Dan Richard Slams Anti-HSR Lawsuit Filers

Aug 18th, 2014 | Posted by

Dan Richard has been a revelation as chair of the California High Speed Rail Authority board. He has consistently and effectively pushed back against critics of the HSR system, and his most recent effort is a classic example. In today’s San Jose Mercury News Richards slams Stuart Flashman and Michael Brady, two of the most litigious anti-HSR people in the state:

Along the way, these self-interested opponents have adopted high-minded rhetoric that they are they keepers of the faith for the ballot measure, wanting only to ensure that the system is built as intended. In fact, their actual motivation is more basic: “If you build it at all — and we’d rather you didn’t — build it in someone else’s backyard.”

Residents of Atherton and Kings County who oppose high-speed rail have had one consistent theme to their opposition: the rail line belongs somewhere else. With respect to the Bay Area, the litigation aims to avoid Atherton and Palo Alto, directing the train north over the Altamont Pass. In the Central Valley, the battle cry is that the train should be along Interstate 5.

Flashman, in an op-ed piece for another newspaper and disingenuously failing to identify himself as a plaintiff’s attorney, claimed the I-5 alignment was the right way to build high-speed rail. But Proposition 1A is clear that high-speed rail is intended to “connect the population centers of California,” specifically calling out Central Valley cities as well as San Jose.

If the plaintiffs had their way, Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced, and Palmdale would be left out, bypassing some of the fastest-growing areas of the state that also face major environmental and economic challenges. Their plan would also relegate San Jose to second-class service, splitting trains so that only a few served California’s third-largest city. Those trains would have to reverse course in the station, meaning longer trip times. Is that what the citizens of San Jose who backed Prop. 1A thought they’d get?

All of this is intended to keep the rail line far away from their clients’ backyards.

The whole thing is worth reading. It’s especially nice to see Richard point out strongly that the Peninsula NIMBY approach would screw San José, the state’s third largest city and a major economic hub.

As the HSR project builds new momentum, with billions of new funding in hand and having overcome recent legal obstacles, it’s important to use this moment to hammer the NIMBYs who have spent the last six years trying to stop California from addressing its climate, transportation, and energy needs.

Flashman and Brady are hypocrites who will not rest until the HSR project is destroyed. After six years, however, all they have to show for their efforts is a losing record. It’s taken longer than it should have, but California HSR is finally overcoming the obstacles these NIMBYs have thrown in its path.

  1. Alan
    Aug 18th, 2014 at 17:00
    #1

    A well-written op-ed. Richard should have added a comment about the amount of time and money that Laurel and Hardy have cost the taxpayers. At any rate, it’s about time that those two were revealed for who they are.

  2. Reality Check
    Aug 18th, 2014 at 18:38
    #2

    US railroading at its finest:
    2 UP employees killed, 2 more injured in Arkansas train collision
    VIDEO: Trains Carrying Toxic Chemicals Crash Head-On
    The collision that happened outside Hoxie at about 3 a.m. killed two crew members and sparked a fire that lasted for seven hours because one of the train cars was carrying diesel and another was hauling booze.

    “We don’t know the cause of the accident. We have no idea why these trains were on the same line,” Williams said, noting that no local residents were hurt.

    It’s at least the second head-on collision involving UP trains since 2012, when two collided in the Oklahoma Panhandle that June, which killed three crew members and injured a fourth.

  3. Robert S. Allen
    Aug 18th, 2014 at 18:45
    #3

    Californians in 2008 approved Proposition 1-A, “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century”. The California High Speed Rail Authority (CHRSA) plans for “Blended Rail” – HSR on Caltrain tracks between San Jose and San Francisco – would be neither safe nor reliable.
    —–
    HSR needs right of way that is secure: fenced and grade separated. Instead of demanding that, CHSRA and its local partners promote a “one-seat HSR ride” to an ill-named “Trans-bay Transit Center” in downtown San Francisco oriented only to trans-Bay bus, not rail, transit.
    —–
    We fence and control access on freeways, where a common speed limit is 65 mph. Caltrain runs up to 79 mph past commute stations and grade crossings. Wikipedia Bourbonnais train accident to see what can happen on 79 mph track at a grade crossing. Increasingly passenger trains run in push mode, without a locomotive shield in front.
    —–
    HSR would boost that speed to 125 mph on Caltrain tracks. Enhanced grade crossing safety is logical as a “bookend” connector use of HSR bond funds, but HSR cannot safely run on those tracks. Don’t let CHSRA squander HSR bond funds electrifying Caltrain or extending it to the TTC on track unsuitable for HSR.
    —–
    Initial HSR to the Bay Area should end at San Jose, with near seamless transfers there to Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, VTA light rail, and BART.
    —–
    A later phase should upgrade the UP/Amtrak route from San Jose via Santa Clara,, Newark, Mulford, and Oakland to Sacramento with added track, fencing, and grade separations. From a new transfer station at the BART overcrossing in Oakland, downtown San Francisco’s Embarcadero station is six minutes away, with trains every 4 minutes or oftener.
    —–
    This would be far better for the region, much safer and more reliable, and less costly than what CHSRA has offered.
    —–
    Robert S. Allen
    BART director, District 5, 1974-1988
    Retired, SP (now UP) Western Division, Engineering/Operations

    Zorro Reply:

    The idea of grade separating Caltrain means no grade crossings, just underpasses most likely.

    Joey Reply:

    Underpasses are disruptive because they block off driveway access for hundreds of feet on either side, are difficult to construct in a constrained environment, and are prone to flooding. Raising the tracks is a much simpler proposition even if NIMBYs don’t like it much.

    Eric Reply:

    Raising the tracks involves a lot of earth moving. Roads can navigate the rises and falls in less horizontal distance.

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    How about a little bit of each? Raise the tracks ass much as tolerrable, then lower the road the rest of the way.

    Jim

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Can someone please explain how/why grade crossing underpasses “block off driveway access for hundreds of feet on either side” ??

    Is this an only in PAMPA thing?

    Mattie F. Reply:

    If the track is at grade, the underpass must tunnel low enough to accommodate the height of most vehicles (probably at least a U-Haul) below the bottom of the support structure for the tracks. That’s probably 25 feet or so. At 10% grade, that would be 250 feet for the road to reach the level of the land it was previously even with – and whether the existing properties’ driveways can be re-graded depends on the length of the driveway and whats around it – and especially, what’s under it.

    Clem Reply:

    Minimum clearance is 16 feet. Structure depth is 5 feet, so you need to dig down about 20 feet.

    The right way to do this is a split grade, where the tracks go up 15 feet, pedestrians stay at grade, and the road goes down 6 feet. Fine examples in San Carlos and Belmont.

    Jonathan Reply:

    except pedestrians don’t _quite_ stay at grade at San Carlos station…

    Eric Reply:

    you need to DIG deeper than that, but your number are pretty solid for roadway clearance. below that you need roadway structural section, drainage and possibly pumping equipment, etc.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    That works as long as PAMPA residents don’t realize the raised tracks are a return of the “Berlin Wall” they’ve been raising a stink about.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    I recall a Palo Alto City Council Member saying something like: grade separations will block driveways for hundreds of feet on each side of the crossing, taking away dozens of properties.

    Check out the Hillcrest grade sep. in Millbrae, this grade sep. was built to accommodate FOUR tracks (according to Caltrain).

    http://g.co/maps/cvxae

    600 Hemlock Avenue, Millbrae, CA – Google Maps

    Prior to the grade separation this was a pedestrian crossing and narrow fire lane that provided access to the Bayside Manor neighborhood.

    This did not take a dozen properties. The (Hillcrest) Road impact is approx. 431 feet from Hemlock to Aviador. The road at Hillcrest is 17.5 feet under the rail bed/structure. The RR width is 71 feet, from Aviador to the RR is 173 feet, and from Hemlock to the RR is 187 feet. The BART tunnel is also under Hillcrest at this location.

    If this grade separation were to the PAMPA standards, the road impact would extend all the way to El Camino on one side and to Beverly on the other side, which would take a number of homes.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Also the alignment of properties on this particular crossing reduces the effect of the under passing. The long, skinny properties are all oriented parallel to the modified road, and none have driveways on Hemlock. If the homes were on hemlock with the same spacing between homes, 12 homes would have been affected (3 on each side, in each direction), 4 almost certainly blocked entirely, the next 4 would depend on driveway placement, and the last 4 less significantly.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    What? Huh?

    While each grade separation is different, they are also similar.

    Most of the Caltrain ROW has streets that run parallel on both sides of Caltrain. These streets often have homes or businesses between the road and Caltrain with access/driveways from the street such as on Hemlock and Aviador. Streets that run perpendicular to Caltrain cross at grade or are grade separated such as Hillcrest.

    Hillcrest is the modified road, not Hemlock. It would be impossible for there to be 12 homes affected as you suggest. They would have to be less than 15 feet wide in order to fit between the parallel streets and Caltrain with driveways on Hillcrest.

    The claims made by Palo Alto NIMBYs are that dozens of homes will be taken/destroyed for each crossing, totaling in the hundreds. Driveways can not have a change in elevation of more than two feet, etc. Sounds like pure unmitigated bullshit!

    A compromise is to raise the Caltrain ROW and lower the road as Clem suggests, but this increases the cost since there will be more excavation/construction along Caltrain tracks.

    There have been a number of grade separations over the years: San Carlos/Belmont, San Bruno, Laurie Meadows/41st, and they have not destroyed the community as the PAMPA NIMBYs claim. If we are to accept the PAMPA mentality on grade separations, the Samtrans/Caltrain HQ building may not even be there in San Carlos.

    joe Reply:

    Not only are PAMPA complaints bullshit but Palo Alto has built grade separations in residential areas.

    Palo Alto has three full grade separations (underpasses with on/off ramps for Alma Ave which parallels the ROW) University Ave (commercial are), Embarcadero and Oregon Expressway (residential). The City boundary is adjacent to the San Antonio Ave overpass separation on Central Expressway/Alma.

    Derek Reply:

    Enhanced grade crossing safety is logical as a “bookend” connector use of HSR bond funds, but HSR cannot safely run on those tracks.

    Please elaborate.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You won’t get an answer from a robot, and anyway you shouldn’t encourage it/him.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Grade crossing improvements for Caltrain would enhance the safety of linked HSR/Caltrain trips. HSR is still vulnerable to accident, vandalism, or even terrorism at grade crossings. HSR needs a secure right of way.

    Clem Reply:

    Grade separation of the peninsula corridor is a decadal undertaking that is already 62% complete.

    HSR will be no more vulnerable to accident, vandalism or terrorism than Caltrain: same speeds, same safety systems, same crashworthiness. Grade crossing collisions can and will occur, as they have many times already on foreign HSR systems, with no great loss of life.

    The idea of running HSR up the SP Mulford line suffers from two fundamental flaws, one ethical and one logistical. First, if grade crossings are such a terrible risk, why even continue operating Caltrain; it should be shut down tomorrow before one more person dies. Second, the SP Mulford line requires just as much grade separation investment as Caltrain to become viable as a sealed HSR corridor.

    HSR grade crossing safety is a red herring.

    Jonathan Reply:

    It is a red herring. And that matters to BARTisans, how, exactly?

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “Grade separation of the peninsula corridor is a decadal undertaking that is already 62% complete.”

    Thank you for the link which explains in non technical terms the current situation and future plans.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Terrorism? At grade crossings? Oh my! What do you think the terrorists are going to *do*? Leave a Ryder truck full of ANFO on the track?

    Oh, I forgot, you *can’t* think. Hint: HSR trainsets aren’t going to fall 30,000 feet out of the sky if their engines stop. And they also aren’t gigantic, fragile containers full of highly inflammable kerosene.

    Clem Reply:

    Nor are they thin-walled pressure vessels ready to rupture at the first provocation.

    Jonathan Reply:

    True, but I thought “pressure vessel” might be beyond Mr. Allen, so I went with “fragile”.
    And BART trainsets aren’t exactly paragons of structural strength either. I recall that the current cars lack the structural strength to support pantographs!!

    HSR trainsets will rupture if you drop a bridge on top of one. But then so will buses, cars, ordinary trains… certainly BART cars. Any land vehicle except perhaps a tank.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Rohr cars crinkled.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    The more the robot repeats itself the more confirmation it provides that BART has never had the region’s transportation interests in mind, as many have tried to warn it is a self-serving BORG.
    It makes it all the more urgent to invest in and strengthen Caltrain and all viable standard gauge alternatives, and to immediately stop all further extensions or investment in BART. As the Allen-robot repeatedly proves, BART cannot be trusted.

    JB in PA Reply:

    THX 1138

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART’s Job #1 is to protect and propagate its Bechtelian legacy eccentritech. They refuse even to modernize their wheelsets.

    The BART mindset has profoundly infused PB; you can see it at large in AmBART aka LAHSR.

    JB in PA Reply:

    By modernize do you mean bring it up to the 90’s technology? As in 1790 and flanged, tapered wheels.

    synonymouse Reply:

    yep

    And solid steel.

    Zorro Reply:

    The first steam locomotive in the USA was run in 1830, it was the Tom Thumb.

    By 1830, the B&O Railroad had extended its track from Baltimore to the village of Ellicott’s Mills thirteen miles to the west. The railroad was also ready to test its first steam engine – an American-made locomotive engineered by Peter Cooper of New York.

    It was a bright summer’s day and full of promise. Syndicate members and friends piled into an open car pulled by a diminutive steam locomotive appropriately named the “Tom Thumb” with its inventor at the controls. Passengers thrilled at the heart-pumping sensation of traveling at the then un-heard speed of 18 mph. The outbound journey took less than an hour. On the return trip, an impromptu race with a horse-drawn car developed. The locomotive came out the loser. It was an inauspicious beginning. However, within a few years the railroad would become the dominate form of long-distance transportation and relegate the canals to the dustbin of commercial history.

    Alan Kandel Reply:

    Just a footnote: For those who are interested, this account was from recollections of John H. B. Latrobe in 1868, 38 years after the event purportedly took place. Latrobe was 65 years old at the time this particular account was made public.

    Jonathan Reply:

    How is this relevant in any way?

    JB in PA Reply:

    Some scenes from THX were filmed in the Bart tunnels. BART’s single-mindedness reminds me of teh movie.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I don’t see much difference between the “Allen-robot” and the Cheerleaders. Both developer tools.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Please elaborate.

    It’s rail, but not BART; therefore to Mr. Allen it’s “not safe” by definition.

    agb5 Reply:

    The people have already voted to make the Transbay Terminal the terminus for SF.

    Why have you not put a proposition on the ballot to change the legal requirement for HSR to terminate at the Transbay Terminal?

    Jonathan Reply:

    Screw the people. BART will “Anschluss” them as necessary to support the growth of BART. Mr. Allen has said so.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Now you have the right idea. There’s no one to stop us this time! BARTLand, BARTLand, uber alles…uber alles…

    Next stop, Reno!

    synonymouse Reply:

    PB lebensraum.

    Alan Reply:

    How much is UP paying Mr. Allen to post these scare-tactic screeds?

    Walter Reply:

    Oh, come on, Alan. He’s trying to save us from terrorism!

    Alan Kandel Reply:

    I don’t understand how a person with Mr. Allen’s experience can espouse the sort of uninformed rhetoric that he has espoused via his comment. Is he not familiar with the operating arrangement along the Northeast Corridor where Amtrak Acela Express trains regularly travel at speeds in the 125 mph range and at times faster? Not only is the NEC a dual-use corridor shared by both passenger (commuter trains included in that mix) and freight trains, I distinctly recall there being at least four, four-quadrant, gate-protected, level crossings at that. I have traveled along that corridor pre-Amtrak and post-Pennsylvania Railroad owned and operated – I have some first-hand experience, in other words. What’s more, on certain corridors in Europe, blended operation is common. I once worked in the Bay Area for a freight railroad in the signal department and this has not prevented me from doing research, research, incidentally, outside of my field/trade to learn the ins-and-outs of high-speed rail operation. I make no claims to be an expert, but I know enough to know how the system at its most rudimentary level – and then some – works.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    As I recall, there are eleven level crossings on the NEC, but the maximum speed limit on any of them is 110 mph.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Wikipedia says they are all in New London County Connecticut. Which would be bypassed when an HSR route is built….

    agb5 Reply:

    I think his logic is:
    The “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century” has the word SAFE in its title, so the public expects it to be SAFE-er than other trains, like Caltrain or Acela, which don’t have the word “safe” in their title.

    William Reply:

    Regardless of East Bay HSR route, moving Capitol Corridor to Mulford line could be a good thing because it decreases travel time between Oakland and San Jose due to shorter route and less station stops.

  4. synonymouse
    Aug 18th, 2014 at 20:23
    #4

    LAHSR should indeed follow I-5.

    Brown and Richards work for developers.

    joe Reply:

    if you have weed in your system, there’s no telling what you’re incapable of doing

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Syn, that’s OK from Anaheim to Burbank. Will that satisfy you?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It doesn’t matter. Synonymouse is forgetting that Californians think transportation is this shibboleth that magically causes development. Access to water is 100 times more important. If you want to suppress more develop, vote against the water bond not HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Good point but the California electorate is so stupid and susceptible to propaganda they will will approve Jerry’s LA Water Grab.

    jimsf Reply:

    They are not that stupid. And the tunnels will not be approved. The north is 100 percent against the tunnel plan. And while the south may have more votes, the support will be eroded there due to cost concerns. The same way the peripheral canal was defeated. And everyone up here is well aware that this is nothing but a rehashed peripheral canal plan. Northern farmers are against it, delta farmers are against it, people who get delta water are against it, environmentalists are against it, and the general population in the north, who are still look upon socal with a combination of suspicion and disdain, are all against it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Unfortunately, this water bond is a heads-LA-wins, tails-NorCal-loses proposition. Either way, the South is going to siphon more water from the North. The only question is how big the straw is. Although I grew up in Southern California, I share the Northern concensus that more development down south will have more long term consequences.

    But the real dilemma is that no pipe or tunnel or reservoir can rescue the State’s native agriculture. It’s lost GDP as well as lost food that will raise the cost of living in the Golden State even more.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is a done deal.

