HSR Trainset Bids Could Create New Domestic Industry

Feb 23rd, 2015 | Posted by

Late last week Bloomberg News examined the “Race to Build California Bullet Train” – and how it could spur the development of a new domestic manufacturing industry:

California has set off a global race to supply train cars for the state’s nascent high-speed rail line, a $1 billion contract proponents say could fuel a U.S. manufacturing boom worth far more than that….

Overseas companies have long eyed the U.S. as an undeveloped market for high-speed rail. Still, opposition to public financing of such lines among Republicans and others has left California the only state pursuing a bullet-train system. The state’s rail authority expects to order as many as 95 trains over the next 14 years, making the purchase worth more than $3 billion.

Of course, more work will be needed to sustain this nascent industry:

“We don’t have a high-speed rail industry in the United States,” said Daniel Krause, the director of policy and operations at the U.S. High Speed Rail Association, an advocacy group in Washington. “We hope to have enough projects in the future that we can have multiple companies ongoing building cars for a large market.’

Fully agree. Someday Congress will see the light, though probably not until Republicans are no longer in charge. Still, it’s good that another prediction of longtime HSR supporters is going to come to pass: California’s HSR project will indeed create the foundation of a new industry.

  1. Engineering Student
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 12:23
    #1

    The Siemens facility in southern Sacramento is already well underway with its expansion.

  2. J. Wong
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 13:33
    #2

    Nice if they build the plant in California. I’d like all the Republican states to have to buy them from us when they decide to play catch up once HSR is up and running in California.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Cool. So while California will be 50 to 80 years behind the rest of the industrialized first world, producing non-working obsolete trains using hand tools under shade trees under banana republic style contracts, and doing so at only two to ten times the cost, it will be fine OK because “Republican states” will be playing catch-up.

    In your face, Alabama!

    Joe Reply:

    Oh god. Lazy Americans freeloading off yor hard earned income.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I’m totally down with paying Americans to competitively maintain trains. (Maintenace is where the real jobs are anyway, not in bullshit political ribbon-cutting “local” manufacturing scams.)

    I’m totally down with paying Americans competitive (USA USA USA!) amounts of money to produce competitive products. If they can’t do so productive, I’d much much much rather my taxes go to worthwhile social or economic programs.

    I’m not down with forking over many times the going rate to a bunch of rent-seeking contract gaming shell corporation pig-fuckers whose only skill is in buying legislation, skimming off massive takes, and delivering third-rate shit.

    THEY HATE US FOR OUR FREEDOM!

    joe Reply:

    A couple of points: There’s a lot of money it IT support but we also build systems in the US and I’ll bet your day job isn’t to maintain PCs.

    Negative correlations are still correlations: You mock the US policies and relentlessly push the foreign mantra. Same simplistic view – just opposite. Your opinions are as sophisticated as a ‘-‘ sign.

    Manufacturing and parts supply are important industries for the USA. http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iagauto.htm
    There is no substantial difference between a foreign auto company setting up a factory to manufacture car in the US and a foreign HSR company setting up in the US. We are cost and skill compeititve in global markets despite your derisive attitude towards ‘the others’.

    The USA has unique requirements for automobiles and we even drive on the opposite side of the road yet Japan companies figure ways to build reliable and profitable cars for our market and export. They hire American’s to manufacture and supply parts for these systems.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Japanese use U.S.vendors to supply U.S. assembly plants staffed with Americans to build competitively priced trains. So do the Germans. And those nasty Canadians. And Spaniards. And Koreans.

    Joey Reply:

    Trainsets are complicated products with a lot of specialized components. Many of them are easy to source in the US. Some aren’t. Changing supply chains also costs money.

    I don’t doubt that it can be done but it will cost extra. Given how much more it seems to cost and how few jobs it creates it might make sense to just take the savings from a foreign project and use them to create more jobs elsewhere.

    joe Reply:

    Foreign auto Industry does this at a profit.

    It will cost extra to establish a domestic HSR industry to some degree but we are first world nation capable of building aircraft and complex systems. We have and the people who do this complex work those people will be paid and taxed and spend that salary in the US. CA has a chance to be the location for this industry and suppliers.

    If building shit like this were a big bummer, companies would be letting china do it, not suing them for stealing designs.

    Joey Reply:

    It works if there’s a lot of demand and it’s continuous. No one in the US is even thinking about very high speed trainsets other than California and the NEC (and their needs are somewhat different). Large parts of the process would use the same equipment as other types of rolling stock, for which demand is somewhat higher, but trying to source every single component domestically is a waste of resources.

    joe Reply:

    Too bad. I now suppose there will be little interest in bidding with the U.S. content rules and all.

    Andy M Reply:

    Talgo built a plant in the US, but then got caught up in politically motivated cancellation. What signal is this sending to other manufacturers considering a similar move?

    joe Reply:

    Rochelle IL is a counter example as is California.

    http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060011921
    BTW Wisconsin canceled and gave back the federal HSR money and is now funding that very rail improvement project out of the state budget.

    In the 2010 elections, Republicans targeted the grants as a prime example of stimulus-related waste. Within months of winning office, newly elected GOP governors in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin canceled planned high-speed rail ventures, cumulatively rejecting more than $3 billion in previously approved federal funding.

    “I laughed at them,” Szabo said, adding that Wisconsin is now proceeding with improvements to the Chicago-Milwaukee line “on their own dime.”

    A large chunk of the returned money was rerouted to California,

    Joey Reply:

    Too bad. I now suppose there will be little interest in bidding with the U.S. content rules and all.

    If the Acela replacement’s bid turnout is anything to go by, that very well may be the case.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Wisconsin is a complete disaster area at the moment, thanks to Scott Walker, who’s a criminal who surrounds himself with criminals. (Most of the people around him have been convicted. He’s been avoiding prosecution by literally *stacking the courts* and *firing prosecutors* — very Nixonian.)

    Hopefully it will stand as an object lesson to governors in other states. Walker did get “re-elected”, unfortunately (though there’s solid evidence he stole the election by ballot-box stuffing in Waukesha).

    Andy M Reply:

    Foreign auto makers follow the IKEA principle. IKEA discovered that if you ship assembled bookcases, you can fit a certain number into a shipping container. If you ship them disassembled, you can fit many times that number. Previously, costs of shipping acted as a barrier protecting local manufacturers. IKEA destroyed that.

    The likes of Toyota may be sourcing some content locally, but by and large that’s not the killer argument for local assembly. A robot doesn’t mind whether it’s on Hokaido or Alabama. The same robot with the same software welds your parts together in the same way. Most of the jobs created are unskilled or semi-skilled, but all the really advanced engineering is being done in Japan and that’s where the knowledge is staying. You don’t see guys walking out of the factory saying, I’ve spent 15 years assembling cars and now understand how to do it well enough to start my own auto company.

    joe Reply:

    “Foreign auto makers follow the IKEA principle.”

    Of course not true. Where does this belief come from?
    Just look at a car sticker. Consumer reports labeled the Camry one of the highest US content cars.
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/07/toyota-camry-beats-ford-f-150-as-most-american-made/1

    Despite constant harping, US workers are very productive and low wage. We’re cheap labor compared to Japan so NO, Japan does not ship parts here for assembly.

    Foreign auto makers are have design centers in the US – more high paying and critical work for the US.

  3. Jerry
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 14:20
    #3

    What? HSR and more jobs. Sounds like something the Republicans are automatically against.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually, yes.

    I know I am starting to sound like a troll these days… but the longer I am involved with other, non-transportation government programs, the more I realize just how deep the hostility runs in the Republican Party to certain things.

    Very high on that list I’m afraid is any form of manufacturing.

    There is no desire among the national GOP to do anything,or build any type of equipment or product, that uses union labor. But I have also realized that there’s no really no value in the GOP’s eyes for any domestic manufacturing at all.

    Much as I would like to hope that HSR manufacturing would spur new heavy industries for California, that’s not going to happen. It’s going to be a foreign manufacturer or consortium that sets up shop in the right to work states in the South, Puerto Rico, or the Northern Marinara Islands.

    California has always been a very difficult place to scale manufacturing plants, and the defense industry obscured that hundred years old reality. We had two major land wars in East Asia during the 20th century and California’s big plants started closing mere months later.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Repubs favor manufacturing in right-to-work states. But then so do the companies, as they have been moving away from unions for decades.

    But for something entirely different – does this thing meet California seismic standards?

    http://www.rtands.com/index.php/passenger/rapid-transit-light-rail/hart-completes-second-mile-of-elevated-rail-guideway.html

    EJ Reply:

    It looks a lot like the elevated structures the San Diego Trolley uses.

    Nathanael Reply:

    ” the more I realize just how deep the hostility runs in the Republican Party to certain things”

    Reality, for example?

    It’s not a political party. It’s an insane death cult, which demands bizarre loyalty pledges (“And now you must reject climate change, and reject evolution, and call for war forevermore….”)

    Poor Ashley Swearingen is going to find this out fairly soon.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Made my day: “It’s not a political party. It’s an insane death cult”

    Ted Judah Reply:

    More frightening is the level of failure required to get people to demand something else: a long war and major depression.

    Nathanael Reply:

    People, on the whole, don’t pay any attention. This is a general principle.

    This is one reason I oppose having elections over and over again. They’re an invitation for trouble. When there’s no really critical issues on the horizon, incompetents can win them like a beauty contest. It also means that good elected officials end up wasting most of their time running for election.

    Instead, I think we’d be better off with nothing but recall elections. Leave the current government in power until people get so fed up with it they want to recall it, by which time they may actually be paying attention. This would also remove the weird bias people have against recall elections….

    …well, it’s probably too radical an idea, but there it is.

    Jerry Reply:

    Nathaniel
    A good alternative idea.
    In order to save time and money, some small town somewhere should try it.
    Please remember that political structures are belief systems no different from economics or religion.
    Democracy is partially the superstition that 51% of the people will be right 51% of the time.

    Nathanael Reply:

    As far as I can tell, the strongest argument for democracy is this:

    When you have a grossly incompetent or tyrannical leader, you usually need to get rid of him (and it’s usually a him). Traditionally this is done through bloody civil war, assassination, coups, and other nasty means.

    Democracy allows for a more peaceful transition, giving the evil, hated leader a polite way into retirement and making it obvious to him that he can’t stay without getting his head whacked.

    Subversion of democracy — by ballot-box stuffing, electronic fraud in the ballot counting, turning people away at the ballot box, having the Supreme Court order that the votes not be counted (as in 2000) etc. — is therefore something which leads inevitably back to the old methods of governmental change: the bloody ones.

    Jerry Reply:

    Subversion? Get rid of the opposition? “the old methods”
    “Boris Nemtsov, leading Putin critic, shot and killed in Moscow”
    Nathanael your prescient.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Two Talgo trainsets, coaches and cabs, were manufactured in Wisconsin around 2010. They’re now operating on Amtrak’s Cascades route. I’ve been on the Acela at 150mph and was not impressed. The Talgo I’ve been on dozens of times and is far more comfortable to ride. Talgo can run on any HSR corridor and other passenger-rail corridors in the US. Governor Walker closed down the Talgo manufacturing facility though Talgo is the ideal modern passenger-rail type possible for most US rail corridors. 200mph HSR trainsets will NOT bring US passenger-rail up to world standards.
    Oh well, screw it. He who dies with the most money, wins, right?

    Michael Reply:

    The Talgo ride on the Cascades is nicer than the Acela, but the Acela is a beast of a HSR trainset. The nicest rides on any trainset I’ve been on is the ICE-3. Steadier and firmer ride than similar TGVs. I have never ridden on a Shinkansen of any sort. The ICE-T rides nicer than a Cascades Talgo.

    In 1993, I rode the ICE-1 that was then touring the US from SF to San Jose. That showed what a decent suspension can do on crappy tracks, and Caltrain in 1993 was crappy tracks, still with miles of jointed rails from WWII. The ICE-1 was smooth as glass.

    EJ Reply:

    One of the reasons the ICE-1 of that era was so smooth on mediocre track is it used a rubber damper between the body of the wheel and the tire. Unfortunately this caused unanticipated metal fatigue, leading to a wheel failure that caused the Eschede disaster 5 years later.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The Bochum type wheelset (with rubber elements between the rim and the wheel disk) does not contribute much to the smoothness of the ride. In fact, the choice of this type of wheel was pretty wrong, because so far it has been used for streetcar and light rail applications (where it actually does have some effect because there is no primary suspension; but even there it was IMHO inferior to the SAB wheelsets which had rubber elements which were sheared instead of compressed (rubber works much better under shear stress than compression)).

    In fact, the original ICE-1 trucks were quite bad, because they were steel coil springs for the secondary suspension (which is the main element for smooth rides). They did improve things somewhat, but for me, the smoothest ride of any ICE family vehicle are the ICE-2 cars with airbags as secondary suspension; those cars are compatible with the ICE-1 sets, and back when I did regular business trips to Germany and the EuroDomino pass still existed, I looked actively for a ICE-2 car (which at the time also were the only cars in an ICE-1 set with power outlets). That steel coil springs are not the very best for smooth ride is something essentially every high speed train maker had to learn the hard way… TGV originally stood for Train à Grandes Vibrations, and JR Central got very bad press with their first Nozomi services, wich were apparently really bad. SNCF/Alstom pretty quickly replaced the secondary suspensions with airbags, and I think JR West did the same.

    Lewellan Reply:

    http://live.wavecast.co/highspeedrail/live-feed/
    High speed rail livecast Wednesday noon. Sponsor Bombardier.
    I’ll be the one talking Talgo between chanting USA! USA!

    Lewellan Reply:

    Does GMT mean Greenwich Mean Time?
    If so, the livecast finished hours ago. Oops. Sorry.

    Jerry Reply:

    @Michael
    Interesting reference to a 1993 tour of the ICE-1 supplied by Germany in the hopes of getting purchase contracts for more trains.
    I would like to see similar tours of trains like that to spur public interest in modern trains.
    Any additional info on the 1993 info would be helpful.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    This tour must have happened before or after the few months of (public) test runs in the NEC. For a few weeks certain Metroliner services were run with an adjusted ICE-1 trainset.

    Michael Reply:

    I got a coffee cup and a cloth bag. Today, when we photograph everything, I look back and kick myself for not bringing my ol’ film camera on that trip. On my last trip to Germany, I found a special editon Fleischmann ICE passenger coach with the Amtrak logo on it.

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks. Today, smartphones help a lot with everything.
    Sounds like it was a very interesting public relations activity on the part of ICE-1 makers.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They can’t run on the NEC. The floors are too low. You did notice when you rode the Acela that you didn’t have to clamber up and down stairs to get on or off the train didn’t you?

