CHSRA Solicits Private Sector Input on HSR Construction and Management

Jun 24th, 2015 | Posted by

Today’s Bakersfield Californian has a good, in-depth article on the latest effort by the California High Speed Rail Authority to issue a “request for expressions of interest” for international companies and potential private sector partners.

While this is certainly not the first time the CHSRA has solicited responses from the private sector, the Bakersfield Californian article points out that this comes at an important moment in the project’s development. The nature of private sector involvement could determine how much money is needed to get the project built – and how much the private sector plans to contribute.

This process is driven by decisions made way back in the Schwarzenegger Administration (remember him?) that emphasized high speed rail would be built in California not on the model of BART or Metro Rail, where government owns and operates the system and contracts with the private sector to build it – but that HSR would be a public-private partnership, an opportunity for the private sector to do much more and potentially reap greater profits.

I’ve never been a fan of this approach, and one of the very first posts on this blog back in 2008 was about my deep skepticism of using public-private partnerships on the HSR project. But Schwarzenegger wanted it to happen as a condition of his support for the $9 billion in bonds to go to the ballot, and so the deal was cut, though the decisions about what exactly the private sector’s role would be were kicked down the road.

And so here we are, seven years later, with the CHSRA starting to give serious thought to this all important question. The Bakersfield Californian lays out the various options like this:

As the rail authority tries to bring in the private sector, and to a large extent diminish its own central role, many options are on the table. For example, it could hand over much of the rest of the construction, train manufacturing and operation to a single company willing to pay for the privilege. Or, it could set up a series of smaller agreements with different companies…

One option, he said, is to proceed as do major European high-speed rail systems: Have the agency own everything and operate the system itself. Another is to contract with a private company to run the trains but leave ownership to the rail authority.

Or, he said, the authority could build the system and then line up a franchise operator who would get some say in “setting fares, estimating demand, providing capacity, etc.,” like the British do. This gives the government greater control than do other models, but at a cost of retaining commercial risk, which the state may not want.

Another possibility Thompson cited was to give an operating company a full concession to operate the system, including providing the trains. Although this would garner private investment, he said it’s “not a silver bullet since the arrangement can never be any better than the fundamental business performance of the system. He noted that Taiwan tried this and failed.

Otherwise, the system could be fully privatized, as happened in Japan in 1987. The problem with that model, Thompson said, is that payments from the private company might never amount to what taxpayers paid to build the system.

I would strongly prefer the first option, but given the need for private funding to help close the gap and get the system built, I am guessing that some of the other options are more likely.

The key is that whatever the private sector’s role is, it has to be subordinate to the effective operation of the system, including maximizing ridership so that the system can play as large a role as possible in meeting the state’s transportation and carbon reduction needs. A private operator, for example, would be strongly tempted to maximize revenue from fares even if this has the effect of reducing ridership or making the trains unaffordable to working-class Californians.

It will certainly be interesting to see what responses CHSRA gets.

  1. jimsf
    Jun 24th, 2015 at 22:31
    #1

    Just curious, and not saying this is the best idea, but is it possible
    say they were to choose amtrak/ amtrak california to operate the system using their existing labor, reservations, ticketing platforms, websites, and so forth, but, in order to meet the “no public subsidy” requiremnt, they keep the accounting seperate so that the hsr portion of the aforementioned amtrak california operations would pay for itself with no subsidy.
    would that be possiblen and would that be a good way to make sure the entire state rail system is fully integrated – schedules, transfers, ticketing, maintenance and so on…
    It makes sense to me.

    My concern is that the state will have yet another agency, yet another layer of meddling fingers, another disjointed service. We see how bad it is in the bay area were 952 different agencies operate while refuse to talk to each other.

    god forbid we actually give passengers what they want…. a simple hassle free travel experience.
    oh nos! we can’t have that!

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The most logical partnership would be for a commercial airline to be the operator but to have the State continue to own the track and charge a small access fee for the carrier to use it and the stations.

    However, with the decline in demand for air travel, it might be hard to find a carrier who would want have something to gain from this arrangement. I always thought Alaska would make sense because they don’t run many flights between the Bay Area and Southern California, but fly frequently over the rest of the West Coast.

    As a fallback, I would propose a consortium of major California companies (Intel, Disney, Visa, etc.) which would fund a set amount of a HSR holding company in exchange for proprietary rights in the HSR system. This would help offset the fact, as Lou Thompson points out, that private investors need to have a profit motive to invest in CAHSR. And if HSR service itself isn’t a strong enough profit motive, then you need to add something more valuable to businesses that would be of little worth to the State.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The militant unions will not permit a private operator on trackage outright owned by the State.

    A private operator for BART?

    jimsf Reply:

    what militant unions? I dream my union would be militant. hah. There is no such thing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    TWU 250A.

    Sick-out happy.

    Travis D Reply:

    Yeah they are so militant wages have not been stagnant since the 1970’s. They are so militant that America leads the world in vacation time and maternity leave.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The airlines are also represented by TWU…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The airlines are not Willie Brown.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Willie Brown is not the handmaiden of TWU 250…Speaker Pelosi on the other hand…

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[M]ilitant”?

    I guess they might strike BART unless they get the contract to HSR except that it would be illegal!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Nothing is illegal about it when you have Jerry and Nancy and their political progeny on your side. Willie Brown’s descendant will offer to step in and “negotiate”. Translation: capitulate.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So “[n]othing is illegal about it” implies Jerry might as well declare himself “Governor for life” and get rid of the Legislature. Why hasn’t that happened?

    The reality is that nothing is as powerful as you assume, @synon. Everyone must operate within the law. And claiming that Prop1A is being violated is your opinion, not a legal opinion and not a fact as such.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Prop 1a is effectively vacated.

    BART and Muni unions threaten a strike and the pols cave.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Claiming “Prop 1a is effectively vacated” and repeating it, ad naseum does not make it so. Cite some evidence, maybe?

    And why do you think the “pols” cave? Because the unions are all powerful? Or more likely because their constituents would rebel if they couldn’t get to work?

    synonymouse Reply:

    As to vacating Prop 1a it will be instrumental to see what Judge Kerry rules. I assume by the end of the year. But he could be burnt out and just wave everything thru and fuggedaboutit.

    The pols cave because they are paid off.

    EJ Reply:

    whoopsie daisy! There you go talking about BART again! We were discussing CAHSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ EJ

    Quoting from the posting above:

    “…on the model of BART or Metro Rail, where government owns and operates the system …”

    jimsf Reply:

    I really dont see a group of companies as you mentioned wanting to bother with all that complicated stuff to make what little profit there may be. And that would still leave you with a balkanized statewide rail system.
    The goal here, for the people of california, is too have an integrated, comprehensive statewide transportation system that is simple to use.as for the airlines. Everybody freakin hates the airlines why in hell would we want them in charge of our rail travel “experience” when the first thing they will do is make it as bad as the flying experience.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Maybe Richard Branson would want to form a new company, Virgin California, to make a stab at it, but I really don’t see any existing airline making that choice.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Branson will sell you the Virgin name for 10% of the take. Don’t expect him to do anything.

    BrianR Reply:

    Richard Branson already has his eyes on operating the Hyperloop. He wouldn’t bother with HSR especially since it’s doors won’t “operate like this” (gull wing style) like the Hyperloop’s doors. That’s what’s most important to those people anyways!

    Michael Reply:

    I doubt most of that. Google “Virgin Trains”.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Kinda doubt Branson would be content with subsidy payments particularly since he would face war from the get-go with the house unions.

    J. Wong Reply:

    What “house unions”? You have evidence? Are the “house unions” running the San Joaquins or Caltrain?

    BrianR Reply:

    I know all about Virgin Trains but what I am saying is when in California Branson will do all he can go stay loyal to his “three comma club”.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Your fears of balkanization though, transcend what is going with high speed rail.

    The Brown Administration has shifted much of the responsibility for state programs to counties and other local governments, largely in the name of subsidiarity. But most of these local entities haven’t responded by raising taxes or otherwise trying to meet the state halfway. Instead, they are fighting among themselves over how to use these things to generate revenue because of how much they rely on State-distributed funding after Proposition 13.

    That’s why I laugh when I hear synonymouse’s assertion that a statewide public entity is going to run this thing. Brown can barely acknowledge the need for statewide water resource control and a State Department of Transportation…how is he going to sign off on a huge new transit operator??

    synonymouse Reply:

    huge new transit operator?

    PG&E?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That would almost make sense except for the fact that in Southern California and the Central Valley there are public utilities that would not agree with PG & E’s approach.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Here’s a group of companies that want in on the CAHSR…
    http://www.jchighspeedrail.com/

    J. Wong Reply:

    Last updated in 2013?

    Eric Reply:

    I think the videos on that site were intended for middle-schoolers

    Andy M Reply:

    Are there actually any examples of airlines having run an inter city train service for any length of time?

    Virgin maybe? But Virgin actually keeps its rail and air businesses pretty well compartementalized.

    In the UK the privatization brought in the bus companies and made them to train companies en masse, with airlines, if present at all, being there in a minority role.

    The same is happening in Spain, with ALSA now preparing to operate train services of its own.

    To me it seems thare are more similarities between trains and buses than there are between trains and airlines. There is not much airline knowledge that is actually of much value in running a train. If there are going to be private train companies, I expect these will be the likes of Greyhound long before any airline steps up.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Maybe the “Lufthansa Airport Express” between Frankfurt and Köln may count. However, that was essentially a flight on rails, and (officially) not accessible without a flight ticket.

    What happens when airline knowledge is applied to trains is something we can see in many places, among them the channel tunnel services being the worst, IMHO.

    Andy M Reply:

    Yes, I had forgotten about the “Lufthansa Airport Express”. That one did last for a while but finally Lufthansa threw the towel. They replaced it by a codeshare system so they could book their passengers onto regular trains. I think this is a symptomatic development as it shows airlines value the partnership of railroads but don’t want to get involved in actually running them as the disciplines required are too far outside their focus and philosophy. As you rightly say, Eurostar is an example of the worst and most detrimental of airline thinking being applied to railroads. If the airlines were both interested in and had good solutions for railroads, they would already be investing in and operating them now across the globe and especially in Europe where opne access arrangements should make that possible. For example it is sympotamtic that the Italian open access operator NTV started as a private equity initiative and was not initiated by any airline. In Spain, the bus operator ALSA is taking stpes to move into high speed trains. The UK has seen various open-access operators (WSMR, Hull trains, GCR) compete with the incubents. These were all initiated by either bus or train people and nowhere can any trace of airline interest be found.

    The airlines may like to go after high speed rail for the prestige value. But I don’t think they’re the best or most innovative people to work with when it comes to trains.

    Peter Reply:

    Lufthansa Airporr Express wasn’t operated by Lufthansa but by DB on behalf of Lufthansa.

    The Wikipedia gods say that it was discontinued because of Lufthansa’s poor financial state in 1993 and the need to do a midlife overhaul of the Donald Duck trainsets.

    Andy M Reply:

    Weren’t the Donald Duck trains replaced in the final years by 103s and Eurofima coaches painted into Lufthansa livery?

    Peter Reply:

    Not replaced, but supplemented. The service was discontinued at the same time as the Donald Duck trains were retired.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I may be wrong, but I think that was the service to Stuttgart (instead of a short flight).

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Well, Lufthansa was able to get a charter deal with DB quite easily. The trains used as Lufthansa Airport Express got obsolete when DB made the ICs dual-class. With about 180 seats, they were at the time OK, but with only 4 units, the best they could make was a train every 2 hours between Frankfurt and Düsseldorf at best. So, there was not much potential, and the lease may have become too expensive (compared to just buying a number of seats in the regular IC(E)s, which offered a service every hour, and to more destinations (such as Stuttgart, or even München).

    With the opening of the high speed lines, the Class 401 became too slow anyway, and maintenance got more and more expensive.

    Jon Reply:

    It’s possible to have a multitude of different operators wwithout having a Balkanization of the transit system. The key is to have one central authority that sets the routes and fares, and franchises the job of providing the services out to the private sector, or a mix of private and state agencies. That’s how it works in the UK, where there are many private rail operators but they all come under the umbrella of Network Rail, who maintain the infrastructure and operate a unified ticketing system. Or in London, where there is a massive bus network that is run by private companies and administered by Transport for London but looks completely unified to the end user.

    I don’t think this is necessarily the best model for a national rail network, but it’s one that could work well in California, where the rail network is already Balkanized and badly needs unifying. You could imagine a California Rail website where you can book a ticket from any rail station in the state to any other, with a single ticket, regardless of whether the journey used HSR, San Joaquins, Surfliner, Capitol Corridor, ACE, Caltrain, Metrolink, or some combination of the above.

    With this sort of unified branding in place it wouldn’t matter who operated HSR; they would just be another part of the rail system. Virgin might be a good choice as they operate trains in the UK and also have major U.S. hubs at SFO and LAX. They could sell through tickets with a transfer to a flight at SFO, and possibly BUR if they moved some operations there. But whoever operates HSR should integrate with conventional rail first and foremost; integration with air should be a secondary consideration.

    Roland Reply:

    Right on the money Jon but what does this have to do with building a high speed line???

    Questions for the Board of directors after what happened at the last Board meeting:
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2015/brdmtg_060915_Item5_Consider_Providing_Approval_to_Execute_and_Award_the_Rail.pdf
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6heuF-GJeFU#t=10978 (fast-forward 03:03:00)

    1) Why did you let your staff attach a boat anchor to Network Rail’s ankles???
    2) Why did you let your staff throw the dream team that designed, built and FINANCED HS1 under the bus???
    3) Who on your staff has background and expertise comparable to that of Professor Andrew McNaughton’s? https://www.gov.uk/government/people/andrew-mcnaughton#current-roles

    Jon Reply:

    Wait, I’m not following. The board awarded the contract to PB/Network Rail/LeighFisher. Why do you say they threw Network Rail under the bus?

    Roland Reply:

    1) The contract award condemned Network Rail to the Parsons Brinkerhoff gallows for 7 years and that pretty much put an end to plans to leverage Network Rail’s vast (and often unique) expertise in Northern California.

    2) Network Rail had NOTHING to do with designing, building or FINANCING HS1.
    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/who-is-who-in-high-speed-1.html are the people who got thrown under the bus.

    Jon Reply:

    Okay, makes sense. But, given that Network Rail voluntarily went into partnership with PB for this bid, I don’t think you can blame the CAHSR staff for “shackling” them to PB.

    Roland Reply:

    The easiest way to unshackle them would have been to award the contract to the correct bidders.
    Moving forward, I guess that Ron Hartman will have a lot of explaining to do once the mothership figures out what REALLY happened here…

    JJJJ Reply:

    Yes, especially because Amtrak California is run out of CalTrans anyway

    J. Wong Reply:

    They’re not going to choose Amtrak unless Amtrak decides to make a proposal. There wouldn’t be any subsidies though if they did. Subsidies are operational per route not generally given to Amtrak.

  2. synonymouse
    Jun 24th, 2015 at 23:08
    #2

    This is a joke. They already spurned a French proposal to build an hsr line that might have broken even on operating costs.

    What for profit outfit is going to want to go on record critiquing PB and its schemes? They will just shuck and jive and tell Jerry the nostrums he wants to hear. The realists know this thing will disappoint and wash their hands of it.

    Travis D Reply:

    The French design was terrible and in no way anything I would have ever supported. Thank goodness it never got beyond planning.

    Joe Reply:

    What design? They had a PowerPoint presentation.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Their route(and that of Musk)was correct. No for profit outfit will get involved with this gerrymandered jury-rig. Other than to pick up a subsidized check for a short time until the unions go on the offensive to get rid of any private operator. With the approval and assistance of the party bosses.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And what exactly is PB’s PowerPoint? Base tunnels off in the wrong direction to Palmdale leading into 90 degree curves and passing thru a fault in tunnel. Violating their own a priori ground rules.

    Joe Reply:

    Today’s word is UNiON. Use it in every post.

    By the way, which Union secured your pension?

    synonymouse Reply:

    I dunno – who initiated Civil Service. I know Ronnie killed it in 1984.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Civil Service was initiated after the Teapot Dome scandal…it was a progressive reform, not a union-backed one…

    joe Reply:

    You know.
    All this tough union bashing talk.

    It’s embarrassing to admit you’re feeding off mother’s tit while acting tough guy.