    The same morons who demand the DogLeg demand NorCal water for Palmdale. The Tejon Ranch Co., PB-Tutor, Jerry and his obsequious judiciary, et al.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually, much of the diverted water in Northern California is going to Santa Clara County. The need in Southern California is to offset groundwater that is being depleted in Orange County and elsewhere that is being exhausted from a lack of local rainfall and lower deliveries on the Colorado.

    LA has much bigger water problems than two tunnels can solve.

    Zorro Reply:

    Desalinization by Reverse Osmosis like being constructed in Carlsbad CA would help, if they were scaled up. A desalination boom in California could help it deal with ‘exceptional’ drought But of course in the $7.5 billion Dollar Bond no mention is made of this, I guess they are not willing to do more than to conserve and dig more empty holes in the ground, hoping to catch some rain drops that might or might not come for a long time.

    Zorro Reply:

    Then there is this Here(Desalination Could Be the Solution to California’s Drought), using solar thermal to heat the water into steam, which can work 24/7, since heat energy is stored for night use.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Factoid for the day: Reverse Osmosis requires only twice as much electricity as water conveyed to San Diego along our various aqueducts (proportionally to its typical sources).

    Zorro Reply:

    Of course Reservoirs need rain to fill up aqueducts, so do want water or not Mattie F?

    jimsf Reply:

    In the north people also understand it as much of the water being for southern san joaquin agriculture so the big agribusiness can profit by growing crops in the desert for sale and profit in the international market

    jimsf Reply:

    californians arent the ones consuming all the raisins, almonds and cotton. In fact californians would rather buy from the small farmers in the north with high quaility and organics per the farm to fork movement which continues to grow.

    No one but wall street will miss the crops grown kings and kern counties.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Those small farms you are referring to will be obliterated by tracts, gas stations, strip malls.

    jimsf Reply:

    The farms of somona, napa, the capay valley and northern sacramento valley have decades to go before they are doomed as the wealthier counties can restrain growth and in the sacramento valley north of sac, most of the growth is on the east/foothill edge where you cant farm in the clay.

    people in the north will vote overwhelmingly against the tunnels. Even up here in the mountains where the tunnels are irrelevant, we have local water – the yard signs and bumber stickers are “stop the tunnels”

    in socal the opposition will cite cost and dilute the vote.

    joe Reply:

    J.G. Boswell is laughing at you.

    jimsf Reply:

    A Cotton Pickin’ Mess In California
    April 28, 1991

    The Corporation

    A COTTON-PICKIN’ MESS IN CALIFORNIA

    To outsiders, Corcoran, Calif., is known mainly for the maximum-security prison where Charles Manson is serving time. But to locals, this city of 7,775 in the San Joaquin Valley is the town that J. G. Boswell Co. built. Now headed by 68-year-old J. G. Boswell II, the founder’s nephew, Boswell Co. farms 160,000 rich acres–roughly twice the size of New York’s five boroughs. Most of Corcoran’s townsfolk owe their livelihood to Boswell, directly or indirectly. When the city needed a $1 million baseball field or a fancy new YMCA, Boswell picked up the tab.

    And when Boswell needed a favor, it always had the political muscle–and money–to get it. In 1982, when a proposed water project threatened to block its access to water from the north, Boswell spent more than $1.2 million to defeat the project. Says Steve Hall, head of the California Farm Water Coalition: “J. G. Boswell is not someone you want for an enemy.”

    Now, the secretive Boswell Co., the nation’s top cotton producer, has met an enemy it can’t beat: California’s five-year-old drought. After nearly seven decades of wheeling and dealing for the water it needed to grow from a small cotton-and-produce farm, the $200 million-a-year concern is nearly powerless, as many of its usual water sources are severely depleted or dried up altogether.

    The company didn’t respond to queries from BUSINESS WEEK. But even after a wetter-than-usual March, other farmers and water officials in the region say that Boswell has been forced to begin retrenching–a process that could ultimately mean the cutback of a third of the area’s work force. As many as 55,000 of Boswell’s acres may lie fallow this year. And the cotton that is planted is likely to yield a disappointing crop. Even March rainclouds had a dark lining: They flooded already irrigated lands, pushing back the planting season by three weeks and probably stunting crops’ growth.

    For Boswell, which has traditionally wrung large profits out of its highly automated operations and cheap water, that means lean times. In recent years, estimates the California Institute for Rural Studies, Boswell could rely on nearly $20 million in annual profits. That figure could drop by a third this year. And the prospect of another dry year ahead could mean tougher times in 1992. “You can have all the water rights in the world,” says Barrie Boyett, a Corcoran farmer with 6,000 acres of cotton land nearby. “But they don’t mean a thing if the river is dry.”

    Boswell’s iron grip on the region’s water supply was the source of its power. After arriving in California from Georgia, the Boswell family went into business in 1924 and shrewdly began purchasing water rights to local lakes and rivers. In the 1940s, the family, a branch of Los Angeles’ powerful Chandler clan, allied itself with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to dam the Kern and Kings Rivers. That drained a lake bottom, creating most of Boswell’s acreage. And it ensured access to cheap water for decades to come.

    After taking over in 1952, J. G. Boswell II zealously guarded those water rights, sprinkling political contributions where necessary to insure them. “Water rights are like democracy,” he once told a reporter. “Once you have them, you spend a lifetime protecting them.” That often meant shelling out huge amounts. In 1990 alone, the Boswell family contributed $236,000 to support statewide candidates and ballot initiatives, a vast sum for state races. The resulting political muscle was really flexed in 1982, when the family took on then-Governor Jerry Brown by contributing $1.2 million to environmentalists who were waging a campaign against construction of a state-sponsored, $11.6 billion Peripheral Canal. That water system would have blocked Boswell’s access to a Northern California river it coveted and would also have provided cheap water to rival cotton farmers.

    Boswell wasn’t content with simply defeating the initiative, however. When cotton farmers Jeff and Jack Thomson took out ads criticizing Boswell in local newspapers, the agriculture giant spent close to $1 million on a libel suit against the Thomsons and other family farmers who backed the ads. Boswell also pulled its $500,000-a-year business from a local fertilizer distributor whose parent company supported the Peripheral project. That put the distributor out of business, according to testimony in the libel suit given by James Fisher, then-president of Boswell.

    ‘LITTLE LOOPHOLE.’ Eventually, the Thomsons won the lawsuit and countersued, winning $10.2 million. Boswell is appealing the Thomson award. “Boswell has a long tradition of using its deep pockets to threaten people out of the political debate,” says Ralph B. Wegis, a Bakersfield lawyer who represented the Thomsons.

    The Thomson tussle was followed by another fight Boswell has picked with the Interior Dept. In January, 1991, an audit for the federal agency criticized Boswell for setting up a large trust to maintain subsidized water rights by selling 23,000 acres to its employees at artificially low prices and then operating the farms for them. By dividing up the land in parcels of 960 acres, Boswell was able to get federally subsidized water intended to help small farmers. It paid just $13 per acre-foot (an acre-foot represents 326,000 gallons) of water, far less than the $46 a large farm would be charged for federal water. “You open a little loophole and people drive a truck through it,” fumes Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan Jr. Lujan has ordered Interior Dept. lawyers to review federal water subsidy practices. It appears that Boswell has run out of options. On Feb. 4, when Governor Pete Wilson ordered that water shipments to California farms must end, he took away nearly one-third of the approximately 60 billion gallons a year that Boswell typically needs for cotton. On top of that, the Kern, Kings, and Kaweah Rivers are still too low to supply another one-third of Boswell’s water needs they have traditionally provided. While the March rains provided some relief, Boswell spent much of the winter hustling to increase groundwater supplies. It has already drilled new wells throughout its property–an expensive process that could nearly double the $45 an acre-foot that Boswell was paying for much of its water in 1989.

    The company hardly has a choice. Even with income from a farm loan business and real estate development, Boswell depends mainly on steady cotton production. For years, the longer-fiber cotton it grows has made Boswell a favorite among such brands as Jockey underwear and Fieldcrest towels. Now, with California drying up, Boswell faces the possibility of losing market share to cotton producers in Mississippi and Louisiana. “For years, we’ve been using nothing but San Joaquin Valley cotton,” says Jockey International President Howard D. Cooley. Cooley says he is looking elsewhere for supplies “just in case” Boswell can’t deliver. And for the mighty J. G. Boswell, no amount of muscle or money can change that.Eric Schine in Corcoran, Calif., with bureau reports

    joe Reply:

    Here’s a enhanced picture of what CA’s Lake Tulare looked like before it was drained for cotton production.
    http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/557-the-first-satellite-map-of-california-1851

    Small farms my ass.

    jimsf Reply:

    we need the “environmentalists” to get to work doing something useful and start a campaign to restore lake tulare and its watershed!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    There is, of course, a whole book written about Boswell by that same writer for the LA Times article. The catch is that mega farming developed in the San Joaquin Valley as cheap labor from the Depression and Mexico became more abundant.

    What doesn’t change in the decrease of mega farming is the loss of exports that help the State’s trade balances. Boswell may have been running a 20th plantation, but he was adding more value than your local mortgage broker to State GDP.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Cotton has been on a steady decline in California since the early 80s, long before the current drought. It peaked at about 1.6 million acres devoted to cotton in the early 80s. Last year it was under 200,000 acres.

    The long decline also means much of the infrastructure, including many of the gins, was closed and dismantled over the years. I understand the Chinese bought a lot of the machinery as they grew their cotton production to fuel clothing manufacturing there. Other machinery was simply scrapped. But if you drive thru the old cotton areas you can see the old gin buildings still standing, now either empty or reused for other purposes.

    With the infrastructure gone, it is unlikely California will ever see a “King of Cotton” again.

    StevieB Reply:

    In terms of water efficiency cotton is a terrible crop. Cotton is a relatively low cash value crop with high water usage.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Joe, that image is pretty much bunk: Using Tahoe Blue to color the maximal extent (100-year flood extend) of a lakebed that was 90% shallow, stagnant marsh is grossly misleading.

    joe Reply:

    Mattie. Net primary productivity of a shallow freshwater marsh is much higher than a Tahoe Blue lake. The clear blue is possible due to the absence of biological activity. Pretty, but not as valuable to wildlife and biodiversity as Lake Tulare. Tulare drained northward.

    The CV water diversion didn’t irrigate a desert, they created a desert and soil salinity problems.

    Edward Reply:

    If you want to see how bad it can get check out the flood of 1861-62.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/californias-superstorm-the-usgs-arkstorm-report-and-the-great-flood-

    Mattie F. Reply:

    I don’t get why Northern Californians are so greedy about “their” water. The whole point to being a state is to share access to a mixture of resources for mutual benefit. But NorCal’ers would rather see pure, fresh water wasted into the bay in wet years while fish and farmland die in dry years, instead of banking water from wet years to keep the rivers flowing during the dry years?

    That kind of spite really serves no one.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Divide the state and let LA deal with its own issues with its own resources.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    And even then, residential water use is something like 15% of total state water use. I’m going from hazy memory, but what I recall is commercial / industrial at 10% and agriculture at 75%.

    jimsf Reply:

    the excess freshwater is necessary in wet years to flush out the delta and bay, is it always has, naturally, to keep it healthy.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    I think that’s only because during dry years, so little water flows through the Delta. A portion of stored water is set aside for environmental purposes – explicitly to flow enough water through the Delta to meet pollution and salinity standards. A big part of getting Democrats to buy into the bond package is that the increased storage would also increase the water dedicated to those environmental needs, helping to ensure that the Delta can be kept clean during the driest years, without impacting human water use.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    As someone who grew up in the paradise lost that is Southern California, there is very little understanding of how fragile water supply is unless you live in the San Joaquin Valley. It’s not about “their water”, it’s about the destruction of habitats caused by disrupting the water cycle. Surface water helps replenish aquifers, if you truck it all down south the land will die.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Storing water from flood years isn’t going to harm any habitat. That’s the difference between a peripheral canal without additional storage, and a peripheral canal with additional storage – the former sucks on a new straw in the same glass during dry years, the latter gets a bigger glass so there’s more for everyone.

    This bond measure specifically sets out that 50% of the project’s benefit must be for ecological purposes – for instance, that means 50% of water storage would need to be dedicated towards meeting habitat preservation goals (salmon spawning flows, delta water quality standards).

    synonymouse Reply:

    “a bigger glass so there’s more for everyone.”

    There is no bigger glass – you are just filling your glass with someone else’s water.

    The problem is you and Jerry and all the other growthmongers want more of everyone. LA needs to reduce its population. That’s the drought solution.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Mattie,

    Groundwater isn’t regulated in California. For centuries, we have been pumping out groundwater to supplant what is captured by runoff. And in some cases, surface water is banked underground as storage…

    Yet, even in places where groundwater regulation is strict (like Arizona), more storage not only depletes the ability to ability for runoff to replenish aquifers is also makes the aquifers unusable. Currently, in Arizona wells can’t be drilled below a 1,000 feet to allow aquifers to replenish. Big cities often bank water there for storage purposes only to find out that the water has subsided and now the water is below 1,000 feet….

    In places like Orange County, where we have no idea how long it might take to replenish the aquifers…building more “storage” is wasting our time.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Sounds like what you’re describing is that surface storage would allow us to better control distribution and eliminate the loophole farmers are using to extract extravagant amounts of water?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    NorCal’ers would rather see pure, fresh water wasted into the bay

    1945 just called and it wants its environmental attitudes back.

    joe Reply:

    And we want our valley back. http://hetchhetchy.org/

    Joey Reply:

    joe: there was a measure on the SF ballot to study alternatives to Hetch Hetchy a while back. I voted yes, but it was defeated.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You really think LA is going to let its Hetch Hetchy be torn down?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Ummm….

    How does LA get its hand on Speaker Pelosi’s bathtub water?

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you haven’t noticed the Tejon Ranch Co. owns Jerry now.

    Your erstwhile bosses are geriatric if not comatose. LA and SoCal are running the show.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Synonymouse, Hetch Hetchy is San Francisco’s water supply, and is 100% owned by San Francisco. It could be dismantled if and only if San Francisco votes to do so.

    http://bawsca.org/water-supply/hetch-hetchy-water-system/

    They literally dammed up a second Yosemite Valley. That magnificent water you’re drinking? That’s the taste of hypocrisy.

    StevieB Reply:

    Hetch Hetchy is owned by the Federal government and leased to San Francisco under the Raker Act of 1913. Dismantling of O’Shaughnessy Dam would take an act of Congress which although unlikely would not require a vote in San Francisco.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The CPUC already informed Hetch Hetchy they would have to “share”.

    With a vast plurality at the polls and unlimited funds to bribe, SoCal can do whatever it wants. It won’t happen in a day. But you see the Ranch already exerts total veto power thru the sockpuppet Jerry.

    And LA can simply raise the voter initiative signature limits or get rid of the practice completely to quash any separatist uprising. Besides there are too many SoCal quislings and collaborators embedded in NorCal to ever pull off a secession. No splitting the State all the water goes to LA and its territories.

    les Reply:

    I think it might be to cost prohibitive to move I-5 east that far. Maybe another bond. However about the dual water canals. :)

    les Reply:

    ie, How about after the duel water canals. getting late.

  5. Darrell
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 00:14
    #5

    Kudos to Dan Richard! That is so audacious, to on one hand claim bad faith with CHSRA’s following of Prop. 1A’s mandate and simultaneously demand throwing out Prop. 1A’s well-defined route.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A route well-defined by gross political corruption.

    Zorro Reply:

    Says the Emperor with no clothes on…

    jimsf Reply:

    syn how is it political corruption when voters approved the route. they could have said no to it. They said yes specifically because they wanted service to those locations. Had another route been proposed, the prop would have failed. The voters are getting what they wanted. Regardless of any aruguments, technical or otherwise, the only thing that matters is that they voted for this route and will get this route.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[V]oters approved the route.”

    Hmm, not quite. The voters weren’t offered a choice of routes. At best you can say the voters decided the route was good enough.

    Supposing there was any political corruption, then it was in the process of creating Prop 1A.

    jimsf Reply:

    its not corruption when local politicians are just trying to make sure the communities they represent get served. Thats democracy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That’s a boondoggle.

    Zorro Reply:

    So Democracy is a Boondoggle Synonymouse?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Democracy is not in the picture. Obsoleted.

    The same type of dictatorship we are installing in various places, say Egypt, will come home to us one day. The America of today is unlinked from the past. Forget the Founding Fathers and all that tradition. Pretty soon it won’t even be in the school texts.

    Dystopia and iron-fisted dictatorship is the fate of both old and new Cairos. Jerry and Nancy are already working on it in their own oblivious uniparty way.

    Zorro Reply:

    You see a Dictatorship in CA, cause you whine that you can’t get your way against HSR Syno…

    Alan Reply:

    Hmm, quite. The voters, had they not approved of the route, could have rejected Prop 1A. They did not reject Prop 1A, they accepted it, route and all.

    Joey Reply:

    The route wasn’t (explicitly) written into Prop 1A. That’s like asking someone “are you hungry,” and then when they say yes claiming that they wanted pizza.

    jimsf Reply:

    the route was well known at the time because this route map was widely available and so were the names of all the cities along the way including the options.

    Joey Reply:

    Fine. You asked them outside a pizza restaurant. A reasonable guess, but still presumptuous.

    jimsf Reply:

    what are you talking about? This route map was published well before the vote took place. What is your point?

    Clem Reply:

    That Californians, provided they even vote, are often uninformed or misinformed about the finer details of the measures put before them. And thus, claiming after the fact that they knew precisely what they were voting for, or that a majority of them wanted this or that route, is fallacious.

    jimsf Reply:

    Who said precise? Look I get that a lot of you here dont give a fuck about serving the majority of regular californians in areas that you dont deem worthy and instead would rather you get your little elitist railroad for the special class but the bottom line is that the public was aware of the the basic route map as I posted, and aware of the cities that would be promised service, including the optional tulare kings station. This was all published and they looked at it and said yeah that looks good to me. And that is all that matters whether you like it or not.

    get over it for christs sake.

    jimsf Reply:

    i just hope that all the complainers are so disgruntles that they will refuse to ride. That way I won’t have to risk being sat next to them to listen to them complain how it was all done incorrectly, for two+ hours.