    Jerry Reply:

    Is that just a platform problem or something else??

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s a trainset problem. The platforms match up quite nicely with the thousands of other cars that use them.

    Lewellan Reply:

    The Acela coach on my ride in 2011 seemed long outdated. If it ’tilted’ at all, I didn’t notice.
    I should stress that my preference is for ‘Talgo-type’ trainsets, that is, “dual-mode” to reduce cost and apply to routes that would continue to serve freight, as does the Amtrak Cascades. Still, the Talgo ‘single-axel’ McPherson Strut suspension technology is a marvel and probably the lightest passenger coaches in the world.

    Joey Reply:

    The whole point of tilting is that you don’t notice it. The Acela cars tilt quite a bit, but it’s also disabled on various stretches of the NEC and not needed on others.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Sharing with freight is a bad thing for faster service (or even on-time). The Cascades save a few minutes because of the Talgos, but it would be even faster if they didn’t have to share with freight.

    Useless Reply:

    J. Wong

    But sharing tracks with anything and everything is a must in the US and in California, no money and political capital to build new tracks in densely populated areas.

    Michael Reply:

    You like Talgos? Who knew?

  4. les
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 14:44
    #4

    Give Republicans credit for US HSR success now because you know they’ll take credit for it in the long run.

    Jerry Reply:

    Sure. They were for it before they were against it. They just want it ‘done right’. After all, it was a Republican governor who got it all on the ballot and got the voters to approve it.
    Wow. Let the political games begin. Where does Jeb stand???

    Jerry Reply:

    Whoops. I mean John Ellis Bush. The former real estate developer.

    Eric Reply:

    as one his first acts as governor of florida, Jeb line-item-vetoed funding for fkorida’s constitutionally mandated HSR system, then led a counter amendment initiative to get the HSR provision repealed.
    HSR will die on the vine if jeb is elected president.

    TomA Reply:

    The new Republican governor of Maryland is pulling the, just want it done right on the new DC suburb light rail line as we speak. He got elected on the premise of not giving stuff to the places where people live (DC and Baltimore and their burbs), but I suspect he knows that hes a one termer if he throws a billion dollars in federal matching funds down the drain. So hes got to fig leaf it.

    Jerry Reply:

    Republicans are against sustainable development. It is pointed out in the Atlantic article about why we are still building urban sprawl.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/why-are-people-still-building-sprawl/385741/
    It’s not just urban planners who think developers should be thinking more sustainably. The United Nations, in 1992, got 178 countries (including the U.S.) to sign onto Agenda 21, pledging to promote sustainable development, investment in infrastructure, and the rehabbing of old buildings, among other things.
    In some parts of the country, there’s been a rallying call against sustainable development. A group, influenced by the Tea Party, formed a group called Resist 21, which pushes back against the U.N.’s Agenda 21, calling it “the strategy that seeks to transform America from the land of the free to the land of a collective.”
    The Republican Party adopted a platform that “exposed” Agenda 21 at its 2012 Convention, pledging to inform state and local governments around the country about the “underlying harmful implications of implementation of United Nations Agenda 21 destructive strategies for ‘sustainable development’.”
    “Exposing” sustainable development might seem laughable, but it points to a growing divide about how different people think Americans want to live in the future. Do they want to continue to live in spread-out, single-family homes with lawns and garages and spare bedrooms? Or do they want smaller, compact houses where they can easily hop on a train or walk to the coffee shop, without even needing a garage, or a car to park in it?

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Yes, as a matter of fact, they do want single family homes in wide lawns.
    And others want cozy urban nests convenient to rail transit and all the amenities of a modern city.
    I just want that choice to be freely available, not restricted by bizarre zoning regulations that subsidize sprawl and mandate that everyone has to have a car. That should be a personal choice made by the consumer, not GM lobbyists.

  5. RJ
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 14:46
    #5

    I’m pretty confident that in the next 3-5 years the Pacific Northwest will announce an HSR line from Seattle to Portland at the very least, perhaps from Vancouver to Eugene.

    As much as people from Seattle and Portland love to hate on Californians, they always copy the zeitgeist in California a few years after we come up with the original idea. They won’t want to be left behind.

  6. Keith Saggers
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 15:20
    #6

    http://main.sonomamarintrain.org/

    EJ Reply:

    http://www.amtrak.com/home

  7. Reality Check
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 15:55
    #7

    2nd Transbay Tube needed for late-night transit, task force says

    jimsf Reply:

    maybe they should just widen the san mateo bridge and add bart tracks on it.

    joe Reply:

    This trans-bay tube going to evolve into a BART- HSR crossing to bring trains from SF into Oakland and go after HSR money.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t think so. The argument will be “technical”, as in how to use one tube for both standard and broad gauge tracks and different power voltages…but really it’s about the fact that BART’s bread and butter is the Tube and it wants zero competition there.

    It is barely able to stomach the thought of riding SFO to TBT in less time than BART…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Go driverless and there you have the billions for your tubal libation.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    What’s the largest transit system that is driverless? And do you seriously, even once in your life, want to get stuck under the Bay for even a couple minutes without a driver on board?

    EJ Reply:

    Several Paris metro lines are driverless. Skytrain in Vancouver is over 40 miles with 3 lines and has been driverless since it was built.

    They’ve been batting around the idea of going driverless on several London tube lines for a while now. The mayor threatens to do it every time the tube drivers go on strike.

    In any case, if a train were to fail in the transbay tunnel, how exactly is having a driver on board going to be helpful? A properly planned emergency response is much more important than having a driver.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s mainly psychological. When there are delays or accidents, the driver can notify passengers and act as a reassuring figure. And while you might think it’s stupid, the alternative to risk many riders never coming back after traumatic accidents.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The most complex driverless systems are London Docklands Railway and the Nürnberg U-Bahn. Length does not matter, and all other places where they are driverless are single lines (nothing against that, but operating a single line is way easier than a network). BTW, Nürnberg was (or maybe still is) mixed, driverless and with driver on the same tracks.

    swing hanger Reply:

    In Japan there are numerous systems, including complex run-through operations on Tokyo Metro, using what we call ATO, which is fully automatic with regards acceleration and braking, however a driver still sits in the cab to check on the station platform door operation, push the “go” button, and apply emergency brakes should there be a track obstruction. Likely the application is to reduce labor costs with the elimination of a conductor/guard (i.e. DOO), and improvement in headways given the more precise braking pattterns.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    ATO is automated operation, and not within the (strict) definition of “driverless”. ATO is a necessity in very high density operation. And it works at its best with uniform fleets, as we find in subway applications.

    EJ Reply:

    BART already has ATO; had it since the beginning.

    Joey Reply:

    If the crossing is SF-Oakland, then it will almost certainly include BART. But this is inevitable – all of the East Bay lines that are putting pressure on the existing Transbay Tube are BART so short of converting them to something else.

    If the crossing is not SF-Oakland, then including BART is a lot less certain. It would also be very difficult to argue it north – however interested the people in power are in the SF-Oakland crossing, they would be talking about turning a $2 billion project into a $15 billion project.

    joe Reply:

    Here’s the SF Mayor
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/SF-mayor-backs-second-transbay-BART-tube-to-6020957.php

    City officials could not provide a cost estimate beyond saying it would be billions of dollars. The cost could soar even further if the decision is made to construct a two-level tube, one for BART and the other to extend high-speed rail, which is planned to run from Southern and Central California up the Peninsula to downtown San Francisco.

    Joey Reply:

    Yes, many billions, because the SF-Oakland crossing is wide and deep and the approaches are difficult and will inevitably include underground stations.

    Lewellan Reply:

    The Bay Area must reduce long-distance commuting overall. If another Tube is installed, this creates more demand for long-distance commuting, most of which can only be met by driving. A 2nd Transbay Tube would make traffic worse. If instead, BART stations were to develop local economies, rush hour commuting would reduce and leave more time for off-rush hour transit use. Applying this logic, BART could run 4-car trainsets all day long and rarely be overloaded nor mostly empty off-rush hours. This is not rocket science. Those here who pretend to call themselves urban planning-istas haven’t applied its principle philosophy, being too busy with technofix BS, like 200mph HSR, uber, self-driving cars, etc.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    If another Tube is installed, this creates more demand for long-distance commuting

    Wrong. It creates more capacity (serving existing overwhelming demand, and potentially creating more demand) for relatively short transit trips between the inner East Bay and San Francisco. It helps create a coherent and useful 24/7 rapid transit system in the inner Bay Area, as opposed to BART’s current strategy of continually stretching their lines into the hinterlands to capture ever diminishing numbers of park-and-ride commuters.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Both of you are correct but the overriding factor is that political structure and geography make it hard for BART to get funding for capital upgrades in the system’s core. If SF really wants to put its muscle behind 24 hour, four track BART for the Tube, get out of their way!

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    Sounds convenient for getting home to Temescal or Rockridge after a night out in SF….

    jimsf Reply:

    with this planned for TI maybe the second tube should stop on TI

    jimsf Reply:

    link

    jimsf Reply:

    ugh…

    link

    EJ Reply:

    None of your links work (just post the URL already) but one would hope they have a Treasure Island station. It was extremely shortsighted that the original tube didn’t make any provision for it.

    Joey Reply:

    I have mixed feelings about this. There are some configurations that would work. Something like 1st to Battery would hit both new development areas in Mission Bay and SOMA and the existing Financial District. On the Oakland side it could connect to a new BART alignment which would allow Fremont and Dublin-Pleasanton trains to pass through downtown. It doesn’t lend itself well to a BART connection to Geary though. Treasure island is pretty isolated, and so could get good transit usage, but it might be underwater in the not-too-distant future.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Ellen Smith, BART’s acting manager for strategic and policy planning, recently told a SF County Transportation Authority Board committee (comprised of SF supervisors) that regional transportation agencies plan to fund a study of a subway connecting the South of Market area to Alameda, with a possible extension west underneath the Market Street subway, towards the Richmond and Sunset Districts.
    SF Streetsblog

    Joey Reply:

    Yes I know that. That isn’t what’s under discussion here.

    Joey Reply:

    Ugh. Since when does the chronicle have a paywall? Easy to subvert with clever use of Google News but still…

  8. jimsf
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 16:22
    #8

    Hopefully our state and federal leaders from CA will push hard to locate the manufacturing facility in CA. The should put the manufacturing facility and the heavy maintenance facility in Tulare County where Kings County can see it but not benefit from it lol.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Siemens is already here on the south side of Sacramento. They have paid their dues, building an organization that builds, rather than bolts together imported parts, street cars and locomotives. They deserve California’s first HSR order.

    Observer Reply:

    Plus their Velaro series high speed trains are among the best available; totally proven.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If the Chinese bid I presume they will come in very low. Apparently Bombardier has already been undergoing an in-house reorganization to prepare to confront Chinese aggressive lo-bidding.

    Jerry will have to produce some of the most creative bullshit of his political career to overturn a lo-ball bid from the Chinese and give the job to Siemens or Bombardier or any other supplier.

    EJ Reply:

    But I thought “the Chinese” were scared off because they got burned in Mexico. Wasn’t that what you were saying last week?

    synonymouse Reply:

    They were threatening legal action until the Mexican government agreed to buy them off with hush money.

    Lawyering up is kinda new to them. Mordidas they know how to do.

    EJ Reply:

    Boy oh boy, you seem like you’re really plugged into the inner workings of the Chinese government.

    Andy M Reply:

    Restructuring is the only constant with Bombardier. I tend to be sceptical on these things and not believe them until I see results.

    Useless Reply:

    synonymouse

    > If the Chinese bid I presume they will come in very low

    Chinese are not qualified to bid. Cannot meet FRA crash regulations. Ditto for Japanese. This is what the Texas Central HSR is all about, building it with Japanese money and keeping FRA off JR Central’s back.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    JR Central has an export model of the N700 that is supposed to be able to meet FRA requirements.
    They don’t have to meet heavy rail requirements since they’ll be isolated on a separate track instead of mixing with freight trains. The only shared track will be with light rail.

    Useless Reply:

    Tokkyu40

    No, JR Central is proposing to bring the Shinkansen to Texas as is, no modification.

    It is Kawasaki that has proposed the efSET which is designed to European UIC standard. However, the efSET doesn’t physically exist and wouldn’t be qualified to bid in California, as CAHSR would likely require service-proven models. The fact that efSET is an export only model that will never be used in Japan is another big no no.

    Accordingly, both Japanese and Chinese are not qualified to bid in California HSR rolling stock bids. You will have European bidders, Bombardier, and Rotem qualified to bid in California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Politically that will prove a very hard sell for Jerry Brown. Here he’s pushing a “bullet train” and the innovator of that concept will not be allowed to bid? He’s the honcho who rode hsr in China.

    The general public knows less than squat about CAHSR and your arcane objections will be totally over their heads. And instantly dismissed as jury rigging.

    The mere fact the Chinese propose to build an hsr trainset that functions in their country for half the price Siemens wants will cause your supreme leader a serious political headache, to amp and aggravate all the other local discontent surrounding DogLegBahn.

    Useless Reply:

    synonymouse

    Of course Chinese may bid, but will be eliminated in the bid evaluation process. Chinese have no idea on what it takes to build a rolling stock to a crash standard.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Has it been published that CNR/CSR were kicked out of the race? Both did show interest, and so far I am only aware of the non-manufacturer to be out.

    Useless Reply:

    Max Wyss

    Of course they are not kicked out of race officially. But the Chinese cannot meet FRA Tier III regulations. There are no train crash standards in China and Japan. Only Korea has a intercity train crash standard, a tougher one than the European crash standard because of the added mandatory crash energy absorption, which is triggering European vendors and Bombardier to cry protectionism.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    It is irrelevant whether the country where the “candidate” has the headquarters has crash standards. It is relevant to what the crash standards are to which the vehicles are built.

    (or are we talking past each other?)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I see that Siemens is hosting a two-day expo on the steps of the Capitol this week (Wednesday and Thursday) to show people what they are capable of for HSR technology: http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/28918/siemens-rail-vehicles

    However, I think the problem is that zee Germans won’t pony up zee cash required by der Governor to get the state’s first order.

    I think it’s a very positive sign that Siemens has scored big contracts for TriMet in Portland and MUNI for light rail outside of their hometown contract in Sacramento. But I also think light rail is dangerously overbuilt in places and risks being obsolete as there’s more urban infill….

    synonymouse Reply:

    Light rail is not overbuilt in SF, Oakland, Berkeley, the Northbay. Hell, the East Bay cannot even get a trolley bus. BART hoovers up every farthing.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The East Bay only has a few routes that have density to match the need for trains. The vintage of construction means those corridors would get a streetcar if anything. Or it would be as slow as one…

    synonymouse Reply:

    “The East Bay only has a few routes that have density to match the need for trains.”