    Where’s the beef? You’re all veal.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Once again Joe, how many years were you in the union?

    joe Reply:

    Whenever I am eligible and there’s one to join and pay dues. I however am not union bashing and collecting a union protected pension.

    I also don’t know much about “undocumented-no shows” and other scams. Too busy working to pay into your social security. I gladly do so because SS is part of my retirement planning.

    You won’t find me under cutting benefits for any salaried employee or retiree. You should reconsider.

    synonymouse Reply:

    These public sector unions have become extraordinarily greedy and pushy. That’s why you see a movement to ban their strikes.

    Michael Reply:

    If you take a job and there’s a promise of whatever compensation, shouldn’t that be kept? A lot of pension funds from private businesses were raided in the 80’s and 90’s, leaving the worker’s retirement gone, but corporate raiders rich. Now the greedy unions are fighting from politicians doing the same. Damn pushy unions!

    If one is hired to do a job, and agrees to whatever compensation, it’s not fair to come back later and say, oh, sorry about the retirement you thought you were getting.

    joe Reply:

    “These public sector unions have become extraordinarily greedy and pushy. That’s why you see a movement to ban their strikes.”

    The movement to ban strikes existed before unions formed but you have total disregard for factual history. A mental “no-show”. No point in feeding the union troll.

    Some of union members feel entitled – they collect benefits and complain like you about the organization that secured the benefits but the majority of members fought very hard to have the means to retire and don’t act as if their retirement is an entitlement given to them by management.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Since the bulk of the traffic will be between the San Joaquin Valley and the end points (remember the million people of the Fresno region?) how does a route that skips most of the passengers qualify as “correct?”
    Unless your principle goal for the project is to artificially force a failure and protect the business interests of your employers.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @synon’s view of the world is fixed and not amenable to evidence. He’s correct that most of the traffic will be SF-LA. He’s incorrect in believing that passengers won’t choose to use HSR because the train happens to go through Fresno or Bakersfield or even Palmdale. To support this claim, he asserts that all trains will be local and stop at each station without any evidence.

    He claims that travelers currently using I5 over Tejon do so because they perceive Tejon as “better” without any evidence of that perception (except that they do drive I5) instead of the more sensible reasoning that they’re simply using Tejon because that is where I5 happens to go. (Imagine if you will I5 over Tehachapi instead. Where do you think people would drive?)

    On a technical and even financial level, Tejon is better than Tehachapi. But @synon seems to be incapable of seeing that there were a preponderance of political reasons for choosing Tehachapi over Tejon. Instead at best he identifies each political reason as a singular cause in the routing. And at worst he makes outrageous unsupported claims: the politicians are owned by Tejon Ranch, Palmdale real estate interests, and/or the unions; the routing will be forced to be commute by stopping at each station; there will be additional stations to support said commute; they will subsidize fares again because of said commute.

    Really, the best thing to do (which I’ve violated with this post) is to ignore @synon and his hyperbole.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Imagine if you will I5 over Tehachapi instead.”

    Imagine the Ptolemaic version of the universe.

    Don’t be obtuse. I-5 without Tejon is worse than unimaginable; it is not feasible. For all its manifold faults the Division of Highways was never that stupid.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I5 over Tehachapi is feasible. We’re not arguing over whether I5 over Tehachapi would have happened, but only whether if it did where would your drivers be driving? Your drivers are not perceiving Tejon as better than Tehachapi, they’re simply following the road, just like passengers on HSR will simply sit in their seats while the train bypasses Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Palmdale.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not!

    They would have blown out 99 and gutted those Valley towns in the process.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And 99 leads into the Grapevine. Sheesh

    J. Wong Reply:

    So you are saying that drivers understand the technical benefits of Tejon over Tehachapi? If Tejon didn’t exist, they would just not drive & stay home? If you cannot imagine Tejon existing simply as a thought experiment, then you are extremely stupid.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, I guess in the hive mind of the PB fanboys any deviation from the party line must deemed extreme stupidity, if not worse. Heresy.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “Yes, I guess in the hive mind of the PB fanboys any deviation from the party line must deemed extreme stupidity, if not worse. Heresy.”

    First off, I’m not a PB fanboy nor do I subscribe to any “hive” mind. Your statement is pure stupidity, @synonymouse. I’m quite willing to agree that Tejon is better than Tehachapi. It is your stupid, illogical, unsupported claim that drivers chooseTejon over Tehachapi for that reason that I am calling out. And instead of answering my objections, you claim victimization.

    Just answer the fucking question: How is it that drivers “choose” Tejon over Tehachapi or even consider the question?

    J. Wong Reply:

    And you cannot use the fact that drivers are using Tejon (because obviously that’s where I5 goes) as justification:

    If “drivers choose Tejon because it is better” then “drivers will drive Tejon”
    “Drivers drive Tejon” does not imply “drivers choose Tejon”.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Since the bulk of the traffic will be between the San Joaquin Valley and the end points

    Laughably false.

    You, along with a couple of your fellow dimmest logorrheic reality-estranged robo-commenters, keep repeating this falsehood.

    Not even PBQD=CHSRA claim something so stupid.

    Their “projection” is for a total of 19900 daily boardings at all of the San Joaquin Valley stations (including LA County’s Palmdale). In contrast the total system-wide number of daily boardings is “predicted” to be 95700.

    Even if there were no intra-Central Valley ridership (and, to a first order of magnitude estimate, there isn’t) and all of the Central Valley boardings were destined to the “end points”, 19900 is less than “most of the passengers”, ie less than half of 95700. A lot less.

    Please, just stop it.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Thank you for the attack, followed by a correction. I hadn’t seen these numbers and was estimating based on the population and isolation of the San Joaquin Valley, which has spotty air service at best for a population of over 4 million. Do they estimate the number of boardings compared to the already well served Bay area?
    If there are 19,900 boardings projected from the SJV we’ll assume that those people also want to go home, so the same number of end point trips will be to the valley, for a total of 39,800 trips daily. So almost 40,000 trips to and from the San Joaquin Valley from a projected total of nearly 98,000, or about 40%, which, as you say, is less than half. Maybe not as negligible as depicted; but less than half, just the same.
    So cutting out the Valley cities with the I-5 alignment only eliminates 40% of the passengers (and revenue).

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Special Needs Arithmetic! Double the numerator, leave the denominator fixed. Sounds legit.

    But why stop there? Why not quintuple the SJ Valley ridership and make it more than the state total?

    And why stop there?

    The sky’s the limit!

    All you need is the ability to type and press the “Submit Comment” button and anything can be true. Just believe!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    welllll the people who leave LA to go to SF want to go back home sooner or later and the people who leave SF to go to LA want to go home sooner or later too. And believe it or not some people in LA or SF will want to go to the Central Valley.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    welllll [… gibberish …]

    All you need is the ability to type and press the “Submit Comment” button and anything can be true. Just believe!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I suppose you think that people will be leaving LA and so enamored of the navel of the universe in the Bay Area they will never go home?

    Mattie F. Reply:

    To translate this from asshole-speak (Mlynarik’s native tongue) to logic:

    If you add the de-boardings to the boardings in the Central Valley, you must do the same at all other stations. Boardings and de-boardings in the San Joaquin is not meaningful as a percentage of all boardings systemwide.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    20 percent isn’t meaningful? I suspect that it will go up as the population grows. Most of the population growth is going to be out in the Central Valley.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The projected boardings accounts for return trips. You can’t just multiply by 2 w/o also multiplying the projected total by 2. I wouldn’t say negligible at 25% but far from a majority.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    If the boarding includes the return trip then it’s still 20%. If the boarding counts each boarding as a separate boarding, then 40%. Disembarking at the end is part of any trip.
    How many passengers from the end points are going all the way and how many are going to Fresno U or Yosemite? Can you control the passengers well enough to guarantee that none of them are getting off at the mid points?

    BrianR Reply:

    Did you notice the route of UCLA’s Suprastudio in partnership with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is sort of similar to CHSRA’s route? It actually doglegs further to the south and looks like it connects to SF/Oakland north of Altamont.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Here is the actual RFEI http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/doing_business/HSR15_02_RFEI.pdf

    Notes:

    It opens up the possibility of doing either IOS North or IOS South.
    It discusses deferring all the trackwork for the IOS as part of a mega-contract that would include financing, the rest of the civil construction, trackwork, systems work. In this case, when on earth would the CV tracks be usable?

    Also for your Sunday evening/ distraction from Greece reading pleasure:

    Dragados proposal
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/construction/CP23_executed/P13_57_Volume_2_DFS_Final.pdf

    Proposal detailed illustrations/ plans
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/construction/CP23_executed/P13_57_Appendix_DFS_Final.pdf

    john burrows Reply:

    So the possibility of IOS North is real—Thank you Elizabeth for supplying the link

    The 2014 business plan shows cost alignment estimates by section in year of expenditure dollars. The estimated cost between Bakersfield and San Jose would be—

    Bakersfield to Fresno————–$7.8 billion
    Fresno to Merced——————-$6.0 billion
    Merced to San Jose—————-19.0 billion

    total———————————-$32.8 billion

    Not sure how this compares with IOS south but the Northern Route could end up being substantially less expensive and opposition to high speed rail in Merced, Gilroy, and San Jose would not be as great. Cap-and-trade funding is going to have its limits so it does make sense to get the IOS operational as cheaply and as quickly as possible on a route where hopefully there will be less opposition. And the Pacheco verses Altamont question would be 100% settled a few years sooner.

    joe Reply:

    Considering the N IOS adds a level of competition with the S IOS. SoCal politicians who would try to block the project to gain concessions might move construction to the N IOS.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Except it doesn’t.

    The purpose of IOS South is to open up more areas with water rights to housing. IOS North is actually about improving intercity transport between the Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley.

    SoCal legislators aren’t really interested in building more capacity up north; ditto for those in the Bay Area as it relates to LA.

    It is true that IOS North could reduce the the time between when revenue service starts and when construction begins, i.e. now. But that’s an operational benefit, not a political one.

  3. synonymouse
    Jun 24th, 2015 at 23:21
    #3

    “Have the agency own everything and operate the system itself”

    Violates Prop 1a. The unions will run the show, as at BART and Muni.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Apparently, @synon has discovered how to have his cake and eat it too. Let’s give him the Nobel prize!

    (Claiming violation of Prop 1a versus vacation of Prop 1a as it suits him.)

    synonymouse Reply:

    PB routinely violates Prop 1a, certainly the gist of it, thereby effectively vacating it.

    Be welcome if the Judge annuls it as hopelessly self-contradictory. It should never have been placed on the ballot, so poorly written and conceived.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The courts disagree.

    synonymouse Reply:

    La cour des miracles

    Eric Reply:

    since the gist of it is to build a HSR line, not sure how the gist is being violated…

    J. Wong Reply:

    @synon believes that it cannot be “blended” on the Peninsula, which supposedly violates the time constraints, and that it will require subsidies, also violating the proposition. He also believes that they are going to add stations (secretly of course because no one has made any announcements or plans to that effect).

    synonymouse Reply:

    Au contraire, the Blend is fine with me. HSR coming in on Dumbarton to SFO takes care of that reasonably. Limitations of the TBT proper should be discussed with law enforcement. Maybe a RICO is in order.

    C’mon Cheerleaders, the purpose of the humongous Detour to Palmdale is manifestly for commute purposes. More stations actually improves the cost/benefit ratio.

    My bete noire is Mojave. Don’t go there unless you plan to revive the San Francisco Chief. And that ippears thoroughly unlikely since the Southwest Chief is in a world of hurt.

    Jerry Reply:

    “Southwest Chief is in a world of hurt” ? ? ?
    But I thought everything was up to date in Kansas City.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “They’ve gone about as fer as they can go.”

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[H]umongous”? Let’s see $5b / $68b = 7.3%, operational costs $100m / $2.3b = 4.3%, time costs 12′ / 158′ = 7.6%.

    Does any of that appear to be humongous? Also, with the possible Bakersfield alignment and the Angeles Forest savings, time costs is 12′ – 4′ – 2′ / 158′ = 3.8%. (The operational costs will also be slightly less because of the 10 miles saving of the Angeles Forest alignments.)

    As to “manifestly for commute purposes”, how do you get that? I’m will to grant that “If commute routing, then Palmdale”, and definitely “Palmdale = true”, but unfortunately for your incompetent reasoning you cannot conclude that “commute routing = true”. Do you understand logic? The truth of the conclusion says nothing about the truth of the proposition.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If not commute routing pray tell what is it?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A compromise that serves the most people before another mountain crossing has to be built?

    J. Wong Reply:

    A route to connect the Central Valley to the Los Angeles basin by HSR. Is that your definition of commute?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Genuine HSR does not suffer such a dumbdown. It is not HSR any more, but regional commute.

    If “serving the most people” is your dominant criterion then building a whole new generation of freeways achieves it better because “most people” can use it and they don’t have to baksheesh a union. Add electric cars and you have killed the enviro argument.

    But as a pedestrian for 50 years I am in favor neither of more freeways nor of ghetto cattlecar transit ala BART. I’d like real surface blowout SF-LA bleeding edge. If the Cheerleaders cannot come reasonably close to laying out a straight line between the megalopolises then let Musk et al have at it. PB is just leeching the taxpayers.

    Take the money from your 20 mile base tunnels off in the wrong direction thru a fault and spend it on ROW from Sta. Clarita to Burbank – that will just increase the distance and time advantage of the Tejon alignment.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Let’s be blunt and see if the truth can be handled.

    In re SF-LA HSR the San Joaquin Valley is flyover country.

    Now see how easy that was.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Define “HSR”

    J. Wong Reply:

    I get it, @synon gets to define HSR and regional commute. I guess I could live with regional commute at HSR speeds. And yes, the San Joaquin Valley will be “flyover” country, or in the case of HSR pass-by, non-stop express service between SF and LA.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    synonymouse: Blend may be OK with you, but it is neither safe nor reliable as per 2008 Prop 1A. HSR needs to be fenced and grade separated. Until there is such a route, HSR to the Bay Area needs to end at San Jose.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How are the passengers going to get someplace other than the station in San Jose?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Mr. Allen, CAHSR needs to be routed away from San Jose towards the East Bay. From Dumbarton south Caltrain would enjoy the SP ROW solo.

    CAHSR’s primary role in the SouthBay is to pay for the Caltrain electrification and other upgrades and then ride off into the sunset.

    As regards BART I would declare an ironclad moratorium on broad gauge and any new standard gauge lines would be driverless. Geary belongs to Muni.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And of course plenty of bathrooms on Caltrain.

  4. jimsf
    Jun 24th, 2015 at 23:29
    #4

    If the people of california are going to make this investment, then the people of california need to be the owners and it needs to serve the largest number of those investors ( californians ) and serve their totalstate transportation needs as best as possible. Ultimatley, for the sake of the states future, and economic viability, the state has a responsibilty to fully integrate air rail and highway with a coordinated smart master plan.

    anything less than that is a missed opportunity, shows a lack of leadership and brains, and puts our future prosperity at risk.
    Its common sense.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The people of California should not invest in DogLegRail.

    The people of LA and LV should invest in it.

    EJ Reply:

    Please let us know the name of a railroad company, anywhere in the developed world, that uses non-union labor.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In Saudi Arabia, railroads exist and unions are illegal, so…

    Also, Singapore’s two transit companies are both unionized, but Singaporean unions are completely defanged (strikes are illegal).

    Domayv Reply:

    and because of that, the Gulf Kingdom is facing criticism for violating all international trade labor standards

    http://www.ituc-csi.org/saudi-arabia-bans-trade-unions-and http://www.ituc-csi.org/internationally-recognised-core,10469

    Lewellan Reply:

    Keystone XL. Why it won’t be built.
    Shipping oil. All it is.
    Alberta Tar sand. Gulf refinery.
    Transport trans-oceanic shipping fuel.
    Trans-oceanic fuel spent.
    Serving trans-oceanic shipped markets.
    SHIP LESS NOT MORE.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Lots of countries face criticisms for lots of things.

    joe Reply:

    Right. Congratulations for having a white penis.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Umm…I’m not even going to ask how you would know.
    Your private hobbies are your own, after all. Everyone has their little obsessions…

    Joe Reply:

    He’s a male human.
    Saudi Arabia might not be that worse than other nations for a first world, white male.
    Female and “guest workers” fair poorly.

