More Hype for the Hyperloop

Aug 23rd, 2015 | Posted by

Wired reported this week that the Hyperloop is “starting to look a little less crazy”. Let’s take a closer look at that eyebrow-raising statement:

The Hyperloop, detailed by the SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk in a 57-page alpha white paper in August 2013, is a transportation network of above-ground tubes that could span hundreds of miles. With extremely low air pressure inside those tubes, capsules filled with people would zip through them at near supersonic speeds. Musk published the paper encouraging anyone interested to pursue the idea, since he’s kinda a busy guy.

That timing lined up with the beta launch of JumpStartFund, a startup that combines elements of crowdfunding and crowd-sourcing to tackle ambitious projects like revolutionary transportation infrastructure. JumpStartFund created Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc, which brought together engineers willing to spend their free time working on the design in exchange for stock options.

The startup plans to start construction on a full-scale, passenger-ready Hyperloop in 2016. The prototype will run 5 miles through Quay Valley, a planned community rising from nothing along Interstate 5, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Ahlborn says he’s got several potential investors….

It remains to be seen how this will pan out, but having these two companies sign on makes it more likely than ever that the future of transportation may not be autonomous vehicles or supersonic jets, but capsules flying through vacuum tubes.

Hmm. Some of this looks rather familiar. The story about a Quay Valley test track circulated back in February and I still don’t see evidence that Ahlborn has the investors he needs to make it happen.

And as we pointed out back in December the Hyperloop Transportation Technologies company isn’t quite as big as the article claims – it has 400 people working on it, but very few are working full-time.

Ahlborn has waved away criticisms of the Hyperloop, but those criticisms still stand. That includes Alon Levy’s claim that the Hyperloop would be a barf ride, which is the claim Ahlborn wants to pretend isn’t true.

The other problem, as has also been pointed out, is that building a small test track on land you own is a completely different matter from gathering together the 400+ miles of right-of-way you need to get from SF to LA in something resembling a straight line.

The media loves to hype the Hyperloop. The combination of Elon Musk and cutting edge technology is irresistible. I’m all for further research into its feasibility. But let’s keep it in perspective. It’s not going to be built anytime soon, and there remain serious obstacles to making it real.

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  1. JimInPollockPines
    Aug 23rd, 2015 at 12:00
    #1

    There is a way it could be useful. First Im all for building a new city from scratch, and employing all the very latest tech and having in built into such a new “smart city”. but thats not the same as building a fancy suburban community. Now if you want to building something new, along the lines of a “logans run” high tech city sans the domes of course, and use short vacuum tubes to get across town or to connect the future city to the nearest large city say a drift tube from quay to fresno hsr station. that could be interesting. But as a statewide network the idea is unnecessary ( because conventional and high speed rail can easily meet those needs);

    I think california should build a new experimental high tech smart city from scratch and use it as a social and technical testing ground and populated with interested individuals and families.
    Now if someone wants to do that project, it would be worthwhile.

    EJ Reply:

    I actually don’t think it would be all that useful for short distance urban transport. If it works, its big selling point is its tremendous speed, which is useless for short trips since you don’t have the distance to accelerate comfortably.

    agb5 Reply:

    Until someone invents a way to do a high speed junction/turnoff, the system will have only 2 stations, which is not very useful for getting around town.

    Roland Reply:

    One thing at a time. In the meantime, why stop at 2 stations?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO26ok9YFfM

    agb5 Reply:

    Nope, no high speed Y junction there, which means they don’t know how to make one.
    You could have 10 stations but each station would need 9 tubes leading directly to the other 9 stations, which would be massively expensive to build compared to a traditional metro line with 10 stops.

    BMFofSanDiego Reply:

    Someone knows too much information.

    And, the similarly applies for maglev. Junctions and switches are possible in such a system, however, they are not fast at all.

    Hyperloop may not be able to have junctions and multiple stop-n-go stations similar to typical train services, though, it could have multiple way-points and transfer locations. Say… tube from LA to Balerdield, then transfer to another tube from Bakerfield to Merced, then have a choice of a tube from Merced to Sac, or Merces to San Jose. Something like that.

    I don’t support hyper loop. Seems so impractical or I feasible that it’s silly.

    TomA Reply:

    And we already have that. Its called a plane. And it can hold many more people.

    Jerry Reply:

    New cities from ‘scratch’. Certainly doable.
    Brasilia, the capital of Brasilia, is a new city built from ‘scratch’ in 1956.
    Downtown Pittsburgh, PA has been completely rebuilt since it’s 1957 Renaissance. Including a ‘new’ lower North Side.

    Joe Reply:

    DC USA and Canberra Australia.

    jwb Reply:

    If you’re going to build a city from scratch, use this plan: http://carfree.com/topology.html

    There’s no need for some dumb evacuated tube. An ordinary cut-and-cover 2-track subway system will get you anywhere in a city of a million people within 35 minutes.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you are going to build a city of million from scratch make the major boulevards wide enough for the three car trolleys to have dedicated lanes. Probably two car because there aren’t enough people in a city of a million to warrant three cars. Unless you ban automobiles.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    use this plan: http://carfree.com/topology.html

    Second page I look at on that site: “buildings higher than 4 stories are not desirable because they are expensive to construct and unpleasant to live in”…. ><

    That sort of absolute language / dogmatism is not a good thing. Obviously some people find living in tall buildings unpleasant, but it's not hard to find people who feel the opposite way, and preferences seem to vary greatly by location/culture.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Can’t pack that many people in with 4 story buildings.
    Why does the car free city have ginormous parking garages? Where do these people work, shop etc.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    You can pack quite a few people into four story buildings as long as you put the buildings close together. The easiest way to do that is ban cars and build narrow streets, as the car free typology suggests.

    The European model of 4-6 story buildings with narrow streets can pack in quite a bit of density – more density than any current US city.

    By the way I emphatically do NOT agree with Crawford’s assertions that buildings higher than four stories are “unpleasant.” I’m just pointing out that fairly significant density – in fact density just about as high as has ever been consistently achieved in cities – is possible with such an arrangement.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Oh I certainly agree with you. Tokyo, for instance, is not a high-rise city; it’s been slowly getting more residential high-rises in recent years—which are hugely popular—but they’re a completely miniscule fraction of the housing stock, which is mostly fairly low-rise even in city-center areas.

    I mainly object to his attempt to phrase his personal preferences as some sort of objective aesthetic imperative.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    100 square miles with 80 percent of it undeveloped implies that only 20 square miles of it is developed. That’s 50,000 people per square mile which is less than Manhattan but more than Brooklyn.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    My current place of residence is a “rail suburb” with a density of about 40,000pp/mile^2, and is a mix of mostly single-family houses and low-rise (3-5 stories) apartments, with a smattering of medium-rise (7-10 stories) and a few skyscraper apartments (30-50 stories). The higher stuff is all clustered around rail stations and the like.

    I think a nice mix like this is the best thing, it provides something for many different tastes and budgets…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Make it 25 % denser and chop off everything above the fourth floor.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    Based on Wikipedia stats, 9 out of 20 arrondissements of Paris have a higher density than Manhattan. Incidentally these arrondisements together amount to 26 square miles, which is about the same as Manhattan. Over 99% of the buildings in Paris are 7 stories or less.

    I’m not sure why 80% of the urban area needs to be undeveloped, especially in a typology that allows access to the edge of the metropolitan area (which is presumably undeveloped) in less than 20 minutes by subway from anywhere in the city. (The 35 minute maximum transit time is anywhere-to-anywhere, meaning from an outer edge to another outer edge, so you’d be able to get from the center to the edge in about half that time).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Without getting out an envelope 7 story buildings are 75% denser than 4 story buildings…..

    synonymouse Reply:

    Highrises are ghetto. Just enough air to last the nite.

    john burrows Reply:

    Took a few rough measurements where I live—

    The first two blocks West of Diridon Train Station in San Jose contain four (soon to be five) different developments with a total of about 900 residential units (part of a 1990’s redevelopment plan), occupying an area of roughly 30 acres— including, besides the residences, a 4 acre park, 2 acres of retail, the interior streets and one half of the bordering streets. The buildings vary in height from 3 to 6 stories.

    The next three blocks also measure about 30 acres in area and consist largely of pre-1940 single family residences on 50 foot lots with a few duplexes thrown in along with 5 or 6 acres of retail and commercial. Within this old residential area there are about 200 residential units, mostly single story. So comparing apples to apples the redeveloped area has 4.5 times the density of the old residential area.

    Having lived for ten years in a development with 3 to 6 story buildings I personally think that it is better to mix it up a bit regarding heights and densities and that a medium density development where heights are varied between 4 and 6 stories generally looks better than the same number of units limited to 4 stories.