    Then the East Bay does not need another BART tube.

    Lewellan Reply:

    The Bay Area must reduce long-distance commuting overall. Another Tube creates more demand for long-distance commuting, most of which only be met by driving. A 2nd Transbay Tube would make traffic worse. If instead, BART stations were to develop local mixed-use economies, rush hour commuting would reduce and leave more time for off-rush hour transit use. Applying this logic, BART could run 4-car trainsets all day long and rarely be overloaded nor empty off-rush hours. This is not rocket science. Those here who pretend to call themselves urban planning-istas haven’t applied its principle philosophy, being too busy with technofix BS, like 200mph HSR, uber, self-driving cars, etc.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Apples and oranges…There a five AC Transit routes that could realize the ridership needed to switch to light rail. But there is zero ROW without using a streetcar system (really slow, but could work in the central city) or you are digging tunnels.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Don’t you want a HART elevated down Telegraph Ave.?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    “Light rail” is an attempt to shortchange jurisdictions out of full grade separated systems. Cities and regions pick it because they like the versatility that is perceived, even though, it’s very hard to do properly.

    In dense cities, you can use a combination of streetcars and subways as San Francisco does, but are severely limited by the speed of a streetcar system.

    Ironically of course, there is already a BART viaduct in the median of Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland which I’m sure sends shivers up your spine but to me it doesn’t look much worse than the Disneyland Monorail. But Telegraph…yeah right…

    synonymouse Reply:

    You want to minimize the aerials but sometimes there is no other way to prevent bad conflict with auto traffic. There are places in the Northbay where SMART needs flyovers. Try to place them in parking lots and next to freeways, say, in downtown San Rafael. Away from buildings as much as possible.

    But I don’t think you can get away with aerials as light as what appears to be the HART specs. I don’t think they meet California seismic standards. I doubt you can base two separate guideways on one pillar, pylon,stanchion, column. I dunno the proper parlance.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There’s a lot of very effective “light rail” which looks like this:

    — exclusive lanes / right-of-ways
    — grade crossings with —> *gates* <—
    — low-platform boarding with low-floor vehicles

    Portland MAX and San Diego Trolley are good examples. It's a perfectly sensible thing to do when you don't want to throw billions at unnecessary grade separations at low-traffic streets.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There are places where the auto traffic is too heavy and the motorists too frantic and/or arrogant to stop for gates. And where tunneling is impracticable, like right next to the river in Petaluma.

    What do you expect when the cops are too busy with DUI roadblocks to try to catch people blowing stop signs or dead-red lights?

    “exclusive lanes/right-of-way” naturlich – the essence of the light rail revolution.

    “lo-floor cars” – fabulous, but try to peddle them to the antediluvians in the SMARTbunker.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Nathanael, both Portland and San Diego are notoriously slow-growth metros where the central city has a majority of the population. A better example of light rail success is Salt Lake City or Sacramento. But those metros are awful small compared to the Bay Area…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Nathanael, Vancouver precisely threw grade separations at every street, and has several times the transit usage of Portland.

    Remember: there are no US examples of transit success. There is exactly one example of partial success, Washington. Everything else is painfully failtastic by the standards of foreign first-world cities of comparable size and vintage.

    Eric Reply:

    Alon, I think the NYC subway 80 years ago was a great success. Similarly Chicago, Boston, etc. The only failure is what’s happened since then.

    And a lot of what you call failure is the result of land usage choices by society at large, which can’t reasonably be blamed on anyone associated with the transit system. Houston for instance put light rail on its densest corridor and is now very sensibly reforming its bus system. What transit decisions has Houston failed at? Don’t say by building sprawl and freeways. Those aren’t transit decisions.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Ted: Light rail is better suited for smaller, lower-growth metro areas than for megalopolises. Is this really a surprise?

    You have more low-auto-volume streets where it’s simply not worth the money to grade-separate them, and you don’t have as much budget for grade separations everywhere.

    This was true 100 years ago, when smaller cities had streetcars in “reservations” in the middle of the road, while the bigger cities built elevateds and subways. Nothing has changed in this regard.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Nathanael: No one said it was a surprise.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Eric: well, those decisions were made 80 years ago. Things have stagnated since. Chicago is almost as big as Paris and London, and has a fraction of their transit usage.

    The land use decisions are often integrated with transit decisions. For example, Calgary made a decision to build grade-separated arterials instead of full freeways, to reserve space in their medians for light rail, and to replace downtown parking lots with skyscrapers, which allowed it to build a low-cost light rail system with very high ridership relative to its size. The Washington region made a decision to build a decent metro-RER hybrid given the “can’t ever use mainline rail tracks” restriction, and developed corridors in Arlington and Alexandria next to the stations. Stepping outside North America, Lyon made a decision to build a metro and to build Part-Dieu, and Stockholm made a decision to build a subway and build relatively high-density housing projects near the peripheral stations; in both cities, those decisions were made when they were quite small, which led to their high ridership levels today.

    Houston only started building light rail very recently, so I don’t know if it succeeded or failed. Its land use decisions remain a failure in the sense that it mandates large parking minimums everywhere, but my understanding is that that’s being reformed right now. The new light rail lines it’s building aren’t the greatest, but they’re still decent by US standards; the mistake there is building them ahead of the Universities and Uptown lines… but then again, Vancouver built the Millennium and Evergreen Lines ahead of the Broadway subway to UBC.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you have a high frequency service it can’t share.

    joe Reply:

    Chicago, where I grew up riding the CTA, hasn’t lost transit infrastructure. The grid street layout is very effective and “L” system has expanded since my childhood.

    I see two problems:
    More cars choke the streets and delay buses.
    Daley Jr. sold parking rights so Chicago cannot eliminate street parking to help transit flow without paying large penalty (if at all).

    Max Wyss Reply:

    In the past, Siemens was nicknamed to be a bank with a rolling stock manufacturer attached. But this has changed, also with the acquisition of other manufacturers.

    IKB Reply:

    I recall a business article a few years back that rather said the opposite “Siemens makes everything except money” at a time their fortunes (and some scandal or other) were not so good

  9. Observer
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 17:51
    #9

    It will be interesting what updated variants the manufacturers will offer, not to mention what financial incentives they will offer if any.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The incentive investments have already been made.

    Buying legislation and buying contract requirements always returns many many many times over what naïvely spending on engineering, or financing, or design, or manufacturing processes, or on quality assurance, or on maintainability, energy efficiency, or total life-cycle cost might deliver to the “competitors”.

    EJ Reply:

    So whoever gets the contract won’t be building some variant of a proven design that already exists? Why not?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Of course they will be. Fobbing off 20 year old stuff at a super premium cost is a dream come true!

    MarkB Reply:

    A no-win situation. Either CA requires:
    • Off the shelf rolling stock, in which case the builders are “fobbing off 20 year old stuff”
    or
    • Not off the shelf (custom design) stock, which is a case of “Isn’t CA so *special*! So unlike the rest of the world that uses off-the-shelf equipment!”

    joe Reply:

    Did it take 20 years for Toyota to exported the Prius into the US market? Where does this silly bullshit come from?

    Every global manufacturer is eyeing the large and untapped US HSR market. Obviously they will not gain a foothold if they shuffle down to the State House and pay off a few people to sell a 20 year old design.

    You hold a vendetta against the transportation industry for not taking your opinions and designs seriously.

    Kahn Noonian Singh has nothing compared to your grudges Old Friend.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    the large and untapped US HSR market>

    Untapped? Certainly.
    Large? In your size-queen dreams.

    joe Reply:

    Oh, you are such a serious, serious person.

    http://www.wtoc.com/story/28148066/biden
    Biden pushes for jobs, ‘game changing’ high-speed rail

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-19/california-high-speed-rail-contract-whos-who-in-train-ma
    Race to Build California Bullet Train Shows Value of U.S. Market

    http://www.kcra.com/news/bullet-train-mockup-turns-heads-at-capitol/31435338
    Bullet train mockup turns heads at California state Capitol
    Manufacturer hopes to win $1B contract

    EJ Reply:

    Weren’t you screeching about vendor lock-in a while back because CAHSR wasn’t planning to go with multiple rolling stock vendors? Now you’re claiming the project isn’t big enough to economically support even one supplier?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Yes.
    No.

    Putting words in other people’s mouths is an unhygenic practice, screechy boy.

    joe Reply:

    “Large? In your queen-sized dreams.”

    Fairly clear you were talking about mattresses. If you were referring the HSR market, he’d be right on.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, nonstop semi-coherent frothing rage can be a little hard to parse at times. So, short of California magically transforming itself into Switzerland, what is the ideal way for CAHSR to source rolling stock.

    Useless Reply:

    joe

    The Prius took off in the US only because of California HOV lane access, not because it was technically superior or saved a lot of gasoline. The Prius is a flop in Japan because everyone who cares about fuel efficiency drives Kei cars and also save on taxes and registrations too.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Wrong, the Prius was the fourth best selling car in the Japanese market in 2014, at 183,600 units. I see plenty of them on the streets here.

    joe Reply:

    Prius was built in response to the U.S. program to build fuel efficient autos. The prius was explicitly designed to be.exported to the U.S. and was when toyota could meet demand.

    MarkB Reply:

    Don’t think so. According to the oracle known as Wikipedia, the series-1 Prius debuted in Japan in 1995 and was produced from 1997-2001 for the Japanese domestic market. The 2001 refresh of that series-1 Prius became the first version sold in the States. Given development timelines, that would mean Toyota started R&D in about 1993 for a 1995 debut for a 1997 launch for a 2001 refresh—just to satisfy US requirements? Doesn’t pass the smell test.

    joe Reply:

    Yes. That is the kind of lead time. It takes 5 years to bring a totally new conversational model car to market.

    joe Reply:

    CNN: IGNITION

    The car that became the Prius began life in 1993, when Eiji Toyoda, Toyota’s chairman and the patriarch of its ruling family, expressed concern about the future of the automobile. Yoshiro Kimbara, then executive vice president in charge of R&D, heard the rumblings and embarked on a project known as G21 (for global 21st century) to develop a new small car that could be sold worldwide. He set two goals: to develop new production methods and to wring better fuel economy from the traditional internal combustion engine. His target was 47.5 miles per gallon, a little more than 50% better than what the Corolla, Toyota’s popular small car, was getting at the time.

    By the end of 1993 the development team had determined that higher oil prices and a growing middle class around the world would require the new car to be both roomy and fuel-efficient. Other than that, they were given no guidance. “I was trying to come up with the future direction of the company,” says Watanabe, who headed corporate planning at the time. “I didn’t have a very specific idea about the vehicle.”

    Thirty miles to the south, at Toyota’s design studio in Newport Beach, stylists were competing with colleagues in Japan to develop body concepts for the Prius. Like everything else, it was a rush job. “Ordinarily we get two to three months to make sketches and prepare models,” recalls designer Erwin Lui. “For Prius we got two to three weeks.” Lui’s design for a four-door sedan was one of three that Toyota executives in Japan liked, and he went there in the summer of 1996 to develop an engineering production model. But some of his colleagues were unenthusiastic. “The exterior design was polarizing,” says Amstock. “With the Corolla already in our lineup, we wondered if we would be able to sell another fuel-efficient small car.”

    MAKING REPAIRS

    Toyota unveiled the Prius in Japan in October 1997, two months ahead of schedule, and it went on sale that December. The total cost of development was an estimated $1 billion — after all the anguish, about average for a new car. But the Prius’s initial reception took some executives, including Watanabe, by surprise. “I did not envisage such a major success at that time,” he says. “Some thought it would grow rapidly, and others thought it would grow gradually. I was in the second camp.” Production was quickly doubled to 2,000 cars a month.

    joe Reply:

    DOE SITE:http://energy.gov/articles/history-electric-car

    Environmental concern drives electric vehicles forward

    Fast forward again — this time to the 1990s. In the 20 years since the long gas lines of the 1970s, interest in electric vehicles had mostly died down. But new federal and state regulations begin to change things. The passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment and the 1992 Energy Policy Act — plus new transportation emissions regulations issued by the California Air Resources Board — helped create a renewed interest in electric vehicles in the U.S.

    joe Reply:

    FTimes

    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/146ad23c-7230-11e2-89fb-00144feab49a.html#ixzz3SjXDYmWQ

    The story

    In 1993 the US administration of President Bill Clinton announced an initiative to encourage the development of vehicles with much greater fuel efficiency. The Partnership for the Next Generation of Vehicles invited American automotive companies to participate.

    Toyota, the Japanese carmaker, sensing a big push for fuel efficiency and conscious of exclusion from the US government-backed project, launched its own initiative to develop a fuel-efficient car.
    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/146ad23c-7230-11e2-89fb-00144feab49a.html#ixzz3SjXYnYMu

    The first challenge

    In the US, an important market for Toyota, the Japanese carmaker was known for low-price, copycat cars. It was seen as neither stylish nor innovative. General Motors, the global industry leader, was already investing heavily in fuel-efficient research, especially in electrics. The issue for all carmakers was that such technologies were expensive to develop and electric cars’ reputation for low power made them unpopular with American consumers.

    The engineering strategy

    Akihiro Wada, a Toyota vice-president, was asked to lead a secret team to develop a fuel-efficient car.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/146ad23c-7230-11e2-89fb-00144feab49a.html#axzz3SjXAXLpC

    joe Reply:

    Oh well. Screwed up the FT post.

    Prius Time line matches up with US air quality laws 1990 and 1992, and also circumstantially with an 1993 US Gov initiative to get US makers develop an efficient car.

    Articles show Toyota concerned about global and US market. Also Toyota was not a innovator at the time.

    Toyota’s US team did the winning design in the 1996.

    If a conventional model takes 5 years to bring to market, the Prius would take a few more years to vet a novel drive train and design. 1993 is reasonable.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Sacramento is looking for 5 years of proven service reliability. Since we won’t be buying unproven custom one-off trains there won’t be a premium.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Governor, however, is too cheap to be swindled like that.

    He’s probably already demanded the manufacturer also pay 50% of all construction costs, and hence, the major players are balking.

  10. synonymouse
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 19:53
    #10

    “• Not off the shelf (custom design) stock, which is a case of “Isn’t CA so *special*! So unlike the rest of the world that uses off-the-shelf equipment!”

    “BART Technology” – absolutely nothing new except unique measurements. I cannot describe better than “bat shit insane”.

