Costa, Hahn, Lofgren, Slam Republican Op-Eds

Jan 26th, 2015 | Posted by

Jim Costa, Janice Hahn, and Zoe Lofgren are co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on California High-Speed Rail – and they’re not happy about recent Republican attacks on high speed rail in the pages of the Sacramento Bee. They responded to op-eds by Jeff Denham and Kevin McCarthy with their own op-ed in the Bee over the weekend:

Each of us is entitled to our own opinion, but as Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, we are not entitled to our own facts….

They write of unrealistic ridership estimates and claim that “one analysis after another has raised these red flags” but do not point to credible evidence. McCarthy and his colleagues in Congress did call for a federal review of the ridership estimates by the independent Government Accountability Office. But far from raising any red flags, the GAO found that the California High-Speed Rail Authority is using industry-standard processes to analyze and estimate ridership, and made no recommendations for changes in how it is being calculated. Similarly, the independent legislative peer review group and leading academic experts from around the world have corroborated their work.

They then offer this sick burn on Denham and McCarthy:

They say that opposition to the project is at an all-time high. But recent polls show support for the project is higher now than when California voters approved funding in 2008. And Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin – a supporter of high-speed rail – won 300,000 more votes in her unsuccessful campaign for state controller than the Republican gubernatorial candidate, who had made his opposition to high-speed rail a central campaign issue.

It’s good to see these Democrats pushing back, and the whole op-ed is worth reading. About time they called out the lies and distortions of Congressional Republicans, especially when it comes to high speed rail.

  1. Jerry
    Jan 27th, 2015 at 02:54
    #1

    They forgot to ask what the Republican alternatives were.
    As always, the Republicans only say No. Without a plan of their own.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Just fence and grade separate tracks where HSR trains would operate. 2008 Prop 1A was for “…Safe, Reliable…” HSR. With commute stations and grade crossings, HSR is vulnerable to accidents, suicides, and vandalism – NEITHER SAFE NOR RELIABLE.

    Zorro Reply:

    Simple solution, get rid of the at grade highway/street crossings, put the highways/streets that used to be grade crossings under the tracks with an underpass.

    Shorebreeze Reply:

    The Republican alternative is . . . . .”Wait, look at the canteloupe calves on that guy over there!!”

  2. joe
    Jan 27th, 2015 at 06:04
    #2

    It’s too soft.

    The authors write that Congress singled out the project and denied it funding. That’s not true. Congress failed to provide new funding for any new rail programs anywhere in the country

    They should be blasting the California GOP delegation for intentionally hurting the state and country by opposing all rail and singling out their State’s project for the most intense criticism.

  3. jimsf
    Jan 27th, 2015 at 09:35
    #3

    As usual republicans simply have to nothing to offer the average person. That’s why the only way they can win anything, anywhere is through demagoguery and fear mongering. They have to invent “problems” that don’t exist and promise to “solve” them by being obstructionist, all the while doing absolutely nothing to better the State for the people. What’s worse is that their m.o. is damaging to the public psyche and it undermines the people’s faith in the system; a system created, managed and operated by the people themselves. That system is what stands in the way of those who have extraordinary wealth and power, and it keeps them from running roughshod over the democratic process.

    In most cultures evil is defined as anything that undermines that culture. That’s why I have always considered republican philosophy to be pure evil as it seeks to destroy real democracy by destroying confidence in the system and by whispering lies into the ears of a fearful public.
    Insidious is the word.
    a : awaiting a chance to entrap : treacherous
    b : harmful but enticing : seductive
    2
    a : having a gradual and cumulative effect : subtle
    b of a disease : developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Saint Ronnie was elected in 1980. 35 years ago. They have been promising to eliminate waste fraud and abuse since then. Our government should be so lean and efficient that there’s only two people working in all of the government. We shouldn’t be paying any taxes either. They have been doing something about abortion for all those years and all they have managed to do is make it really annoying to get a legal abortion. And force a few unfortunate women to carry fetuses that will not survive because they were able to pass legislation that made it illegal to abort after 20 weeks. We should all be drug free too. And Obamacare is going to be repealed any day now.
    …they have been running on how bad the Democrats are for 35 years and haven’t done much of anything except cut taxes on rich people and blow up the economy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Go, go, Greeks. Get them bankers.

    Jerry Reply:

    Ronnie was no saint. He was evil.
    He was constantly, constantly, disparaging the government he was sworn to uphold, protect, and defend.

    Jerry Reply:

    He was the only person I know of, who could shake his head ‘no’, and say the word ‘yes’.
    Sometimes, he would nod his head ‘yes’, and say the word ‘no’.
    No wonder he was called the great communicator.

    Andrew L-A Reply:

    Have you ever met a Bulgarian?

    (Nodding for them means No, Shaking your head means Yes. Traps people who are surprised by the response they get.)

    Jerry Reply:

    And correct grammar in Russian requires a double negative.

    Eric Reply:

    It does in most languages I’m familiar with other than English.

    Jerry Reply:

    And if you speak three languages you are tri-lingual, two languages you are bi-lingual, and if you speak one language you are an American.
    Was it Molly Ivins who reported the Texan who demanded English as the official language for Texas as saying, ‘If English was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for him.”

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The bit about English being good enough for Jesus is an urban legend that goes back to Ma Ferguson (who did not say that, either).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Republicans who said he was selling snake oil found reasons to go spend more time with their families. To today’s Republicans he’s Saint Ronnie of Always Cutting Taxes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And yet RR headed up the Screen Actors Guild.

    Jerry Reply:

    So does that mean he was part of that evil west coast Hollywood empire?
    Those Republicans denounced Nelson Rockefeller for being divorced and then supported Goldwater.
    But then those Republicans could over look the fact that Ronnie was a divorced man when they endorsed him.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, he was disparaging the government. And that still makes him a better person than Eisenhower, who committed ethnic cleansing in office, set the stage for Vietnam under Kennedy and Johnson, and ran a far more militarized government (the military was 11% of GDP even after the Korean War, vs.at most 7% under Reagan and 5% now).

    Jerry Reply:

    Eisenhower worked to end the Korean War.
    Eisenhower said don’t get into a land war in Asia.
    He refused to help the French at Dien Bien Phu.
    And another nation was divided in half. Chalmers Johnson in, ‘Blowback’, explains the costs and consequences of the American Empire.
    The GNP as it was called then continued to grow. I don’t know what the military budget would be in real terms over the years. But Eisenhower raised the alarm about its cost. Eisenhower certainly was not a saint and most certainly Reagan was not.
    PS Both Kennedy and Johnson had the chance to NOT escalate the Viet Nam war. But hey, the Maddox and the Turner Joy came under attack from the North Viet Nam navy. And we had to retaliate so they would not be invading us in Los Angeles.
    China recently bought some old used aircraft carriers. Time to beef up our navy.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    GDP per capita growth in the 1950s was actually weak. Go to Measuring Worth and extract real GDP per capita rates. The 1960s had faster growth.

    Eisenhower raised the alarm about the cost of the military budget after leaving office; in office, he was a military Keynesian through and through. I don’t have per capita military spending numbers going farther back than 1962, only percentages of GDP (look up chart 2.31 on the US Government Spending site).

    Also, ethnic cleansing. Seriously. Look up Operation Wetback. American citizens got deported to Mexico because they were Hispanic and couldn’t produce identification to La Migra’s satisfaction.

    Vietnam was largely on Johnson, but Kennedy and Eisenhower contributed. Four million people died because of America, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    that’s what happens when you have religious zealots facing off. The communists in Vietnam and the hawks in the U.S. would deny it but that’s what happens when you put religious zealots in charge. The people who were pissing their pants over communists in Vietnam are the same ones who are pissing their pants over radical Islamists today. What they need is as dominatrix who is into urolagnia.

    Jerry Reply:

    Thank you Alon for the Operation Wetback info. I appreciate it.
    Throughout history, Americans have turned a blind eye towards ethnic cleansing (and genocide).
    The foundation of America was established in part on the bases of
    1. The enslavement of one race, and
    2. The genocide of another race. (some say you cannot call the killing and relocation of the native Americans ‘genocide’ because the word only came into being in 1941.)
    Regarding words and their usage: Colin Powell was the first Sec. of State to officially use the word, ‘genocide’. (Eisenhower was supposed to be the first President to use the word, ‘cancer’ when he announced the death of John Foster Dulles. Prior to that, polite people only said, ‘lingering death’.)
    (Jazz was a ‘dirty’ word, and the word ‘pregnant’ was forbidden on TVs “I Love Lucy” when she was, “with child.”) (Reagan is supposed to have had a problem with the word, ‘aids.’)
    People are afraid to use certain words. But money talks louder.
    The Ohio Elections Commission found that Turkish American Funds were a primary source of support for US Rep. Jean Schmidt. Which in turn led to Schmidt saying she could not characterized the deaths of over 1 million Armenians as ‘genocide.’ Money talks.
    What does all of this have to do with a HSR blog?
    Only that people like McCarthy will write that they oppose HSR on an economic basis and then vote for a 2nd F-35 engine which the Pentagon does not want.
    Only that people like McCarthy will will vote for the continuation of legislation that can take any reader of this blog, arrest them, lock them up, deny bail, deny the writ of habeas corpus, and detain them forever. He sees nothing wrong with that. But HSR? Oh God. Everything is wrong with HSR.
    See U.S. Supreme Court Case, Yick Wo v. San Francisco Sheriff Hopkins, 1886.
    What part of the 14th Amendment doesn’t McCarthy understand???

    Jerry Reply:

    Well said jimsf

    john burrows Reply:

    A couple of quotes—

    “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones” (Calvin Coolidge 1910)

    “Republicans should be judged on how many laws they repeal, not how many new ones they pass” John Boehner 2013)

    And in accordance with the Boehner Doctrine it looks like the Republicans in the House, for about the 51st time, are going to try and repeal Obamacare again. Throw in a new lawsuit to stop Obama’s immigration executive orders—alongside the previous lawsuit designed to gut Obamacare—add in their efforts to attack Roe v. Wade and you start to see the Congressional Republican mind at work.

    I don’t think of this Republican mindset of “kill and repeal” as necessarily being evil, but I can’t help but wonder where the USA would be today if we had followed this mindset from the beginning.

    Jerry Reply:

    Kevin McCarthy is a liar.
    He claims in his article that he will fight to protect precious taxpayer dollars.
    Yet former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said a second engine for the F-35 fighter is unnecessary and a WASTE of money.
    But never-the-less, McCarthy voted for a second F-35 engine that the Pentagon DOES NOT WANT.

    Jerry Reply:

    McCarthy voted to automatically approve energy companies’ applications to drill for oil without a safety review. After he had voted to gut the Dept. of Interiors budget so they could not conduct timely safety reviews.

  4. synonymouse
    Jan 27th, 2015 at 10:02
    #4

    Wake up, Cheerleaders.

    What you are getting from Jerry and PB is not HSR, but Palmdale BART.

    les Reply:

    we will ride! we will ride! :)

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    At least we are getting something!

    synonymouse Reply:

    But let’s be honest about it. It is an LA regional system that should be financed intra-region.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and if you do that they can turn around and tell you that improving 101 is a regional project that should be financed locally. Or you can sit in traffic.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sure.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    I thought ‘closing the gap’ was the top statewide rail priority…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The “gap” is a trojan horse for a high desert commute op.

    EJ Reply:

    Eurostar is so awful because the same tracks on the English side are used by high speed commuter trains between Kent and London. It’s just terrible knowing that commuters are using the same tracks.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And they built a brand new connection to the Channel without contortion nor detour.

    The Cheerleaders do not want real hsr between SF and LA and instead insist on a 3rd rate alignment. At least be up front. Prop 1a was a scam. I hope the Judge quashes it without any enforcement and throws the whole thing back to the Legislature.

    Maybe somebody with real money in the Sta. Clarita hood will get pissed with PB’s bs and decide to go after a re-vote. Prop 1a would go down.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “commuters … using the same tracks.”

    All the trains on the DogLeg will be commuter trains, with lotsa added stations in the high desert. Cut the speeds to BART 80mph to save money.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Fine by me. Of course, the constructed route won’t include those extra stations at first, and they’ll run the 1st trains (at a loss) at full speed. I’ll ride it then before they build the extra stations (but where will the money come from?) and then stop when it becomes commuter rail.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The provisos of Prop 1 are contradictory and the 24 station limit will be thrown out with the rest of the bait and switch bs.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So the plans for Bakersfield to Burbank will include extra stations? Or they won’t but secretly will build them anyway?

    synonymouse Reply:

    PB’s plans should reveal their intentions. Locating the line close to existing settlements would facilitate new commute stations.

    Clearly real estate developers are running the show but they only can exert so much influence on PB and in some cases they will have to count on population and sprawl migrating to the eventual hsr alignment over time. One thing they have on their side is the path of least resistance equates to the area where the poorest people live. And my assumption is for the most part that is where the existing high desert population is concentrated. Not in the redoubts.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They wanted to go to Waterloo but the NIMBY’s along the line said it would curdle the chicken milk and make the cows stop laying eggs and make the sales clerks in the stores friendly so they sent the HSR train to St. Pancreas.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Waterloo offended the folks at the other end of the line

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    it hadn’t over the years the trains did go there.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It did; France voiced complaints.

    EJ Reply:

    And they built a brand new connection to the Channel without contortion nor detour.

    Other than the fact that the connection to France somehow approaches London from the North?

    All the trains on the DogLeg will be commuter trains, with lotsa added stations in the high desert. Cut the speeds to BART 80mph to save money.

    Why would this be?

    swing hanger Reply:

    EJ, with regards to your last question, please refer to your response to IKB below:)

    J. Wong Reply:

    “Why would this be?”

    Because @synonymouse lives in a different universe than ours.

    synonymouse Reply:

    What is the proposed overall curvature south of Sta. Clarita towards Palmdale? Around 120 degrees?

    Anything like that in Kent?

    EJ Reply:

    It’s almost as if a railway can be used for more than one thing!

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    “The trains don’t know whose arses are on the seats, or where they are going, or why”.

    IKB Reply:

    the British term is bums on seats; I agree totally, the goal is to put enough passengers in any train so they’ll run one that you may use, when you want to. And of course get where you want to be (like home). Airlines put the last mile on you. The post office, telephone company, fedex, or even the freeway system actually don’t; they subsidize one long trip charging many others similarly for a shorter one. The success of HSR, or any other transportation alternative is to rationalize that last mile to something that makes sense – I didn’t say free, but plenty of bums on seats will make it cheaper, more often and more convenient, and indeed make it happen. Once you drive that first mile, it’s too easy to drive the next

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Dear Isambard: The quote above is from a BR manager. I think it was Cyril Bleasdale.

    IKB Reply:

    touche

    IKB Reply:

    Paul D, of course the spelling gives it way. Perhaps butts on seat would be the more correct wording. But ultimately you need a seat (or stand) on a train and absent other customers there won’t be one. The challenge remains to have enough of these other customers – better too many than too few – or there won’t be that option

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    “A face in every window and a backside on every seat” is the US version given to me by a WP alum.

    IKB Reply:

    Paul D thx, I like that – two countries separated by a common language?

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ EJ

    How can BART be used for more than one thing?

    IKB Reply:

    you clearly missed an earlier comment per moving organ pieces parts around. A vital service that BART could provide

    synonymouse Reply:

    You are going to entrust “organs” to a phalanx of BART cops?

    Do you see patients being hauled to the ER on BART? They have certified transport resources for such things.

    You missed my point entirely. BART is totally single purpose and simplified and that’s why no expresses. It was supposed to be driverless.

    BART(ughh!)colonizing Geary Street should be standard gauge driverless thru your blankety-blank new tube. Fuck “BT” compatibility – after they have built their new line shut down and convert the old lines to driverless.

    That will fix Amalgamated’s sorry ass for trying to poach TWU 250A’s jobs.

