CHSRA Releases New Animations of Palmdale-Burbank Routes

May 27th, 2015 | Posted by

The California High Speed Rail Authority has published several new animations of the alternatives for the Palmdale to Burbank segment of the project. These include routes on the Highway 14 corridor and the various proposals to tunnel under the San Gabriel Mountains. Each is embedded below.

First up, the Highway 14 alignment, which is the default option:

Next is the first of the “East Corridor” routes, E1. This is actually the furthest west of the three East Corridor routes, and involves a tunnel that branches off the San Fernando Road corridor near Whiteman Airport and goes under Pacoima as well as the mountains, emerging along the Metrolink tracks near Soledad Canyon:

Then there’s E2, which involves a tunnel under the Burbank Airport, emerging as a bridge across the Tujunga Wash, and then going into a tunnel again until Soledad Canyon:

And finally we have E3, which is a tunnel all the way from Burbank Airport to the Antelope Valley floor just north of the Vincent Grade. This is the furthest east of the corridors, tunneling under Sunland:

Each animation starts in Burbank and flies north to Palmdale, and then turns around and heads south over the route back to Burbank.

At first glance, I’m intrigued to see how much tunneling is involved in the various East Corridor options. And that’s one sharp right turn in E3 coming north out of Burbank.

It’s worth noting that the Highway 14 option also has its fair share of tunneling. If money was no object, one of the East Corridor routes might be worth considering. And if a Highway 14 route is chosen, there should be serious discussions about building a Santa Clarita HSR station at some point.

  1. Reality Check
    May 27th, 2015 at 14:18
    #1

    They should add a few counters to the animation: total, tunnel, at-grade & aerial distance.

    Maybe grade, elevation and elapsed travel time and construction dollars climbing from $0 at Burbank and climbing to $x,xxx million as the moving dot reaches end of segment in Palmdale.

    Then provide a comparable animation of the optimum Tejon route for an interesting comparison :-)

    Joe Reply:

    Tejon $ counter runs at 0.0 because it can’t pass the legislature and has no funding.

    Joey Reply:

    The last time I checked, neither Bakersfield-Palmdale nor Palmdale-LA had any funding allocated to them. All the money is being spent in the Central Valley right now.

    Joe Reply:

    Then who paid for and made the videos and plans if no money is being spent on these segments?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Thus begins the PB BS Blitz.

    Anybody on the inside willing to leak what is the real plan?

    IKB Reply:

    you assume there is one

    synonymouse Reply:

    I assume that the plan is whatever is the will of the Tejon Ranch Co.

    IKB Reply:

    one wonders if a poor known plan is better than no plan; a poor known plan can be changed, no plan is subject to extreme change

    synonymouse Reply:

    Rest assured the plan is extremely poor, not subject to change unless key players exit suddenly, and is known to those holed up in the PBbunker.

    Zorro Reply:

    Have you been to a shrink yet for your delusions, Cyno?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ah, VBobier, I knew you did not just leave us in the lurch.

    Zorro Reply:

    Who?

    Ah yes, another delusional statement.

    Joey Reply:

    Funding environmental studies and outreach vs funding construction are not the same things (order of magnitude check in aisle 5!).

    Joey Reply:

    I will add that determining the alignment is precisely what the environmental studies are funded for.

    wdobner Reply:

    Could we have four counters if we’re gonna do Tejon/Tehachapi? One for the CHSRA’s numbers for each route, and one for Clem’s sandbagged analysis of both routes? No, wait, Clem’s numbers change regularly, so we’d also need the recent high and low figures he’s bandied about in defense of his idealized Tejon route. So we’d need six sets of numbers. Might be easier to just make it a spreadsheet.

    Joey Reply:

    Have Clem’s Tejon numbers changed recently? I know the Tehachapi numbers have, but that’s a result of refinements to the preferred routing and new alignment options coming under consideration.

    wdobner Reply:

    His numbers change regularly and do so seemingly to support this argument that his idealized Tejon route is superior to the Tehachapi alignment. We can start with a cost delta of $5 billion in his “Truth About Tejon” post. Since then he’s gone as high as $18 billion, despite the cost of Tehachapi not increasing by a similar amount. Time delta changes by similar amounts as he finds an even more idealized, unconstructable route over Tejon while lofting another sandbag on Tehachapi. The obfuscation and FUD he’s thrown up around the subject has certainly garnered a lot of hapless blog commenters to his cause.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Mr. Dobner – I assume you have property in the Sta. Clarita area? Some kind of stakeholder?

    wdobner Reply:

    Quite the opposite. I did at one time live in the Santa Clarita Valley, and when I saw that the route was going through Palmdale I was quite disappointed. But the logic of serving Palmdale is sound and if the alternative is between the project not getting built, and 5 minutes being wasted going through Palmdale, then I’d rather see the project get built.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Wasting how many billions to get it down(maybe)to “5 minutes being wasted going through Palmdale…”? 20 mile quasi-base tunnels to nowhere won’t come cheap.

    Just build an 80mph commute line for Palmdale and forget about the rest. It is going to require a big operating subsidy for that alone.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Where did Clem claim $18 billion cost difference between Tejon and Tehachapi?

    Joey Reply:

    I’m with Alon on “you’re going to have to cite this one.” I don’t recall hearing $18b anywhere.

    Clem Reply:

    My Tejon numbers have never changed. They are what they are, based on the underlying topography, train performance and unit costs– all of which were carefully referenced.

    You might be confusing $18 billion saved with 18 minutes saved. Because the CHSRA is looking at new routing options (tunnels south of Palmdale and a northern entry into Bakersfield via 7th standard road) the differential in trip times has narrowed a bit– the Eastern tunnel options are worth 4 minutes and the Bakersfield approach is worth 2 minutes. Even with those savings, by the timetable (not by pure trip time) Tejon is still 7 minutes faster than a non-stop express via the fastest Tehachapi alignment, and 12 minutes faster if you add a stop in Palmdale.

    Thanks for your unbiased interest in the issue!

    Anandakos Reply:

    And why is saving twelve minutes — less than the time delay allowed for an airline to smile cheerily and state, “The flight was ON TIME! — matter when compared to the addition of twelve potential trip pairs including a city growing like a mushroom (well, as quickly as a mushroom can grow in a desert)?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Is serving Palmdale worth adding 24 minutes to every other HSR roundtrip across it?

    Does the ridership & revenue gained by serving Palmdale offset the added O&M cost and ridership & revenue lost by adding 24 minutes to all the roundtrips that cross it?

    J. Wong Reply:

    More significantly is the added operations & maintenance costs. Hopefully, that can somewhat be ameliorated by Desert xPress and Metrolink, if they ever happen.

    Really, I think the major factor in choice of Techachapi over Tejon was political: both resistance from Santa Clarita and active encouragement from Palmdale. Unlike PAMPA, the Authority doesn’t have any leverage over Santa Clarita. (The existing ROW in PAMPA gives the Authority leverage since PAMPA cannot reasonably prevent HSR there although they are still trying [e.g., Atherton], and “blended” was the most they could get out of it.)

    StevieB Reply:

    The choice of route is to promote economic development around stations and not maximize profits for the operator.

    J. Wong Reply:

    And realistically, it’s 7 minutes one-way, which doesn’t sound as bad as 24 minutes roundtrip stopping in Palmdale.

    [Of course @synon will claim that they’ll have every train stop in Palmdale plus the added imaginary stations he claims they’re planning (not!) plus 80mph speed limits because commute!]

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Because on the margin, 12 minutes matter.

    StevieB Reply:

    In terms of California economic development how does saving 7 minutes over the mountains compare to not building a station in Palmdale?

    joe Reply:

    Bypassing Palmdale would have killed the project. The State legislature would not have passed the bill authorizing funds. Reid would not have protected the Fed funds from recission.

    They’d have exactly what they have plans for a project 5B less and no money.

    http://www.palmdalechamber.org/highspeedrail/
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Addresses Governor Jerry Brown
    Read the entire letter that Senator Reid wrote to Governor Brown on keeping the route in Palmdale. Download Reid – Brown High Speed Rail June16 .
    http://www.palmdalechamber.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Reid-Brown-High-Speed-Rail-June16.pdf

    Zorro Reply:

    SB32 is now in the Assembly and has had its 1st reading..

    Lewellan Reply:

    A blended system improves at-grade crossings and ROWs, reducing many safety hazards.
    My position on Tehachapi v Tejon evolves under those guidelines rather than speed,
    seemingly a lesser concern. Applying the ‘blended’ perspective to Altamont v Pacheco
    favors Altamont electrification. Pacheco offers only some ethereal trip time calculation.
    Hyperloop my foot!

    wdobner Reply:

    Your Tejon numbers may not have changed, but that’s easy when you’re cherrypicking a route that appears to be all but impossible to build and glibly discarding the geotechnical challenges of building through I-5’s cuts and fills. There was the claim that somehow Bakersfield to Sylmar would be ludicrously expensive, a claim not born out by the CHSRA’s documents, and that the difference between the “$5 billion!” Tejon and the $24 billion Tehachapi was around $18 billion.

    Clem Reply:

    You’re still confused. $5 billion is how much cheaper Tejon would be. As for cuts and fills, viaducts and tunnels, I analyzed all routes using the same computer algorithms. I don’t go measuring how long things might be; I press a button and the computer tells me. The computer isn’t biased or glib. And please don’t underestimate the geotechnical challenges of the Palmdale route… the CHSRA consultant deliberately chose a terrible Tejon alignment to analyze in their so-called study, and found it still cheaper than Palmdale. They restored cost parity after the fact by arbitrarily adding a “risk premium” to the Tejon option. None of this changed the underlying facts, which will continue to manifest themselves as a lack of funding and inability to build the mountain crossing. It’s a tunnel too far!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I analyzed all routes using the same computer algorithms.

    gettting ahold of the propietary software they use must have been difficult. And a computer that can run it.

    Clem Reply:

    Topography ain’t proprietary, nor is numerical integration of the differential equations of motion. This shit ain’t rocket science.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s civil engineering. You don’t have access to the same geologic databases the consultants have. Or the software to use them.

    Clem Reply:

    You sure seem to know a lot about what I have and don’t have or know and don’t know.

    Eric M Reply:

    adirondacker12800,

    The software is called Quantm and it doesn’t require a supercomputer like you think.

    System Requirements

    Quantm:
    1.7 GHz multi-core processor
    Windows® 7 64 bit operating system
    6GB RAM
    Graphics 1440×900, 24 bit color or higher
    4GB disk space for project files

    Quantm Pathfinder server:
    2x Intel Xeon X5650 processor [2.66GHz, 6 cores, 6.4GT/s QPI, Hyper Threading (HT)]
    32GB RAM
    Operating System Windows® Server 2008 R2 64-bit

    Clem Reply:

    Quantm is nice if you want to find the best route among thousands. I just picked one, which doesn’t require Quantm.

    Eric M Reply:

    Great software though. I apparently hit the wrong reply button. LOL

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Clem,

    You may just have to play your “I’m actually a rocket scientist” card.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You do not just need counters or spreadsheets for construction costs, you need one for political and policy scenarios.

    Namely how are operating times and level of service and accordingly operating and maintenance costs affected by likely future realities.

    Kopp is worried about the slowness and inefficiency of “PampaRail” but “PalmdaleRail” will suffer the same issues. Almost all of the business on the Palmdale line, just as with the Caltrain ROW, will be commute. What commute service wants is reasonably fast(BART 80mph tops), lots of trains all day long and low subsidized fares. All these circumstances are antithetical to HSR. Musk’s instincts are correct: genuine HSR and all similar concepts in California need a dedicated ROW that is direct and express. Tejon, I-5, Altamont. Where all the surface transit ridership is already and actually travelling.

    Robert Benson Reply:

    The decision to go via Palmdale is a political one; it is based on the idea of linking the major population/geographic centers together. It is true that the high desert is not very populous, but it is an increasingly important region and it is somewhat on the way north. The legislation authorized the Authority to go that way if it felt it was in the best interests of the state, and they apparently have done so. The more direct Tejon route leaves out this area, and also leaves out the idea of a relatively easy link to a Las Vegas HSR route which the Palmdale route provides. Thus, overall, the idea of the Bakersfield-Techachapi-Palmdale-Burbank route is fairly easily justified on the good it will do. It does indeed mean a somewhat slower travel time, but that is offset by the reality that there are reasonably good justifications for having a station in the high desert.

    I also think the Pacheco alignment over Altamont is fairly easily justified. It is a faster high-speed route to the Bay Area, and it connects more economically and efficiently with San Jose and San Francisco. Altamont is better for a commuter link, and indeed currently has commuter rail trains. Politically there is greater opposition to the Altamont route, since there would be more community and rail disruption on that alignment.

    I imagine that in 40 years there will be a movement to extend HSR from Burbank to Ventura so it can better serve the large population of the San Fernando Valley and the coastal communities northwest of LA, but that will be then.

    Clem Reply:

    Politically there is greater opposition to the Altamont route, since there would be more community and rail disruption on that alignment.

    This is only because the Altamont HSR alignments were deliberately detoured through Pleasanton and Livermore to elicit the maximum community opposition, which helped provide political cover for the down-select in favor of Pacheco.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Um, bullshit. You have at least presented a plausible Tejon route. You haven’t presented a plausible Altamont route, not once. I’ve pointed this out repeatedly.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It doesn’t take much time with Google Maps to figure out that finding a fast Altamont route which isn’t (a) a base tunnel or (b) massively NIMBY-generating is pretty nearly impossible. There’s a reason it’s easier to build on greenfields.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I mean, seriously, Clem, you are such a bullshitter. In what sense is going through Pleasanton and Livermore a “detour”? Can you even read a map? Avoiding Livermore is a detour by definition. Avoiding Pleasanton means going through Dublin, which is no better.

    Nathanael Reply:

    … or following the existing railroad route, which has its own problems. And you advocate a tunnel under the Bay at Dumbarton, but you still haven’t explained your plan for getting the western tunnel portal built.

    EJ Reply:

    Dude, SETEC put together a reasonable Altamont alignment years ago. http://www.transdef.org/HSR/Altamont_assets/Exhibit_C.pdf

    Lewellan Reply:

    A blended system improves at-grade crossings and ROWs, reducing many safety hazards.
    Applying the ‘blended’ perspective to Altamont v Pacheco favors Altamont electrification.
    Pacheco offers only some ethereal trip time calculation. Basicly, the same rules should apply:
    Those who favor Tehachapi should likewise favor Altamont.
    HSR through Altamont has much greater market demand and need.
    Altamont is additional service to Sacramento and Bay Area.
    Fremont BART and Caltrans serves SJ, Gilroy and some day Monterey.
    I’m guessing the traffic is not insanely horrible in Gilroy but will get worse with HSR.

    IKB Reply:

    the legislation is an ass; hopefully it’ll change before anyone builds too many tunnels in the wrong place.

    Doesn’t anyone remember this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Maximum_Speed_Law

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Other people think they are in the right place.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    I also think the Pacheco alignment over Altamont is fairly easily justified. It is a faster high-speed route to the Bay Area

    No, it is slower.

    Amazing…no matter how many times you point this out, quote the actual EIR text, show it on an actual map, etc. people still make shit up about this.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s much faster than taking Caltrain to Redwood City or BART to Fremont and changing to a high speed train.

    Joey Reply:

    It would be acceptable, perhaps even desirable to build the San Jose segment first, first to connect the system to a major urban center as quickly as possible and second to assure them that they wouldn’t be left out of the final system.

