Santa Clarita To Host An Emergency Community Meeting on HSR

Apr 9th, 2015 | Posted by

While I’m not quite sure what qualifies this as an “emergency” the city of Santa Clarita has decided to hold an “emergency community meeting” to discuss high speed rail alignments. The meeting is on Monday, April 27, at 7PM at the Canyon High School gym.

According to an official city press release:

Two of the Authority’s proposed alignments targeted for further study could result in the removal of two elementary schools, a church and homes in the Santa Clarita, Acton, Agua Dulce and City of San Fernando areas.

A third alternative would completely bypass existing neighborhoods and it is this “east corridor alignment” that the Santa Clarita City Council supports.

“We want to send a message to the California High Speed Rail Authority that the east corridor alignment would not only avoid risking our neighborhoods, but is also more direct and potentially less expensive,” explained Mayor Marsha McLean.

A tremendous turnout at the meeting is needed to help the California High Speed Rail Authority understand the community’s needs.

Of course, the “east corridor alignment” is the tunnel under the San Gabriel Mountains that many Sunland residents oppose because it would, in their minds, risk their own neighborhoods. It is hard to imagine that a tunnel under the mountains is less expensive, but the route through Santa Clarita is definitely longer and will have its share of tunnels.

I can see why the east corridor alignment appeals to Santa Clarita, and it is definitely worth studying, but they should not pin their hopes on it. Let’s hope this community meeting includes discussion of various ways to make the alignment through Santa Clarita itself more palatable, though it’s obviously intended to generate public support for the San Gabriel mountains tunnel.

More information about the city of Santa Clarita’s approach to HSR can be found on the city’s website.

  1. Jerry
    Apr 10th, 2015 at 00:31
    #1

    On the city’s web site map it seems that the HSR might only have the most impact on the Church of the Canyons.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Church of the Canyons should build a golf course – then they would be “Saved”.

    Jerry Reply:

    It would also be ‘holier’.
    And perhaps have greater attendance.

  2. synonymouse
    Apr 10th, 2015 at 10:42
    #2

    The Sta. Clarita alignment I suggest will have the most enduring appeal to PB for several reasons:

    1. It is cheaper.

    2. It is faster to construct. A quasi-base tunnel could run into surprises – seismic, engineering, financial – and delays could allow time for a political sea change, indications of which we already see. Richards & Co. could get fired by Gavin.

    3. The sole purpose of the Palmdale Detour is to accommodate, enable and enrich high desert real estate developers and sprawlers and the Tejon Ranch Co. Tunnels eliminate possible commute stops and make exploitation less likely.

    The best alternative is of course Tejon, whose massive savings would pay for mitigating tunnels at Sta. Clarita and environs on the way to LA.

    Zorro Reply:

    Tejon is DOA Cyno..

    synonymouse Reply:

    That’s why I-5 goes thru Mojave.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And I wish I had thought of Cynonomouse. Too late now

    Derek Reply:

    Cut Tejon’s water allotment, then ask them again if they’d like to sell some land.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Ranch’s dug-in opposition is not so easy to understand as apparently at least at the base of the Grapevine they are doing some very non-toney, non-upscale, ghetto of the future development HSR paralleling I-5 is so much easier on the environment, if just from the point of view of the feeders, the grid.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Tejon needs a nearby workforce to keep the commercial developments growing. It is a 40 miles drive or 1 hour transit ride from Bakersfield to the warehouses and outlet stores they already built at the base of the Grapevine.
    http://www.getbus.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/92.pdf

    synonymouse Reply:

    So they plan to tract out the Grapevine?

    datacruncher Reply:

    Only the base of the mountains. I’ve heard rumors that some potential companies in warehousing/outlet retail are concerned with the ability to attract a workforce 40 miles for minimum wage (or slightly higher) jobs. To offset that Tejon needs to show there are at least some workers who can live closer.

    Clem Reply:

    I would caution that “HSR paralleling I-5” is really two distinct issues: one in the Central Valley (overcome by events) and another one for the mountain crossing.

    The basic problem with the mountain crossing is that no funds are available for it. It will cost, by their own estimates, more than 2.5 times the ENTIRE value of the Prop 1A bond. That is a ton of money that they don’t have.

    Adding another $5 billion to the tab just to serve Palmdale and Las Vegas seems a teeny bit premature at this juncture. Those who think Tejon is DOA don’t realize yet that the entire HSR mountain crossing is DOA.

    Jerry Reply:

    “a ton of money that they don’t have.” Why don’t they have it???

    The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund – sometimes called the Pentagon Slush Fund – has Billion$ of dollars added for its budget. Always of course – unaudited.

    That’s all chump change of course for the Pentagon.

    http://www.pogo.org/blog/2015/03/the-pentagons-wartime-slush-fund.html

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There is no waste of money anywhere on any domestic project that rises to the level of military spending. Don’t ask questions, son, you’re endangering national security.

    Joe Reply:

    $2 billion airplanes will be built in Palmdale California.

    Joe Reply:

    Latimes

    The Pentagon is poised to spend billions to build a new stealth bomber, a top secret project that could bring hundreds of jobs to the wind-swept desert communities in Los Angeles County’s northern reaches.

    Two teams of defense contractors are now battling to win what would be one of the most expensive contracts in Pentagon history. As the lobbying intensifies, the coming decision to pick a winner as soon as this spring has set off a debate over whether the new warplane is crucial to national security or a colossal budget-busting waste.

    “You’re talking about a $2-billion airplane by the time they build it,” said Thomas Christie, who worked as a top analyst inside the Pentagon for more than three decades before retiring. “It’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

    Joe Reply:

    We haz the money.

    http://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf

    Of this $1.6 trillion total, CRS estimates that the total is distributed as follows:
    • $686 billion (43%) for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) for Afghanistan and other counterterror operations received;
    • $815 billion (51%) for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND);
    • $27 billion (2%) for Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), providing enhanced security at military bases; and
    • $81 billion (5%) for war-designated funding not considered directly related to the Afghanistan or Iraq wars.

    Jerry Reply:

    You hear that Clem?
    We DO have the money.

    synonymouse Reply:

    As the US moves towards 3rd world economic, social and political conditions and values the problem of a military budget towering over all else would resolve itself. I mean does Mexico even have an air force?

    China will be the only remaining super power and it will have to deal with containing hellholes in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    synonymouse Reply:

    We could buy Rafales, like India.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It’s not clear that the military budget problem will resolve itself. See North Korea: the country has basically collapsed completely, and they’d lose any war they got into, but the military budget continues to be vastly outsized.