    Clem Reply:

    And if and when the route is changed (because lack of money is the mother of invention) regular Californians will say again yeah that looks good to me. Prop 1A doesn’t matter, except when it matters. Prop 1A matters, except when it doesn’t. Yawn.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I assure you will not have to worry about sitting next to me on BART. The last time I rode it, from Powell St. to Millbrae, it was free. I could not believe how noisy it was. I guess Imperial BART is statutory exempt from nanny noise laws.

    I voted for Prop 1a amidst a general euphoria about seeing any catenary hung in California in my lifetime. I presumed smarter minds would sort out the best route. Boy, was I wrong.

    The learning process has killed off my time as a yellow-dog Democrat.

    jimsf Reply:

    yes clem, yawn indeed. same tired rehashing by people who can’t accept that politics are what determines everything. over and over and over. and over and over.

    Joey Reply:

    My point jim, is that plenty of people who might have disagreed with the route still would have voted yes on Prop 1A because either (a) they weren’t looking too closely or (b) they decided that HSR along a sub-optimal route was better than no HSR at all.

    joe Reply:

    So you argue that people don’t like the route but wanted HSR and some supported HSR but didn’t know they voted for a route so it’s okay to reinterpret the vote to mean it didn’t mean what it meant.

    This is fantastical.

    Michael Reply:

    Most people would like a high speed train in the state. They don’t care how it gets back and forth. The 74 or so of us who regularly post on this blog who like to debate this versus that route/train/station are in the minority.

    jimsf Reply:

    well some of us dont think that its a sub optimal route. And some of us think that sub optimal is like beauty – in the eye of the beholder. And some of just realize that perhaps even if the route is “sub optimal” according to some one elses idea of what optimal is ( and I assure you that 38 million out of 38 million californians each has his or her view of optimal)

    Teh bottom line is the general overall route per the map and cities mentioned was widely available and voters said yes and that is that.

    The only real controversy that is valid is the blended plan. But I recall many here on this blog calling for a blended incremental approach.

    In the end the result will be the same. And I must remind you that going forward, decades into the future, there is nothing to prohibit future expansion, and upgrades. In fact you can count on it not remaining static.

    Joey Reply:

    joe: Who’s reinterpreting the vote here? The language of Prop 1A, which is what was voted on, does not explicitly define a single route which must be taken, but rather defines endpoints and corridors which may be used to get between them.

    joe Reply:

    Re-read what you wrote. Certainly I accept the voters approved the project as described and don’t suggest voters wanted HSR but not the named segments or some meaningful fraction of voters were not paying attention.

    Joey Reply:

    And why not? I and plenty of others were firmly in the Pacheco/Tehachapi camp back then – it took a lot of digging through the details to formulate an informed opinion.

    And Michael’s probably right – most people actually don’t care about the route, but that’s what I’m trying to say – people voted on HSR not on the specific route.

    joe Reply:

    Informed opinions are formed by reading the proposition and voting.

    What you’re referring is designing a system using a set of criteria, some in and some not in in the proposition.

    If you say people don’t care about the route then drop it. The route’s selected. It doesn’t matter.

    If the implication is cities and alignments are now fungible then wake up dude. the Legislature voted for a very specific alignment.

    We’re done.

    Reality Check Reply:

    As others have so correctly suggested … nobody that has anything to do with this blog is anything like “the average voter”. It’s scary, but the average voter is more like my mother, who, barely — if ever — even cracks open her voter guide … if she can even remember where she put it. She, like most voters, decides how to vote based on sort of quick seat of the pants decisions by maybe reading the one or two line description, and maybe based on anything she may remember she heard about an issue from friends, family or media/ads. Most voters spend maybe a minute or maybe two — if that much — deciding how to vote on a proposition.

    Alan Reply:

    Jim, I disagree that the blended plan is a valid controversy, at least in terms of the current court case. Nothing in Prop 1A specifies that HSR on the Peninsula must have dedicated tracks or a 4-track alignment, so long as the system as built complies with the other specified requirements. The Authority has stated that the requirements will be met, and with Judge Kenny’s ruling, L&H will not be able to challenge that, or introduce their own evidence.

    jimsf Reply:

    Alan, I don’t personally think it is controversial either. But of all the “issues” that might be the one easiest to call an “issue”

    Alan Reply:

    Point taken, Jim. But as I’ve said before, Judge Kenny has already ruled once that the blended plan “…concerns the implementation of the project as described, and not the nature of the project itself.” As I doubt very much that the judge will overrule himself in the current 526a matter, the “issue” is pretty much dead. I think that L&H would have a better chance of hitching a ride on a Vogon constructor ship than they have of winning this case.

    joe Reply:

    Voters live with the consequences of their decisions. That’s want matters. Seat of the pants or not – they voted for HSR and have delegated representatives to follow up and implement the project.

    The Legislature and State Authority have to follow a set of guidelines and there are safeguards in place.

    Engineers here want to eliminate political requirements and just build a technical thing. Not gonna happen ever.

  6. Travis D
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 03:25
    #6

    A good rebuttal. Nice of him to point out that the aim of the lawsuit isn’t to correct project problems it is to try and stop the project.

  7. Travis D
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 04:04
    #7

    Potentially off topic but what are the odds that eBART gets extended to Tracy one day and has a joint station with a new DMU version of ACE?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Unlikely.

    BART will extend herself to Stockton and Modesto someday. eBART and ACE are placeholder strategies.

    jimsf Reply:

    I imagine bart will loop ebart around to connect at livermore eventually. There was a plan for this years ago.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “ACE is a placeholder strategy for BART” please explain?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    [citation provided]

    Clem Reply:

    A placeholder in this context is a transit project of precisely calibrated mediocrity, just good enough to keep a basic level of demand alive while preparing a grade separation here and there, and just bad enough so that BART compares extremely favorably when it comes time to demonstrate a clear “purpose and need” for a new BART extension.

    They really screwed up on the peninsula corridor in the early 2000s, where the incredibly fertile demand combined with slightly less mediocre service planning enabled the Baby Bullet to take off, throwing Caltrain’s mediocrity way out of the proper calibration. The purpose and need for peninsula BART became highly questionable, and the rest is history–to which the desperate ranting of Mr. Allen bears witness.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Spot on, Clem.

    Plus BART has drifted towards cattlecar ghetto with the passage of time. At its inception it was to be comfortable and classy with carpet and upholstered seats. As much as it wanted to deny its NYC subway roots, the potential for grunge was always there.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    A placeholder is also a way to curry political favor with the Senate Transportation Chair who wants BART in his district but can’t marshall funds to do it. BART is torn by suburban directors and riders who want longer service and farther flung stations and urban directors and riders who want more capacity close in.

    There is a solution, but so far no one will touch it. Namely, quad track BART lines in Oakland and San Francisco and the Tube in exchange for letting BART use tax increment financing to redevelop the land it owns and acquires around stations. Another strategy is to shift lines in express and locals that don’t stop at each station.

    Eric Reply:

    No, the next two tracks across the bay need to be standard gauge. They should be used to through-run commuter rail on the Caltrain and Capitol Corridors, while serving HSR too (quite necessary for SF-Sacramento trips if HSR uses Pacheco). Essentially this would mean building a second BART system, but almost for free since most of the tracks already exist. Ideally the system would use the existing Bay Bridge to cross the bay, taking one lane from cars in each direction, which would save building a very expensive tunnel.

    Eric Reply:

    To elaborate: the Pittsburg BART line should be taken from BART and converted for standard gauge for this new system. As far east as Pleasant Hill, it should be shared with HSR, from there HSR should follow I-680 to Martinez and the Capital Corridor to Sacramento. This would give a 1 hour SF-Sacramento HSR ride for extremely cheap. It would also remove Pittsburg trains from the BART tunnel, allowing higher frequency on the remaining BART lines to SF.

    joe Reply:

    A bay crossing using non-BART tech needs a strong organization behind it.

    1. Put Caltrain under HSR control prior to electrification. Peer review group and oversight kick in.
    2. Allow HSR to expand Caltrain as a HSR feeder & commuter system with HSR, regional and C&T funds.
    3. CAHSR would quickly run service across the Dumbarton Bridge linking east bay to RWC HSR Station and Caltrain ROW.
    4. Add ACE to the pot.

    Joey Reply:

    The problem is clearance in the Berkeley Hills tunnels. They were built around BART loading gauge and would be difficult and expensive to widen.

    Eric Reply:

    According to what I can find online, BART cars are 10.5 feet wide, while the “Bombardier BiLevel Coach” used by Caltrain is 9.8 feet wide. So there should be no need to widen the tunnels.

    I didn’t look into height differences (especially with the need for catenary), but these are more easily overcome.

    Joey Reply:

    The problem is vertical clearance. BART cars are around 11′ high (ATOR) and the tunnels have maybe another couple feet of clearance. Bombardier BiLevels are 16′ tall, and most single level trains are at least 14′. And that’s without catenary. You’re not going to be able to fit them.

    Eric Reply:

    According to Wikipedia, the tunnels have 22′ diameter. If Google Maps is to be believed, the tunnels are perfectly straight. This means a cuboid whose cross-section has width 9.8′ and height 19.6′ can fit in the tunnels. Also, rails and catenary need less horizontal space than the train itself. So I don’t see the obstacle here.

    Eric Reply:

    For comparison, the tunnels being bored now for Crossrail in London have diameter 20.3′ (6.2m). Smaller than the BART tunnels.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Eric, have a look at this photo … how many feet of clearance about the BART train do you see?

    Eric Reply:

    Not much, but that’s not the tunnel in question.

    Reality Check Reply:

    The BART Berkeley Hills tunnel radius is 2667mm, or 8.75 feet.

    Eric Reply:

    In that case, someone needs to correct the Wikipedia page. Maybe I will later.

    But still, it should be possible to find suitable vehicles that fit into this tunnel. This vehicle, for example, has width 9.8′, height 12′, max speed 200mph.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E6_Series_Shinkansen

    Reality Check Reply:

    Eric, that would be excellent of you!

    (And if you get really motivated, I suspect there are numerous other BART-related Wikipedia pages you could correct using Engineering Geology of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System, 1964-75.)

    Joey Reply:

    Judging by the diagrams, the height between the top of the rail and the top of the tunnel is about 4 meters, or just over 13 feet. It’s not much to work with.

    Eric Reply:

    On the contrary. In figure 12.3, the diameter of the circular portion is 17.5′. From floor to top of tunnel is 16.8′ (calculated after counting pixels). If you assume ~10 inches for rails and ties, you still have a full 16′ left over, not 13′.

    Joey Reply:

    Okay, but that’s clearly not the cross section of the entire tunnel. Figure 12.1 shows where the top of the rail is and it doesn’t provide much clearance.

    Clem Reply:

    You guys are missing an important aspect of tunnel design– it’s not just about whether the train physically fits inside the bore. You also have to provide aerodynamic clearance or your train will end up like a piston in a cylinder, pushing a huge slug of air in front of it. This not only causes discomfort for passengers, but wastes a lot of energy that ends up having nowhere to go, so the tunnel ambient temperature gets uncomfortably hot. The higher the speeds, the more important this becomes. For HSR tunnels (which I realize this particular example is not) it is the driving factor of tunnel diameter.

    Eric Reply:

    Joey: It’s not clear to me what the extra 3 feet of height are being used for. Perhaps, when the broad gauge rails are being removed, the new ones can be placed at a lower level to provide some extra clearance. Anyway, even without this, it might be that the tunnel is big enough for an off-the-shelf 12′ train. If not, a somewhat shorter train can be ordered. All of this would be much cheaper than another under-bay tunnel. You would not want your SF-LA trains to have to fit through the Berkeley Hills tunnel, but since the idea is only to use it for commuter rail and the relatively slow SF-Sacramento route, you can make compromises on the vehicles used.

    Clem: Since the tunnel is only 5km long, trains can go through it really slowly without affecting travel times too much.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    “the next two tracks across the bay need to be standard gauge. They should be used to through-run commuter rail on the Caltrain and Capitol Corridors”
    West Oakland to 4th and Townsend, via tunnel, with some trains looping around into the Transbay Transit Center.

    Joey Reply:

    Not that the TTC is going to have any spare capacity. I’d argue that Mission to 7th serves more destinations than heading directly to Mission Bay.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Please explain Mission to 7th

    Joey Reply:

    The tunnel lands at Mission St and continues under Mission, stopping at Transbay and Moscone Center, before curving south under 7th street to meet the CalTrain right-of-way (some stops in this section but I don’t know the best places for them). This allows trains using the tunnel to serve the Transbay redevelopment area as well as the already huge financial district and continue down the peninsula.

    StevieB Reply:

    There is a question as to whether building footings would allow a train tunnel under Mission Street.

    Joey Reply:

    For the most part the building footings don’t extend under the street. The tunnel would have to be pretty deep anyway, so as to be able to sink below the bay floor (immersed tube is apparently not an option anymore for environmental reasons).

    Lewellan Reply:

    Here’s my position on BART and related land-use planning/development strategy:
    Although BART is commonly considered a ‘commuter’ system, (express bus, commuter-rail, freeways), the problem is that commuter systems create more demand for commuting than they can handle, neither can streets and freeways handle increased commuter traffic. Were BART to direct development of station area communities to complement their mostly ‘residential’ nature with other purposes, (services, institutions, jobs, amenities, attractions), the need for cross-county commuting would be reduced. This reduces rush hour traffic and the need for longer BART trains. The collective time saved by reduced commuting is spent travelling on BART during off-rush hours, thus increasing patronage during the hours that shortened BART trains run often with too few riders.

    BART expansions, according to this strategy, should maximize patronage via infill development potential, but not necessarily along the Altamont corridor, the development of which seems to be more dependent upon connections between BART and regional rail including HSR.

    Please, keep all smart ass answers to yourselves.

    Alan Reply:

    Um, no. “Commuter rail”, as the term is commonly known, applies to systems like Caltrain or Metrolink. BART is rapid transit–hence, the “RT” in “BART”. BART also has no authority, nor should it, to dictate land-use, business or any other urban planning decisions in the areas it serves. BART’s job is to run trains.

    The problem with your little Utopia is that is simply cannot happen. Like it or not, the region’s financial sector is centered in downtown SF, and that won’t change any time soon. Neither will the tendency of most businesses to observe 9-5 working hours. You’re expecting to change human nature, and that’s not going to happen.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Sounds to me like you’re twisting a turn of phrase into something it’s not. Obviously BART isn’t going to direct land use planning. But the cities it operates in can and should see it as a resource around which to develop future plans.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://www.acerail.com/About/Public-Projects/ACEforward
    more than a few grade separations

    Eric M Reply:

    It might. The next extension they are talking about is to a point around Discovery Bay. They are following the right away along Byron Highway, which does go south to Tracy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    with no WC’s.

    Jon Reply:

    Various groups have been pushing for upgrading Hwy 4 to a freeway from Brentwood to Stockton, and also creating a new freeway paralleling Byron Hwy between Brentwood and Tracy. If either of those projects go forward, BART will no doubt stake out a ROW down the median.

    Alan Reply:

    I can’t wait to see the backlash against a proposal to widen and strengthen the levees on which highway 4 crosses the Delta, sufficient to support BART and a freeway.

    Is there really that much demand for travel between Antioch and Stockton that the San Joaquins are insufficient?

    jimsf Reply:

    One thing about all these original bart maps… they show service to PA
    marin palo alto

    travelers will be able to move about the (bay) area regardless of growth, with assured travel times

    1961

    this is what sold the bay area folks on bart because it didn’t look like this

    jimsf Reply:

    note the 41 minute travel time from palo alto to the financial district – beating caltrain baby bullet even while via daly city.

    guess san mateo county really screwed up.

    Clem Reply:

    Sorry Jim, it’s another case of over-promise and under-deliver. The “assured travel time” was 20 minutes from SF Montgomery to Millbrae. The real as-built time is 32 minutes.

    As-built Baby Bullet time SF to Palo Alto is 35 minutes. BART would need to do Millbrae – Palo Alto in three minutes or less in order to beat Caltrain (well, six minutes or less starting from the future Transbay stop for an apples-to-apples financial district origin)

    I am always amazed at how easily people drink the BART Kool-Aid.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Your surprise is healthy American optimism, Clem. A good thing. Camus liked that about us. As for me I picked up on the pessimism. A habit that does not kick.

    jimsf Reply:

    trains were suppose to have 90 second headways too which didn’t happen. My point was simply that bart had always planned to do down the peninsula, and should have done it and been done with it. And two, that people in california were wary of subways as crime ridden new york things that were old outdated and dirty but bart was promised to be sleek and clean and modern and run by computers and it was this futuristic vision that captured the bay areas imagination the same way that tech still captures, almost rules, the bay areas collective imagination.

    Im not saying right or wrong, just what was and is.

    And you took a bay area poll as to whether bart should ring the bay Ill bet the bay area would still overwhelmingly support that goal.

    Clem Reply:

    Those polls will turn upside down in 2019 when the public’s mind is blown by how a modern train actually looks and feels. European and Asian visitors, rather than snicker at our backwardness, will take everything for granted as how it ought to be.

    The horse has left the barn.

    Jerry Reply:

    Agreed. Just so the horse isn’t California Chrome. But then again, 2 out of 3, ain’t bad.

    jimsf Reply:

    actually speaking of modern trains, the public prior to 2019 will be getting a new modern up to date fleet to enjoy and will like bart even more once the modern design is put into service.

    jimsf Reply:

    comfort

    modern

    Jonathan Reply:

    “modernl” yields a 414, Request-URI Too Large

    The requested URL’s length exceeds the capacity limit for this server.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    That’s what happens when someone knows JUST enough to get into trouble :-D

    Jonathan Reply:

    if the existing BART counties want BART ring-the-bay, then the existing BART counties can pay for it.
    Good luck with *that*, after BART-to-San-Jose-Flea-Market becomes another BART-to-SFO.