    Fremont-SJ is actually one of the easier urban segments to build, even with BART occupying the best ROW. It’s mostly industrial and office parks rather than residential – this means easier takings, and fewer outright demolitions because the required land is so often just a strip of parking lot.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART-MTC would oppose such a plan most vigorously. BART and CAHSR are natural enemies, altho that might not appear such at first glance. Evidently DART got caught trying to lobby against hsr in Texas. An urban transit empire such as BART is in direct competition with an entity like CAHSR over real estate, riders and funding, both for capital improvements and service subsidies.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART considers AC Transit a natural enemy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why would they build redudant rail infrastructure when the existing rail is underutilized.

    Clem Reply:

    San Jose Diridon station is located in the middle of nowhere in particular, separated by an elevated freeway and a river from “downtown”. Take a virtual stroll in Google street view sometime. Many HSR passengers would be riding BART or Caltrain to access the station and change to the high-speed train– no matter where you put the station, San Jose included. So this whole notion of San Jose Diridon being more of a central destination is mistaken. Using SJ Diridon, you will still have to take BART, light rail, a bus or a taxi to go to or from anywhere useful. The implied transfer penalty of locating the station in Fremont is already a given at San Jose.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Both Caltrain and BART (when extended as planned) are complementary to CHSRS just to San Jose. Together they would give HSR superb rail transit access to the five major Bay Area counties.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Add Capitol Corridor, VTA light rail, and SF Muni connections Caltrain and BART to that also.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    connections with Caltrain and BART

  2. Reality Check
    May 27th, 2015 at 14:23
    #2

    HSR proponent Quentin Kopp denounces current plan as ‘low-speed rail’

    […]

    “I’m for high-speed rail, but [Gov. Jerry] Brown’s version is actually low-speed rail,” he said. “High-speed rail runs on dedicated track. But this track, which will be electrified, will also accommodate Amtrak and thus slower trains” making the runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

    In order to make this venture financially secure, Kopp explained 10 to 20 high-speed trains need to run per hour. But it appears there would be only two to four trains running per hour and slower trains could use the tracks between times.

    By contrast, “in Japan, bullet trains run every 10 minutes allowing 12 trains per hour. No slower trains run on the same track,” he said, which enables the trains to pay for themselves. “These (California) high-speed trains may run six per hour, but there will be times only one train will run per hour. It’s more likely with the blended system of electrifying existing track that only four trains will run per hour,” he added.

    Kopp called it “a political tragedy” engineered by Gov. Brown and Democratic officeholders Anna Eshoo, Joe Simitian and Rich Gordon.

    […]

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There aren’t enough people in California to need 10 trains an hour.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    If you build it, they will ride.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    So…infinity trains per hour?

    Joe Reply:

    Clever.

    Zorro Reply:

    Or infinite parking lots, oopsie! We have that already, they’re called Interstate Highways or Freeways in California parlance..

    StevieB Reply:

    The 420,000 passengers is per each day.

    StevieB Reply:

    Japans Tokyo-Osaka line started 50 years ago with 2 trains per hour and now runs up to 20 trains per hour and carries over 420,000 passengers today. That number was unthinkable 50 years ago.

    Eric M Reply:

    Don’t forget, according to California Tourism Facts and Figures, there were approximately 250 million total-person trips to/in California in 2014. That has the potential to add huge ridership to HSR.

    Jerry Reply:

    Eric and Tourism
    Rental car agencies could let you drop off one car rental, get on the train, and pick up another car rental at the destination.
    Public transportation models are a changin. Check out Uber, Lyft, and Zip Car.

    Eric M Reply:

    What is your point?

    Eric M Reply:

    You do realize there is another Eric on this forum, if you were insinuation I may have said something before.

    Eric Reply:

    Two Erics (at least), actually.

    Eric Reply:

    at least 3 then.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    They will if you can take your at with you and especially if it gets charged during the trip…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    *your car*

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No they won’t because the time it takes to load the car onto the train and unload the car from the train they could just drive.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s a six hour drive and train ride of 2 hours forty minutes…If you can cut the load time for cars onto the train to 2 hours … it’s time competitive.

    My auto-train concept doesn’t stop between the Bay Area and LA…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    you can’t get the load time short enough to compete with leaving the car behind.

    IKB Reply:

    interesting – no-one yet questioned the load time on people

    Miles Bader Reply:

    The actual “load times” for people on existing HSR lines can be very short, on the order of minutes (maybe one minute at a minor station, a few more at a major station), basically so short that they don’t represent a bottleneck.

    The loading times on the Amtrak autotrain, on the other hand, seems to be many hours. How much they could reduce that with enough effort, I don’t know (maybe the eurotunnel car carriers provide a better example?).

    In any case, “HSR autotrain” would clearly require a significantly longer loading time, meaning it couldn’t run on the sort of frequent schedule used for HSR, and would be an order of magnitude less efficient in terms of passengers carried, meaning the ticket cost would be an order of magnitude greater, which would severely impact its popularity (Americans might love their cars, but they’re also pretty cheap).

    All this means that it could never satisfy the same market that conventional HSR would.

    As I’ve said before, maybe there’s a market for something like the autotrain in California as an adjunct to CAHSR, but it’s an adjunct, not an alternative.

    Eric Reply:

    I’ve watched a few videos on youtube of driver POV while loading and unloading from the channel tunnel autotrains, they seem very efficient in how they operate, since they let the vehicle drivers load and unload their own vehicles and operate purpose-built car ferries with a dedicated ramp cars with a side opening door. The Amtrak Autotrain does not, it uses older auto shipping cars and load from the ends so the train has to get disassembled to unload the cars.
    To be a truly useful system with midpoint loading and unloading stops, you’d need the train to be able to unload each car carrier individually, meaning some kind of side loading/unloading in each car carrier.
    If there was a car ferry train from Northern Cali to Southern Cali I’d be very tempted to use it my next trip down there.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Erick
    I’m sure chunnel trains do it better than amtrak (the word I’d use to describe amtrak’s approach is “leisurely”), but it’s never going to be fast in the same way passenger loading is, and of course the issues with (order-of-magnitude+ worse) load factors, pricing, extra infrastructure, etc, remain.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Your comment is quite interesting given that even Amtrak today can meet the stipulations I described for HSR with its existing Auto-Trains. Cars can be dropped off any time between four and half hours to 90 minutes before depature.

    If the same timeline is applied to an HSR trip of 2:40 between SF and LA, that still means at most the trip would take seven hours end-to-end…which is almost a fast as driving with a couple a stops along the way.

    And if you use 90 minutes of loading time prior to boarding, that’s a four hour trip that beats driving (and many flights) door to door.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You pay extra to drop it off that close to departure.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    An Auto Train would have to be non-stop by definition (just like the existing Amtrak Auto Train). Otherwise you’d have to add an additional 90 minutes per stop along the way.

    So your assumption is that enough people will want to ride all the way from SF to LA to make this work. Also they will want to drive their cars from various disparate parts of the Bay Area to some kind of terminal in the middle of downtown SF that is capable of handling this car-loading system. Based on the population distribution of the Bay Area this will be backtracking for most people, compared to heading straight to LA in their cars. (Bay Area population skews east and south of SF). Remember that the auto train will be most useful to folks who need the car on both ends of the trip… if the origin or destination is within the core of SF or Oakland they could just use the transit system or walk to the train station.

    … I’m not convinced.

    Andy M. Reply:

    @Oliver Wendell Holmes
    An Auto Train would have to be non-stop by definition (just like the existing Amtrak Auto Train). Otherwise you’d have to add an additional 90 minutes per stop along the way.

    That is unless you split the train en-route or detach car carriers to be unloaded later.

    wdobner Reply:

    My auto-train concept doesn’t stop between the Bay Area and LA…

    Why would you want your car unloaded in the middle of an anchor city? From either Transbay or LAUS the transit links are sufficient that most passengers will be able to complete their trip without requiring undo strain or delay. And really a car would likely be more of a hinderance than a help in the middle of SF. A car’s utility in downtown LA would also be quite suspect.

    Really if you’re going to market a service which conveys cars it would be most useful between edge cities on the fringe of the anchor city’s metropolitan area. Say, Palmdale or Burbank and San Jose or Gilroy. But that doesn’t make carrying cars a good idea by any means. They’d be better off working to create an integrated car share arrangement which allows for passengers to quickly transfer from train to rental car at the destination station.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I expect Ted J will advocate using one of BUR’s runways as an auto train terminal. Anyone like to suggest a spot on the peninsula?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Har-har-har, Paul…

    Wdobner and Miles Bader are both right: I’m not proposing that all HSR trains have the auto-trailer option nor would I make the end points the most congested stations.

    swing hanger Reply:

    OK, see the concept. Run it offpeak where you may be able to squeeze it between the pathings of the faster HSR services. Loading facility in Gilroy for Bay Area (avoids conflict with Caltrain). Chipotle or In-n-Out at the carloading facility entrance.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Equipment utilization will be awful. One r/t per day? Two at best. The ATK Auto train uses multi-level freight cars to haul the autos. The Chunnel uses specialized carriers but over a much shorter distance, the pax stay with the vehicles. If there were such a great demand someone would try and offer the service today via the Coast route.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Coast Route takes 11 hours…in which time you could hypothetically drive from San Jose to Burbank AND BACK AGAIN. Straw man argument there, I’m sorry to say.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Burbank airport station takes on a life its own if Ontario closes before HSR reaches the Inland Empire. As LAX is all but precluded from getting an intermodal hub like SFO, there’s the potential for a large expansion at Burbank to absorb flyers connecting there.

    Expect the City of LA to resist intensely.

    Eric Reply:

    Ontario Airport actually gets more passengers than Burbank, even now. And it has much more room for expansion. And it is not quite as easily replaced by HSR on the NoCal-SoCal route. I think Ontario is much more likely to survive in the long term.

    Clem Reply:

    Quentin Kopp, apologist of the Transportation Industrial Complex. If it isn’t “dedicated” infrastructure there won’t be enough cubic yards to pour!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Kopp is truly out of touch with the Bay Area – maybe he should decamp to Palmdale.

    The blend is a reality, Quentin – your best bet for more speed on the Peninsula is to access via Dumbarton.

    San Francisco is considering tearing down the rest of the Central Freeway, not just part of I-280. Embarcadero Freeway clones just aren’t selling, even with 4 tracks atop.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “San Francisco is considering tearing down the rest of the Central Freeway”

    Ah, no, they aren’t.

    synonymouse Reply:

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2015/05/26/how-eliminating-parking-and-removing-a-freeway-can-fend-off-sfs-triple-threat/#more-322410

    “Most significantly, this freeway WILL COME DOWN. The remaining segment of the freeway is 56 years old. It is a seismic albatross and to fix it will require closing it. Why not just tear it down and reboot? In 2004, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors came to this same conclusion with a resolution calling for studying removal. The Market and Octavia Plan also calls for this study. It’s time to get on with it, and fold it into the planning department’s idea to rezone for height and density in exchange for affordability.”

    J. Wong Reply:

    The author of the blog proposed tearing down the rest of the Central Freeway. Conflating him with “San Francisco” is a bit of stretch. Also, he’s not correct that the remaining segment isn’t seismically safe. The remaining segment is a single deck supported by steel (no concrete). It is not a double-deck freeway with inadequately reinforced concrete piers, which characterizes the part of the freeway that was removed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    IIRC the East Bay Terminal ex-Key ramps were steel and did not meet seismic.

    Jon Reply:

    That blog post links to a Board of Supervisors resolution calling for the Central Freeway to be demolished rather than retrofitted by Caltrans. The SF BoS could be more reasonable conflated with ‘San Francisco’.

    Unlike I-280, SF isn’t actively planning to remove the Central Freeway, but I think a Caltrans attempt to perform a major retrofit (either before or after another major earthquake) would force the issue and prompt its removal. West Soma is redeveloping faster than anywhere else in the city; sooner or later the redevelopment will have to move onto another neighborhood, and the land occupied by the Central Freeway is the logical next location.

    Michael Reply:

    The remaining portion of the Central Freeway, where it’s built of steel and runs above Division Street, was retrofitted years back with added bracing and expanded footing. Same as was done to the James Lick (101) and Skyway (80) in SOMA/Potrero Hill area. There is talk of getting rid of the Seventh Street ramps, one or both, to the Skyway, to improve flow by eliminating merging associated with the ramps. The Fourth/Fifth interchange and Ninth/Tenth ramps would remain.

    flowmotion Reply:

    The remaining Central Freeway doesn’t occupy much ‘land’, so this wouldn’t be much of a win. However, you’re right, if it falls down, it’s not going back up.

    Jon Reply:

    It’s not the land occupied by the freeway so much as the land either side of it, which will become much more valuable and open to redevelopment once the freeway is gone.

    jimsf Reply:

    They should underground the james lick from 5th to hospital curve.
    and while theyre at it, underground a cross town expressway from 280 to park presidio under 19th ave.

    William Reply:

    I disagree, Clem. If California HSR is as successful as most of us hoped, eventually the Caltrain/HSR shared corridor will need the dedicate infrastructure as initially planned. Let me ask these question, if the HSR is built as initially planned, how many trains/hr can be accomondated? Also, at what service level does a line needs its own platform edge?

    If the infrastructure is not needed today, at least land banking should be implemented by Caltrain/HSRA. Also, builds such as HSR station will last much longer than any tracks or train, and should at least be planned to be easily expandable.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They are closing down trailer parks in PA to gentrify – you really think they are going to blight with Caltrain corridor with PB hollow core?

    Jon Reply:

    Nothing wrong with adding more infrastructure as needed to accommodate demand; it’s the unnecessary segregation of HSR and conventional rail that is problematic. Dedicated infrastructure simply causes whatever infrastructure you build to be used inefficiently, which means that more infrastructure than necessary needs to be built.

    Zorro Reply:

    It’s what is done in France, I see no objections or strikes or ignorant whining over HSR there by whelps and yes France is a Democracy, one that could call for an election at any time if enough people had no confidence in Government, a parliamentary type of election.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Have you ever heard of the CGT?

    Zorro Reply:

    Have you ever heard of, ‘go fly a kite, in a thunderstorm’?

    Ben needs your help..

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Actually, France has a presidential system rather than a parliamentary one. (It has a prime minister, who has more power than the speaker/Senate majority leader in the US, but executive power is largely vested in the president.)

    Zorro Reply:

    Then I stand corrected.

  3. keith saggers
    May 27th, 2015 at 14:35
    #3

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2015/05/26/how-eliminating-parking-and-removing-a-freeway-can-fend-off-sfs-triple-threat/#more-322410

    Derek Reply:

    Except for those surviving on rent control, the city is no longer welcoming to teachers…

    Are they saying children will go untaught?

  4. synonymouse
    May 27th, 2015 at 15:29
    #4

    A Sta. Clarita station should comprise part of a Tejon route.

    But I thought the whole zeitgeist was Sta. Clarita loathes HSR in any form. And evidently the majority of the rest of the residents of the region, save Palmdale real estate developers.

  5. Reedman
    May 27th, 2015 at 15:50
    #5

    Off track:
    San Francisco just got slapped around a bit in an eminent domain fight for one parcel for the Central Subway. 14k sq ft lot, former gas station. SF offered $5 million with lots of conditions (offer had to be approved the Board Of Supervisors, had to be approved by the Municipal Transportation Agency, approved by etc). Courts ruled that the parcel was worth $7.3 million. Then the courts ruled that all the conditions on the offer of $5 million meant that it wasn’t a “reasonable settlement offer” under state law, and that means that SF must also pay $700k in legal fees to the property owner.

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Landowner-wins-vs-SF-in-legal-dustup-over-6290072.php

  6. Reality Check
    May 27th, 2015 at 16:30
    #6

    Nevada joins the HSR bandwagon with plans for Vegas, SoCal link

    A high-speed train to Las Vegas took another step toward to reality last week as the Nevada Legislature sent a bill to Gov. Brian Sandoval to establish the Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority.