    Clem Reply:

    “We” don’t seem to be willing to find the $25 billion required for the mountain crossing with quite the same ease as we find money for military hardware. Having the money is quite irrelevant in this case; it’s the willingness to spend it on HSR that isn’t forthcoming. So perhaps, given a $25 billion option (Tehachapi) and a $20 billion option (Tejon), wise minds at the CHSRA would make certain hard choices to close the gap between what is required and what is available. My point has always been that the limited supply of money should be a major factor in deciding what to build. You can have all the engineering done, all the environmental clearances in hand, and concrete being poured and BAM the funding doesn’t close and it’s game over. Google “Access to the Region’s Core” sometime for a real life example. The choice is real simple: Tejon, or nothing at all. Now will somebody please pass me the popcorn.

    Joe Reply:

    Supply of public money conditional on politics to supply money which of course is running the system through Pacheco and Palmdale.

    Now that we have the alignment we get the money to build that system. Tejon ain’t it.

    limited supply of money is artificial. It’s limited political interest in domestic spending. Cutting support to save money cuts support for the money in hand.

    Joey Reply:

    Surely Reid will make su…oh wait

    joe Reply:

    oh snap.

    The State Legislature approved the funding for the current alignment. It is backed by LA County and that funding included additional Fed secured and protect by Reid.

    You guys like to pretend the money fell from the sky and you haz the best plan to spend it. The world does not work that way and you’ll learn or not.

    Clem Reply:

    Approved what funding? There isn’t any funding, approved or otherwise, to build the mountain crossing.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yeah @joe, the only approved funding is for the ICS not the IOS, which includes both Bakersfield-Palmdale (or Tejon) mountain crossing and Palmdale-Burbank as unfunded. The cap-n-trade isn’t going to fund it either unless they manage to use that as leverage instead of direct payment.

    Joe Reply:

    They approved funding for the current alignment. They funded a section.

    There is absolutely no way any one can argue the vote would have gone forward if Palmdale was dumped for tejon.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So they approved the alignment but only funded the ICS part of it. So what does it mean to “approve funding” versus actually funding? Is there some unknown process by which “approved funding” that cannot actually be spent because there is no actual money behind it be turned into funded (with actual money behind it).

    joe Reply:

    Okay.
    “The State Legislature approved the funding for the current alignment.”

    The authority has selected an alignment which includes Pacheco and Palmdale. That is the plan and system they are bring to the legislature. They ask for funds to build part of the system which is under construction. That part is funded but it’s funded predicated on the current alignment.

    Let us say Clem get the CAHSRA to move the alignment to Altamont and Tejon. They are still just funding the CV segment but guys, the system isn’t getting the votes. San Jose/Santa Clara would object and so would the East Bay. LA would balk.

    No money.

    Superior system by this metrics but it ain’t the planned system and that ain’t what got voted on when funds were allocated.

    Clem Reply:

    Don’t dwell on the past. Look to the future. Where are we going to find $25 billion to build from 7th Standard Road in Bakersfield to Burbank?

    No money.

    joe Reply:

    We find the 25 B from the same place we find the 20 Billion to build your way.

    Funding and approved were contingent on a plan for the system and it had Palmdale and Pacheco alignments.

    Move to Tejon and lose the LA County vote, fail to release state matching funds and lose the ARRA funds. That costs the project 3.3 Billion. Now the 5B cost differential is 1.7 B.

    Factor in the cost of delay and it’s less than 1.7B.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You are missing the seeping negativity that a bad design brings to your operation. With new construction always opt for the best alternative if success is in mind.

    Even now with all the publicity in LA I’ll wager many are still oblivious about this huge detour off the default north-south route. LA policy is made by politicians whose minds can be changed. There are many other projects in the region with priority over a Palmdale link. They’ll adjust easily.

    The Detour will be dominated by commute ops, its raison d’etre, which are inherently money losing. In order to curb costs speeds will be lowered. BART 80mph is all you need. Thru traffic will be an afterthought and pretty soon deferred maintenance on a line that was ill-conceived from the beginning. And no possibility of repurposing to multi-mode, i.e., freight.

    Tejon is by far the better choice.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Clem, California can print whatever money is needed to build the mountain crossing. And California will print that money.

    If you want to talk the hard, cold reality of politics, rather than legalisms, we know California can print money, and we know that California will print the money.

    If you don’t see this, I could give you an education on economics, but it’ll take a while. I’ve been studying this for decades as part of my ‘day job’.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Can a State crazy spend indefinitely? I’ll guess the progeny will find out.

    Can hsr function and maintain in a 3rd world country? Say Brasil.

    joe Reply:

    CA cannot print money.

    Changing the alignment costs the vote in the senate and probably the ARRA funding due to the timeline and Reid. You all recall he with a letter about the alignment.

    That’s a loss of 3.7 B to save 5 B so total net savings is 1.7B. This also assumes we salvage the project and can continue wo=ithout blowing it up.

    Total sent to date is 1 B on the current project.

    Add the delay and wasted effort and we’re going to spend over 1 B to replan and try again.

    Total savings of switching to Tejon is possibly 0.7 B and but also costs years in lost time.

    ASSUME you have a allocation of money to do what you want, one can argue alignments.

    @Syn If we have 3rd world crisis like some B movie the political interests will continue with the train (see hunger games) and simple cut synonymous’ government pension. Entitlements for the “takers” are the first to go.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    CA cannot print money.

    What do you think general obligation bonds are????

    Clem Reply:

    So. You guys think that securing another $25 billion of GO bonds for HSR will be a piece of cake. That’s another two and a half times Prop 1A. LOL

    Joey Reply:

    joe: The ARRA funding has already been obligated, and the Central Valley segment is ready to absorb all of it. One of the nice things (and there are some not so nice things) about having the project divided into segments is that the funding for one segment is not dependent on what’s going on on the other segments. At this point in the ARRA process, you would have to come up with better reasoning then “Unrelated decisions on another segment don’t feed into my pet project” to defund the Central Valley.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ joe

    It is hard to know where to begin but suffice it to say I’ll be doggone and long gone when the US has definitively gone 3rd world. RR eliminated Civil Service in 1984 so all those like me under that system are gradually disappearing and accordingly the expenditures. You think FailRail will take funding precedence over Social Security and BART pensions? Amalgamated and the pols it bankrolls are going for that? yeah.

    Your demigods are leaving the building and their replacements are not excited by CAHSR and its prospects. All the government agencies are spending more, regulating more yet the corporate wealth is stashed offshore. Fascinating.

    You will know we are 3rd world and no longer a superpower when a second official language is decreed. We’ll go on, tho fragmented like Belgium – let somebody else cope with the crazy-asses overseas and pony up for stealth aircraft.