    IKB Reply:

    I trust you didn’t think I was serious about organs – someone else suggested that. But I do wonder at BART’s mission, or what they could do to deliver it better

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thus far no amount of criticism has got them to even upgrade their retrograde proprietary Bechtel truck and wheelset design.

    BART is a museum op.

    BART is a Brutalist black and white TV.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Assuming someone like Kamala Harris will be running the patronage machine by that time and they are still running on union slush money, it will be a BARTish elected board and a worthless bureaucracy whose sole mission is to take care of said bureaucracy.

    The real question is which union? BLE-UTU or the more militant Amalgamated or TWU. TWU tithes the best I believe.

    The union under the party bosses will be in charge. Just like BART and Muni.

    So, IKB, BART’s mission is to take care of BART employees.

    EJ Reply:

    Haha, IKB, you’re new here and you’re arguing with this blog’s resident right wing troll. He’s just here to serve up regular servings of Fox News word salad, complete with totally out of context swipes at “thugs” and illegal immigrants.

    His entire position is that he hates unions and democrats. (Yet he loves streetcars, despite the fact that they’ve got a lot more union labor associated with than more modern transit). He hates BART, because he rode on it once and there were some black people on it so he got scared.

    IKB Reply:

    EJ, no worries, I’ll fit right in. I always told my kids don’t ask the question if you can’t handle the answer, but that doesn’t mean “don’t ask the question”, it means work on the latter.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I watched them build BART and rode it the first week of ops in the East Bay. All downhill from there. Be sure to bring along your ear plugs.

    Curious the more rabid BART fanboys would decry driverless as it would lower costs and fares. And new lines standard gauge. The main financial advantage of full grade separation is complete automation. See HART.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART’s walk-thru trainsets better allow for roving inspectors and police necessary with driverless in an urban setting. Better than the HART system using stripped down LRV’s mu’d. Cameras will certainly help in case of mayhem.

    An overpaid chauffeur isolated in an operators compartment is useless in crime control.

    EJ Reply:

    I’m talking about CAHSR, not BART. Those are different things.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not at all. In PB’s mind CAHSR is just BART on a bigger scale.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    But what about the operator?

    In the last couple of days I happened to look at Belgium’s HSR operator, Thalys. Their um, network, I think explains pretty well why SNCF wanted to ditch the Central Valley and build a spur to Fresno and Bakersfield.

    It’s one thing to allege CAHSR is a Boonie BART…but it’s a real stretch to think BART or SNCF is going to operate it….

    synonymouse Reply:

    Amtrak?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I doubt it.

    Half of me thinks there will be a tetrarchy of airlines that run HSR from four big hubs, NY, Chicago, Atlanta, and SF.

    Other half thinks Amtrak will run the NEC and some dreadful-ass mixed service in the Midwest and South and California will run its own separate rail corporation. Like Thalys, wondering how the other states involved would agree to that….

    Zorro Reply:

    Syno that statement makes you look like a liar, a desperate one at that, like a Republican Stooge. Unless you have some sort of link to backup your claim and not from Fox or Breitbart, then that is what that is, a LIE.

    synonymouse Reply:

    VBobier is still with us. Good show.

  5. Reality Check
    Jan 27th, 2015 at 10:51
    #5

    Tonight: Menlo Park may sue over Caltrain electrification EIR

    As with two neighboring cities, Menlo Park is considering whether to challenge the environmental impact report for Caltrain’s plan to convert its diesel-powered commuter trains to ones that run on electricity along the Peninsula corridor.

    Mayor Catherine Carlton scheduled a closed session for tonight (Jan. 27) to talk about whether to join a lawsuit. “I like the idea of improving our rail system, but it must be done with respect to our environment.”

    Attorney Michael Brady, who has worked on lawsuits challenging the high-speed rail, urged the city to decide before the Feb. 6 deadline passes to file a lawsuit against the electrification EIR. In an email sent to the City Council on Jan. 22, he described the EIR as “the entry path” for high-speed rail on the Peninsula.

    “If you fail to file suit, all your objections and rights disappear. If you file, you have leverage for negotiation and for protecting the RESIDENTS of MP who will be gravely affected if the problems are not cured,” he wrote.

    He said he would get Stuart Flashman, the attorney representing the city on high-speed rail issues, to cap his fee at $15,000 to $20,000, split among the jurisdictions joining the electrification EIR lawsuit.

    Atherton and Palo Alto have also scheduled closed sessions on the same topic.

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    You have to sue in order to show up on Jerry’s radar. The folks in SoCal will recognize this political fact of life in due course.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So rich people are gonna piss away 20,000 bucks so the state can piss away almost as much defending it and a judge is going to be tied up deciding that there is no significant impact and he or she is being a nice guy and not citing them for filing a frivolous lawsuit….

    synonymouse Reply:

    Jerry and PB do not play nice. Cost of admission.

    Zorro Reply:

    Whiner, your diaper needs changing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    20k?

    That’s an Amalgamated chauffeur’s OT.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Not ambulance chasers, engine chasers, didn’t Flashman loose his HSR cases.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There’s no shame in losing a case against the government. It is to be expected. Jerry controls the Judge’s budget.

    Zorro Reply:

    Wrong, the State Legislature decides the budget, by a Simple Majority VOTE, a Governor just sends an idea of what the Governor would like in a budget. As to No shame, you’re right there, for once. No Governor writes and approves a budget, the State Legislature does that, a Governor can sign or veto legislation too, whether there are enough votes for an override is another matter. No Governor in California has ever had the powers of the CA State Legislature…

    Reality Check Reply:

    Palo Alto Council decides not to litigate Caltrain electrification, but Atherton might

    J. Wong Reply:

    Sounds like Palo Alto, at least, realizes that any litigation would be shut down and that a significant proportion of their citizens want Caltrain improvements including electrification.

    Jerry Reply:

    Some of their citizens even want safer rail crossings and more housing.

    joe Reply:

    from same article

    They also asked to have a statement added saying they feel the environmental report did not look closely enough at alternatives to the electric locomotives, such as high-tech diesel.

    ….

    “If you don’t file a suit they’re going to laugh all the way to the next step. They’ll be thrilled that no one called their bluff and there will be no negotiation,” Rail Committee member Jim Janz said. “You might be able to put up with a few negative environment impacts that electrification might cause if they were really going to provide good service.”

    Posted by Wait a second..
    a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
    on Jan 22, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Why should all of the taxpayers in Atherton pay to fund the lawsuit Jim Janz is demanding be filed, when Janz and other neighbors of his chose to purchase homes next to the railway? This is really all about preserving the value of their homes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    So these people are rail-ignorant and don’t grasp that diesel is incompatible with HSR. It is not surprising.

    Most Californians think the train is going via the Grapevine, the way they go. And do they even know it is steel wheel and not exotic?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Do they even care about such niggling little details? @syn You have to admit that the voters aren’t really paying attention. If they were, they’d never have voted for it in the 1st place since Prop 1A clearly had “Dogleg” in the title.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You can run diesel trains under the wires for HSR trains.

    synonymouse Reply:

    work trains

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    A locomotive doesn’t know what it is pulling, diesel or otherwise.

    Alan Reply:

    Caltrain could always petition the STB for the same declaratory ruling that CHSRA received. Not totally a stretch since the tracks are already in use by an interstate carrier (UP) and will be in the future by another (CHSRA).

  6. Useless
    Jan 27th, 2015 at 13:05
    #6

    SCNF wants to build a TGV line connecting Arlington, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, but their lines cannot connect with the Shinkansen line connecting Houston and Dallas, so passengers would have to change trains when going from Houston to Forth Worth.

    http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article8202234.html

    datacruncher Reply:

    In the middle of that article:

    A key issue for elected leaders not only in Washington but also Austin is how to pay for a high-speed rail system. With the Houston-to-Dallas route, it’s more clear cut, with Texas Central Railway saying it will raise its own funds.

    But the rest of the system could require a significant amount of public money — perhaps billions of dollars. However, high-speed rail commission members and supporters are emphasizing that the money wouldn’t necessarily come from taxpayers.

    On the contrary, during Monday’s meeting, at least 16 other forms of funding were identified by Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Those include such sources as capturing property values from land developments around train stations, raising funds from train station parking and even offering limited forms of freight transport on the high-speed rail lines — for example, harvested organs that must be rushed to a donor, Morris said.

    Useless Reply:

    datacruncher

    You forgot to bold the most important part.

    offering limited forms of freight transport on the high-speed rail lines — for example, harvested organs that must be rushed to a donor, Morris said.

    “If there’s an organ donation, we might be able to move it four times faster on high-speed rail than on an airplane,” Morris said.

    beetroot Reply:

    That’s not good enough, we need to build an entirely separate system solely for organ delivery. Think of how many hearts per hour a thing like that could move!

    Jerry Reply:

    Wow. Be still my heart.

    Observer Reply:

    It seems that so far SCNF is interested in what the Texas High Speed Rail Commission (THSRC) will come up with. It seems THSRC has a more public interest type perspective to HSR vs a more airline type mentality that the Shinkansen promoters have. The THSRC in exploring service to not only Dallas/Houston, but to Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio; maybe public funding for it too!! For me it will be more interesting what the THSRC comes up with than the Shinkansen proposal. Who knows, other interested parties may also come forward to the THSRC!

    Observer Reply:

    Who knows, maybe the CHSRA and the THSRC may share best practices someday, and together pursue more public funding for HSR projects!!

    Useless Reply:

    Observer

    THSRC is nothing more than a rubber-stamp administrative body formed specifically to approve JR Central’s Texas Shinkasen project. It was the SNCF that approached the THSRC with the idea of a second TGV line connecting cities west of Dallas, not the case of THSRC wanting to connect those cities on its own.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    CHSRA is nothing more than a rubber-stamp administrative body formed specifically to approve …

    Useless Reply:

    Richard Mlynarik

    The difference is that CHSRA raises money and plans routes, grabs land, awards contracts, etc. THSRA simply puts its stamp of approval on whatever the document that JR Central brings to its table and all the decisions are being made by JR Central and Japanese Finance Ministry in Tokyo

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    So that takeaway is “Tōkyō bad, Montréal good.”

    Got it.

    PS I’ve never seen the slightest evidence that any person at CHSRA has ever once made any independent decision in two decades.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Montreal can’t be any good. They went out and bought off the shelf products to expand service. They came off the same shelf as NJTransit stuff which makes them evil.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think that dynamic is quite interesting, but isn’t the collapse in oil prices going to make this irrelevant as Texas’ economy and state budget fall into a real dark hole?

    At this rate shouldn’t Kawasaki and Alstom being fighting over more lucrative real estate like Colorado or Florida?

    Useless Reply:

    Teh Judah

    Texas needs high speed rail if it were to grow Dallas and Houston into mega cities the size of New York and Chicago.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And yet Chicago’s on the verge of becoming a megacity, without any HSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So did the cities along the NEC…

    Dallas and Houston are going to have a much tougher time because population growth is slowing and may stop by 2050 or 2060. Worldwide. The rustbelt isn’t as rusty as it used to be. Living in a four bedroom split on a half acre lot on a cul-de-sac isn’t as attractive as it used to be. And life in the poor countries keeps getting better and better, less reason to emigrate to the first world.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Eh, there’s lots of population growth and not much income growth in most of Africa. But people there don’t emigrate to the US, but to their former colonizers, Britain and France.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Why wouldn’t the two lines be able to connect? Surely if both projects were approved, they’d agree on some comnon standards … their tech isn’t that different…

    Useless Reply:

    Miles Bader

    JR Central is proposing to bring the Shinkansen to Texas as is, no modification to signaling, train sets, and track design what so ever. Amy modification would increase cost and delay the project and the whole thing is a duplicate of Tokyo-To-Osaka Shinkansen line.

    Aside from differing crash standard in which a TGV train would crush a Shinkansen N700i like an empty cola can in a collision, Japanese are NOT FAMILIAR with the ETCS signaling system as shown in Taiwan HSR debacle, which suffered from years of technical problems of trying to run a Shinkansen train on a ETCS track.

    Lastly, assuming crash standard, loading gauge, and signaling issues are resolved, a TGV train cannot run on a Shinkansen track because it’s too heavy. Shinkansen tracks have a axle load limit of 12 tons to reduce construction cost, while TGVs have an axle load of 17 tons.

    Shinkansen trains and tracks are just too different from UIC trains and tracks to make them compatible, so it is not worth the effort.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Dallas is someday going to want service to Oklahoma City and Tulsa. OKC and Tulsa are going to want service to Saint Louis. Saint Louis will have service to Chicago by then. Union Station in Chicago is “Amtrak” loading gauge as are all the commuter lines radiating out from Chicago.
    Houston someday is going to want service to New Orleans and New Orleans is going to want service to Atlanta probably via Birmingham and Atlanta is going to want service to Washington DC. via Charlotte. Charlotte is going to want service to Philadelphia and New York. Not counting the long distance land cruise trains there are three or four trains an hour between New York and Philadelphia now all day long.
    …… Texas wants something that can fit into Union Station in Chicago or Penn Station in New York. You’d have to do major surgery on a TGV to do that. They want something that can leave Austin or San Antonio and go to Dallas or Houston. Because someday they are going to build the T-Bone system and connect Austin to Houston. What they want is Acela IIIs or Acela IVs.

    swing hanger Reply:

    “Japanese are NOT FAMILIAR with the ETCS signaling system as shown in Taiwan HSR debacle, which suffered from years of technical problems of trying to run a Shinkansen train on a ETCS track.”

    Citation please.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Also, read it and weep:
    http://www.hitachirail-eu.com/etcs-technology-operating-with-network-rail_106.html

    Useless Reply:

    swing hanger

    ETCS on a slow moving diesel locomotive and ETCS on a 200 mph bullet train are two totally different things.

    Well documented Japanese struggle with Taiwan Shinkansen shows otherwise.

    William Reply:

    @Useless, one would think that because of the difficulties in THSR’s signaling, Japanese companies would now be able to handle non-Japanese specified signaling systems, such as ETCS, after all, it has been 8 years since the opening of THSR.

    Moreover, the signaling systems on the train doesn’t have to be made by Japanese companies. Hitachi is the builder of British Rail Class 395 EMU, and will be the builder of Class 800 and 801.

  7. trentbridge
    Jan 27th, 2015 at 14:02
    #7

    Factoid: Apple did $74 billion sales in the last quarter – that’s ninety days – and made of profit of $18 billion. Compare that to the cost of building CA HSR – $68 billion over a decade. So let’s stop pretending that $68 billion is a “big number” that makes a project scary! I’d rather live in a state with Apple, Facebook, Ebay, Cisco, Spacex, Tesla, Disney, Wells Fargo etc. than any state touting Bakken Shale or Eagle Ford oil revenues.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And how much of that $74 bil is offshore? With Barack threatening to tax richies you think anybody with a pulse would repatriate the loot?

    trentbridge Reply:

    Yeh, yeh, yeh. I suppose they’re building the doughnut in Cupertino just to give Tim Cook a place to store unsold Apple watches!

    Wikipedia:
    On June 7, 2011, Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs presented to Cupertino City Council details of the architectural design of the new buildings and their environs. The new campus, on a site now totalling 175 acres (0.71 km2), is planned to house up to 13,000 employees in one central four-storied circular building of approximately 2,800,000 square feet (260,000 m2), which will include a café for 3,000 sitting people, be surrounded by extensive landscaping, and offer parking both underground and in a parking structure.

    Plus the employees at Apple stores, and the Apple shareholders etc. Who give a hoot about accounting gimmicks that keeps profits offshore – Apple pays dividends to shareholders and employs Californians. It’s part of the vibrant Califrornian economy that can afford trains..

    Joey Reply:

    Shame the new campus is designed for only auto commutes…

    joe Reply:

    The current campus is reachable via which transit system?