    Michael Reply:

    Of course, Millbrae to Powell, today, in reality, is 32 minutes (according to the iBART app). It’s not likely it would only be another 9 to Palo Alto. Maybe the pitch back in 1961 doesn’t reflect the reality of 2014?

    Also, maybe post photos of the NYC subway from 1960 instead of the 70’s if you want an apples to apples comparison without distortion, since the BART vote was in 1962.

    You can find older BART maps that show extensions to SONOMA. Doesn’t make it so…

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks jimsf for the history lesson on BART in the 60s. I once heard that the BART trains were suppose to run without operators. Is that true?? If so, it would mean that BART was really dreaming ahead of its time.

    jimsf Reply:

    yes but the public did not trust driverless and wanted someone on board for safety

    Joey Reply:

    Driverless technology wasn’t yet mature when BART was built. It is today.

    Jerry Reply:

    So is the technology more advanced for driverless trains or driverless cars?

    Joey Reply:

    Driverless cars are much more complicated and the technology is not mature. Driverless trains are comparatively very simple – they follow fixed paths and are routed by a central computer. They don’t have to align themselves or negotiate obstacles. Driverless metros have been operating all over the world for decades safely and reliably.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    And that not only with simple single-line configurations. London’s Dockland Railway has a relatively complex network and has been operating driverless since day 1. And in Nürnberg, they have/had mixed operation; one train with driver, the next one driverless.

    It is all a question of reliable communication between the control center and the trains.

    To get to the original question, driverless (subway) trains are not very sophisticated technically; they essentially get the speed information from the control center (via signalling). Local intelligence may operate the doors, and then, it is just another interface for setting the speeds (a control box instead of the throttle).

    Jerry Reply:

    The Morgantown, WV People Mover with 5 stations has been operating since 1975 without operators and with 98.5% reliability. Even in the snow.

    Reality Check Reply:

    After weeks of using it, I can say São Paulo Metro’s (relatively — first opened in 2010) new driverless Yellow Line 4 is very impressive. According to this Siemens Line 4-Yellow fact sheet, it’s South America’s only driverless subway line. It carries 700k riders a day (the system carries 3.2m per day). Platforms edges are lined with a heavy plate-glass walls automatic elevator-style doors which only open to provide access to the interior of stopped trains. The trains are frequent, spacious, continuous with no wasted space between cars (you can see down the length of the entire train interior when there aren’t standees and in a straight-away), high-performing with great acceleration, AC, PA and flat panel monitors with infotainment & commercials.

    It’ll probably never happen … but I’d love to see BART trains and stations run this way.

    jimsf Reply:

    The new fleet won’t have everything, but there will be many improvements in lciding quieter cars new features

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I won’t be happy until you have double decker trains.

    Joey Reply:

    Because double decker trains can totally fit in. 14′ tubes.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Further, Vancouver’s SkyTrain 43-miles, 47 stations on 3 lines, 362k daily riders) is fully automated.

    J. Wong Reply:

    BART has always been computer controlled. The BART operators have never controlled the movement of the train itself. They just open and close the doors.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They also carry picket signs and slip campaign contributions to the bosses.

    joe Reply:

    Uh, “the bosses” refers to video game characters at end of each level.

  8. joe
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 20:26
    #8

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/aug/18/preliminary-construction-california-high-speed-rai/
    Preliminary Construction For California High-Speed Rail Begins
    Monday, August 18, 2014

    “We’re clearing the area,” says California High-Speed Rail Authority President Dan Richard. “A number of buildings have been demolished. There’s been soils testing and sometime in the next two months, we think the design for some of the first key bridges will be finished and that that construction will start.”

  9. joe
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 20:36
    #9

    They write letters:

    To the [NY Times] Editor:

    European and Japanese governments have explicit rail passenger programs because they know that public transport has public benefits beyond the direct services to riders. They are willing to identify and pay for such benefits as reduced pollution, reduced congestion and better safety. A result is stable plans, reliable funding and responsible management.

    Not all public transportation proposals, including high-speed rail, yield enough public and financial benefits to justify the cost. For those that do, however, the country needs a better approach to identifying all impacts and deciding what the public and private roles should be.

    The approach must include a stable and adequate source of funding from public authorities involved at all levels; ad hoc approaches will not work to generate large and multiyear investment projects.

    This is, by the way, just as true for the proposed “private sector” high-speed rail projects in Florida and Texas as it is for the Northeast Corridor and California. When projects have manifest public benefits and costs, there is always a public role. The question is whether public authorities actively do their planning and maximize public values or begin with what they are promised initially and play catch-up later in the project.

    LOUIS THOMPSON
    Saratoga, Calif., Aug. 13, 2014

    The writer is chairman of the Peer Review Group for the California High-Speed Rail Project.

  10. joe
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 20:39
    #10

    What Texas sez:

    But as Texas’ plans move ahead, we must also make sure that we get it right the first time.

    Rail projects have to be cost-effective and show a return on investment. For private projects, that means profit for shareholders. For public projects, that means benefits in time savings, convenience, connectivity and the resulting economic development that keeps our state growing.

    ,http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/08/18/6051409/the-case-for-high-speed-rail-in.html#storylink=cpy

    That’s why CA HSR isn’t running along I-5. For public projects, getting “it” right with a return on investment is not the same as a private funded system. The CV alignment is right.

    les Reply:

    It’s good you make this distinction. This is something guys like Gov Rick Scott of Florida should read. For him it is all about corporate welfare and trying to pass off as private enterprise.

    Derek Reply:

    Growth is unsustainable and not even a virtue. Therefore, public projects need a better reason to exist than growth.

    Time savings? When quantifying that in dollars, don’t make the common mistake of assuming that every minute spent commuting is a minute not spent working.

    If people feel that the other benefits are worth the cost, they will pay enough in fares that the project won’t need a subsidy. Therefore, getting it right with a return on investment is, in fact, the same as a private funded system.

    Joe Reply:

    Life is unsustainable. Nevertheless you live. Your foundational argument is flawed.
    Ideas compete in the marketplace of politics. CA is building HSR.

    Derek Reply:

    Life is only unsustainable if we make it unsustainable. There was life long before humans arrived, and there will be life long after humans are gone, if we don’t completely destroy the planet.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Indeed Capt. Kirk, in an original Star Trek episode, did encounter a doomsday machine capable of chewing up whole planets. It was composed of “neutronium”, I guess the sixties version of unobtainium.

    joe Reply:

    You misunderstand me Derek. We don’t control life, you didn’t choose to be born. You cannot monetize life. CA grows to accommodate it’s people. HSR is about encouraging growth. It’s a core service of government. HSR is not about returning a profit to a shareholder.

    Derek Reply:

    CA grows to accommodate it’s people. HSR is about encouraging growth.

    Then by both encouraging growth and also accommodating it, HSR creates a vicious cycle. That’s a tragedy.

    It would be better for HSR to only accommodate growth. To encourage anything is to use social engineering to manipulate the masses, and that’s too much government intrusion and too close to Communism for my taste.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Joe, Jerry Brown, not “California”, is building LAHSR.

    Alan Reply:

    Yeah? Is Jerry going to be out there in Fresno driving a Caterpillar? Thought he had other things to do up in Sac.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I heard that’s Gavin’s job.

  11. joe
    Aug 19th, 2014 at 21:52
    #11

    More documents in the CAHSRA lawsuit.

    Case Number: 2011-00113919
    Case Title: John Tos vs. California High Speed Rail Authority

    OA Entry: Correspondence (Letter dated 08/07/2014 RE Proposed Order Granting Respondents’ Motion for Order Limiting the Scope of Evidence at Trial is the Administrative Record) filed.

    ROA Entry: Order After Hearing (Order Granting Respondents’ Motion for Order that the Scope of Evidence at Trial is Limited the Administrative Record) filed.

    Alan Reply:

    Good news. The title suggests that Laurel and Hardy will not be able to parade their “expert” witnesses and introduce new evidence at the 526a trial. Which basically means it’s game, set, match for the Authority. Too bad that that the Sacramento county courts have put the peoples’ court documents behind a paywall.

    joe Reply:

    This Judge had his highly visible and important case appealed by the Governor.
    The State Supreme Court directed the Appellate Court to review the decision.

    The higher court found he not only created new law where none existed but he also violated constitutional separation of powers.

    Now the Judge has a hearing over admissibility of evidence.

    Alan Reply:

    In this case, by limiting the evidence to the existing administrative record, the judge did exactly what the law requires. We’re not going to see “experts” coming into court to argue that their simulations are better than the Authority’s.

    Maybe the judge learned something from the Court of Appeal.

    joe Reply:

    Did he? I haven’t heard what he ruled. Case law supports the administrative record.

    Alan Reply:

    The title makes it pretty obvious. The state wanted the evidence limited to the administrative record; L&H wanted to introduce all of their extra-record evidence. The title indicates that the judge ordered in favor of the state, and as you say, the case law. It appears to me that the judge learned to observe previous case law in his rulings.

    nslander Reply:

    Is it wrong that I such delight from an otherwise bland docket-entry like the emboldened text above?

    Alan Reply:

    Not at all. I’m doing the same, especially after reading L&H’s desperate plea to the court to not issue the ruling.

    nslander Reply:

    “Well, Stan and I were up late last night hashing this out, and we feel it’s actually more of a win.”

    joe Reply:

    “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

    nslander Reply:

    Now what exactly is a pellet brief?

  12. synonymouse
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 11:04
    #12

    I see the King of TARP will have one debate with Moonbeam. But I suspect Kashkari is as afraid of the Tejon Ranch Co. as Jerry so whatever exchange occurs about the crazy train will likely be trivial.

  13. Keith Saggers
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 12:49
    #13

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/high-speed/single-view/view/tendering-starts-for-high-speed-line-to-queretaro.html

    Eric Reply:

    Since Mexico City has been unable to build sufficient air capacity, there is really no choice there except HSR.

    “To relieve the demand on Benito Juarez Airport, the Mexican Government laid the groundwork for a new airport to be built on the outskirts of Mexico City. After decades of planning a $2.3 billion airport, peasant farmers who owned the property where the airport was proposed, took several hostages into their hands, refusing to give up their land at any cost.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Ju%C3%A1rez_International_Airport#Lack_of_capacity_and_slot_restriction

  14. jimsf
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 18:11
    #14

    o/t but of interest of anyone who earns money or pays bills.

    how far does 100 dollars go in your state

  15. Reality Check
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 19:05
    #15

    Caltrain considers level boarding, car design

    Caltrain is about to make decisions about the design of electric rail cars that will affect the service for many decades to come. At the last board meeting, David Couch, who is managing the electrification project, talked about the set of decisions that Caltrain will make this year. For more about the decisions, and opportunities to weigh in – including a Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting tonight – read on.

    [...]

    Mattie F. Reply:

    The slides say they’re targeting 25″ platform heights, and HSR is targeting 50″. But I thought most HSR was closer to 25″?

    William Reply:

    No, all currently in service HSR trainsets (Shinkansen, TGV, ICE) have door heights of around 48”.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, the Japanese high speed network (and their exports) are using high-level platforms (120 cm, as stated elsewhere in this discussion).

    The European trains are set to work with platforms either 550 mm or 760 mm above rail top. The single-level trains have steps to get up to the actual floor height, whereas the bi-level trains (TGVs) provide level entrance with 760 mm (I think).

    In general, that has been discussed some time ago, for single-level trains high-level platforms are more suitable because they provide level boarding to the floor height (unless the train is low-floor), whereas for bi-level trains, low-level platforms are better, as they provide level boarding to the lower floor.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The TGV Duplexes are a step down from 550 mm, as far as I remember.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I could not quickly find some information about the lower floor height of the TGV Duplex, but by looking at a video showing a TGV Duplex leaving Zürich HB, I would say it is 550 mm, so I would say level boarding at 550 mm.

    Clem Reply:

    Lower floor height is 321 mm above rail, two steps down inside the vehicle from the 611 mm vestibule boarded from a 550 mm platform.

    jimsf Reply:

    Its ridiculous that the state or feds can’t force caltrain and hsr to agree on a common platform height. is any one paying any attention?

    synonymouse Reply:

    You need to talk to Brown & Richards, PB & MTC.

    Joey Reply:

    Its ridiculous that the state or feds can’t force caltrain and hsr to agree on a common platform height.

    To me, it’s more worrying that CalTrain never even considered it – it’s not that it was studied and rejected, it’s that they actively and repeatedly refuse to study it – the idea has been floated at public meetings multiple times.

    is any one paying any attention?

    Perhaps now you understand why many of us are so frustrated.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Do you think the King of TARP would have the nerve to publicly bring up hsr issues like this and show up Brown’s disconnect?

    Or just more platitudes.

    jimsf Reply:

    I have never been a big fan of caltrain. I don’t think they know what they are doing over there. Thats why Id like to get rid of it or give it to bart.

    Eric Reply:

    And you think BART knows what they’re doing???

    jimsf Reply:

    but does an excellent job of providing service. I have been riding bart since the fremont line first opened in the 70s. It wasn’t always good and they had many rough periods but they are very reliavble, they do timed transfers, and they run a good service. I, like most bay area folks, love and rely on bart and would nto want to be without it.

    Joey Reply:

    My main complaint is that it’s so darn expensive to expand. Of course that’s largely the result of technological decisions that were made half a century ago…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    … and rectifying these decisions (some of them looks “strange” to me, even considering the state of the art back then) is even more expensive. But it is possible, as, for example, Stuttgart converted their whole light rail/streetcar network from meter gauge to standard gauge over the years.

    Reality Check Reply:

    I love SSB and what they have done!

    I rode every Stuttgarter Straßenbahn line end to end in the 70s. In the 80s I began noticing ties and switches configured with (or for) a standard gauge rail. …

    Stuttgart’s must easily be one of the best streetcar systems in the world today. (I can’t think of a better one … but there are a lot of places I haven’t been.)

    J. Wong Reply:

    There’s no law such as CEQA or such that would force them to do so. Nor any law that authorizes a Federal or state agency to do so.

    There is one thing that could force Caltrain to agree to a common standard: CAHSR itself. I’m supposing that the Prop 1A funds being disbursed to Caltrain to pay for electrification comes with restrictions; namely, whatever is built must be compatible with HSR. CAHSR could probably also require that Caltrain must use a compatible platform height, but I doubt that they would since it doesn’t appear to directly cause any operational problems the way incompatible electrical supply would.

    Oh, well.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You don’t need a law for force transit agency employees to provide transportation service to the public.

    What you need is one single person anywhere in the transit-industrial complex who gives a fuck, isn’t just looking out for lifetime under-achieving employment and/or consultant enrichment, and has a single functioning neuron in his or her head.

    Laws don’t address the real problem.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The problem, @Richard Mylnarik, is that no one gets rewarded for giving a fuck outside the bounds of their job description. And nowhere is it in their job description to provide general transportation service to the public. Yes, their job description is to provide specific transportation service to the public, e.g., through Caltrain. Nowhere does it say they must also facilitate HSR service. And yes, you do need laws otherwise they wouldn’t even do their job if they could get paid w/o doing it. The laws delineate the responsibilities up the chain of command.

    No laws don’t address the real problem in that people in general are short-sighted fucks always looking out for themselves even at the expense of others often including their own family or even at the expense of their own long term interests.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    There is a system with uniform height boarding already, it is called BART.

    Reality Check Reply:

    If you meant “level boarding” (I’m not sure what else “uniform height boarding” was supposed to mean) … yes, indeed … and I doubt you thought anyone here didn’t know that already … so I’m wondering what point you were attempting to make. Care to explain?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No I meant uniform height. A drawback of commuter rail is that you are using track not laid out for the purpose and station that require conversion to be uniform. But BART, destroyer of man and earth, BART can do something Old Tyme railroading can’t promise.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Huh? Clear as mud. Don’t understand a word of it.

    Clem Reply:

    I think he’s saying that commuter trains can’t have level boarding, but he doesn’t yet know he’s wrong.

    Jonathan Reply:

    He’s crafting a false dilemma. BART, or Olde Tyme Railroading; take your pick.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I was just having fun with the usual cast of BART skeptics who find every reason to hate every quality about BART.

    In the end, it is of course logistically possible to make commuter railroads have level boarding. But commuter railroads don’t exist to serve mass transit, they exist to subsidy freight railroads and no one should expect a freight track owner to make it easier for commuter passengers to convert their private property into a public good.

    On the other hand, because BART has but one own and sole purpose, things like uniform station design and boarding height are easy. But we forget that because really, it’s too convenient to leave that out when moaning about boarding at station locations that could be over 100 years old and not ADA compliant.

    Reality Check Reply:

    We do? You really believe all that? Wow.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    What’s hard to believe?

    If you start from scratch and prioritze a system for only passenger transport, it is much easier to use standards that reinforce that purpose.

    If you take something that already exists and try to adapt it to passenger transport, it is not as easy to ensure uniformity.

    Now, I understand, you might think, “whhhhhat…commuter railroads only exist to help big evil corporations…no way”….but there’s a reccurent pattern that goes back to the 1970s that is hard to explain any other way. Most Americans and American politicians don’t get all squishy inside talking about trains, you see. But the continued lack of modernization about *anything* dealing with old tyme railroads makes you wonder….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In the end, it is of course logistically possible to make commuter railroads have level boarding

    Except for the ones, all over the world, including the U.S., that do.

    Joey Reply:

    Out of curiosity adirondacker, do you know why the east commuter railroads don’t seem interested in installing more high platforms at the stations which currently lack them? This is especially true of SEPTA, but I know others aren’t expanding level boarding very fast.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It costs a lot of money.

    Joey Reply:

    Yeah, but it seems like it’s not even on their agenda.

    Joey Reply:

    CalTrain is now considering level boarding, but at a different height than HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That one single person will get fired.

    William Reply:

    There is little to no advantage for Caltrain and CHSR to share platform, thus “force” to pick a common platform height. Daily scheduled train would stop at the same platform and track everyday, negating the biggest advantage of sharing platform: any platform, any time, because this capacity will be very rarely used.