    Roland Reply:

    Just like the aqueduct was DOA?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Clem, I suggest the LV link DOA. Reid’s outta here and frankly Sin City is having an identity crisis. It no longer has a monopoly on gambling, which was what was subsidizing everything else. They are not interested in catering to the low to intermediate gambler, just the 20 to 30 somethings whose money is burning a hole in their pockets and who want to show off lushed under a cabana. Why would these cool “youths” want to go 150mph tops when they can fly 4 times that fast with all the connections and traveler amenities in place? McCarran is practically downtown by SoCal standards.

    The traditional non-whale gambler was the potential market for TehaVegaSkyRail. Vegas is not for them, affluent retirees esconced in condos preferred.

    Ask yourself what happened at Atlantic City. What, 30 million in greater NYC – Atlantic City should have total Sin City potential. Gambling is in steady decline and the reason is that it has been taken over by bankers who resent anybody winning anything. 9 out 10 walk out of the casino losing. I am not familiar with Atlantic City, but my surmise is that it has to be really ghetto across the street from the casinos. Vegas will get sketchy too.

    What does Vegas possess intrinsically that makes it different from prettier places closer to the big population centers? Nada when vice is legalized elsewhere.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No competing industries for the political class…

    J. Wong Reply:

    Hmm, I don’t think $20b versus $25b is going to be that significant a difference to the politicians or ultimately the voters.

    Clem Reply:

    It will make a difference when they try to close their enormous funding gap. Laying track in the pancake-flat Central Valley is one thing. Crossing the Tehachapi and San Gabriel ranges is quite another.

    Nathanael Reply:

    California can print money. It’ll do so as needed to build the mountain crossing.

    Clem Reply:

    Riiiiiight.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Perennial higher operating and maintenance costs and loss of business due to slower travel times between the deep pockets markets.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Someone who will fly because of an extra 15 minutes via Palmdale is someone who would fly even if the train was 2:30. No one who would take the train at 2:30 is going to care if the minimum is 2:48. That’s not why they’re taking the train.

    Clem Reply:

    That’s not how these things work. In aggregate, over a statistically large sample of travelers, there is a measurable time-sensitivity that may not be apparent when asking any individual traveler about why they made their particular trip choice. The CHSRA’s ridership analysis shows this effect quite readily, with each additional minute of SF – LA trip time reducing system revenue by about $10 million/year.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Of course, it’s totally logical that the ridership/revenue drop-off with increasing travel time would have to be a smooth curve. So there cannot be even a single additional minute (let alone 15 — that’s huge!) which in the aggregate will not reduce ridership.

    joe Reply:

    Funded approved system has Palmdale stop to win over LA County votes so this is an exercise in outer factors. Fun thought experiment at best.

    Clem I’m quite confident the revenue/time trade is 100% dependent on keeping the same stations and service.

    The most recent HSR ridership / revenue estimates for the revised plan show a greater proportion of revenue from shorter distance trips.

    One would need to change the alignment to remove all Palmdale. Then run the model as assess revenue without the Palmdale stop.

    And to repeat, one would have been able to sell this idea to the state legislature and SoCAl delegation.

    Clem Reply:

    They ran the model without Palmdale and it showed more revenue. It’s all in their (sandbagged) Grapevine study.

    The approved system has a Palmdale stop. The funded system does not, because there is no funding for the mountain crossing just yet. Will there ever be?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Not all riders will decide based on a smooth curve, step functions may often be operative. For example riders between the central valley and SoCal May have few or no cost effective air alternatives, and given automobile congestion, 15 minutes maybe irrelevant for them. Or travelers who can easily access the TTC in SF or another HSR stop may save significant time over getting to an airport, plus 60-90 minutes of preflight formalities, followed by the additional time to get from LAX to their destination (e.g. Downtown LA or East from there).

    A smooth curve function depends on a smooth curve alternatives, or their willingness to forgo the trip.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Legislature has shown almost nil interest in CAHSR since Prop 1a passed. Those most knowledgeable about it are the dissidents and opponents. The 2 young turks in the Democratic Party, Gavin and Kamala, proteges of the other Brown brother, have disengaged from Cheerleading and its by now mostly sole proponent, the Brown brother still in office.

    I hope Judge Kerry does not just throw up his hands in fatigue and instead guts Prop 1a as hopelessly miswritten, vacates it but with no remedy, and throws the whole stinking pile of mierda back on the Legislature. And dares anyone to appeal.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Neil: however, in aggregate (across the set of all actual/potential riders), the ridership/demand curve is nice and smooth. Always is, regardless of whatever “step functions” you quite plausibly speculate about for this or that rider.

    joe Reply:

    “They ran the model without Palmdale and it showed more revenue. It’s all in their (sandbagged) Grapevine study.”

    The most recent ridership showed more revenue with shorter trips like Palmdale to LA then the initial model which had more revenue for longer distance trips.

    If this is the SandBagged revenue model then its the older one and they didn’t sandbag Paldale with it.

    Palmdale to LA and other shorter trips produce more revenue than the older sandbagged revenue model which underestimates revenue for the Palmdale stop and over favors longer trips.

    Shorter trips are service within regional population centers. Palmdale-LA for example.

    Joey Reply:

    Reid is on his way out, and more funding is unlikely to materialize before he leaves office.

    The only person in LA who cares about Palmdale is Antonovitch. Most LA county residents do not in fact live in the high desert and their representatives have no reason to worry about Palmdale.

    Redoing an EIR (or most of an EIR since it’s not even done yet) would cost some money. Based on the amount of money the CHSRA has spend on environmental studies to date, it wouldn’t be all that much. Delays only cost money if you have funding sitting around that isn’t being spent, which isn’t the case here. Even if it were, there are other project segments which are ready to absorb any funding which becomes available.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually, all of Southern California cares about Palmdale…for the obvious reason.

    If you want CAHSR to be within an hour drive of more than 50 percent of California’s population, you have to either extend tracks deep into the High Desert, the Inland Empire or both. If not that many people are going to be served by it…political support is going to fall.

    Meanwhile, you could build a very long base tunnel through Tejon and silence all the critics, but that would expose the difficult geology there and blow the budget just as much as the Palmdale options.

    Honestly, the mistake here was not doing Pacheco first, then working their way down south so that they could run revenue service from San Jose to help defray costs.

    Joe Reply:

    “Reid is on his way out, and more funding is unlikely to materialize before he leaves office.”

    We have All the money to spend by 2017. What you write makes no sense.
    We got here because of Reid and the alignment as planned.

    Joey Reply:

    The funding we have to spend by 2017 is going to be spent in the Central Valley, for better or for worse. Changing the alignment of the mountain crossing won’t jeopardize that deadline in any way.

    Joey Reply:

    Ted: If you’re still talking about base tunnels then you’re behind the times. Please see Clem’s alignment, which has less tunneling than the planned San Gabriel crossing and does not cross any faults below grade.