    Joey Reply:

    It’s not really any worse than the current campus, but it’s evident that very little thought was put into accessibility by alternative forms of transportation. It’s another low-rise office park, except that the parking moat has been consolidated into a structure and replaced with open space (which is better than just a parking moat, yes).

    Andrew L-A Reply:

    Given a corporate decision not to uproot everybody from Cupertino, how many suitable sites were there?

    Jerry Reply:

    And Steve Jobs had an income of $1 a year.
    Wonder if he was able to get food stamps?
    But as synonymouse would say,
    Wow. That’s much less than an Amalgamated chauffeur’s OT.
    So. I guess Steve Jobs would have made out much better with his income and his taxes if he would have had Amalgamated represent him.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Sounds like they can afford to complete the Big Dig of the West.

    Michael Reply:

    That’s Amazon’s problem. And then Microsoft is on the hook for all the floating bridges.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    http://grist.org/cities/seattles-unbelievable-transportation-megaproject-fustercluck/

    Eric Reply:

    I liked seeing the big Tutor Perini sticker on the TBM before it went into the ground.

    Jerry Reply:

    Home of Starbuck’s Pike Place. Let Starbucks pay for it.

    Zorro Reply:

    The Sierra Club is against the Tunnel and down here in California they are against HSR too, smells of Hypocrisy to Me, what a surprise, you can’t have it both ways, but evidently that’s what the Club wants.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Sierra Club is a Judas, a developer shill.

    JJJJ Reply:

    The state should buy Apple and invest the profits in HSR

    Joey Reply:

    Think about buying UP first (or some portion of it). That would actually provide some tangible benefit and just might not bankrupt the state.

    trentbridge Reply:

    I would like the State of California to buy the coastal line from Moorpark to San Jose from UP and restore the Coast Daylight and make the necessary ROW improvements to accommodate another passenger train on the Coast Starlight route. i.e. The UPRR “Coast Subdivision” between San Jose and San Luis Obispo and the UPRR “Santa Barbara Subdivision” between San Luis Obispo and Las Posas just west of Moorpark. (State Rail Plan 2013)

    Coast Daylight service would support several statewide transportation objectives:
    • Provide additional capacity to serve corridor growth in a cost-effective manner with minimal
    impacts to local communities, natural resources, and air quality and GHG emissions.
    • Increase the use of intercity passenger rail service as part of a multi-modal strategy identified in regional and county goals and plans.
    • Improve rail operations by reducing travel times and increasing reliability and safety.
    • Provide early implementation of a “one-seat” ride from downtown San Francisco to downtown
    Los Angeles.
    • Connect the Central Coast to HSR and other transportation options available in the Los Angeles Basin and San Francisco Bay Area.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You missed a bullet point:

    * Restore and build anew a fleet of Cab Forward “AC” steam locomotives (along with associated turntables, watering, roundhouse maintenance sheds) to haul the vital strategic Coast Daylight in accordance with its transportation objectives.

    EJ Reply:

    Toot toot! If they brought back the GS series in regular service (did the AC cab forwards ever haul the coast daylight?) fools like you and me would be on it like a shot. Wouldn’t actually make money or anything, or be anything like a rational decision for California, but come on, you know you want it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The SP used proprietary pad bearings – I suspect standard Timken roller bearings would be superior.

    The State cannot even come up with the money to properly cover the 2 Santa Fe locomotives in Sac.

    You can probably consider it a miracle the 4294 survived, tho it is claimed stripped of many parts.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I strongly recommend Flann O’Brien’s illustration of a steam locomotive with a pantograph using electricity to make the steam. As long as you use “renewables” for the electricity everyone should be happy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They actually did that in Switzerland during World War II. They didn’t once things started to get back to normal after the war.

    Jerry Reply:

    The current two seat ride from SF to LA takes twelve hours.
    How long would your one seat ride take with “the necessary ROW improvements”?

    Joey Reply:

    Make it a three seat ride (via the San Joaquins) and you can shave off a few hours.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Nobody except foamers and transit blog readers would ride the whole length of a revived Coast Daylight service. Hypothetically, the bulk of the traffic would originate at intermediate stops currently underserved by Amtrak, ideally giving them at least 3 times/day (and reliable) services in each direction. Or a service Norcal to SLO using tilting stock, with cross platform connection to the Surfliners.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Whole point of a Coast Daylight is to attract retirees living on the Central Coast to head north or south to visit friends or family.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    swing hanger, there all all kinds of markets for different passenger services. I’m not certain of the numbers but we have probably north 5 million retirees in CA. Add in the million or so residents of the coastal counties between Ventura and San Jose, a few universities, foreign visitors, and yes the foamers and contributors to this blog et cetera and you should be able to sell 300 or 400 seats, and probably sell a lot of them two or three times on each trip. But it doesn’t justify purchasing the line, even for a $1. There’s a lot of deferred maintenance and expensive structures getting a daily dose of salty sea breeze.

    Jerry Reply:

    Deferred maintenance?? No. Not in our rich country.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yeah the only party looking for the Coast Daylight is the UP who can make money off the State leasing the tracks, as they don’t use much of the route any more for freight…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted, which bits don’t they use?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    And Ted, why has UP consistently delayed implementation of the Coast Daylight for the past 20 years if they can “make money off the State”?

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Ted Judah

    “as they don’t use much of the route any more for freight”.

    You’re kidding, right? They might not run a freight down or up it in it’s entirety, but they use the northern and southern portions pretty heavily for freight. At least everytime I’ve taken the Coast Starlight, it gets delayed for freight especially in the northern Salinas Valley.

    datacruncher Reply:

    I don’t know about the northern Salinas Valley, maybe someone else does.

    But at San Luis Obispo (from the discussions I’ve seen about oil trains being sent to the refinery at Nipomo) there are roughly only 5 or 6 freights and 6 passenger trains each day passing thru SLO.

    That compares to the 35 or so freights and 12 passenger trains each day on the BNSF in Fresno. There are also supposedly another roughly 25 to 30 freights on the UP each day passing thru Fresno. Those Fresno numbers come from a couple of other reports I’ve seen from that area.

    Someone else may have more accurate numbers, maybe there is something in the State Rail Plan.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The usual number cited for the Northeast Corridor is 1,000 trains a day with 50 of them being local freight service.

    Jerry Reply:

    So is the Coast Starlight required to implement PTC??
    And if so, how does that work out with the freight on the same lines in CA?
    I’ve had to wait while the Coast Starlight sat idle until (as the conductor said) we had to get the OK from Omaha before we could move ahead. (Too, too many delays)

    trentbridge Reply:

    Santa Barbara to Oakland JL Square is 361 miles (Amtrak schedule) and takes 8 hrs 45 min NB so the Coast Starlight averages just over 40 mph. If you improved the ROW for 60 mph or higher, you’d do the same trip in 6 hours – so I’d say two hours faster even if you added two additional stops (per plan). Whatever improvements made would also benefit the Coast Starlight so there would be four trains a day over the middle coastal section – perhaps allowing some coastal residents to do “out-and-back” trips in a single day. Secondly, it would also provide numerous tourists a daytime coastal vista for much of the trip and would easily fill up. In October/November 2014 the Coast Starlight has seen 73,000 passengers so roughly a thousand a day or five hundred per train. If you plan on 250 tourists a day or two Boeing 737s passenger load, it wouldn’t take much local support to make this feasible.

    Joey Reply:

    Speed is limited by track geometry in many areas. Some upgrades might be possible but not many.

    Jerry Reply:

    Track geometry? Does that mean, ‘single track’? Or deferred maintenance/improvement?
    Over the years I have experienced too many delays on the Coast Starlight.

    Jerry Reply:

    The Cascades on the same tracks beat the Coast Starlight by over thirty minutes in the Northwest.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “Track geometry?”

    No, it means curves. For example, the rather famous horseshoe curve coming down from Atascadero into San Luis Obispo.

    Jerry Reply:

    So if you simply ran Talgo trains over the same route, how much time would you save??

    J. Wong Reply:

    Probably not much because speed isn’t the limiting issue, but sharing with UP is.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, they are both issues.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Most of the Starlight’s route is already good for 60 mph or better. The problem is that to average 60 mph with all the long stops (at stations and elsewhere for opposing traffic) and slower areas (due to “track geometry” … winding grades, curves, etc.) you’d need to have the train doing well in excess of 79 mph everywhere else. But the FRA requires costly in-cab signaling in order to exceed 79 mph, something Amtrak can’t (and UP won’t) spring for on the Coast Line just so one or two long-distance land cruise trains can cut their running times a bit.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You can’t save much time by going faster but you could:
    Add a locomotive for faster acceleration after the stops
    Cut out one or two stops, e.g. Burbank Airport
    Make UP play the game by a better OTP incentive and enforcement of priorities.
    My spy at SLO tells me that the currently reduced consist (better power weight ratio) is resulting in better OTP. Also helps reduce station time. Maybe there should be a sleeper train and a coach train. A lot of time is wasted with people wandering up and down looking for their car.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Level boarding so they aren’t clambering up and down steep narrow staircases… It’s relatively cheap.

    Joey Reply:

    UP has expressed willingness to consider increasing the maximum speed to 110 on that segment, but (1) Maybe the weren’t thinking about the signaling issues at the time and (2) There aren’t many portions of the route that would actually work on. Even the relatively straight segments are interrupted by tight curves.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Hard to believe without a reference … UP knows the rules for exceeding 79 mph, and I can’t imagine how or why they’d be (seriously) willing to “consider” anything over 79 mph (class 4) — let alone 110 mph (class 6).

    Rail speed limits in the United States

    Joey Reply:

    Reference is here, PDF-page 7 “Passenger Train Speed Limits”

    Reality Check Reply:

    Thanks. Quoting the reference, here’s what UP means by “consider”:

    “UPRR may consider increases in speed up to 110 m.p.h. exclusively in the following corridors […] The Passenger Operators must invest in all infrastructure and technology, as deemed necessary by UPRR in its sole discretion, to support such higher speeds.”

    In other words, forget about it!

    joe Reply:

    Chicago St Louis project will run 110+ mph and is on UP track.

    http://www.progressiverailroading.com/high_speed_rail/article/Highspeed-rail-makes-incremental-progress-on-ChicagoSt-Louis-route–37153

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Slight difference in terrain

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s east of the Sierra Nevada which makes it unimportant. It won’t go any where near a BART station which makes it doubly or triply unimportant.

    joe Reply:

    The UP allowed 110 MPH upgrades on heavy used track.

    Jerry Reply:

    The Progressive Railroading article regarding 110 mph stretch between Chicago and St. Louis refers to a 12 miles stretch as being a milestone in the project.
    Does California have any milestones like that??
    What is the fastest a train can run on any stretch in California?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Does anyplace in California have Class 6 track?

    James in PA Reply:

    Class 6, 7, 8 is special areas

    http://trn.trains.com/railroads/abcs-of-railroading/2006/05/track-classifications

    JB in PA Reply:

    Apparently no Class 6 track in California,
    How about Oregon, Montana, or Alaska?
    Why would a railroad waste money to build a road to faster than the need to?

    Jerry Reply:

    I was on a northbound Coast Starlight when it had to stop and wait south of Gilroy because an evening southbound CalTrain had not yet cleared the track.
    Double tracking would help a lot in many locations.

    Jerry Reply:

    To me at least, it is very irritating to be on a long distance train and look out the window and see cars on the highway going faster.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …back in the 70s the MTA rented the billboard that was hovering over the Major Deegan/I-87. Where you could watch the commuter trains whiz by on the Hudson Line as you sat almost still or stopped in traffic. Along the lines of “get home faster” which then was changed to “get home relaxed”
    …..works really well when people in cars can see the trains moving faster than they are….

    JJJJ Reply:

    State is big enough to buy both.

    Joey Reply:

    Somehow I doubt that.

  8. synonymouse
    Jan 28th, 2015 at 14:06
    #8

    How can rich people be so stupid and still get to be so rich?:

    http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/bill-gates-is-worried-about-artificial-intelligence-too/

    The ordinary folk have been living under SkyNet for some time. Now it is time for the rich to feel the sting of the lash.

    How could any computer be stupider or more mendacious or more maleficent than PB?

    Why doesn’t the Gates Foundation give some money to BART? It is way non-profit.

    J. Wong Reply:

    What does BART lack that it requires money?

    synonymouse Reply:

    To quote Marlon Brando in “The Wild One””

    “Whatchya got?”

    J. Wong Reply:

    The point is that the Gates Foundation gives money on a “need” basis, and BART doesn’t “need” money beyond what they already get. (Yeah, you can always throw money at any organization and they could suck it up, but that’s not how philanthropy works.) Also, the Gates Foundation likes to give money to projects that will solve a problem facing poor people, and I don’t think BART has any such problems.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is a non-taxable slush fund used to buy political influence and “good will”. Just another lobbying resource, albeit with a feel-good face to the world.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[U]sed to buy political influence” ? Except from what I can see, they don’t actually do this. Projects in Africa don’t buy political influence. Can you point to any funding from them that you would consider “buying political influence”?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Buy your way into heaven. When they set up these tax-exempt foundations the guvmint should seize control over where the money goes.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are regulations requiring them to actually spend the money on something. It has to have some relation to the public good. For instance you can’t set up a foundation that provides you with a private jet or pays for your ski lodge.

    Jerry Reply:

    No. But the foundation can fly people on a private jet to a conference at a ski lodge.

    Jerry Reply:

    And regulations required the Getty Trust/Foundation to spend some of its money and Los Angeles got the beautiful Getty Center. (No cars allowed. Parking at base. Tram to the top.)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Paint to colorize the beercan cattlecars.

  9. Reality Check
    Jan 28th, 2015 at 17:05
    #9

    HChowchilla wye routes subject of public info session

    […]

    The possible routes have been whittled from 14 to three and for the next six months the rail authority will be taking input on which path is preferred. The routes being included are Avenue 21 to Road 13, Highway 152 north to Road 13 and Highway 152 to Road 19.

    “We wanted to show the community our progress on the Central Valley Wye (junction) section of the high-speed rail project,” said Elizabeth Jonasson, a California High-Speed Rail Authority regional spokeswoman.

    A preferred route is scheduled to be chosen by summer. […] Permitting for the project is slated for 2016.

    […]

    To give input on which route through Chowchilla you prefer, call (559) 445-5157 or email CentralValley.Wye@hsr.ca.gov.

    jimsf Reply:

    I’ll vote for 152 – road 13 but I think it might wind up being 152 – road 19 in the end.

  10. Reality Check
    Jan 28th, 2015 at 17:55
    #10

    Sleepless neighbors decry new Stockton ACE maintenance facility

    Obviously page 49 got it wrong where the “Less than significant impact” box is checked off for item 11 d.:

    Result in a substantial temporary or periodic increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Forgot to mention, the source of the constant low thrumming noise seems to be generators which, presumably, are providing power to the trainsets being serviced overnight.

    Peter Reply:

    Sounds like they need to file a lawsuit for nuisance.

    Alan Reply:

    They must have been sleeping well when the EIR was out for comment.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That’s delay tactic No. 47. Wait until the comment period is almost up to complain loudly that there hasn’t been enough time. Or tactic 52, wait until it’s over to whine endlessly that no one came to their door and held their hand while they read the public notices. Tactic 73 is to complain that they didn’t know that the stuff that had been through a MIS and DEIS and EIS all of them accompanied by lawsuits, was going to happen.

  11. Reality Check
    Jan 28th, 2015 at 17:59
    #11

    Bombardier China expects new orders after high-speed train safety clearance

    Canada’s Bombardier Inc expects to receive safety certification from China for its high-speed trains as early as next month, providing a springboard for more orders, the firm’s top executive in the country said.

    The regulatory clearance, after years of tests, means Bombardier will be able to begin delivering 80 of its CRH380D trains first ordered in 2009, worth an estimated $2 billion to the Canadian firm. China tightened rail safety rules after 35 people died in a train crash in 2011 near the city of Wenzhou.