    EJ Reply:

    Whoopsie daisy – you got a little sidetracked there! BART was designed in the 1960s. It’s now 50 years later and we’ve managed to build a number of standard gauge rail projects since then.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But re-inventing the wheel is still with us.

  11. Alon Levy
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 21:27
    #11

    Trying to create a domestic industry this way doesn’t actually work. Malaysia’s transportation policy makes it the US of Southeast Asia, possibly even more so than Thailand (home of the double-deck freeways in Bangkok). Kuala Lumpur’s transit mode share is 16%, which makes it as auto-oriented as the San Francisco area with just one quarter the per capita income. This was deliberate: Malaysia overregulated the informal transit vans, underinvested in formal transit, and built large road networks, in order to stimulate demand for its state-owned automakers.

    The result: Malaysia is stuck in traffic and choking on its pollution, but not actually exporting any cars, since said state-owned automakers never faced much competition. Meanwhile, Japan, whose transportation policy was highly pro-transit, and whose industrial policy ignored the auto industry entirely, is a top exporter of cars (probably the top one in the world, but don’t quote me on that), and conversely cars are Japan’s top export.

    Turns out that the neolibs who mocked import substitution industrialization did know what they were talking about.

    joe Reply:

    Like China. What a failure.

    Look. US history proves it works. One of our national figures memorized and re-built a British textile machine to kick start our industry.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    China’s a bad example, for two reasons:

    1. It is not a major rolling stock exporter, at all, unlike South Korea, Japan, and Europe (considered as a single market).

    2. China doesn’t build infrastructure in order to create an internal market for its industries. It’s easier to see this given China’s high road tolls and the license plate auctions in its largest cities, which surely would not exist if China were trying to create an internal market for cars in order to stimulate later exports. Cars are a far greater industry than rolling stock – compare the revenues of Toyota and those of Bombardier – so if China were trying to go the job creation route, we’d see much more pro-auto transportation policy there.

    Useless Reply:

    Alon Levy

    China’s never going to be an auto export power. Japan and Korea were wise enough to keep foreign cars out until their domestic brands were competitive against foreign cars and ensure Japanese and Korean consumers don’t taste the forbidden foreign fruit until domestic substitutes are ready.

    Chinese communist party on the other hand made the mistake of letting Chinese consumers taste the forbidden foreign fruit and Chinese consumers are never going hack to inferior domestic fruit. So Chinese domestic auto brands are all but dead in China while foreign brands rule in China.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Funny my uncle in Yokohama drove a VW bug back in the early seventies…

    Gag Halfrunt Reply:

    Foreign brands yes, but the cars are made (and, increasingly, designed) in China by joint ventures between foreign and Chinese manufacturers. Imported cars are kept out by high import duty (except for luxury cars whose buyers are prepared to pay through the nose), and foreign manufacturers wanting to open factories in China are required to partner with Chinese companies.

    Useless Reply:

    Gag Halfrunt

    > but the cars are made (and, increasingly, designed) in China

    Made in China for Chinese domestic market, styled in China, yes. Engineered in China, no.

    Useless Reply:

    Oh, here is a WSJ article on the demise of Chinese brand cars in China. Chinese brand cars are going the way of Dodo in China as increasingly wealthy Chinese drivers are shunning Chinese brand cars. So it is becoming clear that China will never develop a competitive local auto industry, instead following the model of Foxconn making money by assembling product for foreign OEMs. http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-cars-fall-farther-behind-1424644382

    Useless Reply:

    swing hanger

    Of course there were imports, just only a few hundreds of them per year. It is totally different from China of the 90s where foreign brands were selling millions of cars per year and Chinese customer’s taste was governed by foreign offerings.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Competitive enough with what? Tariff-laden imports, or the rapidly growing urban subway systems?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Import substitution industrialization works just fine.

    You have to make sure you don’t respect any foreign trade secrets, patents, & copyrights, though.

    :evil grin:

    That’s the way the US did it in the 19th century, and it’s also the way China did it. Joe’s example notes the importance of this.

    Nathanael Reply:

    …you cannot do it if you respect foreign trade secrets, patents, or copyrights.

    joe Reply:

    Today we are asking international companies to setup a manufacturing facility in the US. It’s legal and exactly what we did for the foreign auto industry.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yeah. That does not work. The foreign companies keep all the high-value parts abroad, and use the US as maquiladoras.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GlobalFoundries#Fab_8

    Nathanael Reply:

    So you’re describing an American fab created by an American company (AMD) which was later sold to a German company? I don’t see the relevance.

    That goes to show that we have another problem: lack of capital controls. Selling off control of American-made, American-built companies to foreign investors.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The US already has restrictions on foreign investment that, were a third-world country to engage in them, American commentators would blast it for being inward-looking and spurning the market. Examples of things it’s illegal for me to own in the US:
    – An airline.
    – A shipping company.
    – A radio station.
    – A television station.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Is it illegal for Microsoft to own a bank? I always figured that’s where they should invest all that cash instead of buying Skype and such. Gates really thinks like a banker more than a real nerd, IMHO.

    I mean if Buffett can buy a railroad?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or Oracle buying a telco?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yeah, well, the restrictions are minimal. And there should be more of them in other countries too.

    The current rules are… interesting, and indicate that the underlying dynamic is the 0.1% versus everyone else.

    Since 2001, the US has pressured other countries to crack down on cross-border banking, making it harder and harder for “little guys” to buy anything abroad… but the superrich have been able to buy things overseas with no problem, through shenanigans.

    In the 1950s, it was easy to have a foreign bank account, and not that hard to buy a couple of shares of stock, but very hard to buy an entire foreign company. Now, it’s the other way around. What does this say about the organization of the global economy?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You don’t get to tell me what restrictions on my rights are minimal. American economic nationalism is a bane for the other 95% of us, of the kind that nobody would tolerate when done by a country without a nuclear arsenal and an enormous military. (Same way China gets away with things nobody else gets away with.)

    As for cross-border banking, the easiest way to facilitate that for small holders is by having a single currency. If my postdocs were in (say) France and Italy instead of Canada and Sweden, I could easily transfer euros between banks. Instead, I face transaction costs of about 2.5% if I wire money between accounts, which means that to avoid these costs I need to essentially make forex gambles.

    Of course, to the rich, it doesn’t matter, because if you exchange a million dollars, the difference between the buy and sell price of forex is a fraction of a tenth of a percent. But to people with savings from middle-class jobs, these fees are brutal. Same as the citizenship restrictions on ownership: Rupert Murdoch could naturalize in the US to found Fox News.

    Jerry Reply:

    It gets too confusing to me. USA companies hide their profits in foreign countries to avoid USA taxes.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The key to Export Led Industrialization is that you don’t really need the product you are exporting. It’s why the U.S. keeps cranking out airplanes and missiles…we make so many and we make them at such a scale that it’s quite worth it to export.

    Japan realized this with cars, Saudi Arabia oil, Canadians maple syrup, etc.

    Robert though realizes that after World War II, a major increase in personal auto sales spurred domestic manufacturing. But HSR train sets aren’t iPhones, the few number of buyers means producers will be very sensitive to the sort of Ticky-tack site location issues made famous by big American manufacturers.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Saudi Arabia subsidizes domestic oil consumption, actually. So do most OPEC members.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yeah but that is because if not the price of oil would be even lower and less lucrative. We also subsidize our defense contractors too…

    Nathanael Reply:

    The domestic oil consumption subsidies among the OPEC members have been *universally* described as being very bad for those countries. By economic and political analysts of all stripes. There’s a reason Norway doesn’t do that.

    isgota Reply:

    [quote]Trying to create a domestic industry this way doesn’t actually work.[/quote]

    I have the gut feeling that in Talgo and CAF headquarters would disagree with you.

    Nathanael Reply:

    You mean the Spanish execs at the Spanish headquarters? They would love to enlarge their Spanish railroad building industry, and if they have to build a few assembly plants in the US, they will.

    isgota Reply:

    No, I was saying a counter-example to Alon Levy.

    Initially train manufacturers in Spain weren’t ready for HSR, so GEC-Alsthom made the first AVE trainsets. After that, CAF started to collaborate with them in building HSR trains, and Talgo made a model (Talgo 200) that run on HSR lines as a secondary service.

    Fast forward some years, Talgo and CAF start to make its own HST designs, creating a domestic industry in HST and even starting exporting them.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Talgo was a major manufacturer of rolling stock already. It wasn’t high-speed trains, but so what? It had already made some pretty big breakthroughs, i.e. the passive tilt system; most rolling stock isn’t high-speed anyway. For an established vendor to start an HSR train line isn’t unusual: Kawasaki is doing that, with a train that can’t even legally run in Japan; Hitachi has a platform that can be used for medium-speed trains; Stadler is moving in that direction as well.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Right — there isn’t really that much difference between a streetcar and a high speed train. (Really!)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Why are you talking about streetcars? Talgo had been in the intercity rail business for decades.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://www.cafusa.com/ingles/compania/instalaciones4.php

  12. john burrows
    Feb 23rd, 2015 at 22:20
    #12

    If I’ve got this right, high noon Pacific Time this Wednesday might be an hour worth noting as this is when the results of the Feb.18 California-Quebec joint auction of greenhouse gas allowances will be posted.

    A total of 84.4 million allowances went up for sale at a floor price of $12.10 per ton. In a test auction conducted 2 weeks ago a small number sold for $12.60 per ton. If all of the allowances did indeed sell last week at $12.60 per ton the total sale price would be about $1.06 billion. Some of the proceeds will go to Quebec and some will go back to California utilities as consigned allowances, but most of the proceeds will go into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).

    Just how much this might be is going to have some pretty big implications for high speed rail. Whatever goes into the GGRF, high speed rail gets 25%, and since there are four auctions per year for the next five years at least, this number, which will be posted on Wednesday, should give some idea of the minimum that CAHSR can expect from cap-and-trade over the next five years.

    Hope for a sellout with some very aggressive bidding for the allowances that were offered. These auctions are for now at least the only source of additional funding available for high speed rail, and a lot of decisions will be dependent on their success, possibly including the decision of just when funding will be available to buy the trains.

    Eric M Reply:

    California carbon permits fetch $12.21 a tonne at auction.

    “California said on Wednesday that carbon allowances fetched $12.21 a tonne at the cap-and-trade program’s first auction of the year, a rate below market expectations even though all of the permits offered were sold.

    The state sold all 73.6 million permits offered to cover 2015 emissions and 10.4 million allowances offered to cover emissions in 2018.

    The 2018 permits fetched $12.10 a tonne, the minimum price allowed under the auction’s rules.”

    Nathanael Reply:

    OK results, I wasn’t expecting super-high prices. There’s still a vast amount of low hanging fruit for carbon emissions reductions (stuff which is way cheaper than buying allowances), and I suspect companies implemented some of it.

    I find it a bit wacky that the auction is joint with Quebec, but after researching this, it seems to be a historical accident. I wonder if CA & QC could team up with the RGGI in the northeast, or if there’s some fundamental difference in the auction designs.

  13. Max Wyss
    Feb 24th, 2015 at 09:56
    #13

    Somewhat OT, but the usual newschannels stated that AnsaldoBreda will be taken over by Hitachi. That may have a positive effect on the Italian manufactureres…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, it certainly can’t make Breda worse. I wouldn’t expect it to get better, though.

    Ansaldo’s signalling has a perfectly good reputation; Breda’s carbuilding has an awful reputation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hitachi wants the Ansaldo signalling division; watch for Breda getting dumped.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I am not sure if Hitachi would be going to abandon AnsaldoBreda, because they are actively working to get into the European market (successful in the UK), and having a plant (even just by acquisition) would seriously help. (and they may be even successful to sell the Fyra trains … )

    Of course, AnsaldoSTS is worth its price, and, as stated, has an excellent reputation.

  14. Reedman
    Feb 24th, 2015 at 14:30
    #14

    Caltrain has had a bad couple of days. The third train/pedestrian/car collision in 24 hours.

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Caltrain-strikes-pedestrian-in-Palo-Alto-6098926.php

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Metrolink just had a huge accident, too. 30 injuries, but no deaths.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, looks like investing in the new Hyundai/Rotem cars paid off. Might have been a lot uglier with the old Bombardier bilevels.

    Useless Reply:

    EJ

    Rotem is an expert in crash energy management because all new Korean intercity rail rolling stocks requires crash energy absorption devices in addition to high buff strength.

    The Seoul city government is getting carried away and is requiring crash energy absorption in new subway cars, which has rolling stock vendors furious because the city wants intercity-level crash energy absorption at traditional subway car prices.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Maybe the government should try to keep drivers from switching off (!) the ATS system.

    EJ Reply:

    the city wants intercity-level crash energy absorption at traditional subway car prices.

    That’ll be interesting. Metrolink’s Rotems cost about twice as much as Bombardiers.

    Useless Reply:

    EJ

    According to vendors, traditional subway cars cost $1.2 million per car, but the price would rise to $2 million if they had intercity-standard crash energy absorption.

    Clem Reply:

    The Rotem cars did not “manage” any crash energy, as can be seen in photos of the wreck. I know Metrolink desperately wants it to be true, but I don’t see any crumple zones that are crumpled. I see derailed cars scattered about.

    Peter Reply:

    I wonder if the impact energy isn’t large enough in train-car collisions to visibly crumple a crumple zone. I mean, even in the FRA’s video comparing buff-strength and CEM railcars colliding with freight cars, the CEM cars didn’t significantly deform. Another example would be a similar grade-crossing accident in Germany a few years ago: http://www.lvz-online.de/schweres-zugunglueck-bei-bad-lausick/r-detailansicht-galerie-12137-561784.html

    Reality Check Reply:

    Agree with Clem. There was clearly no CEM at work in this wreck. Amazing that all 4 cars and the locomotive derailed. The first 3 cars were on their sides; no card show any significant deformations … so all the injuries were from unbelted people being thrown around in rigid boxes.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    It really looks like that; As other state, all we see is three cars on their side. So, most likely the injuries came from the overturning of the cars.

    As far as the accident mentioned in Peter’s comment can be compared… the vehicles more or less stayed upright, in particular the second unit (the train looks as if consisting of two BR 612 (tilting) 2-car DMUs). One carbody is on its side, one kind of (caused by the embankment), and the whole second unit stayed upright. From a quick look at reports, I could, however, not find any indication about the impact speed. It might have been relatively low, considering the superior brakes of the tilting train sets.

    It may be just my impression, but it seems that in the US, cars very easily trip over in such accidents. Could that have something to do with the central buffer/coupler, and no serious roll motion damping?

    Joey Reply:

    It may be just my impression, but it seems that in the US, cars very easily trip over in such accidents. Could that have something to do with the central buffer/coupler, and no serious roll motion damping?