    And I’m calling bullshit on your 50% requires Palmdale statement. Metro SF+SJ+Sac+LA+SD comes out to way more than 50% of California’s population, so making the journey a bit longer for a couple hundred thousand in the Antelope Valley isn’t gong to change that.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Joey,

    I’m fully aware of what Clem has proposed in the past…the “Stairway to Heaven” needing about six miles of viaduct rising from the Valley floor…or alternatively a roller-coaster track alongside the mountains for a few miles that would crest at the pass. But if money is no object, the elevation of the LA Basin and the San Joaquin Valley would indicate a base tunnel, straight through, would be a huge time saver. This isn’t to say it’s practical for all other purposes, but it really is apples and oranges to take Clem’s idea and compare to a Jules Verne tunnel under the San Gabriels. If we are doing tunnels, compare the one between Palmdale to Sunland to one between Tejon Ranch and Santa Clarita.

    As for the 50% comment. Sacramento and San Diego are Phase 2… so is most of the East Bay. How is there ever going to be political support to expand the system if not that many people use it at first? The ugly truth about Palmdale is that while nobody *wants* a station there… it’s home to a lot of people, even by California standards….

    Clem Reply:

    Ted, you would do well to explore the Tejon route in more detail. Your gross mischaracterizations reveal a high degree of ignorance of the topography or necessary civil works. It helps to know what you are talking about before you start talking about it.

    Zorro Reply:

    HSR can climb at most 3.5%, Tejon is about 5.0%, even electrical rail propulsion has its limits. Saying HSR should go up Tejon ignores the facts, since no work has been done on Tejon, since HSR on Tejon is impossible and since a 2.5% or 3.5% grade can be done at Tehachapi, why bother?

    Tejon for HSR, SUCKS…

    Eric M Reply:

    Zorro,

    Köln–Frankfurt high-speed rail line has 4% grades

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Zorro,

    I’ve had this out with Clem before, and I’m not an engineer, just someone who has driven the Grapevine enough to times to realize how steep it is.

    To cross the fault line at grade you have to ascend quite high off the Valley floor, and you either ascend alongside the mountainside or use “stilts”, i.e. a very high viaduct. Clem’s routinely talked down to me about this, with realizing that its a simple math problem…even if it’s a challenging technological undertaking….

    joe Reply:

    The funding we have to spend by 2017 is going to be spent in the Central Valley, for better or for worse. Changing the alignment of the mountain crossing won’t jeopardize that deadline in any way

    Changing the alignment – on what legal standing do they change the alignment ?
    The world does not work the way you want.

    Clem Reply:

    Zorro and Ted, you’re both flat wrong. Tejon can easily be crossed at 3.5% maximum gradient and with nary a stilt. Open the KML file and have a look for yourselves in Google Earth, you can pull elevation profiles to your heart’s content. Or read the PDF with all the relevant charts and graphs. You are certainly entitled to your opinions about routes through the mountains, but you are NOT entitled to make up random and incorrect “facts” about 5% grades and enormous tall viaducts.

    Pass me some popcorn!

    Zorro Reply:

    There are 2 signs on the i5 fwy that say 5 miles of “6%”, still the steeper the grade, the slower you can move and 6% is pretty steep, here’s the two signs, first and second. In any case Tejon is not going to see 1 cent of HSR money, ever. Debating the merits of Tejon vs Tehachapi is worthless, the decision and designing has already been decided, it’s Tehachapi.

    Clem Reply:

    Zorro, maybe you misunderstood that a Tejon HSR alignment would not parallel I-5 up the Grapevine. The Grapevine freeway is indeed much steeper. The HSR alignment would have meanders to lower the grade to 3.5%. Of course, if you bothered to look at the maps you would know this!

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Zorro

    On the contrary nothing has been done so far and indeed the whole megaproject could be shelved at any time. See Mexico. And Brasil.

    For those who have dwelt in the City 6% seems like a bump in the road. I think the outer end of the new T line achieves that. But clearly the optimum alignment at Tejon is not simply clambering over the surface, no more than is Tehachapi. Your vision of mountain crossing engineerng is more in keeping with 19th century thinking and practice, viz., the celebrated Loop.

    Interestingly Tehachapi would incorporate gradients in the 3.5% range, as at Tejon. But it is much longer. Of course California has thrown huge sums of money away before – BART for instance – and $25bil could indeed be blown at Mojave. Tant pis. If new tech materializes – and there is no justification to claim with omniscience it won’t – the Detour might enjoy a very short life. A high maintenance, slow and unproductive galavant in the boonies would be the first to be abandoned. Especially since it cannot be utilized for freight. Recall the link to the East at Mojave factors in the Loop’s longevity; immaterial to CAHSR, particularly if Amtrak dwindles with the class ones finding it a hindrance. There might not even be a Chief running, to connect to, anywhere.

    Zorro Reply:

    Eric, nice link, but Prop1a says 200mph and 220mph, not 186mph.

    The link you mentioned does no more than the following, under Prop1a this will not work, Tejon isn’t on the Menu, CA can sell bonds, bonds to complete HSR is legal, they are called Revenue Bonds, so money is not a problem. Tejon has too many faults, the San Andreas and San Gabriel faults come to mind, the Garlock fault is nearby at the base of the Tehachapi mountains.

    maximum grade : 4.0%
    minimum radius : 3,350m (10,990.8136ft)
    maximum speed : 300 km/h (186 mph)

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Zorro
    The train certainly doesn’t have to run at max speed along the entire line; that would obviously be impossible and something no other line does. So slowing down a bit for relatively short segments with an unusually steep grade would be fine….

    Zorro Reply:

    The CHSRA isn’t interested in Tejon, show Me any serious interest in Tejon by the CHSRA, so far there is none, since Tejon is almost due South of Bakersfield, and that new eastward alignment that Bakersfield would like does point Eastward towards the Tehachapi route(Bakersfield to Palmdale PDF), which so far is the only route, Tejon is nowhere to be seen from the CHSRA, beyond here that is.

    A href=”https://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?name=Bakersfield&where1=35.132048,%20-119.025766&lvl=10&FORM=INFOCM#Y3A9MzUuMDg4Nzk2fi0xMTguOTc2MzI4Jmx2bD0xMCZzdHk9ciZxPTM1LjEzMjA0OCUyQyUyMC0xMTkuMDI1NzY2″>Bing Map(zoom out to see Bakersfield to North, Tejon to South and Tehachapi roughly to the Southeast of Bakersfield).

    Kings was suing to keep HSR out of Tejon and Bakersfield doesn’t want HSR in Tejon either, plus neither does Palmdale, who did threaten to sue and I believe Palmdale would win, Prop1a makes their case an easy one I’d think.

    Besides until a Design/Build Contract is accepted, the figures tossed about here are only Estimates, which could be wildly high or could be wildly low and are to be taken with a grain of salt.

    Zorro Reply:

    Lets see if I can get the link for the map to work.

