and even there it gets shot down by deceptacons.

    F-35 would probably lose to an F18. We are already on version D. They’ve been building them for a while.

    Eric Reply:

    while the current Super-Hornets (Actually E/F models, not D) are similar in appearance to older versions, they’re completely different airframes, much larger in size.

    joe Reply:

    Yes, that’s right.
    I meant the F-35 is in version D.

    The advance F-18 is revolutionary improvement over the first aircraft models ending in D. I think the navy can do another upgrade in place of the F-35.

    They’ve been building F-35s and modify the airplane so the comparison to the first P-51s is incorrect.

    The F-35 VTOL engine exhaust is so hot it melts carrier decks and runways. It’s bullshit.

    jonathan Reply:

    I _think_ Joe is trying to compare current F-35 status to a P-51D.

    I didn’t really think there was that much difference between the Rolls-Royce Merlin-engined variants; and the Packard Merlin-engined variants. At least after the British replaced the low-visibilty canopy with a Malcom hood. ISTR reading that the Mustang IIi P-51 B/C) with a Malcom hood was arguably better than a P-51D.

    Joe Reply:

    John wrote this: “Jet fighter Tech: F-22 and F-35 have problems but are better than the vaporware that is the eurojet and other countries versions. There is no fighter in the world that was launched with no issues. The P-51 took until version D to make it the state of the art it turned out to be.”

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “Transportation: Extensive car and plane networks. Both modes of transportation created AFTER trains”
    20th century technologies, and our institutions for funding roads are in financial crisis.

    “Energy Generation and Transmission Technology: Not sure what to say here other than the US grid has uptime in the 5 “9s” range”
    We have been under-investing in electrical transmission for decades. And we certainly don’t even have to go back to 2003 to find large areas without power for over a week following a big winter blizzard … many parts of Connecticut were without power for 11 days after the 2011 Halloween Nor’Easter.

    “Communications technology: communication satellites are made in the US. GPS is a US invention. Designed and developed in the US. Basically instentanious mobile communication to anywhere in the world is possible from anywhere in the US. I think we are ok with this one.”
    All of that mobile communication linking into a landline system that US communications companies underinvest in … with five out of six ISP’s responsible for global internet service delays being US companies … http://blog.level3.com/global-connectivity/observations-internet-middleman/

    “Jet fighter Tech: F-22 and F-35 have problems but are better than the vaporware that is the eurojet and other countries versions.”
    The F-35 is itself vaporware at this point in time, offering stealth technology that anybody who builds the right radars can see and a so-called “5th generation” plane that would lose to so-called “4th generation” air superiority fighters in a dogfight. It doesn’t win procurement contracts on its merit, it wins them based on effective political lobbying and trap door contracts with no penalty to the contractors for failing to perform according to contract.

    It seems like your vision of US technological prowess involves resting on the laurels earned by earlier generations which we are more likely to fail to maintain in a state of good repair than to build on in any progressive way.

    joe Reply:

    I fear an F-35 would be beaten by a far less costly unpiloted jet attack vehicle. Without constraints of protecting the pilot, it would be less costly and could out maneuver any piloted aircraft. It can carry the same payload of air to air missiles and etc. It would be controlled by both a remote pilot and have on-board autonomy backup when comm is lost.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Is it conceivable that we citizens in the USA are greatly contented with what we already have (our drive and/or fly-and-rent-a-car system), and we simply don’t see any need to spend money on additional means of travel when the ones we already have are world-class, and could hardly be bettered?

    Please give this possibility some serious thought.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    In other words, shouldn’t we be thankful for what we already have?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People who says it could hardly be bettered need to get out more.

    jimsf Reply:

    my thoughts exactly. The current state of travel in the us is a slow, inconvenient, unfortable mess… whether you are flying or driving.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    I agree, to the extent that we’ve been inconvenienced ever since 9/11/2001 by the TSA security inspections and the delays they incur, but they are necessary in order for us to be able to board an aircraft.

    Despite all the moaning and groaning by the American Public over their travel inconveniences, they nonetheless seem by-and-large content and happy with their travel options, and it appears that most Americans don’t wish to expend any of their federal or state tax dollars on anything transportation-related other than widening Interstate and state highways and providing more parking.

    The ongoing opposition to spending any taxpayer dollars on anything other than the status-quo appears to be the norm, and I am coming to the conclusion that the United States is bound and determined to be different from the rest of the world.

    Our motto and proclamation to those beyond our borders is: “Build all the high-speed trains you want, etc., etc., and they’re fine, as far as we’re concerned – for you! However, on this side of the Atlantic (and/or Pacific): We are different; we intend to remain the exception to what the great majority of the rest of the world community chooses to do with its public dollars!

    Europe, Asia, South America, New Zealand, Australia, Northern Africa, Middle East: go ahead, build all the HSR lines you want – just PLEASE, PLEASE don’t expect us to follow in your footsteps! We Americans are DIFFERENT, and we intend to remain so, as we always have been!”

    This refusal to do what the rest of the world sees fit to do is what makes America and Americans different! We don’t want to copy-cat everything the rest of the world does! We’re going our own way – the HIGHWAY!

    That’s what I think underlies our nation’s powerful refusal to build any HSR.

    Woody Reply:

    Ignorance of what lies beyond the borders.
    In many cases willful ignorance.
    And with the on-going impoverishment of
    the American middle class, and the long ago
    passing of “Europe on $25 a Day”,
    who can afford to visit Europe?