    From the links Alon trivialized:

    The report also found the law also openly discriminates against women, and in many cases women needed permission from their “guardian” in order to be employed. Women who do work earn 84% less than men in similar roles.

    However, it is the country’s 8.3 million migrant workers, especially the 1.5 million female domestic servants, who bear the brunt of abuses, with many working in slavery like conditions. The maids predominantly come from Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines.

    Earlier this month a Nepalese maid was finally released, after being held hostage for 21 months by her Saudi employer. The woman was imprisoned, fed only one slice of bread a day and tortured after she tried to run away.

    “Thousands of migrant workers are the victims of torture, work long hours, live in confined conditions and, in general, are deprived of their basic freedoms. The Saudi authorities have repeatedly failed to address the issue and redress extreme abuses which remain unpunished.” said Sharan Burrow.

    Eric Reply:

    What makes you assume Alon is a he?

    StevieB Reply:

    Alon meaning oak tree can be a womans name but 99% of the time an Alon is male.

    EJ Reply:

    That’s a stupid statement.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What is stupid about this? Saudi Arabia really does ban unions (just as it abuses migrants, doesn’t let women drive, maintains absolute monarchy, etc.), and will keep doing so, for it doesn’t care about criticism by other people. Whacha gonna do about it? Not buy its oil? The question was not “which democracy runs trains with non-union labor?”; it was about the developed world, and, at least going by income levels, the Gulf states are the developed world.

    EJ Reply:

    OK, well we can quibble over the definition of a developed country, but really, what’s your larger point? Let’s not have unions and be like Saudi Arabia?

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ EJ

    There’s union labor and then there is house union labor – public employee unions bankrolling compliant politicians.

    EJ Reply:

    Please name an American union that does not engage in political advocacy.

    trentbridge Reply:

    Authors Guild.

    StevieB Reply:

    The Authors Guild in its mission statement advocates for the rights of authors. The director appeared before a congressional group.

    In her first official appearance as Executive Director of the Authors Guild, Mary Rasenberger traveled to Washington, D.C. last Thursday and presented a speech to the Congressional Creative Rights Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers dedicated to protecting the rights of creators

    You need to guess again.

    Joe Reply:

    How about the union that secured his public pension?

    He complains but cashes the check.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I’d like to score some of that gravy, sure. 8 weeks of annual to start. 13 undocumented no-shows.

    But that BART to SFO was the real creme de la creme. 6 hours of break and 2 hours of work. Hell yeah, I’d sign up for that.

    joe Reply:

    Another Milk fed conservatve suckling on public union entitlements.

    “Keep the gubberment out of my Medicare and send me entitlements.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    Joe, how many union dues have you paid?

    joe Reply:

    Any time I can and gladly.

    Did you pay dues or were you freeloafing off others?

    EJ Reply:

    13 undocumented no-shows.

    There you go again. I remember when you insisted that this was a provision in their contract, which was super-secret. When it turned out to be easily google-able, and it was mentioned nowhere in there, you still kept insisting on it. You’re just fundamentally dishonest, aren’t you?

    J. Wong Reply:

    I think @synon is merging features of MUNI’s union contracts with BART’s. Or maybe he believes that all union contracts are the same (even though they are manifestly not).

    joe Reply:

    There was a very specific accusation. EJ and others ran this one down and busted The Troll for making up stuff.

    A few weeks later the same dishonest statement resurfaces.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah and a Muni operator came on out on a site and stated they are still getting repeated undocumented no-shows.

    That’s why HART is going driverless.

    EJ Reply:

    A MUNI operator? Really? Who? I thought we were talking about BART, anyway.

    joe Reply:

    He came out where? On your Bulletin Board Service or No-show Hot-line?
    Operators are waiting to talk to you now. 900-number.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Florida East Coast railroad. The one that wants to run passenger trains from Orlando to Miami.

    EJ Reply:

    Sigh. Not this shit again.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/florida-east-coast-industries-announces-ambitious-plan-private-passenger-rail-service-431700

    “Frank Wilner, national spokesman for the United Transportation Union, which represents many FEC workers…

    Or from this year if you prefer:

    http://www.progressiverailroading.com/labor/news/Tacoma-Rail-Florida-East-Coast-workers-ratify-labor-agreements–44857

    “In addition, the National Mediation Board recently announced that SMART Transportation Division-represented workers at Florida East Coast Railway ratified new agreements. The pacts cover conductors, engineers, trainmen and yardmasters.”

    https://smart-union.org/

  5. agb5
    Jun 25th, 2015 at 01:18
    #5

    Otherwise, the system could be fully privatized

    My understanding is that land acquired thru eminent domain must always remain the property of the people, and cannot be sold to private enterprise.

    joe Reply:

    Keystone pipeline is not only a private company but a foreign private company using eminent domain to take property.

    Andy M Reply:

    Wouldn’t it be better if eminent domain land remained government property but was leased to the corporation building the pipeline, railroad or whatever, with the terms of the lease clearly defining the puprose to which it may be put? This would ensure the land reverts to the government should the project fail or when it is no longer required rather than ending in the portfolio of some corporation.

    Bdawe Reply:

    You would be entirely incorrect. In fact, limited eminent domain authority is vested by legislation in the hands of certain private corporations such as railroads and pipelines. It has always been thus.

    The courts have, otherwise, ruled repeatedly that the government can take private land and sell it to developers.

    One of the ongoing points of interest in Texas HSR was the effort by some to strip the Texas Central Railway of the eminent domain authority they and other railroads in the state possess.

    Webster Reply:

    Well, the test is whether or not it was an legitimate use of police power: whether the land is being put to public use…In theory, they could develop the land.

    StevieB Reply:

    The use of eminent domain for the sole purpose of increasing tax revenues by for-profit development of real estate was confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New Landen (2005).

    StevieB Reply:

    Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)

    StevieB Reply:

    The court held that if a legislative body has found that an economic project will create new jobs, increase tax and other city revenues, and revitalize a depressed urban area (even if that area is not blighted), then the project serves a public purpose, which qualifies as a public use.

  6. agb5
    Jun 25th, 2015 at 01:32
    #6

    The Asian Infrasrtucture Invertment Bank (AIIB) was created to fund this type of project. They could build and own the expensive tunnels under the Angelese forrest where there is no eminent domain required and they can use cheap Chinese workers and equipment free from Buy America rules.
    The Chinese are keen to get rid of their pile of paper USD in return for a hard aset which will provide constant rental income oven the next 100 years.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Hmm, I seem to recall Alon pointing out that track / tunnel construction isn’t significantly cheaper in China than in first-world countries…

    swing hanger Reply:

    Yeah, I think it was that the rest of the world is not so much cheap but rather the construction costs are uniquely batshit expensive in the USA.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What Miles said – Chinese workers aren’t cheap, they’re just less productive. The equipment runs and costs the same.

    Bear in mind, Japan does this sort of stuff in various Asian countries, and usually the result is more expensive projects: the costs end up being normal in exchange rate terms because of all the Japanese imports, making them expensive in PPP terms. It’s a good investment opportunity for Japan. China does the same, in some Asian and African countries. It’s never done it in a developed country, and I don’t think it’s ever done it in India. Take from that what you will.

    Gag Halfrunt Reply:

    The US is not a member of the AIIB, and anyway its purpose is surely to fund projects, not own them.

    Seondly, international financial organisations lend to national governments, so AIIB money would count as federal funds and Buy America rules would therefore apply.

    Thirdly how would a foreign owner magically get around US labour and immigration laws and bring in “cheap Chinese workers”?

    Useless Reply:

    agb25

    AIIB funds Asian projects, not US projects.

  7. webster
    Jun 25th, 2015 at 07:44
    #7

    Wouldn’t the ideal situation be that the actual service providers pay a concession for track/station access/slots, as well as an assessment on some of their profits for maintaining the infrastructure?

    In other words, you can have several different services: some providing local, some express.
    Ultimately, down the line, you get outside providers piggy-backing off of the network to bring their service into the state (e.g. XpressWest).

    Looking at how service agreements are arranged for things like HS1 in the UK…aren’t some of the trains actually operated by SNCF, Thalys, and Eurostar? It seems you ultimately wan’t 1) various layers of service to suit multiple types of passengers and 2) pretty stiff competition to weed out bad service providers and keep fares low and service high.

    Roland Reply:

    Yes, that is pretty much how this is supposed to work, with some clarifications:

    – The only operators currently allowed on HS1 are Eurostar, Southeastern High Speed (Javelins) and freight (HS1 Ltd could not possibly turn in a profit without freight). The only trains allowed in the channel tunnel are the Eurostars and the Eurotunnel vehicle and freight shuttles.

    – Thalys does not currently operate in the UK, primarily because the channel tunnel requires 400M train sets but Deutsche Bahn is working on Eurotunnel-compatible rolling stock.

    – The UK Government just sold its 40% stake in Eurostar for EUR 804M.
    Version originale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1ZWr8FJwuY
    English Translation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnYMTPc4554
    This is part of the government’s plan to raise $20B to pay for HS2:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLBAfbt10wY.

    – As far as “stiff competition to weed out bad service providers and keep fares low and service high”, yes, that is the objective but, unfortunately, free market forces did not always produce the desired results, hence the Office of Rail Regulation:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-rail-regulation.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Rail_and_Road

    Webster Reply:

    Thanks for that clarification…

    I’ve been following some rumblings about the franchise system with Network Rail. I guess it doesn’t sound all that great, but I guess there must be ways to improve it…

    Roland Reply:

    Here is some essential reading if you are interested in learning about the evolution of franchising:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Trains#Future_franchising_arrangements

  8. les
    Jun 25th, 2015 at 08:48
    #8

    Just add an extra car to each non-express train set and paint a FEDEX or UPS logo on it.

  9. Reedman
    Jun 25th, 2015 at 12:31
    #9

    The over-arching management questions are all about money.

    Who controls the fares?
    Who controls the schedule (speed, stops, number of trains per day)?
    Who controls the operational costs (wages/salaries/benefits, choice of trainsets, electrical power)?
    Who controls/performs the maintenance?
    Is the taxpayer going to receive any payback of the construction costs?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Palmdale

    StevieB Reply:

    Palmdale the gateway to The California Spaceport®.

    jimsf Reply:

    I dont know about palmdale but lancaster looks pretty nice!

    jimsf Reply:

    seriously I had no idea!

    jimsf Reply:

    –City leaders have set the ambitious goal of becoming the nation’s first Net-Zero municipality, wherein they will produce more clean energy than they consume. Much of the City’s infrastructure including City Hall, local schools, and even their minor league baseball stadium are solar powered. In March 2013, Lancaster became the first city in the US to require solar panels on all new homes in an effort to make the community more carbon neutral. The rule took effect in January, 2014.[24]

    There is an automotive factory owned by BYD Auto that produces the BYD electric bus.[25]

    synonymouse Reply:

    When Antonovich moves in yuppies and gentrifies the place it will be Son of PAMPA.

    EJ Reply:

    Please explain how Antonovich is going to do this.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Base tunnels to Son of PAMPA

    synonymouse Reply:

    I think I like Nueva PAMPA better.

    StevieB Reply:

    Lancaster’s The BLVD redesign won the EPA’s 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. The project included eliminating two lanes of traffic, slowing speeds to 15-20 miles per hour, and adding landscaping. Broad sidewalks, paseos and an open plaza provide The BLVD a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly appeal. This required removing the center two traffic lanes, replacing them with at-grade, on-street parking.

  10. jimsf
    Jun 25th, 2015 at 21:01
    #10

    So why would a private company want to spend the money to build the system?

    They build it and wind up ownining it and then operate their own service on it and keep all the money?

    They build it and wind up owning it, and collect rent from other operators who use it?

    In either case, Id be against using public money to help build something that we then hand over to a private company. That would be unacceptable.

    Calfironains have to keep full ownership of the infrastructre no matter what.

    So then what, a private company would… put down several billion dollars as a kickback to ensure they get the operating contract and keep the profits from operations?
    Would it be worth it?

    And further, wouldn’t it be better for the people of california to pay fares that didnt have to include shareholder profits?

    Wouldnt it be best for a) the people to retain full ownerwhip of the system they paid for and
    B) to pay fares that cover operational costs without having to cover shareholder profits.

    StevieB Reply:

    Other than privatization all of the options listed have the state of California retaining ownership and I have not heard anyone promoting privatization.

    IKB Reply:

    the Brit government spent $6bn for HS1 (some 68 miles), sold it to a Canadian pension company for $2bn, which is perhaps what it’s worth commercially – it looks good they turned it over to the private sector, but the private sector didn’t pay for it. Please don’t hold your breath on huge public profit

    Roland Reply:

    How about some facts for a change?

    1) HS1 Section 1 (Channel Tunnel to Fawkham junction) was financed by the private sector.
    2) The final cost of HS1 was £5.8B (approximately $9.1B).
    3) The “Brit government” DID NOT sell HS1.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Speed_1#Ownership
    4) The Canadian pension funds paid £2.1B (approximately $3.3B) for a 30-year CONCESSION.
    http://highspeed1.co.uk/news/2013/february/hs1-announces-gbp16-billion-refinance-success

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    In no way shape or form is the HS1 deal an example of private capital equity financing. Given that most of the revenues and most of the costs are underwritten and guaranteed by the UK govt and that network rail is still doing all the work and that the agreement has enough adjustment clauses to make sure that everything works out just right, this is really just an expensive way to borrow money. OTPP is no fool – they will take free money anywhere they can find it. And if the UK govt wanted to engineer things to look good, they are perfectly happy to oblige

    http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/6376J_1-2015-4-8.pdf

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    I’m in general with Robert on this one. Most of the so-called private-public partnership deals are a bad deal for taxpayers – if things go well, the private sector wins. If they don’t, the public loses. Other times they are just expensive veneer for public support.

    The real benefit of private ownership is when it comes up front after the project goals have been decided. At this point, participation would just be more of the giveaway variety.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    This is a great review article on recent ppps

    http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/38415/

    IKB Reply:

    That would be my memory; but clearly I confused pounds and dollars, and appreciate Roland’s correction. The real point of course is the taxpayer is going to have to pay to play; once we all accept that we can better focus on what we value and how to get there. For those convinced it’s free money, it doesn’t matter what it costs or how many miles of tunnel to placate some unhappy folks, until the unsubsidized ticket turns out to be higher than the advertized $86

    Roland Reply:

    Once again, you are confusing HS1, a $9B 70-mile piece of infrastructure currently owned by the British Government and HS1 Ltd, a $3B SPV established to operate the 30-year concession.
    “Ownership of the infrastructure and the freehold to the land will remain vested in the Secretary of State, and at the end of the concession period all rights will revert to the government.” http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/high-speed-1-concession-awarded-to-canadian-pension-consortium.html.

    Going back to Network Rail, NR currently have the contract for the operations and maintenance of HS1 on behalf of HS1 Ltd, nothing more, nothing less.
    http://www.networkrail.co.uk/HS1-Ltd-and-Network-Rail-agree-a-new-deal/
    A reasonable analogy would be the relationship between TASI and the Caltrain JPB except that TASI also operate the trains and the JPB actually owns the Caltrain ROW but neither one designed, built or financed the construction of the line).

    With regards to private financing, HS1 started out as a PFI (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_finance_initiative) with a combination of private capital and Government grants but the inflow of private capital dried up once reality (AKA ‘ACTUAL Eurostar ridership numbers’) set in 3 years after the opening of the Channel Tunnel.
    The entire timeline is documented in Appendix 1 on page 43 of the 2005 National Audit Office (NAO) report to the House of Commons: http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2005/07/050677.pdf.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    This already happened Jim, over 100 years ago.

    There was this company called “Southern Pacific”. Its owners had built a connection from the Pacific Ocean to Utah, allowing transcontinental traffic for the first time in US history.

    And Southern Pacific realized that the demand for rail transport from California didn’t really justify the rail link to the East. So what did they do?

    They developed California even more. They encouraged irrigation, land conservation, new cities, tourism, and even a separate transcontinental railroad to New Orleans. They kept going, until finally an Eastern billionaire bought the Southern Pacific. And then progressives forced the the guy to spin the Southern Pacific off…

    …and they kept going…building more and more…and more…trying to turn every new farm and housing tract, and aqueduct, and you name into more and more rail traffic.

    jimsf Reply:

    at the end of the day I just think that public system sounds comforting to me as a taxpayer and private system sounds like bank bailout BP oil spill goldman sachs wall street obscene corporate profits

    there really seems to be no limit at all on the amount butt fucking the american public will consent to. Im very disillusioned tonight.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Unfortunately, the American public thinks the butt fucking the gov’t gives is bad while they smile and bend over for the butt fucking they get from the private sector (and won’t even admit it’s a butt fucking).

    joe Reply:

    Now that gay marraige is legalism all 50 states will we need a new euphemism?