    The agency would select a firm to construct and operate a high-speed train from Las Vegas to Southern California and oversee construction if Senate Bill 457 becomes law. The bill passed both legislative chambers last week with only one dissenting vote.

    XpressWest, a private rail company, has proposed a bullet train from Las Vegas to Victorville in California, where it would connect to other rail systems.

    […]

    The counties of Los Angeles and San Bernardino have adopted resolutions supporting the project, XpressWest said. The Nevada project also has early support from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said spokeswoman Lisa Alley.

    […]

    Ted Judah Reply:

    This is what happens when Harry Reid leaves the building….Republican governor dusts off the Southern California Association of Government’s Anaheim to Vegas Maglev plan scribbling out “maglev” and replacing it with “steel wheels”…

    Zorro Reply:

    Yes now Nevada joins California in wanting HSR, by a nearly Unanimous/Bipartisan VOTE of the Nevada Legislature(there was only 1 nay vote), Nevada will now have an NHSRA(Nevada High Speed Rail Agency), yes I read the article, it was posted on Facebook yesterday, this is slightly old news to Me, but then this was posted online on May 26th 2015, today is the 28th, took ya long enough.

    Nevada joins the high-speed rail bandwagon with plans for Vegas, SoCal link

    A high-speed train to Las Vegas took another step toward to reality last week as the Nevada Legislature sent a bill to Gov. Brian Sandoval to establish the Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority.

    The agency would select a firm to construct and operate a high-speed train from Las Vegas to Southern California and oversee construction if Senate Bill 457 becomes law. The bill passed both legislative chambers last week with only one dissenting vote.

    Observer Reply:

    This is a very good development; positive for Nevada, positive for California. As for Arizona – if only.

    Zorro Reply:

    True, it is and this appears to be a VETO Proof majority, He’ll sign it or it’ll become law anyway.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Son of LV Monorail.

    Zorro Reply:

    Ah yes and Bullwinkle Moose speaks..

    datacruncher Reply:

    “Son of LV Monorail” is the new proposal for a light rail tunnel under the Strip.

    Will a subway eventually run beneath the Las Vegas Strip?
    A light-rail subway system beneath Las Vegas Boulevard is among the ambitious recommendations that have emerged from a transportation plan that has taken more than two years to complete.

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/will-subway-eventually-run-beneath-the-las-vegas-strip

    They would need to bore the tunnel since the casinos would oppose the disruptions from digging up the street for construction of a subway.

    But the casinos will probably oppose the tunnel completely since they still seem to operate under the idea tourists need to see their sign and building from the street/sidewalk to decide to step inside.

    The plan released this week does include a proposal to extend the existing Las Vegas Monorail to serve a new high-speed rail station.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It would appear their light rail will indeed be streetcars unlike HART.

    But one should never dismiss Sin City’s propensity for the bizarro. All this is predicated upon a happy days are here again economy.

    Slap on a convention and hotel tax to pay for it all.

    jimsf Reply:

    htey should have built the elevated monorail down the middle of the strip where everyone could see it to begin with..

    Zorro Reply:

    They have a Disney type Monorail in Mumbai India, the cost to ride? $0.14.. I was watching a program on TWC cable that mentioned that last night.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That would conflict with the pedestrian overpasses.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If they were really smart, they would put the HSR station at the airport, and then connect the monorail to it as well.

    And if they were really, really smart, they would just design a Master Plan for the Strip and be done with it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Master Plans and boomtowns and billionaire egos do not play so well together.

    Observer Reply:

    If XpressWest is built, and then Arizona comes around with a HSR connection to Las Vegas, more people from California would travel to Arizona, and more people from Arizona would travel to California in ways that many people just can not comprehend now. China understands concepts like these, why can’t we?

    Zorro Reply:

    Cause some want to be a Super Power still, when clearly that time is over with.

    synonymouse Reply:

    China is the Super Power. Pretty soon they will have to be the one to crack heads in the Middle East. Nobody else will be able to afford to.

    Does Brasil even have an air force? Or HSR for that matter.

    Eric Reply:

    http://www.railway-technology.com/news/newsbrazil-delays-bids-high-speed-train-project

    they’ve been trying…

    and they’ve had an air force since 1941, the largest in the southern hemisphere according to wikipedia.

    Eric Reply:

    Once you bring AZ into the picture, the best HSR alignment is a T with the LA, LV, and Phoenix legs meeting around Palm Springs. This avoids the difficult mountain crossings at Cajon and Palmdale-Burbank, and also makes LV-Phoenix viable.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Union Pacific isn’t yielding control of San Timeteo Canyon and the Cabazon Pass.

    Domayv Reply:

    thats why they can build a new alignment parallelling the I-10 right of way from San Bernardino all the way to Tuscon.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The Arizona Department of Transportation already identified the abandoned UP right of way between Yuma and Phoenix damaged in the 1995 Amtrak derailment as its preference for a HSR alignment.

    Given the popularity of San Diego for Arizona travelers…it makes more sense to cut new tracks directly from San Diego to Yuma than Yuma to the Inland Empire.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Yuma to San Diego is a brutal mountain range. The Tehachapi alignment is practically Kansas compared to the climb out of El Centro.
    Yuma to Riverside to San Diego is practical and fast, and picks up lenty of extra passengers along the way.
    The Coachella Vally will be a big destination.

    jimsf Reply:

    if hsr is built between ca and az, the trains should only run eastbound.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Welcome aboard, Nevada, come on in Arizona

    Donk Reply:

    You gotta be kidding me. AZ is way still too red to do something forward-thinking like build HSR.

    Jon Reply:

    So is this going to be a completely separate project to XpressWest? Or is this just a way of giving XpressWest the political clout that it needs to make a deal with the FRA and start building their project?

    Donk Reply:

    The second one.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Neither. Remember Nevada doesn’t account for the majority of the distance between LA and Las Vegas (or Reno to Sacramento).

    What this probably means is that Nevada realizes the Obama Administration is going to likely have States unable to spend all their HSRIP and ARRA funds by the 2017 deadline and will need some fallback options at that time.

    Nevada, having only flat desert land to build on itself, could easily use $2 to $3 billion to build HSR track from Las Vegas to Primm and leave it at that. But by putting this money in play, foreign investors and California will then have no choice but to negotiate with Nevada to either have them drop the proposal or incorporate it into the Business Plan.

    Eric Reply:

    Sounds promising!

  7. IKB
    May 27th, 2015 at 17:22
    #7

    Robert, “If money was no object” they could tunnel all the way to San Francisco, just like the Brits may end up tunneling all the way to Birmingham. While it’s convenient to throw money at a problem at some point one has to consider what makes sense, then “sell” what makes sense

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Tell that Quentin “space elevator to Mars” Kopp…

    IKB Reply:

    or David Cameron. Do you suppose they might listen or would it matter anyway? You may all be surprised at the similar and varying goals for selling their projects. Unifying the country and balancing the economic divide seems to sell support, except to those who don’t believe this will do either. Please be assured I support a better way to travel but absent an intelligent “sell” and perhaps sacrifice I worry it may not

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I don’t think David Cameron really anticipated how pervasive the North-South divide would be in Britain by now.

    However, H2 really doesn’t serve the national interest, since London competes with Paris for influence and Paris is far better positioned to be the hub of a pan-European network of HSR. At this point, as wealth coagulates in the southern half of England, there’s really no argument to build an HSR system in Britain except a show of national unity. But once the rail line is complete to Birmingham, London because just another Fresno or San Jose in SCNF’s larger plan.

    IKB Reply:

    I don’t believe getting to Birmingham from London in 45 mins or getting to Fresno from SF in 90 mins shows any national unity; there has to be a better reason to sell the sense. Currently Birmingham takes 75 mins, Fresno 180 mins – many wouldn’t invest $1 to get to either any faster

    Andy M. Reply:

    Pris may be a hub of national high speed trains, but less so of Europe wide high-speed trains. Following the Fyra disaster there is still no real high speed service between Paris and Amsterdam for example whereas Eurostar is still crippled by crazy UK immigration and security procedures. Furthermore, national governments are far too concerned with their national systems and international trains are but a tiny part of the overall equation. In fact long distance train between most international city pairs travel is more cumbersome today that it was 15 years ago. When an international service is setup somewhere, there is a huge amount of hoo haa around it and possibly a special company is created to run it and some insanely expensive rolling stock acquired, while people forget that not long ago international trains were the norm and nobody made much noise about them.

    Michael Reply:

    Thalys isn’t a real high sped train? It runs Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam using high speed lines. Also into Germany from Brussels. The DB runs ICE from Frankfurt to Brussels via Koln and to Paris via the new TGV East, with the SNCF running from Paris into Germany. DB runs to a lot of cities outside Germany. The Austrian OBB runs through service from Munich to Budapest.

    In the old days, locomotives were often swapped at the border and you had passport checks (all through Europe). I think it’s easier today.

  8. trentbridge
    May 28th, 2015 at 08:37
    #8

    Back to the subject: I was surprised to see the amount of tunneling on the SR 14 route animation – it appeared to be about two-thirds of the tunneling required for two of the three East Corridor routes. Secondly it is obvious from the length of the video (5min 4 sec) that SR 14 is substantially more track miles than E1 ( 4min 40 sec) or E2 (4 min 41 sec) Interesting that E3 video is also 5min 4 sec.

    I believe that Robert is wrong about the preference for the SR 14 route – I think it’s far more competitive and that the East Corridor routes are viable and cost effective alternatives because there are inherent advantages in a shorter/faster route..

    synonymouse Reply:

    Try Tejon for shorter/faster.

    Zorro Reply:

    Ah yes, Tejon, the cheapskate route…

    synonymouse Reply:

    the viable route, already so thoroughly occupied by JerryRail’s biological enemy, the automobile.

    Zorro Reply:

    Tejon, the no money route..

    synonymouse Reply:

    Plenty of money for I-5, coming from the same taxpayer pockets PB is tapping for JerryRail.

    Zorro Reply:

    In your dreams Cyno, in your dreams..

    synonymouse Reply:

    IMHO freeway construction will continue essentially unabated in the rural and more conservative areas and with the flourishing of electric cars it will occur in the liberal areas as well.

    After all it is the Cheerleaders calling for more population, urbanization and highrise tenements. You simply erect highrise parking structures adjacent to the dormitories with the rooms allotting just enough air to last a nite. A celebration of hollow-core and plenty of gravy for PB and friends.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    I-5 is another route designed to eliminate revenue…
    The idea is to make a profit, not ensure empty trains. This, unfortunately, means going where the passengers are. It’s unreasonable to ask people in Fresno to drive to SF to board a train to SF.

    IKB Reply:

    We might be more surprised to see how much more tunneling is necessary to continue to Union Station. A couple of things about tunnels, they’re rather expensive (perhaps $500m per mile), you get to go at a reduced speed so it takes a bit longer, and they’re a little less safe if there’s an issue.

    Roland Reply:

    It depends on whether your are a PB “armchair engineer” or something else:
    – “They’re rather expensive (perhaps $500m per mile)”: http://www.dr-sauer.com/files/drsauer/public/content/news/272/original/ctrl-enters-second-phase.pdf
    – “You get to go at a reduced speed”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv14ylJjqvM
    – “They’re a little less safe if there’s an issue”: http://blogdowntown.com/2012/08/6959-metro-tunnels-are-one-of-the-safest-places

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ventilation and evacuation are bigger issues in a tunnel than open air at grade.

    Roland Reply:

    It depends on whether you would rather derail off a viaduct or inside a tunnel @ 200 MPH…

    Zorro Reply:

    Can you cite an example and provide a link of this happening at 200mph? Otherwise it’s bogus FUD, so far the only 3 HSR trains have been in any accidents worldwide.. I found the 2 fastest at the 2nd to last link, the slowest I found at the last link, enjoy.

    The fastest was in Germany @ 125mph, caused by wheel failure.
    The 2nd fastest happened at 100mph in Spain, the train exceeded the 50mph limit, the driver was charged with 79 counts of homicide by professional recklessness and an undetermined number of counts of causing injury by professional recklessness.

    The Olmedo-Zamora-Galicia high-speed rail line is only partially completed, with some sections of the HSR already in service while other sections still remain as a conventional railway line.

    The slowest was moving at 62mph in China, hardly high speed or even close to 200mph.

    High speed was not a factor in the accident, however, since neither train was moving faster than 99 km/h (62 mph), a moderate speed for a passenger train.

    List of rail accidents (2010–present)

    Reality Check Reply:

    TGVs have had some close calls, including derailment at speed, which luckily (or due to articulated design) turned out OK.

    Belgian trainset 3101-3102 was covering Eurostar 9047 (Paris to London), travelling northbound on track 1 of the LGV Nord high speed line at 300 km/h (190 mph) with 501 passengers on board. The engineer detected an anomalous vibration and reduced speed to 200 km/h (120 mph), before resuming full speed a short time afterwards. At 1754 local time as the trainset passed 290 km/h (180 mph) near the small town of Croisilles, 14 km (8.7 mi) south of Arras, at the level of the track switch for the branch line to Arras, a transmission assembly failed. A reaction link on the rear bogie of the leading power car became separated from the bogie frame, leading to catastrophic failure of the transmission assembly with parts impacting the track. The failure and ensuing emergency stop caused the failed bogie 2 (numbered from the front), bogie 3 and bogie 23 on the trailing power car to leave the rails. The partly derailed train came to a stop safely 1500 m further, causing some damage to the track. 14 people including the British engineer were treated for light injuries or shock, and passengers resumed their trip to London on buses. Once again, as in the 1993 TGV derailment, the articulated trainset architecture was credited with maintaining stability and integrity of the train as it came to a stop. How closely disaster was averted is again debatable. The train remained mostly aligned on the trackbed, thanks to construction and low centre of gravity.

    Zorro Reply:

    I think the trains in France are privately owned, while the ROW and Track is publicly owned, the profit motive is involved in Train Maintenance, which puts off needed work in favor of keeping profits for investors higher..

    Clem Reply:

    France, privately owned? Try again.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The trains are (almost) all publicly owned, as Clem notes. The train travel market is being liberalized as we speak, and this will allow Veolia and other private companies to run their own trains, but so far the competition to SNCF in France just involves DB.

    That said, DB is indeed undermaintaining rolling stock. It’s state-owned, but it’s trying to shore up on-paper profits in order to look better for possible future privatization, and this is what led to both Eschede and the Berlin S-Bahn meltdown.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “It depends on whether you would rather derail off a viaduct or inside a tunnel @ 200 MPH…”

    Worse would be on a BART aluminum beercan cattlecar doing either at 60mph.

    Zorro Reply:

    The Chunnel uses 3 tunnels, 1 is the over pressurized maintenance/evacuation tunnel, the other 2 are the North and South alignments, the same I’d think would be true for HSR in CA.

    As to ventilation, that could also be done by the maintenance/evacuation tunnel, since that tunnel is over pressurized.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The 3 tunnel configuration is IMHO quite dated, and/or the result of limited experience with building long tunnels. Current long tunnels (such as the Gotthard Base Tunnel) are two bores where each bore serves as service and evacuation tunnel for the other one.

    Ventilation is not really needed for regular operation, but for maintenance and evacuation, it is needed (actually, the temperature in the Gotthard base tunnel can reach 50 degrees centigrade, and ventilation does get it down to 36 in summer and 32 in winter.

    Andy M. Reply:

    Eurotunnel was built as a 3-tunnel bore not purely for service reasons but also so the service tunnel could act as a pilot, being built ahead of the others and permitting geologists to study the rock and make corrections to the design. Also, the service vehicles used are road vehicles, and so could not use the main tunnels.