    “In the next two weeks, by end of next month, (the train) is expected to get the certificate. Then we will start delivery,” Bombardier China’s president, Jianwei Zhang, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

    […]

    IKB Reply:

    Not sure Bombardier is Canadian firm (oft quoted); it was once, but HQ is Berlin

    swing hanger Reply:

    Bombardier owes all of its expertise in modern passenger rolling stock manufacture to its numerous acquisitions over the years, especially its acquisition of Adtranz from DaimlerChrysler, which was based in Berlin.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and Chrysler is now owned by FCA with corporate headquarters in London and Fiat’s headquarters in Italy and Chrysler’s headquarters in the US.

    synonymouse Reply:

    According to the most recent issue of Train Bombardier is now pimping its own iteration of Monorail.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Trains magazine

    Peter Reply:

    For what?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Simpsons. I dunno. Gadgetbahn trolling – looking for some stupid pol like Jerry Brown or Harry Reid who will buy into it.

    Peter Reply:

    You do know that cities actually have successful monorail systems? I’m not including Las Vegas, of course.

    synonymouse Reply:

    HART should have probably gone for a rubber tyred gadgetbahn like monorail once they turned down real light rail. Rubber means less noise on an aerial system in a tourist town. But driverless of course.

    Joey Reply:

    Vancouver doesn’t seem to mind elevated rails…

    Reality Check Reply:

    São Paulo Metro’s new line 15, under construction, is monorail (“monotrilho“).

    Reality Check Reply:

    Oh, yeah, and it’s the new Bombardier monorail. See here (albeit, in Portuguese)
    Linha 15 do Metrô de São Paulo

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Tokyo has a bunch of monorail lines.

    One of Chongqing’s subway lines is monorail, too.

    Marc Reply:

    Osaka Monorail, convenient for wandering around between Osaka Airport, the Osaka University campuses, and Senri-Chuo area.

    Jerry Reply:

    Not a monorail, but a PRT (Personnel Rapid Transit) has been working quite well for forty (40) years.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgantown_Personal_Rapid_Transit
    Without any accidents. Without oil.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and PRT is a niche application that usually doesn’t have enough capacity or doesn’t have enough users. Assuming someone wants to spend the money to make it work in other than niche applications.

    Jerry Reply:

    Niche application. Niche market.
    The Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) (98.5% reliable without operators) can operate in THREE very versatile modes:
    1. Demand (off-peak – responds to rider requests like an elevator)
    2. Schedule (peak hours – fixed routes of known demand)
    3. Circulation (low demand hours – system stops at every station like a bus route)
    The point is:
    Can Apple/Facebook pay for these proven systems to operate from their ‘campuses’ to carry employees to higher volume public transportation systems such as CalTrain??
    With their stashed billions they can pay for it.
    Would it be cheaper than a BART type system connector that runs to the Oakland Airport??’

    Eric Reply:

    PRT is a pipe dream. It combines the bad points of driving and transit- the low capacity of automobiles and the fixed routes of transit. It’s a sub-optimal solution to pretty much any transport problem.
    http://www.humantransit.org/2014/11/luca-guala-why-personal-rapid-transit-evolves-into-fixed-route-transit.html

  12. joe
    Jan 28th, 2015 at 19:02
    #12

    Menlo Park

    Menlo Park Mayor Catherine Carlton reported after the City Council’s Jan. 27 closed meeting that the council had opted to proceed with the legal challenge if pending negotiations over unspecified mitigations fails to resolve the issues to the city’s satisfaction.

    The council totally supports electrification, she said, but has some concerns. A letter submitted to Caltrain in April 2014 regarding the draft environmental impact report had asked the rail agency to address these points:

    ■ Grade separations to reduce traffic impacts and improve safety.

    ■ Whether electrification and high-speed rail should be analyzed as a single project.

    ■ Enhanced pedestrian and bicycle access to the station.

    ■ Non-electric alternatives, such as diesel.

    joe Reply:

    Answers in order:
    Yes.
    No
    Who’s City is this?
    You are Fucken kidding us.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Here’s the full story:
    Caltrain electrification: Menlo Park, Atherton examine litigation options

    After closed meetings of their city councils on Jan. 27, Atherton said yes to a lawsuit if certain issues are not resolved, and Menlo Park said “maybe” to joining the lawsuit if pending negotiations over mitigations fail to resolve the issues to the city’s satisfaction.

    Palo Alto’s council said no to joining the lawsuit, counting instead on Caltrain’s stated willingness to work on concerns about grade separations and a predicted increase in traffic congestion at certain intersections.

    […]

  13. Winston
    Jan 28th, 2015 at 20:08
    #13
  14. john burrows
    Jan 28th, 2015 at 23:07
    #14

    Some possible bad news shaping up for California’s remaining congressional Republicans—
    According to the latest Public Policy Institute Poll an epidemic of optimism may be breaking out in California.

    A few results from the poll:

    57% of Californians think the state is headed in the right direction—up from 38% in Dec 2011.

    58% think that good times lie ahead.

    Brown’s approval rating is at 61% among adults, 58% among likely voters.

    51% support Obamacare

    69% support Obama’s executive action on immigration.

    Nothing that I could see on high speed rail, but I would hope that some of this positive feeling about the future might carry over into increased support for CAHSR. And with the 2016 elections less than two years away this outbreak of optimism could signal bad news for the Republican brand.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Enrichissez-vous, M. Burrows..

    jimsf Reply:

    No surprise. This is typical of Californians. Its why its such a good place to live. People here tend to be optimistic. But every time there is a temporary downtown, there are always a vocal few who decry then end of the golden state,( the east coast media never gets tired of that storyline) and how its been “ruined”, (hint- “ruined” is their code for too many immigrants)… then a bunch of them even leave and go to Nevada and Oregon, and Colorado, and Texas (bless their little hearts) It’s so ridiculous because CA always bounces right back because people here are not interested in sitting around doing nothing. They tend to just move ahead “as if” and that restarts the economy. And the people who got all pissy and left, get stuck in crappier states with cheap houses and low wages and they can never afford to come back. This happens every recession.
    Id guess that about 99 percent of the california complainers are of a particular ideological mindset. Its so silly though. So much of what they say they hate, doesn’t actually affect them day to day, its all just a perceived slight.

    Stupid stuff.
    I mean has
    -anyone actually shown up at your door and confiscated your guns? No.
    -Has your life really become unmanageable because your local market only has paper bags? (If that’s all it takes to give you a nervous breakdown maybe you belong in an easier state that comes with training wheels)
    -you are 40 pounds overweight and have high blood pressure. If you are drinking so much soda each month that an extra 8 cent tax per bottle adds up to a budget busting number, maybe you really should re evaluate your personal choices.

    I propose we create “go bye bye slush fund” to assist the whiney people who want to leave. Fill out a form with a list of your complaints, and of you sound unhappy enough, we give you 1000 dollars and a u-haul coupon. to help get you on your way. ( you have to sign an agreement that says you will never come back)

    synonymouse Reply:

    More coke and hookers for the Legislators!

    john burrows Reply:

    My idea would be a “Eureka—I have found it!” slush fund to assist all of those settlers from other states who may soon be packing up the u-haul and heading for California in search of a better life.
    It turns out that there are just as many freeway lanes coming into California as there are going out. And for those who once may have once lived here—We should give them a second chanced.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Rich people and wunderkinder don’t do u-haul.

    The Joads are going the other direction.

    Larry Ellison westered on to his own island.

    Laissez rouler le bon temps.

    john burrows Reply:

    What about all of those soon to be unemployed oil field workers?

    Donk Reply:

    +4

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The issue with “nanny state” laws is that before this last recovery, most personal income appeared to be increasing–so minor costs didn’t really discourage or encourage most people to leave. A far bigger motivator was Prop 13 that let people have huge windfalls from selling their homes who then plowed their cash into something much nicer in other Western States.

    I’d like to point out too that the plastic bag ban is an overreach which the Legislature will regret one of these days. Their hope isn’t actually to save the environment, it’s to use the fees to pay for employee healthcare and to reward grocers that use Union labor.

    Only problem is that if you change the psychology of buyers to think they have a set amount of space to buy things, what gets left out is the high margin impulse buys that rely on packaging and display which are the whole reason supermarkets exist. The real winner of the bag ban is Costco, because the bulk is already prepackaged and people are used to it.

    Costco is obviously friendly to Democrats, but they can’t expand the number of stores they have to compensate for two job losses coming.

    Eric Reply:

    Prop 13 and restrictive zoning/NIMBYs are killing CA. Nobody can afford to live there, and the schools and infrastructure suck because no taxes are available to pay for them.

    At current rates, CA and TX will have equal populations within a generation. And TX will likely have the bigger and more dynamic economy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Texas is bigger than California with fewer mountains.

    Prop 13, by sheer dumb luck, makes it possible for ordinary people to stay here.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It makes it harder for anybody else because old farts like you are squatting on low property taxes. In places where the property taxes have some connection to market value people who can’t afford the taxes make other arrangements. Mostly cashing out their capital gain and rolling it over into something cheaper and better suited to the different lifestyle they lead after the kids are grown.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Left out of this discussion is that no state was more affected by the end of Bretton Woods and the Nixon Shock because of the decline of oil production and the rise in imported goods from Asia. Prop 13 isn’t as big a problem as you might think…

    Eric Reply:

    Nope.

    Prop 13 raises the value of housing, and restrictive zoning in the major cities raises it even more. So most of people’s wealth consists of real estate, and Prop 13 makes that wealth essentially untaxable. Thus the government is underfunded, because there is only so much money you can extract from the middle/lower classes via sales and income taxes, while not taxing the massive real estate holdings of the rich. California is supposedly a progressive state, but its tax system is about as regressive as can be imagined, because of Prop 13.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Pretty sweet deal for people who already owned houses at the time Prop 13 was passed, though.

    Eric Reply:

    Yes, of course, even that is biased to people wealthier than average.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    sweet deal for anyone who stays in the same house long enough.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I wonder if they do the equivalent of illegal sublets in New York, Friends-style.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you own it and rent it to someone it’s not a sub-let. I hear illegal subdivision is quite popular as it is in New York. Since California tends to be one story sprawl there is less of a problem with egress and ventilation.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Obviously not a sublet! What I mean in the comparison to Friends is, they get to live in an amazing rent-controlled Village apartment that’s sublet from a character’s grandmother, who dies in the first season. So I wonder if people keep pretending the Prop 13 houses really belong to their dead parents and grandparents to pay low property taxes.

    Jerry Reply:

    “So I wonder if people keep pretending the Prop 13 houses really belong to their dead parents and grandparents to pay low property taxes.”
    Remember Prop. 13 covers corporations (commercial property) too. And corporations are people too.
    But. But. Corporations never die. So does that mean they pay low taxes forever. And forever?

    Reedman Reply:

    There is no “pretending” required. Prop 58 (1986) and Prop 193 (1996) provide exemptions to re-assessment when there is a property transfer from parents to child or grandparents to grandchild.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ah, so inheritance is free. Got it.

    Isn’t the US supposed to not have a hereditary landed gentry?

    Jerry Reply:

    Little by little primogeniture was eliminated in the early USA. You had to own property to vote. So dividing up estates gave more people the right to vote. And also spread the wealth.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    State law has been trending this way for years, not just in Calfornia. South Dakota even repealed the Law Against Perpetuities to help encourage more people to open asset protection trusts in their state.

    And as to Alon’s point, free land was sort of accident of history and not want the aristocracy in the colonies wanted really…

  15. Reality Check
    Jan 29th, 2015 at 11:09
    #15

    “Complex” SJ BART grade sep to close busy intersection for NINE MONTHS

    The [Lundy Avenue and Sierra Road] intersection will be closed to all traffic and pedestrians until around Halloween to build a trench for the future BART extension. The Valley Transportation Authority describes this as “one of the most complex road crossings” in the 10-mile extension from the Fremont Warm Springs station to the Berryessa station in San Jose.

    An aerial view of Lundy & Sierra.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART always wins.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    When it reopens “ahead of schedule” five weeks early and “under budget” (heh heh) “in response to community concerns” (the community of the golf course, the freeway and the Transit Oriented Flea Market) we’ll know, because right here have “joe” jizzing in his pants about World Class San Jose and Keith Saggers cut and pasting the VTA press release.

    joe Reply:

    Bitter little man.

    Reedman Reply:

    The BART Warm Springs station is under construction (due to start operation by the end of this year), but there are some access issues that are still being hashed-out:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_27367009/railroad-track-relocation-approved-fremont

  16. Reality Check
    Jan 29th, 2015 at 18:04
    #16

    Good post on the Green Caltrain blog by Friends of Caltrain’s Adina Levin:
    Menlo Park claims to support electrification but threatens to sue; Atherton votes to litigate

    joe Reply:

    That HSR project is a federally regulated project. CEQA does not apppy. What would be the basis for combining electrification sir with a federal project?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Are you proposing the State or the Feds seize the SP-Caltrain ROW by eminent domain?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or put it this way: is Caltrain a class one or a common carrier?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or how come STB does not apply to BART? It is bigger than a lot of short lines.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Now you understand why BART used broad gauge in the first place…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Rio Grande 3′ gauge was still common carrier.

    Maybe BART qualifies as a museum op. Alternately CAHSR is definitely a transit system. Unless you want to try to run freight over 3.5% gradients.

    Does standard gauge EBART share some trackage with freight?

    J. Wong Reply:

    It doesn’t matter whether you actually run freight just that you could, which is why BART doesn’t qualify. And CAHSR could although it’s impractical where there are high gradients, but that is not all or even a majority of the HSR tracks.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Why can you not run freight on BART but can on CAHSR?

    Not that it makes any sense. But BART tracks are available in the middle of the nite.

    If you are dragging some repair supplies into the middle of the Transbay Tube, is that not freight? Just not revenue producing. Just like letting some people ride free:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_23778144/barts-free-ride-program-among-bay-areas-most

    J. Wong Reply:

    Running freight means switching your boxcar from your freight line to your BART line. Can you do that?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    syn, with the proper infrastructure you could run freight on BART. An electric powered cargo truck on steel wheels could wander around the BART system after hours offering station to station service but no one would use it because of the first and last mile and multiple handling of the freight. One of the few advantages of being in the passenger business is that the “cargo” loads and unloads itself.
    You can define things in many ways but unless there is a waybill and revenue is generated work trains do not count as freight.
    Not sure where you are going with all this. Too much free time?

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Mr. Wong

    When you switch gauges most of the time you transfer cargo from one car to the other, altho the East Broad Top did occasionally lift a standard gauge boxcar and slip narrow gauge trucks under it. Obviously the line had the clearances to allow it.

    @ Mr. Dyson

    My gist is that these regulations are quite arbitrary and it certainly seems to reek of political intervention in re CHSRA. They are cherry picking – this is FRA because I said so and this is FTA because I said so.

    Literally if Muni has a physical connection to Caltrain and receives something by rail that makes Muni engaging in interstate commerce. It is a stretch but then all of these definitions are tweaked to fit political agendas.

    Peter Reply:

    As Paul Dyson stated below, BART is under FTA jurisdiction. It is not under FRA jurisdiction because it does not share tracks with other services. The fact that it is broad gauge is not why it is under FTA, not FRA jurisdiction. VTA light rail and the vast majority of other light rail systems in the U.S. are standard gauge, and they aren’t under FRA jurisdiction, even when their tracks actually connect to FRA-regulated tracks.

    BART is not under STB jurisdiction because it does not transport passengers in interstate commerce. In contrast, HSR in the Central Valley is under STB jurisdiction for several reasons (two of which I’m listing here): they are planning on running Amtrak trains on the HSR ICS until HSR trains are running, and they needed STB permission to build a new rail line.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Why is not a BART extension not viewed as “a new rail line” since you could describe CAHSR as a compatible extension of either Caltrain in the north and Metrolink in the south.