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    Where’s the like button?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Right next to the “edit” button… ><

  11. synonymouse
    Jun 25th, 2015 at 21:17
    #11

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/BART-may-provide-relief-for-riders-by-reopening-6347485.php

    “Friendly station agents at some stations occasionally open the restrooms for people with an urgent need to use the facilities, and often use them themselves.”

    See, it pays to be in the union.

    EJ Reply:

    They have restrooms they can use at their place of employment? Boy, talk about featherbedding. In my office, when you gotta go they just give you a shovel and point you outside.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    We’d be lucky to get a shovel! We had to dig our latrines with our bare hands!

    Miles Bader Reply:

    You got hands?! oO;

  12. jimsf
    Jun 25th, 2015 at 23:39
    #12

    I think not only should the state own the infrastructure, but should be in charge of procuring all the rolling stock the way they do now with amtrak california. Whatever operator is chosen will use state owned equipment.

  13. Reality Check
    Jun 26th, 2015 at 11:23
    #13
  14. Reality Check
    Jun 26th, 2015 at 11:27
    #14

    HSR systems, critical to getting around in much of the world, remain elusive in US

    […]

    The Texas project has received much less publicity than California’s, yet it could become the nation’s first operating bullet train line.

    A private company, the Texas Central High Speed Railway, is soliciting $10 billion to $12 billion to build a 240-mile track that would whisk travelers between Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 90 minutes or less. That compares with a one-hour flight, plus parking and security clearance time for air travel, or a four-hour drive, which is forecast to grow to 6½ hours by 2035 if no alternatives emerge.

    Eckels said the company was able to “cherry-pick the best route,” allowing a much smaller scale project than that in California, with known ridership and fewer political entities to balance. Construction is slated to begin in 2017, with trains expected to start running four years later.

    “We’re not having to build a huge political constituency that you would have to do in California or in a Chicago to St. Louis,” he said.

    […]

    Yet even the privately financed Texas system is encountering some of the same roadblocks as in California, including upset landowners whose homes and farms lie in the bullet train’s path. Lawmakers who represent those rural areas object to the use of eminent domain.

    But the private financing allows the project to avoid some of the intense public scrutiny and endless political interventions to which the California plan has been subjected, including government-set limits on the amount of money that can be offered to property owners.

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    But could they eff with an entity of the magnitude of the Tejon Ranch? I doubt it so it is not absolute cherry pick.

    swing hanger Reply:

    huh? S. America has HSR?

  15. Travis D
    Jun 26th, 2015 at 11:50
    #15

    Anyone read the Dragados proposal that is now online?

    We now know how they got such a low bid. They darned near redesigned the entire segment. Gone are almost all the viaducts. They also redid bridge structures, redesigned numerous grade separations and eliminated some entirely.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sounds like contempt of PB mindset to me.

    Eric M Reply:

    Do you just talk for the sake of talking? Seriously, do you not get enough attention in you life? Give it a rest.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Why do you think PB put those viaducts in there?

    Wonder what Dragados would do with PB’s base tunnels thru a fault.

    EJ Reply:

    You do know that the Tejon alignment which you claim to support involved tunnels through fault areas, right?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Myth #4 in Clem’s “The Truth About Tejon“: all faults crossed at grade.

    Clem Reply:

    Yup. It constantly amazes me how “truthiness” about Tejon gets spread around without being questioned. This is exactly why I wrote my piece as a series of myths. Thank you for helping to stop the misinformation.

    Meanwhile, every single alignment proposed by the CHSRA consultants crosses a fault in a tunnel, taking exception to their own seismic criteria. This is an actual fact, but ask any HSR enthusiast and they won’t believe it.

    Michael Reply:

    Ask most people at BART about their crossing of the Hayward Fault in the Berkeley Hills Tunnel and they’ll respond “did you hear we’re considering reopening the restrooms in the subway stations?”

    Clem Reply:

    I heard that tunnel was slowly running out of its allowance for fault creep.

    Michael Reply:

    There’s a paper or two on that somewhere. But more importantly, did you hear about the new escalator canopy at 19th Street?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “BART intersects the Hayward fault underground near the Caldecott Tunnel; fault rupture can be expected to put the tunnel out of commission indefinitely.”

    “Fault rupture could put that tunnel out of commission indefinitely. BART would then have to do some blasting to widen the area and replace that section of track. No one can estimate the time it would take to do that.”

    Ongoing geologic studies have estimated a primary fault displacement of 2.3 m (7.5 feet), with a 16 percent probability of exceedance, for a the design magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault. This displacement has been adopted for design, and geologic evidence suggests it could occur within an 18.3 m (60 foot) long section of the tunnel. The tunnel [EMBUD Claremont Tunnel, 800 feet from BART’s] section susceptible to primary fault displacement was established based on past inspections and surveys of fault creep damage to the Claremont Tunnel. Historical rates of active fault creep along the Hayward Fault in this area range from about 4.5mm to 6.4mm/year (0.18 to 0.25 inches per year). For the seismic upgrade of the Claremont Tunnel a design fault creep rate of 6mm per year (0.25 inches per year) and a total creep offset of 300mm (1 foot) over a 50 year period
    has been adopted.

    The 18.3 m (60 foot) wide zone subject to primary fault offset is centered within a 280 m (920 foot) wide zone that is susceptible to secondary fault offsets. The estimate of secondary fault displacement is 0.7 m (2.25 feet). Secondary fault offsets could occur anywhere within the 280 m (920 foot) wide zone.

    etc etc

    But hey, did you hear that BART’s new station poster series feature a San Francisco artist?

    Jon Reply:

    There was a recent presentation to the BART board on retrofit options for the Berkeley Hills tunnel: http://www.bart.gov/sites/default/files/docs/agendas/05-28-15%20Agenda%20Packet.pdf

    Save PDF and open in Adobe Reader to access presentation in attachments.

    JJJJ Reply:

    This is good right?

    Eric M Reply:

    That is good, as future segments go up for bid, over-design should be trimmed and/or changed. At least from the Dragados Group proposals. Every bit helps to lower the cost per mile.

  16. Reality Check
    Jun 26th, 2015 at 13:22
    #16

    SF’s Transbay Terminal project quickly taking shape

    Work on a regional connection for Bay Area commuters is quickly taking shape. With much of the construction on the Transbay Terminal completed underground, we’re finally seeing it rise above street level.

    […]

    “We’ve poured almost 100,000 cubic yards of concrete in the last year for the train box,” Turchon said.

    […]

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “We’ve poured almost 100,000 cubic yards of concrete in the last year for the train box,” Turchon said.

    He continued, “And not only that, we poured those cubic yards exactly where they would minimize train capacity and maximally impede passenger circulation. We like to think of it as a win-win synergy: maximum concrete, below-zero benefit. For four billion dollars, we really pulled out the stops on this one.”

    Domayv Reply:

    This is honestly why they should redesign it to have 20+ tracks and make it a true terminal because 6 is too small. It will get clogged very easily once the service opens.

    https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kps6PIgTbaaI

    Zorro Reply:

    A redesign? The building is under construction, the foundation is completed, it’s way too late for any redesign, that’s years too late.

    Domayv Reply:

    well, they were complete idiots for not realizing that 6 tracks is too small and not taking into account the potential services outside of Caltrain and CAHSR that the terminal can provide, and now they will suffer the consequences once the station gets clogged (which is actually pretty soon from its completion because it’s only a measly 6) and be forced to tear it down, dig it up again, add more tracks, and rebuild it.

    Jon Reply:

    No, they’ll just add more platforms underneath Howard St, with an underground walkway connecting them to the original station.

    Domayv Reply:

    So, expand the existing station is what you are saying (which is what I was thinking of). I honestly think that once they start adding in intercity services that cross the bay area (including that second Transbay Tube), they’re gonna have to build an underground rail yard beneath the DTX

    jimsf Reply:

    You could run four tracks ( 2 bart, 2 standard) under the bay and under mission street, with the two standard tracks terminating under mission at 2nd with a platform and pedestian connection half a block over to transbay center, while the two bart tracks continue west under mission, and then go… wherever it is bart plans to go.

    jimsf Reply:

    travel from the south to transbay center would terminate there and travel from the east would terminate there, through travelers would have to transfer at transbay.

    jimsf Reply:

    you could wind up with , side by side rail between fremont and 2nd

    muni metro under market 2 tracks
    old bart under market 2 tracks
    new bart under mission 2 tracks
    conventional rail from eastbay under mission 2 tracks terminating
    caltrain under transbay center 2 tracks terminating
    hsr under transbay center 4 tracks terminating

    all connected be pedestrian walkwalkways

    Joey Reply:

    Why terminate the standard gauge tracks? Run them down Mission to 7th where they can connect to the Caltrain corridor.

    Domayv Reply:

    @jimsf: here’s how the second Transbay Tube (for BART) would work, as shown right here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kps6PIgTbaaI

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Your maps are friends-locked or something. I get “access denied” when I try looking at them.

    Domayv Reply:

    @ Alon Levy: I got them available for public viewing now, so you can see them: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kdethM-MxOeA, https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kps6PIgTbaaI

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ugh. This involves leveling a substantial chunk of the SF CBD in order to build underground railyards.

    Also, the BART 101 line doesn’t make any sense. Why so circuitous? If it’s so important to head north to Russian Hill – which it isn’t – then might as well branch out of Geary.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Alon Levy: Well, the rail yards are going to have to go to somewhere if the Transbay Terminal is going to be a southbound/westbound terminus, unless the trains be moved backwards (which is highly impractical). Give me some suggestions where to place the Transbay Rail Yard if placing it directly underneat the CBD is going to be too much.

    On a side note, I do have a rail line that serves Russian Hill (see “San Francisco Beltway” on the map), which branches off from the existing Caltrain line and is a loop line in the vein of Tokyo’s Yamanote Line and Belin’s Ringbahn and also contains an underground freeway that loops around the peninsula a la the Capital Beltway in Washington, D.C./Virginia/Maryland

    Joey Reply:

    Real estate comes at a premium in downtown SF. If you need to store trains somewhere, the operating cost of deadheading them out is probably less than the cost of leveling a few high rises.

    There’s no reason to terminate trains from the east bay there though. Since most of the main East Bay corridors are already build with BART technology, the number of standard gauge trains coming from the east is going to be less than the number of regional trains on the peninsula, and everything from the East Bay should just run through to the Caltrain corridor.

    J. Wong Reply:

    How many trains would they have to store? I can’t imagine that it’s that many. Also, there’s cheaper real estate south of San Francisco where they could store the trains (isn’t that what the Authority is planning anyway?) Is the ROW south of Bayshore large enough to add a couple of storage tracks?

    jimsf Reply:

    Joey Reply:
    June 27th, 2015 at 12:55 am
    Why terminate the standard gauge tracks? Run them down Mission to 7th where they can connect to the Caltrain corridor

    The reason I say terminate the conventional rail from the new tube at 2 nd and mission TBT
    is just to avoid finding a place to continue it too and saving that money since to continue it would be redundant.

    Taking further down mission doesn’t avoind the cost of finding a spot to turn is south to caltrain because all the soma blocks are built out yes you could do it but it wouldn’t be worth the money.
    Nor is there a pressing need for single seat service on a conventional line from the east bay through the city and then south, when there would already be service to TBT with a transfer, or the option of through service on BART via the old tube or the new one. AT a point enough options are enough.

    Domayv Reply:

    @J. Wong: Though it would involve backtracking the trains all the way to Bayshore, thus disrupting the train flow. A better solution, one without digging up SF’s CBD would be to make another 4-track tunnel, which would make a 90 degree turn to the right and go all the way to the former Alameda Yards, where a maintenance facility would be made.

    @Joey: Most of the non-BART trains coming from the east will be inter-city and regional trains coming from places like Sacramento and Tracy (it would involve parallelling the I-580, which BART runs in the middle of the freeway from Ashland eastward, and it would involve tunneling, which isn’t too difficult since all of the existing ROWs (including the one I’m suggesting) cross the Hayward Fault at grade http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/nca/haywardfault/images/index_C.gif). Also, a non-BART East Bay commuter service would actually compliment and provide a good alternative to the East Bay BART services.

    Joey Reply:

    @jimsf: Termination facilities cost money too, and honestly, I think the capacity relief it would give Transbay might be worth it just in itself. The curve would have to be tunneled, yes, but so would the entire line and the buildings in that area aren’t tall enough that foundations would be an issue. There’s not a huge demand for East Bay-Peninsula services, but there is some, particularly with all of the job growth that has happened recently.

    @Domayv: Putting any intercity trains on the SF-Oakland crossing is probably a waste of capacity for the time being while there’s so much latent regional demand. And I-580 trains can go via Dumbarton, which is a shorter, shallower crossing. That also gives the line access to some Peninsula job centers, though downtown Oakland isn’t trivial either.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Joey: Which would involve having to go through a winding route that the ACE and UPRR use and would require extensive modernization to make it time-competitive with the freeways, and rebuilding the Dumbarton bridge from the ground up due to how dated it is, which crosses through environmentally sensitive areas, making this even tougher than building a new SF-OAK crossing since the SF-OAK crossing doesn’t touch environmentally sensitive areas. Additionally, it would clog up the peninsula corridor even more if it were to go that route.

    Also, I said that these intercity and regional routes would be eventually (now now), at around a several years or so from now, when such demands would now be visible to justify making those lines, which is becoming increasingly so with the increase in businesses and jobs in the East Bay, and how clogged the freeways and that BART East Bay isn’t enough to relieve the freeways. The Dumbarton line would pretty much act as a through service for the Caltrain main line and not a genuine line like the Caltrain main line.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @ Domayv. “Disrupt” the train flow? At the end of the day there’s not that many outbound service trains to disrupt. Similar to how Caltrain routes the bullet on the outbound tracks from Bayshore into SF after 7PM while the local, which normally is held at Bayshore to be passed by the bullet, continues on the inbound tracks with no wait.

    Joey Reply:

    @Domayv:

    Which would involve having to go through a winding route that the ACE and UPRR use and would require extensive modernization to make it time-competitive with the freeways

    You can bypass the difficult bits by using the aqueduct ROW to 680. It’s not any harder to construct than your chosen alignment, which goes through highly developed parts of Castro Valley (where there is zero room to expand the freeway ROW) and some rather narrow parts of Dublin Canyon. You could possibly make the case for converting the entire BART line to standard gauge, but otherwise it’s going to be quite difficult.

    and rebuilding the Dumbarton bridge from the ground up due to how dated it is, which crosses through environmentally sensitive areas, making this even tougher than building a new SF-OAK crossing since the SF-OAK crossing doesn’t touch environmentally sensitive areas.

    The SF-Oakland bay floor is sensitive. I forget who exactly said it, but another immersed tube was ruled out at some point for environmental reasons, and the next transbay tube is going to have to be a bored tunnel. So even if you had to tunnel dumbarton, it’s still much shallower and narrower, and the geology is known due to the recently completed water tunnels (reducing the risk and thus cost significantly). There is also ample area for TBM staging areas at the end points, which is not the case for downtown SF. As a side note, it makes even more sense if you route HSR via Altamont, but that’s another discussion.

    Additionally, it would clog up the peninsula corridor even more if it were to go that route.

    If you have trains terminating from both the east and south in SF, you simply join the trips together. No additional trains need to be run.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Joey: wouldn’t a bored tunnel as a SF-OAK crossing be more difficult and more expensive to build and maintain than another immersed tube tunnel. Also on a side note, my alignment (save for the one that will serves the I-580 corridor since it’s probably gonna be bored anyway since between SF and the I-580/CA-13 interchange is going to be nothing but tunnel) goes through (and the 2nd Transbay Tube that I’m suggesting of ends at) Alameda, thus avoiding whatever risks the existing tube has and crossing safer soils.

    About converting the BART tracks to standard gauge, that is a possibility, but to increase speed, I’m thinking of building a viaduct that houses four tracks over the former BART ROW.