    IKB Reply:

    Roland, should you disagree with my three statements please just address each rather than provide a link to some places I can’t go, or others I’ve got to read pages of stuff to discover your point. Per the first two, CTRL would seem to support what I said. Factually, it ran over budget significantly mostly due to the last 12 miles being in tunnel, where they only go 140 mph – the French manage to make the last few miles on legacy tracks at the same 140 mph. The third is simply my opinion; to mitigate potential bad things usually pushes the cost even higher. And of course you didn’t address my first sentence; are we going at grade to LAUS, or is another 20 miles of tunnel expected – it will make a big difference and should be considered at the same time and not separately as the visual issues of a few photo-shopped horses

    Observer Reply:

    Did they come out with the cost estimates yet for each alternative? If they are going to do all of the tunneling indicated, the shortest route may make more sense???

    synonymouse Reply:

    But very long tunnels reduce possible commute halts, and regional commute is the consuming raison d’etre of PBHSR.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Do you have documented support for your claim? Or is it just your fevered imagination?

    Zorro Reply:

    I’d say it’s Cyno’s tilting at windmills again…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Please use your imagination or whatever other faculties at your disposal to grasp that it is vastly more difficult and expensive to create a commute station in the middle of a tunnel of typical base tunnel length. Basically not going to happen.

    So if you are a developer and you want to build thousands of tracts at, say, Acton you would want a station there, no? Not a tunnel underneath.

    Why do you think they are traipsing off on a humongous detour to Palmdale and Mojave? Who is demanding that? Some hippies? It is f*****g real estate exploiters.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Look evidence is required, not some supposition that “the only reason I can see for them routing through Palmdale is real estate”, and therefore, they’ll never use tunnels because they can’t build stations there.

    I’m willing to grant you your assumptions (routing through Palmdale is real estate) because it is also political (Palmdale is part of L.A. County) and only indirectly beneficial to real estate, but your conclusion that there must be secret “marching orders” to make the route commute friendly is not supported by any evidence. In fact, it was an L.A. politician that requested the forest tunnel route be investigated. (And claiming that that is a “red herring” that will ultimately not be chosen must also be supported by evidence.)

    The problem @synonymouse is that like other conspiracy theorists, you ascribe way too much power and competency to people. If they were really so competent, they’d just achieve what they want by more direct means.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Well I suggest conspiracy stands as an effective strategy figuring into Darwinian selection.

    Still outside of quantum uncertainty and Murphy’s Law just tech progress and innovation by itself will tax, task and vex FailRail. The Cheerleaders assume aviation and automotive will stagnate. Highly unlikely as the R&D money for those institutions is enormous.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ah yes speed limits were 65 back in the 50s and they’ve gone allllllll the way up to…. 65.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Back in the fifties lotsa people worked on their cars and hot rodding was the thing.

    Nowadays touch anything under the hood and you’ve violated the DMCA. Literally that’s what the auto people are demanding.

    Yeah, nothing has changed. My dad’s 1950 Chevy with an l-head 6 and I think it was called PowerGlide was lucky to make it to 65 down a hill brand new. What a dawg it was.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Neither can you assume (as you and some others apparently do) that some sort of future magic will suddenly make car travel super fast and efficient, and remove its many problems.

    The auto industry has poured tons of money into R&D over more than a century, and it’s still by far the most dangerous and least efficient mode of transportation out there, by far. There are fundamental issues with car transportation that you can’t just hand-wave away.

    All modes of transport, including rail, do R&D, and all will continue to advance into the future, but the advance is slow and steady, on all fronts. “and then magic happens” is not a particularly smart bet…

    synonymouse Reply:

    On the contrary the internal combustion engine auto lobby has been trying to hold back technology repeatedly.

    It has fought electric cars; it has fought smog regs; it has fought safety regs; it has fought fuel consumption regs; it has fought small cars. It innovated “planned obsolescence”; it resisted galvanization of car bodies ruined by salt in a few years time.

    I am sure you can think of other instances. Many postwar advances in auto tech came from outside complacent Detroit.

    Jon Reply:

    My guess is that E2 will win out. Burbank Airport would love a HSR station with platforms parallel to the new terminal, the curve leaving the terminal is not as sharp as in E3, and the longest tunnel is shorter than the longest tunnel in E1 or E3.

    New terminal: http://www.latimes.com/visuals/graphics/la-me-g-snapshot-burbank-airport-20150302-htmlstory.html

    Observer Reply:

    Good point. Of E1, E2, E3, E2 appears to be the best. SR14 appears to be too long.

    Observer Reply:

    Could it be that Supervisor Antonovich was actually on to something?

    synonymouse Reply:

    If Schiff capitulates he will leave many constituents disgruntled. Not a wise political move especially since PalmdaleRail is such a total piece of crap that only Palmdale real estate developers are excited about and a few Cheerleaders.

    If the Tejon Ranch can lay down an embargo at Tejon why not Schiff at the Angeles Nat’l. Forest?

    Darrell Reply:

    E2 has a bridge over Big Tujunga Creek its neighbors are very organized against — see their Photoshops at https://www.dontrailroad.us/ (4 tracks on 2 bridges, as if!) — thus the revised E1 and E3 without above ground sections.

    Also see the map at http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/Palmdale_Burbank/Palmdale_Burbank_Open_House_Meetings_Flyer_May_June_2015_P_B_Main_Map_051415.pdf and other current presentation stuff at http://www.hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Statewide_Rail_Modernization/Project_Sections/palmdale_burbank.html .

    Jon Reply:

    That’s a very good point; the opposition to the bridge could scupper E2.

    I love all the horses in the Photoshoped pictures.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Does anything proposed on Tejon Ranch property in and around the TMV have that size footprint as this E2 bridge?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The problem with E2 is that unless the connection at BUR to the south is built first (i.e. from the station to the VC alignment) it will never be built at all, or at best decades hence. The cost of tunneling out of the BUR station and building a HS line south from Burbank, not to mention trying to figure out what to do at LAUS, is so great that many at Metro and the other agencies involved will accept BUR as being the southern terminus, just as Alhambra is the terminus of the 710 freeway.

    Michael Reply:

    I’d assume they have to tunnel out to the south to get to some place to store trains and do whatever light maintenance is needed at an end of the line station, even a temporary one. With all the tunneling, there’s no logical place to put even a small storage area except south of the Burbank station, right?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Trains could be serviced and “stored” to the north, even Palmdale.

    Jon Reply:

    It looks like CAHSR’s strategy is shifting away from a Merced – Burbank IOS and towards a Palmdale – LAUS (-Anaheim?) IOS in the south, plus an SF – SJ (- Gilroy?) IOS in the north, plus supporting Desert Xpress service to Las Vegas. This will require some sort of blend in the south as well as the north, with HSR and Metrolink sharing track and platforms at LAUS, probably on the new through tracks.

    Given that, I don’t think CAHSR will let the small additional cost of connecting Burbank station to the Metrolink tracks get in their way. Burbank may not ever be used as a HSR terminus; it may be used as a through station from day one.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Politically the Palmdale-Burbank IOS would be quite astute as it meets the basal requirements of the interests running PB-CAHSR.

    So if the whole scheme falls apart after that the Palmdale real estate cabal would have achieved their goal. And Caltrain too.

    The Valley orphan trackage, I dunno. Both the UP and BNSF are laying off employees right and left now and mothballing locomotives. It is hard to say if they would be interested in the future in double track designed by PB with passenger foremost in mind.

    Jon Reply:

    Palmdale – Burbank would never be profitable as an IOS. Palmdale – LAUS – Anaheim, maybe.

    The Valley trackage would likely be used by Amtrak until such time as Bakersfield – Palmdale can be constructed. I think CAHSR have realized that it’s not going to be possible to find funds to build both Bakersfield – Palmdale AND Palmdale – Burbank in the near future, so they are concentrating on getting an IOS running with the Palmdale – Burbank section only, plus a blend to LAUS and possibly Anaheim.

    If this is the new plan, we’ll probably first see it in the 2016 Business Plan towards the end of this year.

    J. Wong Reply:

    There’s not enough ridership for a Burbank-Palmdale IOS and certainly not enough revenue.

    Jon Reply:

    …that’s the very first thing I wrote in that comment.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So claiming that the Authority is concentrating on a Burbank-Palmdale IOS is nonsensical.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Why do you think these are mutually exclusive truths (not enough revenue/ new CHSRA focus)?

    Jon Reply:

    That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that CAHSR might be focusing on a Palmdale – Burbank – LAUS – Anaheim IOS, which might have enough ridership to turn a profit.

    Clem Reply:

    That’s not HSR, it’s Electrolink.

    12:00 LAUS
    12:04 Glendale
    12:09 Burbank Downtown
    12:14 Sun Valley
    12:19 Sylmar / San Fernando
    12:27 Via Princessa
    12:34 Agua Dulce
    12:40 Acton
    12:49 Palmdale
    12:55 Lancaster

    That’ll turn a profit like Caltrain turns a profit.

    Jon Reply:

    Metrolink won’t ever run a schedule as fast as that. CAHSR have no incentive to upgrade Metrolink north of Burbank, and Metrolink won’t manage to do it by themselves.

    synonymouse Reply:

    55 minutes to Lancaster is precisely what Palmdale and the Ranch are seeking.

    PB can go home after that, picking up the check and turning out the lights on the way out.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Metrolink is dying on the vine.

    The tunnel solves the locals’ problem of what to do when OCTA pulls out of the JPA and repurposes the Surfliner.

    Palmdale meanwhile, is looking to be *more* than a bedroom community for LA. By being the intersection of a web of high speed rail routes stretching from SF to Phoenix. The only catch is, Anaheim already wants that role…

    synonymouse Reply:

    “There’s not enough ridership for a Burbank-Palmdale [CAHSR] and certainly not enough revenue.” FailRail will bleed red ink. Prop 1a is comic book fantasy.

    The firing of Van Ark demonstrated who is giving the orders to Jerry Brown and who is dictating what gets priority in the CAHSR playlist.

    All the Tejon Ranch and its Palmdale real estate developer associates want is the Burbank-Palmdale IOS and that is exactly what you are gonna get. Capisci?

    Deal with it. Cheerleaders – that’s what you get for drinking the PB KoolAid.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So why isn’t the ICS Burbank-Palmdale? If they’re so all-powerful, I’m sure they could have managed that. Instead, initial funding was targeted to the Central Valley. That’s a pretty risky strategy since it pre-supposes that additionaly funding will be achieved. When there are so many points of failure, it’s not a plan but a prayer for the real-estate interests. (Besides which, businesses don’t really work that way!)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Politics is messy and time consuming.

    How or why did they hire Van Ark? – they must have known he was competent and honest. These things lurch along. Dumbshit Jerry does not even realize the threat posed by electric cars he’s pushing to his Legacy. I don’t think his handlers have even picked up on it yet.

    The Saudis have – I suggest their primary reason for pumping like there’s no tomorrow is to try to hold off the deployment and evolution of electric cars. It is a losing strategy over the long run.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Electric cars as a viable means of traveling from SF to L.A. are so far out that they’re not a threat, and besides, electric or gasoline-powered, autos won’t beat HSR time-wise by a significant factor (50% at best) or even comfort-wise. Does that sound like a threat?

    synonymouse Reply:

    For starters: single seat door to door, you have your car at the other end, and the more passengers the cheaper for each.

    I assume you consider Musk an imbecile and incompetent and Tesla a joke.

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, Musk is not an imbecile nor incompetent, and Tesla is not a joke, but none of that is relevant to a 6 hour cramped drive using a $50,000 automobile, which today cannot make the trip because it would die somewhere in the Central Valley.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Electric cars go to die in the San Joaquin Valley?

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, they run out of power with no where to charge up because of their limited range. Yeah, yeah, I know they just need to build some charging stations out there, but I haven’t heard of any yet or even in the future.

    Peter Reply:

    There are currently two Superchargers in along I-5 between the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Between those and the one in Gilroy, Teslas should be able to make it between SF and LA without running out of juice.

    Joe Reply:

    Gilroy is between the Bay Area and LA if 15 miles south of San jose is between. We’re the last/first stop.

    I’d put a station at kettleman city. In n out burger

    Joe Reply:

    Oops

    Joshua Cranmer Reply:

    The primary reason the Saudis tried to push the price of oil down was to drive out competitors that needed high-cost oil–i.e., the US fracking industry and (perhaps more importantly), Iran. However, the frackers have proven far more stable than anyone expected–actually, it appears that OPEC is losing or has lost its ability it ability to control the oil price: any small change in production could easily be buffered by the US; the spare capacity is insufficient to cause a large drop, and sharply cutting production would imperil their own budgets.

    Peter Reply:

    Joe, I didn’t count Gilroy because not everyone traveling between the Bay Area and LA would be traveling through Gilroy, some will be going via Altamont (and I believe there’s a Supercharger around there somewhere, too).

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    @Jon, I think they would like to do as RailPAC has proposed and truly blend from Burbank to Anaheim, but there are significant regulatory and institutional issues. There are those that baulk at spending the money and think that BUR is “good enough”.

    Jon Reply:

    I’m sure they are those who would prefer not to have to deal with those regulator and institutional issues; we’re seeing the same thing in the north. But for CAHSR, the hard truths are:

    1) The IOS has to be profitable.
    2) There isn’t enough money to build both Bakersfield – Palmdale and Palmdale – Burbank. Even finding the money for one will be a challenge.
    3) If you only have enough money to build one, your IOS options are Merced – Palmdale or Palmdale – Burbank, or some sort of blend which allows you to do Palmdale – LAUS – Anaheim.
    4) Only the last of those three will be even close to profitable. Therefore, that’s what will be built. As we’ve seen in the north, CAHSR has the clout to force cooperation when necessary.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Palmdale – Burbank – LAUS – Anaheim, aka Electrolink south Phase One.

    Darrell Reply:

    I wouldn’t be so sure the Merced-Burbank IOS of the 2014 Business Plan is out. It’s needed for functionality, and the combination of rising cap-and-trade funding and international HSR vendors’ competition to finance, build, and operate appears Jerry Brown’s strategy to get it done.

    Conversely, as Paul notes, there are a lot of hurdles and costs of Burbank to Anaheim, and Palmdale-Anaheim is just a faster Metrolink, hard to see as profitable.

    Jon Reply:

    I don’t think it’s “out”, per se, I just think that closing the Bakersfield – Palmdale gap will be step two after Palmdale Burbank is constructed and operational.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    At least with Anaheim – Palmdale you have a service that is useful to many and visible to many more. Irvine or Laguna would be better end points.

    Joe Reply:

    Palmdale to SoCal offers Nevada an opportunity to get involved with an independent effort to build a LAS line to Palmdale using either a private/public funded or public lead project.

    This increases CA ridership without CA building to Bakersfield. It also helps draw funds to connect that segment to the CV and on to GLY and SJC.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The only sure thing is “constructed”. I don’t think they’ll go for operational (or even track or electrification) until Bakersfield-Palmdale is constructed. Then they’ll do a big bang track, electrification, signaling.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If Palmdale to Butbank requires as much tunneling as proposed, that also forecloses using intermediate diesel services for a Fresno to LA IOS prior to electrification.

    Given the restrictions on Prop 1A, it’s not clear what would happen next. My guess is that it could set the stage for IOS North.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    THe tunnels immediately south of Bakersfield, where every you wanna put ’em, needs electric trains.