    Seems the STB is blurring distinctions if not erasing them, possibly for the political purpose of trashing CEQA. Politicizing is a double-edged sword.

    Peter Reply:

    eBART is not under STB jurisdiction because it is not involved in interstate commerce, and it is not under FRA jurisdiction because it does not share tracks with any other services under FRA jurisdiction.

    The HSR line required STB permission because it was going to be a new rail line serving interstate commerce.

    synonymouse Reply:

    CAHSR goes out of State?

    Peter Reply:

    You can go ahead and read the STB opinion where the STB found it had jurisdiction over CAHSR. I’m not interested in explaining it. Enjoy.

    Peter Reply:

    Also, HSR is under FRA jurisdiction, not FTA jurisdiction. They just won’t have to comply with the ridiculous FRA crash “safety” regulations because they won’t operate dinosaur and modern trains simultaneously (see Caltrain waiver for an example).

    IKB Reply:

    Peter, are you sure on that? Would you consider the existing Caltrain fleet dinosaur? HSR certainly will run simultaneously with a Caltrain service

    Peter Reply:

    “dinosaur” refers to the weight of the trains.

    Joey Reply:

    The gallery cars certainly resemble living fossils. Hopefully they will be gone by the time HSR comes around.

    IKB Reply:

    but what if they’re not? Is their weight an issue to HSR, or is HSR now obligated to buy Caltrain new trainsets?

    Peter Reply:

    The weight of current passenger cars and locomotives is the result of their compliance with FRA regulations.

    Let me clarify. Caltrain’s waiver permits them to operate UIC-compliant passenger trains simultaneously with FRA-compliant passenger trains, but not UIC trains at the same time as freight trains. At the time Caltrain got its waiver, it was still planning on running FRA-compliant passenger trains on Baby Bullet and Gilroy services.

    Caltrain was going to purchase new UIC-compliant trainsets anyway, as part of their electrification project.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Norfold Southern ran freight over the Saluda Grade until 2001.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saluda_Grade

    J. Wong Reply:

    “As stated in the April 2013 decision, and as we now explain, we find that the
    HST System, including the Project, will be constructed as part of the interstate rail network;
    therefore, the Board has jurisdiction under § 10501(a)(2)(A). Notwithstanding the Authority’s
    assertions that the HST System involves purely intrastate operations, the HST System would
    have extensive interconnectivity with Amtrak, which has long provided interstate passenger rail
    service, and is therefore part of the interstate rail network.”

    BART is not part of the interstate rail network and does not have interconnectivity with any such system. CAHSR will.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “BART is not part of the interstate rail network…”

    BART is not of this Earth.

    synonymouse Reply:

    http://www.allmusic.com/song/mother-in-law-mt0012707458/lyrics

    “sent from down below”

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Common carrier or class one? Not an either/or question

    synonymouse Reply:

    Good point – I was trying to ascertain what category Caltrain at this late date does occupy.

    And verily BART is quite a bit bigger than Caltrain.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or does PAMPA own a common carrier without even knowing it?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    BART is regulated by the FTA, is a transit system rather than a railroad, at least in legal terms. Class One refers to revenues. Doubt if Caltrain is a class one. Look it up on AAR website. Common Carrier? Quite likely as they bought a piece of a common carrier railroad and doubt if the obligation was extinguished. Note that UP is a common carrier and not a “freight railroad”, as often characterized. UP derives a small percentage of its revenue from passenger operations, including commuter operations in the Chicago area and “rent” from Amtrak. I make a point of reminding them and elected officials at meetings about this. They still have an obligation to run passenger trains. They don’t like to hear it.

    IKB Reply:

    Paul D, you seem to understand this better than some. Any truth in Ted Judah’s “Now you understand why BART used broad gauge in the first place…”? Do you know why they selected broad gauge; there must have been a reason

    Peter Reply:

    The term “common carrier” doesn’t refer to what in particular is transported (whether freight or persons) or by what means they are transported (rail, road, or air). Instead, it simply means a person or entity that transports goods or persons for any person or entity and is responsible for any possible loss of the goods (or injury to persons) during transport.

    In this respect, BART is a common carrier, as is Caltrain.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Unless Peter they are Contract Carriers and not available for public carriage. But now we’re getting into too much detail. It’s all syn’s fault, presumably he’s trying to prove that HSR is against the Commerce Clause and therefore unconstitutional. Flashman goes to the Supremes!

    Peter Reply:

    Exactly, way too much detail for this discussion. I’m not sure anyone ever knows where syn is going with anything.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The issue with common carrier is that it deals with federal common law era prior to when railroads were the dominant mode of transport in the U.S. At the time BART was being designed in the 40s and 50s, Southern Pacific didn’t want to create a parallel transportation system that would undermine its business plan.

    Broad gauge made it inoperable to blend service which seemed like a dumb idea until the late 80s when SP sold off many of its underperforming freight lines to local transit agencies who gotten the power to levy countywide sales taxes to buy them. But since there was no tie to local urban planning most of the lines are struggling.

    synonymouse Reply:

    TJ

    Don’t forget in the sixties SP was still fixed on getting rid of passenger service.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Everyone in the railroad industry wanted to ditch passenger service in the 1960s…

    If anything, Amtrak is a cautionary tale about what happens when American industry ends its life-cycle. Government takes over only when profits are impossible and then uses the activity as a way to address inequality (i.e. a political tool) than as an economic one.

    Jerry Reply:

    So when does California and the USA finally get some meaningful Class 6 tracks??

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    i find the class 6 and 7 track in the US quite meaningful. It has actual trains running on it fairly frequently. Three times an hour between New York and Philadelphia for most of the day. Not counting the local passenger services or the land cruises. The class 6 track south of Albany is quite nice too.

    Jerry Reply:

    So get some Class 6 in California.

  17. synonymouse
    Jan 29th, 2015 at 19:47
    #17

    Hope this link works:

    http://outsidelands.org/private/index.php?folder=Transportation

    Check out photo 14 showing the #7 Haight car on the ROW thru GG Park from Lincoln to Playland. I did not know Playland had a real roller coaster either.

  18. Keith Saggers
    Jan 30th, 2015 at 10:23
    #18
  19. Reality Check
    Jan 30th, 2015 at 12:16
    #19

    Another Caltrain suicide south of Mtn. View station (not near a grade crossing) last night:

    Caltrain death south of Mountain View disrupts service

    Caltrain reports fatality near MV station

    The train struck the man at around 4:30 p.m. near the intersection of Pioneer Way and Evelyn Avenue. Caltrain tracks were closed in both directions in the area, causing up to an hour and a half of delays. Northbound tracks were re-opened at 5:10 p.m. and southbound tracks just before 7 p.m., according to Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn.

    Normal service was restored by 8 p.m., Dunn said.

    A preliminary investigation indicates the fatality was an intentional act […]

  20. synonymouse
    Jan 30th, 2015 at 19:43
    #20

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/150130/mexico-suspends-high-speed-train-project-it-decides-cut-budg

    Never should have cut down the wire in the first place you just paid for. Same fate for the DogLeg?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The dumb shits. The Chinese would have fronted them the cash.

    Useless Reply:

    Bombardier joins Rotem in having CNR disqualified in MBTA subway car contract. http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/01/30/canadian-rail-car-maker-joins-suit-against-mbta-red-and-orange-line-contract-dispute/ecKFgFQKvUrLVqV7HkoJXJ/story.html

    synonymouse Reply:

    As if BART did not choose Bombardier arbitrarily.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    That’s normal, nowadays. They sue, well, they have to within a given time, and then they look at the facts and finally they retreat.

    All the same game…

  21. joe
    Jan 30th, 2015 at 20:15
    #21

    More 101 HW lanes Mountain View to Morgan Hill 101. Apparently no need to add Caltrain service.

    Bay Area braces for toll lane projects
    VTA plans to add express lanes along Highways 101, 85 through Mountain View
    The Highway 101 and Highway 85 projects would designate at least one — in most areas two — express lanes running all the way from Morgan Hill through Mountain View to Palo Alto. The projects are estimated to cost about $170 million for Highway 85 and $470 million for Highway 101, and would involve constructing new lanes in the median strip, so as not to take away any existing non-toll lanes on the highways.

    Estimates show travel time along both corridors could be reduced by up to 14 minutes once the express lanes are put in place.
    http://mv-voice.com/news/2015/01/30/bay-area-braces-for-toll-lane-projects

    synonymouse Reply:

    It were the Koch Bros what done it.

    Donk Reply:

    Sounds just like Orange County.

    joe Reply:

    oh yes

    An interesting quirk about both the Highway 85 and Highway 101 express lane projects is that the analyses show neither project has a significant environmental impact, despite the projects’ spanning 24 and 36 miles, respectively, and including entirely new lanes.

    Beyond sound complaints, some residents felt using the 46-foot median in the middle of Highway 85 for express lanes flies in the face of the original intent of of the median.During the highway construction in 1989, the VTA and the city of Saratoga signed an agreement reserving the Highway 85 median for “mass transportation.” Ristow said other deals signed with nearby cities varied on what the median would be reserved for, including a light rail track.

    Donk Reply:

    Well in this case, I doubt that more freeway-median VTA light rail is the answer either. I don’t know if there is an answer in San Jose.

    joe Reply:

    More of the same isn’t going to help either.

    Caltrans built 85 with a promise of mass transit added to the row which enticed some cities to approve the project. Now the plan is more lanes and the environmental impact is pre-determined to be negligible. Meanwhile Caltrain electrification will be litigated.

    They will have to get cars off 85 smoother way.

    There’s ample density along south county to justify adding Caltrain service and pull cars off 85/101. Right now service is too infrequent.

    Caltrain stops south of Tamien, Blossom Hill and Capitol, are in San Jose along this congested 101 corridor. South San Jose valley narrows and geography is ideal for competitive rail transit. Increase Caltrain service by three trains and double track the ROW now along the entire segment where Caldrons wants to add new lanes. They added 4 about 1 years ago and cratered Caltrain ridership. Now Caldrons wants to add more.

    joe Reply:

    fucken safari
    Caltrans => caldrons. some other => smoother

    J. Wong Reply:

    The problem is there isn’t just a few major destinations for those commuters. San Jose and Silcon Valley are so disbursed that the only way to get more people on to Caltrain is to solve the last mile problem.

    joe Reply:

    @J. Wong Show me how you came to this conclusion. I think you are working off some sketchy assumptions.

    1.
    There was a traffic study reported in the SJMerc. Researchers used cell phone locational data and commuters. The south San Jose 101 area paralleling Caltrain would benefit disproportionally by removing s small number of cars from the roads. That section has many riders heading in a single direction which is an idea situation for mass transit.

    2.
    If you agree with Clem’s ridership demand decision model (I don’t but for the sake of argument) then the South San Jose South County Caltrain stops at Blossom Hill and Capitol should have service NOW.

    3.
    Last mile problem is exactly the same for the or N / S ridership A person exiting at MTV Caltrain has a last mile problem regardless of their source.

    4.
    Cost. Add 3 more fucken trains to make the commute reasonable and attract drivers. Just three trains.
    Clem’s demand model shows ample demand yet the ridership is not showing up in the empirical data because the shitty 3 train service is not adequate enough to compete with driving. Note that of those 3 trains, only 2 stop at the heavily used Palo Alto stop.

    They added 4 lanes to bumfuckville South County and and now want to add more lanes and HOV toll but somehow adding 3 more trains is a waste of money.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Many riders heading in a single direction is not necessarily an ideal situation for mass transit especially if they’re all going to different destinations. I can well imagine the centrality of Morgan Hill and Gilroy as originations but the commuters won’t get on Caltrain if they can’t get to work once they get off the train.

    The question for you @joe is why Caltrain hasn’t added 3 more trains? Maybe because those 3 trains are better put to use on the northern end of the ROW?

    J. Wong Reply:

    And as far as I know, the last mile commute is being addressed on the northern ROW by shuttles since the geography pretty much enforces close proximity to the ROW (squeezed in between the hills & the bay). How does this work south of Mt. View?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    lots of riders heading in a single direction describes the afternoon commute from Chicago and any city in the Northeast. I suspect it’s the same almost everywhere but those are the places with traditional commuter rail.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/121220/srep01001/full/srep01001.html

    Fig 2 shows south county 101 with a high “Kroad” indicting it is a backbone road.

    Fig 3. shows the “Bc” which (my interpretation) indicates the amount of shortest path trips between source and sink that use the road. So a high Bc means many drivers find that road to be part of their commute.

    High Kroad and high Bc mean a major roadway that is important for many trips source/sink.

    @ J Wong what you say about south county 101 through San Jose north would mean it would have a low Bc.

    The betweenness centrality bc of a road segment27, 28, 29, 30 is proportional to the number of shortest paths between all pairs of nodes passing through it: we measured bc by averaging over each pair of nodes, and following the shortest time to destination.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, @joe, what I said agrees with it having a high Bc. Lot’s of commuters use it, but must branch off to get to their destinations.

    joe Reply:

    But you interpret Bc to mean the more.
    High Bc means many commuters enter and exit the road. Bc says nothing about the distance traveled prior or afterwards.

    You wrote there is the last mile problem which has nothing to do with the road’s Bc.

    The Caltrain system works because it supports a high K and Bc. The geography in the peninsula is narrow and favors the 101 280 Caltrain N/S. Same geography in south county where the valley is narrow. Sunnyvale to San Jose is more spread but offices are built along the ROW and infill occurring.

    bixnix Reply:

    What San Jose needs, is a subway or underground light rail, under Stevens Creek / San Carlos, from Saratoga Ave to San Jose State.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yeah, that makes sense, billions for a few thousand that would use it.

    joe Reply:

    Fascinating. We should offer safari’s so city folk can explore the Santa Clara Co/San Jose wilderness.

    A VTA BRT is planned for Steven’s Creek from De Anza College the Transit Mall in downtown San Jose . This suggestion would make BRT a subway.

    http://www.vta.org/stevens-creek-brt

    VTA and cities are preparing for future population and business growth in the Stevens Creek corridor by building a transit network that will support the existing demand in the corridor as well as future growth tomorrow. The goal is to create a faster and more frequent service.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    The 323 already offers decent service along that route.

    joe Reply:

    Good then it’s an established transit corridor with express service being upgraded to BRT “for future population and business growth”

    Here are the other proejcts http://www.vta.org/projects-and-programs/transit/bus-rapid-transit-program

    There is BRT planned for the heavily used VTA 22 / 522 that parallels Caltrain and HW 101. The VTA 22 is the only line offering 24 hour bus service.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Most people on this blog would seem to support a BRT because the benefit per cost is high. A subway on the other hand, has a high cost per benefit hence the complaints about the Central subway. So I’m not saying that the South Bay shouldn’t have an mass transit investment, but I question the suggestion that said investment should be a subway.

    Joe Reply:

    BRT usually don’t withstand auto lobby pressure.

    As someone who used the J in SF, I would not go with surface light rand vote to add subway to el camino and Stevens creek.

    Change zoning and let the area grow and in full.

    bixnix Reply:

    It would’ve been cheaper to build Stevens Creek than the rest of the entire VTA system, or the BART extension. And the ridership of this stretch might be higher than those choices, too. And like Joe says, the pols can upzone this area, too.

    BRT might have been a first step years ago, but now the Westfield area is backed up day and night. It’ll be slow going for any bus unless they take a lane in each direction, and then it’ll be beyond gridlock for cars. But now that construction money is tied up elsewhere in the county, that’s how it’s going to be.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “…billions for a few thousand that would use it.”

    Now I wonder what other project that remarkable observation could apply to?

    StevieB Reply:

    Space Tourism?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Do you really believe only a few thousand would use HSR?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not one train over the Loop currently.

    Ah, what the hell. It is only ordinary peoples’ money. No “whales” ready to pony up their dough.