    Bing Map(zoom out to see Bakersfield to North, Tejon to South and Tehachapi roughly to the Southeast of Bakersfield)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oh, Palmdale, please don’t sue us.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Clem, if your alignment a) served downtown Bakersfield b) served Palmdale and c) maintained a speed of 186 mph through Tejon, you would have a viable alternative. Again, this isn’t a non-engineer critiquing your work…this the guy telling you the customer is always right and he isn’t going to buy the product.

    Clem Reply:

    Maintaining 186 mph (or whatever other very high speed) over a mountain pass is an arbitrary requirement with no basis in HSR practice. Those 220 mph trains over Tehachapi will struggle to maintain 150 mph, no different than Tejon. Grades limit speed, period.

    Emmanuel Reply:

    How can we even talk about a section that we can’t even afford? As long as we don’t have the money, Tejon remains on the table. Why pay 2-3x as much for the same section because of a few stubborn people? Makes absolutely no sense.

    Zorro Reply:

    Tejon has no design work, only Tehachapi has any designs and it would not cost 2-3 times, HSR is not supposed to be LA to SF only, Palmdale is mentioned as is the cities of the Central Valley in Prop1a, that is not what the voters voted for and is illegal. And saying you want Tejon won’t make it happen, cause it ain’t happening and you can’t make Tejon happen.

    Zorro Reply:

    LA to SF only is not what the voters voted for in 2008 and is illegal under Prop1a.

    Clem Reply:

    Prop 1A is irrelevant. It only funds a minuscule $9 billion, and most of that money will be spent or mired in legal proceedings by the time we start thinking about where to find $25 billion to cross the mountains.

    joe Reply:

    25B is the project cost of 13 air planes to be built in Palmdale CA.
    It’s about 25% the net worth of the Koch brothers.

    You don’t get 25B with a design and cutting out cities – funding is a political problem and that means the design and alignment are subject to LA County approval and political process. Cutting 5B and losing LA County support gets you nada.

    Where will 25 B come from ? the same place 20 B come from.

    Clem Reply:

    Palmdale is a minor player in LA County, propped up by soon-to-be retired Antonovich and Reid. Once those guys are gone, anything goes, especially now that the drought is causing some second thoughts about further sprawling the high desert. Just wait and watch it unravel, we don’t need to lift a finger for this scheme to collapse under its own weight.

    Joe Reply:

    Sure.

    Who leads the State Senate? He’s an ardent supporter of the LA to Palmdale segment.
    Called the CV tumbleweed and retracted that comment quickly.

    Any links to the seconds thoughts about Palmdale…
    I can link to manufacturing jobs moved there.

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Good old joe, supporting sprawl in both Gilroy and Palmdale.

    joe Reply:

    WTF are you complaining about?

    The new “sprawl” in Gilroy is upper middle class homes. Peninsula city employees live here.

    Collectively if you want to limit Gilroy sprawl (WTF that means) then you have to open your check book and write a bigger check. The city employees would get housing preferences and the sprawl dwellers will complete for rentals.

    You’d be smarter to support transit to allow people to live elsewhere like chumps and commute in so you can afford what you want. You think someone’s getting a free sprawl-lunch-sandwich and you’re gonna make sure that gets stopped. Okay. What are the consequences ?

    EJ Reply:

    The new “sprawl” in Gilroy is upper middle class homes.

    Sprawl is frequently middle class homes. What does that have to do with anything?

    Reality Check Reply:

    That’s what I was wondering too: sprawl is sprawl. What’s the significance of its socio-economic class?

    Joe Reply:

    Rents.
    The last paragraph I wrote above -as if you cared.

    EJ Reply:

    The last paragraph is completely incoherent. That’s probably the reason.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Beurre ou canons? That’s US money. I cannot help it we have not won a war since WWII. You’d think they would learn something.

    Get Tim Cook to loan Jerry the money to build the Detour. He has trillions lying about. I am sure he’ll go for the Detour; he’s certain to get his money back with interest.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The challenge of getting $20b-$25b isn’t going to turn on whether Palmdale is included or not.

    Joshua Cranmer Reply:

    Actually, the decision point between Tejon and Tehapachi comes when the Bakersfield station is built–its current proposed placement is aligned for an east entry into Bakersfield, not a south entry. Clem’s latest maps (IIRC) presumed a completely different location that went north/south on the west side of the city. Once the Fresno-Bakersfield segment is complete, there’s going to be no political will for abandoning that station, so any serious Tejon proposal needs to factor in meeting that station somehow.

    Clem Reply:

    Note the Fresno – Bako Final EIR peters out at 7th Standard Road. With the Bakersfield hybrid alignment as bad as it is (12 miles of viaduct cutting through miles of residential neighborhoods with tight 115 mph curves that increase express times by two minutes) there is renewed interest in a 7th Standard Road / CA-99 alignment. This option will be studied this year in a supplemental EIR. It’s not entirely crazy to think that HSR could leave Bakersfield the same way it enters Bakersfield, along the 99.

    Clem Reply:

    Allow me to retract that last part… the proposed station would be in the general area of F Street and Golden State Avenue which is not along the 99 freeway.

    datacruncher Reply:

    December’s settlement agreement with Bakersfield called for studying an alignment that turns east at 7th Standard Road then turned to parallel the UPRR on the east side of the city with a station north of downtown Bakersfield near F Street and Highway 204/Golden State Blvd.
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1384094/final-executed-settlement-with-city-of-bako-121914.pdf

    That means theoretically an option to connect to Tejon is a route running south from that Bakersfield station that parallels Union Avenue/Highway 204 or slightly further east paralleling Wheeler Ridge Rd. Both of those were options mentioned in the 2005 Statewide EIR/EIS, see the map at pdf page 62 at:
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/eir-eis/statewide_final_EIR_vol1ch6part1.pdf

    Clem Reply:

    So far from closing out the Tejon pass route, the new alternatives to be studied this year at the behest of the City of Bakersfield are annoyingly compatible with Tejon.

    datacruncher Reply:

    That is how I see it too.

    If you start at pdf page 44, the map and summary tables for the “Downtown Fresno to Golden State Station (Bakersfield connector to UPRR)” are pretty close to the route requested in the settlement. The 2005 EIR/EIS had the connector north of 7th Standard but otherwise the concept is close. The map also shows a station option labeled “Golden State”, very close to the site that Bakersfield requested in the settlement.

    Then starting at pdf page 63 are the summary tables about impacts to using Union/Wheeler Ridge to Tejon OR using 58 to Tehachapi.