    Joey Reply:

    @ Domayv:

    wouldn’t a bored tunnel as a SF-OAK crossing be more difficult and more expensive to build and maintain than another immersed tube tunnel

    An immersed tube would likely be cheaper to build, but as I mentioned it’s probably out of the question at this point. Too much disruption to the bay floor. As for maintenance I doubt there would be much difference.

    Alameda, thus avoiding whatever risks the existing tube has and crossing safer soils.

    Most of the alignments I’ve seen, official or otherwise, end at Alameda. Do you have a reference for the soil being safer?

    save for the one that will serves the I-580 corridor since it’s probably gonna be bored anyway since between SF and the I-580/CA-13 interchange is going to be nothing but tunnel

    Wait, so you want to follow I-580 through the foothills rather than using the minimally used BART-adjacent ex-WP ROW which serves much more developed areas and which I’m sure UP wouldn’t be too sad to part with?

    About converting the BART tracks to standard gauge, that is a possibility, but to increase speed, I’m thinking of building a viaduct that houses four tracks over the former BART ROW.

    That’s going to be incredibly expensive. Maybe not as expensive as tunneling, but not by much.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The correct thing to do at SF is not to have a railyard, and just have trains go back into service in the opposite direction.

    The travel demand both on Caltrain and on California HSR is fairly symmetric: Caltrain runs equal numbers of northbound and southbound trains in the morning peak, and the plan is for it to continue doing so; California HSR, likewise, plans to run symmetric peak service, since both LA and SF are major cities. This means that trains don’t need to ever go out of service at the ends; they can go out of service when the morning or afternoon peak is over and go back into service when the afternoon peak starts, but this happens three or four times a day rather than at the end of every train run, which means it’s fine for trains to deadhead a bit, to Bayshore or wherever.

    Jon Reply:

    I forget who exactly said it, but another immersed tube was ruled out at some point for environmental reasons, and the next transbay tube is going to have to be a bored tunnel.

    That was me. I heard it from an MTC representative at a SPUR meeting. I haven’t seen any planning documents that have sufficient engineering details to confirm or dispute this constraint, but it seems reasonable.

    Jon Reply:

    But yes, a pair of new standard gauge tracks and platforms under Howard St @ 1st St would probably be the easiest way to add run-through capability to Transbay. The tracks would curve south to join the DTX under 2nd St at one end, and continue towards the bay and a new Transbay tube at the other end. That could be achieved with no skyscraper demolition; worst-case you’d need to demo the mid-rise Marriott hotel. Commuter rail services from the East Bay would be run through as southbound Caltrains, so two tracks and two platforms would be sufficient to handle the traffic.

    jimsf Reply:

    why can’t they just build transit bridge, why does it have to be a tube or tunnel
    it could even land on the sf side on a elevated (EL) structure running above mission to tbt then underground to continue wherever. plus riders would have a better view of the city.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Joey: probably the latter, but show me that ex-WP right-of way on google maps so I can see where it is.

    @Alon Levy: show me examples around the world (including the US) where this method of maintenance that you are talking of is implemented.

    @jon: there’s a document on that: https://www.google.com.mx/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=70WSVai5A8m3yAT51peoDQ&url=http://www.mtc.ca.gov/library/bay_crossing/Draft_Cost_Report/Cost_Report_Rev.doc&ved=0CCoQFjAF&usg=AFQjCNEvZBSqEUWN_FzBmv3m_CLomn7Fxg

    @jimsf: that would involve tearing down whatever buildings that would be in its vincinity, unless you want the rail bridge to be on the SF-OAK bay bridge, which, in theory, is possible but that would involve rebuilding it from the ground up, causing major disruption on the freeways, which the current situation is already bad enough.

    Joey Reply:

    @Domayv: It’s right next to BART between about Fruitvale and Fremont.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Domayv: Tokyo Station has 6 tracks for the Tokaido Shinkansen, which runs 13-14 tph at the peak, and 4 for the Tohoku Shinkansen, which runs 12-14. And that’s in a peakier environment than LA-SF.

    In commuter service, Tokyo Station also has just 2 tracks for the Chuo Main Line, which runs 28 tph at the peak. It’s somewhat of a special case, but it did run 24 peak tph’s worth of Tokaido Main Line trains into 4 terminating tracks until the Tokyo-Ueno Line opened this year.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Alon Levy: but the TTC’s 6 tracks will be for both HSR and Caltrain, two different types of services (it will probably require more tracks than just 6 since 4th & King has 14), and Tokyo Station does have more tracks for the commuter and intercity trains (kind of justified since the track gauge outside of the Shinkansen is 1,067mm vs the Shinkansen’s 1435mm). Also, where would the Shinkansens go when maintenance calls.

    @Joey: they can use the northern end of the ROW for SF-Tri-Valleys services and can use the southern end for I-680-Vallejo and San Jose-Tri-Valleys commuter services

  17. Reality Check
    Jun 26th, 2015 at 13:26
    #17

    Bay Area commuters say they’d pay to improve public transit

    The poll showed particularly strong support for a $3 billion bond measure to improve BART, as well as for building a second Transbay Tube

    […]

    Fifty-nine percent said they would support a second tube to help ease BART’s overcrowding, even though the price would be high. The poll did not offer cost estimates or ask if those surveyed would be willing to tax themselves for the improvement. Only 28 percent opposed the idea.

    […]

    joe Reply:

    Dumbarton Bridge Crossing is still possible and order of magnitude more cost effective than a tube.
    PAMPA might even support it.

    Menlo Park based Facebook is going to gobble up that ROW as a employee centric bike path.

    EJ Reply:

    Maybe I’m missing something since I haven’t lived in the Bay Area in over 15 years, but rebuilding the Dumbarton rail crossing seems like such a no-brainer that it’s freakin criminal they haven’t done it. I mean the ROW is all right there, and could easily be hooked back into the Capitol Corridor line and Caltrain once they rebuilt the the bridge and fixed the track, right?

    joe Reply:

    IMHO the problem is three fold

    1. Coordinate distinct counties and funding.
    2. PAMPA up until recently opposed any public transit project – benign neglect as best.
    3. No leading stakeholder/advocate

    http://www.mercurynews.com/summit-fire/ci_25591857/council-weigh-dumbarton-rail-loan-forgiveness-proposal

    Hell froze over in 2014

    On Monday, the Palo Alto City Council is expected to join its counterpart in Menlo Park in objecting to a proposal that would strip funds from a commuter rail project linking the mid-Peninsula and East Bay.

    The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is looking to wipe out a $91 million loan that was made to a BART extension project using funds earmarked for the Dumbarton Rail project.

    In an April 9 letter to MTC Chairman Federal Glover, Palo Alto City Manager James Keene said he expects the council to demand that the loan be repaid at least in part, and that the funds be used to improve transit connections between the mid-Peninsula and East Bay.
    ….
    Passed by voters in 2004, the measure raised the toll on seven state-owned Bay Area bridges by $1 for the purpose of funding projects to ease congestion.
    One of those projects was Dumbarton Rail. Expected to cost at least $600 million, it would link the Peninsula and the East Bay cities of Newark, Fremont and Union City via a rebuilt rail bridge adjacent to the Dumbarton Bridge.

    However, the project has been in limbo since 2012, when voters in Alameda County narrowly rejected a transportation sales tax measure that would have provided up to $120 million.

    EJ Reply:

    But if they can’t even get on board with simply repairing a rail corridor that already exists what possible hope is there for building a second BART tube from scratch? Also it sounds like from that article that PAMPA’s not the problem, but Alameda county.

    Joe Reply:

    Number 3. Stakeholder.

    BART has is a multi county capability.

    I don’t even know the Dumbarton lead organization. Even Caltrain suffers from a three county, unstable funding stream.

    Jon Reply:

    Joe is correct. A second Transbay tube is more likely at this point because it would be entirely within the BART district, whereas Dumbarton joins part of the BART district to part of Caltrain’s de facto ‘district’. Another reason to merge BART and Caltrain into one five-county district, with the same fund raising mechanisms applied across all five counties.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s simpler than that. The ballot measure has to pass by 2/3rd of all the voters. Something SF and the East Bay want has a much easier chance of passing than some far flung extension.

    However, this doesn’t mean that BART can’t put an even bigger ballot measure on the ballot that allows both…

    Joe Reply:

    The Santa Clara Dumbarton money got moved to the San Jose BART extension which is Santa Clara county. The Dumbarton rail project requires coordination without a stakeholder organization to work each County. There’s no far flung extension. It’s crossing a heavily traveled corridor between counties.

    Jon Reply:

    This project is small enough that it doesn’t require a specific ballot measure; it can be funded as part of a general transportation sales tax, which would be more likely to pass in both Alameda and San Mateo.

    It really does all come down to politics. That and the fact that no-one was able to get too excited about the original three trains a day commuter rail proposal. A more frequent DMU shuttle service was later proposed, but even that would gain much more support if BART took up the project and branded it as ‘pBART’, or something like that.

    Joe Reply:

    Santa Clara Co is also invoked. Palo Alto, in Santa Clara, wants the Dumbarton money loaned to BART repaid and put into Dumbarton transit. This is a change in how Palo Alto historically deprioritized and really neglected transit.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Oh good grief. A 2nd Transbay Tube? You gotta be kidding. Neglect East Bay communities.
    Avoid investment needed to create jobs there. Grace Crunican screwed Portland, screwed Seattle,
    now screwing BART management. Portlanders dispise the woman. Seattlers fear her Bertha Tunnel monstrosity and unimpressive streetcar planning. Now look what she’s doing with BART.

    2nd Transbay Tube translation: All investment goes downtown SF.
    No other area needs investment to reduce cross-county traffic.
    Certainly not Altamont were driving is a joy, pure bliss.

    Eric Reply:

    2nd Transbay Tube *is* an investment in the East Bay. It makes it possible for many more East Bay residents to reach San Francisco jobs, SFO, etc.

    joe Reply:

    Threat is here:

    If restoring Dumbarton rail service is not feasible, Facebook supports “the transformation of the Rail Corridor into a Community Transit Corridor, running from either the Redwood City CalTrain Station or Marsh Road to Willow Road,” which could include “a Bus Rapid Transit line on rubberized tracks, along with a bicycle/pedestrian trail,” according to an October letter from Vice-President of Real Estate John Tenanes.
    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2015/03/20/dumbarton-rail-prospects-boosted-by-facebook-housing-proposal/

    Lewellan Reply:

    Oh good grief. A 2nd Transbay Tube? You gotta be kidding. Neglect East Bay communities. Avoid investment needed to create jobs there. Grace Crunican screwed Portland, screwed Seattle,
    now screwing BART directorship. Portlanders dispise her callous disregard for public safety. Seattlers fear her Bertha Tunnel monstrosity, her disappointing streetcar lines. Now look what she’s doing with BART. She’s as trustworthy as the worst of her peers. Oregon gave her the pink slip in 2000, Seattle in 2009, both dismissals under heated controversy.

    2nd Transbay Tube translation: All investment goes downtown SF.
    No other area needs investment to reduce cross-county traffic.
    Certainly not Altamont were driving is a joy, pure bliss.
    The dumbing down of America, in the high-tech sector, is so pretty, la la la…

    Peter Reply:

    The Transbay Tube is already at capacity. BART cars during rush hour are already well beyond capacity. SF and the Peninsula is where the jobs are. Ergo, a new Transbay Tube should be one of the highest priorities for Bay Area transit, whether it is a new BART line or a Caltrain extension from Transbay.

    trentbridge Reply:

    +1

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Well it’s an open question how much another Tube would help matters on the Peninsula. It’s already an hour ride from Milbrae to Walnut Creek.

    However, I would agree that the need general from TransBay traffic is sufficient to warrant an expansion of the Tube system. At this point, SF is willing to pay for those costs, so I think we should move forward and then go back to more extensions.

    Joe Reply:

    Instead of a second tube, stations in SF can be rebuilt to reduce dwell time. Allow passengers to disembark on one side of the car and board on the other side. That would allow more trains per hour.

    swing hanger Reply:

    aka The Spanish Solution

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Or close one of the stations in the central district. They are too close together. You can always go upstairs and take Muni if it’s too far to walk. Powell? Montgomery? One or the other.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Closing Montgomery would make the dwell time problem at Embarcadero even worse than it already is.

    Michael Reply:

    Paul, please visit Embarcadero Station between 4-6 on any workday and tell me how you would add 50%+ more passengers to the crowd.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Start by getting rid of the bikes.

    Joey Reply:

    Start by getting rid of the bikes.

    Order of magnitude check in aisle 5!

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Two orders of magnitude!

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I used to commute from Burbank to 4 Embarcadero and understand the problem. Cattle prods come to mind. Like many systems the stations were not designed for the numbers now carried. But to have stations too close together will give you the reduced capacity even if the trains were empty.

    Joey Reply:

    But to have stations too close together will give you the reduced capacity even if the trains were empty.

    Does it? As long as the dwell times are consistent and uniform there’s no obvious reason why this would be true. Increasing dwell times definitely decreases capacity though, since the number of dwell-empty cycles you can fit in an hour decreases.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    “Instead of a second tube, stations in SF can be rebuilt to reduce dwell time.”

    Even before that, having new trains with 50% more doors won’t hurt either.

    Reedman Reply:

    Being “at capacity” has no relationship to transit investment, especially in the Bay Area. The Bay Bridge is “at capacity” a whole lot more hours than BART. Yet, the new Bay Bridge span ($7 billion) has zero/nada/zip additional capacity/width over the original that opened in 1936.

    Eric Reply:

    The Bay Bridge is not a bottleneck, the off-ramps and streets in San Francisco are the bottleneck. If you added lanes to the Bay Bridge, it would still be backed up with cars trying to get off it.

    The Transbay Tube is a bottleneck – both the branches in the East Bay, and the pedestrian connections in downtown San Francisco, are below capacity. If you built another tube, the branches and sidewalks would easily absorb the extra incoming/outgoing passengers, and life would be great.

    Joey Reply:

    Highways actually have higher capacity when they’re operating at speed. The Bay Bridge is at capacity in the sense that it would be near impossible to move any more vehicles across it than it currently carries.

    beetroot Reply:

    Wouldn’t a taxing measure like this need 66%?

  18. Reality Check
    Jun 26th, 2015 at 13:31
    #18

    SF Caltrain corridor study release postponed til fall

    From the project website, the study was planning to cover proposals to:

    • Replace the elevated portion of I-280 north of Mariposa or 16th Street with a surface boulevard, similar to the Embarcadero or Octavia Boulevard, including improved circulation and connections throughout the area

    • Verify and/or potentially modify the proposed Downtown Rail Extension (DTX) (e.g. alignment, construction methods)

    • Create a Loop Track out of east side of Transbay Transit Center (TTC)

    • Reconfigure and/or relocate portions of the 4th/King Railyard storage and maintenance functions (service to the 4th/King Railyard area will remain)

    • Create opportunities for new public spaces, housing and jobs at the Railyard and along the freeway/rail alignment between Townsend and Mariposa, including the potential to raise additional revenue to realize the transportation infrastructure.

  19. Roland
    Jun 27th, 2015 at 20:23
    #19

    Network Rail in the News: http://www.railengineer.uk/2015/06/26/network-rail-falls-behind/

    “Network Rail had missed 30 out of its 84 planned milestones with some projects facing delays or cost escalations. Track renewal is 7% behind plan, signalling renewals are 63% behind schedule and overhead line renewals are 77% behind target.”

    “He then announced four major changes. When Richard Parry Jones steps down as chairman in July he will be replaced by Sir Peter Hendy, the current Transport Commissioner in London. Secondly, the Secretary of State has appointed Richard Brown as a special director of Network Rail with immediate effect to update him directly on progress. Thirdly, no Network Rail executive director will receive a bonus for the past year and the role of the Public Members has been abolished. Fourthly, Dame Colette Bowe, an experienced economist and regulator, will look at lessons learned and make recommendations in the autumn for better investment planning in future.”

  20. jimsf
    Jun 28th, 2015 at 00:13
    #20

    Local

    June 26, 2015

    Valley agency takes control of Amtrak San Joaquin trains

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article25646398.html#storylink=cpy

    urrently, he said, ticket prices escalate when passengers wait until the last few days to buy their tickets. “The closer you get to the day you want to travel, the fares go up,” he said. “We don’t like that ticket escalating, and we don’t want that anymore.”