    When it comes to building heights we see a lot of of 5 story buildings in this area, but relatively few with more than 5. The main reason of course is that wood is a cheaper building material and it has been pretty much traditional to build 4 stories of wood over a one story concrete podium. But type III-A construction allows for 5 or possibly even 6 floors of wood framing when the building is fully sprinklered, meaning that as time goes on 5 stories of wood framing will become more common although I am not sure if San Francisco will allow it. What it comes down to is that with an extra story of wood framing you can add more density to a project relatively cheaply.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Musk has a tendency of being wrong as far as technological advancement too.

    He used to proclaim that Tesla cars didn’t have to worry about battery limitations because they would soon use capacitors instead to replace battery cells. If you notice, Tesla has moved so far away from that idea that they are building a $500 million battery plant outside Reno to build….lithium batteries.

    My guess is that the Hyperloop is not actually the technology Musk really cares about, but something else that the demo project could yield as a result…

  2. EJ
    Aug 23rd, 2015 at 12:57
    #2

    “That includes Alon Levy’s claim that the Hyperloop would be a barf ride, which is the claim Ahlborn wants to pretend isn’t true.”

    All Alon’s article did was demonstrate that the faster you go, the longer your transitions into curves and grades have to be. While this does mean that the amount of tunnelling that would be needed between SF and LA is probably underestimated, it does nothing to demonstrate the hyperloop is impossible. The Shanghai maglev maxes out at 267 mph (under atmospheric conditions, not an evacuated tube) and people say it’s the smoothest ride they’ve ever had. Of course, there are real-world reasons why it’s never progressed further than its initial short route, and the technology has never been adopted elsewhere. IMHO it remains to be seen whether the same is true of hyperloop, but a test track would give us some real answers.

    Now, Musk’s initial cost estimates are a joke, and there are some technological issues that need to be overcome. But the basic science is sound, and people have been kicking around variations of this idea for well over a hundred years. At least for me personally, that’s why I’m hoping this gets backing. And I think it will. Most of the most ardent naysayers I’ve seen seem to have financial or emotional connections to existing transportation modes (I mean, I like trains too). Far more experts seem to be taking a wait and see attitude. After all, the people involved in these projects aren’t stupid. If it works and, more importantly, can be built at a cost that’s at least competitive with HSR, it will be a total game changer. I think that’s something that deep-pocketed investors will bet on.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People have been scribbling things on damp cocktail napkins since there have been cocktail napkins.
    The naysayers aren’t particularly ardent. Physics, civil engineering aerodynamics etc. don’t need to be.

    EJ Reply:

    It’s considerably farther along than the cocktail napkin stage. How do physics, civil engineering, and aerodynamics disprove the possibility of the hyperloop?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s to the point of some really kewl jpegs. People puke when you accelerate and decelerate them too fast. Or whip them through curves. Though I suppose thats more a comfort engineer’s problem than a physics problem. Physics comes into it. There’s that problem of what happens to them when something fails and they bang into the wall at 700 mph. Airplanes have problems, they sometimes have minutes before they bang into something. The civil engineers can explain how the pylons are grossly undersized. And the tubes need Readon metal or have to be bigger. The aerodynamics people can explain how much power it’s going to take to suck the air out of the way of a pod traveling at 700 mph, how hot it’s going to be when you exhaust it etc. Doing it with batteries isn’t the first thing that comes to their mind. Though those problems get back to physics.

    EJ Reply:

    You could have just typed “FUD” instead of all that gibberish.

    It’s too bad all these engineers working on it aren’t smart, like you.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Which engineers? Other than the ones that have said the pod was the wrong shape, the tube was too small and the speed would have to be decreased?

    EJ Reply:

    Yes, that’s why they want to build a test track. Nobody is saying that the idea has emerged fully formed from Musk’s brain. You do realize that most new technologies involve years of research to develop, don’t you?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And it’s not the first time someone has suggested pods in evacuated tubes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vactrain

    it’s not a comprehensive list

    EJ Reply:

    Yes, I know. Like I said, similar ideas have been around for quite a while. That’s why it will be interesting if they actually build something to test it out. A lot of the technology for conventional HSR had been discussed and even tested as far back as the beginning of the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the Japanese said, “you know what, we’re actually going to build this” and made it happen.

    Reality Check Reply:

    I see HSR as a straight-forward evolutionary concept, whereas Hyperloop is more like batshit handwavy revolutionary.

    Maybe the smartest engineers are the ones that have a more sober realistic assessment of Hyperloop’s feasibility/practicality/constructibility/operability/engineering/physics challenges and know better than not to waste their time on it such an “oh, don’t worry, we’ll figure it all out if we try hard enough” misadventure?

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’m perfectly happy for silly people to waste their money on building a test track.

    My predictions are that Hyperloop will cost orders of magnitude more than Musk claimed, while transporting fewer people than a train line at speeds which are not much better. At which point it will be *at best* like maglevs. Which nobody is building because they are *not cost effective*.

    There’s a technical reason why trains on two rails are cost effective. With the conical wheels on the rails, they have passive stabilization against toppling over. Which means trains can be very long. Which means they can have very high capacity. I see no such advantage for Hyperloop.

    Pneumatic and evacuated-air tubes have been tried repeatedly as well; they have some advantages, but the core disadvantage invariably makes them uneconomical. The core disadvantage is that even one leak draws in junk and messes up the whole system. Even in pneumatic mail chutes this required an excessive rate of repairs.

    Andy M Reply:

    Started much earlier. A certain Mr Brunel actually built something once and bankrupted a lot of people in the process.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Is HypeLoop any stupider than base tunnels to nowhere?

    Eric Reply:

    Yes, because Palmdale means one or two base tunnels to nowhere, but Hyperloop means many more than that.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hypeloop to Palmdale? I figure they are planning SF and LA exclusively.

    HypeLoop stupid? Yeah, maybe. But BART Indian broad gauge was even stupider – intentional, corrupt stupidity to take care of the SP. Criminal stupidity.

    BrianR Reply:

    synonymouse,

    The route of the Hyperloop of course depends on who is doing the study. If you look at the study done by UCLA’s Suprastudio with participation from Dirk Ahlborn’s Hyperloop Transportation Technologies you will see that their proposed Hyperloop route actually passes through Palmdale and Fresno as well. They even replicate the dogleg but it’s actually much longer than CHSRA’s. They are probably figuring that at 700 mph the extra mileage would be irrelevant.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    ….and what, exactly is the alternative?

    Visit Southern California and see how the other half lives before you defecate on BART so much.

    Marvel at the ineffectiveness of the Metrolink system and its nosebleed ticket prices. Or salivate at the speed and cleanliness of light rail lines that move slower than the old steam trains they replaced. Freeways sprouting like Brutalist temples in a redolent haze of dust and auto exhaust.

    BART has plenty of problems, but aside from the technical challenges of Indian broad gauge, it has paid dividends to have wider trains that can fit more people and have a system that is not tied to the freight rail roads but is key to where incorporated cities co-locate density.

    What looked like a bribe to SP was probably a realization by the railroad how impractical the Red Cars and Henry Huntington’s vision of shared ROWs in Southern California had been and to not repeat the mistake.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It’s Chinatown, Ted.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Is that movie the sum of your knowledge about Southern California?

    Or have you seen “L.A. Confidential” too???

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Ted
    How much does BART’s width have to do with its track gauge though? There are certainly standard-gauge metros (and other railways) out there that have cars equally as wide as BART…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    BART trains are as wide as the wider versions of NYC subway cars. Same as Washington Metro. MARTA in Atlanta. Give or take a few inches.

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah, BART cars are about only 6 to 8 inches wider than BMT/IND cars (depending on exactly which series of BMT/IND cars you’re comparing them to). 10 feet or a little less is pretty standard for metro cars – BART cars are 10′ 6″. But there’s really nothing stopping you from running wider rolling stock on standard gauge track – Metroliners are the same width as BART, and there are Swedish EMUs wider than 11 feet.

    BART likes to tout that they’ve got the most spacious rolling stock of any metro system, but it’s by a matter of at most 5% in width, and it’s not really down to the track gauge.

    EJ Reply:

    I should say, there’s nothing stopping you from running wider trains other than the overall structure gauge of your system – it’s not a matter of track gauge.

    EJ Reply:

    Is that movie the sum of your knowledge about Southern California?

    Or have you seen “L.A. Confidential” too???