    So, HSR between the major cities of Morocco?
    Where’s Morocco?

    A thousand miles of HSR in Turkey?
    How many ‘Murcans can find Turkey on a map?
    (How many can read a map? LOL.)

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    That’s Panglossian twaddle. Yes, this Pangloss (Voltaire, Candide):

    Pangloss was professor of metaphysico-theologico-cosmolo-nigology. He proved admirably that there is no effect without a cause, and that, in this best of all possible worlds, the Baron’s castle was the most magnificent of castles, and his lady the best of all possible Baronesses.

    “It is demonstrable,” said he, “that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for all being created for an end, all is necessarily for the best end. Observe, that the nose has been formed to bear spectacles—thus we have spectacles. Legs are visibly designed for stockings—and we have stockings. Stones were made to be hewn, and to construct castles—therefore my lord has a magnificent castle; for the greatest baron in the province ought to be the best lodged. Pigs were made to be eaten—therefore we eat pork all the year round. Consequently they who assert that all is well have said a foolish thing, they should have said all is for the best.”

    Americans will ride trains if they are available enough, and yes, fast enough.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If the question is whether its conceivable, sure its conceivable.

    Its not true ~ it doesn’t, for one thing, match empirical observation of the preferences of the younger generation ~ but its conceivable for it to be true.

  7. Roger Christensen
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 14:08

    Just heard Pacheco Pass route survived Atherton appeal in court.

    Ted K. Reply:

    “Appeals court upholds Pacheco Pass corridor for high-speed rail”

    Joe Reply:


    Alan Reply:

    Good. It’s an encouraging sign for the other appeals. For those keeping score, it’s a loss for L&H.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s a win for L&H, If this had been decided in their clients favor their clients wouldn’t have a reason to come back and beg them to rack up more billable hours on lawsuits that tell the clients have a slim chance of changing anything.

    Joe Reply:

    On the end, they have to deliver.
    So far they’ve promised the moon and haven’t even deliver a pizza.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We don’t know what they promised, other than in exchange for a bill for lots of expensive lawyer time they would attempt to convincingly argue their client’s case.

    joe Reply:

    Here’s two nuggets that I think apply to the Travel Time complain:

    “the court wrote. “The challenge to the revenue and ridership modeling presentsa disagreement among experts that does not make the revised final (report) inadequate.”


    And “the authority studied an adequate range of alternatives,” the justices wrote. “It was not required to analyze the (outside consultant’s) alternatives because they were infeasible or substantially similar to those already studied.”

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    “Travel Time complain” or, “Travel Time COMPLAINT”?

    nslander Reply:

    Score another L for Legion of Fail. This is great news for John McCain.

    Observer Reply:

    1 down, 2 to go.

  8. morris brown
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 17:51

    The appeals court did indeed uphold the Pacheco route. But there is more to this than that issue.

    The Authority wanted CEQA to be discarded from having any effect on the project.

    The appeals court said no to the that effort — CEQA still applies.

    There will be a later article from Tim Sheehan on this. The Mercury News says this:


    The Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento heard an appeal from San Francisco Bay Area cities arguing that a planned path through Pacheco Pass hurts the environment.

    The state argued the project was exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act because it is overseen by the federal Surface Transportation Board.

    The court upheld the environmental review but also said the project must still abide by state environmental rules.

    Everyone should agree that CEQA to apply, regardless of being in favor or not of the project. Without CEQA, know what the Authority would push on us.

    Eric M Reply:

    But NIMBY’s like you are using CEQA to try and stop the project, not use it for limiting environmental damage.

    Eric M Reply:

    So now you stand behind CEQA?

    Funny how you were gung-ho about U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham not too long ago when he tried to stop the project by seeking federal oversight that superseded CEQA, hoping it would kill CA HSR.

    So Morris, which way is it?

    joe Reply:

    Federal Environmental Standards would apply – Morris is exaggerating once more.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The STB has already asserted jurisdiction, so federal preemption should apply. Moreover, the judge is saying, absent abrogation, CEQA must be observed which is accurate unless federal courts rule, as the Authority has asked, that STB jurisdiction only compels compliance with NEPA, not CEQA.

    Eric M Reply:

    I know the technicalities. Maybe my question came across wrong. I am asking Morris if he wants CEQA or federal jurisdiction, since he seems wishy-washy and wants it both ways when it suits him.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Oh I know. But Morris never takes the bait unlike John Natichall.

  9. joe
    Jul 24th, 2014 at 19:35

    Gilroy’s planning their HSR station.


    Under the agreement, the city will receive $750,000 in grants to explore options and seek public input for the design and development of a prospective station downtown. That site is one of two locations under consideration for a high-speed rail station in Gilroy.
    “The high-speed rail station will change the landscape of our downtown, just like the railroad did in the late 1800’s,” said Mayor Don Gage said. “We are very pleased to receive the financial and technical support of the California High-Speed Rail Authority and VTA to properly design, plan and implement a station area that complements and enhances our downtown.”

  10. Useless
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 11:45

    China-built Turkish railway broke down during the first run with Turkish Prime Minister onboard, trapping passengers onboard for 30 minutes. The problem was the overhang power supply line.


  11. Useless
    Jul 28th, 2014 at 11:48

    Chinese railway export says China should stop building any additional high speed railway because they are all bleeding money. China is not able to turn a profit on its high speed railway operations, unlike Japan and Korea that subsidize legacy railways with profits from high speed rail.


Comments are closed.