    Clem Reply:

    @Ted, that has never been on the table. Electrification is a tiny portion of the tab (roughly 2%). Do you think they would spend 98 cents and then not be able to spare the two pennies?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Tell that to Elizabeth…she has been the one arguing that the authority can’t afford electrification…at least I thought….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Can’t speak for Clem, but I don’t always agree with Elizabeth, and when we disagree, I make it known. See e.g. our exchanges about ridership projections and the Eurostar example.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Ted – you may misunderstand. I am talking about Caltrain’s project where the money is far from locked down and the latest budget shows an inexplicable increase in cost http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2014/11-6-14+JPB+BOD+CalMod+Cost+and+Schedule+Update.pdf without any additional funding sources. CHSRA has not taken any concrete steps (like a funding plan) to get the release of bond dollars for the project.

    Caltrain electrification should happen asap – there is just an unfortunate gap between current project costs and committed funds. There is more support for the project locally but this is not the same as $$ on the table.

    IKB Reply:

    I’m not sure it has to be profitable; the Business Plan simply needs to show that it will be – no-one with any experience is going to question it; they never questioned the 5m customers presented in the 2014 plan

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Kevin McCarthy questioned the ridership and had the GAO audit the numbers.
    Gao confirmed that the numbers are valid and possibly over conservative, but Congressional corruption could be an obstacle.

    Joe Reply:

    Jeff Denham also asked the GAO as he is chair of the subcommittee overseeing HSR.
    Also Jeff asked the STB to assess and take jurisdiction over the project to add theirs reviews and delay the project.
    They ruled HSR falls under Federal STB review which nullifies the CEQA and removes State based legal challenges.

    Obstacles yes but they keep helping the project because they gave no strategy and their tactics backfire.

  9. Travis D
    May 28th, 2015 at 09:27
    #9

    I note one of the alternatives goes right under a metrolink station. I wonder if that could be used to break the segment up into phases?

  10. Lewellan
    May 28th, 2015 at 11:41
    #10

    These line-dot route maps, even animated, are inadequate. Before/after renderings needed to help residents visualize visual and physical impact. Me, I’m for ‘blended’ electrification; upgrades to Metrolink, Peninsula Caltrans and ACE Altamont (before Gilroy). Average hi-speed is near 150mph. Mid-speed trainsets average 100mph. Total trip time difference, 3 hours vs 5 hours along more scenic vistas or spend the hours zipping by quite blurily, wheel squeal disturbing wildlife and whirrrring dark tunnels.

    Blended rail rebuilds/improves existing intersections. Elevated stretches avoid worst intersections and need not ruin views. New treescapes soften. Highway corridors have room for improvement. I’m more worried about ‘exclusive’ parking garages and hot lots sucking traffic in and out around new stations all day. I see suburban ruination through Gilroy, another reason Altamont the better route to San Jose or the Fremont to Redwood City crossing. BART & Caltrans serve San Jose well enough. Run a Caltrans special to Monterey.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It costs just as much to upgrade to 150 as it does to upgrade to 225.
    5 hours isn’t fast enough.

    Roland Reply:

    The only problem is that it is impossible to upgrade above 160 (the Brits tried in he 70’s and ended up being 20+ years behind the French and the Japanese).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The only way to get 126 is to grade separate the parts where it’s 126 or higher. The difference between grade separations for 126 and ones for 225 are indisquishable. Especially in the places where they are carving out new ROW or using the very very very straight existing ROW. Like Amtrak is doing.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That’s true in flat, undeveloped areas. It’s not true in areas with track geometry restrictions, because there being able to tighten curves and run trains more slowly reduces cost considerably. For example, Sweden’s hilly enough that it’s looking at high-speed tilting trains even on newly-built lines to save money on construction, what with Stockholm-Gothenburg not really being worth the expense of a full greenfield HSR line. And on the NEC, compromising on various speed zones beginning with a 2 in areas without a straight ROW is useful if you want to limit home demolitions.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Lewellan’s fantasies don’t involve the NEC. It involves California where they are either carving new ROW or following arrow straight existing.

  11. mike
    May 28th, 2015 at 13:18
    #11

    Why does even the Hwy 14 alignment require tunneling from Burbank Airport to I-5 at the beginning? They’re doing this just to avoid two or three grade separations?

    agb5 Reply:

    Could be to make the station area ‘flat’, the terrain is rising at that point, the tunnel is flat leaving the station, then makes a steep incline to return to the surface.

    JB from SV Reply:

    How much grade is practical in a station?

    Roland Reply:

    1%

    JB from SV Reply:

    Thanks Roland.

  12. Roland
    May 28th, 2015 at 14:23
    #12

    First of all, a big thank you to Michelle Boehm and her team for posting the video captures (quite a contrast with the Tripousis/PB/SamTrans fustercluck and the pending FRA/FTA/CPUC investigation in the Peninsula!).
    The rest of the materials presented in this round of outreach are here: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Statewide_Rail_Modernization/Project_Sections/palmdale_burbank.html.
    The elevation profiles are at the end of this presentation: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/Palmdale_Burbank/Palmdale_Burbank_4_Engineering_051515_v5_no_Dashboard.pdf.
    The only missing display is the so-called “interactive map” (Google Earth KML). Hopefully they will post it soon (without yet another public record request…)

    Reality Check Reply:

    And what would “the pending FRA/FTA/CPUC investigation in the Peninsula” be regarding?

    Clem Reply:

    Pray tell, Roland

  13. Brian_FL
    May 28th, 2015 at 14:32
    #13

    O/T all aboard florida releases their ridership and revenue study finally today. It’s part of a court hearing scheduled to be heard tomorrow in DC over the validity of AAF using private activity bonds for their project. The NIMBYS have lawyered up and are trying desperately to somehow stop the project. It won’t happen as AAF has said with or without the PABs they will proceed.

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2089512/aaf-projections.pdf

    I would be curious if anyone could weigh in on the report’s findings concerning per mile pricing structure. AAF is comparing their price structure to Amtrak NEC Regional and Acela pricing based on length of trip. AAF also offers up some quite detailed estimates of where their riders will come from (mode and location). They seem to have done a fairly substantial study of their potential market.

    How does this study compare to the CA HSR ridership/revenue study that was done several years ago? Are the methodologies similar enough to compare?

    AAF expects to see ridership up near 5-6 million per year with revenues of around $300-400 million per year from fare revenue alone. This doesn’t include real estate profits at their station sites and nearby development that they will build.

    mike Reply:

    Brian:

    The AAF per mile price for long-distance trips is somewhat lower than the NEC, but significantly higher than CA HSR or most foreign HSR systems. There are several reasons for this, including:

    1. AAF trains will be frequent but low capacity – two Siemens Charger diesels locomotives bookending four passenger trailers. Thus the cost per passenger carried will be relatively high (compared to most HSR systems).
    2. AAF trains are not true high speed rail; average speed from Orlando to Miami is 74 mph. This is competitive with Acela Express but very slow by HSR standards. Most true HSR systems average about twice that speed and thus can complete up to twice as many runs of a given distance per day (relative to AAF). It’s similar to comparing an airline that takes 45 minutes to turn around planes to an airline that takes 2.5 hours to turn around planes; the former will get much better utilization of its equipment than the latter (and can thus offer better fares).
    3. As a private company, AAF is seeking to maximize revenue. Most HSR operators are publicly owned or chartered and seek to maximize ridership subject to the constraint of making a reasonable operating profit.

    As a point of comparison, pricing out a 2nd class roundtrip TGV fare next month from Paris to Avignon (i.e., just under 3 hours) generates a fare of 17 cents per mile, or less than half as much as the AAF per mile leisure fare. This is before any cardholder discounts, which many European citizens would have.

    The CA HSR ridership study used a similar methodology to AAF (discrete choice modeling). IIRC, the biggest objection about the CA HSR model from critics was that it applied a very high cost to waiting time (i.e. something similar to rapid transit), when in reality long-distance travelers would time their arrival at the station to coincide with the train schedule. The effect of this choice was to make the Altamont Pass alignment look less attractive than the Pacheco Pass alignment, because Altamont would result in a lower frequency of service for SF and SJ (since they wouldn’t share trains). So that specific criticism wasn’t so much about the total ridership estimates as it was about the impact on the choice of Altamont versus Pacheco.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Thanks for your input as that does help compare CA HSR with AAF and their ridership/revenue modeling. One point though, does the TGV fare also include the true cost of initial track construction and annual maintenance? AAF will have to pay back the $1.75 billion in capital costs and ongoing maintenance via fares alone. It is my understanding that most if not all HSR systems do not have to pay back the construction costs as they are government subsidized.

    With Acela and the NEC trains in general, it has been argued that the actual costs associated with maintaining the track and ROW aren’t included in the Amtrak way of accounting. AAF doesn’t or will not have the luxury of hiding costs – they must pay for maintenance openly and directly.

    Also, the 4 car trains are for the initial phase of operation between Miami and West Palm Beach. Final Build out to Orlando will see 8-9 passenger car length trains with the Charger locomotives at each end. I am intrigued by how many special event trains they can run – any additional service will improve the utilization factor as you allude to.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    One point though, does the TGV fare also include the true cost of initial track construction and annual maintenance?

    It includes a hefty track access charge, which is much higher than maintenance costs. It doesn’t bear any relationship to the track construction cost – Paris-Lyon, which has the most traffic and had the lowest per-km construction cost, has the highest track access charge because it has the most traffic demand. It’s broadly set at a level that lets high-speed services make a small profit, concentrating the profits in state-owned monopoly RFF.

  14. Reality Check
    May 28th, 2015 at 21:48
    #14

    HSR meeting set for Monday night in Santa Clarita

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Santa Clarita Valley officials are pushing for one of four “Eastern alignments,” an option that adds 10 miles to the route, but places much more of the track underground through national forest.”

    This does not seem correct.

    Clem Reply:

    It’s the other way around. The Eastern alignments shave off 10 miles / 4 minutes of suburbia compared to the SR-14 baseline

  15. john burrows
    May 28th, 2015 at 22:52
    #15

    Off topic by quite a bit—

    Settlement prices and results of the May 2015 California-Quebec joint auction have been posted, and the results are pretty good. A total of 76.9 million current vintage carbon permits sold at $12.29 per ton, ( $.08 per ton above the floor price). In last February’s auction 73.6 million permits sold at the floor price of 12.21 per ton.

    The sale of future permits didn’t do quite so well with 9.8 million out of the available 10.4 million selling at the floor price of $12.10 per ton, In the February auction all 10.4 million sold at the floor price. But the total settlement price for all of the carbon allowances sold adds up to $1.064 billion compared to $1.024 billion for the February auction. A portion of this $1.064 billion will revert back to utility companies, but I would guess that the amount going into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, (high speed rail gets 25% of this) will be slightly more than the $630 million raised last February.

    If this trend continues through 2015, the GGRF will end up contributing more than $630 million to CAHSR for the calender year with a high probability of further increases. Some time soon, my guess would be next year, the Authority will have to present a funding plan to the Legislature and unless a surprise source of funding comes along, cap-and-trade proceeds are going to be a big part of the discussion.

    john burrows Reply:

    Quebec will also get a portion of the proceeds.

  16. agb5
    May 29th, 2015 at 02:57
    #16

    And if a Highway 14 route is chosen, there should be serious discussions about building a Santa Clarita HSR station at some point.

    The profile of the track has quite a steep gradient as is passes Santa Clarita, so to make a flat bit suitable for a station might require a lot of modification to the track gradients approaching the station area, so not something that could be added as an afterthought.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The guiding principle here should be what makes for the most effective regional commuter railroad. And then fuggedaboutit. LA will have wasted $20bil which would have been better spent elsewhere.

    Meantime in France the rules governing over the road buses(“autocars”)have been liberalized to permit operations more like MegaBus. More competition for SNCF and TGV.

    Same thing will occur in California except the buses get to use the fast default route whilst “HSR” goes on a trek thru the Tehachapis.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “Fast” route for a bus over Tejon won’t be faster than HSR over Tehachapi. So why would anyone choose the bus except for cost reasons?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The market that wants fast will fly because PalmdaleRail is too slow.

    Most of the rest will either drive or take the much cheaper bus.

    In truth as soon as LA gets its new commute line to Palmdale I think the whole thing is over.

    Travis D Reply:

    Everyone I know is planning to ditch cars as soon as they can. And HSR is on the top of everyone’s dream list to help enable that.

    Keep living in your bubble.

    synonymouse Reply:

    No one I know, young or old, is planning to ditch their car. And none of them know anything about hsr, let alone plan to ride it.

    You must live in a Cheerleader World – must be on a tiny planet, definitely not planet Calfornia.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    poeple who are over 65 aren’t young

    Miles Bader Reply:

    But, but, but, syno’s exurban retirement cul-de-sac is 100% behind giant ’70s cars for all transportation everywhere! 100%!! […Hawaii Five-O theme…]

    [Well there was young Timmy, a spry 83, who favored a scooter, but they ran him over. An accident!]

    synonymouse Reply:

    My youngest daughter did take the MegaBus from Sac to SF recently and thought that was ok, but by and large all three overall think public transit is funky and creepy, even tho I have been riding it for like 60 years.

    None of the 20 and 30 somethings in the extended family know squat about HSR and frankly could care less.

    john burrows Reply:

    I have to agree with you on this one. Most of what little my kids and their spouses know about HSR is the result of my bringing the subject up once in a while. If a family vote were held on high speed rail I think that it might be a two to two tie, but I am not sure and I don’t think that they are either.

    But my grand daughters love trains and I know for a fact that if the voting age were lowered to eight that there would be three votes guaranteed for high speed rail.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah, when my daughters were little they enjoyed the big steam the UP would every 10 years or so bring into the CSRM. But to them nowadays trains are no big deal, just like airplanes.

    john burrows Reply:

    My wife would probably vote against; so including all the adult family members the likely vote would be three to three.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    You’re right on that. Most people don’t really care about mode of travel as much as whether the mode suits their needs.
    Air (as miserable an experience as the airlines have made it), cars, buses rail; it’s all the same to most people. They’ll take the car if they need it at the other end and have lots of time to spend driving in massive traffic jams on the 5, planes if they have to be there right now and don’t mind being tortured, and if the plane actually goes where they want at a useable time, and the train if they want to be comfortable and get some other stuff done during the trip. There will be plenty of market share for everything.
    Except flights into the San Joaquin Valley. The airlines would like to drop those money losers and high speed trains tend to out compete the airlines on short hops like that. Those will probably disappear faster than the NYC-Philadelphia flights.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Very few short hop flights in the Valley now, the airlines have already changed the service to more distant hubs. What is left to SFO and LAX is probably for Asia/Hawaii/south of the border type connections.

    Fresno only has 3 flights/day to SFO on 70 seat jets; 5 flights/day to LAX on 50 seat jets. The rest of the flights at Fresno are to Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle, and Guadalajara, Mexico. Fresno’s current service is basically to the same out-of-state cities found at Burbank and would likely be unaffected much by HSR.

    Bakersfield only has 2 flights per day on 50 seat jets to SFO and nothing to LAX. The other flights at Bakersfield are to Houston, Denver, and Phoenix. As long as the oil industry is in Kern County most of that service will likely not change.

    Merced and Visalia will likely lose service like Modesto in the next few years, before HSR starts. They only have small prop planes a few times a day to the Bay Area and Southern California. Merced already came close to losing all service this year due to very low passenger numbers.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Buses are too slow.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    International buses have competed with trains in Europe for many years. Thalys still has hefty ridership between Paris and Brussels.

    les Reply:

    I took a bus in Turkey once and it was an awesome experience. However not something I would want to do if I was in a serious crunch for time.

    les Reply:

    In hind-site, maybe it was because the gentleman next to me kept liquoring me up that made it awesome.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Give Erdogan a few more years and the liquoring won’t happen anymore.