    It could also have to with the center of mass being higher, simply because of the larger loading gauge on the same support base (standard gauge).

    Nathanael Reply:

    One of the older reasons for preferring broad gauges. Please don’t let the FRA mandate broad gauge in the name of safety. :-(

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Particularly locomotives have a very high center of gravity, agreed.

    But then, proportionally, the Wengerenalpbahn (in the Bernese Oberland) is even more so, with 80 cm gauge… actually, they sometimes have to stop operating when the winds are too strong.

    Not relevant to this accident, things are made worse on jointed rail with staggered joints. Run at the “right” speed, and the joints can induce rolling at the natural frequency of the car… (I have seen videos of that… scary is an understatement).

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Speed would have been about 79mph (line speed) about 2km from the station stop at Oxnard. A combination of medium truck (Ford F450) plus a trailer under the front of the train seems to have been enough to lift and slew to one side.
    Would money have been better spent on grade crossing improvements rather than PTC and CEM? That’s the question that will not be asked.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I guess that is a rhetoric question.

    But no money can protect against stupid drivers.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Well, even a row of reflective markers where the road crosses the track might help.

    Reality Check Reply:

    NTSB is saying the engineer spotted the truck well ahead of impact and initiated braking … so impact speed should be well under 79 mph.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Truck driver freed without charges in Oxnard train crash

    […]

    Investigators revealed that the train was traveling 64 mph when the crew saw the truck. They sounded the horn 12 seconds before the crash, when they were about 1,100 feet from the truck. They applied the emergency brakes eight seconds before the crash, when they were about 750 feet from the truck.

    The train was traveling 56 mph at the moment of impact.

    […]

    Reality Check Reply:

    Turns out this clown was driving on the tracks for 80 feet from the crossing. The NTSB guy said the truck was not “hung up” or “caught” on the tracks:

    NTSB: TRUCK INVOLVED IN METROLINK CRASH NOT STUCK ON TRACKS (with video)

    Another report says the truck’s parking (“emergency”) brake was set … and the guy was picked up a mile and half away, “trying to get help” his attorney claims:

    Truck driver in Oxnard Metrolink crash wasn’t stuck on tracks, federal investigators say

    swing hanger Reply:

    Failed suicide attempt?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The engineer is in bad shape in the hospital.

  15. Useless
    Feb 24th, 2015 at 15:46
    #15

    Considering how the California HSR trains are supposed to travel down same Metrolink corridor to LA and to Anaheim, it is imperative that the CAHSR demand the highest crash worthiness standard they could apply to CAHSR rolling stocks. Do not compromise on safety.

    EJ Reply:

    Burbank – LA, they may possibly have a blended system. LA – Anaheim, no. That Metrolink corridor (at least to Fullerton, Anaheim is only a few miles further) is part of BNSF’s Southern Transcon, with 70-80 freight trains per day. There’s no way they’ll be able to mix in HSR, and every proposal I’ve seen has a segregated HSR ROW.

    Eric M Reply:

    Terrible old school thinking….add more weight to make it more safe. Keep that up and CAHSR trainsets will be no better than the Acela. It is better to be proactive, not reactive. Keep accidents from happening.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct and here is how: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuO2Fu63d0o

    Useless Reply:

    Eric M

    Looking at how the Rotem cars fared in this particular crash and then compare it to the Amagasaki crash in which 107 passengers were perished in derailed cars that were crushed like soda cans, I argue that a crashworthiness standard is absolutely necessary to save lives, especially in the US where the railway infrastructure is not as good as in Japan. Japanese are dead wrong in their train design philosophy.

    Clem Reply:

    Wrong? That’s a rather harsh judgment that you would need to back up with safety statistics.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Not comparable kind of accident in any case.

    I don’t even want to wonder how the Rotem cars behave when derailing because of too high speed through a curve, and having some structures nearby…

    And, as it looks, 4 of the 7 cars involved in the Amagasaki crash remained upright.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    From the Wikipedia article, the issue is not the train design pilosophy, but the operation philosophy, considering delays.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Useless
    The train at Amagasaki slammed head-on into a concrete building at high speed; there’s no car design on earth that could have prevented massive casualties in such a case (yes, even your beloved Rotem). This metrolink crash isn’t even remotely similar.

    Useless Reply:

    Miles Bader

    Then how about a train vs train head on collision of 1991.

    http://biwako.cafemix.jp/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/f54b78b0bb055765d413a5d7f8a8282f.jpg
    http://ameiro-tyakann.up.n.seesaa.net/ameiro-tyakann/js/120590362351516122960.jpg
    http://www.sydrose.com/creativedesignengine/HTML/bb4-01214/bb4-01214-1.gif

    Japanese train sets are inherently dangerous because there is absolutely no train crash standard in Japan, based on a Japanese philosophy that all train collisions could be avoided, and there is still no train crash standard in Japan as of today.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Then how about a train vs train head on collision of 1991.

    You think Rotem cars would have fared significantly better? A head-on collision is still a vastly different event than the current metrolink incident.

    Japanese train sets are inherently dangerous because there is absolutely no train crash standard in Japan, based on a Japanese philosophy that all train collisions could be avoided, and there is still no train crash standard in Japan as of today.

    You keeeep claiming that, and yet based on the actual results, the Japanese seem to be doing things the right way, as Japanese passenger-rail death rates are extremely low, an order of magnitude lower than South Korea or the United States.

    Useless Reply:

    Miles Bader

    > You think Rotem cars would have fared significantly better?

    Yes. absolutely.

    > You keeeep claiming that, and yet based on the actual results, the Japanese seem to be doing things the right way.

    There have been a total of 9 rail passenger crash fatalities in Korea since 1990 vs 149(42 in Shiragaki and 107 in Amagasaki) in Japan. Korean rail crash fatality record is light years better than that of Japan’s.

    So what’s the difference between 9 vs 149? Korea has a train crash standard, Japan doesn’t.

    http://youtu.be/z_2_cli_r_c

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Yes. absolutely.

    Er, well nice to know it, I guess, but “Useless says so in a very firm voice” is not entirely convincing… :]

    There have been a total of 9 rail passenger crash fatalities in Korea since 1990 vs 149(42 in Shiragaki and 107 in Amagasaki) in Japan. Korean rail crash fatality record is light years better than that of Japan’s.

    Hmm, that’s not what wikipedia says: “March 28, 1993 – South Korea – a Mugunghwa-ho train in the vicinity of Gupo Station in Busan rolled due to land depression under a section of track caused by nearby construction. 78 people were killed and another 198 injured making it the worst rail accident in South Korea”

    Japan seems to have hugely greater passenger-rail usage than South Korea, so of course simple death counts aren’t directly comparable.

    This is Alon’s blog article on the subject: https://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/comparative-rail-safety/

    swing hanger Reply:

    miles, there is no point in arguing- we should all bow down and acknowledge Joseon technological superiority- after all they invented the airplane too ;-)

    Useless Reply:

    Miles Bader

    > that’s not what wikipedia says: “March 28, 1993

    That’s not a crash accident; it was an underground explosion and the train set or the rail system had nothing to do with it. I specifically said “crash accident”.

    > Japan seems to have hugely greater passenger-rail usage than South Korea

    No.

    > This is Alon’s blog article on the subject:

    The statistics on Korea is wrong, because more than 90% of fatality came from non rail-crash accidents like an arson by a crazed man and an underground construction explosion which had nothing to do with the integrity of a railway system. It’s like questioning the integrity of Spanish railway over 194 deaths in the 2004 Madrid train bombing. You can blame the Spanish railway for 2014 train crash that killed 79, but not the 2004 Madrid train bombing.

    Only 9 people died in railway crash accidents in Korea since 1990 and 149 in Japan, so the Korean record on train crash fatality is far far superior to that of Japan’s, and you can thank tougher Korean crash standard for that.

    Useless Reply:

    swing hanger

    > we should all bow down and acknowledge Joseon technological superiority

    What does North Korea got to do with train crash safety? North Korea is not trying to sell trains in the US.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The actual accident was not a terrorist attack; it was caused by construction faults. You can always pick and choose causes for accidents. South Korea and France are bad at track construction (France had 300 km/h derailments caused by sinkholes, but the trains remained upright and nobody died), Germany is bad at rolling stock maintenance, Japan is bad at prioritizing safety over schedule adherence, the US is bad at everything. It’s sort of useful for examining local causes of accidents, but it’s not even useful for international comparisons, let alone for making comments like “don’t let French and Koreans build tracks, don’t use German maintenance practices, don’t use Japanese scheduling practices.” Accidents are low-probability events; over multiple decades you can figure out which system is safer overall, but that’s about it – trying to break it into parts, within advanced developed countries with decent rail systems, is only one step better than saying that Japan’s train safety was good in 2004 and 2006 but bad in 2005.

    Zorro Reply:

    Same SR14 corridor, doesn’t mean the same tracks, Useless.

  16. nslander
    Feb 24th, 2015 at 21:47
    #16

    Hackabedian Suddenly Conceding the Inevitability of High HSR Ridership.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-farms-20150224-story.html#page=1

  17. Eric M
    Feb 25th, 2015 at 09:17
    #17

    One more lawsuit settled: Bakersfield developers settle high-speed-rail lawsuit

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Still pending are five other CEQA lawsuits against the rail authority over the Fresno-Bakersfield section of the route. The fate of those environmental cases, however, remains in something of a legal limbo after a December ruling by the federal Surface Transportation Board declaring that its approval of the Fresno-Bakersfield line effectively barred state courts from enforcing the California environmental law, including issuing any injunctions or court orders halting work on the segment. Kings and Kern counties and a collection of groups opposing the high-speed rail project have asked the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the federal board’s ruling

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2015/02/24/4394824_bakersfield-developers-settle.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

    Zorro Reply:

    Federal Law trumps CEQA for HSR, as reported by the Fresno Bee, those CEQA lawsuits are or should be null and void, some just may not want to give in or the cases might still be waiting for their very brief day in court.

    The U.S. Surface Transportation Board, in a ruling issued late Friday, declared on a 2-1 vote that the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, “is categorically pre-empted” in connection with the Fresno-Bakersfield route, which the federal panel OK’d for construction earlier this year.

    “CEQA … by its very nature, could be used to deny or significantly delay an entity’s right to construct a line that the (federal) board has specifically authorized,” the ruling stated, “thus impinging upon the board’s exclusive jurisdiction over rail transportation.”

    Therefore, board chairman Daniel Elliott III and vice chairwoman Deb Miller stated, lawsuits against the rail line — filed under CEQA by plaintiffs in Kings and Kern counties in Sacramento County Superior Court — and the ability of state judges to issue injunctions to halt work are barred by a federal law that “expressly pre-empts any state law attempts to regulate rail construction projects.”

  18. Useless
    Feb 25th, 2015 at 09:49
    #18

    Japanese Prime Minister Abe will visit San Francisco in April to pitch Shinkansen technology to CAHSRA and sign a cooperation MOU with the California governor. No article currently available in English, only in Japanese. http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXLASFS24H4H_U5A220C1PP8000/

  19. Useless
    Feb 25th, 2015 at 10:11
    #19

    HEMU-430X, the world’s fastest revenue service bullet train(230 mph revenue service speed) begins test runs on the Honam HSR corridor set for April revenue service. No word on when it would enter service. KTX-II trains will provide service at 187 mph in the mean time. http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/high-speed/single-view/view/testing-underway-on-honam-high-speed-line.html

    Zorro Reply:

    Nice find there Useless, that train, if it goes into service, might be one that gets tested by the CHSRA.

  20. synonymouse
    Feb 25th, 2015 at 12:36
    #20

    Losing your place:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/26/technology/google-plans-new-headquarters-and-a-city-fears-being-overrun.html?_r=0

    “This last election we had maybe 12,000 voters,” said Jac Siegel, a city councilman who left office this year and is not related to Leonard Siegel. “If you brought 5,000 people in and they all work for Google and they said, ‘We want you to vote for this candidate,’ they can own the town.”

    It is the Rajneeshpuram technique. Infiltrate, subvert, take over – works every time.

    In these times individuals should not think about putting down too deep roots. Prepare for decamping at least once big time, and likely out of state. At least the Mountain View people can sell out for a handsome price and relocate to a cheaper, friendlier venue.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ah just think, they’ll have 2020 assessments instead of 1985 assessments and all the Prop 13 leeches will have more money to spend.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Mountain View needs to add more housing as part of any deal to expand Google. It’s good that they are doing so.

    Re: “Losing your place”: Stasis cannot be achieved so trying to say we want the tax benefits of Google without the cost of extra housing is completely a no go.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Well remember that part of the crisis is that Google wants a big campus which naturally encourages sprawl and homes in the hinterland. And that the 1974 growth management ballot measure curbed the amount of sprawl for homes.

    Now you might think density is a great solution here, but actually the large campus increases the property tax Google pays even if the assessment does not grow that much. And because of state law on how property tax is apportioned, cities and counties up and down California benefit when big tech firms build these huge complexes…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And I’m sure they spent the money to make sure it’s in it’s own separate little corporation that will be able to pass it’s assessment onto whoever occupies it in 2240.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Sure, but that doesn’t change the paradox for everyone living there now…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If everybody living there was paying real estate taxes based on their market value the city wouldn’t be so desperate for new rateables.

    Nathanael Reply:

    California property taxes are completely whacked because of Prop 13. It *needs* to be repealed.

    jimsf Reply:

    If you repealed prop 13 you’d make everyone in california homeless.

    jimsf Reply:

    and destroy the housing market and the accumlated wealth of homeowners, which in most cases is the only wealth and security families have.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You are correct. Unless you were wealthy you could not stay in California.

    With minimum valuations approaching $500,000 in the two major urban regions and no limit on the tax rate the lowest property tax would be something around $10,000. If you used the market value as the base and 2% tax rate(typical of a poor state like Ohio).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People in other states manage to own houses with their tax bill based on market value.

    joe Reply:

    Reform Prop13.
    No inherited tax breaks. No reason property gets passed to children with legacy taxes.
    Corporations abuse Prop13 it should apply to residential property under 100M.

    jimsf Reply:

    people in poor states can afford it because the homes in those states are not as astronomical as they are in much of california.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Not exactly.

    The law that apportions property tax statewide would still be in effect, and it would chasten the county assessor from going hog-wild because some of the property tax is distributed outside the jurisdiction it is raised in.