    Hahahaha. I imagine he’s also seen “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” – the definitive documentary on the demise of the Red Cars. I imagine he’s in favor of LA’s poky, never will be able to run express trains light rail system, since despite not knowing much about SoCal he seems to pine for the P.E. and LARy. At least the subway’s nice, and in a decade or two it might actually go somewhere useful.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh and don’t forget LA’s dumb-ass little one-way downtown streetcar loop that won’t even go to Union Station, and will offer inferior service to the existing little circulator buses that are already well-patronized despite their dismal wayfinding and signage.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Wikipedia says LA’s Red and Purple lines get 150k, 153k or 160k riders on an average weekday. Someone finds it useful. And it gets twice as many riders per mile as BART.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, yeah, I’m exaggerating, combined with the Orange Line BRT it’s a decent way to get from the Valley to Downtown. Naturally it gets more riders per mile than BART, it’s less than 20 miles long whereas BART sprawls out into distant suburbs. But FFS it’s not going to get to Westwood until 2035, and that’s if everything goes according to plan WRT to engineering, environmental clearance, and funding. If they hadn’t fucked up the original planning and construction so badly, LA would have had a subway the length of Wilshire Blvd 15 years ago.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART cars have bulbous monocoque sides – are you measuring from widest side to widest side or across the actual floor passengers stand on?

    Michael Reply:

    Synon- In any position, sitting parallel, perpendicular, or standing, wider above the floor provides a more spacious ride. Note the width of shoulders for parallel, where feet land when sitting perpendicular, or how one’s body widens out from one’s feet as it goes up. Middle width counts…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Which is of course why boxcars are bulbous.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Je m’excuse. I should have said why cattlecars are bulbous.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Certainly, you can run wide trains the standard gauge but I would assume the trade there is safety and speed. Just like smaller cars have put the wheel base closer to the vehicles bumpers, it’s probably a similar trade off.

    But that ignores the other point I made: the SP had lots of experience with the Red Cars and Key systems to realize sharing track with local freight and cars wasn’t viable. By using a separate gauge, most of the freight railroads in the Bay Area stayed commuter free. The Downside was that many streetcar systems suffered once buses could become larger and suburban growth pushed other riders into cars.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    EJ! Your “Roger Rabbit” comment is priceless! Apparently synonymouse career was spent being Bob Hoskins’s character in the never made sequel, “Who Stole Mickey Mouse’s Keys?”

    Miles Bader Reply:

    you can run wide trains the standard gauge but I would assume the trade there is safety and speed

    Is it an issue in actual practice? BART does not seem to be any faster or safer than similar rail systems with a greater width:track-gauge ratio. [and of course, note that the standard-gauge shinkansen has even wider cars than BART!]

    synonymouse Reply:

    The answer is very simple: two Bechtels sat on the SP board of directors.

    And in their heart of hearts – and in their promises to the voters – Bechtel wanted exotic. But those clowns did not have the balls to go for monorail, etc.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Miles,

    I’m not saying that BART cars at their current width are less safe than standard gauge. What I am saying is there must be some tradeoff that occurs if the width of the cars gets to a certain point. Now, I am not presuming that there were not shenanigans involved in selecting IBG…just pointing out that any innovation that allows them to run wider cars is a good one.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    BART cars are wide compared to the Chicago L. They aren’t particularly wide compared many other cars.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The advantages of the broader gauge were less important than the loss of standardization.

    Bechtel really and truly wanted to be different and definitely not a rail system but in the end they did not have the nerve to go full exotic, say monorail, which was all the rage at the time.

    “Not only are ye a cheat, but a gutless cheat as well.” Same applies to PB.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Ted
    No doubt there is a tradeoff such that at some point, if the width:track-gauge ratio becomes too great, there will be a significant decrease in safety due to unstability.

    My point is that it doesn’t seem that BART was anywhere near that point (there are many systems with awesome safety records that have much greater width:track-gauge ratios), and thus there’s no reason to think using IBG “allowed” them to run wider cars.

    Maybe a better explanation for IBG than any of the above is simply that the designer didn’t really know what they were doing (such is the rumor, anyway)… ><

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Oh I think it was a conscious decision of PB and Bechtel to make BART a sort of “walled garden” for transit by using incompatible gauges. But again, if it increases utility overall, that not a bad thing.

    Sure, standard gauge would allow the District to buy more used cars from WMATA, MARTA, and MetroRail in Miami…but with BART coming first, Bechtel didn’t have the luxury of knowing what other systems would choose.

    EJ Reply:

    They had the luxury of knowing what NYC, Philly, Boston, and Chicago were using, which, other than Philly’s streetcars, was standard gauge.

    EJ Reply:

    I BART’s critics get overly hung up on broad gauge, but it doesn’t mean it was actually a good or defensible idea.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Ted
    You keep coming back to “oh maybe if it increases overall utility… The point I’ve tried to make (three times times in a row so far… I guess this is four), is that it doesn’t seem to increase overall utility at all.

    I don’t know if you’re missing what I’m saying, or disagree, but if you disagree, can you support that position instead of just asserting it again?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How many trains have blown off the L in Chicago? Or the El in New York, Boston and Philadelphia? Or the bridges in New York, Boston and Philadelphia?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Miles…the point you are making is that it has not increased utility.

    Now, I’m not going to dispute this. However, could you use it to increase utility? That is the question I am asking.

    And again, that it’s incompatible gauge that ensures local cities and other powers that be can’t take a pass on the urban planning associated with the system. If that’s not an increase in utility…I dunno what is.

    Joey Reply:

    Physically possible? Sure. Constructible even remotely within the timeframe and budget given? Not even close.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    On top of that, even if you could construct it (and show its safe!), it doesn’t appear to have the properties that make for an effective transportation system. It’s low capacity. It has the point-to-point problem of airplanes (intermediate stops are extremely expensive), but without the routing flexibility of airplanes.

    Joe Reply:

    Musk doesn’t pioneer cutting edge technology. It’s an interesting idea that doesn’t belong in a trade space with conventional HSR.

    SpaceX took off the shelf proven liquid rocket engine technology and built the Merlin engine.
    He uses one design in 1 and 9 engine configurations for falcon and falcon9. Leith mass production techniques he drops unit cost and monitors failure and performance to improve the design. Smart but not cutting edge like hyperloop which is why he isn’t in Hyperloop business.

    Zorro Reply:

    Hyper loop cutting edge? I’m not so sure of that. See My post below about the Beach pneumatic Transit, it was an attempt at using air to propel a subway car in a tunnel.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yep. Musk knew enough not to put his money behind Hyperloop.

    The greatest genius of SpaceX was replacing the very complex mechanical and electromechanical control systems used in 1930s/40s/50s/60s rocket designs — the ones used for all spacecraft previously — with electronic control systems. Saved a huge amount of money on manufacturing.

    Roland Reply:

    With regards to “Musk knew enough not to put his money behind Hyperloop”, SpaceX is building a 1/2 scale 1-mile pod test track in Hawthorne:
    http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/spacex_hyperloop_competition_rules_final.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    “The greatest genius of SpaceX was replacing the very complex mechanical and electromechanical control systems used in 1930s/40s/50s/60s rocket designs” is pretty much what hyperloop is about: taking maglev to the next level at a fraction of the cost: http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/hyperloop_alpha.pdf

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Maglev doesn’t depend on partial vacuum created by infallible compressors driven by magic batteries.

    Roland Reply:

    – The vacuum is created by pumps powered by solar panels (Section 4.2 on page 24).
    – The compressor generates the air cushion used for pod levitation (Section 4.1.3 on pp 17-19).

    Peter Reply:

    So … infallible compressors powered by magic solar panels, then?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How do you transfer the solar power to the pod hurtling along at 700 mph?
    … is part of the magic that they work at night?

    Zorro Reply:

    Would the compressor be in the each car?

    How big would an air compressor need to be,
    to generate an air cushion to support the
    mass of the car and all passengers within each car?

    Roland Reply:

    Answers are at the bottom of page 33 (last paragraph).

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Roland

    A statement like “taking maglev to the next level at a fraction of the cost!1!” is not consistent with what we know about it.

    Maglev: Proven to work well in real world conditions, tons of research and practical experience. Technical issues and operating model well understood. Clear and obvious path to an efficient and practical mass-transit system, and actual plans and solid financial support for same.

    Hyperloop: A few random thought experiments by people with no real background or expertise in the subject. No practical research or experience, and obvious problems that will probably require a great deal of work to address. Cost estimates seem to have simply been made up. Does not appear to be a viable mass-transit system even if actually buildable as theorized.

    Musk is simply way out of his depth with Hyperloop, but his ego won’t let him back down, and sadly he’s dragging a lot of gullible people along with him… ><

    synonymouse Reply:

    Jeez you make HypeLoop sound like the Singularity that will bring the Universe to its end.

    Musk’s ego does not even approach that of Jerry Brown, imposing an exorbitant deviated commute op on the people of California as his Legacy.

    The legend of vactube will not die in the mind of the media, any more than monorail. Gadgetbahns are forever because the public is clueless. And ignores what is most important, like the greatest advantage of totally grade separated is driverless. Throw Amalgamated from the train a kiss.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    The public is clueless, yeah, but I expect better from people like Roland…

    joe Reply:

    The genius is one proven engine design and mass production.