    Instead, the agency hopes to work with Amtrak to reduce overall costs “and have a fixed ticket price, whether you buy two weeks in advance or buy it the day of travel,”

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article25646398.html#storylink=cpy

    keith saggers Reply:

    The San Joaquin rail authority isn’t alone in seeking greater control over the passenger train service in its region. The LOSSAN (Los Angeles/San Diego/San Luis Obispo) Rail Corridor Agency is taking over management of the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains from Caltrans

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article25646398.html#storylink=cpy

    Ted Judah Reply:

    At the core of this decision, of course, is PRIIA’s requirement of how much each state has to pay for state-supported routes operated by Amtrak. It’s not as if there is new bucket of money for these costs…

    jimsf Reply:

    Caltrans is still paying as it has, its still state money not local money. Only the management is local. The jpa s are not bringing in more funding. They are just in a position to give local communities more say in what kind of service they get.

    It may be just the right thing to do at this point since, with HSR on the horizon, the san joaquin service will be poised to become more of local service adding more stops and more trains

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted, PRIIA is not at the core of this at all. Read the text of the law (PRIIA that is). jimsf, yes indeed it is still State money, with “local control”. Representation Without Taxation! All it does is add another layer of decision making with a Board composed of politicians and no one with business or railroad experience, except by chance. Perea wants fare reductions, the deficit will likely go up, the SJ Board will have to go to the Capitol on a begfest. Because of course the localities that want to call the shots do not want to be on the hook for the financial consequences. Government at its finest.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul,

    Oh no, PRIIA *IS* at the root of it all. The Brown Administration’s goal is always to pass on higher costs, and this will be no different.

    In this case, I assure you the long term plan is to have the State control the program and the locals to pay the price.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Read PRIIA and you may begin to understand
    It makes no difference to what is done internally by California

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Paul, I’m not saying that PRIIA requires any sort of local contribution at all. What I am saying is that Brown only agreed to the rate increases in PRIIA because he was going to realign the funding for the Division of Rail at Caltrans to these JPAs. That way, if the JPAs want more service, they will have to raise those costs themselves.

    That is why many counties lately are using the “self-help” label on transportation lately to indicate they are okay with raising taxes locally if they can control what it is spent on.

  21. jimsf
    Jun 28th, 2015 at 00:17
    #21

    Capitol Corridor hope: 10 passenger trains a day between Roseville and Sacramento

    Highlights
    Hoping to take advantage of funds from California’s cap-and-trade program, Capitol Corridor rail officials intend to build a new track between Roseville and downtown Sacramento, allowing them to increase passenger train service from one round trip a day to as many as 10.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Eh, the story is a great example of the inherent tension that is going on as a result of realignment of transit funding.

    Sacramento County has light rail, Placer County does not. Placer County doesn’t want to a separate transit tax to fund an extension of the light rail system (not that I agree with the idea, per se, but there’s no support regardless). So Placer wants to have more commuters take the Capitol Corridor to meet their air quality and congestion management targets.

    The problem, as in Orange County, as in San Diego County, San Mateo, etc. etc. is the a commuter rail system using a freight rail line is inherently less convenient to COMMUTERS than the light rail which has more control over its ROW, especially in high demand areas. (I’m aware that the Gold Line in Sacramento uses the ancestral ROW of the Sacramento Valley Railroad…)

    Although I could take the “something is better is nothing” approach…it’s already backfired on Placer County.

    Plenty of their residents takes the light rail by driving to its stations and adding to congestion that way. Sacramento has already rebuilt its station to make it far less convenient for commuters by adding a ten minutes walk from the platform into the city. And travelers who can’t afford the time just go back to driving anyway.

    Until land use patterns change in Placer County…100 trains a day won’t change anything. I think it would be great if the Cap Corridor was expanded to serve Reno to Monterey and if it was more frequent…but the devil is all in the details…

    jimsf Reply:

    Not really accurate in this case… In the case of placer county, its the people who already use capitol corridor who are pushing for more of those trains because they like them Those same people would not use sacramento light rail. Nor do the people up in placer county WANT sac light rail coming into their neighborhoods any more than the people here in el dorado county want sac light rail coming up the hill. Everything stops at the sac county line. and both placer and EDC want to keep it that way.

    Not to mention riding light rail, especially trains as unfortable as the ones sac rt uses, all the way from auburn, to downtown would just not be acceptable.

    The people in placer county have higher expectations.

    As for changing land use in EDC and Placer, don’t hold your breath. Most of us moved up here specifically for the the lifestyle found here and specifically NOT to be in Sac or the Bay.

    As far as using freight tracks, thats pretty common across the country.
    The additional of the third track with proper dispatching will keep the OTP in the 90s.

    keith saggers Reply:

    OTP?

    Clem Reply:

    On Time Performance, the percentage of trains that arrive within a defined window of time after their scheduled arrival. This metric is often gamed by measuring OTP only at the last stop, after generously padding the timetable so that most trains arrive ahead of time.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    jimsf, you should have noted that in the last quarter Placer County passenger count had dropped (I believe about 40%) on the one daily round trip. You mention Sacto station. far more improtant is the Placer County subsidized commuter bus that delivers passengers in downtown Sac much closer to their destination at about 30% less for a monthly pass. If local governments want to go into competition with state funded services we have more idiocy on our hands.
    I’d say, (speaking for myself and not RailPAC) that I wouldn’t have started a service with one train a day, it’s a joke. At the very least it would have to be coordinated with an express bus to cover the rest of the day. I think we are likely to see the same thing in Santa Barbara next year if the “local control” prevails. Meanwhile the bookkeepers at Division of Rail shake their heads in dismay.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The people in placer county have higher expectations.

    The only comment I can make is that there is no relationship between higher expectations and what sort of mass transit Placer County offers. The City of Roseville runs its buses almost empty into downtown to continue to justify its cut of local transit funding.

    trentbridge Reply:

    “The people in Placer County have higher expectations.”

    It’s all about altitude not attitude..

    The highest point in Placer County is 9040 feet (west Ridge of Mount
    Baldy) and the highest point in Sacramento County is Carpenter Hill 828 ft.

    Yes people in Placer County actually look down on people in Sacramento county.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    This a joke right?

    Most housing tracts in Placer County are below 1,000 feet in elevation. Placer County is the Northern California equivalent of Orange County. There’s only one reason anyone would look “down” at Sacramento County living there and it has nothing to do with elevation…

  22. jimsf
    Jun 28th, 2015 at 00:30
    #22

    Davis to install electronic bike lockers to help solve train storage problems

    Capitol Corridor officials want to encourage alternative transportation use, but some passengers three years ago complained that train aisles – and disabled bathrooms – were growing cluttered with bikes on board. Officials have added storage on some trains but also see expanded bike lockers as a solution

  23. Urbanist
    Jun 28th, 2015 at 06:14
    #23

    Private investment should reflect private gain — the real estate around HSR stations should be the key.

    (Sorry to be late to the thread)

    For light-rail / streetcar development, PPPs can take advantage of the increased value of the properties along the route. New downtown train stations along the HSR route will lead to billions in newly-created value — that’s the engine for shared risk / shared reward. Not a few pennies off each ticket.

  24. Eric M
    Jun 28th, 2015 at 09:48
    #24

    This might happen to you if you take Elon Musks’ Hyperloop.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    There are no rocket boosters planned for the Hyperloop.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I guess the point is that Musk doesn’t have some sort of magic wand that makes everything he does work, which sometimes seems to be what many people think….

    The tech spacex uses is well-understood, time tested classic stuff, and while spacex has done a great job of implementing, tweaking, and testing it, it still fails, because sometimes there’s just very little margin for error, and errors do creep in. Hyperloop is a complete unknown; maybe Elon’s cocktail-napkin plans will work but …. maybe they won’t, and failure modes and problems may not be obvious until quite a lot of testing and development has been done. It’s going to be a long time before Hyperloop is something you’ll want to bet on…

    Joe Reply:

    Launches are high risk. He’s doing well at far less cost than the established launch providers.

    Musk is giving hyper loop for free but not the falcon engine or his designs. One is real the other an idea.

    Joey Reply:

    The last time any concrete information about hyperloop was published, it was little more than a sketch and a couple of numbers on the back of a napkin.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-15/elon-musk-s-spacex-sponsors-competition-to-build-hyperloop-pods
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3130605/What-ride-750-mph-solar-powered-pod-look-like-Firm-unveils-luxurious-vision-Elon-Musk-s-Hyperloop.html
    http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/03/hyperloop_office.php

    Danny Reply:

    so now it’s several CGI sketches and a couple of numbers on the back of a napkin

    Reality Check Reply:

    Here’s another interesting one: Mythbusting with ‘Mr. Hyperloop’

    Dirk Ahlborn is two hours behind schedule, and it’s no surprise, since the project that he represents has the potential to change the world. He’s the CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, one of the firms that’s dedicated to building those high-speed tubes people of the future are always traveling in. It’s got so much potential that you can even see hope in the eyes of the people standing in his presence, waiting for their turn to speak to the German. You might have heard that Elon Musk dreamed up this idea, but it’s Ahlborn who’s most likely to make it a reality. Say hello to Mr. Hyperloop.

    It’s not a name that Ahlborn likes hearing, going to great pains to emphasize the community that has developed around the project. That includes almost 400 scientists, engineers and experts that are working, ostensibly for free, to help develop the Hyperloop system — not to mention partner companies and universities. Then there’s the wider community whose input, feedback and general engagement are helping to shape the future of mass transit.

    The CEO is clearly feeling frustrated at the misconceptions that seem to surround the project […]

    Roland Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Klla4de0KFc

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I love how those myths Ahlborn is busting don’t include “the cost will be higher than that of HSR rather than lower” and “the standards are making it a barf ride.”

    Danny Reply:

    it’s like fusion power or artificial intelligence: the more work’s done on a project the more everyone can see it won’t be doable

    they’re already citing Ryanair as a model AND promising a $500M IPO (I can’t tell when, their future timeline has typos)

    they’re casually talking about a :30 brake after an explosion (and promising it’ll be less damaging than a subway bombing. hmm): I think that test track is gonna have one hell of a final run!

    and, yes, nothing on leakage, total cost, downtown extension, the inferior maximum ridership, or the lies about CAHSR propping up the whole megillah

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Don’t get me wrong, I think spacex is awesome, and a real step forward.

    TomA Reply:

    LOL. The idea so groundbrekaing that Musk himself didnt even have time for it. Potentially BILLIONS of dollars to be made and hes just sitting it out and letting a bunch of grad students handle the whole thing.

    Eric M Reply:

    I realize that. I was being being more sarcastic than anything.

    Jerry Reply:

    So was it an O ring problem, or hackers??

  25. keith saggers
    Jun 29th, 2015 at 07:47
    #25
  26. Eric M
    Jun 29th, 2015 at 08:54
    #26

    Here is the California High Speed Rail Authority’s “Request for Expressions of Interest for the delivery of an initial operating segment” This is a link to a PDF document.

    keith saggers Reply:

    The current construction in the Central Valley is the first step in completing an IOS and eventually the entire high-speed rail system in California. Successfully implementing a high-speed rail system requires the delivery and integration of numerous high-speed rail components, including civil works, track, infrastructure, stations, rolling stock, and train operations. The Authority plans to limit its role to oversight and management and will rely on the private sector to develop, deliver, and integrate these components.
    The next series of procurements planned by the Authority will address future needs and move toward the implementation of an IOS. The purpose of this Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) is to solicit feedback and interest from the private sector on the development and maintenance of the remaining civil works, track, and infrastructure for IOS-South, IOS-North, or both.
    1.1 Next Steps
    While the “backbone” of the System is being delivered under a series of DB contracts through the Central Valley, the Authority is planning for the delivery of the remainder of the civil works not yet under procurement and all railway infrastructure (track, traction power, systems) for one or both of the IOS options outlined above.
    Industry experience has shown that innovative delivery models, such as a design-build-finance-maintain (DBFM), can help the Authority achieve its objectives of minimizing the whole-life cost of the System, securing private sector investment, accelerating System completion, and transferring key delivery and long-term maintenance risk to the private sector.

    Jerry Reply:

    So which segment (IOS north or IOS south) will produce more revenue and generate more expressions of interest??

    J. Wong Reply:

    I’m guessing IOS south (even though I live in IOS north). My sense is that there’s more traffic between the San Joaquin Valley and southern California than to the Bay Area.

    keith saggers Reply:

    How about both

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Depends on how you define such things.

  27. Reality Check
    Jun 29th, 2015 at 10:26
    #27

    O/T: Google, other e-map makers to add RR Xing warnings to maps

    Reality Check Reply:

    Google will add audio and visual alerts to warn drivers about upcoming railroad crossings on Google’s navigation system, the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration announced on Monday.

    The agency also asked four other companies – Apple, Garmin, Tom Tom and AOL’s MapQuest – to join similar map partnerships using the agency’s data to pinpoint the crossings, it said. AOL is owned by Verizon.

    The FRA said about 270 people died last year in road-rail collisions. With more drivers using smartphone navigation apps to reach their destinations, the agency said they will be safer if they know about rail crossings they are approaching.

  28. Reality Check
    Jun 29th, 2015 at 10:40
    #28

    O/T: Nightmare awaits NJ if a Hudson rail tunnel is forced to close

    “It would create a transportation nightmare that has so many negative ramifications for our economy and our quality of life,” said Jamie Fox, New Jersey Transportation Commissioner. “Anyone who thinks if one (tunnel) gets shut down, that life will go on normal is sadly mistaken. It will affect everyone.”

    Amtrak officials sounded the alarm last October that the tunnels had 20-years of life (or less) left before they’d have to be closed one year each for repair. If one tunnel has to be closed for emergency repairs, the number of trains per hour would dwindle from 24 to six, said Craig Schulz, an Amtrak spokesman.

  29. Reality Check
    Jun 29th, 2015 at 10:53
    #29

    O/T: UP importing super-long rails from Japan into custom-built Stockton terminal

    The Omaha-based railroad is now the first large U.S. railroad to employ superlong rail lengths to replace worn track. The 480-foot pieces of rail — one is the length of 1½ football fields — requires 88 percent fewer welds than the current 80-foot standard pieces. Fewer welds mean fewer stress points and, Union Pacific hopes, fewer derailments — a particular concern now that shipments of ethanol, chemicals and crude oil are on the rise.

    “The long-rail project could significantly reduce broken rails related to welding,” said U.P. spokesman Mark Davis.

    […]

    Davis said the Omaha company evaluated many options for acquiring the 480-foot rail sections, including U.S. steelmakers. But in the end, only Nippon Steel, the world’s second-largest steelmaker, was up to snuff, Davis said.

    Then came the problem of transporting something that big. Existing freight ships couldn’t easily handle rail that long. Undaunted, a ship was commissioned and built, the Pacific Spike, a handsome blue-and-white vessel with a cargo hold that stretches the entire length of its 623 feet.

    The Pacific Spike is outfitted with three cranes that can simultaneously unload five rails weighing 10 tons. The rail is stacked onto specially designed shuttle cars dockside to be moved into storage.
    How to transport the rail once it gets to port also was an obstacle: Construction on 25 acres of custom-built terminal space at the Port of Stockton in California wrapped up this year.

    […]

    Joey Reply:

    I’m surprised this is cheaper than just welding the rails.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The weakness is in the welding. This stuff is made in long single pieces. Nippon is not unique but may be the only ones with capacity available to make the heavy gauge required for USA axle loads.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Note that due to “Buy American” hypocrisy public agencies are forced to use lower quality, more expensive, less reliable, more derailment prone USA USA USA USA USA USA rail, systems and rolling stock.

    “Comparative advantage”: it’s a fine slogan.

    Joe Reply:

    Set aside USA history where we intentionally entered into established markets as policy and build our economy and today still protect markets such as the auto and computer industry.

    The Chinese happily build a domestic rail high speed rail industry and system while selling us lowest bidder steel for the bay bridge.

  30. jimsf
    Jun 29th, 2015 at 14:59
    #30

    How do I change my screen name here?

    EJ Reply:

    What’s wrong with your screen name? If you want to change it though, just go to the bottom of the comments feed, it will say “Welcome back jimsf. Change>>” Click the change link and type something new in the Name box, and submit a new comment.

    jimsf Reply:

    Well I haven’t been “SF” now for the past almost 4 years. after a year in merced a year in shell beach a year in sac and a year up here, and considering I can barely stand even visiting SF anymore as I find its continued social, economic, and physical destruction to be to depressing as a 4th generation sf’s.
    its time to let sf go. Now so I’m JimPollockPines.