    FYI, there is a comment on pdf page 68 about growth impacts from a Tejon-to-Bakersfield-using-Union/Wheeler Ridge-route. It says “Because these alignment options would have no stations between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, urban development is forecasted to be more concentrated in the Central Valley, and consequently slightly more land would be urbanized surrounding the Central Valley stations to accommodate the growth, as compared to the Antelope Valley option.” I think that is one of the reasons Kern/Bakersfield does not like the idea of Tejon. I think they are concerned about LA commuter growth and whatever changes/problems would occur from it. They’d rather see that impact go to Palmdale.

    People can go to the 2005 detailed EIR/EIS chapters to see more about this potential routing.

    But overall, the idea of cutting across north of Bakersfield with a Golden State Ave station and then dropping south to Tejon is not new. Bakersfield/Kern leadership pushed for a preference of a downtown station and Tehachapi but there were other options and routes on the table 10 years ago.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    What this meeting tells me is that Paul Dyson’s report about the tunnels being dead is right on the money. Now Santa Clarita and Antonovich are whipping up voters to make the White House reconsider their opposition as the Democrat hold on that area is tenuous.

    I suspect that PB truly wants a signature engineering achievement for HSR, and a tunnel to LA would fit that to a tee.

    Clem Reply:

    There’s no way for HSR to get across those mountains without a “signature engineering achievement”

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Is this a difficult area for tunnels?

    [Clearing a path through the NIMBYs, now there’s a signature engineering achievement… >< ]

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Other than the earthquakes and the very tall mountains? No.

    synonymouse Reply:

    an exprbitant quasi-base tunnel in the wrong direction

    EJ Reply:

    What? I thought the Japanese and Swiss built stuff like this all the time. Easy peasy. According to Dan Richard, anyway.

  3. Reality Check
    Apr 10th, 2015 at 14:42
    #3

    BART OK’s new $3.2m tamper; 33% crossover speed cut to “take a year or two”

    With two derailments last year, trains slowing along some track segments and the first in a lengthy series of track closures for repairs over the past weekend, BART directors on Thursday seemed almost relieved to say yes to buying a $3.2 million rail maintenance machine.

    […]

    Work on the rails has been continuous, Assistant General Manager Paul Oversier told the board. Some rails, such as those on curves, are replaced every six months, he said. Others on lower-stress straight segments last for years.

    […]

    A year ago, from an abundance of caution, “we decided to reassign 38 crossovers from 27 mph to 18 mph,” Oversier said. This requires significant changes in train controls that will take a year or two to complete, he said.

    […]

    My, my … ain’t BART special?

    synonymouse Reply:

    indeed

    Clem Reply:

    Rail wear is a real issue with a flat wheel profile that doesn’t keep the flanges off the rail head.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They claim it is not quite flat. But BART would rather a more cosmetic approach to innovation, like plug doors and longitudinal seating. BART is a slow learner.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They don’t use lubricators and hardened steel? 6 months seems really premature.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals.
    http://www.pobox.com/users/mly/BART/BART-wheel-profile-BFS-2.1.pdf

    synonymouse Reply:

    They identify the profile as cylindrical and it certainly appears to be in every respect. Did AAR give BART its own category number? A Bechtel proprietary break-thru.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The vast majority of benefits of trains accrue directly from the conical wheels. I can trace the causality directly from conical wheels, to passive stabilization on curves etc., to the ability to hook large numbers of cars into very long trains, to the economies of scale which make railroads cost-effective.

    Given that, BART’s cylindrical wheels are spectacularly insane.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Add to that IBG, A-B cars and so on.

    Reality Check Reply:

    What the f*ck were they thinking with that insanely flat wheel profile!?

    Somebody must have had something good to say about it back in the day … right? I can only wonder what it might have been … anyone know?

    Clem Reply:

    Supported duorail follows its own laws. Your mistake was to think of it as a train.

    synonymouse Reply:

    On the Altamont site, last year I believe, “Old Pole Burner” posted a long recollection of being at BART in a maintenance or construction capacity when this happened. I do not know how easy it is to search that site for this choice posting – I have never tried to go back very far.

    Indeed the first cars, AFAIK, from Rohr featured tapered wheelsets. BART management did not like the way they rode(some hunting I think to shortcomings in the truck design that could and should have been remedied). I believe it was missing dampers amongst other things. Anyway BART management and Bechtel(virtually identical)came up with the cylindrical wheel profile.

    OPB pointedly recalled that BART-Bechtel mindset shunned any resemblance, association or comparison to a standard or conventional rr. Ergo supported duorail.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Honestly, it’s time to rip out the entire BART network and replace it with standard gauge track with standard wheel profiles. (It would then look a lot like Washington Metro.)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Certainly a second tube should be standard gauge and if to be BART designed to be driverless.

    Reality Check Reply:

    BART can’t keep pace with rising ‘crush loads’

    Weekday ridership now averages about 420,000 — 100,000 more than five years ago. But BART hasn’t kept pace with that growth and is hobbled by its inadequate infrastructure.

    In addition to an aging fleet of railcars, BART’s ability to run more trains is limited by an outmoded control system and an insufficient number of crossover tracks that could allow the transit system to send more trains to crowded stations.

    […]

    … riders are going to have to deal with the crush for a few more years before new railcars start rolling. Each will have a little more room, and there will be more of them […] The new cars will have about five fewer seats but more standing room — exactly how much, BART couldn’t say — and three doors on each side instead of two. BART has ordered 775 cars — an increase over its existing 669-car fleet — and hopes eventually to grow that order to 1,081 cars. That would allow BART to run more 10-car trains and, possibly, more frequent trains.

    BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the first 10 cars will be tested for about a year, without passengers, mostly when BART is closed. They’ll start hauling riders in September 2016. During 2017, 44 cars will be delivered and pressed into service after a month of testing. New cars will continue to arrive through 2021.

    […]

    BART is also contemplating ways to increase the capacity of the crowded Embarcadero and Montgomery stations, including building additional platforms on the opposite sides of the trains.

    But the biggest possible infrastructure changes — like a second Transbay Tube, express tracks or additional lines or stations in San Francisco or Oakland — would take decades and require a huge investment, including tax, toll or bond money that would have to be approved by voters.

    […]

    Many passengers use a practice known as “back-riding,” especially in the evening commute out of downtown San Francisco.

    Instead of boarding at a packed downtown station, they take a train in the other direction for a few stops and climb aboard before it gets crowded.

    “There are even times when I take the Millbrae train all the way to Glen Park and then come back,” said Marie Fahy, a 45-year-old technology support worker who lives in the East Bay and works near Powell Station.

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    Solution: raise the fares.

    Oh, sorry, BART is going to do that.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sure hope those plug doors don’t “plug”.

  4. Reality Check
    Apr 10th, 2015 at 17:08
    #4

    China may build rail tunnel under Mount Everest, state media reports
    Construction project is believed to be under consideration and is part of proposed extension to link China with Nepal by rail

    Jerry Reply:

    “Owing to the challenging Himalayan terrain, with its remarkable changes in elevation, trains on any line to Kathmandu would probably have a maximum speed of 75mph (120km/h).”