  17. keith saggers
    May 29th, 2015 at 11:29
    #17

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/28/virgin-trains-competition-east-coast-mainline-first-group-alliance

    keith saggers Reply:

    http://www.alliancerail.co.uk/Edinburgh_Briefing_Document.pdf

    IKB Reply:

    very cool, both articles. And of course, if they can do it (and I’m sure they can), Virgin can as well. They have one train a day Edinburg-Newcastle-Kings Cross that takes 4 hours; eliminate the stop at Newcastle and it’s less. This at 125 mph max; never fully understood why they can’t go at 140, which might save another 30 min – this seems to be more a regulation than an engineering issue. West Coast similar, with one train a day Euston-Preston-Glasgow in 4hr 8 min. Eliminate Preston and there’s 4 hr (again at 125mph). Add a little competition (ie a few more trains), allow 140, and you have beaten HS2 timing today (not 20 years from now) without spending 50bn.

    No-one but yourself commented on the “true reasons for HS2” I posted last week. Probably because no-one here knows where Milton Keynes is. Just like no-one in UK will know where Palmdale is. But it is the same story – get someone else to pay for “what I want” under the illusion that it’s good for everybody and will unify the country, and try to figure out how to spend the windfall from the profits this will generate

  18. datacruncher
    May 29th, 2015 at 11:31
    #18

    More than 200 properties face condemnation to clear way for high-speed rail
    By Tim Sheehan

    The number of Valley properties identified for possible condemnation by the state for its high-speed rail project has grown to more than 200 after a recent vote by the State Public Works Board.

    The three-member board, made up of the heads of the state’s Transportation, General Services and Finance departments, adopted 23 resolutions declaring a public need and authorizing the use of eminent domain to acquire properties in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. The land, adding up to more than 115 acres, is deemed necessary by the California High-Speed Rail Authority for the first two construction segments of its statewide bullet-train network.

    ……….

    In addition to the eminent domain resolutions, the Public Works Board this month also formally approved site selection of 173 parcels for the rail authority’s third construction package, which extends the route south to Shafter in Kern County. Site selection gives the rail authority the green light to begin negotiating with those property owners for land needed for the railroad’s route and associated structures such as road over- or underpasses, bridges or elevated trackways.

    ,,,,,,,,,,

    http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/high-speed-rail/article22545513.html#storylink=cpy

    Travis D Reply:

    It’s incredible how many people are being so stubborn and making them go through all this rigmarole.

  19. Danny
    May 29th, 2015 at 14:08
    #19

    this story’s made it onto Curbed LA, with more of the usual whinging: mostly it’s about how trains are 19th-century technology (and yet computers use atoms, which are 14 billion years old: it’s time for a new elementary particle!)

  20. Roland
    May 29th, 2015 at 14:49
    #20

    BREAKING NEWS: Caltrain EMUs will not have any bathrooms: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Presentations/LPMG+Seats+standees+bikes+05.28.15.pdf slide 26

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Hmmm, does that mean we get to watch a bike-train-supporters vs onboard-toilet-supporters fight…?

    Roland Reply:

    No, actually, it is Clem’s extra set of doors for HSR vs. everything else (seats, bikes and bathrooms). The bathrooms lost. The solution for Gilroy is to get off in San Jose, Take Care of the Business (TCB) and catch the next train (there isn’t one, so the 68 bus will have to do). The problem is that the 68s don’t have bathrooms either, so Gilroy and the southern half of San Jose are screwed. The good news is that HSR will have bathrooms so everybody can forget about Caltrain and take HSR instead (think of the ridership!!!)

    Miles Bader Reply:

    How do you reach that conclusion?

    Clem Reply:

    Good. One less ADA puzzle to solve, and more room for all passengers. Need a bathroom? I’m sure there will be an app for that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why is it a puzzle? I thought the Eurowundertrain designers could spit out anything your heart desired.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    ….but only if you use precisely calculated optimal German platform heights. Once you start using anything other than 550mm platforms, you may well as well just drag the passengers behind the train…. ><

    Roland Reply:

    Wrong again. I literally stumbled across the Bombardier Omneo/Regio 2N while researching European HSR/double-decker platform compatibility last year and noticed that it was supposed to beat the Stadler DOSTO (KISS) at the old game of cramming people and things per foot of platform so I decided to experiment.
    Starting with a standard Caltrain 700-foot platform, I ended up with a 660-foot long ARTICULATED train with 965 SEATED passengers, 7 wheelchairs, 7 toilets and 80 bicycles. Best of all, the 33-foot single-deck traction power cars with the doors, the toilets and the wheelchairs can be configured for any floor height (550, 760 or 915 for the UK), including 600 mm (???) for the French.
    These trains can be ordered off the shelf right now, so why aren’t they on Caltrain’s short list? Answer: LTK engineering could not possibly justify the $66M EMU procurement consultant contract whose RFP they wrote themselves and were awarded as the sole bidders (yes, this REALLY happened), let alone design another Frankentrain complete with single (yes, single, not double) trap doors http://www.ltk.com/uploadedImages/LTK/Project_Experience/Sub_Project_Experience/image003.jpg
    “LTK led the effort to assist NJ Transit’s program to procure multi-level cars for service throughout the New Jersey commuter rail system, including the Northeast Corridor. The project began in 2000 with LTK staff members analyzing the feasibility of multi-level commuter car operation on the corridor. The firm prepared concept specifications for the vehicles and conducted an industry review.
    This assignment required the development of a new vehicle concept that addressed the unique NJ Transit operating conditions, such as tunnel restrictions and high-level, as well as low-level platform stations. The design also needed to comply with the latest FRA regulations and APTA standards. The multi-level cars feature four doorways per vehicle side and efforts were made to maximize seating capacity while maintaining passenger comfort and enhancing passenger flow. LTK worked with NJ Transit to analyze its requirements, as well as with potential car builders and vehicle subsystem suppliers to review and assess the feasibility of alternative arrangements and designs for this application.
    LTK’s involvement on this program has covered the full range of pre-award and procurement management and technical support, including proposal review process and car builder negotiations.”
    http://www.ltk.com/projectexperiencedetails.aspx

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I was joking … :]

    Roland Reply:

    The people who live and work in the Peninsula do not think that this is funny!

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Where’s that face-palm emoji when you need it… ><

    synonymouse Reply:

    This is BART-MTC in action. Cannot have BART looking bad.

    I guess time to replace Caltrain with JerryTrain.

    EJ Reply:

    I’m sure Jerry Brown has a lot to do with the decision to have bathrooms on Caltrain. It’s kind of hilarious what a colossal idiot you are.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Certainly I may be an idiot at times but this reference was to HSR replacing Caltrain if the latter insists on going BART ghetto.

    On the other hand MTC has a long history of hostility towards Caltrain and utter servility towards BART. Removing Caltrain amenities would buttress MTC’s hopes and plans for replacing Caltrain with BART Ring the Bay.

    As much as it appears that BART has lost out, don’t count them out until they are stringing catenary. It is a rare day when BART loses on anything. BART goes on with its schemes even when the economy is poor. There are those who are whispering a downturn is underway right now and will become clear by the end of the year.

    I was definitely mentally challenged when I voted for Prop 1a.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You do know how close they are to stringing catenary?

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    How close are they?

    Clem Reply:

    The only two (minor) hurdles that remain are to award the contract this fall, and to deal with the Atherton CEQA lawsuit. I would say that qualifies as extremely close, if not inevitable. Do you think otherwise?

    Roland Reply:

    All bets are off the day the FTA finds out that Samtrans’ HSR “partners” are planning to use Caltrain’s EMU money to string wire: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Documents/Executed+9+Party+MOU.pdf page 6

    Clem Reply:

    The “string wire” contract is separate from the vehicle contract. How do you anticipate that the $440M FTA allocation would be spent on anything other than vehicle replacement?

    Roland Reply:

    Paging Morris.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    How do you anticipate that the $440M FTA allocation would be spent on anything other than vehicle replacement?

    Shitload and shitloads and SHITLOADS for the least competent, most rent-seeking, most corrupt, least competitive, best palm-greasing, and least ethical consultants that America’s Finest Transprotation Planning Professional club can deliver.

    Shitloads and shitloads for “staff overhead”. More of America’s Finest, but at an earlier and less lucrative stage of the lifetime gravy train ride.

    Shitloads and shitloads and shitloads and shitloads and SHITLOADS (50% to 100%) of overhead to set up Potemkin “Buy American” shell corporations, buy the legislation that excludes competition, buy the local legislators who give away taxes for the innumerate promise of a handful of token “good jobs” and “trickle down”, and reward the political consultants and titans of capitalism who make such massively profitable overheads possible.

    Whatever’s left over — while vastly more than any competent rail operator would ever pay for such pedestrian rail vehicles — will not be enough, so Caltrain will, once again, cry poor mouth about “stable funding sources” and “unique local conditions” and “state of good repair” and “complications of working on an active railroad” and “unique demanding high-tech environment” and more. More more more!

    What did you imagine they might spend the money on? Power electronics, aluminium extrusions, steel castings, … or quality control? Don’t be stupid!

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Um…I don’t believe it is fully funded at this point, rulemaking at CPUC for electrification etc

    synonymouse Reply:

    I like the “HST” stuff – I thought that was a high speed British Railways diesel train from the seventies.

    Roland Reply:

    “How do you anticipate that the $440M FTA allocation would be spent on anything other than vehicle replacement?”

    Let’s start with the small print at the bottom of the final version of the MOU while Morris looks for the link to the video of himself addressing the Palo Alto Rail Committee on the subject matter:

    “5. FTA Future Obligations is $315 million for electric multiple units (EMUs), $125 million from fixed guideway caps. Funds will be programmed in accordance with MTC Transit Capital Priorities process between approximately FY20 12-20 13 and FY2022-2023.”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Documents/Bay+Area+HSR+Early+Investment+MOU-+JPB+Board+Resolution+2012.pdf

    Clem Reply:

    @Richard: yes these will cost far more than they should. That comes with the territory: America’s Finest are what you get in America.

    @Roland: I don’t see the show-stopping issue that you are trying to point out. Is it that the money is programmed over a long time period?

    @Elizabeth, I’m pretty sure that there will be a swap of Prop 1A for CNT funds, which have fewer strings attached. There is some unfunded growth in the budget (and we’ll see more of that) which will be covered through an updated MOU after a thorough search between the couch cushions. The CPUC thing I used to think would be major, but the new GO for HSR will cover Caltrain reasonably well.

    This project has passed the point of no return. It costs way too much and will be delivered late, which is how US transit works.

    Roland Reply:

    @Clem. The $440M for the rolling stock was down to $315M before the ink dried on the 2012 MOU. You also need to deduct LTK’s 10% “Owner’s Management Oversight” premium (currently $65M) off that, so, right now, there is only $250M left for the EMUS or less than 50% of the $600M needed for a complete fleet replacement. http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2014/11-6-14+JPB+BOD+CalMod+Cost+and+Schedule+Update.pdf (slide 27).
    In the meantime the gallery cars are slowly disintegrating…

    orulz Reply:

    To summarize Richard’s opinion: Step 1: slash and burning everything related to transit in the US to the ground bar none. There may be some individuals with non-negative value but they are outnumbered and every agency and every corporation involved is “in the red” so to speak. Step 2: Hope that what moves in to fill the gap is less corrupt and more efficient. Step 3: If it isn’t, then slash and burn again and continue to stew in our own misery.
    To summarize Clem’s opinion: Make the best of the unpalatable situation we have and just move forward as quickly and reasonably as we can. Advocate for change with the existing players and within the confines of the existing agencies, but accept that moving forward will involve some nose-holding and shaking hands with greasy palms – but at least we get something done.

    Given the choice between the two, I chose Clem’s way.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or you have to move away to a less urban area because you cannot afford the groaning taxes necessitated by the continual botch-jobs and utter lack of accountability. When yuppie kumbaya cretins move in and vote for any and all taxes put before them all common sense is lost and it is time to bail.

    Roland Reply:

    Margaret Thatcher once famously warned her peers “Eventually, you will run out of other people’s money” and the changes she implemented eventually led to extraordinary infrastructure projects being delivered in London and elsewhere on time and on budget. So the question is whether to stay the course and brace ourselves for Yet Another Bay Bridge or try a different approach.

    Joe Reply:

    Holistic public transportation spending. The less you spend, the greater the benefit. just spending one dollar in the right place at the right time will produce more benefit than billions spent on actual projects.

    Yes I’m quite familiar with that approach to public spending. Also cutting public spending while going to war such as she did in the Falklands. Yes we know this approach very well.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    According to the Holy Laffer Curveif we spend less money the rich people will have so much that they wont’t know what to do with it that they will go out and create all sorts of productive enterprises that there will be jobs for everyone at great pay.
    … any decade now, we just have to cut taxes on rich people some more.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Roland, what would those Thatcher-era London investments be?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Chunnel. Oh wait, that turned out to be scheme to screw small investors. and it never got much farther east than the Channel

    Michael Reply:

    Thatcher got London the under-powered Docklands Railway going, which had to be fixed later with public money to make it actually work.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Brits love their 3rd rail. I wonder if that is where BART got its inspiration as well as NYC.

    EJ Reply:

    The Brits love their 3rd rail. I wonder if that is where BART got its inspiration as well as NYC.

    Do you genuinely not know that the majority of metro systems worldwide use 3rd rail electrification?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The London region has a very extensive network of suburban railways that are 3rd rail. This is not the same as an urban subway like the Tube.

    It is possible that Bechtel was looking at this example when they came up with BART supported duorail.

    Michael Reply:

    Yep, the Eurostar has (had?) third rails shoes that it used all the way to the Chunnel before HS1 was built. Assume third rail was adopted when the lines were electrified because the loading gauge wasn’t sufficient for overhead electrification.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    @Michael, the shoes have been removed, no longer required. When the old Southern Railway and indeed some of its electrified the suburban lines DC was the common standard. ‘m sure clearances had something to do with it as well, but in 1921 a Govt committee established a 1500V DC overhead as the national standard, but very little was installed. Some of that has since been removed (Woodhead Tunnel and approaches) or converted to 25kvAC (former GE suburban lines out of London).

    swing hanger Reply:

    Maybe it’s a mark of societal/cultural differences, but if you don’t have toilets on trains (entiely reasonable on commuter/s-bahn type trains), you make them available at as many stations as possible. If upkeep of station toilets is problematic, you put at least one on every train. Isn’t that part of being a civil society?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I totally agree, and the idea of fighting through a packed commuter train (this may not even be *possible* during the height of rush hour) to reach a toilet that’s probably filthy and often out of order, when I could just wait half an hour, seems ludicrous to me.

    Still, one point that I’ve seen people make about CalTrain is that, unlike better run rapid transit lines, their frequency sucks, so “use the station toilet, catch the next train” isn’t as viable an answer as it is in other cases.

    [Of course, I think the real answer to this is: make the frequency not suck! …. :]

    Joe Reply:

    CHICAGO metra

    Naperville to Chicago union station line where I grew up now runs 9 trains between 6am and 8am
    There are three track on that line.

    Caltrain runs 11 from San Fran to San Jose between 6am and 8am. Two track.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Actually, Metra runs 13 peak tph on the BNSF line (link). A lot of them short-turn, which is why you only found 9 trains per 2 hours serving Naperville, but then those 9 trains express to Union Station and pass local trains serving closer-in stations.