    Joey Reply:

    This is wholly incorrect. Perhaps at the intermediate stations it doesn’t matter as much, but at the endpoints, San Jose and especially San Francisco, it matters a lot. The Transbay Transit Center is going to be the single most constrained station in the entire system. Not only must it be able to host a yet-to-be-exactly-determined number of HSR and CalTrain trains on a small number (6) of platform tracks, but it must be able to reroute trains in the event of problems to avoid cascading delays. In San Jose shared platforms could mean not having to build miles of viaduct and an expensive multi-level station: everything could be accommodated at-grade.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Or….just don’t have CalTrain serve TransBay….

    Joey Reply:

    Also a terrible strategy, given that there are more jobs within 1/2 mile of Transbay than the rest of the corridor combined.

    Clem Reply:

    Caltrain seems intent on avoiding it, judging by the conceptual timetables they have published so far. Service to AT&T park baseball events is far more important.

    jimsf Reply:

    Maybe they figure platform heights don’t matter since catrain will only share tracks at PA/RWC and SFO/Millbrae, both of which have room for an extra set of different sized platforms.

    – not saying thats great – but maybe thats how they see it.

    I understand when there are discrepencies between technical and poltical and political wins because we have that kind of system.

    But there isn’t any political advantage to one height over another. Andif anything, in this case, the public would likely prefer the level boarding, so the tech and political actually agree.

    So its baffling. One can only assume stupidity is at play in this one.

    Joey Reply:

    PA/RWC and SFO/Millbrae aren’t the problem. The problem is primarily Transbay, and secondarily San Jose.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s not baffling at all.

    Here’s how it works: at a big urban train station you have raised boarding platforms for obvious reasons. (Okay maybe not obvious, but still…)

    So the logical decisions would be to raise the stations platforms along the smaller stops between the big urban ones, right…

    Now this is the important part. Depending on which commuter rail service you are talking about (Metrolink, CalTrain)…the city or UP owns that smaller, ancillary station. And guess what neither of them want….

    ….wait…wait….

    State or federal authorities telling them they have to make boarding height uniform!!! Not because of boarding height per se…but because what do California cities and railroad corporations really hate more than anything else?

    Regulation. Duh.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Six platforms is *NOT* a “small number’ of platforms for the trains scheduled for DTX.
    Not for a decently-designed station throat with the flexibility to reroute trains to different platforms, depending on schedule-keeping.

    Cue Richard M….

    swing hanger Reply:

    I always wonder about the “any platform any time” concept- doesn’t switching to another platform cause delays to those services that are displaced by that switch? (if that platform was to be used by a different non-delayed service). I would think another approach is to isolate the delay a much as possible (with possible annulment/bustitution if necessary in cases of accident/breakdown), and try to minimize delays to other parallel services. Now in Europe with its huge multi-platform terminal stations and extensive (and maintenance-intensive ladder and slip) switches this may not be an issue, but when cost and location constraints are involved, what happens?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    but when cost and location constraints are involved, what happens?

    Don’t ask us!

    At Transbay, cost has been maximized: the catastrophe is coming in at at least twice, more like four times, what anybody else would pay for a comparably-sized facility.

    Meanwhile at Transbay, the “location constraints” were and are entirely self-inflicted. The site was a blank slate brownfield until they fucked it up, entirely by themselves.

    America’s Finest Transporation Planning Professionals.
    Parsons “Transportation” Group.
    Pelli Clarke Pelli “architects”.
    ARUP North America, “engineering” consultants.

    All of them need to die in a fire.

    John Bacon Reply:

    One important aspect of a successful blending of CHSR and Caltrain SF to SJ services is to minimize losses during slack demand periods. Combining late evening Caltrain express service with the last CHSR evening runs would convert two heavily loosing CHSR and Caltrain but inevitably necessary daily runs into one moderately loosing run. This combined-low-demand-run approach would also assure CHSR passengers normally connecting between SF Peninsula stops not usually served by CHSR runs to be picked up even when the last evening hand-off between Caltrain and CHSR doesn’t work some evening. Matching height and distance from track-way centerlines for CHSR and Caltrain platforms would easily accommodate such combined operations.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Wrong.
    Perhaps correct in abstract, but wrong in real world practice.
    Wrong.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Tell it to the Germans who can and do have ICEs and other trains calling at the same platforms –either as per schedule, OR … and this is really, really important … as needed or required or desirable by unforeseen or other circumstances not known when the stations and/or platforms were built.

    William Reply:

    Not having “any track, any time” capability resulting in shorter, simpler station throat, which would consist of simpler switches that’s easier to maintain and repair.

    Also, the trains that’ll operate into Transbay will be EMUs, with one train contain more than one “unit”, thus making a train being “stuck” due to mechanical issue even less likely. If not, a rescue locomotive can be stationed nearby to tow disabled trains.

    Joey Reply:

    Delays are usually not the result of mechanical failures in the station. If a train arrives late, it needs to be able to get in and out of the station while minimizing additional delays. If it is late enough that another track has opened up and its dwell time will overlap with the next train on the original track, then it needs to use a different track to avoid causing cascading delays.

    BTW, what you said about the station throat is 100% false. CalTrain and HSR will be sharing the approach to Transbay, so every platform track needs to be accessible from every approach track either way.

    Clem Reply:

    None of the stakeholders in this situation have any interest in platform sharing. Quite the contrary, the transit industrial complex has a strong interest in building separate and redundant infrastructure; why do it right when you can do it twice, and get paid for it?

    Agencies dislike working with each other
    Agencies dislike controversy
    Consultants prefer simple interfaces
    Caltrain rightly points out that bilevel EMUs work best with low platforms
    HSR rightly points out that high-speed trains work best with high platforms
    HSR plans on a security perimeter not to be violated by unwashed masses of Caltrain commuters
    Civil engineers like to design bilevel stations supported on straddle bents that can survive a magnitude 8
    If Transbay turns out too small, there is an opportunity to build it again, bigger.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Plus c,a change, plus c’est la me^me chose….

    is there anyone below Jerry Brown who could bang agency heads together and make Caltrain and CHSRA agree on a common platform height?

    The security-perimeter needs to be pushed back against, *hard*, to make HSR more convenient, faster for passengers, and more successful. It’s not like we need passport control, so there’s no need for any more security theater than a TGV or ICE. Or Caltrain. Ditto for the rest of the “flight-level-zero-airline” station standards in PB Technical Memoranda. Oh, and the gratuitious “Okay, we’ll do wimpy quiche-eating European standards for high-speed track, but everything not actually at HSR speeds, we’ll use the studly AREMA handbook What’s good enough for freight is good enough for HSR”. That standard is why the engineering consultants never even considered curved turnouts.

    But the Authority has zero awareness and zero interest in any of those as far as I can see

    joe Reply:

    CAHSR Peer Review Group should comment and report on blended platform compatibility to the Authority and Legislature.

    Clem Reply:

    I assume that was sarcasm, because they already have

    joe Reply:

    I know they have already commented and I am not being sarcastic.

    They are allowed to follow up as much as they want and I expect them to repeatedly call out any bone-headed decision by Caltrain. This messaging will take time and repetition.

    The Peer review group even writes letters to Editor like the NYTimes to defend or make a point which may not be in Caltrian’s interests. The endorsed the Blended plan so they have professional stake in it being done competently.

    What I doubt is whether any of the Court room antics or critics with newspaper access will be clever enough to pick up on this problem. If I were litigating against the Peninsula Blended I’d be after and combing Caltrain’s internal memos on compatibility.

    I am confident the Caltrain crew are undisciplined and would openly speculate of how to circumvent HSR / Prop1a. Is this internal email part of the official record? I think it could be argued yes. More relevant than paid witnesses or letters from emeritus professors who live near the Atherton ROW.

    joe Reply:

    Also recall board members refused to approve Blended during the initial vote and had to revote when mor members were present They wanted a full build and the no vote was a protest.

    Incompatibility will impact ridership and cost and make the blended plan look like a money grab. While I am sure Caltrain thinks it’s their call and they money, I am also confident the board and SoCal will recognize the impact.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Put the platforms on hydraulic lifters so they can be raised to the elevation of the arriving train.

    Clem Reply:

    Or keep the platform fixed, and put the track on hydraulic jacks. Or use large air bladders. Or use mechanical lifts on the train’s jacking points. Possibly powered by large steam turbines.

    Or keep it simple: compromise and standardize at 30 inches. Done.

    Jerry Reply:

    Clem. You left out kneeling trains, as in kneeling buses.:)

    Mattie F. Reply:

    How would that be materially different from “mechanical lifts on the train’s jacking points”?

    jimsf Reply:

    We should build a high speed blimp system instead.

    Marc Reply:

    The HSR side, of course, could easily make their trains compatible with ~25″ platforms using fixed or retractable steps, similar to what is done in much of the rest of the world (aside from Japan and China?). If HSR abandoned the notion of using 48″ platforms altogether, then interface compatibility could more easily be achieved with both Caltrain and Metrolink. Trying to force Caltrain to use 48″ platforms is a joke, they’d effectively be stuck buying low production tri-level EMUs, as a 48″ floor is too high for the lower deck, and too low for the upper deck, so wheelchairs (and, I presume, bikes and any bathrooms) would need to be confined to a middle deck at either end of the car. What this argument is really about is trying to force the preferred (by some) 760 mm solution on everyone, which is still too low to provide floor level boarding for existing HSR trainsets.

    Clem Reply:

    Existing trainsets are irrelevant to California. Those that will exist in ten years are relevant. We won’t get far by looking in the rear view mirror.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Ten years? Optimist. Hope springs eternal, and all that.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The hope is that BART ring the bay will not spring eternal.

  16. Reality Check
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 19:44
    #16

    High-Speed Rail Muddies Florida Governor’s Race

    So the unusual November race is beginning to stack up like this: A Republican in (cautious) support of AAF [All Aboard Florida] against a Democrat in support of high-speed rail generally but not the project in the works. The question, then, is how their back-and-fourth sound bites will play out in the polls — and whether November’s winner will actually shape AAF’s future.

    Lance deHaven Smith is a professor of public policy at Florida State University. He believes AAF could swing the election for two reasons: the southeastern concentration of opposition and Florida’s split-down-the-middle politics.

    A vocal group that Smith calls NIMBYs comes mostly from Florida’s Treasure Coast, in communities where the train will not stop — its goal being to move people quickly between densely populated urban areas — but pass through. Residents worry about property values, noise, quality of life and rural character, and have formed a coalition called Florida Not All Aboard.

    The advocacy group is non-partisan (its tagline “Stop Big Choo Choo in His Tracks,” has a right-sounding ring), but Smith says many of the areas impacted actually have a sizable Democratic base. The district encompassing Martin and St. Lucie counties, for example, currently has a Democratic representative.

    And while Florida has gone blue for Obama in the last two national elections, it tends to go red during off-year state elections, Smith says, because Democrats tend to stay home. But if an issue like AAF mobilizes the left, even in a small corner of Florida, their vote could swing the gubernatorial election.

    “Even a slight change in turnout” could affect the race, he says. “That’s how very sensitive and changeable the political wind in Florida is.”

    [...]

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t want to write a long comment in case Robert uses this for his next piece. But this writer doesn’t know that much about Florida politics, I can see.

  17. jimsf
    Aug 20th, 2014 at 23:30
    #17

    BART to San Jose: Celebrate Phase 1 and get ready to plan line to Santa Clara
    By Michael E. Engh, S.J., and Jamie Matthews
    Special to the Mercury News
    Posted: 08/19/2014 04:00:00 PM PDT3 Comments

    BART has transformed the way many Bay Area residents commute and travel throughout the region, effectively shrinking distances between homes and jobs while also providing an efficient and more sustainable mode of transportation.

    The missing link has been Santa Clara County. The fix is on-track, with the BART to Silicon Valley Extension — a 16-mile, six station line from south Fremont to Santa Clara — underway. When completed and connected to Caltrain, San Francisco Bay finally will be ringed by rapid rail that will improve commuting for tens of thousands every workday, greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    There is good news to report. Construction is under budget and ahead of schedule on the first phase into Santa Clara County, which extends BART 10 miles to Milpitas and into the Berryessa area of North San Jose. It will include two stations. Now slated to open in August 2017, it is a remarkable example of Silicon Valley problem solving with funding and planning efforts involving tech leaders, voters, and local, state and federal governments, not to mention patient motorists inconvenienced during construction.

    The final 6 miles from the Berryessa to downtown San Jose and ending at the Santa Clara Caltrain Station will need a similar level of vision and cooperation. Private and public sector leaders are exploring a transportation tax to fund this final link and to find additional local, state and federal funding. We are optimistic and urge your support.

    During the next 20 years, the entire 16-mile BART to Silicon Valley extension is expected to add more than 90,000 average weekday riders to BART’s current 360,000 weekday riders on its 104-mile system. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will again lead the planning effort.

    In the meantime, it’s important to do something Silicon Valley doesn’t do well: celebrate.

    On Wednesday the California Transportation Commission will deliver $39.6 million for the Berryessa extension, its final payment on a $768 million commitment. The $2.3 billion first phase is more than $70 million under budget and nearly one year ahead of schedule When completed it will reduce almost 3,500 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. This is a remarkable achievement.

    Also worthy of celebration is the special Silicon Valley partnership of multiple entities coming together to connect BART to Santa Clara County. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group led two successful local tax measures, with two-thirds of voters stepping up to help pay for the construction and operating costs. The BART-VTA partnership is unique, with VTA responsible for the funding, development and construction of the project and BART responsible for the operations and maintenance.

    The project also required agency coordination among Fremont, Milpitas, San Jose, Union Pacific Railroad, the California Department of Transportation, Santa Clara County Roads and Airports, the Santa Clara Valley and Alameda County Water Districts and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, as well as public and private utilities.

    VTA is also taking measures to improve the local bus, light rail, and other feeder systems around the future BART stations, leading to a network of transportation services to make the BART to Silicon Valley Extension a success.

    This first phase progress truly is a reason to celebrate. But we’re only two-thirds of the way there. It soon will be time to roll up our sleeves in Silicon Valley style again to complete Phase 2. We hope you’ll join us.

    joe Reply:

    Not enough stations in San Jose. Alum Rock, Downtown San Jose/SJSU, and Dirdion Station.
    http://www.arounddublinblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/bart-to-san-jose-route.jpg
    SF BART has closer stations. San Jose should have one maybe two more.
    http://www.vta.org/bart/stationsfuturephase

    Caltrain Diridon underground station http://www.vta.org/sfc/servlet.shepherd/document/download/069A0000001ELcSIAW

    Caltrain Santa Clara station with pedestrian overcrossing HW101 for a transfer. Ugh.
    http://www.vta.org/sfc/servlet.shepherd/document/download/069A0000001ELcXIAW

    Here’s today’s Caltrain / BART Milbrae station.
    https://goo.gl/maps/6xymW

    Joey Reply:

    101? It’s just the tracks.

    Clem Reply:

    And it’s an underpass, not an overpass. Half of it (to Caltrain’s new island platform) is already built, with a wall panel waiting to be knocked down when the BART side is completed.

    joe Reply:

    Maybe there’s more up-to-date information on Santa Clara.

    The pic here identifies a pedestrian overpass.
    http://www.vta.org/sfc/servlet.shepherd/document/download/069A0000001ELcXIAW

    Clem Reply:

    2008. Just sayin’

    jimsf Reply:

    will there be an airtrain into the airport terminals?

    joe Reply:

    If this were WA DC we’d have a gold plated subway.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Here’s what I think is the latest status of an Airport Automated People Mover (APM) and Automated Transit Network (ATN) connecting LRT, SJC and Santa Clara BART/Caltrain station. If you’re like me, you’re not familiar with the term ATN for what you’ve probably known by names like Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), Pod-Cars, Gadget Bahn or vaporware-that-always-has-been-and-always-will-be-the-transit-of-tomorrow.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I always liked the Westinghouse “Skybus” which was to replace Pittsburg streetcars.

    As I recall it was a wealthy Repub, a Heinz, who stepped in to save the streetcars, which survive today.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Regarding the Santa Clara BART station conceptual site plan drawing, I wonder if it might make more sense to swap the locations of “future transit facility/surface parking” and parking garage. This way the garage would abut Coleman and the future transit facility would be adjacent to the bus terminal and closer to Caltrain, BART and future airport people mover (“by others”). They way they have it now, the future transit facility is separated from all the other transit by a huge multi-story parking garage. Transit first … or parked cars first?

    Clem Reply:

    You answered your own question. The distance to be minimized is between car door and train door.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Not enough stations in San Jose

    Special discount for tumbleweeds

    joe Reply:

    Why can’t San Jose get a nice McCafé like the 24th Street BART.

    I wants a McGriddle.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    http://www.socketsite.com/archives/tag/701-third-street

    joe Reply:

    Awesome. The 24th BART McCafe a single story, stand alone cookie cutter store sitting at ground zero.

    .

    Joey Reply:

    For the record

    Within 1/2 mile of 24th St BART:
    Residents: 12458
    Jobs: 7553

    Within 1/2 mile of the future downtown SJ BART:
    Residents: 2918
    Jobs: 22762

    These numbers may only include active workers so it may be an underestimation of the total number of residents but you get the idea. Data from the census: http://onthemap.ces.census.gov/

    Joey Reply:

    Of course, that’s just the areas around those stations. If you wanted to assess the value of additional stations, you’d have to do the analysis around those station areas.

    joe Reply:

    If you twits want to compare development along a decades old BART system and a Yet to be constructed BART system in San Jose then have at it. It takes a real expert to make those kinds of insightful comparisons.

    The Downtown San Jose station is 1-2 blocks from San Jose State University. Why is the residential density so low? Should’t BART avoid building stations near campus.

    Surely the 24th St BART is superior. That’s where you can buy have a McGriddle and a Hash Brown to go in one of those iconic McDonalds.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    If you twits want to compare development along a decades old BART system and a Yet to be constructed BART system in San Jose then have at it. It takes a real expert to make those kinds of insightful comparisons.

    SF had a CBD for a century before BART arrived,

    Mission Street in SF had massive transit use for a century before BART arrived and for the 40 years since.

    SJ in contrast has tumbleweeds, freeways, a gutted-out “downtown” with all major retail peripheral and with nearly all employment distant and hugely dispersed, a transit system which is cratering and used almost exclusively by the transit dependent.