    EJ Reply:

    Tell me about it. I grew up in San Jose in the 1970s; when I was a little kid it was a big treat to drive up to “The City” on a Saturday. I went to college at UCSC in the early 90s – south San Jose had gotten filled in with endless Burbs (when I grew up there was a dairy farm I could walk to but by then it was long paved over) but SF was still a fun, sort of affordable place with creative people, cool clubs and music venues.

    But now, sheesh. I go up there every once in a while on business, and it’s Manhattan west.

    jimsf Reply:

    I remember san jose in the 70s too. Its was basically a small town. I mean a typical normal cut offs and flip flops and walk down to the dairy queen in the summer kind of town with taco stands and fruit stands and of course Frontier Village which was way out in the ,now unrecognizable paved over, boonies.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh, dang, Frontier Village, I forgot all about that place. Pretty great when you were, like, 6 years old or so.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    How about the pseudonym “Epes Randolph”, Jim?

    EJ Reply:

    But Pollock Pines ain’t exactly cheap, you must have cashed out some decent SF real estate to decamp up there…

  31. Reality Check
    Jun 29th, 2015 at 15:18
    #31

    CA HSRA seeks private-sector ideas, interest on financing, development

    The formal request for expressions of interest is seen as a way to nudge companies to move beyond vague statements of support and make more meaningful overtures and offer specific ideas for developing the system. [HSRA chief program manager Frank Vacca] described it as “part of the strategy in looking at ways to leverage cap-and-trade, to advance the program in a faster, more economical way.”

    “Faster” and “more economical” are becoming critical factors for the rail agency. Construction has started on a 29-mile segment between Fresno and Madera, a contract has been awarded for a 65-mile section from Fresno to the Tulare-Kern county line, and bids are being sought for the third Valley segment, about 22 miles from the Tulare-Kern line to Shafter. The authority expects work on those sections to be completed by late 2018. But to continue development north to Merced and south through Bakersfield and Palmdale to Burbank in time to begin carrying passengers in 2022, the authority needs to get a move on.

    “I think we’re in a point in our program that we need to solicit as much input as we can from examples that have been tried around the world,” Vacca said. “We’re at a point in our program (that) in the next six to twelve months, we have some hard decisions to make on going forward on additional procurements.”

  32. Useless
    Jun 29th, 2015 at 21:43
    #32

    Breaking news. Two dead onboard Tokaido Shinkansen. The first Shinkansen fatality. KTX and TGV remain only bidders left without an onboard fatality. http://www.theverge.com/2015/6/30/8866779/japanese-bullet-train-fire-deaths

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    after 50 years of operation and billions of passengers I suspect there have have been other suicides onboard the trains. And some outside the trains.

    Useless Reply:

    adirondacker12800

    This is a massive blow to Japanese bidders because they can no longer make “No one ever died riding in a Shinkansen” claim. That claim is now exclusively reserved for Rotem and Alstom(At least no passenger, because one TGV train driver was killed in a crash). Or does Kawasaki try to distance itself from Tokaido Shinkansen.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Actually, 2 died on a TGV bombing in 1983. So…KTX Mansei!

    Useless Reply:

    swing hanger

    Well then, only Rotem can claim that no one ever died riding its bullet trains. That’s a powerful marketing point.

    swing hanger Reply:

    For weak-minded individuals, yes.

    EJ Reply:

    I don’t imagine they will use it, though, since they’re predominantly marketing to people who are relatively psychologically healthy.

    Useless Reply:

    EJ

    Of course Rotem will, along with the Oxnard crash to demonstrate the safety of Rotem trains. Rotem’s business case is that its trains are the toughest and the most crashworthy of the bunch.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    If Oxnard is a reference for crashworthyness, forget it…

    No stability at all…

    EJ Reply:

    Do you have statistics that nobody has ever died riding a Rotem-built train? No fatal heart attacks, no suicides, etc?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m sure after billions of passengers there have been deaths from natural causes. Probably a murder or two also.

    Useless Reply:

    adirondacker12800

    Surprisingly no natural causes because the sick person would be dropped off at the next station, so that Shinkansen operators can claim that no one died onboard their trains.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Wow, and I thought the reason would be so he/she could get prompt medical treatment at a hospital. Seriously, you’re just being a self-serving twit.

    Useless Reply:

    swing hanger

    People just don’t drop dead in their seats. When a passenger starts showing signs of a heart attack or something, the conductor contacts the next station to have ambulances ready. Since the Shinkansen train stops every 20 minutes or so, most heart attack or stroke patients will survive long enough to be picked up by the ambulance crew at the next station.

    If it was an airline flight then the fatality rate would be higher, but not a bullet train travel.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The leading symptom of heart disease is sudden death. One of the leading ones for stroke too.

    Eric Reply:

    That’s not a symptom they teach you how to treat in medical school :)

    Jerry Reply:

    Apple has an app for that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Not everybody clutches their chest and exclaims “I’m comin’ Elizabeth” like Fred Sandford did. I sure after billions of passengers there are at least a few people who very very quietly slipped away without anyone noticing immediately.

    Jerry Reply:

    “Probably a murder or two..”
    What? At least not on the Orient Express.
    Round up the usual suspects.

    EJ Reply:

    This is a massive blow to Japanese bidders because they can no longer make “No one ever died riding in a Shinkansen” claim.

    No it isn’t. There have been other Shinkansen suicides, just as there are doubtless suicides on KTX, and every other train system. The TGV even got bombed once, by Carlos the Jackal. Nobody in their right mind would reject a train manufacturer just because somebody killed themselves on its trains.

    Even by your low standards of mindless anti-Japan, pro-Korea propaganda, that’s pretty stupid.

    Useless Reply:

    EJ

    The fatality statistics counts only those who died onboard the train, not outside of it. In other word, platform jumpers, railway crossers, and drivers whose vehicles were hit by the bullet train don’t count in the statistics.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    What JR actually claims is “No accidents resulting in fatalities or injuries to passengers onboard since operations commenced in 1964” (http://english.jr-central.co.jp/about/safety.html) … which is still true. If somebody brought a gun on board and started shooting people, that would not be a mark against the shinkansen (or any other train). The point of such claims is to demonstrate the effectiveness of their safety regime, not that the shinkansen is some sort of magic anti-death zone.

    Oh, and yeah, what EJ said: your mindless anti-Japan, pro-Korea propaganda is indeed pretty stupid. Honestly, you’d be more successful at it if you were more subtle… but instead you bash away at it like a 10-year-old kid… ><

    Useless Reply:

    Watch the Shinkansen fire video here : http://youtu.be/qCtd4v3DmpA http://youtu.be/DZFa89satCg

    Eric M Reply:

    How safe is Korea’s rail?

    In 2011, there were 130 incidents involving the high-speed KTX alone, according to the Board of Audit and Inspection. The BAI laid much of the blame for these incidents on rail operator KORAIL for knowingly purchasing defective KTX-Sancheon trains manufactured by Hyundai Rotem.

    Eric M Reply:

    Rickety bullet trains rankle rail travelers

    The series of accidents also poses a setback for the Korean government’s ambition to export the homegrown rail technology to other regions including Brazil, the Middle East and California.

    Who is to blame?

    The frequent breakdowns are chiefly driven by the KTX-Sancheon, the local version of bullet trains made by Hyundai. It started commercial service in March 2010, but experts said the trains had “fundamental problems” with design, manufacturing and test run.

    “Our technology still needs improvement compared with those owned by countries like France and Japan.” said Kim Chan-oh, a professor at Seoul National University of Science and Technology’s railroad program.

    Useless Reply:

    Eric M

    > How safe is Korea’s rail?

    Very safe, of course.

    Suh noted that despite recent operational issues, Korea has yet to have a fatal collision involving high-speed rail, which has been involved in a number of devastating accidents abroad in recent years.

    “Considering the most recent fatal high-speed rail system accident in Spain (40-plus dead) and fatal accidents in China (again 40-plus) and Germany (100-plus if I remember correctly), and one fatal accident in one of the Shinkansen (Japanese) stations (one person dead), KORAIL is doing okay, at least up to now, with KTX, I think,” said Suh.

    ‘Global leader’

    According to some researchers, in fact, Korea’s rail safety standards could be ranked among the best there are.

    Eric M Reply:

    Rickety bullet trains rankle rail travelers

    The series of accidents also poses a setback for the Korean government’s ambition to export the homegrown rail technology to other regions including Brazil, the Middle East and California.

    Who is to blame?

    The frequent breakdowns are chiefly driven by the KTX-Sancheon, the local version of bullet trains made by Hyundai. It started commercial service in March 2010, but experts said the trains had “fundamental problems” with design, manufacturing and test run.

    “Our technology still needs improvement compared with those owned by countries like France and Japan.” said Kim Chan-oh, a professor at Seoul National University of Science and Technology’s railroad program.

  33. jimsf
    Jun 29th, 2015 at 21:50
    #33

    All aboard! Ferrari designer unveils plans for new £30m ultra-luxury train in Japan … with glass walls and high-end bedroom suites

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2681496/All-aboard-Ferrari-designer-unveils-plans-new-30m-ultra-luxury-Cruise-Train-Japan.html#ixzz3eWAjDL2j
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Useless Reply:

    jimsf

    This is a narrow gauge low-speed train where a ticket costs $10K for retired tourists. Has nothing to do with high speed rail, whose high speed travel makes luxury interior meaningless because it’s like renting a luxury hotel suite for a couple of hours.

    EJ Reply:

    Nah, some degree of luxury still matters on HSR. Whenever I wind up in London, I usually try to make it up to Glasgow to see my relatives – granted, this is on the West Coast main line where the train is a Virgin Railways Pendolino that takes about 4.5 hours, not cutting-edge HSR, but still far higher performance than anything in the US. But I try to book in advance and get a reasonable deal on first class – the seats are wider and more comfortable, and quite decent food, as well as all manner of booze, are included. Especially once you’re barrelling through the Lake District and then southern Scotland at dusk, enjoying a cheese plate and an after-dinner port, it’s almost disappointing when you actually get to Glasgow Central and have to disembark.

    Then again, when those same relatives need to go up to London, they fly. To each his own.

  34. Reedman
    Jun 30th, 2015 at 11:00
    #34

    Metrolink’s New Chief Looks To Boost Image

    http://www.latimes.com/local/countygovernment/la-me-california-commute-20150630-story.html#page=1

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    They’re going to be ready to blend in with HSR, with 125mph diesels….They also have regenerative braking, not sure where the power goes but who cares, it sounds good. Oh, and crash energy management, of the kind that was so helpful in February at Oxnard.
    It appears that PTC is not going too well. One of my brothers in arm’s trains stopped 4 times between stations from Sylmar to LAUS last week. Look out for “system signal issues” as a reason for a delay.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It goes to the passenger cars.

    Useless Reply:

    Paul Dyson

    not sure where the power goes but who cares

    The diesel engine generates electricity to drive electric motors, and regenerated electricity would be stored in ultra capacitors to power the motors again.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why would they do that when there’s a train load of cars in back of them sucking up electricity for lighting and HVAC?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    But there are no ultracapacitors, batteries or any other storage specified. That’s the mystery

    EJ Reply:

    It says “Inverter type HEP with dynamic brake energy recovery.” Presumably that just means some of the dynamic braking energy gets diverted to the HEP system. I’d imagine the rest gets sent to resistance grids just like on any other diesel-electric locomotive.

    http://www.emdiesels.com/emdweb/products/pdf/2-sidersENG_LTR_proof_rev5RevH.pdf

    I mean, EMD has a fairly good track record of knowing what they are doing. And the basic powerplant is adapted from one that’s already in service. 125 mph diesels seem to always be touted as this leading edge technology – the Brits have had them in service for more than 30 years.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Yes EJ. I am looking forward to my next 125mph run on Metrolink. We’ll see how these freight locos with lipstick actually perform.
    And just to show my age, I was on duty at Reading Control when a BR diesel set the world record at 143mph, 12th June, 1973.

    EJ Reply:

    Freight loco with lipstick? They partnered with Vossloh, who have a solid record of building fast diesel locomotives in Europe.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The Vossloh part is the lipstick, i.e. the bogies.

    EJ Reply:

    I mean, if it turns out to be a bad product, that’ll be too bad, but what’s the reason to think it will at this stage?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Not so much that it’s a bad product, it has yet to prove itself. It’s more a state of mind, guaranteeing that they’ll be offering the same type of service in 20 – 30 years time, if they are still in business. And the business model is a failure at 40,000 per day.

    swing hanger Reply:

    What’s the axle load on these units?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    70,000 pounds in old money

    swing hanger Reply:

    That’s what, a 35 ton axle load?? The 125mph capable BR class 67 has a 22.5 ton axle load, and that was designed with frame mounted motors. I wonder if the new EMD has something similar.

    joe Reply:

    Here’s an example with Mazda automobiles.

    http://www2.mazda.com/en/technology/env/i-eloop/
    “Unlike a battery …., capacitors store energy as electricity and for this reason it can charge and discharge large amounts of electricity very quickly.”

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Adi: while that may be so the net benefit is minimal without intermediate storage. Electricity is generated by deceleration, and at that moment the prime mover has power to spare to provide HEP to the passenger cars. When it needs more power, during acceleration, the extra power is not available. Incidentally these new locomotives do not have separate HEP generators. Of course they never break down so the chances of you being stranded in a train without a/c or light are zero, no doubt.

    Roland Reply:

    One cannot help wonder what would happen if some lunatic on Art Leahy’s staff proposed that Metrolink get rid of every bathroom on its trains :-)

  35. Reality Check
    Jun 30th, 2015 at 12:38
    #35

    Just published: Caltrain EMU RFP staff report (agenda item 9)

    1. Staff will obtain option prices for vehicles with two different door designs:
    a) A vehicle with two sets of doors, in which the higher doors would be sealed and seats would be placed adjacent to those doors until such time as the needs of and plans for the High Speed Rail/Blended System are further defined and future evaluation of the interior of the EMUs, as it relates to the deployment of the previously sealed doors, is warranted; and
    b) A vehicle with a single set of low-level doors.

    In the event that the vehicle with two sets of doors proves to be more expensive, a contract award based upon this option will depend on the ability and willingness of the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) to pay for the additional costs required to procure the double door vehicles.

    2. EMUs will be designed to enhance the safety and comfort of standing passengers.

    3. EMUs will maintain an onboard ratio of nine seats for every one bike space. To complement onboard bike storage, there will be a parallel effort to modernize wayside bike facilities to be accomplished through significant investment including funding, staff time and station space, to establish modern bike facilities and amenities.

    4. One Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) bathroom will be provided for each six car EMU train. During the vehicle design phase options for replacing ADA bathrooms with seats and/or standee space may be considered if warranted.

    Roland Reply:

    Caltrain Commuter Coalition (C3) Sample letter of support: https://www.dropbox.com/s/p8sraiz92g25wqb/Sample%20Letter%20of%20Support_EMU%20RFP.doc?dl=0

    Roland Reply:

    #4 is ambiguous. Is it:
    – one bathroom for each car in each 6-car EMU train (total 6 bathrooms/train) or
    – “one bathroom for each 6-car EMU train” (total 1 bathroom/train)?
    If the latter, how could “replacing ADA bathrooms with seats and/or standee space” be possible?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Wait I don’t understand your second complaint… If there’s one bathroom per six-car train (almost certainly what was meant), they could remove it and make more room for seats…

    Jon Reply:

    Obviously they meant the latter. And they’re just giving themselves the option to remove the bathroom from the design further down the road. There’s nothing to prevent them doing this because there’s no legal requirement to have bathrooms at all.

    joe Reply:

    Caltrain currently runs one luggage car per train.
    http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=60681

    They can do the same with a bathroom car.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Roland: I see no ambiguity:

    ☻ One bathroom per 6-car EMU trainset
    ☻ However, during design, “if warranted”, we may axe the bathroom to get more passenger space

    Roland Reply:

    Thank you for the clarification. Sounds like we are on a collision course…

    Reality Check Reply:

    The “ratio of nine seats for every one bike space” works out to 11%.

    The bikes-on-Caltrain lobby will be disappointed, as they have been pushing for 16%.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Oops, make that 10%. Re-reading, I see they mean one out 10 — not 9 — spaces is a bike space :-)

    joe Reply:

    How many people get displaced if each bike space is 5/6 a paying passenger?