    And Gates is worried about SkyNet. Looks like it is already well in place in China without quantum computing. Gates is worried SkyNet might realize rich people are mostly “irrelevant” to use a term from “Person of Interest” and proceed accordingly. Cannot have that.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Over 100000 people travel between LA & SF & the San Joaquin Valley daily. And it will increase every year. How many would take the train if it was available? (Downtown LA hotels are filling up.) I’d be perfectly happy if the mode share was 10% but I expect it’ll be a bit more than that.

    Howard Reply:

    Instead of having the BART subway be redundant with Caltrain between San Jose Dirdon and Santa Clara University, it should instead go west from Diridon under Stevens Creek Boulevard to Valley Fair / Santana Row at Winchester Boulevard, then to Agilet Technologies at Lawrence Expessway, then to Vallco / New Apple Campus at Wolfe Road and end at the old Apple Campus at De Anza Boulevard.

    jimsf Reply:

    yes that is exactly where it should go – that would be quite useful.

    Howard Reply:

    I think Apple should pay for the BART extention from Valley Fair / Santana Row to both of their campuses. They should at least pay for the extension between their two campuses (Wolfe Road to De Anza Boulevard). BART would be a great way to shuttle Apple employees between the two campuses. They have the money. It would make a great local match or PPP to get Federal funds.

    synonymouse Reply:

    MuskTube

    Howard Reply:

    I meant to say that BART should switch to I-280 alignment west of Lawrence Expessway, and maybe go aerial over the freeway.

    jimsf Reply:

    how about following 280 past sand hill road to 84, down 84 to san mateo to millbrae

    Howard Reply:

    They need to extend the US 101 Expess Lanes to Gilroy, and ultimately to the SR-152 Trade Corridor (as described in the Valley Transportation Plan). Of course they need to expand Caltrain’s service, like restoring the fourth train or extending the service to Hollister (as described in the California State Rail Plan). Capital Corridor train service will be extended to Morgan Hill, Gilroy and Salinas in a couple of years, adding another transit option.

    joe Reply:

    Current service level of three is too few to attract drivers.

    If rail service were 6 trains AM and 6 PM, the commute would be far more predictable and that service level would attract drivers. This could be done by adding 3 CC trains which would start at Gilroy or Salinas if they make the investment. The CC would require a transfer at SJ Diridon for SF destinations.

    It’s very difficult to rely on three trains for a commute.

    These three addition trains would service the entire congested corridor including the Capitol and Blossom Hill stops.

    Howard Reply:

    Capital Corridor will only extend two trains to Salinas in 2017. Therefore, to get six trains in the Gilroy Corridor, the fourth Caltrain train would need to be restored. Capital Corridor will operate an express service initially going non-stop from Salinas to Gilroy, skip San Martin, stop in Morgan Hill and then go non-stop to Tamian (skiping Blossom Hill and Capital stations). This will make the Capitol Corridor trains faster between Gilroy and San Jose (Diridon).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What’s the planned Salinas-Gilroy trip time?

    Joe Reply:

    How long is the car ride?

    Please include traffic delays. Your blog post in this topic says it as negligible.

    When doing the math, don’t forget the intermediate stops at Pajero, Watsonville and castroville.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Teh Googlez say 31 minutes, and no traffic even at weekday rush hours (I checked typical Monday from 7:30 to 9:00).

    joe Reply:

    There’s traffic at weekdays. And there’s traffic on HW156 which is serviced by the CC Salinas extension.

    There will stops between Salinas and Gilroy which are not along the google endpoint to endpoint map.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Howard just said CC would run nonstop between Salinas and Gilroy. Sheesh.

    joe Reply:

    Monterey Co has three intermediate stops for commuter service.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Gaaah. People giving me false information. (Not you – Howard.)

    Okay, a bunch of sources tell me there will be 2 intermediate stops: Pajaro, and Castroville. Trip time from Salinas to Gilroy will be 54 minutes, and trip time from Salinas to San Jose will be 1:31 (link). Observe the difference between the glacial average speed south of Gilroy and the reasonable average speed north of Gilroy.

    Joey Reply:

    Sounds typical – get transit advocates on board by promising a transit component then eliminating it later down the line.

    jimsf Reply:

    They have these express lanes in southern california and they are great. I like having toll options for faster service. I ecetnly got a fastrak for the car and it makes the trips to the bay area so much easier.

    bixnix Reply:

    Every time I take the toll lane, which is when the toll is cheap (off-peak), I am always surprised how many people will sit in traffic rather than paying a dollar and ten cents.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    in nice round numbers a buck ten is two miles at IRS reimbursement rates. 12-ish minutes for someone earning the minimum wage.
    People spend time on really stupid things. I don’t think it’s worth it to avoid the toll road. Other people do even though avoiding the toll costs them more money. They don’t understand why I cook dinner most nights. I don’t understand why they spend money buying mediocre food out of the freezer or refrigerated case. Or out of a can. Or why I buy a lot of things in the supermarket that are store brand. But why I spend twice as much on coffee as the store brand. Or why I brew it in my own kitchen instead of going someplace and buying a brewed cup. Or why I think you have to extra stupid to buy a new car instead of low mileage used one. Or pay extra for the super duper high speed Internet when most sites throttle how much bandwidth you can suck up. But then I’m old enough to remember when TV was broadcast TV and we had a lot of channels. All 7 of them. I get enough TV from our basic cable and surfing YouTube for stuff that might be interesting. Other people can’t imagine living without Netflix and all the movie channels their cable system can grift them for….

    jimsf Reply:

    I have to have the good coffee too. Ill cut something else. That first hour of the day is the most important. The best part of wakin’ up is having something better than Folgers in your cup.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The best part of waking up is jumping back into bed and snuggling while the coffee is brewing. Well there is a thing or two that’s more urgent before brewing coffee. If I don’t feed the cats they don’t have any problem interrupting the snuggling.

    Coffee in metro Noo Yawk is different. Most people would call it Italian roast. I’ll settle for a French roast. I like inky black tea because that’s what both grandmothers kept next to the samovar. Even though it wasn’t a samovar, the concept was the same. The inky black stuff is hard to get outside of the Northeast and Midwest. It looks almost like coffee after 30 seconds in the cup or pot. I brew whole pots of tea. Not like grandma did but whole pots. And I’ve been drinking green tea out of a whole pot all of my life. Not in the morning though.

    jimsf Reply:

    nothing like being caffinated and higly anti oxidized! I buy a lot of guatemala antigua.

    TomA Reply:

    Money and time are not in fact interchangable. Thats the main reason people will sit. As much as we would like to – most of us arent able to monetize our spare time.

    jimsf Reply:

    The whole fun of driving on our beautifully engineered freeways is to drive them at higher speeds. I’ll glady pay a little toll to avoid traffic. YOu know where we need double express lanes is on I 80 from from Fairfied to the bay bridge toll plaza and they should be elevated over the i 80 from the 580 80 split in richmond to the bridge. Time is money.

    joe Reply:

    We’ll be paying more than $1.10 for a clear lane.

    Small segments of Highway 237 and 880 currently have express lanes, and charge anywhere from $0.30 to $4.75, with an average toll of $1.60, according to the VTA website.
    http://mv-voice.com/news/2015/01/30/bay-area-braces-for-toll-lane-projects

    BTW

    The northbound morning commute on 101 is even worse, with traffic moving under 35 mph for most of the ride from Blossom Hill Road in San Jose to Rengstorff Avenue in Mountain View, bottoming out at 7 mph around the McKee exit.

    Blossom Hill is a Caltrain stop with 3 trains daily N and 3 S.

    Clem Reply:

    Blossom Hill should be the Caltrain terminus. The current arrangement is driven by jurisdictional (UPRR) boundaries and operating tradition (the baseless “need” to park trains out of service at an end of the line “terminal” facility)

    joe Reply:

    First. Your decision model (which I disagree with) predicts there is ridership demand (to your satisfaction) for Capitol and Blossom Hill yet actual ridership data at these stops does not agree with predicted/potential levels.

    I hope we can agree the discrepancy between observed and predicted is because the service levels are too low to empirically measure the actual demand for Caltrain service. Actual ridership data for these poorly serviced stops should not be in a decision model that forecasts service.

    Second. The news articles I posted interview commuters from Morgan Hill – sure it’s the reporters decision but let’s look at the situation and recognize people who work in Menlo Park are driving from Morgan Hill. That the commute is defined by the public as being far south of San Jose Blossom Hill.

    Third. The cycle is all automobile based. The Highway widening is to Morgan Hill – again – and on to Gilroy. They don’t stop lanes at Blossom Hill due to demographics data for 2010. Caltrans widens 101 from 4 lanes to 8 lanes and now want to add more. The way this works in CA is Caltrans expands roads first and people use the infrastructure. The last widening tanked Caltrain ridership and tis will too.

    A study (I posted it) shows a removal of a few cars can vastly improve the commute in the conditions along South 101. There are alternative ways to measure the value of mass transit.

    Finally this controversy is about adding 3 crummy trains to the 3 that run now to get decent service and pull some people out of their cars to reduce traffic and kick start Caltrain use. The current 3 do not make all stops. 1 skips Palo Alto leaving 2 daily for that transit hub and top destination.

    Add the three trains and get service to levels that will pull people out of cars and into Caltrain. Then we’ll have actual data to see if the Gilroy and Morgan Hill stops are indeed worthless. Right now I see Google using the Gilroy Caltrain stop for their employees. Ridership was higher 10 years ago before the money was invested into roads. Since then the area has added many new middle class homes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Low frequency is a bigger problem at short range than at long range. So the current 3 trains a day schedule suppresses ridership at Capitol and Blossom Hill more than at Gilroy.

    joe Reply:

    Fascinating. I enjoy theory as much as the next guy but this is specific. I really don’t understand what you are trying to say expect continuing the dig against Morgan Hill and Gilroy without knowing the traffic or backups and delays.

    The actual data for N boardings bound is here:
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Stats+and+Reports/Ridership/2013+Annual+Ridership+Counts.pdf
    2013 AM Boardings
    Tamien 723
    Capitol 37
    Blossom Hill 62
    Morgan Hill 133
    San Martin 49
    Gilroy 129

    Also we board on Gilroy, exit Tamien and board an express train at Tamien to Palo Alto. There’s some complexity in the data that would be misinterpreted give the schedule as it now stands.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    that’s because most people when they are looking for work make compromises to keep their commute short. Or if they are looking housing make compromises to keep their commute short. Except for the people who underestimate their commute and end up living in Matamoras PA because there’s a train from Port Jervis to Hoboken and the PATH train to Manhattan. Or Stockton because it’s not that bad of a drive when they go looking at houses on Sunday afternoon. Or….
    …and the longer your commute is the more places it can go bad….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joe: then try to understand? You say that ridership at Gilroy is suppressed because there are only 3 trains per day, and if service were better, then ridership would be higher. I agree! But what I contend is that the 3 trains per day schedule doesn’t suppress all ridership equally. It suppresses it at Capitol and Blossom Hill more than at Gilroy. People near those two stations probably travel shorter distances, so frequency matters more to them; they can also drive to better service at Tamien or Diridon, whereas you can’t.

    Drive-to-better-service isn’t theory: Long Islanders do it all the time, which is why the station at the end of electrification of every line has very high ridership, whereas the first few stations behind it have very low ridership. Neither Ronkonkoma nor Huntington is any more developed than the stations behind it, but both have far better service, especially Ronkonkoma, hence the ridership pattern. If you look at actual ridership, Ronkonkoma is the busiest suburban commuter rail station in the US (it has higher ridership than 4th and King), but it’s entirely an artifact of service patterns: if electrification ended one stop farther out, at Medford, then all the commuters from farther out would be driving to Medford instead of to Ronkonkoma, and Medford would get all the fast express trains so even people in Ronkonkoma might choose to drive there. Now, this doesn’t mean all stations behind Ronkonkoma are the same. There’s very little commuter traffic to New York from Greenport, so extending electrification there and boosting frequency (which is 4 trains per day today) wouldn’t raise ridership all that much.

    Clem’s contention is that the difference between Tamien and Capitol and Blossom Hill is, too, entirely a matter of service patterns, and if Capitol and Blossom Hill had better service, people would use them more, like they use Tamien today. In contrast, south of Blossom Hill the low ridership reflects low travel volumes.

    Joey Reply:

    I think you’re confused. You say that ridership data doesn’t reflect well on Blossom Hill but then say (correctly) that service levels are too low to predict ridership.

    Clem’s assertion is based on demographics, not current ridership. There is a sharp development falloff south of Blossom Hill, which is easily visible even just on satellite photos. Of course there is demand for service farther south, but it’s considerably less.

    Then there’s the fact that service on UP-owned ROW south of SJ is largely incompatible with modernized electric service farther north. On the SF-SJ corridor, high demand, multiple service patterns, and blending with HSR demand high-acceleration EMUs with large passenger capacity and strict schedule adherence. South of SJ, lower demand lends itself more to smaller vehicles (to keep frequency high enough to be usable without ridiculous operating costs), and UP’s freight operations make strict schedule adherence difficult and electrification nearly impossible.

    I’m skeptical that Capitol Corridor offers the right kind of service for south of SJ. The big locomotive-driven trainsets don’t scale down very well, which means frequency is capped at a few trains per day. A better solution would be regional DMUs (FRA compliant, yes), operated by VTA from Gilroy perhaps to Great America, with a cross-platform transfer to modernized CalTrain at either San Jose, Tamien, or Santa Clara.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Clem-
    I agree with you in general, but why Blossom Hill and not Tamien? the Caltrain owned ROW technically ends just south of Tamien, and it seems like to electrify all the way to Blossom Hill means you still have to deal with UP’s shenanigans.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Blossom Hill should be the Caltrain terminus. The current arrangement is driven by jurisdictional (UPRR) boundaries and operating tradition (the baseless “need” to park trains out of service at an end of the line “terminal” facility)

    I agree that more peak “commute” type service may be justified, per http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2013/10/census-driven-service-planning.html

    But terminating all or most SF-SJ Caltrain service at Blossom Hill?
    The logistics (ROW required) and payback seem respectively formidable and very dubious to me.

    It’s a ton of extra train-hours (at least an extra 30 minutes round trip compared to reversing at SJ Cahill Street), and the trains are going to be empty except at peaks in one direction. Those 30 minutes represent a 30% increase in the fleet size (14 vs 11 trains, at a very minimum) need to provide 15 minute headway Caltrain headway in Santa Clara County. There are immensely better ways to allocate resources, even without VTA-land!

    Moreover, even without crazy HSR-via-Los Banos in the same corridor, squeezing in a dedicated UPRR track and a non-freight passenger track and a two-sided passenger platform (pretty much a requirement for a turnback location, even with only 2tph) in the narrow UPRR ROW between Monterey Highway and the Mall Hell to the SW seems quite the ask. Compare with the non-outrageous footprint of the existing Tamien turnback.

    Some sort of FRA freight-compatible commuter rail dino-train (existing Caltrain equipment cascaded from SF-SJ service? crazy FRA DMUs?) running on freight tracks Blossom Hill—…—SJ Cahill—Santa Clara—Great America would make marginally more sense, but even there the costs seem high and the opportunity for significant ridership poor. Both Highways 87 and 101 are parallel, after all, there isn’t a ton of South SJ to San Mateo/SF traffic compared to intra-Santa Clara, and the especially sprawl hell nature of south-of-Mountain View Santa Clara employment centres makes the train ride a small part of a long drive-park-trainride-wait-busride undertaking.

    I’d like to see it, but I don’t see it. Running a majority of Santa Clara County Caltrain service south of Cahill Street is a hard sell. Past Tamien seems impossible to pencil out.

    joe Reply:

    “there isn’t a ton of South SJ to San Mateo/SF traffic compared to intra-Santa Clara, and the especially sprawl hell nature of south-of-Mountain View Santa Clara employment centres makes the train ride a small part of a long drive-park-trainride-wait-busride undertaking.”