    My guess is that any Prop 13 overhaul would cap the levy at 1% and not trigger reassessment for homeowners as long as they do not refinance. Commercial property would be protected by the 1% cap, but subject to reassessment annually.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    My assessment in the wilds of the Adirondacks is higher than yours. This house in Westchester or Nassau would be worth ten times as much. I should have such problems. I’d sell and move to California where my tax bill would be frozen in amber until I die.

    jimsf Reply:

    It will never happen. Cut some of the wasteful spending and find revenue somewhere else. With another 20 million people moving to california, there will be plenty of new homes and condos being built and bought, subject to market rate taxation upon purchase, to keep the money rolling in.

    Besides the state is not short on money to begin with. We have more state agencies – hundreds of them- than we know what to do with. Trasnit projects happening all over- especially in socal,
    also in socal the freeways are in a perpetual state of upgrade and always have been.
    no shortage of funding there. Sacrmaneto and Placer coutnies in the north have ongoing construction upgrades to the freeway system now.
    Aside form HSR and Water, we should probably keep a lid on increasing spending too much.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They’ve been cutting waste fraud and abuse since Saint Ronnie first became governor. Eliminating Amtrak sounds like a great place to cut waste to many people. How’s that sound to you? I’m sure they could get a contractor to do it a lot cheaper.

    jimsf Reply:

    Adir- you can move to california and by a home in the sierra for 100+ k and while the values are still low, lower your taxes, and interest rate, and then do a reverse mortgage when your 62 and your house has gone up in value 50-100 percent. And have a very nice retirement.
    BUT- you can’t be a pushy new yorker once you get here. Youll have to “mellow out”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    My house is paid off. Reverse mortgages are available in New York too. My taxes aren’t going to get outrageous because everybody more or less pays the same. The state has decided to assure retirees that they property taxes won’t eat up all of their Social Security in more rational ways than giving every squatter a tax break. Including corporations that never die.

    jimsf Reply:

    are you suuuuurrrre? its real real purty here

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    a worm in the horseradish thinks life is sweet.

    jimsf Reply:

    Achtung! Es wird keine Aufhebung des Gesetzes sein. Zeitraum!

    jimsf Reply:

    If california democrats proposed such a thing, they would be replaced with republicans immediately. Now that republicans have given up on fighting gays, Id even hold my nose and vote repulbican if I had to if meant keeping prop 13.

    Just like the State of Jefferson, Its just not going to happen.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So you like getting it with any lube from the people who bought before you did?

    jimsf Reply:

    My tax bill went down significantly from the previous owners because it had been appriased at 190 but I got it for 134 so I was reassessed downward. In addition to that El Dorado County has some kind of other tax program ( only a couple of counties in california have this and I dont have any idea what its called) but they sent me an additional refund check on top of lowering my tax.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and the people down the street who bought when the development was new and only paid 50,000 are paying taxes based on that. I prefer it when everybody is more or less paying the same thing for a house with the same value.

    jimsf Reply:

    I have no concern whatsoever about what my neighbors pay. frankly. Good for them. If theyve been in the community since the subdivision was created in the 70s, they deserve it for hanging around. And, most people who have low taxes and equity, use that benefit to upgrade their property which increases their value, and mine.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And it’s lovely the way you pay for it!

    jimsf Reply:

    I have no complaints. we all follow the rules of the game.
    Just like in SF, with rent control and every body pissing and moaning about someone else getting something they didn’t get like big crybabys.
    Everyone knows the rules going in.
    The crybaby landlords knew the rules when the bought the building,
    the renters new the rules when they decided to rent in a controlled building or uncontrolled.
    If I am happy with whatever deal I get, I don’t go around worrying about who else got what else.
    smae teing when I buy a plane ticket or a gym membership.

    Oh no! Im working next to someone who got a better membership deal than me! Im outraged!

    please.
    God Im sick of americans. piss and moan and piss and moan. Americans must be the most unhappy people on earth.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Does it hurt when you sit down?

    jimsf Reply:

    only because we did legs and glutes yesterday.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I don’t need to go to the gym to work my glutes. I just walk to the store. It’s one of those walkable places that new urbanists get all excited about. Except when it’s bitterly cold or tropically warm I do it because I get to see the neighbors and their dogs and sometimes even their cats. All we need is a kid and a cop sitting at the soda fountain to make it into a Norman Rockwell painting. We even have a soda fountain for them to do it at. Which we walk to twice, three times a month.

    jimsf Reply:

    The east coast towns are still like that. All we used to have was woolworths around california and they are long gone… but every downtown used to have one with a lunch counter and ice cream.

    Personally I would like to see developers, when the build new subdivisions from scratch,
    just once, forgo the winding lanes and far removed shopping centers and build a straight grid with with a real ( if not somewhat disneyesque) downtown.

    Since most subdivions include some retail and industiral zoning, why not build it to look like the classic small town. I think people would buy it.

    joe Reply:

    jimsf; Developers don’t plan city streets. They build dense “home owner associations” connect by city streets. The restricted connectivity (A feature) controls access and consequently makes them more car dependent.

    Cities have to take the lead.

    The final result is left to be seen BUT the new middle class developments on Gilroy’s southwest side will have a mix of bike and foot paths as well as roundabouts. Developers are footing the bill as part of permitting.

    Before https://goo.gl/maps/gqZ3d
    After http://www.gilroydispatch.com/news/city_local_government/developers-pay-for-local-traffic-improvements/article_481b217a-3397-11e4-ae3b-0017a43b2370.html

    The roundabout created connection to the bike/footpath removed a 10 minute AM traffic back at the stop sign.

    jimsf Reply:

    The cities in many cases, the counties for new developements that are outisde city limits, don’t general dictate the road design within the new community though. So the access into the new subdivision can still be limited by one or two main entrances from public roads, but once inside the devopement, it could be desinged to be a replica of a small town. With a main street a town square, and a grid with housing styles that mimic popular styles such as victorian, and crafstman. set on streets lined with classic trees such as elms, oaks, maples etc. It would would create a walkable subdivision with buiness spaces on main street. Youd still need a car to escape, but it would be better than the current designs that dont even allow you to walk to the nearest starbucks because its situated and out edge shopping centers.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yeah, Jim is likely unaware that Counties and cities responded to Prop 13 by lobbying for Mello-Roos assessment districts which are volitional by the landowner/developer but are passed onto homeowners for ever.

    Some part of Prop 13 has to change, and not because of inequity but because it destroyed affordable housing by making all land urban planning decisions effectively only about adding revenue. As we burn through the number of people able to buy homes, we are reaching the point in which something has to give.

    But setting a 1% ad valor em rate on property tax isn’t one of them.

    jimsf Reply:

    The real money maker for cities and coutnies isn’t housing, its the retail that follows the housing.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In places that are property tax starved. makes them turn to sales tax.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Jim,

    The real moneymaker for cities was redevelopment, because they could use the property tax increment financing to add lots of retail in cities that really couldn’t support that.

    And then, suddenly, people started buying stuff on Amazon and the Governor whacked redevelopment and brought most cities to their needs. Now, it’s every local agency for himself and the devil is going to take the hindmost. We are going to see some cities disincorporate, others file for bankruptcy, and still others…consolidate into counties or other cities.

    But the reason we can’t go back to the old property tax system before Prop 13 is that we don’t have enough manufacturing left to generate the sort of revenue to have most counties be self-sufficient. In the 1960s, many undeveloped lots could be assessed at the commercial rate, but that’s no longer possible now.

    jimsf Reply:

    ted

    then we need to spend less.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Jim,

    Keep in mind that the reason cities get a share of the sales tax generated is actually because of developers lobbying for “uniform rates” as a way to spawn new cities in the aftermath of racial covenants being struck down by the Supreme Court.

    “Spending less” is a misnomer. If we cut state spending, we lose federal dollars, and economic activity declines overall.

    jimsf Reply:

    well dont cut spending, but hold it to the rate of inflation at least and then cut where you can cut, and re appropiate those savings to something else. I mean if you look at infrastructure/transportation spending compared to welfare, you can’t even find it on the chart.

    joe Reply:

    Grow the economy.

    As HSR is built, workers will be paid and taxed and spend and taxed. Everyone complains about taxes but the fact is people paying taxes are working and spending money in the state economy.

    We also have ACA which pays 100% of the costs to expand medical coverage for 3 years and 90% of the costs after. That’s Fed money going into CA to provide medical care which means nurses and doctors and healthier residents. This is a huge economic stimulus.

    We’re going to be far better off producing wealth and revenue by not cutting like Kansas.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Why would a large campus necessarily encourage sprawl and homes in the hinterland? The problem here is that Mountain View (and other Silicon Valley municipalities) are letting high-tech companies build large campuses without also building new, denser housing to house the employees. One consequence is that said employees decide to live in San Francisco driving up rents and housing prices there and clogging the roads getting to work down the Peninsula.

    joe Reply:

    MTView’s been one of the better cities for allowing infill in SV. They just can’t keep pace and no city of its size could reasonably accommodate Google.

    I would think google is not adding significant numbers of 101 commuters since they bus workers into the campus and they drive up SF rents near their bus pick-up sites. If workers had to drive, they’d move.

    Joey Reply:

    Does Google publish commute mode shares for its employees?

    joe Reply:

    I don’t know.

    I do know the area well then and now and did commute from Wong’s SF location to MTview.
    If workers at google were predominantly driving from SF they’d be wasting 2-3 hours a day over the bus

    synonymouse Reply:

    Google could move to Richmond.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Interesting commentary on the article: How NIMBYism is Holding Back Silicon Value….

    “The problem … is that ‘Nobody wants change.'”

    “But keeping things the same isn’t really an option.”

    Spokker Reply:

    I thought sexism was holding back Silicon Valley. It’s all I hear about these days.

    jimsf Reply:

    If silicon valley culture is something like 70 percent male what are all those guys doing to get laid?
    Has there been an increase in massage parlours?

    EJ Reply:

    Short answer? Yes. A working girl can do very well for herself in SF these days. So I’ve heard.

    joe Reply:

    Apple developer’s conference washroom line. I bet it’s 85% male.
    https://twitter.com/jolingkent/status/473509540936183809/photo/1

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s like a NASCAR meet with hoodies.

    jimsf Reply:

    Thats funny. But um, couldn’t these brilliant minds have foreseen the problem and added more bathroom space? I think these are the same young people I see in Davis at night who wander out into the street between intersections and never look up, let alone both ways. Smart no doubt, educated for sure but not an ounce of common sense.

    Spokker Reply:

    After having read the article…

    “City leaders are apparently worried about the traffic, and about further development changing the character of their city.”

    This is going to be the most difficult conservative principle to destroy. Once people settle, they don’t want things to change. They get used to a certain level of crowdedness, a certain atmosphere. Age, and home ownership, breeds more conservative thoughts. They have children and seemingly rational people become irrational. I’ve even seen it in my wife, who identifies as a feminist. Why? She’s starting to look at the taxes she pays, then the world, and wonders where the hell the money goes.

    I sure as hell have seen it in myself. When I was a 20-something college know-it-all, I knew what was best for everyone. Change. Moving forward. Wait, I’m going to tell the families in fucking Mountain View they need higher densities and convince them it’s going to make everything more livable? They’re thinking about the already long lines at the grocery store and assholes cutting though their street to avoid traffic on the main routes.

    Google should just go incorporate a city on a vast tract of nothingness, build the houses and the roads, and figure out how to get rid of porn on Blogger.

    By the way, that Vox site is the most clickbaity piece of shit I’ve ever seen. The number one article was “watch Madonna fall down the stairs.”

    Nathanael Reply:

    Our tax money is going to $1 trillion / year in pointless wars. Honestly, if we got rid of that…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    $1 trillion?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Google owns Mountain View already. Unfortunately, Mountain View kind of stinks. There’s multiple reasons I didn’t want to take a job there. I can certainly hope that Google taking over the town would change the government.

  21. Jerry
    Feb 25th, 2015 at 14:25
    #21

    Confusing California state gasoline tax will be REDUCED by 6 cents a gallon in July.
    That will surely help to build and repair roads.

  22. Reality Check
    Feb 25th, 2015 at 14:47
    #22

    Critics fear bullet train will bring urban sprawl to Central Valley

    […]

    Gov. Jerry Brown says he has a powerful new weapon in the battle against such sprawl: The $68-billion California High-Speed Rail system. The bullet train, the governor believes, will help concentrate expected growth in existing population centers of the Central Valley, sparing farm fields.

    “We can’t keep paving over agricultural land,” Brown said at a Fresno groundbreaking ceremony last month.

    Whether the project can contain sprawl is uncertain at best, according to a number of land-use experts and Central Valley elected leaders.

    Many farming industry leaders contend it’s more likely that the project will trigger a development boom that will overwhelm efforts to corral growth.

    […]

    Smart-growth proponents say high-speed rail stations could become magnets for investments in downtown areas. But they stress that preventing sprawl depends almost entirely on city and county planning policies.

    […]

    Even without the bullet train, the Central Valley is poised for significant growth. The state projects an 85% jump in population to 7.4 million residents by 2060 in the eight counties that comprise the southern end of the Central Valley.

    […]

    Swearengin said in an interview that “the No. 1 threat to ag land is urban sprawl.” A recently adopted plan creates a 9,000-acre agricultural preserve in her city and seeks to funnel future growth into less fertile land west of downtown.

    Swearengin discounts the governor’s argument that the bullet train will help preserve farmland, saying that’s a “minor point” in support of the project. The bullet train will make it easier for Central Valley residents to do business elsewhere in the state, she said, but she doubts it will lure many Bay Area commuters to Fresno.

    […]

    How serious a threat urban sprawl poses to the state’s agricultural land — and whether the high-speed rail system offers significant protection — is a complex and controversial issue.

    Since 1950 in California, land dedicated to farming has decreased by almost one-third, according to Department of Agriculture figures. But in the last six years, there has been no net loss of farmland, state reports show.

    A revolution in agricultural technology has led to skyrocketing crop yields, meaning less acreage produces more food.

    “Land is not a constraint in Central Valley farming,” said Roberta Cook, an agricultural economist at UC Davis. “What drives how much we produce in fruits and vegetables is consumer demand, not land availability.”

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    Jerry Brown is the godfather of sprawl. Tool of the Tejon Ranch Co.

    Spokker Reply:

    Keep fighting the good fight, Syn.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thanks. Your irreverence is missed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or what they used to attribute to Lenny – iconoclasm.

    Spokker Reply:

    But my irrelevance is legendary! Haha

    Ted Judah Reply:

    First Peter, now you…the gang is getting back together.

  23. john burrows
    Feb 25th, 2015 at 22:32
    #23

    The auction proceeds were $1.02 billion but the amount going into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund from which high speed rail gets 25% will be much less.

    Quebec has announced that its share of the proceeds will be about $190 million Canadian Dollars ($153 million U S). Added to that amount will be the consigned allowances which will go back to electric and natural gas utilities and not into the GGRF. The previous joint auction produced $240 million in consigned allowances and that did not include natural gas utilities which were included in last weeks auction for the first time.