    A falcon and falcon 9 use the same Merlin engine with minor variations. That approach spreads development cost over a large number of units. SpaceX then builds and tests and refines the design of the engine from flight experiences. They slowly drive down cost and complexity from flight experience.

    This approach is not yet applicable to hyperloop.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It’s not just that. National space programs have done one proven engine design and have done mass production; it’s not unheard of.

    The problem was always the control systems. The control systems were different for each rocket launch, and they were electromechanical, so they had vast numbers of hugely complex parts with tiny tolerances.

    By converting the *entire* control system to modern computers, an enormous portion of the cost of the rocket just went away completely. Even more importantly, revisions to the control system cost nothing. Revisions to the old electromechanical control systems cost millions.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    It’s considerably farther along than the cocktail napkin stage. How do physics, civil engineering, and aerodynamics disprove the possibility of the hyperloop?

    As far as I know, nobody is saying that Hyperloop will is physically impossible to build.

    They’re saying that:

    (1) It’s going to need a lot of research and practical experience before we understand the practical problems and how to solve them so that its a viable and safe transportation system.

    (2) Based on what we know from other transportation systems, it will be much more expensive than Musk claimed (it’s pretty obvious he was low-balling pretty much everything). We don’t know exactly how much, of course, because nobody has any practical experience (see 1).

    (3) Even should you manage to build it, and prove it’s safe, it wouldn’t be an efficient cost-effective transportation system. To be viable in the real world, a transportation system must transport enough passengers at low enough cost to justify the resources used to build it. Based on what we’ve seen so far, Hyperloop is a low-capacity, fixed-route, point-to-point system (without rail’s ability to make cheap intermediate stops), that nonetheless requires enormous capital expenditures. It shows no sign of coming anywhere near the “worth it” bar.

    Maybe the problems are solvable, and maybe it’s possible to make something cost-effective out of it, but we just don’t know without actual experience, and that’s going to take a lot of time and money. Insofar as we can judge now, though, Hyperloop just doesn’t look like such a great idea…

    EJ Reply:

    we just don’t know without actual experience

    Exactly! So isn’t it cool that people are seriously trying to get a test track up and running? We know that it can probably be made to work. What we don’t know is if it can be built to an acceptable standard of safety and comfort at a reasonable enough cost to have positive ROI, and the only way to determine that is to actually build and test it.

    Obviously CA shouldn’t drop its HSR system and dump the money into an as-yet hypothetical technology with a lot of question marks. But if they can line up investors like they claim to be able to, why shouldn’t they go forward with it. And, if and when they can commercialize it, it will be a big deal. So of course the media should cover it.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    if and when they can commercialize it, it will be a big deal. So of course the media should cover it.

    Obviously if and when (huge emphasis on “if“) they commercialize it, the media should cover it.

    The media coverage now on the on the other hand, is pretty ridiculous, it’s on the level of articles in “Popular Mechanix” from the 1920s showing “The Coming Blimp-Cities of the Future!” ><

    EJ Reply:

    I dunno, TBQH the media coverage seems considerably more skeptical than a few years ago around PRT, or going back a couple decades around fusion power.

    Obviously if and when (huge emphasis on “if“) they commercialize it, the media should cover it.

    So, what, they shouldn’t cover proposed technology until it’s actually reduced to practice? Of course they should. I mean, did you read the Wired article? They make it perfectly plain that this is just drawings and calculations at this point, and they cover the major questions and objections. It’s hardly the same as some Popular Science article from the 1950s where some Top Government Scientist was confidently quoted about how we’d all have nuclear cars by 1970 or whatever.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Obviously I’m not saying that (give me some credit), but the amount of coverage, and its general tenor, seems quite excessive (and long-lived) at this point for something so unlikely to be viable.

    Some coverage is good enough to actually cover the problems and make it clear that decades of research are necessary to decide wither this technology is viable or not, but 95% of what I’ve seen written written about hyperloop is the same super-gullible rah-rah clueless “OMG HYPERLOOP YOU’LL COMMUTE AT 1000MPH IN TEN YEARS, HSR IS SUCH A BOONDOGGLE, MUSSSSSSKKKKKKKKK!!!1!”

    Clueless press-coverage has always been a thing, but the internet makes it much cheaper, and so seems to have lowered the bar quite a bit (“Have ten seconds? Write an article! No knowledge or experience necessary!!”)… ><

    EJ Reply:

    but the internet makes it much cheaper, and so seems to have lowered the bar quite a bit

    Well at least in my experience that’s what’s really driving a lot of the hype. There’s some news article that says basically “Elon Musk and a few other engineers with a track record say hyperloop is the future, but other equally if not more experienced engineers point out the following flaws in that reasoning” and suddenly there’s a bunch of social media clickbait about how “ZOMG Elon Musk (didja know he’s basically Tony Stark, but real?? So dreamy!) says we’re going to be zipping from New York to LA in pods in 3 hours, in 2020!” I don’t think you can blame the media for that.

    What I’m interested in is that a lot of the hyperloop proponents seem genuinely interested in trying to put up or shut up. They’ve set aggressive timelines and acquired solid partners. If you’re really just trying to scam investors out of money so you can draw a fat salary and dick around in a lab for decades, you don’t go about it the way these people have.

    EJ Reply:

    I mean, build the thing! Let’s see it. And that’s what they seem to want to do. Which is great.

    joe Reply:

    It funded with crowd sourcing and free time donated by engineers. Not impressive backing.

    BTW an engineer donating free time would need to check with thier employer. They may not owner the work they are donating.

    synonymouse Reply:

    JerryRail is a boondoggle; not HSR but regional commute rail.

    (“Have ten seconds? Write an article! No knowledge or experience necessary!!”)…

    Talk about lowering the bar. It took PB and “friends” about 10 seconds to come up with Palmdale-Mojave-99-Pacheco. Pandering to growth-mongers. Eco-green BS.

    synonymouse Reply:

    JerryRail is to HSR as the reviled LACMTA light rail is to the sanctified Wilshire subway.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Blimps work. So do Zeppelins, autogryos and helicopters. SSTs, we were all going to be flitting cross country in an hour and half as soon as they figured out how to quiet the sonic booms. We’d be getting to the airport on the PRT that was going to be really cheap to build.

    joe Reply:

    Jet Pack and Hovercraft.

    Zorro Reply:

    At least hovercraft are useful, the US Military uses LCAC’s to land troops and vehicles on a beach or wherever the LCAC can go, this includes the best tank in the world, the 70 ton M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, the M1 eats Russian T72 tanks for breakfast and mines? Mines would have to get thru the equivalent to 24″ of armor, now that’s tough.

    BrianR Reply:

    and SST’s were thought to be so inevitable that Boeing purposely designed the 747 to be a mass cargo hauler assuming it would only be hauling passengers for a brief period until they put their new high capacity wide body SST into service.

    agb5 Reply:

    There are experienced civil engineers who could tell you today how much it would cost to build a 500 mile long concrete and steel viaduct over a 2 mountains and into the center of 2 cities. Probably I the $50bn range, double to if you want to use exotic materials and sub millimetre precision.
    Assuming max capacity of 3000 passengers per hour, you can calculate a ticket price and estimate demand.
    That would be the best place to start.
    I suspect the funding of is will quickly evaporate when the next economic recession hits.

    Clem Reply:

    It’s hard to imagine how a hyperloop could carry as many as 3000 passengers/hour without violating fundamental laws of fixed guideway system minimum headways– laws written in blood!

    Michael Reply:

    You obviously don’t understand disruptive technology… ; )

    Clem Reply:

    Clearly not… Here’s the bit that few people seem to understand: the minimum safe headway to prevent a pod crash is the sum of

    1) time for leading pod to be sensed by control system to have cleared a junction
    2) time for command to switch mechanism (whatever it is!) to be generated and sent
    3) time for switch mechanism (whatever it is!) to move to the new position
    4) time for control system to confirm the system is correctly lined for next pod
    5) time for clearance to proceed of the following pod to be generated and sent
    6) time for following pod to receive and interpret the clearance to proceed
    7) time for following pod to bring itself to a complete stop under worst-case conditions
    8) time for additional safety margin to ensure safe stop before mis-lined junction

    Typically, people only think of item 7) and ignore all the other terms. Maximum safe throughput of the hyperloop is inversely proportional to the sum.

    There you have it, on a virtual napkin, why the hyperloop can’t scale and won’t work.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The plan is for Hyperloop to be almost 3 times as fast as Transrapid, which corresponds to about eight times the required curve radius for a given comfort level. Maglev in the 400-500 km/h range has some nifty advantages over conventional HSR, such as much higher maximum grades. Once you go to plane speeds, those advantages disappear and then go in reverse – the vertical curve radius is so large that the effective average grade is limited in most cases.

    As for my barf ride comment, it’s based on the curve radii and the acceleration rates offered in Musk’s writeup. All of this is fixable, by widening the curves… but the costs climb rapidly. Something that conventional HSR engineers would find routine, like going up and down hills in the 50-100 meter range, turns into an undertaking with long viaducts.