    Joey Reply:

    Providing space for bikes does not preclude charging for using said space.

    joe Reply:

    0 credit. please see the professor after class.

    Each bike reduces capacity by 0.833 people. 6 bikes “precludes” 5 fewer people.

    Joey Reply:

    So you’re actually suggesting that there should be zero bike storage ok board?

    You know what else displaces passengers? Seats. We should probably get rid of them.

    J. Wong Reply:

    No one gets displaced. Everyone rides even if they stand.

    Reality Check Reply:

    But at some point, not everyone can board … even standing space runs out and all bike spaces are full of … people!.

    Joe Reply:

    There’s really no way to make this argument and ask for more train cars or service. If everyone can fit then we’re done.

    Realistically every bike is -0.83 paying passenger aka people. Increase bike capacity by 10% is a 8% decrease in capacity.

    Expecting people to stand assumes we’re all going to be 30 forever.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Back when every train had excess capacity, it was a simple matter of repeatedly observing that bike spaces were running out well before seats. So asking for more bike spaces made sense.

    Today we’ve got both types of space running out, so time to ask for more (or longer) trains.

    If we ever get back to excess (unused) space aboard the trains, then we can go back to quibbling about what the right ratios are.

    Until then, Caltrain will have continued to fail to provide sufficient train frequencies along the 101 corridor on tracks nowhere near their capacity.

    Joe Reply:

    Ask for more passengers space. Ask for more passenger space.

    What kind of person equates a bike with another human being?

    Joe Reply:

    The newest train cars Caltrain just added are bike cars.

    Joe Reply:

    Like this:

    Crowding on Caltrain is becoming increasingly severe during the morning and evening rush. A record 61,670 passengers packed into the agency’s five-car trains on an average weekday in October 2014, and “standing room only” is now the norm during peak hours. With ridership growing more than 10 percent each year since 2009, the trend shows no sign of stopping. New office space and housing construction in San Francisco, along El Camino Real in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and within walking distance of Caltrain stations are also quickly filling up any remaining passenger capacity even on trains running outside the traditional commute times.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Joe: “Realistically every bike is -0.83 paying passenger aka people. Increase bike capacity by 10% is a 8% decrease in capacity.”

    So you are claiming that a train with 650 seats and 80 bike spaces and a passenger load of 500, is driving away 80 fare paying passengers?

    A train with a passenger load of 700 is driving away 80 fare paying passengers?

    A train with a passenger load of 600 is driving away 80 fare paying passengers?

    A train with a passenger load of 400 is driving away 80 fare paying passengers?

    A train with a passenger load of 300 is driving away 80 fare paying passengers?

    A train with a passenger load of 200 is driving away 80 fare paying passengers?

    Do you have any tangible evidence that the bike spaces are preventing fare paying customers from getting on any train?

    If fare paying customers are not able to get on crowded trains, the problem has more to do with Caltrain NOT providing adequate service; rather than providing bike space on trains.

    Joe Reply:

    oh my God. So bike riders get turned away when the bike car is full. Now I need to show that trains which are operating at over 100% capacity are costing Caltrain passengers because WHY?

    20 seats remove to make space for 24 bikes.

    It’s an IQ test.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Joe, in re Caltrain swinging loads, you need to start a movement to excoriate, downright scourge, those politicians who tried to kill Caltrain and did kill off the TBT tunnel in the early 90’s. If it had not been for those consummate a-holes, Heminger, the Brown Bros., BART-MTC, you would have an electrified Caltrain right now.

    BART-MTC remain the sworn, if tacit, enemies of Caltrain. And of course Caltrain management makes it so easy for its enemies.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Damn, I forgot Quentin Kopp.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Joe: “Now I need to show that trains which are operating at over 100% capacity are costing Caltrain passengers because WHY?”

    Why? Because you constantly claim that bike space is driving customers away from Caltrain, yet there is no proof that this is the case.

    How about this scenario: Many Caltrain parking lots are at capacity and lack of parking drives paying customers away from Caltrain. Joe gets his wish and Caltrain does away with bicycles. So now those former bike customers have to drive to the station and park, therefore filling the parking lots quicker, driving away more fare paying customers from Caltrain.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Caltrain needs to get away from this extremely shortsighted, imprudent, mentality of 6-cars/train, 6 trains/hour. They need to think outside their little backwater toonerville trolley/bus fiefdom.

    The example projected NB peak hour EMU capacity increase of 14.2% in seats, 16.7% in bikes, and 105.7% in standees, leads to a total capacity increase of just 35.1% over the current NB peak hour capacity. And this does not take into account the present capacity increase utilizing the just purchased Metrolink cars, so the actual increase in capacity (from Metrolink increase) will be less than this.

    If Caltrain were to consider 8-car EMU trains at 8 trains/hour, seated capacity would be 103%
    Yes it means lengthening the platforms and since they will need be rebuilt anyway why not make platforms longer?

    If they can find money to build central subways, BART extensions, freeway expansion, they should be able to find money to expand Caltrain.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Better, smarter service beats the crap our of wastefully and stupidly throwing equipment and manpower away. Their plans for the next 30+ years are for shit service, misallocated resources, empty seats, and huge operating costs, and 8 “car” (so retro!) trains coming 7.5 minutes aren’t a solution to any of that.

    Caltrain “needing” more money isn’t the problem. The exact opposite, in fact.

    Joe Reply:

    Exactly. Start with canceling south Santa Clara county service.

    This will end the way it always ends when engineers are in charge. “I’m right and they’re wrong and too stupid to know better.”

    Joey Reply:

    The south of SJ service should probably be split off and possibly be run by VTA as opposed to the JPB. The service requirements are really fundamentally different than the SF-SJ service.

    Joe Reply:

    VTA subs to Caltrain so the likely candidate is CC Amtrak which would gladly extend from San Jose to Gilroy and on to Monterey. Draft plan is for three commuter trains. VTA has promised funds for thier part of this plan which includes mods for Gilroy tracks.

    Advantage is VTA fors not acquire the assets for a smaller segment. CC carries commuters to San Jose for a transfer to Caltrain and then on to Oakland which expands options for south county Monterey residents. That will increase ridership.

    Today there is a practical transfer to an express train at Tamien so this transfer to electrified Caltrain would be pretty consistent with today’s ridership experience.

    Joey Reply:

    I’d actually argue that Amtrak California style trains are the wrong choice for the corridor. The lowish population density lends itself better to smaller trains with lower operating costs (DMUs) if service levels are to be useful (i.e. trains per hour rather than trains per day).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    To be fair, every route of such length should run multiple-units and not loco-hauled trains. Loco-hauled trains are for overnighters and maybe longer-distance day trains (think Palmetto and Carolinian, not the San Joaquin, let alone CC and the Surfliner).

    (Fun fact: in Japan, the only loco-hauled rolling stock in passenger service consists of 20 trainsets used for the remaining overnighters and such. Everything else is EMUs and some DMUs.)

    jimsf Reply:

    I guess capitol trains could extend down salinas as planned with whatever number of trains per day, and also upgraded ACE trains could also conceiveably extend south from san jose. And i read that new san joaquin service could be added to the altamont corridor as part of the whole norcal unified thing. Im still unsure as to how the finished norcal unified service brand will look on paper. I mean ACE SJQ CCJPA are going to be norcal unified then do we dispense with the seperate brands and give them all the same name, logos, livery, and numbering?

    has anyone thought it all the way through and if so can they please fill in the rest of us

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Apparently, today was the day that the San Joaquins were to transfer to the new JPA.

    Here’s their business plan: http://www.acerail.com/About/Regional-Governance-for-San-Joaquin-Rail-Service/SJJPA-Bus-Plan-2015-Final.pdf

    jimsf Reply:

    Wow they covered everything sounds like a really good plan

    joe Reply:

    I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say low-density. These trains about three in the morning is commuters would run from Salinas through Gilroy Morgan Hill San Jose and Oakland.

    More than density to consider. What are the alternatives for people working in the Silicon Valley area with rents beyond anything you can afford. The high tech firms run buses from low.density Gilroy to SV.

    Joey Reply:

    Low density compared to, say, the CalTrain corridor. But it hardly matters. Like Alon Levy says, most lines should be operated with multiple units, and in order to actually attract riders, a minimum service level of 1-2 trains per hour all day is needed.

    Roland Reply:

    Agreed: http://vta-sprinter.org/

    Jon Reply:

    Well, you keep banging on about Caltrain’s accommodation for bikes supposedly reducing revenue, but there’s no disputing the fact that Caltrain’s farebox recovery metric would improve if they cancelled all service south of SJ. Doing so would result in a very small reduction in fare revenue and a much larger reduction in operating costs.

    So, be careful what you wish for when arguing that bike spaces should be removed in order to improve revenue. Of course, it’s very obvious from your comments that you are against providing bike spaces because you dislike cyclists, and that you are in favor of south county service because you live there. There’s no logic behind either position, just your own prejudice and self-interest.

    Joe Reply:

    okay lets work this out.

    The capacity metric is not mine but belongs to the critics of HSR who also happen to want more free bike space. Friends of Caltrain for example.

    South county passanger service does not reduce passanger capacity and the fare is higher for those stops so I see no parallel to free bike space at the cost of paying passanger space. I’m not a bike. We pay a fare and our county supports Caltrain for all residents.

    I don’t hate bikes – I dislike hyprocitical arguments. It’s obvious that polarizing arguments will backfire. bike advocates need to be self aware of thier negative impact to system capacity before throwing stones.

    Cutting Santa Clara Caltrain service cuts the operating subsidy Santa Clara provides Caltrain which requires a subsidy to operate. It’s why the Caltrain keeps the service and gets the VTA subsidy.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Wait, I thought VTA’s operating contribution for the mainline SF-SJ service was independent of the Gilroy extension service, which neither of the two other partner agencies/counties subsidize.

    Can anyone confirm that they’re actually coupled, and, if so, how?

    joe Reply:

    Coupled as it is part of the santa Clara county and have vta buses, running water and residents are US citizens.

    Attend caltrain meetings in Gilroy and talk to the city’s representative to the VTA and caltrain.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Sorry Joe, but I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

    Simple question: isn’t VTA’s Gilroy Caltrain operating subsidy separate from their SF-SJ subsidy?

    Or are you admitting you don’t know? And if so, then what were your earlier comments based on?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @Richard Mlynarik: “… beats the crap our of wastefully and stupidly throwing equipment and manpower away.”

    Many trains are currently operating near/at and above capacity. Bike bumps are reported daily and consistently on some trains. So it is a wasteful and stupid use of equipment and manpower to try to accommodate this ever growing ridership?

    “8 “car” (so retro!) trains” Huh?

    “coming 7.5 minutes aren’t a solution to any of that.” Why isn’t it a solution?

    “Caltrain “needing” more money isn’t the problem. The exact opposite, in fact.” Please explain your rationale for this.

    “ Better, smarter service “ How do you know that this scenario will be so much better? Not that the proposed service from Caltrain is anything great, in fact the proposal by Caltrain is far from ideal. What makes you or Clem expert service planners?

    Joey Reply:

    Many trains are currently operating near/at and above capacity.

    The ones that are not could conceivably be used more efficiently with a better timetable.

    And no train is being useful when it’s out of service. Which I’ve heard is more often for CalTrain than other, more modern systems (long layovers, unnecessarily high spare ratios).

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Joey: “The ones that are not could conceivably be used more efficiently with a better timetable.”

    Yes, I have heard this kind of argument before. “Why is Caltrain running early AM trains, when they could be better run later in the peak commute period?” Screw those of us that need those trains to get to work, its better use of resources to serve those who can set their own work schedule or work a typical 9 to 5 workday. “Why is Caltrain running late evening trains that are underutilized?” Well it’s all part of providing an attractive service. Sometimes people need to leave work early, or stay late, or go to a show in the evening. Some people work an evening shift. Having reliable convenient service throughout the day makes Caltrain more useful for ALL customers.

    @ Joey: “And no train is being useful when it’s out of service. Which I’ve heard is more often for CalTrain than other, more modern systems (long layovers, unnecessarily high spare ratios).”

    You are correct, out of service trains don’t collect revenue and the turnaround time shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes. What is Caltrains’, 30-45 minutes?

    I don’t know the spare/out of service ratios for Caltrain; does anybody here have an idea of what it is?

    Joey Reply:

    “Why is Caltrain running early AM trains, when they could be better run later in the peak commute period?” Screw those of us that need those trains to get to work, its better use of resources to serve those who can set their own work schedule or work a typical 9 to 5 workday. “Why is Caltrain running late evening trains that are underutilized?” Well it’s all part of providing an attractive service. Sometimes people need to leave work early, or stay late, or go to a show in the evening. Some people work an evening shift.

    It’s more a question of having a reliable, consistent timetable rather than the mess of skip-stop services that CalTrain currently has. The post Richard M linked to has a more reasonable service pattern. I’d actually argue for more frequent off-peak service since hourly service generally has trouble attracting riders.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    … and I think any such calculation has to take the long term view. More regular, frequent, service will expand ridership, more than just that due to increased capacity, but it’s something that may take a while, as potential riders take the more convenient and reliable schedules into account in decisions about their lifestyle, and the concept of Caltrain as a reliable transit method slowly takes root.

    [… and it’s in the long run, with significantly increased ridership, that bike cars are probably untenable. For now, it probably doesn’t matter that much.]

    jimsf Reply:

    caltrain and bart both need to run later,(hourly) with the last trains leaving the city after 2am and they need to have timed late night transfers between agencies at millbrae and san jose (when it opens) so that we can have reliable round the bay service at all hours.

    and half hourly service at all other times with half the trains as locals and half the trains as limiteds and have the limiteds stops and and xfer stations be the same for every run so that the whole thing can be easily memorized.

    then dont go and change it every year either.

    also the sked should be the same 7 days a week. get rid of all weekend and holiday skeds at ALL agencies.
    Make everything run the same, make it all easy to remember and as simple as possible
    and make the fare structure as simple as possible.

    and THAT is how you attract riders. stop fucking confusing people.. which is the only thing that todays transit agencies and railroads are good at.

    jimsf Reply:

    as for capacity run longer trains. run ten car caltrains at peak
    what, they dont fit? well how are the dummies that designed platforms that are too short to accomodate commuter train loads in a major urban market?

    In other places they build airports on islands… after they build islands to put them on. among other things. the whole freakin world is performing engineering that would make the romans wet themslves.

    have we done ANY infrastructure correctly in the last 40 years? What was the last impressive thing built… maybe the Verrazona narrows bridge? its been lackluster since then.

    Joey Reply:

    BART already has a minimum headway of 20 minutes during operating hours. Even that seems inadequate sometimes.

  36. Reality Check
    Jun 30th, 2015 at 20:35
    #36

    China: New traction system to allow HSR speeds of over 310 MPH

    China joins global elite in fast rail

    China has become a world leader in high-speed railway technology with its development of a cutting-edge permanent magnet synchronous traction system that will take bullet trains to an ultrafast 500 kilometers per hour.

    The advanced 690-kilowatt traction system was developed by CRRC Corp, the country’s train-making behemoth, at its Zhuzhou Institute in Hunan province. It will soon enter mass production, said Ding Rongjun, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering who heads the institute.

    “Now we have our own permanent magnet synchronous traction system with full intellectual property rights, marking a new chapter in China’s high-speed railways,” he said, adding that only a handful of countries are capable of manufacturing the sophisticated apparatus, including Germany and Japan.

    […]

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Wait, aren’t the speed bottlenecks of HSR other things besides the motors…?

    swing hanger Reply:

    Yes, things like catenary, wheel/rail interface…

    Jerry Reply:

    The new traction system has fewer parts and uses less electricity.

  37. Eric
    Jul 1st, 2015 at 08:15
    #37

    Yay for San Francisco.
    http://m.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Human-waste-shuts-down-BART-escalators-3735981.php

    synonymouse Reply:

    Where are all the nannies?

    Jon Reply:

    …and yet the BART Board sees no pressing need to reopen the bathrooms: http://modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/bart-finally-remembers-passengers-need-pee

    synonymouse Reply:

    Well, BART is crap; so what do you expect?

  38. Robert S. Allen
    Jul 2nd, 2015 at 01:32
    #38

    Enclose street escalators like at 19th Street in Oakland, but add a street-level commode in the design.

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