    So assuming that the results for electric utilities will be similar to the previous auction we are down to somewhere around $609 million in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, an amount which will, I am afraid, be further reduced when natural gas utilities are included.

  24. morris brown
    Feb 26th, 2015 at 10:32
    #24

    Earlier this month, Robert had a thread on Gavin Newsom and his being now being against HSR

    See:

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2015/02/gavin-newsom-flip-flops-on-hsr-but-still-wants-to-be-governor-in-2018/

    Since then in an interview on Feb 16th, he has made quite clear his intentions on HSR. See:

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-cap-newsom-20150216-column.html

    We read here his quite clear position on HSR…

    Newsom didn’t trumpet his objections to Brown’s pet projects in the formal announcement. Quite the opposite.

    He proclaimed that “Californians are blessed with the remarkable leadership of Gov. Jerry Brown, who … has led our state to firm fiscal footing and brought us to the enviable position of dreaming — and achieving — big dreams again.”

    But I later asked him about two Brown dreams. Newsom, unlike so many politicians, invariably is candid.

    He thinks the bullet train’s financing is too risky and would drain money from other, more necessary infrastructure projects such as roads, transit and waterworks.

    You recall the history: Voters in 2008 authorized $9 billion in bonds to begin building a 500-mile high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco, with later extensions to San Diego and Sacramento. That L.A.-San Francisco first phase was to cost $33 billion. The federal government and private investors, voters were told, would kick in the rest of the money.

    But the state received only $3.3 billion from the feds and have repeatedly been told by Congress that there’ll be no more. Private financiers haven’t put up a dime. The projected cost has more than doubled to $68 billion. And there’s no longer any talk about extensions to San Diego or Sacramento

    Brown did pick up more funding last year from the Legislature. It appropriated $650 million in cap-and-trade greenhouse emission fees. And it allocated 25% of future cap-and-trade revenue to the project, meaning between $500 million and $1 billion annually.

    Says Newsom: “You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger champion of high-speed rail than me when the bond went to voters. I believed in it. But my current problem with it is the financing. I can’t in good conscience square what I was supporting then with what we’re doing today.”

    He says Brown is confident the project eventually will attract private investment. “If so, that changes the game.”

    “But absent something significant — and I mean, really significant — I can’t see supporting something that would come at such a high cost to other infrastructure. I don’t see how we could go forward. There’s got to be a different financing plan. Without it, the math doesn’t add up.”

    So after Brown leaves office in 4 years, who is going to be the champion of this project? Certain not Newsom.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you want better math you must return to the most express route. Certainly for the proof of concept demonstration. Musk, obviously not a train guy, spotted right away Jerry was just erecting another Amtrak.

    Anybody have a theory why really rich people can never be railfans? I mean we cannot even get the filthy rich Buffett to come up with some couch change to restore those two Santa Fe locomotives mouldering away in Sac.

    And the Santa Fe took such good care of them for decades. They would move them every week so they would not develop flat spots on the bearings. Pathetic what has transpired since.

    john burrows Reply:

    Gavin Newsom’s opinion on high speed rail funding may end up being not that much of an issue.

    Sooner rather than later CHSRA is going to have to submit an updated funding plan to the legislature, and with cap-and-trade revenue coming in toward the low end of that $500 million-$1 billion per year range, it may be a tougher sell.

    Assuming this still to be presented financing plan is approved, high speed rail will be fully funded at least until 2019 when Gavin (if elected) would become governor. By this time construction will be spread over 200 or more miles of California and it seems rather unlikely that governor Newsom would try and stop it.

    He is quoted as saying “I don’t see how we could go forward. There’s got to be a different financing plan.” By the time he might become governor a different financing plan will have been approved by the legislature, the project will have gone forward in a big way, and it will be up to Governor Newsom to use his talents to attract additional private financing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    200 miles in 3 years?

    Flatland miles like Bako to Los Banos – an elongated nowhere to nowhere. Are you going to operate it or mothball and try to keep Valley bangers from cannibalizing it?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Who is going to pay the considerable subsidy?

    J. Wong Reply:

    You really don’t believe in circumstances and change, do you? Someone does something once, they’ll always do it. One transit system requires subsidy, they all do.

    It was just your supposition that the rail would be stolen. Do we have an actual examples beyond them stealing copper wire 7 years ago during the recession? And are they still doing that?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah “circumstances and change”. BART and Amtrak are now profitable and will be privatized.

    EJ Reply:

    I guess UP and BNSF are about to abandon the valley, since “Valley bangers” stole all their railway.

    Nathanael Reply:

    *sigh* Let’s look at the numbers rationally.

    * $2.250 billion in federal stimulus funding, first round
    * $0.900 billion in federal funding, second round
    * $0.642 billion in federal funding, third round (Wisconsin / Ohio money)
    * $0.300 billion in federal funding, fourth round (Florida money)
    —————-
    Total $4.092 billion in federal funding

    First phase contract: $0.985 billion
    Second phase contract: $1.360 billion
    Third phase estimate: $0.700 – $0.900 billion
    Total (high estimate): $3.245 billion

    Bluntly, we haven’t even used up the federal funding, and we’re all the way from Fresno to the outskirts of Bakersfield. Yes, some will be going to “bookend” projects, but still.

    So then there’s the $9.85 billion in bonding authority. Think that’s enough to get from Bakersfield to Palmdale? I think there definitely is.

    Yes, some money will go to pay the interest on the bonds, but the estimate for Bakersfield-Palmdale is under $5 billion.

    And frankly, once Bakersfield-Palmdale is built and operating, the funding battle is won. Funding for the rest will be DEMANDED by the general population. I’m not even going to worry about the subsequent phases.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The “general population” thinks CAHSR is MuskTube.

    synonymouse Reply:

    ‘Scuse me – HypeLoop rather.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Even granting that the ““general population” thinks CAHSR is MuskTube” (for which you do not offer any support except your crazy opinion): So what?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The “general population” is not demanding anything.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yes, so what does it matter what they think?

    synonymouse Reply:

    “hearts and minds”

    Jerry is Robt. McNamara rebooted.

    J. Wong Reply:

    None of the Federal funding will be going to bookend projects, just bond funds. How much bond funding is left then? Enough to fund Bakersfield to Palmdale and Palmdale to Burbank?

    MarkB Reply:

    Long after Brown leaves office, Governor Villaraigosa will put his weight behind the project and ensure stable—if not enhanced— funding.

  25. Useless
    Feb 26th, 2015 at 13:23
    #25

    Here is what the CHSRA wants from the rolling stocks.

    Rail officials said they are not looking for cutting-edge technology. “We insist that we try to buy as close to off-the-shelf as possible,” said Frank Vacca, chief program manager for the rail authority. “We want a proven design — something that’s been running at least five years in a high-speed rail environment.” http://www.kcra.com/news/bullet-train-mockup-turns-heads-at-capitol/31435338

    Based on that comment, only Velaro, TGV, AGV, and KTX-II may qualify for California.

    Siemens : Velaro qualified.
    Alstom : TGV qualified, AGV not qualified.
    Rotem : KTX-II qualified, HEMU-430X not qualified.
    Japanese : Has nothing that qualifies.
    Chinese : Has nothing that qualifies.
    Bombardier : Acela I is qualified. Zefiro V300 and CRH380C are not qualified.
    Talgo : Talgo 350 qualified, AVRIL not qualified.

    On a side note, both Rotem HEMU-430X and Talgo AVRIL have been test running since 2012. So they may qualify depending on what constitutes “use”. Ditto for the AGV. But nothing from Japanese and Chinese.

    Observer Reply:

    Overall, the available trainsets will provide very good choices from which to choose. Is not the AGV running in Italy as the Italo? Also the Talgo 350 has been updated to adopt some of the Avril’s features, and will be testing in Saudi Arabia before to long.

    Useless Reply:

    Observer

    The bid evaluation is later this year, meaning the cut off year is 2010 based on this five year service rule. This is why AGV, which entered service in 2011, may not be qualified.

    Peter Reply:

    Zefiro 380, like the AGV, has been operating since 2012. And, depending on how similar Zefiro 380 is to Zefiro 250, they may be considered to have been operating much longer.

    It’s not like every single component on trains delivered to CA will be the same as the ones currently in operation.

    Useless Reply:

    Peter

    Bombadier’s CRH3D(aka Zefiro 380) entered service in 2012 and does not meet the five year requirement. Beside, this is a China market model and may not even meet the UIC crash standard, much less the FRA Tier III standard.

    The winning model must be able to meet the FRA Tier III crash worthiness standard. This is what rules out the Japanese, the Chinese, and the Bombardier bids.

    Peter Reply:

    Also, the scoring in the bid process will likely consider length-of-service as just one part of the calculation.

    Eric M Reply:

    You really don’t seem to like rolling stock from Asia

    Chinese CRH2: Started service in 2007
    Chinese CRH3: Started service in 2008
    Chinese CRH380A: Started service in 2010

    Japanese N700 Series: Start service 2007

    Peter Reply:

    He loves KTX, though!

    Eric M Reply:

    Oh yeah!! Forgot about that

    Useless Reply:

    Eric M

    CRH2 : This is a Kawasaki Shnkansen E2 that is not only banned from sales outside of China, there is no potential of this model ever meeting the FRA Tier III crash standard.
    CRH3 : This model likewise is a Siemens Velaro, thus is banned from sales in the US.
    CRH380A : This is a sped up version of Shinkansen E2 and is also banned from sales in the US. This one also cannot meet FRA Tier III crash standards.

    The Chinese never engineered a bullet train of their own faster than 250 km/hr, and has never designed a high crashworthiness train set before.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Rail officials said they are not looking for cutting-edge technology.”

    I thought they wanted to do mach-breakthru speeds to make up for the egregious Detour and Blend, yada, yada.

    So it is back to 160mph. Forget about 2:40. The Judge is going to annul Prop 1a provisos anyway in a few months.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I read BART average speed is 33mph.

    Peter Reply:

    So what? BART is one of the fastest rapid transit systems in the country. And probably in the world. For example, Berlin U-Bahn’s fastest line averages only 33.7 km/h.

    Joey Reply:

    It may have to do with wide stop spacing on much of the BART system.

    Peter Reply:

    Most likely. My point is that an average speed of 33 mph is not a low average speed for a rapid transit line, quite the opposite.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yeah and it’s the reason BART has high ridership as well. You can get more or less the same distance during rush hour in a car as you can on BART.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    But if course at the same time wide stop spacing, along with other choices BART has made like large station-adjacent parking lots, has a limiting effect on how people use it. They seemed to have optimized for car-assisted commute usage, but completely ignored shorter-distance, non-commute, pedestrian-friendly uses, and I think a truly effective transportation system has to address all….

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Thus why some systems run expresses… :]

    EJ Reply:

    Please provide a reference for your 160 mph assertion.

    Useless Reply:

    EJ

    Acela II does 160 mph.

    Peter Reply:

    That’s still not a reference for why CA’s project will be limited to 160 mph.

    Zorro Reply:

    Syno likes to make His own facts up, as disinformation or FUD.

    Jerry Reply:

    He probably means the 444 miles of his DogLeg Route divided by 160 mph gives you 2 Hours and 45 minutes from SF to LA.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The former CEO of the UP stated he estimated CAHSR’s speed to eventually top out at around 160mph.

    JerryRail is Son of Acela.

    160 mph at Tehachapi? 160 mph thru Acton?

    But don’t fret about 2:40. It is going to be tossed out along with no subsidy, 24 stations and the rest of the bait and switch bs.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But I thought the class Is were totally uninterested in passenger service.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Interesting point – I believe he was queried by the press on the subject.

    But his 160 mph conjecture is a good one and right about what to expect in the real world of California.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Unless the Central Valley stations come with pass-through tracks, the most trains can reach is about 186 mph before having to stop at another station. 160 is on the low side.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The faster you go the more it costs. So if you are losing money reduce speed. The 160 figure applies to the real world of operating deficits and 13 undocumented no-show maintenance.

    KT Reply:

    REOI specified:

    “single level EMU capable of operating in revenue service at speeds up to 354 km/h (220 mph), and based on a service-proven trainset in use in commercial high speed passenger service at least 300 km/h (186 mph) for a minimum of five years.”

    This will take TGV (push-pull) and KTX-II (push-pull) out of your list, putting Velaro as only option if cutoff is 2010.

    Useless Reply:

    KT

    The only mandate is for the seating capacity and possibly acceleration. I don’t know about the latest TGV models, but the KTX-II does accelerate at a rate comparable to the Shinkansen N700, mostly because of frequent stops required in Korean HSR corridor and is not disadvantaged relative to EMUs, unless we are talking about an acceleration monster like the N700i which has no equal.

    And the KTX-II provides the best crashworthiness of all bullet train models with the single exception of the Acela, 600+ ton static load power car + 200+ ton static load coach + crash energy absorption.

    Joey Reply:

    Length restrictions at Transbay will likely preclude separate power cars.

    Useless Reply:

    Joey

    The entire length of a KTX-II set including two locomotives is 201 m, same as other 8 car EMUs.

    The stereotypes against Locomotive-pulled high speed trains, namely slow acceleration and limited seating, were built from Acela and TGV experiences. The KTX-II does not suffer from that, because it was designed expressively for a Shinkansen-like high density corridor with many stops, where a high acceleration rate and a short stopping distance is critical in satisfactory operatinon.

    Joey Reply:

    The data I’m finding suggests that the KTX-II has significantly lower seating density than other 200m sets. I haven’t accounted for seat pitch, but the KTX-II seats 363 while the Velaro D seats 460. The AGV also seats 460 and I believe it’s only 180m. The Frecciarossa 1000 (AKA Zefiro 300) seats 469.

    The TGV Duplex gets around this problem by having a second level, of course, and has better seating density than many single level multiple units (508).

    Useless Reply:

    Joey

    The first generation KTX-II has a restaurant car. Without that restaurant car, the passenger capacity is 410 even with a very generous seat pitch of 1,035 mm on economy class seats and a first class car. If CHSRA adopted a smaller seat pitch instead of 1,035 mm(40.748 inches), then the seating capacity would further increase from 410.

    Peter Reply:

    And note the word “based” in the REOI. Trainsets does not have to have been running in the same form as they would in CA, they just have to be based on proven designs. So, for example, a Shinkansen -derived train such as the Kawasaki efSet would still be ok.

    Enjoy your overly-rigid premature interpretation of an REOI (it’s not even an RFP)!