  5. Alon Levy
    Apr 10th, 2015 at 17:47
    #5

    The Sunland proposal would actually work really well for Santa Clarita. There’s a sharp dropoff in development intensity at Santa Clarita, so it makes sense as an interim terminus of electrified commuter rail service*, even if the station is a bit off the shared Metrolink/HSR corridor. Then trains would run through to the shared corridor, coasting at 160-200 km/h and making a few stops in the Valley, providing fast, frequent regional service to Burbank, Union Station, and Orange County.

    *Interim, because a city the size of LA has no business running diesel trains, anywhere. This means either the full Antelope Valley Line should be electrified, which would also boost performance on the grades, or the line should be abandoned and Palmdale service should all be offloaded to HSR.

    Zorro Reply:

    Agreed Alon Levy, on all points here.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Taking the long view, the Coast Line is likely to be resurrected as the Daylight between SF to LA and maybe someday the Sunset Limited. There is already a rail right of way through Santa Paula which could replace the BNSF track in the San Fernando Valley.

    However, Santa Clarita is foolish to try to push out HSR. They want to have a diverse economy…they should be fighting for it not against it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The Santa Paula ROW is more circuitous than the current Surfliner route, though. It avoids the Ventura County Line, but that’s a bug rather than a feature, since it’s a useful commuter line, especially in the Valley itself but also in Simi Valley and points west.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted, There is no BNSF RoW in the San Fernando Valley. There is no connected right of way via Santa Paula unless you want to eliminate a half a dozen auto dealerships and other businesses along Magic Mountain Parkway.
    Alon, you need to read my stuff about Electrolink. Unfortunately there is no interest in Southern California in an electrified regional rail network. It would involve cooperation between counties, and taking funds from intra county projects for the regional common good. Politicians don’t do that around here.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I do need to read your stuff! I don’t have a link, though – I was under the impression it’s all in comments here and on Clem’s blog.

    Clem Reply:

    Paul Dyson’s Electrolink proposal

    Jerry Reply:

    Were there any responses to the proposal?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    If you count silence, then lots….Clem I think has the “official” Metrolink response on his site.

    Jon Reply:

    The ridership panel memo that recently surfaced indicates that CAHSR are considering operating SF to San Jose and Palmdale to Anaheim as standalone lines for a handful of years before the IOS is completed. This implies that HSR trains will operate on electrified Metrolink tracks between Burbank and Anaheim.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that Metrolink will start running electrified trains on the electrified line, but with the infrastructure available to do so, they’d be stupid not to. CAHSR might even pay for new electric Metrolink trains to help free up track capacity for HSR trains.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Jon, thank you for finding that. I believe that CHSRA is interested in Electrolink, or a version thereof. I’m inclined to think that the County agencies are the obstacle. There is a community working group meeting at Burbank this evening, we’ll see if any light is shed.

    Roland Reply:

    In the Peninsula, the CHSRA business plan predicates standing room only (no seats) on Caltrain locals and reserved seats (no bicycles) on the HSR baby bullet replacements, presumably for a premium ($15-$20 each way anyone?)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYxieksoBAU#t=1299

    Ted Judah Reply:

    1) The SCRRA alignment in the San Fernando Valley was purchased from ATSF in the early 90’s…sorry for the confusion.

    2) The reason Electrolink gets no traction is that it’s utterly unrealistic. Each of the counties is seeking a completely different urban identity, and each of them has a much different level of funding available because AB 8 froze property tax allocations at what they were in the 1970s….

    Los Angeles has no desire to invest in regional rail when it’s trying to attract as many wealthy residents to its inner core and build light rail and subways to absorb that density. Orange County likes the regional approach, but doesn’t have the money. That’s why they are so eager to control the Surfliner and use the state funding for as backfill.

    The Inland Empire counties meanwhile, have never recovered from the recession and are barely able to keep their heads above water.

    What people have to realize is that Brown’s realignment has exposed the county-by-county imbalances in funding that exists prior to Prop 13. As long as the State could backfill things, everything was groovy….but once the shit hit the fan six years ago…there was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted, you’re still confused, it was purchased from SP.
    Eledctrolink is as unrealistic as Caltrain electrification. You make the first leg of it (Palmdale – Irvine) blended HSR and the second (Chatsworth – San Bernardino) will be paid for in large part by SCAQMD.
    People don’t always know what they want until it is given them for free.
    You are for the most part correct in your analysis about county funding but there are always other means to skin a cat, or shove 25kv up it’s rear.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul,

    We might be talking about a different ROW.

    But there’s no party that wants to invest electrification in ROWs that have so many grade separation issues. That’s why the SCAMQD option is hard to believe…and OCTA intends to run the Surfliner between Palmdale to Irvine using regular ol’ diesels.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    No, you just don’t know SoCal railroad geography.
    Again I cite Caltrain, or does Caltrain not have grade sep issues? On the first leg of Electrolink many of the grade seps have already been done or are in the works, especially north of Fullerton.
    Once again you roll out your OCTA conspiracy theory with no substantiation. I remind you again that OCTA is simply the managing agency of LOSSAN, and got the job because they are not L.A. But Palmdale, you will recall, is still in L.A. County. Antonovich has stated that he wants to run Metrolink trains to San Diego but he will be gone in a couple of years. While OCTA and NCTD have had discussions on this there is still the ADA problem and some other technical issues.
    The likelihood of LOSSAN authorizing trains to Palmdale is zero.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Alon again, you will need to retain the existing AV route between Santa Clarita and Palmdale for UP freight, unless they can be persuaded to divert everything via Cajon. All passenger service should use the new HS line.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    How heavy is the freight traffic? I’m asking less about the climb to Palmdale and more about the core segment south of Santa Clarita; what I’m secretly asking is “can Metrolink/HSR go back on its non-binding MOU giving UP a non-electrified track?”.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The freight consists of PNW/LA intermodal trains, a local from Gemco (Van Nuys) as far as Princessa, and one or two unit trains of aggregates from Big Rock (east of Palmdale) to Sun Valley.
    I think an MOU can always be revoked. UP has no real justification for demanding non-electrified track if the caentary height issue can be resolved. Alternatively the County could buy out the height issue and UP would run the stacks via Cajon. There would be a time penalty since the trains run too and from the L.A. Shops aka LATC. (Just east of downtown). No height issue with the rock or the few lumber and tank cars on the Saugus local.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Catenary. Wires and stuff, you know what I meant…

  6. Reality Check
    Apr 11th, 2015 at 09:14
    #6

    State authorizes condemnation for more high-speed rail property

    Roland Reply:

    Breaking news: Caltrain will have less seating capacity by 2020 than what they have today, courtesy of HSR: http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=29&clip_id=22441
    – Announcement: Click on item #4 (Directors new and old business)
    – Resulting impact on capacity: Click on item #7 (Public comment)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Whoever could possibly have predicted that?