    It’s trivial to see that an urban subway in a funamentally non-urban setting will be an economic catastrophe for those that pay to build it and who who pay to maintain it.

    But it’s not as if you are able to make basic observations, to assimilate data, or to learn anything, because you were bleating exactly the same extra-terrestrial nonsense about a BART subway under Santa Clara Street in “downtown” SJ and to the major major major major City of Santa Clara Mega Transfer Station just eight moths ago, and actual data (duplicated here) had and has and will never have any effect upon the stuff your fingers type:
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2013/12/californias-erie-canal/#comment-212490

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:
    December 17th, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Speaking of El Camino Real (aka Mission Street), the Muni 14/14L/14X buses lines have over 40000 boardings per week day on 8 miles of El Camino Real, in addition to the the parallelling BART line’s 64000.

    So yeah the combination of VTA’s 522 (with 5200 daily boardings!!!! woo hoo) and 22/etc (about 10000 as far as I can determine via VTA’s daily-ever-more-b0rked web site; only Google’s cache preserves anything) and parallelling Caltrain (3000) on 18 miles along El Camino between SJ and Palo Alto is like, totally the same thing.

    Actual transit use along urban BART subway corridor in SF: over 100,000 boardings per day. (I believe it was higher before BART!) Actual transit use along “urban” BART subway corridor in San Jose: about 15,000.

    Order of magnitude failure.

    Tony D. Reply:

    Richard,
    As a San Jose hater you’re a complete idiot! A funny one at that. Gutted out downtown? It’s no longer 1972 pal!

    Joey Reply:

    joe, I just presented data about the two station locations with zero opinion about what it should mean for transit plans. You call other people out for name calling all the time so why are you resorting to it here?

    Clem Reply:

    Tony do you have data to back that up? Have you been to San Francisco?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Richard, you may very well be right about the Mission St. corridor. In 1966 it was very very busy – the #26 Valencia parallel was well used. I understood from Charlie Smallwood that its predecessor #9 streetcar was one of the Market St. Ry.’s best revenue producers before the war. Hard to picture it traveled over Chenery St. The Bernal Cut was never a streetcar until decades later as M.M O’Shaughnessy’s scheme to extend the J line thru the cut was defeated at the polls in 1917.

    The decision to give up the Mission St. rail lines was one of Muni’s worst mistakes, amongst many. The voters were reluctant to approve Muni’s acquisition of the Market St. Ry. until the latter was totally worn out. Had the subway bond issue passed in 1937 circumstances would be quite different today. After the war trackage needed to be extensively rebuilt; PCC’s were more expensive than buses; and the carmens’ union refused to budge on two-man operation.

    Even today Muni remains clueless. Trolley buses on Geary a no-brainer and doable in short order. I’d like to see a lo-floor streetcar line tried out somewhere, say San Bruno Ave. or Potrero Ave, maybe PolkStrasse.

    john burrows Reply:

    Within 1/2 mile of future downtown SJ BART there is one 250 unit project finishing up plus 3 more projects totaling about 650 units planned for a 2015 start—There might be more that I haven’t seen. Looks like within a couple of years the number of residents within 1/2 mile of Diridon could be somewhere around 5,000.

    But for the jobs within 1/2 mile of SJ BART, 22,000 plus seems high. Adobe Systems employs over 2,000 at their headquarters, but I don’t see where we find another 20,000.

    john burrows Reply:

    I misread downtown as Diridon. But I would guess that the number of residents would be close for both stations.

    joe Reply:

    Wikipedia

    The Downtown San Jose station would be underneath Santa Clara Street spanning the block from 3rd Street to Market Street. (The Downtown San Jose station was combined in 2005 from earlier plans for separate subway stations at Civic Plaza/San Jose State University and Market Street.)

    Because tumbleweeds.

    In SF BART riders can buy a special pass for using the SF stations which are placed as dense as MUNI in downtown subway stops That’s why ridership is high. There are frequent, stoops and low cost access.

    In San Jose they knocked out a station and I doubt will issue lower fare passes.

    When the SF crew compares ridership it’s apples to cherries. They pick cherries.

    john burrows Reply:

    Regarding the future downtown SJ BART station—Two apartment buildings totaling about 700 units are under construction within 1/2 mile. Another two developments totaling close to 1,000 units are tentatively scheduled for groundbreaking before the end of the year. Within two or three years just these four projects, totaling nearly 1,700 units, could come close to doubling the number of residents living within 1/2 mile of downtown SJ BART>

    Clem Reply:

    Two thirds of the way by distance, one third of the way by cost.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Absolute 100% unmitigated outright lying from the shills “Michael E. Engh, S.J., and Jamie Matthews”

    The BART extension FROM FREMONT TO SANTA CLARA was supposed to be ompleted in 2009, to have entered service in 2010, and COST A TOTAL OF $3.8 BILLION for everything, and to be carrying 78,000 riders per day today.

    Because that is exactly what VTA promised.

    Anybody who claims that the truncated extension from Fremont to the SJ Flea Market — a 2/3 the distance, 1/3 of the total extension cost, none of the tunnelling, only two stations — which set to open in 2018, at a cost of over $3.2 billion, is even remotely “under budget” or “ahead of schedule” is simply and unambiguously a liar. Whether such a person is an idiot, on the take, so grossly ignorant they he should not be allowed to speak on any subject, all of the above, or some combination of them, is something that they’ll have to sort out with their personal spiritual advisor.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Let us not forget that BART to SFO is a smashing “success” and returns over 100% at the farebox!!!
    You need only to ask the cheerleaders that promoted it.

    joe Reply:

    Rebaselined.

    Welcome to project management 101.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Officials celebrate $2.3b 10-mile SJ BART extension as “miracle”

    The $2.3 billion extension, starting south of the planned Warm Springs BART station in Alameda County, is being paid for by Santa Clara County using a $900 million federal grant, state funds and money raised from sales tax measures passed by county voters in 2000 and 2008, Alaniz said.

    The train line expansion, to include the Milpitas and Berryessa stations, will be owned by the VTA and operated by BART through a contract agreement, expanding BART’s rail lines to 120 miles and 47 stations in the Bay Area, according to the VTA.

    Testing of BART trains on the new track is set to start in late 2017 and the line will begin transporting passengers in 2018, the VTA reported.

    Trains on the extension will arrive every 7.5 minutes and are expected to carry an estimated 46,000 riders per day by 2030, with trips to San Francisco to take about 60 minutes from Berryessa, VTA officials said.

    [...]

    Carl Guardino, president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group who hosted the event, praised Gonzales for building a coalition among local governments and voters in the 1990s and 2000s to “keep the decades-long dream of bringing BART to Silicon Valley alive.”

    Gonzales, who was San Jose mayor from 1999 to 2006, told the approximately 100 attendees that the Berryessa station was the first step toward the “most important” 6.1-mile second phase that officials hope one day would connect BART to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara.

    Reed described the project as “a miracle” because the state of California delivered on a promise to spend more than $700 million on it over the administrations of three governors.

    [...]

    “Of course, we’re only in the middle of the project, but nevertheless a miracle’s occurred and it’s good to take a day to celebrate it,” he said.

    When the Berryessa station is completed, it will have an open-air boarding platform 35 feet above ground and a 1,200-space parking building to go with ground-level car spaces, Alaniz said.

    Work crews are currently constructing the raised BART train track that ends at the planned station at 1411 Mabury Road between North King Road to the east and U.S. Highway 101 to the west.

    The building of the tracks started on April 12, 2012, including the first two miles in Alameda County, so the county’s project is at the halfway mark, Alaniz said.

    “We’re two and a half years into it and we have two and a half years to go,” she said.

    [...]

    The VTA is also working on plans to develop a proposed second 6.1-mile phase for BART, with a 5.1-mile subway tunnel beneath downtown San Jose ending with a ground-level station near the Caltrain depot in Santa Clara.

    Funding for the second phase is not secured yet, according to VTA officials.

    Clem Reply:

    Funding for the second phase is not secured yet, according to VTA officials.

    Understatement of the year. I heard they are looking at truncating the line at Diridon station (no Santa Clara spur parallel to Caltrain) to save money.

    Joey Reply:

    Convenient phasing too. The Beryessa extension is much less useful without the rest, so they can use that as an excuse when it underperforms and/or use the sunk costs as a justification to take any and all available funding.

    Reality Check Reply:

    With Caltrain modernization & electrification looking evermore likely and with the SJC people mover (“built by others”) — which was originally going to connect straight to Santa Clara BART/Caltrain by going under the runways — put on indefinite hold, the rationale for duplicating Caltrain between Diridon and Santa Clara grows even weaker than it already was.

    Joey Reply:

    I never understood why they wouldn’t just send the APM to Diridon instead. It’s slightly more distance, and a slight inconvenience for people arriving on CalTrain from the north, but it’s a much larger transit hub and HSR isn’t going to stop at Santa Clara. It would also probably require less tunneling.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I never understood why they wouldn’t just …

    Yes you do.

    You go on to answer the question (the only question for US transit capital spending):

    It would also probably require less …

    Joey Reply:

    Fair, but I still might hold out the hope that one day there will be a shred of logic in the planning process.

    Jonathan Reply:

    MTC has adopted rules which say projects have to pass Cost/Benefit-ratio tests. MTC also decided that already-funded projects would *not* be subject to Cost/Benefit-ratoi analysis.
    I wonder which bucket BART-to-San-Jose-Flea-Market falls into. ;)

    I also wonder who cooked the books, so that (in the projected ridership quoted by John Burrows) BART boardings at Dirdion-Intergalactic outnumber Caltrain boardings… by 0.25 %.
    Methinks someone’s inferiority complex is showing.

    Time for Mr. Allen?

    John Bacon Reply:

    There never has been a significant reason for extending BART from Diridon to Santa Clara. But a San Jose Airport BART branch from the present under-construction alignment near SR 237 in Milpitas along a kilometer-apart station section through Northeast San Jose’s Golden Triangle employment area to a BART/Caltrain/CHSR cross-platform transfer station beneath San Jose Airport’s Passenger Terminal and continuing parallel to SR 87 and under Market Street to a terminal beneath the Cesar Chavez Park would attract far more BART riders than the currently proposed 5.1 mile in a tunnel Santa Clara extension. The most convenient path for a San Francisco Peninsula origin rider to commute to a North Jose job would be to use an opposite direction Caltrain/BART cross-platform connection.
    How to pay for this extension? Note that a few years ago a $4 surcharge was added to all BART SFO station passengers with little effect on total SFO extension ridership. North San Jose entrepreneurs would likely welcome a BART extension through their neighborhood if many nearby stops were offered. A local transit district could profitably at least clear the land needed for an open-cut track-way BART extension through this industrial section consisting largely of one and two story buildings within a vast array of parking lots.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Who cooked the books on the Central Stubway?

    John Bacon Reply:

    A Cesar Chavez Downtown San Jose Station or Terminal would be the last passenger stop for southbound BART trains. A single BART track south of the Downtown SJ could efficiently connect a south of downtown SJ BART train storage yard. The most convenient local access Downtown San Jose Station for most Caltrain/CHSR riders would also be in a run-through station under the present Cesar Chavez Park. Four tracks serving two island platforms would accommodate over twice as many BART/Caltrain/CHSR peak-hour trains now being considered (about 30 per hour in one direction).
    Stub-end terminals are tolerable for regional trains. Consider BART’s Daley City terminal which has operated with one to four minute turn-around periods for at least the last 20 years. On the other hand for HSR trains short period turn-around times can produce an inherently dangerous operation. For example in 1998 a German train traveling at 160 mph had the outer rim of a wheel break derailing the train when nearly 100 passengers died. The failed wheel was supporting a car that was written-up for excessive noise starting over two weeks before the crash. This forum has described fast HSR turn-around times at stub-end terminals in Germany. Therefore the stub-end Trans-bay terminal could produce an intolerable risk to 220 mph trains.

  18. Derek
    Aug 21st, 2014 at 21:28
    #18

    A Call for Minimum Service Standards
    By Yonah Freemark, The Transport Politic, 2014-08-20

    The federal government, which has funded the majority of these projects, has failed to enforce any sort of minimum level of service that these lines must provide. Rather than mandate that new services funded through grants offer service at least every 15 minutes, for example, the Federal Transit Administration simply requires agencies to “develop quantitative standards for all fixed route modes of operation” for issues like vehicle headway. In other words, if a transit agency provides service every three hours on a just-built rail line, that’s fine–as long as that information has been submitted in triplicate to Washington in advance.
    The federal government is throwing money at these projects with little supervision over how they are operated. The results are underperformance and relatively low ridership.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    BART to the tumbleweeds of “downtown” San José will undoubtedly run every 15 minutes or better.

    Ridership may be 100 per 10-car train, but the trains will run.

    Why not, when morons (the taxpayers) are on the hook for the subsidies?

    Built it and nobody will come.

    jimsf Reply:

    You cant possible believe that with the outrageous housing prices in silicon valley, the shortage and the demand, that a complete city with ( underutilized yes) downtown) isnt going to become prime residential real estate in the coming years. Its not about what is there now. Its about the number of people who will be living there 10, ,20, 30 years from now. Downtown san jose is not going to just sit valley while people are begging to buy housing at astromical prices.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You mean Oakland, right?

    jimsf Reply:

    considering theres a lot of space for infill, and plenty of demand ther’s no limit to how many more of these they can build build build

    jimsf Reply:

    espeically when you don’t have to fight the opposition in sj the way you do in sf.

    Joey Reply:

    Opposition or not, there’s a lot of construction going on in SF right now.

    jimsf Reply:

    yes thats unfortunate for a city that was once a pleasant and beautiful place. But its beyond repair now so to hell with it. I got my place in the sierras.

    Joey Reply:

    Yeah, Mission Bay was so much nicer when it was all warehouses.

    joe Reply:

    You must like 1M+ homes, high rents and expensive dining over the old SF of the mid 90s.

    Enjoy it.

    Joey Reply:

    It would be worse without new development. That’s what happens when supply doesn’t keep up with demand.

    jimsf Reply:

    I dont even go anymore unless I have to. Its become very boring. Looking no different than every other cookie cutter city.

    And technology is boring.

    joe Reply:

    He knows. That’s why he’s listing McDonalds in SF being sold and developed to show how kewl it is to live in SF.
    http://www.socketsite.com/archives/tag/701-third-street

    SF has closely space BART stations and special SD fares which encourage short trips within the city. San Jose should add stations along the subway to have the same service as SF, offer within santa clara fares and develop just as SF developed. If in 2014 there are mc donalds in SF at BART stops, there’s no excuse to mock San Jose.

    jimsf Reply:

    sit valley = sit vacant I meant.

    As for oakland, there was little housing downtown prior to the late 90s, and now thousands of units have been added. Not only that, with the current boom in SF, which is even more horrible thant the dot com boom, even the well paid are moving to oakland instead.
    Its only a matter of time before these folks realize that san jose has better weather and is near a better beach.

    TODAY’S DEALS: Oakland TOD Condo/Rental Sells for $103M

    Oakland, Calif.—Institutional Property Advisors has closed another big transaction with the sale of Domain, a 264-unit luxury condominium and rental property in Oakland’s City Center. The $103.2 million sales price equates to $391,000 per unit. The asset was sold be Berkshire Property Advisors and acquired by Thailand-based Land & Houses PCL.

    “Well-focused, aggressive redevelopment and growth during the last 20 years has transformed downtown Oakland into a cultural, entertainment and economic hub of the San Francisco Bay Area,” says Stanford Jones, executive vice president investments at IPA. “Domain truly represents a transit-oriented development (TOD), with the closest BART station just a short walk from the community. TODs are highly sought after by both institutions and large private buyers.”

    Domain is located at 1389 Jefferson Street, and is within a three-minute walk of the 12th Street Oakland City Center BART station. The 2011-built community has units that average 948 square feet in size. Amenities include a sky-deck terrace with a dining area, outdoor kitchen and lounge seating; a 24-hour fitness center with a yoga studio; a bike maintenance workshop; and a resident lounge with Wi-Fi and a coffee station. There is also secure podium parking and door-to-door trash and recycling services.

    According to IPA, Oakland saw its rents increase by approximately 13 percent in the past 12 months.

    john burrows Reply:

    Speaking of 10, 20. or 30 years from now, the San Jose Diridon Station Master Plan is projecting some pretty optimistic numbers for future weekday boardings at Diridon Station for the 2030-2035 time period—

    ACE—————————–1

    john burrows Reply:

    ACE———————————–1,800
    Capital Corridor———————-460
    Coast Starlight———————–100
    BART——————————–10,150
    Caltrain—————————–10,125
    High Speed Rail——————-12,300
    VTA———————————–1,150

    Total——————————–36,445

    And concerning tumbleweeds—Shouldn’t be a problem for the excavators.

    joe Reply:

    The “A” Fast Pass®, available on the Clipper® card, is valid for a calendar month and lets you take unlimited rides on SFMTA/Muni vehicles and BART from the Embarcadero station to Balboa Park station in San Francisco. For more information on the “A” Fast Pass® on Clipper®, please visit Muni’s website for more information.

    – See more at: http://www.bart.gov/tickets#sthash.f2DSoUnZ.dpuf

    So if they added back a downtown subway stop in SJ for better local service and issued a clipper pass for unlimited use from Berryessa to Santa Clara BART, we’d have far higher ridership.

    That’s why SF is transit friendly, BART has local stops and unlimited use along an urban subway.

    Jonathan Reply:

    You cant possible believe that with the outrageous housing prices in silicon valley, the shortage and the demand, that a complete city with ( underutilized yes) downtown) isnt going to become prime residential real estate in the coming years.

    1. You’ve obviously never been to San Jose. It’s suburban shithole sprawl, complete with the occasional McMansion on a block — where someone has made millions at a startup, and built a house which looks totally out-of-place.

    2. Even those places sell for over a million, because they *are* Silicon Valley real estate with relatively short commute times.

    jimsf, you need to get out more. The Amtrak passengers you see on a daily basis are in *NO WAY* representative of the general population. By the way, Current Amtrak riders are *especially* non-representative of potential HSR riders.

    jimsf Reply:

    look you little know it all punk. I have lived in california for 50 years and know more about it than you will ever know. I have lived and worked in san jose both in the 90s and the 2000s.