    To say nothing of the incapability of unconventional tracks to hitch a ride on Metrolink and Caltrain into city centers.

    Michael Reply:

    Well stated.

    BrianR Reply:

    I like the fact that during one of the last news bursts on the Hyperloop they gushed over how luxurious the interiors would be as envisioned by the Austin based design firm Argodesign. Most times the story got repeated the media left out the fact that these “luxurious” hyperloop pods were not designed for 700 mph travel.

    Only a few sources mention that Argodesign assumed a 700 mph hyperloop would be a “barf ride” and presented a “what if” scenario supposing speeds were reduced to a 300-400 mph range which seems like it would defeat the purpose of it. Why invest in a “brilliant new disruptive technology” that more or less travels at the same speeds as a maglev with much less capacity? They must really be counting on Musk’s construction cost estimates to be as cheap and the operation as energy efficient and economical as he predicted. Otherwise I don’t see the point of it over maglev technology.

    This design firm instead might as well of given us their proposed maglev designs (if only it would catch the media’s attention which I doubt it would). The hyperloop almost feels like a guaranteed publicity machine if you can find a way to associate yourself or your company with it.

    Jerry Reply:

    @Alon – hyperloop incapable of hitching a ride on Caltrain.
    Damn right. There’s hardly room for bicycles and restrooms on Caltrain, let alone Hyperloop. :)

  3. synonymouse
    Aug 23rd, 2015 at 13:51
    #3

    “The media loves to hype the Hyperloop.”

    The media loves to hype monorail.
    The media loves to hype “bullet” trains.
    But most of all the media loves to hype BART.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oops

    The media loves to hype maglev.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Both maglev and monorails (such a vague word it’s a little pointless to refer to it as one thing) are well-understood technologies with huge amount of technical development and real-world experience behind them. They both work fine, and are reasonable technologies for an effective, profitable, transportation system. [Monorail typically doesn’t have a sufficient advantage over conventional rail to make it widely used, but there’s obviously nothing wrong with it.]

    BART has its problems but is also an efficient, practical, popular transportation system.

    Hyperloop has absolutely none of that. It’s “an idea.” It’s going to need a lot of research and development before we even understand what the tradeoffs with really even be, and from what little we can judge, things don’t look good for it as an efficient real-world transportation system.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, that’s why it’s interesting to me that it seems like there might be some momentum to work out some of the real world engineering and build a test system. After all, the Wired article is titled “So Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is Actually Getting Kinda Serious” which seems an appropriate level of optimism with a couple of pretty serious engineering firms signed on – but with no funding yet.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Best case scenario for Hyperloop makes it look like Maglev: functional but not cost-effective. Worse scenarios are likely.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Except of course that maglev apparently has been judged to be “cost effective” (by people who obviously know what they’re talking about and are putting serious hardcore money behind it).

    [Hyperloop looks unlikely to ever make it to that point though.]

    Andy M Reply:

    Maglev seem to mostly if not exclusively in vogue at airports or for airport connectors. The decison logic that airports use is often more centered on the wow factor along with the my willy is bigger than yours factor than on sound comparisons. Airports can afford to think that way as ground transportation is but a tiny fraction of their overall costs so it doesn’t hurt them to overspend.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C5%AB%C5%8D_Shinkansen

    Andy M Reply:

    ah, true, forgotten about that one.

    Nathanael Reply:

    That’s the only maglev line, yes. I don’t think one under-contruction line really qualifies as evidence of cost-effectiveness. All the others which were built are considered white elephants.

    And that one is in a special situation, acting as the express line for an overcrowded two-steel-rails system.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Nathanael

    I don’t think one under-contruction line really qualifies as evidence of cost-effectiveness

    Either it’s cost-effective (pays back its cost, within the financing period) or it’s not. If it does prove to be cost-effective, then that certainly is evidence unless you can give convincing reasons why it doesn’t map to other situations. Certainly Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka has very high ridership, and so maybe such experience is only applicable to other high-usage routes, but it depends on the actual details of the construction and operating costs (as far as I know, it’s expected to have higher construction costs, but lower operating/maintenance costs, than an equivalent steel-wheel line).

    The only other maglev lines built to date (according to Wikipedia) are not really comparable: they are not long-distance HSR lines, but rather two airport-access lines, and one built for an expo; of these three, only the Shanghai line actually operates at high speed. I know the Shanghai line is derided for both its routing (does not reach city center) and its high ticket costs, but it’s not at all clear how much that is related on the actual technology, and how much is simply bad planning for what appears to have been something of an ego-project.

    Anyway, the chuo maglev will be the first line that can really be used as a test case for maglev HSR, so it certainly “counts.” Whether it’s perfectly typical of other potential HSR lines or not, it’s at least far more so than existing examples of maglev lines.

    Andy M Reply:

    cost effective for who?

    often one off projects are pushed by manufacturers rather than transportation authorities. They can serve as test beds or demonstration projects and the true costs are hidden through cross-subsidies.

    If you want to buy a streetacr or a suburban train from Alstom for example, their sales guy who will come and visit you won’t start his powerpoint with a picture of a streetcar but will start off with a TGV. The logic being that if these guys can do a TGV, they can surely do a streetcar, and can do it better than a company that only does streetcars. I’m not sure that a Maglev isn’t one up on conventional HSR that similarly is intended to create the capability envelope that ulimately recovers the money spent by selling lesser and and more low tech projects.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Andy M
    I mean cost effective for the “customer” (the rail system/authority/whoever’s gonna get the fares and have to pay the costs, and in the case of governments, presumably cares about more intangible benefits like economic prosperity and happiness of the population).

    In the case of the chuo shinkansen, the customer and the developer are the same, so obviously bait-n-switch tactics are a bit unlikely… I guess the actual physical hardware will be built by other companies, but it’s pretty clear that the process isn’t being driven by them. I’m sure JR Central would be happy if having a maglev gave them some cachet in selling cheaper systems (standard shinkansen) overseas, but that doesn’t seem the primary motivation behind the project.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Miles: if the Chuo Maglev proves after-the-fact to be cost-effective, that will be great.

    My main point here was that an *under-construction* line is certainly not evidence of cost-effectiveness *at this time*, while it is still under construction. We know of lots and lots of projects which were built which turned out not to be cost-effective.

    Danny Reply:

    to be fair they’re adding maglev to an at-capacity steel-on-steel system–which has to come first

    Miles Bader Reply:

    which has to come first

    Why?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    [To clarify my question: certainly in many cases a steel-rail would be the better choice, but there seems nothing inherent in that….

    EJ Reply:

    Well, in a hypothetical perfectly laid out country, you could start fresh with maglev. But the Chuo Shinkansen is the third major train line between Tokyo and Osaka. The Tokaido main line serves every little suburb between the two cities, the Tokaido Shinkansen has more widely spaced stops and several service patterns, and the Chuo Shinkansen takes a more direct, inland route with even fewer stops. But an express maglev line alone would be totally inadequate to serve the population located between Tokyo and Osaka.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @EJ
    I’m not exactly sure what you’re saying. You seem to be arguing that the chuo shinkansen routing wouldn’t have made sense before the tokaido shinkansen was built, and I agree. The evolution as it happened/is-happening makes sense in Japan’s case.

    But what you seemed to be saying in your previous comment that in general one shouldn’t build maglev before steel-wheel HSR, as if it’s an issue of technology.

    Say Japan had somehow possessed today’s well-tested maglev tech in 1960; would maglev have been a reasonable choice for their first tokaido shinkansen? As far as I can see, the answer would in general be “yes.” The shinkansen was going to be incompatible with existing lines anyway, and maglev trains are not significantly different from normal trains as far as things like capacity, etc. Switches are harder with maglev, but the shinkansen has never been very branchey anyway.

    The main issues would seem to involve things like noise and curve radius that become bigger problems with higher speeds. Both would make it harder to find good routes through densely populated areas, and so you could say that makes maglev somewhat less flexible.

    Still, neither seems intractable, they just make routing harder not impossible, and one can well imagine other scenarios where dense populations aren’t such a factor (e.g. Australia’s proposed HSR line).

    So I dunno, maglev may not be the best choice for every country’s first HSR system, but it doesn’t seem categorically wrong either….

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah. All over the world, constant hype about BART in the media.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Bay Area is “all over the world”. We get that kind of thinking from Manhattan.

    EJ Reply:

    That doesn’t even make sense.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Did you ever see the New Yorker Magazine map of America? It is a big map of Manhattan with all the streets, then the East River and then a little piece called California. Basically nothing in between.

    EJ Reply:

    What does that have to do with BART?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    For syno, everything is related to BART… ><

    synonymouse Reply:

    For the Bay Area media everything is related to BART.