    Joe Reply:

    That’s interesting and a bit evasive. What about the consumer?
    Between 6 and 8 AM.
    Caltrain Sj to Sf
    11 trains

    To Chicago union station from ..,
    Naperville
    9 trains

    Lagrange
    7 trains

    Riverside
    5 trains

    Cicero
    5 trains

    So what is the comparative problem with Caltrain train frequency?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Caltrain doesn’t short-turn trains, so SJ gets a fair amount of frequency, as do Palo Alto, Millbrae, RWC, and Mountain View. But if you go look at California Avenue or San Mateo, peak frequency looks pretty ugly.

    Joe Reply:

    Cal Ave is very close to Palo Alto main stop. It is so close it is an alternative stop for Stanford University with free bus bus service. It should have less service.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s about 1.5 miles away – not quite walking distance. I recall that destination-end transfers tend to kill ridership, so just saying “everyone should transfer” doesn’t work. There are a fair number of jobs adjacent to the Cal Ave station as well.

    Clem Reply:

    Stanford is hardly the only employer at Cal Ave. Varian, Xerox, HP, Tesla, VMWare, Tibco, Lockheed, the VA, the list goes on and on… Cal Ave is severely underserved, like all the other stops throughout the diffuse Silicon Valley jobs cloud. It deserves far more focus and attention than Gilroy ever will.

    Joe Reply:

    Is Palo Alto vs California Ave a 9 vs 5 minute ride on a shuttle bus?

    Joey Reply:

    Not everyone rides a shuttle bus.

    joe Reply:

    Not everyone does X.

    Free Palo Alto City shuttle services City destinations closer to the California Ave stop which is one reason it has more service.
    http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/46638

    Secondly. most corporate references by Clem were to the page mill road offices which are easily accessed by Palo Alto Caltrain by shuttle bus from El Camino/Page Mill Road. It’s a straight shot.

    The awesome distance between the California Ave and Palo Alto station is under 1.7 miles . That puts Tesla Mo HQ either 3.0 miles (California Ave) or 4.5 miles (Palo Alto) away.

    How many people would rather drive because that added distance vs how many people would not ride Caltrain because they run more local stops?

    Ridership on express and limited stop trains versus local may suggest an answer.

    nslander Reply:

    What about beverage service?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’m told the Silverliner Vs don’t have toilets either.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Neither did earlier ones. They were saving money.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Not having at least one bathroom per train is a big mistake!

    Maybe they can supply piss bottles and porta-crappers (only $34.19 on Amazon!) for emergencies?

    The crews will absolutely love not having a bathroom. (They use them all the time.) Don’t get indigestion! Have irritable bowel syndrome? Tough, wear a diaper! Drink too much coffee? Enlarged prostate? Here’s what you can do (sorry vagina owners!).

    Roland Reply:

    The correct ratio is 1 toilet for +/-150 passenger seats (not including standees).

    Has anyone on this blog ever been stuck on a Caltrain for over 1 hour after a fatality or a mechanical failure? If so, you would understand why there are such long lines and some seriously nasty (and smelly) accidents on gallery trains (2 bathrooms for 1,000+ passengers) on game days.

    Folks should also take a look at Caltrain timetables (over two hours from Gilroy to SF each way) http://www.caltrain.com/schedules/weekdaytimetable.html before making rash judgments.

    IMHO a better solution would be to eliminate all the toilets on HSR to make room for bikes because Prop 1A mandates that HSR cannot take more than 30 minutes between the SF & SJ restrooms :-)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Prop 1a? When is Judge Kerry going to pass on that POS?

    Jon Reply:

    While I agree that there should be at least one bathroom on every train, Gilroy service will container to use bathroom-equipped diesel trains. SF – Tamien is the furthest you will travel without a bathroom.

    Roland Reply:

    SF to Tamien takes 1 hour 40 minutes and there are no bathrooms @ Tamien.

    Reality Check Reply:

    It’ll be a boon for families traveling with children (or even adults!) who you can bet will sooner than later crap or piss their pants for one reason or another.

    What happens when a crew member in the cab or pacing the train suddenly urgently needs a toilet? Today engineers have a toilet in the nose of the locomotive and when running a cab car, they sometimes need to run back and use the head quickly during a stop.

    What happens when a trainload of Bay to Breakers or Baseball or Concert or Pride Parade or fans gets stuck in a train stopped mid-line for a suicide (or some other reason) for an hour or more? Yum! Hey, can I borrow your backpack? Got any bags I can use? Real nice.

    This is not speculative or theoretical. It happens. It just did, a train jammed with Bay to Breakers partiers was stopped for an Atherton suicide just a couple of weeks ago!

    Here’s what I propose Caltrain staff do to save itself from its own foolish recommendation to have ZERO bathrooms on the clean shiny new EMUs: lock all bathrooms aboard Caltrain starting NOW as a trial. Sure, there will be huge problems, complaints and, and, and … but it’s easily reversible! If this trial is a disaster, then they’ve just avoided the EVEN BIGGER disaster of ordering brand new cars without bathrooms — which — OOPS, it turns out were needed!

    And in the unlikely event staff is “right” and bathrooms are really not needed, they will have proven to themselves and skeptics among us that they were right before taking the risk of being wrong.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The other alternative is to boycott Caltrain san W.C.’s if you can. Just as with BART.

    William Reply:

    @Reality Check, as you posted in Clem’s blog, Caltrain’s decision to not have bathroom on its new EMU may be due to ADA requirement that people with disability need to be able to board at any train car, and having just one bathroom means people with disability need to be able to move from anywhere in the train to the ADA bathroom, which is a big design challenge. So it is each car has its own ADA bathroom, or none at all.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Sounds reasonable. The bathrooms on the bi-levels are on the lower level while level-boarding would put needs persons on higher levels.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Also is the ADA requirement that they can board on any car? That’s certainly not true on Caltrain today.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Hmmm, good point William.

    (J. Wong: my understanding is that Caltrain is a grandfathered legacy system today … but if it goes to level boarding then that status goes away.)

    So if Caltrain is to have any onboard bathrooms on its level boarding EMUs, does ADA really require that wheelchairs can reach one from any car?

    If so, it either means one ADA bathroom per car or an open gangway design which would allow a chair to roll the length of the train(set) to reach the bathroom.

    For ADA compliance, I wonder if you could get away with having signage (toilet + wheelchair icon) on the train exterior showing which cars are ADA bathroom-equipped, allowing wheelchair and other disabled riders to know which car(s) to board for in-trip bathroom access?

    Hmmm.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The wheelchairs don’t have to be able to reach every nook and cranny on the train. They don’t need an acessible bathroom on every car either.

    The press release for the first round of multilevels NJTransit ordered.

    http://www.njtransit.com/tm/tm_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=PressReleaseTo&PRESS_RELEASE_ID=2283

    “The 234 multilevel car order consists of:

    86 coach cars (with ADA restrooms) with 132 seats
    33 cab cars (with ADA restrooms) with 127 seats
    115 coach cars (without restrooms) with 142 seats”

    Reality Check Reply:

    Ok adirondacker, if true, perhaps I was wrong to believe that with a fully ADA-compliant level-boarding system with at least one bathroom per train, wheelchairs would need to be able to reach and use that bathroom from any car they could board and ride in.

    I say “perhaps” because I don’t know that NJT is a fully ADA-compliant level-boarding system like I believe Caltrain would/should become. Is it?

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    The press release is from 2006. ADA has evolved considerably since then.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No it hasn’t.
    Maryland is taking delivery of them. I’m sure there are a few lawyers in Maryland who know how to sue the government. They didn’t.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Presumably you are referring to the MARC order placed in 2011. FRA ADA level-boarding revisions (such as 37.42) took effect in 2012.

    That being said, the rules are still pretty vague for legacy systems like Caltrain.

    JJJJ Reply:

    I dont think this is true at all. Theres no commuter rail system in the US with a bathroom in every car. To provide ADA accommodation, the train crew could hold the train at a station, allowing the wheelchair passenger time to traverse the length of the train on the platform, rather than within the train.

    Reality Check Reply:

    IANAL, but I suspect that would not pass muster.

    My guess is that one of these sue-happy attorneys who have made a specialty out of ADA violation “shakedown” suits hitting local restaurants and businesses, would make a pretty good case that you either have no bathrooms on board or they must be accessible from any part of the train a wheelchair can board and ride in.

    My hunch is if you want to try having ADA restrooms in only one or two cars per train, then you’d have to make it so wheelchairs can only board and ride in those cars … which may also draw a lawsuit.

    Welcome to ADAabuse.com

    More than 14,000 ADA/accessibility lawsuits have been filed in California in just the past few years by a small number of lawyers. Many firms have closed, dismissed employees or sought bankruptcy protection as a result.

    […]

    South Bay Business Owners Targeted by Serial ADA Lawsuits


    Disability Lawsuits Against Small Businesses Soar

    etc., etc., etc.

    William Reply:

    If Caltrain ever moved to fare-gates on major stations + tag-on/tag-off aboard the train at smaller stations type of fare collection system, instead of POP, then Caltrain can discuss reducing onboard staff and add station agents that enables moving some onboard amenities such as bathroom to stations.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Does Caltrain use POP? I thought that when “properly” implemented, POP doesn’t require staff on every/most trains, but rather just needs occasional checkers.

    [I’m no fan of POP, but moving to real POP does seem a smaller change for Caltrain than faregates etc.]

    J. Wong Reply:

    It does use POP but I’m guessing for contract/safety (FRA) reasons, they have to have staff on every train (and more for longer trains). Caltrain appears to have at least 2? (maybe 3) on every train (plus the engineer). One announces and operates the doors. The others may or not check POP. (A few are pretty consistent about it while I’d say most don’t at least on the route I ride. [They’re so consistent you can take a pretty good chance of riding fareless and not getting caught if you’re familar enough with it!])

    Clem Reply:

    Crewing levels are determined by union agreements, not safety regulations. The way Caltrain does POP is weird: they over-check and under-cite. Citations take a long time to issue, and conductors have other things to attend to (such as announcing stops, operating doors, and *gasp* acknowledging signal aspects… all functions that are automated in modern trains).

    I would be curious to know how much revenue they get from POP citations.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Taking that “pretty good chance of riding fareless” may cost you around $400.

    The fine/bail for violation of PC §640(C)(1) is $250 … but just as with traffic citations, with court fee add-ons, etc., it’ll cost you closer to $400.

  21. Roland
    May 30th, 2015 at 02:18
    #21

    BREAKING NEWS: Caltrain extends CBOSS PMO contracts for another 15 months (till the end of 2016)
    – Karen Antion LLC: $983,990
    – LTK Engineering: $4,395,168
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2015/2015-06-04+JPB+BOD+Agenda+Packet.pdf. Click on item #14 for the gory details.
    More fun stuff in the quarterly capital report (see red ink on page 11): http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/_Finance/Quarterly+Capital+Program+Status+Report/FY15_Q3_PCJPB_Quarterly_Report.pdf.
    Meanwhile, schedule & budget/cost traffic signals are all glowing a bright green (???)
    To be continued…

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Karen Antion LLC: $983,990, huh? Red ink, huh? Gory, huh?

    Amazing that an effectively sole proprietorship with an unmitigated record of failure (well, except in the important metric, which is “scamming government contracts”, “bleeding the public dry”, and “massively overbilling and under-delivering”) can manage to bill so many hours so often. More hours than there are in a week, even. On so many contracts. With so little oversight. With no bid competition, ever. With so few results.

    Caltrain is truly the promised land these days. Well over $100 million disappeared without any trace at all on a “signalling” program that amounts to pure, unmitigated, unquestionable, unambiguous fraud by agency consultants and contractors? But a trifle! There is so much more yet to come. The gravy train is rolling rolling rolling.

  22. morris brown
    May 30th, 2015 at 09:20
    #22

    HSR not welcomed in So. Ca. Communities…

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-opposition-20150530-story.html

    San Fernando leaders confront state officials over bullet train route

    Finding a route into the Los Angeles Basin for the California bullet train is proving far more difficult than it seemed a year ago, as opposition is surging in wealthy and working-class communities alike.

    The depth of opposition became more apparent Thursday evening when protesters in the city of San Fernando took over an open house meeting held by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. They demanded that state officials answer questions about the project’s impact on their community.

    But unlike typical protests, this one was led by elected officials. Seventy people, headed by the city’s mayor pro tem and other current and former city officials, marched into a city auditorium and set up their own public address system.

    With their Police Department on hand, they confronted state officials with anger that has not been seen even in the virulent opposition to the project in Northern California or the Central Valley.

    “The bottom line is you are not really welcome,” Mayor Pro Tem Sylvia Ballin told state officials, whose plans call for bisecting the small working-class city with high sound walls that the city fears will become an eyesore and magnet for graffiti.

    Travis D Reply:

    Wah the poor babies are upset. As if we are supposed to care.

    Clem Reply:

    I see two possible ways for this to play out:

    1) the HSR authority insists on ramming HSR through the 10 miles of suburbia from Santa Clarita to Burbank, and ends up with a solution similar to the peninsula, namely an Electrolink blended system with top speeds around 100 to 125 mph.

    2) they overcome the NIMBY resistance on the eastern Burbank direct routes and build E2.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I think the forest routes have the best chance especially if the costs cone in close to SR 14. Best would be E2 but I suspect E3 will have the least resistance. L.A. will really have to step up to get it done, financially and otherwise!

    synonymouse Reply:

    I don’t see Schiff caving on the Angeles National Forest routes – he would lose credibility with core liberal enviros as well as more conservative types to push thru a project that does not any longer enjoy majority political support amongst the electorate.

    Again is there anything as massive proposed at the Tejon Mountain Village as the E2 bridge? The Tejon Ranch has established the embargo principle and their property blighted by I-5 is nothing near as pristine as the National Forest ROW.

    I don’t think you need 100-125mph to satisfy the Palmdale real estate developers. BART 80mph is adequate, but they are going to want subsidy money to keep those commute fares not too high.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Blow $20bil on Palmdale? Surely rebuilding the PE makes more sense.

    IKB Reply:

    That’s my issue. They show 4 alternatives, all seriously overpriced, none of which address LA Union Station, which will be similarly overpriced, and throw it out for debate. And we’re dumb enough to buy it as if they’ve really done enough study on any of them to say these are the only real choices.

    Why not just stop HSR southbound at Bakersfield and take the bus – they call it Amtrak Thruway. Then let Metrolink, Nevada HSR, etc provide a better way in. Do the same up north, stop the tracks at Santa Nella, take the bus from there. Then let Caltrain figure out how to get there.

    Or get some real leadership involved if you really want HSR to happen

    J. Wong Reply:

    None of what you propose solves the basic problem of the southern mountain crossing, which is outside of the purview of Metrolink, Nevada HSR, etc., which means no solution, no HSR. We can already take the Amtrak Thruway from Bakersfield.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Once Palmdale is acquired from the south you can dispense with the rest, as the insiders’ objectives have been obtained.

    IKB Reply:

    Very good reason to do this bit last

    J. Wong Reply:

    Hmm, another prediction from @synon unlikely to be met. I get it, this is your hobby: coming up with outlandish reasons that HSR will fail as the project proceeds and each prediction does not come to pass. Good luck with that!

    IKB Reply:

    agreed. But I don’t think E1, E2, E3 or SR14 solve the basic problem of the southern mountain crossing AND getting to Union Station. The bus does, and it’s fully grade separated. And the current 2014 Business Plan says that’s how we’re going to get from SF to Merced for the IOS, and that 5m of us will do it in the first year, and generate enough revenue to have the private sector fighting for a piece of the action. HSR needs a lot of honesty and true leadership if it is to deliver it’s promise. Good time to start might be now; good place to start might be to understand what others do and learn from it

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, they don’t solve it, but are a piece of it. Personally, I’d rather they worked on Bakersfield-Palmdale next, but whatever. (Of course, Tejon doesn’t have to be broken up into two segments.)