    As fro amtrak passengers, they are the same everyday people who make up the california population. I don’t know who you think they are, or who you think is going to ride high speed rail, but the fact is, the traveling population of california, whatever mode they currently use, will all use high speed rail for those trips for which using it makes sense.

    Jonathan Reply:

    As for Amtrak passengers: *Bullshit*. Today’s Amtrak passengers have *nothing* in common with the travellers who are the bulk of high-speed rail’s target market: people currently flying to business meetings, or vacations. Get a clue.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    My impression was that 75% of the predicted captured ridership would be giving up long-distance single-passenger drives, not air travel. But I don’t have time to find the ridership estimates at the moment.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Are you claiming current Amtrak passengers are representative of the people who currently drive long-distance??

    jimsf Reply:

    you may find it shocking but people who sometimes drive also sometimes take the train and might even take a faster train. Sometimes people who take the train, fly, and sometimes people who fly take the train ( which explains why Im also expalining how to get to SFO to amtrak passengers) ( shocking side note… amtrak passengers use bart to sfo to go fly on airplanes!!! gasp what is the world coming too!)

    just stop talking.

    synonymouse Reply:

    These must be the same drivers who proceed from SF to LA via Mojave.

    jimsf Reply:

    YOu have no idea what you area talking about. What do you mean by “todays amtrak passngers”? First youre wrong about HSR being for business meetings and vacationers. Yep no one else will ride huh. HSR is for californians. period. all of them. AS for who rides amtrak.
    business people, domestic anc international tourists, families traveling for vacation, families traveling to events, students, seniors, people who don’t like to fly, people who’d rather take the train than drive. people with money, people without money, tall people, people with weird accents. In other words your suggestion that “todays amtrak passenger” fits any kind of pariticualr profile is Idiotic and your suggestion that hsr is only going to be useful to a specific group of people is just as idiotic

    my amtrak customers ask all the time about the progress of hsr. they are interested. I gues they don’t realize that they will be forbidden from riding it.

    Jonathan you mom called and she said to stop posting idiotic statements and go clean your room.

    jimsf Reply:

    and how stupid and ignorant do you have to be to not understand the concept of future growth and how development happens in this state. I know exactly how it happens and I know exaclty what san jose is going to become.
    you on the other hand dont know shit.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    San Jose doesn’t advertise the fact that it is the largest city in California with a voter-approved urban growth boundary that has been in effect since the 1970s. Portland, however, it’s not.

    Although it would be easy for Mlynarik and Clem to interject that, “Portland has a great light rail system, San Jose’s blows goats, thus Portlandia>>>>Silicon Valley”, it’s a slightly unfair comparison.

    1) Portland has not that much diversity, either racially or socioeconomically. Public transportation has less of a negative association there.

    2) Oregon has no sales tax, thus no rapacious cities trying to pull light rail stations into their web to get their “hard-earned” sales tax money back.

    3) Oregon has plenty of water, so cities can’t blackmail each other with access to it. San Jose gobbled East Santa Clara County so fast, you would think the mayor was Noah Cross.

    So give jonathan, our resident Kiwi, a break. He knows how it is supposed to work, just not how it doesn’t work in the Golden State.

    joe Reply:

    complete with the occasional McMansion on a block — where someone has made millions at a startup, and built a house which looks totally out-of-place.

    That’s San Francisco: Glenn Park Noe Valley Bernal Heights, Mission and etc.
    http://blog.sfgate.com/ontheblock/2014/08/14/noe-is-the-new-pac-heights-luxury-home-market-shifts-southward/

    This shit has no business being added to in Noe Valley. That neighbourhood has been ruined.

    jimsf Reply:

    real estate people. ugh. They actually said “noe valley is the new pac heights”
    no. racific heights is pacific heights. Noe valley is Noe Valley. Personally I never like Noe valley. It only draw before was that it was close to eurkea valley/castro. But now castro, noe, and bernal heights are all overrun by well to do suburban families, none of those areas is very interesting.

    Pacific Heights at least has golden gate views.

    joe Reply:

    Noe Valley was quiet and easy access to both the city core and via san jose ave/280 access to Stanford. Students and faculty would live there. My place was 1 traffic light from work in Palo Alto. Affordable and sunny.
    Small family owned specialty stores like a butcher, produce and etc.. Smallest “town” I ever lived.

    john burrows Reply:

    Pertaining to “San Jose shithole sprawl”—From an article in the Oakland Tribune 2 weeks ago.

    “Fast-growing software company Xactly has decided to expand in downtown San Jose, which is seeing an upswing in activity, executives and municipal officials said Friday. Xactly leased 60,000 square feet in the River Park 2 office tower which potentially means hundreds of new tech jobs in the city’s central business district.

    Xactly currently has about 320 employees at its San Jose headquarters at West Santa Clara Street and Notre Dame Ave. There it occupies about 28,000 square feet, which means the new lease would double the tech firm’s footprint downtown. This lease and others that realty insiders say are in the works signal a welcomed boost to San Jose’s downtown district, which has struggled with high vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in downtown San Jose is 18.3 percent, a marked improvement from the year-before vacancy rate of 24.1 percent.”

    Quoting Christopher Carbera, co-founder of Xactly—

    “By locating in downtown San Jose, we can have employees get to us from San Francisco by Caltrain, which isn’t a bad commute in that direction. We also pull from South San Jose and from the East Bay. It really helps recruitment. We hope our expansion sends the message to Silicon Valley that San Jose is the real deal. The downtown is chock-a blocl full of restaurants, entertainment and culture. There is so much going on downtown. The employees love being here.”

    Interesting that this article appeared in an Oakland newspaper.

    x

    jimsf Reply:

    And keep in mind that sprawl does not equal “shithole” If may seem that way for some who prefer urban living but that doesn’t make it “reality” There are a lot of nice neighborhoods in san jose and that is reflected in the home prices. The weather is certainly better than san franciscos. I mean I love fog and wind and 50 in the summer but all the new people in sf just bitch about it. They should move to san jose with warm summers, barely any rain, swimming pools, bbqs, close to good beaches, an easy to use airport, all surrounded by mountains.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Interesting that this article appeared in an Oakland newspaper.

    That “Oakland” newspaper is headquartered in San Jose.

    And BTW, the Riverpark-2 building has sat empty since it was built 5 years ago.

    Jonathan Reply:

    If it’s anything like the “downtown San Jose” at E Santa Clara St, I hope they enjoy seeing drug deals going down outside the office building. And if you drive, having your car vandalized.

    The office parks sprawling to the North and around the airport have all the charm of … a 1980s airport concourse. As for downtown, there really is no “there”, there.

    joe Reply:

    Thank God SF is a drug free haven. You should tape 20 bills to your clothes and walk around.

    Too many people stare at their phones – that’s why no one sees a drug deal in SF. A Nut-case repeatedly flashed a gun on a crowded Muni and none of the smartphone surfers saw him. He got off with a passenger and shot him dead.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    LA and San Jose are both in a strange place regarding urban infill development. Both paved over what turn-of-the-last-century stuff they had, and then developed or grew industries that needed big campuses incompatible with a traditional downtown.

    On the one hand, San Jose’s growth boundary would indicate it would do better than LA would in the near future. But if this water bond injects more supply of the wet stuff into Silicon Valley for homes, I could see the voters overturning the boundary and sprawl getting worse too….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/111_Eighth_Avenue

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Why yes, I am well aware of the fact that tech companies could always choose big office buildings to locate in…but you seem to think that is the reason firms want a big campus. Nope…it’s actually because.

    1) In California, cities have a strong hand regulating land use, to the point where they can basically limit any type of business activity. The motion picture studios 100 years ago fled L.A. proper for Burbank and Hollywood, and Culver City to avoid being told what they could and could not do on their grounds. (Setting off explosions, fires…etc.). As a result, most of the core cities in California don’t have the sort of dichotomy in SF or even Manhattan where you can have big block office buildings near more compact ones.

    2) Suburban cities often given land away for free and discount property tax for years afterwards. Much as SF would like to do that, even with redevelopment they still have to charge more for the same thing as Cupertino. Plus, given the way tech firms are capitalized…owning expensive downtown buildings isn’t that lucrative…it’s better (as Microsoft found out), to stick people in Fargo and buy more stock back.

    3) And the real reason tech firms don’t like traditional urban centers? They like secrecy. Just like a movie studio or … advertising firms … or… they love for no one to know what they are doing until after it happens. And even though you don’t need razor wire and guard dogs to have effective confidentiality…just like like for wealthy people…a big estate with lots of space is irrestible for tech firms…

  19. les
    Aug 21st, 2014 at 23:33
    #19

    About time somebody evicted the State Patrol. They were becoming such a downtown nemesis. Maybe the city council next? :)
    http://abc30.com/news/state-parole-office-in-fresno-to-be-demolished-for-high-speed-rail/276005/

    Observer Reply:

    The Fresno City Council is now controlled by tea baggers; so look for lots of obstruction from them.

  20. JJJJ
    Aug 22nd, 2014 at 08:32
    #20

    The tea bags are at it again.

    Fresno City Council again rejects train station master plan money

    he Fresno City Council has decided the best way to plan for high-speed rail is to assume the train will never get here.

    The council on Thursday rejected $1 million in grants that would have paid for a master plan showing how downtown can get the biggest boost from the bullet train.

    The vote was 3-3, with Council Members Lee Brand, Paul Caprioglio and Clint Olivier voting no. Council President Steve Brandau was absent. His staff said he had a prior commitment.

    The money, being an appropriation, needed five votes.

    Caprioglio said Fresno and the state have no business taking a gamble on an expensive train when California suffers from a historic drought.

    “Our taxpayers are crying out for water,” Caprioglio said. “That should be our priority.”

    Acting President Oliver Baines said government can juggle water and transportation issues just fine.

    “We have the capacity to deal with more than one thing at a time,” Baines said. “The state is that way, too.”

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/08/21/4081580/city-council-again-rejects-train.html?sp=/99/217/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    Fresno’s contribution to the $1 million in planning grants was to be $120,000. Talk about penny wise pound foolish.
    If the area around the station turns out to be a dismal missed opportunity, they will blame the Authority.
    A recent study noted that Houston and Dallas are more liberal than Fresno.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Fresno decision was correct – they don’t even have streetcars yet. A San Joaquin Valley AmBART will require extensive subsidies to turn a wheel and the patronage limited. This route is not a wise expenditure – the general I-5 corridor is a better use of money. Faster and cheaper. Ditto for Tejon.

    Zorro Reply:

    I5 and Tejon aren’t happening Syno, you’re delusional, nothing will make your preferred whiner alignment happen.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Zoro’s casual dismissals, Synon, are an indication of an unqualified opinion. However, Zoro is right about rejecting I-5. A certain proximity is required to develop patronage. A freeway parking lot will not feel safe, nor a bus transit center used ideally away from foot traffic, capechi?
    Open discussion is respectable if not respectful.
    Baseless rebuttals against alternative routes is a sign of desperation.
    The entire passenger-rail system must interact as close to ideal as possible.
    Is fast electric most sensible in the Valley or the urban setting?
    Environmental benefit of electrification in rural settings is near moot.

    However, this train is on the tracks. Nothing’s gonna stop it.
    Just figure some proponents are more talk than expertice.
    Many rail planners are now showing their mettle.
    BNSF isn’t one of them. Divest from BNSF.
    UP has some interesting ideas going.
    Take care guys. Dig it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the discussions about alternate routing happened years ago and the people who were paying attention made decisions different than yours.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Oh well, since you put it that way, the simplification makes everything oh so obvious.
    Other people paying attention years ago made different decisions, you say? Heavens to Betsy!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That’s the way it works. If you don’t like it that’s too bad.

    Clem Reply:

    If I may summarize, the argument (and the rebuttal to the rebuttal) is “neener neener neener!”

    Joey Reply:

    Meh. Tejon was resurrected for long enough to be officially sandbagged not too long ago.

    Clem Reply:

    January 2012.

    joe Reply:

    Since 2012 LA County, with help from future senate leader Deleon, has prioritize the LA to Palmdale segment. What does that tell us ?

    The terrible politics of spending public money where public representatives prioritize service degrades the HSR’s design. Of course a design has to flow out of and meet ALL requirements and removing stakeholder support when bypassing critical parts of their region may not “improve” the design.

    If the improvement kills the project support – it might not be an improvement.

    Yes I know, SPUR!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joe,

    I think you have it backwards. The whole reason the Authority wanted to start in the Valley was because the federal grants were available there first. Then the Pelosi camp lobbied for the bookends. Then the De Leon camp argued for Palmdale.

    Of course, based on purely, um, objective advice, starting in the middle made sense from ease of construction to cost and then crossing into the big urban areas. But if Ray LaHood had offered match years ago for Stockton-Merced guess where we would be breaking ground?

    Joey Reply:

    The costs for the LA-Palmdale segment are growing out of control, and that’s without the base tunnel. Seems to me that someone really wants that segment built, and is worried that the case for building it will evaporate if it isn’t rushed to construction.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Not exactly.

    It’s the same issue with the CalTrain electrification: the Brown-Pelosi-Burton alliance wants TransBay built PDQ and needs a good argument for it. If BART rings the Bay, there’s less urgency for upgrades on the Peninsula as well.

    What’s going up is the cost estimate on the Antelope Valley segment. But that probably has a lot to do with other, opaque developments between Metro, Metrolink, the City of LA and others regarding the Measure R money. Plus, even if you select Tejon, you still have to get through Santa Clarita…and they are doing everything they can to block it.

    joe Reply:

    Spare me the usual PDQ-Pelosi machine conspiracy theories.

    The costs for the LA-Palmdale segment are growing out of control, and that’s without the base tunnel.

    Has anyone but the usual cranks said the costs are out of control? If they cost the segment and it’s determined to be too costly then we’ll be there when we get there.

    I think you have the HSR mixed up with a defense system like the F-35. Canada wants out. That’s when it’s too costly, when a paying stakeholder wants out.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Now I understand the source of your confusion, Joe.

    De Leon is consolidating the Southern/Latino branch of the Democratic Party in California. However, he needs support from the Central Valley lawmakers who want HSR.

    So when he lost the negoation over the AB 32 taxes, De Leon figured if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…and demand your segment (LA-Palmdale) also get funding.

    Observer Reply:

    Democrats in Fresno do not vote, republicans in Fresno do vote, add in right wing talk radio which controls the airwaves of Fresno, and the result is a city council controlled by tea baggers.

    Lewellan Reply:

    The problem of republicans voting as they’re told is resolved when they hear both sides of the story.
    Information is the democratic method. Disinformation is a bi-partisan problem. Peninsula and LA County rail upgrades won support. Why won’t Valley interests consider the same low-cost option?
    Answer: Money, the wasting thereof, high maintenance infrastructure jobs, conservative voters.

    J. Wong Reply:

    It’s not like they can’t reschedule a vote like later this year, and pass it then.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.progressiverailroading.com/passenger_rail/news/California-highspeed-authority-awards-station-planning-funds-to-Gilroy–41168
    California high-speed authority awards station planning funds to Gilroy

    Under the agreement, Gilroy will receive $750,000 in grants to explore options and seek public input for the design and development of the station. Theb> <authority will provide $600,000 and the VTA will allocate an additional $150,000 to support the city’s efforts. Gilroy will contribute $80,000</b? to the station-area planning fund.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    30 consultants at 10 outreach meetings
    There goes half the money

    joe Reply:

    Good!

    The previous outreach meetings educated the city’s residents and allowed them to construct future landuse scenarios for the four options under consideration.
    The results were considered by the city council and a station site selected.

    That’s how democracy works.

    Now we’re going to further study, plan and understand the impacts and benefits of the station location.

    This will include more outreach and more consensus building.

    Lewellan Reply:

    An assumed consensus won’t necessarily produce an acceptable finished product in the future consensus. If Gilroy could do better, say with commuter-rail San Juaquins, Madera to Monterey, Monterey to San Jose, the HSR corridor on Altamont.
    Aw nevermind. Your eyes are all like whatever.
    “Uh, we know what we doing, sorta.”

    jimsf Reply:

    “crying out” lol yes just this morning I awoke went, went out on my back deck and cried out to the forest… “waaaatterrr! Oh waaaatterrrr, how I cry out for thee!”

    Idiots.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The Fresno Bee Editorial Board puts it this way:

    Thumbs down to Fresno City Council Members Lee Brand, Paul Caprioglio and Clint Olivier for opposing the acceptance of $1 million in grant money for a master plan to maximize the value of a high-speed rail station in downtown. Their votes were sufficient to reject the grant. This was yet another example of local leaders living in the past and genuflecting to Republican/tea party talking points.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/08/22/4083044/thumbs-up-thumbs-down.html

  21. les
    Aug 22nd, 2014 at 10:32
    #21

    maybe the HSR can put a plain vanilla box there and proceed with the tracks. Let the next council decide what it should look like or leave it as an eye sore. the locals will tire of it eventually.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Good – it is about time Jerry woke up from the coma. Now does TARPman have the stones to really go after Palmdale and the Ranch? Naah.

    The Debate is useless – lower the signature requirements for voter initiatives.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    “… lower the signature requirements for voter initiatives”

    Dear god, we get enough pointless and misguided initiatives as it is, with all our Millionaire initiatives (anyone remember the horse meat ban?) and Pass-the-buck legislature-created propositions.

    Trentbridge Reply:

    So far the sample signatures for the Six Californias initiative are coming in at 67.5% valid. A total of 1,135,346 were collected and the initiative needs 807,615 to be valid. (71.1%) The big unknown is the sample analysis of the LA County total 311,924 signatures. San Diego was the second largest county ( 97450 signatures) and it’s sample produced 69.5% valid signatures. Contra Costa was the last county to turn in it’s sample – 56.1% were valid. Apparently there are many friendly people in Contra Costa who sign petitions even if they are not registered voters! Not the friendliest though – Santa Barbara at 54.1% had fewer registered voters.