    Useless Reply:

    Peter

    the efSET doesn’t exist today and so there is nothing to be evaluated on. In other word, the CHSRA officials would like to visit corridors where proposed candidates are in service today and take test rides themselves to understand what they are getting for their money, but the efSET cannot be tested because it doesn’t physically exist and would represent a high-risk gamble for CHSRA officials.

    Secondly, the efSET is not a Shinkansen train and is 50% heavier than Shinkansen train set. Kawasaki has never designed a high speed train that heavy before and weight growth brings in lots of troubles, like how trying to Americanize the TGV into Acela failed spectacularly due to the weight growth.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yeah I wouldn’t be surprised if some N700T variant is what is actually picked. The Taiwanese adopted European safety standards and more generous creature comforts.

    Useless Reply:

    Ted Judah

    That would be very surprising since none of Shinkansen models can meet FRA regulations. Hence the Texas Central High Speed Rail project, the only way to bring Shinkansen to the US is to build the entire system as a privately financed closed circuit system.

    Sorry, no chance of a Shinkansen win in the CHSRA rolling stock bidding.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s called…wait for it…wait for it…a FRA Waiver. Since the CalTrain corridor is adapting European Train Control, the N700T might be what survives.

    Useless Reply:

    Ted Judah

    The Caltrain waiver is for purchasing UIC compliant train sets instead of FRA Tier I. The N700 series can’t even meet the UIC regulations.

    In case of CHSRA train sets, the CHRSA must also consider blended traffic operations with existing Rotem Metrolink trains. And who is best qualified to figure out how to build CHSRA train sets stocks that could co-exist with Rotem Metrolink train sets? Rotem, of course.

    Running N700 rolling stocks in California HSR corridor is absolutely out of question. Crashes will happen sooner or later, and the outcome will be worse than the Wenzhou crash involving a Shinkansen train and a UIC train because the Rotem’s Metrolink train sets are so much heavier and stronger, which means N700 would crumble like cola cans if hit by Rotem Metrolink train sets.

    jimsf Reply:

    what about agv

    EJ Reply:

    As it’s a single level EMU it would seem to qualify. Remains to be seen whether it could be modified to meet FRA regulations, if that becomes necessary.

    Useless Reply:

    EJ

    What troubles the AGV is the 5 year service requirement. The AGV began its service in 2011, so they are short by 1 year in 2015.

    KT Reply:

    Well, I completely forgot that REOI said, “The trainsets are anticipated to meet the following minimum characteristics” in 2.0 Minimum Project Qualifications. Therefore, not meeting the minimum characteristics from REOI does mean automatic disqualification at this point. More details should be available when RFI is issued.

    For now, the 6 minimum qualifications that are “anticipated” to be met (1 is what i quoted above) from the REOI is just a tool for us to talk about the advantage of one vendor over the other.

    KT Reply:

    agh…typo. REOI does not mean, instead of does mean.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, the reason why the TGV as such has not good chances is because the grades planned require distributed power (as it can be seen, for example, on the Frankfurt – Köln line, where only ICE-3 (parent of Velaro) and Velaro are allowed). ICE-1 and ICE-2 are underpowered for that line.

    Useless Reply:

    Max Wyss

    ICE-2 had a power output of only 4800 kw.

    Latest KTX-II and TGV Duplex has power outputs of 8800 ~ 9200 kw, same as the latest model Velero E, so power output is absolutely not an issue. The TGV and the KTX-II are qualified, AGV is complicated because of its late service entry.

    Peter Reply:

    Believing that any train is “disqualified” from bidding at this point because of VERY preliminary “requirements” in an ROEI (not an RFP!!!!) is, well, cute. The Authority is so early in the procurement process that it can’t even really be called “the procurement process” at this point. After the RFP comes out, THEN we will see what the actual requirements are.

    And as for your earlier comment that the efSet is disqualified because the board members can’t tour it, I don’t even know how to respond to that, beyond an eye roll.

    Useless Reply:

    Peter

    The efSET is an extremely high risk offering, a product that was never built by the offering vendor that had no prior experiences in building heavy-weight high speed train sets. The CHSRA would be the launch customer, and would have to do all the debugging themselves.

    The CHSRA must select a model that has been in service for a reasonable time period to ensure the California HSR rollout happens smoothly without any delays or unexpected problems. So the efSET and the Chinese bids must be ruled out even if they are the cheapest, because CHSRA can’t afford to gamble on train set rollout. If something goes wrong, then the critics get all fired up and try to justify that the whole bullet train thing was a waste of money and California should stop the project immediately.

    Peter Reply:

    Right, because the country that practically invented HSR will be incapable of adapting its design to higher crashworthiness standards.

    And, again, no one will be offering an “off-the-shelf” trainset to the extent that it is an exact clone of one operating somewhere already.

    Useless Reply:

    Peter

    One needs to look no further than Alstom’s struggles with trying to adapt TGV into Acela. A weight increase can introduce tons of unanticipated problems.

    > And, again, no one will be offering an “off-the-shelf” trainset to the extent that it is an exact clone of one operating somewhere already.

    Some bid proposals are just minor modifications of their existing train models in service for 5 years or longer. Others, like the efSET and Chinese proposals, are brand new untested and unproven designs that would have CHSRA as their launch customer.

    CHSRA clearly intends to avoid being the launch customer of an unproven design.

    Useless Reply:

    Speaking of existing rolling stocks, the KTX-II is indeed the model that could meet the FRA Tier-III with least amount modifications. On top of 600ton/200ton buff strength, it already features a 5 MJ crash energy absorber in front, and will only need to add additional crash energy absorber between the locomotive and the first passenger coach to be fully FRA Tier-III compliant. And Rotem knows how to do it, as demonstrated by the Metrolink crash a few days ago.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I would say the biggest problem with Acela for Alstom was not Alstom, but the customer.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Useless: as dozens of photos and videos show, all the Oxnard Metrolink crash seems to have shown about Rotem’s totally undeformed CEM cars is maybe an oddly high propensity to derail?

    synonymouse Reply:

    So Richard M. is right: PB-CHSRA will get an older design at a spendy price.

    Perhaps they would have been better off buying a few Sons of Acela. I mean their raison d’etre is to trucked around the State to some photo-ops.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Perhaps, just perhaps, they won’t arc the motors and crinkle the bodies like BART’s Rohr beercans.

    EJ Reply:

    Whoops! Rohr isn’t involved in CAHSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But PB is. PB is Bechtel and both are BART.

    EJ Reply:

    No, PB is Parsons Brinckerhoff. That’s a separate company from Bechtel.

    synonymouse Reply:

    PB is to Bechtel as BART is to MTC. hand and glove

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The ICE-2 is shorter and therefore lighter; in fact, essentially half an ICE-1. It normally operates in double, with some splitting/joining on the conventional network.

    My statement still stands that power units at the end are not suitable for the California project. The installed power may be, but, keeping the axle load limit in mind, the available tractive force is limited as well (under good conditions, you get about 500 kN), whereas with distributed drives, you can get two to three times that. And that’s what is relevant for grades.

  26. Jerry
    Feb 26th, 2015 at 16:18
    #26

    Elon Musk’s Hyperloop will have a five mile operating site near I-5 and Bakersfield.
    http://fortune.com/2015/02/26/hyperloop/
    Part of a developer’s green project.

    Jerry Reply:

    Another Musk Hyperloop project to be built in 2016.
    http://www.wired.com/2015/02/construction-hyperloop-track-starts/

    Jerry Reply:

    Another “reference”

    Peter Reply:

    In other words, this “project” won’t address any of the problems previously identified with Hyperloop. Capacity, safety, ability to turn at high speed in a tunnel, etc.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It may demonstrate, however, that Musk’s cost estimates were ridiculously lowball numbers, and that the system costs far more than HSR. That would be useful. :-)

    After all, monorails and maglev work, technically — they’re just not cost-effective.

    Zorro Reply:

    I’ll believe that Hyperloop works, when I see it work, until then, It’s all Hype for the loopy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Musk is raising the middle finger to JerryRail.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Musk isn’t even involved with the demonstration project.

    Jerry Reply:

    Seattle, Las Vegas, and Disney all have working models of monorail. Only somewhat useful.
    This project is only a fun ride ala a Disney ride.
    And it advertises a totally green Quay development.
    There’s a lot of volunteer work involved.

    TomA Reply:

    The thing with Hyperloop is – even if its cheaper, a big chunk of the reason is that its less useful. Its an airplane on the ground. So yes – if HSR was intended only to service the LA to SF market, with end points in the burbs of each, it too would be significantly cheaper. It if was only intended to have half as many riders as the current planned capacity, it could be cheaper too.

    Hyperloop would work well out in the Midwest – where there are lots of major cities, but not much in between them. Criss cross the area with routes – ST Lous to KC, KC to Denver, Minneapolis to St Louis, etc.

    But yes – I suspect the end result would be that the costs will become clear and people will forget about the idea.

    Maybe Amazon can build a cross country network of hyperloops for freight. That way it can have fewer warehouses.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No “even if.” It is not cheaper. The only parts of the system where it’s possible to save any money on the design are the narrow-diameter tunnels, and those a) are not thaaaaat large a cost saving, b) throttle capacity, and c) are less important than the cost growth coming from the need for new urban approaches and much tighter track geometry standards.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Wow – the first 5 miles of the California High Speed rail project to be completed on the I-5 route.

    Peter Reply:

    I thought you’d be the first to point out that a low-speed amusement park ride is not high speed. ;)

    Joel Reply:

    No, more likely a spur to San Luis Obispo.

    Jerry Reply:

    Designing/Suggesting loops would be fun.
    Californians 4 High Speed Loops. CA4HSL
    Dog Leg Loop? Grapevine Loop?

    datacruncher Reply:

    Instead of growth near existing cities, some developers are trying for new cities to be built along I-5 in the Central Valley. All they need is the improved transportation to make these proposed cities attractive.

    The developer offering to host the hyperloop test wants to build housing and jobs for 75,000 people a few miles south of Kettleman City. Estimated median home price is proposed to be $276,000. That is higher than existing Valley cities.
    http://growholdings.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Quay-Valley-Promo-Book.pdf

    Quay Valley wants 3 new interchanges along I-5 to support its housing/commercial/retail developments. They also propose 3 themed hotels plus entertainment venues to serve as a weekend getaway resort destination.
    http://growholdings.com/quay-valley/greenprint-for-modern-town/entertainment-destination/

    My guess is they think if they can host a Hyperloop (or HSR I-5 route) station they can improve the chances of their dream.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Problem is, water rights flow east to west in the San Joaquin Valley.

    The I-5 corridor can only get water rights for homes from somewhere else. Unless that somewhere else can’t be developed into homes (very unlikely), the owner of somewhere else won’t sell their water rights to the I-5 corridor property.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Ted, This Quay Valley project is a good example of that. The developer originally made a deal to purchase water rights from another land owner back in 2007. But they lost that water to another company. Quay Valley sued and according to media reports….

    A Kings County Superior Court jury has awarded a $128.6 million verdict against McCarthy Family Farms for breach of contract and against Bay Area developer John Vidovich and Sandridge Partners for intentional interference of two contracts involving water for a planned community outside Hanford.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/03/31/3853410/kings-county-jury-awards-1286.html

    Quay Valley’s developer now says they have lined up some water but are still pursuing other sources:

    Perhaps the biggest is the question of where Quay Valley is going to get its water. The 2014 verdict awarded monetary damages to the developers, but it didn’t give them any water rights.

    Hays said Grow has purchased some State Water Project rights and is looking into other sources.

    http://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/plan-resurrected-for-new-kings-county-city/article_9f25b037-b477-5131-b971-8819d850f422.html

    The Aqueduct is only 2 or 3 miles from this site. If they found rights to purchase then they don’t have to go very far to stick their straw in. But the question is who is selling water rights and at what price? Would someone like one of Resnick’s interests be selling additional water?

  27. jimsf
    Feb 26th, 2015 at 21:20
    #27

    Ot any new news about things such as stations designs ( merced, fresno, tulare etc?) Certainly Fresno should be getting to work on their design wishes.

    Jerry Reply:

    Along with TOD work.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Fresno appears to be working on developments in the station area. These two apartment buildings opened last month about 2 or 3 blocks from the station site.
    http://www.cityviewatvanness.com/
    http://www.downtownfresno.org/go/city-studios
    Supposedly both are already nearly filled.

  28. Keith Saggers
    Feb 27th, 2015 at 14:41
    #28

    http://www.sfcta.org/delivering-transportation-projects/van-ness-avenue-bus-rapid-transit-home

    EJ Reply:

    http://www.buildexpo.org/

    Jerry Reply:

    LA Expo Line Phase 2
    Excellent reference with good progress photos.
    I wish that the CAHSR Authority would set up a similar site with progress photos of the Central Valley activity. With map references as well.

  29. Paul H.
    Feb 27th, 2015 at 18:26
    #29

    California LAO: Cap-and-Trade Revenue: Likely Much Higher Than Governor’s Budget Assumes. High-Speed Rail funding to increase significantly.

    This report was slipped online two nights ago without much fan fare but says that Cap-and-Trade can fund the majority of the rest of the construction costs from Merced to Burbank. Can’t believe no newspapers have picked this up yet.

    jimsf Reply:

    The state has plenty of revenue.

    Paul H. Reply:

    Yeah but high-speed rail is special within the Cap-and-Trade appropriations because it’s guaranteed a 25% cut of that stream with the possibility of more funding from unappropriated money. In a few years HSR will be receiving a billion dollars annually from C&T. That’s going to keep construction going till eventually Merced to Burbank is completed even if it’s 2 or 3 years late.

    jimsf Reply:

    yes and everything else we need is already funded. Take a look at this ridiculous list

    Paul H. Reply:

    Except that all of the state’s money is accounted for. If HSR wants more money it’ll need C&T to grow. A billion a year is a lot more than 250 million we were getting the last two years and it looks like HSR is actually owed money from the C&T fund.

    joe Reply:

    It’s a State budget which means great flexibility. The benefit of CnT as a dedicated funding source is borrowing against the revenue to comply with Prop1a and build the system.

  30. Robert S. Allen
    Feb 28th, 2015 at 00:43
    #30

    Keep HSR Safe and Reliable, per 2008 Prop 1A. Fence it against intrusion. Grade separate all crossings. Learn from Bourbonnais, Metro North, and Metrolink. Run HSR trains in a secure track corridor!

  31. Robert S. Allen
    Feb 28th, 2015 at 00:46
    #31

    Like we do for freeways.

    joe Reply:

    Really? HW 101 South bound, Gilroy CA, Mesa Road intersection. https://goo.gl/maps/QNmJL

Comments are closed.