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals. On the job. Doing things the American Way.

    I JUST SPENT $6 BILLION ON HSR and all I got was this lousy t-shirt (AND 10 MINUTES SLOW CALTRAIN SERVICE)

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals. Death is too kind a fate.

    joe Reply:

    At one of those URLs (2010) Clem writes:

    The underlying assumption appears to be that with HSR in the mix, Caltrain will no longer need to provide express commuter service. Even as Caltrain is starved of operating funds and teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, it appears perfectly willing to cede its highest-yielding ridership to the HSR operator, with no guarantee that service will mesh together with convenient timed transfers and a common fare structure.

    In a fully HSR-compatible system with a mid-line overtake, this constrained trade-off would be removed entirely, freeing Caltrain to provide both speedy AND frequent service with cross-platform transfers.

    Thanks CARRD.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, thanks, CARRD, for giving the Cheerleaders some carpet to chew on.

    J. Wong Reply:

    All of this because of corruption in government contracting a hundred years ago and the right-wing aversion to government doing anything.

    That said, U.S. businesses are no better. From my experience, European managers both in private firms and otherwise, evaluate requirements on the merits while U.S. managers in private firms evaluate requirements on the basis of what won’t get them fired. Thus the end result is “I’ll just buy IBM” (or now Oracle) because they can’t be faulted for that whether it was technically the best solution or not.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Or ***ing Microsoft. Nobody should ever use Microsoft for anything whatsoever, because it’s technically so inferior it’s hard even to describe how bad its products are. But corporations still buy their stuff.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Skype > Google Hangout.

    les Reply:

    Like any other Microsoft product buyout it too will turn into crap.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Skype > Google Hangout

    How so…?

    That’s a genuine question btw, I’ve used both a fair amount, and they seem largely equivalent for the most part (various UI quirks on both sides of course, but nothing compelling as far as I can see).

    On my phone I’ve uninstalled Skype entirely though, because it’s so crashey… It’s the only app I’ve used that regularly managed to crash the entire phone (requiring a reboot). ><

    [On my phone I mostly use LINE rather than the above two, as it has a much better UI, many more features, better sound quality, and seems far more stable than either…]

    Alon Levy Reply:

    On a computer, Google Hangout only works in-browser, and the side chatting isn’t logged. Skype works in an off-browser client and logs conversations locally.

    In my experience Skype also has higher audio and video quality, and doesn’t spasm as badly as Google Hangout when my Internet connection restarts itself for no good reason.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s the only app I’ve used that regularly managed to crash the entire phone

    Try using the ‘phone parts of the ‘phone….

    Jerry Reply:

    Four Tracks All the Way!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Dream on

    Joey Reply:

    This mantra doesn’t reflect the realities of certain parts of the corridor, particularly from Bayshore to Transbay.

    J. Wong Reply:

    More reasonably, four tracks for a mid-peninsula overtake at least.

    Clem Reply:

    I didn’t really follow Roland’s math on how seating capacity will be reduced. Could you please elaborate?

    Caltain is also in desperate need of more comfortable standing room.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The bi-levels seem reasonably comfortable standing on the 1st level & the mezzanines. I’ve never seen anyone standing on the 2nd level. They need to get rid of the gallery cars.

    Jerry Reply:

    The Fresno Bee reports:
    “Almost 1,300 pieces of property are needed for the high-speed rail right of way and structures like bridges and road overpasses from the northeastern edge of Madera to just northwest of Bakersfield. That includes 522 in the first construction segment from Avenue 17 in Madera to American Avenue south of Fresno. But as of mid-March, the rail agency has only been able to deliver 137 parcels to its contractor.

    The slow pace of land acquisition has been identified for months by the rail agency as a prominent risk to a construction schedule constrained by deadlines — most notably having to spend about $2.5 billion in federal stimulus money from the Obama administration by Sept. 30, 2017, less than 21/2 years away.”

    137 out of 522. What did they do? Shut down for spring training or something?

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2015/04/10/4471838_state-authorizes-condemnation.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

    Nathanael Reply:

    Land purchase negotiations are notoriously slow. Ever done them yourself?

    I expect that all 522 parcel purchases are in progress in parallel. It’s quite possible that they’ll be settled simultaneously.

  7. joe
    Apr 11th, 2015 at 16:27
    #7

    At the first URL Clem writes:

    This RFP is an incredibly prescriptive document that tells prospective bidders precisely what the project should look like, down to the last bolt. Volume 3 of the RFP (download the 2840 page, 214 MB PDF file) includes layout plans of the overhead electrification system that dictate the exact placement of every single pole foundation. The prospective contractor is admonished that pole locations cannot be changed without first submitting a formal design variance request to Caltrain.

    Poles. Hmmm.

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2015/02/17/atherton-joins-hsr-opponents-to-sue-caltrain-menlo-park-drops-its-suit/
    Atheron’s lawsuit also claims that the EIR didn’t analyze the impacts of tree removal pruning required for side-mounted electric poles, urging alternatives like center-mounted poles or “selective track movement.” Caltrain officials have not committed to any specific design but said they’ll propose an electric pole placement “that most effectively minimizes removal of trees along the corridor.”

    CEQA baby. Poles and pole location is a point of contention with the cities along the ROW.

    Clem Reply:

    Are you saying that Caltrain’s pole placement is a carefully crafted response to concerns about trees?

    Peter Reply:

    Who knows.

    On a different note, do you think they’re mainly using side-mounted OCS poles in order to disrupt operations as little as possible during construction?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Think about it, Peter. Where else can they go without moving tracks around?

    Regardless of that (and that’s a massive regardless), simple and independent is always best.

    Heavy, unreliable, over-built, unplanned, misplaced, … are all more profitable.

    The real question is why there are so many places where they don’t use simple single side stanchions (perhaps with pull-offs) in the way any European infrastructure owner using standard catenary designs and standard catenary CAD layout would do, but instead go for uniformly short catenary spans and for steel-intensive gantries all over the place for no justifiable reason.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Probably copying the designs from places with winter. (There’s a reason we use such seemingly overbuilt designs in the Northeast.)

    joe Reply:

    I’m reading that Caltrain is negotiating pole placement with Atherton to avoid a CEQA lawsuit.

    How do you reconcile a design build contract to save costs with the CEQA complaints about tree and pole placements?

    Reform CEQA.

    Clem Reply:

    Yesterday’s news. Atherton has already filed a CEQA lawsuit.

  8. Keith Saggers
    Apr 12th, 2015 at 09:04
    #8
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