    What others do is that the governments allocate the funds and they build it. Not really hard.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The real estate developers have a handle on Jerry Brown so just build out LA to Palmdale for Amtrak speeds and that will shut them up. The rest was just window dressing, an afterthought.

    EJ Reply:

    Wow, you really seem to have a lot of inside info on SoCal real estate schemes. Why don’t you go ahead and name some names or detail some of this. That would be really interesting.

    BTW there already is a LA-Palmdale link capable of “Amtrak speeds,” it’s called the Metrolink Antelope Valley Line.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Since he knows all there is to know about the real estate conspiracies, why isn’t he out leveraging that to make lots of money?

    IKB Reply:

    how do you all add to this stuff absent [Reply]. I have thoughts on J. Wong’s “What others do is that the governments allocate the funds ” but it’s unclear how or where to express them. And “what others do and learn from it”. Who remembers “freedom fries”; no-one ever publicly apologized for that though they still remain due, and the French most certainly inspired the HSR concept by making it work

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @IKB
    The French did well, but HSR was already a well established (indeed, downright famous) concept by the time they got around to doing it (Shinkansen start: 1964, TGV start: 1981)…

    IKB Reply:

    but you forget, the Japanese did not get to downtown Tokyo initially; that came later. The French got to downtown Paris on legacy tracks w/o any tunneling and do today, and it works fine

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Synonymouse always flirts with enough conspiracy theories as to sound as if he has inside information, but then notoriously lacks corroborating information.

    Certainly, the developer class in Southern California would very much like to keep paving over Palmdale and selling single-family homes to immigrants from Asia and Latin America as they have been doing for the last 15 years.

    But the reason that political support for Palmdale has been so strong in LA is that Palmdale helps Los Angeles monopolize water use in Southern California. The LA aqueduct is really the only place that Palmdale can draw its surface water from, and you might think that would work against LA’s interests but actually it serves them quite well, because it means LA has to pull more water from communal sources that it competes for like the Colorado River or State Water Project.

    However, because of the uneven economic recovery in the Inland Empire and the sequester wiping out a lot of federal hiring in downtown LA, the demand for housing in the Antelope Valley is quite weak and there’s little chance a fast commute option from Palmdale to LA is going to attract very many riders even if it’s subsidized.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @IKB
    The initial Shinkansen segment (opening in 1964) was between Tokyo station and Shin-Osaka station. Both are very much “downtown.”

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Shin-Osaka isn’t quiiiiite in the CBD, but it’s very close.

    EJ Reply:

    @Ted Judah I’m kidding of course. Syno’s just a sleazy, dishonest conspiracy theorist. Like most conspiracy buffs, he’s capable of expounding several entirely contradictory theories, to whit:

    1) CAHSR is terrible and no one will ride it.
    2) Unnamed powerful real estate interests are throwing down $millions of bribes to influence CAHSR, because their schemes depend on high speed rail access.

    But, like you say, everyone knows that SoCal politics is all about water. HSR is meaningless.

    IKB Reply:

    @Miles Bader are you really sure about that. My memory says they made it to Tokyo but not the downtown station they use today. Their decision to use standard gauge did not allow an option to use legacy track (3ft 6in) so they stopped short of “downtown” – I suppose one can argue about what constitutes downtown yesterday, today, or tomorrow, but I don’t think it’s the same station

    Ted Judah Reply:

    EJ,

    Synonymouse is a veteran of the BART Wars which color his attitude toward CAHSR because of the similarities involved.

    Developers do have a keen interest in using the system to stimulate demand for housing and land…but that’s as story as old as time itself in California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There is a very fine line between corporate lobby and conspiracy.
    There is a very fine line between patronage machine and conspiracy.

    They are just above the law mafiosi in my estimation.

    Van Ark must have crossed some powerful interests to get fired so quick. And don’t peddle some nonsense about some kind of French “conspiracy”.

    To “sleazy” and “dishonest” you should add really dumb in my case. I should have money but don’t. Must be lack of imagination. A goodly number of those who epitomize “sleazy” and “dishonest” are amongst the richest; I suppose they must have some smarts to complement their corruption and venality.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @IKB
    I wasn’t around in 1964, but I’m pretty sure. E.g. see the second photo in the following BBC story, captioned “The Tokaido Shinkansen is launched at Tokyo Station in 1964”: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140714-built-for-speed-the-bullet-train

    The notion of “downtown” is somewhat more vague in Tokyo than in many other cities—commerce and employment in Tokyo distributed among a bunch of different “downtowns”—but the area around Tokyo station is as close “the CBD” as you’re going to get, and that hasn’t changed greatly since 1964 to the best of my knowledge.

    Given Tokyo Station’s role as “the center” in Japanese railroading, and its long historical resonance, there’s very little chance they would have wanted to start anywhere else.

    [You may be thinking of some other case, e.g., plans for the Joetsu Shinkansen to go to Shinjuku, which were canned for cost reasons (it goes to Tokyo Station instead).]

    In any case, any notion that the 1964 Tokaido Shinkansen was “incomplete,” or that HSR wasn’t an “established concept” until the French did it, is just silly.

    IKB Reply:

    @Miles B, happy to be corrected. And your link shows that magnificent picture of Shinkansen (elevated) passing in front of Mt Fuji – a mark of national pride and international envy. One would like to think the same of the picture shown of CAHSR crossing Tujunga Canyon (with the horses), but that wasn’t why they produced it; they’d prefer our pride to be buried where you can’t see it. What a sorry shame

    orulz Reply:

    IKB, you may be thinking of the Tohoku Shinkansen which was completed as far south as Ueno by 1985, reaching Tokyo Station 6 years later in 1991. The Shinkansen extension to Tokyo came at the cost of losing two of the six conventional Cape Gauge tracks between Ueno and Tokyo. Losing those tracks created a bottleneck, making this possibly the most crowded segment of rail in all of Japan, probably the world (Don’t quote me on that, I didn’t research it.) The bottleneck was only finally corrected in March of this year, with construction of the Ueno-Tokyo line which is elevated over the Shinkansen tracks.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually I’m guessing there aren’t any real liberal enviro’s against the forest routes so I wouldn’t imagine credibility is at risk at all. The proffered arguments are transparently NIMBYism obvious to most, which is why I said that E3 will have the leastopposition.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There are a lot of liberals unhappy with CAHSR, starting with Willie and Gavin and maybe Kamala.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Really? That’s what you come up with to support your statement about “liberal enviro’s”? I think your debate style is if I say a true non sequitur, then anything else I say must be true.

    Those three are oestensibly liberals, yes, but they are not “enviro’s” by any stretch. And they are politicians. Their positioning on HSR is arguably the opposite of liberal, which I think is the point. (It gives them the appearance of being less liberal, and therefore more “reasonable”.)

    So how then would Schiff lose credibility?

    synonymouse Reply:

    I thought the horsey set were automatically liberal enviros.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Far, far from it.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    100%tea party

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Wouldn’t the horseys tend to be more traditional “So let them eat cake!” republicans, rather than tea-partiers (who are more likely to live in a trailer park)…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The horsey set are limousine liberals.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yeah, I’d also put my bets on E3. Basic principle of “bury it” plus minimum number of property owners overhead.

    les Reply:

    ok, lets give them a 10 lane highway instead.

    les Reply:

    Something to really cry about.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You are going to get your 10 lane highway no matter what. Auto sales are booming.

  23. jimsf
    May 30th, 2015 at 22:02
    #23

    They should choose the alignment that is the most realisitc politically. Too bad they can avoide tunneling altogether and just follow the 14 but on a straighter alignment.

    Joey Reply:

    They should choose the alignment that’s most likely to get built. It doesn’t matter if every single person along the route is on board with it if it costs too much to ever secure funding for.

    Also following SR-14 is meaningless. You’re either following the freeway very closely, in which case the trains will operate at freeway speeds, or you’re not, in which case you’re tunneling through hills and taking residential properties near the freeway.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Freeway speeds are all you need to Palmdale. What is wanted is all day frequent service like BART and subsidized fares.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[A]ll day frequent service like BART and subsidized fares.”

    Why do the need to build HSR to get that? You’re really getting senile @synon, all they need to do to get that is up the frequency in the Antelope Valley line, which is already subsidized.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think that idea lost favor when the High Desert Corridor lost steam with Reid’s retirement in Nevada. A rebuilt 14 freeway with HSR running down the middle made sense if it would continue on along the High Desert Corridor to Victorville.

    But if that idea isn’t happening, I suspect the “China Syndrome” tunnels are a better value given that the freeway expansion would require plenty of property takings along the route.

    IKB Reply:

    they should choose an alignment that makes sense – period. And yes, they can avoid a lot of tunneling if they accept a lower design speed. And unlikely they’ll actually go the design speed in a tunnel anyway

    this is what others do

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/high-speed/single-view/view/first-shinkansen-train-through-the-seikan-tunnel.html

    Tracklaying on the 148•9 km first phase of the Hokkaido Shinkansen from Shin-Aomori to Hakodate was officially completed in November 1 last year, including the commissioning of dual-gauge tracks through the Seikan Tunnel. Maximum speed on this section will be 260 km/h, although the trains will be limited to 140 km/h through the tunnel

  24. Donk
    May 30th, 2015 at 23:52
    #24

    Well, good thing they didn’t start with the bookends.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They did not have the nerve. But nowhere to nowhere is just a longer testtrack and you still have to come up with wire, signalization and rolling stock to show off your prototype layout. And keep it energized or the Valley bangers will cut down your wire. With forced transfers to ordinary diesels and/or buses. Or just run diesel Amtrak on you new trak and that is not much of a show.

    I guess it is too much to hope Judge Kerry will put this thing out of its misery.

    Jerry Reply:

    So is there a 125 mph Diesel engine available to use on the new IOS HSR tracks until electrification comes along??
    Sort of a Super San Joaquin. Or the San Joaquin on steroids as you say.

    trentbridge Reply:

    The Departments of Transportation for the U.S. states of Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington have awarded Siemens a contract for the delivery of 32 diesel-electric passenger locomotives. The contract is valued at approximately €165 million ($225 million). It includes a purchase option for another 225 locomotives which will be used for regional and mainline trains traveling at speeds of up to 200 km/h (125 mph). The 32 locomotives ordered are scheduled to be delivered between fall of 2016 and mid-2017.

    Bingo…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Not quite, but as Spokker used to say, “Acela of the West” is probably the intermediate step between full HSR build out and what we have today.

    The challenge is who would pay for it.

    Currently, the Brown Administration realigned funding for the San Joaquins to a regional JPA that doesn’t include Los Angeles County. If you are only talking about replacing the San Joaquins, you don’t need a diesel-electric hybrid because there won’t be any long tunnels on the order of what is being proposed between Bakersfield and LA.

    But if you did, and electrified the tunnels between Palmdale and Burbank, the JPA would certainly demand a pound of flesh…and I don’t know what LA’s response would be…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I would suspect that just like Illinois is paying for the locomotives that will be used in Illinois and Washington is paying for the locomotives that will be used in Washington and the ones in Michigan… that California is paying for the locomotives California will be using. Though the ones that Michicgan will be paying for will probably be used in Indiana and Illinois.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Um…clearly you aren’t familiar with SB 1262….

    Zorro Reply:

    Medical marijuana regulation?

    EJ Reply:

    The Brits have been running 125 mph diesel trains for over 30 years now. They were the mainstay of the intercity routes until electrification really got rolling.

    Roland Reply:

    Intercity 125 has been around for 40 years and will be replaced by Intercity 250 (Hitachi Super Express) over the next 10. Approximately half of the Intercity 250 fleet will be Class 800 (diesel/electric hybrid) and the other half Class 801 (EMUs with a single diesel powerpack for emergencies and shunting in and out of depots at max 30 MPH). The Class 800 and 801 are both capable of 140 MPH under 25 KV but the Class 800 max off-grid speed is 125 MPH.

    J. Wong Reply:

    There’s no track nor any contract for track or signaling for that matter. The Authority also won’t be buying any diesels nor has Caltrans proposed or budgeted for doing so.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Doesnt the Surfliner do 110mph? And they use the same engines as the San Joaquin.

    Thats an improvement over the 79mph the San Joaquin is limited to, especially if its non-stop between Fresno an Bakersfield.

    EJ Reply:

    No, the Surfliner does have a couple of spots where it’s allowed to do 90 mph, due to ATS having been installed in the 1950s. There were proposals to upgrade some of the route to 110 mph but nothing’s been funded. Those engines are indeed designed to go up to 110 mph, but they don’t do it in regular service.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The nerve? Actually I think what they lacked was the money.
    Or do you think that they secretly had the $10b?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Well certain aspects of the northern bookend are proceeding. In fact, it will be ready to run trains before any other section ;-) even in the Central Valley.

    Roland Reply:

    @79 MPH which makes it somewhat difficult to connect SJ to SF in under 30 minutes hence the Brady lawsuit.

    J. Wong Reply:

    That’s Caltrain’s speed limit not necessarily HSR’s. Of course it wouldn’t meet the time requirement at first but nothing says it has to the invalid legal reasoning of the Brady plaintiffs not withstanding.

  25. Roland
    May 31st, 2015 at 14:40
    #25

    Wong again: 79 MPH is the speed limit for a Class 4 track. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_speed_limits_in_the_United_States#Track_classes.
    The Caltrain ROW is a Class 4 track maintained as a Class 3 (on a good day).

    Reality Check Reply:

    Whatever.

    Caltrain routinely runs at up to 79 mph (sometimes a little more, my GPS tells me) on the Peninsula today.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: I clocked Amtrak doing 92 4 years ago (seriously scary!!!).
    I have no idea who the driver was but Mr. Bostian was definitely on the payroll at the time. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Brandon-Bostian-Amtrak-Engineer-in-Deadly-Philadelphia-Train-Derailment-Once-Worked-For-Caltrain-303683331.html.
    I also clocked TASI doing 86 multiple times until someone suggested clocking trains in real time with on-board GPS (Scanlon was going to use radar guns???)

    Eric M Reply:

    Caltrain technically maintains Class 5 track (for the most part), not Class 3 and can run at 90 MPH, but routinely stays at or below 80 MPH.

    Roland Reply:

    “technically” is the key word here. The seat of my pants tells me otherwise.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Unless you have cab signals you have to stay under 80.

    Nathanael Reply:

    PTC is supposed to qualify as cab signals for this purpose universally. So everyone’s required to have cab signals by THIS December, December of 2015. Of course a bunch of railroads are saying they will miss the federal deadline (because they were lazy asses) — Caltrain is likely to be on this list.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Oh? Is it not the case that legally exceeding 79 mph requires in-cab signaling? (Which Caltrain doesn’t have, and so is not supposed to exceed 79 mph.)

    J. Wong Reply:

    Except eventually CBOSS I suppose is supposed to address this issue and let them run faster.

    EJ Reply:

    No. The Pacific Surfliner for one has several 90 mph segments where the line is equipped with ATS, but no cab signals. Likewise the Southwest Chief has a number of 90 mph segments.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ATS is cab signaling. Primitive but it’s cab signals.

    EJ Reply:

    Not really. The term “cab signalling” generally refers to continuous displays which repeat or replace lineside signals. ATS just has an alerter which then applies the brakes if the engineer fails to respond in a set time.

  26. J. Wong
    May 31st, 2015 at 15:30
    #26

    Actually it’s Class 5 Caltrain Design Criteria – Chapter 2 Track.

    But running a train and running a train at speed are two different things. I was never suggesting that the northern bookend would be running HSR although it will be able to run HSR trainsets before the Central Valley (but it will never run HSR at HSR speeds).

Comments are closed.