    EJ Reply:

    Hmm, so looking at sfgate.com, I see one story about BART today: “Major BART delays after person fatally struck by train in S.F.”

    Searching over the last few months I find:

    “Commuters find way home after nightmare day for BART”

    “BART union knocked for campaigning at workday meetings”

    “Widow sues BART in officer’s friendly-fire death”

    “BART back on schedule after morning nightmare”

    “Major delays for BART after woman falls onto track”

    Yep, nothing but mindless hype for BART.

    You think maybe they cover BART because it’s a widely used piece of transportation infrastructure?

    EJ Reply:

    You just lie, constantly, all the time.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Does he know what he says is untrue? Strictly speaking, delusions cannot be lies.

    BrianR Reply:

    EJ,

    Are you saying you didn’t find any news stories that either cursed or praised BART’s Indian Broad Gauge? I imagine Toronto’s news media must need to spend a lot of time discussing their wider than standard gauge subway tracks and the people of Montreal are constantly asking why their subway has rubber tires and the brakes sometimes smell like peanut butter.

    swing hanger Reply:

    In Tokyo the subway lines use three different gauges…

    EJ Reply:

    BrianR you seem to be implying that the track gauge of their local rapid transit system isn’t something that the the average newspaper reader takes great interest in. I would have assumed it’s top of mind at all times.

    synonymouse Reply:

    One of the intrinsic pros of steel wheel on steel rail is the huge installed base, 200 years of standard gauge around the world. When Bechtel turned it nose up on standard railway practice, in particular subway practice, it screamed for everyone to hear it wanted exotic.

    But Bechtel did not have the stones for exotic. I remember Robert Shaw’s line in the Sting to Robert Redford in brogue: “Not only are ye a cheat, but a gutless cheat as well.” That’s Bechtel.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Have to understand the San Francisco view of the world. Here are 2 different versions.

    http://www.weidmangallery.com/product/inside-san-francisco-view-of-the-world/
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/sgtdopushups/the-world-according-to-san-francisco-21dz

    synonymouse Reply:

    From the BART perspective there is no such thing as bad publicity. Especially when there is no grievous sin BART can commit that the fawning public and media do not immediately and unconditionally forgive. BART could go on unexplained hiatus for weeks and its fanboys would still be crying for extensions.

    BART is the object of local media idolatry, a quasi-religious exaltation. Every day the media sing a little hymnal:

    “BART- How Great Thou Art”

    Moi, I am reminded of the scene in “Casino” wherein the Ace Rothstein character(Lefty Rosenthal in real life)gets invited to civic luncheons in Vegas and receives awards. He comments something like “Back home they would put me in jail for what I am doing.”

    The people responsible for the manifold failures of BART and the Jerry Brown Bay Bridge deserve jail more.

    EJ Reply:

    BART is the object of local media idolatry, a quasi-religious exaltation. Every day the media sing a little hymnal:

    “BART- How Great Thou Art”

    Bullshit. Pure and unadulterated bullshit. See my comment above with headlines from a search for “BART” on sfgate.com. A half dozen negative articles, from 1 site alone, about BART found in 2 minutes just from the last couple months, and I could have posted 2 or 3 times that many. But apparently they’re “fanboys” because they publish a general interest newspaper, instead of devoting every issue to “Broad gauge and cylindrical wheels – why they’re worse than Hitler, and why obsessing over misguided technological decisions made in the 1960s is the most important thing you need to do right now.”

    You’re so utterly divorced from reality it’s honestly kind of impressive.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Another reason why BART needs to go driverless:

    http://gothamist.com/2015/08/25/three_mta_operators_attacked_by_str.php

    After cashiering current management.

    EJ Reply:

    But I thought the media just hypes BART. What about that, lying weasel?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Weasels are not rodents. I have never encountered one so I do not know about the fibbing part.

    But I have encountered a bunch of crooked politicians and lying consultants.

    EJ Reply:

    You have no basis to accuse anyone else of lying.

  4. J. Wong
    Aug 23rd, 2015 at 15:14
    #4

    O.T. If you’re interested in touring on Caltrain: Interesting sights within walking distance of Caltrain stops

    EJ Reply:

    Dang, the author really liked that Pez Museum.

    Reality Check Reply:

    I thought it a horribly written oddball filler puff piece. Grab an Uber up to the Fogarty winery on Skyline Boulevard? Seriously? If you throw in 30+ minute Uber rides, then how is it that Fogarty makes that very, very short and odd list of sights within in walking distance of Caltrain.

    EJ Reply:

    But the Pez Museum! Did you see all the photos of the Pez Museum! And an interesting bike rack!

  5. Zorro
    Aug 23rd, 2015 at 20:07
    #5

    I knew I’d heard of this before, it’s the idea for New York’s first aborted attempt at having a subway, that had 1 car, 1 station, plus a 312′ tunnel and the line was powered by air too, by a Roots Blower in fact and Hyper Loop is mentioned in the Wiki as one of two Related developments. Boss Tweed made sure this didn’t go anywhere.

    Beach Pneumatic Transit

    Danny Reply:

    I’ve always admired the etchings of Beach’s project; think Hyperloop might switch its CGI for steampunk style?

    I’d say that simulations of a bunch of people in top hats and bustles waiting in a brick station under crystal chandeliers and drinking absinthe properly would make a lot more people sit up and pay attention

    the current illustrations are basic vaporware stuff–silhouettes blissfully ascending the escalator to the shiny future; they can’t resonate anymore outside the “Wired” crowd and reminds people too much of Marshall Herff Applewhite’s illustrations and promises

    no real egret feathers, of course

    EJ Reply:

    Would be charming, but I can’t really imagine that appealing so directly to the 1% would be effective. Then again, American advertising has long been distinctly aspirational.

    Danny Reply:

    but the UCLA design students’ CGIs are so–blah

    it’s BAD retrofuturism: it looked like what 2003 thought was “futuristic,” all gray satin surfaces, greenish glass, and tubing: it all looks like the Falkirk Wheel (no offense to the actual boat-lift); they didn’t even rip off Fentress’s style

  6. JJJJ
    Aug 24th, 2015 at 09:12
    #6

    I enjoyed the first comment in the article:

    “I sure hope the project is better thought out than the illustration of the hyperloop tube completely blocking off shipping in front of the Golden Gate Bridge…”

    Also, someone reminder me of the timeline? Its been two years, are they on schedule?

    Roland Reply:

    August 20 update:

    “On August 12, 2013, Elon Musk released a white paper on the Hyperloop, his concept of high-speed ground transport. In order to accelerate the development of a functional prototype and to encourage student innovation, SpaceX is moving forward with a competition to design and build a half-scale Hyperloop Pod. In parallel with the competition, SpaceX will be constructing a sub-scale test track adjacent to its Hawthorne, California headquarters.
    During Design Weekend in January 2016, entrants will submit and present their Pod designs.
    On Competition Weekend, scheduled for June 2016, entrants will operate their Pods within the SpaceX test track.
    An additional update will be issued with the tube specifications in September 2015.
    For an updated competition schedule, visit http://www.spacex.com/hyperloop.

    Note: This competition is a SpaceX event. SpaceX has no affiliation with any Hyperloop companies, including, but not limited to, those frequently referenced by the media.”
    http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/spacex_hyperloop_competition_rules_final.pdf

  7. Loren Petrich
    Aug 24th, 2015 at 09:18
    #7

    The Hyperloop is to have 1% of atmospheric air pressure. This is sometimes called a soft vacuum, though the boundary between a soft and a hard vacuum is not well-defined. Making a soft vacuum instead of a hard one simplifies the vacuum pumps.

    However, this vacuum must be maintained across the entire length of the tunnel, and a leak will let air into the whole tunnel. Reliably maintaining this vacuum will be a big challenge.

  8. synonymouse
    Aug 24th, 2015 at 10:24
    #8

    http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-jerry-brown-road-repairs-press-20150819-story.html

    “As a brooding omnipresence, I stand above the fray here.”

    Why doesn’t Big Kahuna just pull out of the fray and retire and let Gavin take over. And then Gavin applies the Sicilian Necklace to the DogLeg.

    J. Wong Reply:

    What makes you think Newsom would have more power than Tejon Ranch?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The State could always buy the Tejon Ranch, which has some kind of handle on Jerry Brown but the Ranch’s jedi mind tricks do not seem to work on Gavin.