    Personally I think they should raise the signature requirement (double it) and make online signing of these initiatives legal. Paying people to harass you outside Target, Safeway, or Walmart etc. only means that well-financed “rich eccentric” or entrenched interest groups get these initiatives qualified. This defeats the purpose of the initiative process. Power to the people – online!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Who cares – these initiatives are harmless. Besides Berkeley will pass them anyway.

    Now a propaganda spending limit on Jerry’s development schemes, that has merit.

    Observer Reply:

    Fresno has always been 10 to 20 years behind other California cities.

  22. les
    Aug 22nd, 2014 at 11:06
    #22

    Maybe if CHSR designs a station with a huge statue of Gov Brown at the entrance and Donkey posters on every wall they will act.

    Observer Reply:

    Hire a grafiti artist, there are lots of them in Fresno.

    les Reply:

    yes, the station that comes pre-tagged.

  23. datacruncher
    Aug 22nd, 2014 at 22:11
    #23

    I found these two articles on the Fresno Bee website posted this week while reading the station planning money link. They both relate to new housing developments about 2 or 3 blocks from the station site.

    Developer begins work on downtown Fresno mall lofts
    Developer Sevak Khatchadourian is following through on a promise he made to the Fresno City Council months ago when city leaders voted to open Fulton Mall to traffic.

    The owner of the Pacific Southwest Building, the former Security Bank Building, has started construction on four of 16 new lofts in his 16-story building that sits in the heart of the mall.

    “Downtown needs to be vibrant,” Khatchadourian said during a Thursday afternoon news conference on the 13th floor. “You need cars, buses, bicycles, pedestrians. That’s what a true downtown looks like. Downtown is the heart of the city, the core of the city. That’s my logic and that’s why I believe it’s very, very important to open up Fulton Mall.”

    Khatchadourian, a Southern California developer, bought the building in 2011. In the first phase of development, he finished building out the lofts on the 11th and 12th floors, which are now occupied. There is a waiting list of names for any new lofts, he said.

    The building, which was built in 1928, is also home to several businesses including a hair salon, a lawyer’s office, a tech company and a plastic surgeon’s office.

    The plan is to renovate four floors — the 3rd, 9th, 10th and 13th — into lofts that range in size from 1,050 to 1,350 square feet. The rent is about $1,500 a month.
    ……………

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/08/21/4081372_developer-begins-work-on-downtown.html

    Info on the above building and lofts (The pics show some great architecture in the original building )
    http://www.1060fulton.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pacific-Southwest-Building/355399957805616

    City Beat: The delights of downtown Fresno
    …….
    I left the Parks Department and headed west on Inyo. I passed what used to be the Droge Building on the northeast corner of Inyo and Van Ness.

    You remember the Droge Building. It was an important part of downtown in the early- and mid-20th century, but fell on hard times. The walls were kept standing with the help of long steel poles — hardly an inviting sight to visitors just arriving in downtown Fresno.

    City View @ Van Ness is rapidly taking shape on the site. This is a 45-unit apartment complex with 3,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. What little was left of the Droge Building got torn down last year.
    ……………….
    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/08/19/4078099/the-delights-of-downtown-fresno.html

    Info on this 4 story apartment building at:
    http://http://www.cityviewatvanness.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/CityViewAtVanNess

  24. Reality Check
    Aug 23rd, 2014 at 14:14
    #24

    Evelyn Light Rail Station in Mountain View to close early next year

    Colleen Valles, a VTA spokeswoman, said that on Aug. 7 the agency’s board voted to close the station at East Evelyn Avenue and Pioneer Way — the second least used one in the light-rail network. A second set of tracks will be laid in a narrow strip of land there as part of the agency’s $63 million Mountain View Double Track project.

    [...]

    With an average of 67 weekday boardings, the Evelyn station lags only behind the Bayshore/NASA station’s average of 59, according to a VTA Transit Service Plan.

    [...]

    The Mountain View Double Track project is divided into two phases, and most of the work will occur in the evenings when trains don’t run.

    First, Caltrain tracks between the Evelyn station and State Route 237 will be realigned to make room for phase two. Also, a set of rail tracks will be laid down next to the current ones, starting at the Mountain View station and ending just before the State Route 85 overpass. Valles noted that four trees will be cut down there.

    The second phase will involve demolition of the Evelyn station and construction of new tracks to the Whisman stop. Sixteen trees will be felled at Central Expressway to enhance sight lines and to free up space for safety and signaling equipment, she added.

    “The second set of tracks will also allow VTA to add capacity to serve Levi’s Stadium, meaning there will be more room for trains to run regular service on game days, as well as the enhanced service to the stadium,” Valles said.

    Reality Check Reply:

    VTA board votes to close Evelyn light rail station

    The VTA “Mountain View Double Track” project is estimated to cost $63 million, and work may begin this summer to add track between the downtown station and Highway 85. The Evelyn station closure is likely to happen early next year, when a second phase of construction begins, said VTA spokesperson Colleen Valles. The Evelyn park-and-ride lot will remain open.

    Evelyn station users will be encouraged to use the Whisman station or the downtown Mountain View station instead.

    Jesse D. Reply:

    > Park + Ride lot remains open
    > VTA LR Station closed

    IIRC they have buses that go there, but to the untrained eye, this looks like “VTA WASTING MONEY >:O”

    Joe Reply:

    The double track will allow Cslttsin and VTA to time trains. It will increase performance and capacity for BART VTA which is limited by the single track.

    Levi stadium will benefit but it’s not for the stadium.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Then what is it for?

    It’s not for the stadium, huh?

    Well it’s also not for riders, because there are none of them, and that’s not going to change even if they sextuple the track. (Big surprise, that! Worse ridership than the old VTA route 20 it “replaced”. Just look at a map and try to design something slower, more circuitous, and more useless than VTA’s light rail disaster.)

    So who could it possibly be for.

    Oh, I see, $63 million.

    So, yes, the project is indeed for somebody.

    And of course this completely fucks up Caltrain, leading directly to hundreds of millions of obvious near-medium-term extra costs to the public. Of which “joe” approves unreservedly.

    America’s Finest Transportation Planners, on the job.

    Joe Reply:

    Another simple question that can be answered by an F a Q.

    Just do us all a favor and get a new hobby. Maybe you can go harass the knitting or the quilting community. Then you can actually quilt and show a product rather than second-guess everyone.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    https://www.ravelry.com/account/login

    Reality Check Reply:

    You mean VTA is repeatedly and constantly lying about the impetus for the project being the stadium?

    Is there any evidence that VTA was planning to do this anyway all along? Maybe, but I haven’t seen it … have you? And if so, please share!

    joe Reply:

    http://www.vta.org/projects-and-programs/planning/projects-studies-and-programs-light-rail-system-analysis-introduction
    Light Rail System Analysis Introduction

    Santa Clara County’s light rail system has grown over the years as a series of V T A light rail vehicle extensions. In May 2010, VTA completed the Light Rail System Analysis, a 2-year study which provided the first-ever comprehensive evaluation of the system’s effectiveness in meeting present and future market needs.

    The light rail system analysis represents the second phase of VTA’s Comprehensive Operations Analysis (COA) for the transit system.

    Part of of this improvement plan is

    http://www.vta.org/projects-and-programs/Projects-Studies-and-Programs-Phase-II-New-Tasman-Line
    Projects, Studies and Programs: Phase II New Tasman Line

    The Phase II improvements would introduce a new line operating from Mountain View to Alum Rock along with Tasman/Capitol corridor. Phase II is tied to the opening of the BART extension in 2018. The Light Rail system will serve an important role in getting Santa Clara residents to BART and distributing BART riders to their final destination in the County. The Montague Light Rail station will have a convenient transfer between the two rail systems. The new Tasman Line will double the current frequency of trains along that corridor and also feature express trains between Mountain View and Santa Clara. Capital improvements such as additional track and signals will be needed.

    Levi stadium will benefit but it’s not for the stadium. Double track improves system wide performance. It’s part of a larger plan to increase capacity and performance.

    Critics are lying by claiming the 68M expansion is for stadium football games and does riders no good.

    The double track will allow Caltrain VTA to time trains. It will increase performance and capacity for BART VTA. System capacity is limited by the single track. It will allow future express trains.

    Yes VTA will explain the immediate benefits which include better service for Levi’s Stadium.

    No VTA is not lying. They have a record of the project planning going back years and a more credible argument than it being done for a football stadium.

    joe Reply:

    BTW the May 2010 System Analysis behind these improvements was published BEFORE Levi’s Stadium was approved by voters in June 2010 and funds secured Dec 2011.

    wikipedia

    In June 2010, Santa Clara voters approved a measure authorizing the city government to lease land to the 49ers Stadium Authority to construct a new football stadium. The necessary funds were secured in December 2011, allowing construction to start in April 2012.[6] Levi’s Stadium opened on July 17, 2014.

    Reality Check Reply:

    From page 2-2 (Executive Summary) of Light Rail Efficiency Project Phase II, July 2014, Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration:

    Second Light Rail Track

    A new track would be installed parallel to the existing light rail track, keeping the existing light rail track in place. The installation of the second light rail track would begin at the terminus of the Phase I project on the west side of the SR 85 overcrossing, near the Stevens Creek Trail bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Central Expressway, and continue to the Whisman Light Rail Station, an approximate length of 3,000 feet. The track would cross Central Expressway and join the existing double track segment just southwest of the Whisman Light Rail Station. No light rail service changes are proposed, with the exception of increasing service to 7.5 minute headways before and after approximately 20 major events at Levi’s Stadium, per year.

    And again on page 4-62:

    Upon project construction completion, service frequency would not change with the exception of
    approximately 20 major events at Levi’s Stadium per year
    . More frequent service would be needed
    before and after these major events. Many of these events would occur on weekends, but this report
    assumes up to ten of the events would occur during weekdays. To meet anticipated demand for these
    events, the most frequent service would provide 7.5 minute headways. The proposed increase in
    frequency would accommodate increased ridership for special events.

    And from page 2-9:

    As shown in Figure 2.3-3, realignment of existing Caltrain tracks will occur within Caltrain right-of-way along Central Expressway beginning just north of the existing Evelyn Light Rail Station and ending west of SR 237 (see Photo 2-4). The realignment would shift the existing northbound and southbound tracks south between 12 inches and 18 feet. Construction of the Caltrain realignment is scheduled to occur from August to December 2014 prior to the Caltrain Communications Based Overlay Signal System Positive Train Control (CBOSS PTC) Project. The CBOSS PTC Project is designed to help eliminate train-to-train collisions and over-speed mishaps by automatically stopping trains when there is a violation of speed or violation of route. To complete the Project, Caltrain will “freeze” the physical fabric of its railroad between January 2015 and July 2016. A Categorical Exemption for the Caltrain track realignment was approved in April 2014. Coordination between Caltrain and VTA is ongoing.

    Near bottom of page 3-53:

    The Project would not result in any impacts to future Caltrain service

    Note, no mention about how shifting Caltrain tracks over 18 feet will affect future ability to add one or more Caltrain/HSR tracks.

    Then on page 5-10 we have the CPUC letter advising VTA “all construction located near the rail track within the project site must comply with the Commission’s General Orders (GOs)”, including the infamous level-boarding-prohibiting GO 26-D, as well as their opposition to increased tracks or service across Central Expressway (page 5-11):

    Commission authorization is required prior to modifying each crossing. Addition of a second track constitutes modification of a crossing. In addition, the Commission opposes adding a second track at the Central Expressway light-rail crossing. Central Expressway is heavily used with extremely high vehicle speeds. While the Mitigated Negative Declaration states that initially there would be no changes in light rail services with the exception of special events, there is no guarantee future train counts will not increase. The risk of an at-grade light-rail crossing over a heavily used roadway such as Central Expressway with high vehicular speeds is already great and will be exacerbated with the addition of a second track with potentially additional trolley/train movements increasing exposure.

    [...]

    Increased capacity with the addition of a second track increases the exposure between light rail trolleys and high speed motorists. Commission staff recommends the Central Expressway crossing be grade-separated as part of this project to eliminate this exposure.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    To be fair, eliminating Evelyn appears to have little impact on either Levi’s or this express lane, double tracking business. It would appear that probably someone wants to build on the station parking lot and VTA figures it makes sense given how few riders get on there.

    The express service won’t stop at Levi’s and the local service is so long from CalTrain you can’t imagine people doing that more than once before finding a different way home. Maybe Google should use their buses? I bet it would earn some goodwill in San Francisco…

    Reality Check Reply:

    Nothing whatsoever to do with the parking lot. Please don’t just make shit up folks!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Look, the number of riders that get on at Evelyn is less than the number of spaces at the parking lot….

    Jon Reply:

    Umm, the express service will stop at Levis. Kinda the whole point… You can find the service plan on the VTA site if you dig for it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The graphic I found on the VTA website does not have it stopping at the stadium. If you find something that says otherwise, please share.

    Joe Reply:

    I bet It will stop on sporting game days.
    On regular days I see no reason for express trains to stop at the stadium.

    Caltrain will stop at a Stanford Caltrain stop when there is a large event at the Stanford Stadium.

    joe Reply:

    I can see why you are confused – Maybe pay attention to the title and purpose of the document.

    The INITAL Declaration of Potential Environmental Effects for the Light Rail Project. It is a CEQA required document and will cover only the immediate changes service. It is not a Plan.

    You need to look at the long term plan and justification for double track which is not is NOT found in a CEQA document required for an immediate change in service.

  25. jimsf
    Aug 24th, 2014 at 04:03
    #25

    6.1 shook Davis pretty good.

    Reality Check Reply:

    The USGS Earthquake site still has it at 6.0, with the epicenter 6 km NW of American Canyon (sorta between Vallejo & Napa).

    Jon Reply:

    Shook SF pretty good too!

    Reality Check Reply:

    Quake Stops Multiple Rail Services Through Bay Area

    The 6.0 magnitude quake Sunday morning in Napa County triggered multiple shutdowns of rail services throughout the Bay Area, including the cancellation of ACE train special Levi’s Stadium service and suspension of Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor service from Roseville to San Jose while track and bridges are inspected.

    BART trains are running on normal schedules as is Caltrain service on the peninsula. Caltrains cancelled one train because of logistical issues, but services is running, though with delays.

    [...]

    ACE posted this statement on its website this morning:

    Due to the earthquake in Napa, Union Pacific Railroad has notified all trains whom utilize their tracks for transportation in the area to not run trains. The ACE train to Levi’s Stadium has been cancelled due to this unforeseen issue. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused, however public safety is of the utmost importance.

    Refunds will be issued to all ticket holders for today’s train to Levi’s Stadium. Ticket holders will receive an email with more details soon.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Napa earthquake: 49ers game on, but ACE and Capital Corridor trains canceled

    Roughly 1,250 fans will have to make alternate plans to get to the game as a result of cancelled train service while rails are inspected for damage, impacting those who take the Altamont Commuter Express and Amtrak’s Capital Corridor lines.

    [...]

    “In terms of trains servicing the stadium, we have been advised that all tracks have been shut down within a 100-mile radius of Napa until further notice, therefore affecting the ACE and Capital Corridor service to the stadium. ACE would normally carry upwards of 500 passengers to our game. Capital Corridor carries approximately 750 fans. We remain in communication with these agencies. Caltrain and VTA are operating as scheduled at this time.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    But we know temblors only pose a seismic problem when the great and powerful decree they do.

    Oops – somehow I ignored the 7+ at Tehachapi in 1952. What was that? 2nd largest in California in the 20th century? Not a problem. Ditto for a base tunnel thru a fault in the San Gabriels.

    Nothing can possibly go wrong. Only at Tejon we nervous nelly.

  26. datacruncher
    Aug 24th, 2014 at 12:06
    #26

    Interesting when compared to the concerns raised about HSR in Bakersfield passing close to Bakersfield High School and a hospital. But apparently not much concern about multiple daily oil trains that will be passing close to those locations.

    Kern County mounts defense of oil train shipments
    …………
    The Kern County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve what should be the state’s largest crude oil rail terminal in September. Another large crude-by-rail terminal is already under construction west of here, and will begin operating this fall. Together, the Alon USA refinery rail terminal in Bakersfield and the nearby Plains All American facility could receive three 100-car crude oil trains a day.

    That’s considerably more oil than Valero Refining Co. proposes to ship by rail to its Benicia refinery in the Bay Area, a plan that would bring two 50-car oil trains through Sacramento every day starting next year. The environmental report for that project has generated more than a hundred written and oral comments from the public, many in support, but many against.

    In contrast, the environmental review for the Alon refinery project in Bakersfield prompted just 22 comments. Only two of them were from local residents challenging the project. Duane Henning, who identified himself as a parent of a Bakersfield High School student, called the proposal ridiculous. The tracks are a few yards from the high school. “There is no way these Bakken shale oil trains should be allowed into the community,” he wrote.
    ……………………………
    http://www.sacbee.com/2014/08/24/6649584/kern-county-mounts-defense-of.html

    synonymouse Reply:

    What about the Chevron refinery in Richmond, where there was a lot of kvetching from locals. Did it do any good?

  27. Alon Levy
    Aug 24th, 2014 at 12:57
    #27

    Off-topic: apparently, in Belgium there’s a narrow-gauge interurban going almost all the way from the French border to the Dutch border.

    Belgian coast tram

    Synon, this looks relevant to your interests.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I checked out the Vicinal lines in 1970. I believe some of their older equipment went to Alexandria?

    In the low countries and Germany and others a great part of the legacy electric rail survived, unlike the U.S. Two of the notable losses as I recall from Modern Tramway were Oberhausen(official justification for bustitution was subsidence from mining)and important lines in the Netherlands, in particular an interurban to Leiden from, I believe, den Haag. I think they were never rebuilt.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    West Germany tore up a lot of urban streetcars, but it replaced them with subways, or converted them into Muni Metro-like subway-surface operations. (Okay, far more competently run than Muni, but you get the idea.) But all of these countries just kept electrifying their mainline network. Germany is about half electrified, and the Netherlands and Belgium are almost fully electrified. It’s not like in the US, where they kept the mainline network running under steam power with only a few exceptions, and instead built a parallel electrified network.

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