    “There isn’t a ton” possibly means you have no idea.

    ten years ago they ran 4 trains and carried more riders. since the widening of 101 ridership dropped. Today Congestion is returning with added growth in the area and Caltrans wants to add more lanes.

    One might suggest adding that train back and maybe one or two more.
    I’m sure it isn’t hard to pencil out.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Dude you have a graduate degree right? And work in tech? I’m sure you get paid more than minimum wage-fucking live closer to your work or figure out a way to take extant public transit. Stop trying to justify Gilroy as being more than it is. All for that exurban house!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “There isn’t a ton” possibly means you have no idea.

    I’m summarizing SCVTA and MTC traffic counts and models.

    Gilroy may in fact be the center of the entire universe and Gilroy—Palo Alto may in fact be the most important origin-destination pair on the planet despite that; I leave it to you to work with your County’s Congestion Management Agency to convince them of their data collection errors, misapprehensions, and misinterpretations.

    joe Reply:

    Hey. sorry life sucks for you but what does that have to do with me or train service?

    They want to add more highway lanes and I would like to see mass transit restored.

    Yea, I’m lucky. I was able to work and put myself through college and grad school for 13 years but it was hard and poverty level lifestyle and long hours.

    You might want to take your own advice and move to a low cost state or region.

    joe Reply:

    I’m summarizing SCVTA and MTC traffic counts and models.”

    They measure traffic in tons. Would those counts and models generate metric tons or standard ?

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Thanks joe, for guessing and failing at my current income and job. But maybe I’ll move to Bakersfield and commute to the Bay Area on Cruikshank Approved HSR, so that the blessed ones like you can live in the Bay Area.

    Howard Reply:

    Why not have the Baby Bullet share the high speed rail tracks south of San Jose to Gilroy, with a added high speed train station in Morgan Hill (for Baby Bullet only)? There should be room on the California High Speed Rail tracks. I think frequent high speed electric trains with limited stops (no stops at low ridership San Martin or Capitol stations) would attack a lot more riders than the current three low speed diesel all stop trains. To serve Blossom Hill one could build a new Coyote Valley Baby Bullet train station just south of the Metcalf Energy center, with a park and ride lot. I think many would be willing to drive a short distance in the uncontested off peak direction to get on a fast train to the congested employment centers. Maybe SR-85 VTA light rail could be extended to this Coyote Valley station.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That would make the HSR trains smell like Acelas and give them severe TGV/AGV envy.

    Joey Reply:

    If they were replacing existing free lanes with express lanes I would be okay with it. I don’t like that they usually widen freeways to add express lanes.

  22. Derek
    Jan 31st, 2015 at 17:02
    #22

    The Unique Genius of Hong Kong’s Public Transportation System
    By Neil Padukone, The Atlantic, 2013-09-10

    The use of a clever financing system has enabled the territory to provide world-class service—without breaking the bank.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The issue with value capture is private business in the US wants government to subsidize them, not the other way around. The 85 percent farebox ratio is akin to Toronto and other cities where there is more centralized control between urban planning and transit.

    Personally, I think value capture is a good idea for BART and HSR that will happen in due time. But for most systems it is a dream.

  23. jimsf
    Jan 31st, 2015 at 18:35
    #23

    With bart finally serving well into san mateo and santa clara counties, I think it would make sense for bart to take over caltrain entirely ( in its soon to be new electrified form). Bart has dedicated funding Santa Clara and san mateo counties ( san SF county?) could stop paying whatever it is they pay for caltrain and pay the same bart tax es that the other counties pay in return for being integrated into the whole system with a single ticketing and fare platform, and timed transfers. We eleimtate one entire ( not very good) agency, and get bart around the bay along with the east contra costa and livermore extensions at which point bart’s total reach is complete.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    CalTrain isn’t actually the agency you need to eliminate–SamTrans is. However, given the issue of local control and the TDA, the best you can hope for is BART expanding to Santa Clara and San Mateo counties (and perhaps Marin and San Joaquin) and AC Transit absorb County Connection.

    joe Reply:

    Caltrain is at the mercy of three county transportation agencies. BART is not.

  24. morris brown
    Feb 1st, 2015 at 07:23
    #24

    Violation of Endangered Species Act further hampers High-Speed Rail progress

    http://www.examiner.com/article/violation-of-endangered-species-act-further-hampers-high-speed-rail-progress

    joe Reply:

    FWIW here’s link to a site that actually cares about the San Joaquin Kit Fox
    http://www.defenders.org/san-joaquin-kit-fox/basic-facts

    Here are the biggest threats:

    The change in the Central Valley from open grasslands to farms, orchards, houses and roads has had the greatest impact on San Joaquin kit foxes, causing death, illness, injury, difficulty in finding a mate and difficulty in finding food.

    Here’s the solution:

    Defenders has formed an unusual alliance with the California Cattlemen’s Association, and this group, called the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, now has more than 50 members working to save 13 million acres of rangelands in the Central Valley through easements and restoration projects. More than one million of those acres fall within essential kit fox habitat.

    Aquire and preserve more habitats. If these 9 acres where a violation, the CAHSRA should be penalized and forced to buy additional land and permanently preserve it as grassland habitat.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Population explosion, sprawling and urbanization, the raison d’etre of PB-CAHSR, applies the coup de grace to these endangered species.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Gilroy/LosBanos hillsides sprouting rows of housetops, stewing lowlands with roadway runoff.
    HSR Altamont would infill existing areas, remove parking lots.
    BART just builds big garages and big bus queue centers.
    Thanks a lot, Crunican. HSR Altamont would improve ACE.
    Nah, we doan wancher stewpid Alteemont way, cuz its so stewpid, see?
    We gotta go fast, see? Whatsamatta? Yew doan get why cuz not? Tuf.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART is also very fond of airports.

    Joey Reply:

    That feature is not unique to BART. Building high cost per rider airport rail links is done throughout the world.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    .. partly because the people who use limos and will keep using limos to get to the airport think hoi polloi will use the train and it will keep their big noisy smelly buses out of the airport.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The very powerful people for whom BART is a pet are the very same powerful people for whom airports are a pet.

    Peter Reply:

    Tutor-Perini, not CHSRA, is going to be responsible for any fines and will have to find alternate construction staging area (in addition to likely having to restore the habitat). That’s the beauty of the design-build process.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Tutor lives in court. They did not create or impose “the design-build process”. Change order time.

    Peter Reply:

    God, you’re weird.

    JB in pa Reply:

    Any body here speak Synglish?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    What he says is clear enough and historically true and is an excellent guide to the future.
    No special interpretation needed in this particular case.

    Eric Reply:

    Measles is an endangered species, which is why so many Californians refuse to vaccinate their kids these days.

    morris brown Reply:

    A copy of the letter from the US Dept. of the Interior, on violation of the Kit Fox habitat can be viewed at:

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/254463986/Fox-Habitat-Violations

    (Jan 26 2015)

    Peter Reply:

    For an article by an actual journalist in an actual newspaper (i.e. not a blog post masquerading as news on a click-bait website by someone with a severe case of the crazies), please see the Fresno Bee article on the kit fox issue.

  25. synonymouse
    Feb 1st, 2015 at 10:27
    #25

    The Cheerleaders have been noticeably reticent of late on some major developments, such as:

    1. Implosion of Queretaro HSR.

    2. Major uproar in the Sta. Clarita hood.

    3. Legal challenges coming to a denouement.

    5. Restless liberals in the Legislature wanting to redirect HSR money to social spending.

    6. Congressional Repubs itching to pull ARRA funds.

    7. A Gavin Newsom, much more schooled in HSR matters, waiting in the wings as Jerry Brown declines. The next generation much more open to alternatives to DogLegRail.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    But what is the real alternative?

    If anything, what you might see is more politicians gravitating to a blended system throughout as opposed to full separation.

    As for Newsom:

    Willie Brown is apparently suffering in a senior moment in pushing his proteges in exactly the wrong direction for their next offices. Surely he knew that Attorney General is always a better job for a Democrat to leap to the Governor’s Office than being a Mayor or Lieutenant Governor? AG allows you to get the law enforcement unions on your side and gives you the veneer of being more conservative than other Democrats.

    Meanwhile, Newsom who likes to look pretty and do nothing would be a great fit in the Senate and has dedication to the causes, like Boxer, that are liberal priorities. Instead, he’s going to run for Governor in 2018 (maybe) and split the vote with another Democrat and allow the GOP back in the statehouse.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Notice the spin: using “reticent” implying afraid to say anything rather than not using an adverb at all. Maybe there’s nothing to be said. Construction is proceeding mostly out of sight of us coastal residents. No news is good news.

    synonymouse Reply:

    On the contrary there is a lot of news, introducing many variables.

    First off Gavin is a shoe-in and as it is he is only a banana peel away from the Office now. Deal with it; and none of the other pols is consumed with Jerry’s Legacy anyway.

    You have to ask what is going with the Mexicans, to whom the Chinese would have certainly fronted the construction funding on their first successful bid. I am suggesting that the underlying buyers’ remorse with Queretaro HSR is the need for operating subsidies. It will have business but not be profitable and the Mexicans are not excited by another NdeM. Otherwise they would not have scrapped it.

    This is the ongoing undeniable dilemma for the Cheerleaders. This thing is going to require lots of subsidy, which won’t be popular even with the most hard core Berkeley crowd. The limousine liberals would rather spend the transport dollars on more freeway lanes, always popular with the voters, and the left want social spending. You know the bread in panem et circenses – it is called buying votes.

    The DogLeg is going to get spun off – sold off to the highest bidder. But well before that nowhere to nowhere will have proven an utter political blunder of the first order.

    And perhaps there really isn’t any ghetto between Sylmar and Sta. Clarita that PB can push around in its usual manner. Instead it is likely to get real ugly. I wonder how committed to Palmdale supremacy Richards and Jerry are now. Are they getting worried down in the PB-bunker?

    JJJJ Reply:

    “You have to ask what is going with the Mexicans,”

    No, you can read the Mexican papers. Its not about subsidies, its about a presidential scandal where the presidential (unofficial) mansion was built by a person who wanted to (and did) win the HSR contract.

    Its a corruption scandal, not a subsidy cost issue.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No, the claim is that due to the collapse in oil prices they do not have the money to pay for construction.

    Nor the money to pay for subsidizing passenger service on the existing rr system, let alone HSR to Queretaro.

    The claim is bogus since the Chinese would pay for the construction. The Mexicans are worried about the ongoing subsidy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He’s well off but he’s not that rich. Gates or Buffet have that kind of money laying around.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Um obviously they make up a bs excuse. You really think the president is going to come out and admit hes corrupt? He just wants the whole thing to go away, and if HSR construction starts, thats 5 years of reminders about how it was approved.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Mexico has become so corrupt and incompetent it is beginning to resemble California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Its wayward colony.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I’m not going to argue whether or not CA HSR will require subsidies. Why would this be a dilemma now? Building it has nothing to do with subsidies. And according to your tortured logic (notice the spin), Prop1A is null and void, so when the time comes and they start service, they’ll just include the subsidies since supposedly that’s completely in their power to do so.

    synonymouse Reply:

    California will very quickly grow weary of the need to subsidy and divest the DogLeg.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Why hasn’t California grown weary of subsidizing Amtrak? Why haven’t we divested it?

    synonymouse Reply:

    We don’t own it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    But isn’t the whole point to get rid of the subsidy? Who cares if we own it or not?

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is the difference between BART and the Capitol Corridor.

    With BART you have the militant Amalgamated. They will try to do the same thing with CAHSR – the machine and the union will demand strictly a government op. But it won’t fly due to the large flow of red ink. In short order they will divest just as Mexico did with the NdeM.

    CAHSR will not benefit from the artificial monopoly BART enjoys(downgraded AC and no Southern Crossing for instance).

    J. Wong Reply:

    So the machine and Amalgamates are powerful enough to insist on a scheme that requires subsidies, but not powerful enough to force said subsidies?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Precisely. The embarrassment of nowhere to nowhere plus the very poor patronage over the DogLeg will prove too much for the machine pols anxious to spend what money they have on education, police and corrections, and social welfare payments.

    Quite possibly LA Regional Rail will take over the DogLeg for what amounts to free and downgrade to what it has always been intended – high desert commute ops. Cut the speed to BART 80mph to save money.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Except it won’t be nowhere to nowhere with the Dogleg so where will be embarrassment come from?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Nowhere to nowhere will likely make its debut much, much earlier than the DogLeg and will promptly bomb at the boxoffice.

    It will turn out quite ugly for the Cheerleaders and will intensify and embolden the uprising at Sta. Clarita. By the time the ARRA orphan trackage turns a wheel Jerry will likely be gone and Gavin will be saying I told you so.

    J. Wong Reply:

    They’re not going to be running revenue service on the ICS. In fact, revenue service won’t start until at least Palmdale if not Burbank is connected. So no nowhere to nowhere except for demonstration, which should get people excited.

    Jerry Reply:

    Won’t the San Joaquin (revenue service) run on the ICS??
    If not, why?

    J. Wong Reply:

    As far as I know, the initial contracts are for construction and do not include signaling. Also, I don’t know if they have contracts to connect the ICS to existing rail, which is where the San Joaquins would get onto the ICS.

    “Won’t the San Joaquin (revenue service) run on the ICS?? If not, why?”

    synonymouse Reply:

    I assure the ARRA nowhere to nowhere is not just going to sit there rusting whilst the Valley bangers figure out a way to cannibalize it.

    The pols would get bloodied up real bad – they’ll operate if they have to borrow SMART doodlebugs. he he he

    J. Wong Reply:

    Oh, they’ll operate it – Burbank to Madera/Merced.

    Although we can speculate until we’re blue in the face, we won’t really know what will happen. Of course without signaling or electrification contracts they won’t be operating it in any foreseeable future. I expect that the construction contracts for Bakersfield – Palmdale and Palmdale – Burbank are put out to bid before any signaling or electrification of the ICS.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Don’t forget using “Borden to Corcoran” for freight while we wait for the tracks to be completed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You would need an agreement with the class ones and many contingencies to be resolved.

    Others on this site have argued in the past there would be too much damage entailed with freight ops. Some years back I had broached the possibility of “common carrier” ie. both passenger and freight but many solid objections were made.

    Good luck with that idea.

    Jerry Reply:

    So really. What is the timetable for all of this? What is the schedule?
    What happens first? What happens second? What happens third?
    Build the tracks and let them sit idle for how many years? Or.
    Use it as a test track? But that requires electrification. And trains. And a maintenance facility.
    Any timetable for the public to actually use any of it? What has CAHSR said about all of this?
    How many years for each step? And is there enough money for the completion of something viable?

    J. Wong Reply:

    @synonymouse

    Of course, you didn’t answer my question which was “why don’t we stop subsidizing the San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor, and Surfliner if subsidies are toxic”.

    Your answer “It is the difference between BART and the Capitol Corridor” misses the entire point: the difference between BART and the California Amtraks is that BART has a guaranteed subsidy voted on by the electorate. That doesn’t really explain why there hasn’t been any push back against the subsidies provided to California Amtraks out of the California general budget. So any claims that subsidies on HSR will cause it to fail cannot be supported by a general statement on subsidies.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The same people who vote for property tax increases to pay for BART extravagance are the same people who like the $5bil Bayconic Bridge. They probably support intactivism and think the Taleban is not a terrorist organization.

    But may there’s some hope for congenital stupidity and receptiveness to jedi mind tricks, that of Mencken’s proverbial booboosie. The Brits are doing multi-parental babies – no doubt the beginning of built to order humans. Smarter and longer living ones who won’t buy into kumbaya bullshit.

    EJ Reply:

    The same people who vote for property tax increases to pay for BART extravagance are the same people who like the $5bil Bayconic Bridge. They probably support intactivism and think the Taleban is not a terrorist organization.

    Please, take your meds.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am holding out for some of the Party Bosses’ coke and hookers.