    It would appear that the entire Sta. Clarita region, even the Palmdale-Lancaster fifth column, wants PB out of their hair.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “The State could always buy the Tejon Ranch”. Probably by eminent domain, but Tejon Ranch’s power has always been in their ability to sue. How would Newsom prevent that? (In fact, Tejon Ranch’s ability to sue more likely explains their treatment by the authority and not any “handle” on Jerry Brown.)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s a publicly traded company. Make the stockholders an offer they can’t refuse and turn it into a park.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yeah, gov’t in the U.S. doesn’t work that way. They can use eminent domain, but Tejon Ranch appears to have the resources to fight that making it super-expensive in both time and money for the Authority. I’ll note here too that no one entity equivalent to Tejon Ranch exists on the Peninsula no matter the amount of wealth concentranted there.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Remember, government ownership of land is not ideal of it reduces the overall tax base. As quasi-industrial land, that’s a big hit for Kern and the State as a whole.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ya buy it and spit back out like the government did with Conrail.
    ….tis a pity the free market zealots made us sell off Conrail. Amtrak would be dealing with the government instead of private railroads all across the Northeast and Midwest.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Who’s to say that Conrail would be all that much better? Have you heard about the fights between Amtrak and Metro-North, or how MARC is going diesel over Amtrak’s electricity prices?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    CDOT and Amtrak get along just fine. Foamers on railroad.net who see dark struggles that could be solved if Dagny Taggart were around, not so much.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Oh god yes it would have been better if the government had kept Conrail… better mostly for NY, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Perhaps from the passenger perspective but for freight the new arrangement at least recognizes the shift in the economy. There is far more north – south than east -west in the eastern states and at least a lot of the movement is now one railroad. Of course the service is lousy but that’s American railroading.

    Nathanael Reply:

    That doesn’t make sense. In New York, Indiana and Ohio, where Conrail ripped out most of the north-south capacity, that capacity has NOT been subsequently restored, so the “new arrangement” hasn’t helped at all.

    Nathanael Reply:

    And in Illinois, the north-south capacity was on lines which were never part of Conrail (now CN and UP, mostly).

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ohio never did have that much north-south, except Toledo-Cincinnati and Lorain to the Ohio River. B&O and NKP.

    There never was, to my knowledge, a rail equivalent of 71 from Cleveland to Cincy via Columbus.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That was back in a time when we weren’t afraid to put private assets into receivership. Secondly if the Feds had done that, the state’s would have ended up being the owners, like the interstates and I suppose many of them would have sold their parts off quickly.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It could have been structured just like roads, difficult to sell off.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s conceivable, but remember the Feds only like to hand over assets that lose money. (The exception of course is the National Park system…)

    Those really nice federal dams never seem to be put on the block for states to buy, nor do those mineral leases or federal buildings that are no longer in use…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Conrail was making money.. It’s why they were able to sell it.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Actually, federal mineral leases are generally given away at grossly below-market prices.

    Since at least the Reagan era, federal policy has been to give away everything which makes money, while keeping everything which loses money. “Lemon socialism”, or “privatize the profits, socialize the losses”. This is frankly an evil thing to do.

    EJ Reply:

    Maybe if you posted in English, it would help your thought process. See what you have there is total gibberish that doesn’t make any sense.

  9. synonymouse
    Aug 24th, 2015 at 10:45
    #9

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Amid-rising-disgust-S-F-scrambles-to-flush-6460211.php

    Self-flushing escalators and elevators?

    les Reply:

    Bag dispensers like dog parks have.

  10. Reality Check
    Aug 24th, 2015 at 15:28
    #10
  11. StevieB
    Aug 24th, 2015 at 15:31
    #11

    Former Paper Plus, GRID Alternatives sites latest to fall in downtown Fresno. Two more buildings in downtown Fresno are coming down this week as crews continue to clear a path for California’s high-speed rail project.

    Eleven months ago, work began to tear down the vast and vacant Del Monte building on the east side of G Street between Tulare and Kern streets. Since that time, other buildings along G Street have come down: from a pair of office buildings on both the north and south side of Divisadero Street formerly used by the state Department of Corrections; trucking company White Bear Transportation south of Divisadero; J&J Cafe on the northwest corner of Tulare and G streets; the former Baz Brothers building on G south of Kern Street; the former ATC Distributing building at the northeast corner of G and Mono streets; and the Beacon gasoline station on the northwest corner of Ventura and G streets. The most recent casualty, about a month ago, was the former Kerr Rug Co. building at the southwest corner of Ventura and G streets.

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/high-speed-rail/article32225841.html#storylink=cpy

    Clearing of the railroad right of way continues at an increasing pace as the construction of bridges which are the element which will take the most time begins.

    JJJJ Reply:

    From what I understand its not the railroad right of way thats being cleared, its nearby parcels so new 6 lanes roads can be built in underpasses.

  12. Reality Check
    Aug 24th, 2015 at 16:58
    #12

    JR West platform cameras to automatically detect drunken behavior

    West Japan Railway has installed cameras that can automatically identify drunken behaviour and alert platform staff, in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents at stations.

    So far 46 cameras have been implemented on the Osaka Loop Line platforms of Koybashi station in Osaka. JR West is considering extending the technology to other stations.

    The cameras are not used to identify individuals, but are programmed to spot certain patterns of behaviour such as staggering, passengers that remain on the platform for long periods, and sleeping on benches.

    According to the government, in the year starting April 2013, two-fifths of the 221 passengers hit by trains were drunk at the time of the accident.

    A study carried out by JR West using CCTV footage from 2012 found that in 60% of alcohol-related accidents, the passenger went straight from a bench towards the tracks. As a result, earlier this year JR West rearranged the benches on the Kyoto Line platforms at Shin-Osaka so that they face the ends of the platform instead of the tracks.

  13. datacruncher
    Aug 25th, 2015 at 21:28
    #13

    Skepticism, stoicism, relief at first meeting on proposed new bullet train path

    The first of Bakersfield’s two open house meetings to examine the bullet train’s new proposed path through the city drew around 300 people to the downtown Marriott on Tuesday.

    Many were curious to see how the train line would impact their properties, which were mapped, rendered and mostly explained on nine large touch-screen monitors.

    The presentation strategy from the California High-Speed Rail Authority impressed quite a few, but many expressed doubts that the money to build the $67.5 billion dollar high-speed rail system will ever materialize — and whether the trains will turn a profit when they run.

    But Bakersfield’s City Manager Alan Tandy praised the rail agency for cooperating with the city that sued it last year, and told the audience “regardless of those views, we must prepare for the project and develop the best route possible.”

    More at
    http://www.bakersfield.com/News/2015/08/25/Skepticism-stoicism-relief-at-first-meeting-on-proposed-new-bullet-train-path.html

    J. Wong Reply:

    Although HSR still faces plenty of opposition, it is proceeding. When actual structures are built including stations, will Californians start to see the reality of it? Will that then prompt them to support bridging the gap over the Tehachapis?

    I understand the Authority’s desire to get actual trains running for the “optics” (re Gilroy-SF HSR), but I think that can be accomplished by demonstration trains in the Central Valley.

    I hesitate to refer to it as the “last” lawsuit, but it does not appear likely that Tos, et al will succeed since Kenny will rule against the Authority only if it is obvious from the evidence that they purposely ignored their own data that showed them not meeting 2 40′. How likely do you think that will be especially given that Clem independently verified that?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Where is California going to get the funds to bankroll a few trains rattling over the Loop Redux Line daily when in a declining economy those monies are going to be needed for welfare?

    I believe California has roughly 40% of welfare cases in the country.

    The worlds’ governments are printing money like there’s no tomorrow; you would thiink there would be billions coming forth from the GoldinSacks crowd to fund TehaVegaSkyRail. But not a farthing.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Needed for welfare? Who do you think mostly pays for welfare? The state or the Federal gov’t? And compared to the rest of the country, California’s economy is increasing not declining.

    California may have 40% of the welfare cases in the country, but that’s because it is the most populous state; it only amounts to 4.7% of California’s total population. California is in the lower half of states as a percentage of welfare per population.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the Holy Market is Omniscient it’s saying “BORROW MONEY!”

    synonymouse Reply:

    TARP

    Appears we’re already in an incipient recession.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Maybe on your planet but not on this one.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Recession == Great Time To Borrow Money
    Recession == Cheap Labor, Cheap Construction

    Actually one of the biggest risks to CAHSR is that we might get totally *out* of the recession before it’s built, in which case the cost of construction will go way up.

    Jerry Reply:

    So true.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Borrow money to sprawl the boonies.

    Once China has built every train, not long, it will turn to building saturation roads and automobiles and massive military spending, jut like the US.

    And they should as China has to take over the job of running the world, since the West has gone soft and sappy and lossy.

    Jerry Reply:

    “sprawl” “saturation”
    Either that or mandatory birth control. Take your pick.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Nonsense

    US birth rates are totally manageable without immigration. There are many approaches less draconian than birth control. Turn those boats right back to port.

    We have the means to impose excruciating pain on those who would destroy archaeological sites. Do it. Time to shuck post-colonial angst.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Wanna stop the undocumented aliens from coming? Make it excruciatingly painful for rich white guys to employ them. If there’s no work they won’t come.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Those are the same guys Barack goes to see regularly to schmooze and squeeze in Silicon Valley.