  26. Robert S. Allen
    Feb 1st, 2015 at 23:51
    #26

    Fence and grade separate HSR to make it safe and reliable, per the 2008 Prop 1A title. Blended Rail is vulnerable to accidents, suicides, vandalism, and train delays. End HSR to the Bay Area for now at San Jose. (CPUC has jurisdiction over roads crossing railroads; have CHSRA or others applied for permits?)

    MarkB Reply:

    10 copy
    20 paste
    30 goto 10

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Goto is spaghetti code.

    Reality Check Reply:

    while (1) paste;

    MarkB Reply:

    That would have been a relevant comment were this a programming blog.

  27. Keith Saggers
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 08:23
    #27
  28. Reality Check
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 10:46
    #28

    Prospects for 2nd BART tube gain momentum, but wait could be long


    Public officials and riders have talked for years about building a second Transbay Tube — someday. Now, with BART’s ridership soaring, trains more crowded than ever and the economy booming, the idea is getting serious attention.

    […]

    But despite the surge of interest, a new tube won’t arrive as quickly as anyone would like. It would take many years — perhaps 30 or more — to build political support, satisfy environmental concerns, decide where it should go, come up with many billions of dollars, and finally, build the new line.

    “If anyone wants to know how long it it will take and how complicated it will be, think about the eastern span of the Bay Bridge or high-speed rail or plans to extend runways at SFO,” said Martin Wachs, a retired UC Berkeley planning professor who specialized in transportation and is a senior researcher for Rand Corp. in Santa Monica.

    […]

    “It’s a big deal that the mayor has gotten squarely behind having a second BART tube,” Wiener, the San Francisco supervisor who has made transit one of his signature issues, said recently. “Having a second BART tube isn’t optional. We have to do this. The tube is the BART system, and it’s basically full.”

    […]

    Few cost estimates exist, and transit experts are reluctant to speculate because details don’t exist. But the regional rail plan suggested a $10 billion cost — for the tube and connection to Market Street only. BART officials think the cost would be closer to $12 billion — almost twice as much as it cost to build the new Bay Bridge eastern span, a project that took 16 years from design selection to opening day.
    Jim Wunderman, chief executive officer of the Bay Area Council, a regional business advocacy group that pushed for the creation of BART more than 50 years ago, said he believes it’s possible to put together plans to build and pay for a new tube without waiting three decades.

    “I don’t think 30 years is reasonable to look at a project that has the ability to improve the quality of life so substantially,” he said.

    […]

    The Bay Area has failed for decades to invest in public transportation, aside from suburban BART extensions, and it’s time to pay up, Metcalf said.

    “We’re going to have to tax ourselves, and we’re going to have to make some investments for the future […] We are a very wealthy region, we can definitely afford to do this.”

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    There’s a simple solution: move a lotta shit to Oakland.

    Watch for the Southern Crossing to rise from the ashes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Move MTC to San Jose.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Not feasible in this environment where it is every city for itself. SF leaders recognize the only thing stopping even more growth are the letters B-A-R-T.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “We’re going to have to tax ourselves, and we’re going to have to make some investments for the future […] We are a very wealthy region, we can definitely afford to do this.”

    Translation: Please **** me. And again please.

  29. Reality Check
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 10:56
    #29

    As BART ridership grows, don’t expect any longer trains

    “The simple answer is there aren’t enough train cars,” BART wrote in a new info-graphic titled, “Why aren’t there more 10-car trains?

    The info-graphic reveals that BART has 662 total train cars in its fleet, and it runs 86.5 percent of them — which BART said is the best rate among major U.S. transit systems.

    BART has 535 train cars in service during peak commute times, with 38 cars on standby. Many cars are out of service for maintenance and repair.

    […]

    Joey Reply:

    They really should have bought new rolling stock a decade ago (or more) rather than putting money into far-flung extensions.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There’s a reason everybody with a brain uses standard gauge.

    Joey Reply:

    Broad gauge was a mistake, but adapting existing rolling stock platforms to different track gauges ends up being not that difficult. I suspect that the unique 1000VDC power supply and signaling are probably bigger issues.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Standard gauge simplifies procurement along with many other positives.

    Old hands tried to set Bechtel straight but the latter were obdurate. PB is just as stupid.

    Joey Reply:

    It simplifies procurement, but not by much. Certainly not enough to justify replacing all of BART’s track.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But certainly enough to build the proposed noxious 2nd tube to standard gauge and driverless.

    Why build more DinoBART ca. 1960 retrotech? Some parts of the existing system might end up standard gauged and incorporated into the more modern BART part deux.

    And then convert part one to driverless. And lower the fares.

    Hell you might even change and optimize the operating voltage since it is claimed none of this makes any substantive difference. Bechtel made light of existing SOP; now it is time to trash Bechtel.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    750 volts versus 600 means you can have slightly wider spacing between the converter stations. Or run longer trains. or run more trains. With the same size third rail.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Signalling may be a deal, but, albeit costly, a complete replacement might work better. The power supply voltage is no big deal at all. In fact, there are other lines operating at 1000 V DC, which means that BART is not really unique. Today’s standard would be 1500 V, although for third rail you find a lot of 750 V systems.

    Gauge is not a problem at all.

    A disadvantage of the “old” rolling stock is that it has only two doors; this is OK for longer distance, but in high-density short stopping distance places, it slows passenger flow. Even the 3 door configuration of the new cars is not thaat efficient.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If some sort of conflagration were to wipe out a major portion of BART rolling stock, would it be faster to procure standard gauge replacements or Indian Broad Gauge replacements?

    Joey Reply:

    The difference in procurement time is very small compared to the overall timescale for procurement.

    synonymouse Reply:

    6 months, for instance, is a long time to live with total gridlock.

    Just ask Amalgamated, who use maybe a couple of days of gridlock(usually on a summer holiday weekend)to extort bloated compensation.

    EJ Reply:

    What sort of disaster would wipe out the majority of BART rolling stock? From where would they conjure up hundreds of subway cars, regardless of what gauge they were? Are you under the impression that Siemens or AnsaldoBreda or Alstom just keep hundreds of cars lying around just in case somebody wants to buy them?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Old age?

    Pick something one of the bigger operators use and they can slap a different paint scheme on it and program the displays in the cars a bit differently and Voila! , you have a new fleet.

    From Wikipedia:

    The Port Authority awarded a $499 million contract to Kawasaki to design and build 340 new PATH cars (called the PA5), which replaced the system’s entire aging fleet. With an average age of 42 years, the fleet was the oldest of any operating heavy rail line in the United States. The Port Authority announced that the new cars would be updated versions of MTA’s R142A cars, which are currently in service on the New York City Subway’s 4 and 6 services. The first of these new cars entered revenue service July 10, 2009.

    … 1.47 million a car. Because they are more or less the same thing the NYC Subway runs on the A Division/IRT lines. Which if I remember correctly is more or less what they run on the L in Chicago. Again if IIRC Metro in DC and MARTA in Atlanta more or less run stuff that is NYC Subway B Division/BMT-IND lines. When they go shopping the vendors can say “we have these that were built in the U.S. so they meet Buy America and or Buy American rules and we can change the paint scheme and what gets displayed on the in car information systems.”

    EJ Reply:

    It’s just amazing how well crafted the wrongness in that post is.

    Shorebreeze Reply:

    I don’t really see any point in changing BART’s gauge. Besides the track gauge you also have loading gauge — namely, the very wide clearances allowed for and indeed required on BART. This is actually the bigger issue than track gauge, because the car body has to be built to reach the platform edge, and it couldn’t be addressed without converting the system at once. Track gauge, as land borders with Russia demonstrate, is easy to deal with if the car body fits the loading gauge on both sides of the border; you lift the car on to a different set of trucks and away you go. Ditto as Ireland broad gauge proves too because while the track is wider the overall loading gauge allows for the same 76’x9’3″ car body as upgraded trunk routes in the UK; so back in the 1980s, the Irish Railways ordered the British Rail standard Mark III car with a wider version of BR’s standard BT22 trucks and a better outside door design but no other major changes. That British 9’3″ width or something close to it is found on many transit systems worldwide, including the CTA for example, though most commuter and intercity rail systems around the world are now wider. But transit is what we’re talking about here, and that’s what BART is. So BART’s Amtrak-sized loading gauge is, by transit industry standards, custom, almost unique, being found elsewhere in North America only in Toronto. Even New York’s generously sized cars are almost a half foot narrower. That means a custom car body and there’s the BART equipment expense. And with BART lines sharing passage with one another you couldn’t convert in stages, so you’d have to convert the entire system all at once. The best course of action once BART reaches San Jose and closes the last really serious connection gap might be to put future investments into standard gauge networks, but converting BART would be ludicrously expensive and disruptive. And perhaps they could work out a deal with Toronto to bulk order equipment, same car body for both, one lot with 5’6″ trucks for BART and the other with 4’11” for Toronto.

    Leave BART infrastructure as it is, maintain it, enjoy the huge capacity that it allows for trains, and find ways of better filling them, such as TOD, closer stations, San Jose and better connections with other systems. That’s the sensible course of action.

    Oh, and take a note from Toronto; four sets of doors on each side of the car.

  30. synonymouse
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 13:51
    #30

    In 1906 St. Louis was kind enough to divert a large order of 150 streetcars under construction by the company with the same name to San Francisco to help recover from the disaster.

    They were numbered in 1500 series and I believe it is one of those that appears at Hayes & Market on the 21 line in “The Thin Man Returns”. I think 1934 and also some footage of SP at 3rd & Townsend.

  31. synonymouse
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 13:55
    #31

    And St. Louis used a broad gauge too but St. Louis Car Co. must have had a number of standard gauge trucks lying about. I wonder why.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I think I got this wrong. St. Louis used extraordinarily wide PCC’s, which came to SF in 1957, but I am not sure about the broad gauge.

    Many streetcar lines used weird gauges, a legacy of horsecar days and fights with standard gauge freight lines. Shades of BART-SP.

  32. J. Wong
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 14:47
    #32

    Do the current contracts include connecting the ICS to existing tracks? I recall that at the time of the original grant, some amount was allocated for that purpose (which I suppose would also include signaling). Do any contracts address this?

  33. Reality Check
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 15:31
    #33

    SMART extension to Larkspur in Obama’s budget

    Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials announced Monday the agency is in line to receive funding to the extend the commuter rail service to Larkspur.

    President Obama’s new budget recommends $20 million to complete construction of SMART’s rail extension from San Rafael to Larkspur. If approved by Congress, the funding would come to the region as part of the Federal Transit Administration’s “Small Starts” grant program.

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hardly worth it with doodlebugs.

    Some others in San Rafael want to run streetcars from SR station to Larkspur instead.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh how cute, streetcars! Do they go “ding ding”?

    In real life, DMUs are used all over the world, and they work well for secondary lines that haven’t been electrified.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    usually low use lines that don’t make sense to run long trains on. There’s a point where running locomotives and hauling cars can make more sense. Or electrifying.

    Joey Reply:

    It doesn’t make sense to run long trains on an isolated line in Marin County.

    JB in PA Reply:

    The isolated line ends at the ferry terminal.

    joe Reply:

    Marin rail stops will now include Larkspur, downtown San Rafael, the Marin Civic Center and stations in Novato at Hamilton and Atherton Avenue if the money comes through.

    “We now have delivered every station that SMART promised in Marin County,” said Kate Sears, Marin Supervisor and rail board member.

    The Larkspur extension would represent the next phase of the project because the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has committed $20 million in Regional Measure 2 funds, making the project financially whole.

    The commission funds are from the 2004 voter-approved Regional Measure 2, which increased tolls on state bridges by $1 for transportation projects. The money became available to SMART when a plan to re-do the Greenbrae interchange fell apart after local bickering over the design.

    Ha ha. Bickering over the design.

    Joey Reply:

    And I’m sure it connects to various other forms of transit but that doesn’t change the fact that long trains don’t make sense.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Long trains make sense on the Tokaido. DMUs wouldn’t be a good choice there. They are a good choice when running a bus isn’t for whatever reason or reasons.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Joey

    San Rafael does not want wine trains, anything that would block precious 2nd, 3rd or 4th Sts.

    Larkspur does not want the terminal as ABAG keeps trying to shove low income housing down their throat using the train as a club.

    Joey Reply:

    Ah yes, the classic “poor people should have to live elsewhere” defense.

    Donk Reply:

    There is also $215M for the LA Purple Line, $115 for the LA Regional Connector, $165M for BART to SJ, $150M for the Mid Coast SD Trolley…and $11B for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter…

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-obama-budget-california-20150203-story.html

    TomA Reply:

    Well weve got to make sure we have the most advanced (supposedly) fighers for all of the massive aerial battles we fight these days.

    Certainly we couldnt afford to intimidate Arab tribesman with anything less than the best.

  34. J. Wong
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 15:42
    #34

    OT a PB publication on HSR: Parsons-Brinkerhoff Network Issue 73.

  35. Shorebreeze
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 17:06
    #35

    When we have a non-nihilist conservative party in this country, we’ll be able to have a serious debate. But until that point arrives, the alternatives between northern and southern California are . . . . a ten-lane freeway the whole way . . . . new hub airports in LA and SF . . . . . or a railroad.

    And the railroad is cheaper and faster and less demanding of energy than any of the alternatives, assuming airport security remains as it is.

  36. Joey
    Feb 2nd, 2015 at 17:27
    #36

    O/T: Google Earth Pro is now free. Features include advanced mapping tools and demographic, parcel, and traffic data. Google will send you a key for free if you register on this page.

    joe Reply:

    ARC/Info was the 900 lb Gorilla in the 80s and early 90s. you could not do anything in mapping without paying that huge fee for their various SW packages.

    Ha.

  37. Useless
    Feb 3rd, 2015 at 09:06
    #37

    China urges home country of Bombardier to shun Bombardier bullet trains and adopt Chinese bullet trains to save cost instead. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/china-eager-to-exchange-bullet-train-expertise-for-resources-with-ontario/article22754716/

    Alon Levy Reply:

    With this offer, is going to undertake a new study about HSR between Toronto and Montreal!

    Useless Reply:

    Alon Levy

    Might as well extend the railway from Toronto all the way to Chicago. Then the Chinese bullet trains must be excluded because they do not meet the FRA safety and loading gauge standard.

    But doesn’t make any sense why Canada would even want to buy Chinese bullet trains, when they have Bombardier.

    Useless Reply:

    Oh, there is already a plan in place for a 110 mph railway between Chicago and Detroit, so all you have to do is connect Detroit to Toronto, then you can travel from Chicago to Montreal by rail.

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2014/10/29/high-speed-rail-boost-roundtrips-detroit-chicago/18088995/

    Steven H Reply:

    Do you mean they should study Toronto-Montreal? From the article, it sounds like they’re only studying Toronto-Windsor, or maybe Windsor-QC… though I guess that’s because this offer was made to Ontario, not Canada.

    On a side note, I hope that any new study for Toronto-Windsor includes an option to extend HSR across the Detroit River. I don’t know if Toronto-Detroit-(Chicago) is a good idea… but it would be a nice for that option to be available. (I don’t know the condition of the current Michigan Central rail tunnel, but it’s obviously not HSR capable)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, I mean Canada’s studied HSR a zillion times and never made any effort to build anything.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Like the US they study it and decide that since everybody drives everywhere it costs too much to do.

    TomA Reply:

    Its ironic to see how much American money is ultimately going to build rail networks all over the world (via the money we send to China, that China then spends on all of these projects.), and yet we cant afford to build even one line here.

    Really – can we just let China come in and build the lines with a promise that we will keep buying all of our cheap crap over there instead of moving our factories to India or Africa?

  38. Useless
    Feb 3rd, 2015 at 09:09
    #38

    New Taiwan HSR rescue plan estimates only 180K passengers per day, as the result of train stations built at outskirts of city center like airports. New bullet trains must stop at city center in order to avoid the fate of Taiwan HSR. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2015/02/04/2003610797

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