    StevieB Reply:

    An alternative description of events from California News Feed.

    The initial of Bakersfield’s dual open residence meetings to inspect a bullet train’s new due trail by a city drew around 300 people to a downtown Marriott on Tuesday. Many were extraordinary to see how a sight line would impact their properties, that were mapped, rendered and mostly explained on 9 vast touch-screen monitors.

    The display plan from a California High-Speed Rail Authority tender utterly a few, though many expressed doubts that a income to build a $67.5 billion dollar high-speed rail complement will ever manifest — and either a trains will spin a distinction when they run.

    But Bakersfield’s City Manager Alan Tandy praised a rail group for auxiliary with a city that sued it final year, and told a assembly “regardless of those views, we contingency ready for a plan and rise a best track possible.”

    The new due route, initial envisioned by Bakersfield’s possess village expansion department, would move a sight into a city nearby 7th Standard and Coffee roads though follow Union Pacific marks to a downtown hire during F Street and Golden State Avenue.

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority will reason a giveaway open residence assembly examining a bullet train’s unpractical fixing trail by Shafter, from 4-7 p.m. Sept. 17 during a Shafter Veterans Hall, 309 California Ave., Shafter.

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s second giveaway open residence assembly in Bakersfield will be 4-7 p.m. Oct. 21 during a Bakersfield Marriott during a Convention Center, 801 Truxtun Ave.

    BrianR Reply:

    What an oddly written story! I am guessing it was from a Google translation of the original from Bakersfield.com that got translated into Chinese and then Google translated back into English.

    William Reply:

    The biggest short coming of the new route is of course the preferred HSR station site is some distance away from the Bakersfield Amtrak station, discouraging transfers between the two services.

    Is it worth to move the HSR station further south-eastwards after the BNSF/UP wye, then build a new Amtrak station near/at the HSR station as the new San Joaquin terminal? Or build a new connecting spurs to the preferred station site near the Kern County Museum?

    Joey Reply:

    There really aren’t very many connection possibilities there. The only Amtrak stations between Hanford and Bakersfield are Corcoran and Wasco, which are both pretty small towns. This ignores the fact that the San Joaquin will struggle to find a reason to exist once HSR is operating.

    Joe Reply:

    Repurpose the HSR connector buses to shuttle from/to Visalia and the Bakersfield HSR stations.

    datacruncher Reply:

    A significant percentage of passengers at Corcoran (I’ve heard numbers in the 30%-40% range) are local residents using Amtrak tickets subsidized by the city of Corcoran to travel to the county seat in Hanford for business/shopping. One way tickets for the 20 mile ride with the subsidy are only $3.25 one way.
    http://www.cityofcorcoran.com/cityhall/pw/transit/subsidized_tickets.asp

    Kings Area Rural Transit (KART) has 2 roundtrips per day but Amtrak has 6 roundtrips. A lot of the Amtrak demand at Corcoran could be met by increasing KART bus service to Hanford.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    it was 34,539 in fiscal year 2014. 250 weekdays a year comes out to 69 roundtrips a day. A regular ol’ city bus twice a day is enough capacity. If it’s so people can get to government offices and appointments with doctors etc. 6 or 7 roundtrips using 12 or 15 passenger vans is enough.

    datacruncher Reply:

    The current twice a day KART schedules look timed as job commuter runs (including Hanford to the state prison). A few more midday runs would take care of the business/medical/shopping passengers from Corcoran to Hanford as well as any longer distance rail passengers using a Hanford HSR station.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The San Joaquin isn’t going to exist after 2017 anyway. The “Northern California Unified Service” is going to merge Capitol Corridor, Altamont Corridor Express, and the San Joaquin into one service.

    My guess is that resources and trains are going to be pulled out of the Valley and redirected to commuter routes bringing people into the Bay Area and San Jose. It’s possible that the Capitols will get extended either toward Salinas or Truckee, but for the most part Sacramento is going to lose its connectivity with areas further south than Stockton, and Antioch might lose service all together.

    Fresno will become the southern terminus and CAHSR will carry everyone south from there to Bakersfield.

    Jon Reply:

    Why would Fresno be the southern terminus? Surely it would be Merced.

    James Fujita Reply:

    I would think that Fresno is large enough to justify some overlap between HSR to the south and conventional rail to the north. It’s also centrally located. Fresno riders shouldn’t have to transfer at Merced to get to the Bay Area, unless the time savings is huge.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It won’t be faster though, even traveling along the Altamont Pass. It’s still gonna be almost six hours from San Francisco to LA, but it might beat driving time and it would be way faster than the Starlight.

    Although…Fresno could do what Iceland does and offer special “layover” vacations for people connecting. Or maybe put in a Harvey House style cafeteria…yeah there you go…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That was the initial idea, but that was before they realized how much they needed money for the Bakersfield to Fresno portion. There’s not much time savings using HSR from Merced to Fresno anyway, so with the connection track in Madera County, the NCUS will roll right in and the IOS South can be finished. Then you finish Gilroy to Fresno and turn it into a one seat ride.

    datacruncher Reply:

    There are currently 18,000 housing units already approved north of the San Joaquin River and east of the Madera Amtrak stop. Another 7,000 units are proposed. With only 3 vehicle routes to cross the river into Fresno (99, 41 and at Friant Dam) there may be thoughts to allow the San Joaquins to serve that population at Madera.

    The San Joaquin plans have discussed a second Fresno station in North Fresno and a second Bakersfield station in North Bakersfield (proximity to the new HSR station site might make that one more of a moot goal).

    Continuing the San Joaquins to downtown Fresno instead of terminating at Merced might provide passenger feed to southbound HSR from both the new housing and north Fresno (if they can figure out a way to move passengers between HSR and Amtrak in downtown Fresno).

    James Fujita Reply:

    Given the current San Joaquin route, the “North Bakersfield” station would more likely be somewhere in the area of “northwest” Bakersfield, or even Shafter, and not really too close to the “Shin-Bakersfield” HSR station.

    When I take the San Joaquin, I’ve noticed some suburban-looking development out that direction. Of course, once you start talking about stations in that area, you’re really talking more about commuter rail… assuming that Kern County pursues such a thing.

    Sounds unlikely, but HSR’s arrival and the San Joaquin’s projected demise may be a game changer for Valley transit politics.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Kern COG did commuter rail studies in 2012.
    http://www.kerncog.org/publications/rail-studies

    Interestingly, I believe Kern County did not join the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority that took over. Fresno, Tulare and Kings Counties joined but not Kern.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Yeah some developer bought a ton of land in Madera county banking on something. The Department of Finance even projected Madera to have the largest population growth in the state this decade.

    The HSR alignment, however isn’t very favorable to a North Fresno station.

    James Fujita Reply:

    I hope they come up with a less bureaucratic name than “Northern California Unified Service.” At least retain individual names for trains headed for Stockton, Salinas, San Jose, Sacramento or Fresno.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Don’t tell anyone but the rumor is that the name for the service will be “BART Lite”….

    William Reply:

    I think the San Joaquins, or a region rail line, can exist between Merced and Bakersfield to serve smaller communities in between, presumably subsidized and/or run by the HSR operator as a feeder line, as both Fresno and Hanford HSR stations are some distance away from their Amtrak counterparts.

    In this case, a spur to the F street BFD HSR station from the existing Amtrak station become important for this regional service, and can be constructed at the same time as the HSR viaduct.

    Yes, the bus substitute would be cheaper to run compare to today’s California Car trainsets, so switching to DMUs might make this regional line more feasible.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There isn’t enough demand.

    Reality Check Reply:

    HSRA has posted this mini video tour of the Bakersfield F Street Station “Stilt-a-Rail” Alignment

    Clem Reply:

    What is it with this elevation fetish?!?

    Joey Reply:

    Yeah, it seems to be a lot taller than it needs to be in several places, particularly on the northern approach. I see no legitimate reason why it shouldn’t be able to pass under 7th Standard Road and SR-99.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Probably less drastic elevation change than with an underpass would entail, plus reduces the risk (if any) of something falling off the roadway unto the tracks. As for rather high elevation in town, perhaps it allows more light to fall on the low rise structures as well as affords views of the horizon from windows of said structures. Also, the higher the tracks, less risk of anti-social behavior of throwing things onto the tracks/at trains in neighborhoods where that may occur.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Provides shelter for the homeless.

    But of course Brutalism and stilts go together like love and marriage – aerials de rigueur in China. It provides the maglev look for those who cannot afford the real thing.

    Let the progeny worry about maintenance.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Yes, syno, we know all about your sad and irrational fear of homeless people, and your tendency to see brutalism in every corner.

    We know because you tell us every fifteen seconds.

    You can stop now.

    synonymouse Reply:

    PB’s job is to bring Brutalism to every corner.

    EJ Reply:

    OK, say you have to elevate a line to grade separate it. How would you do it? (Note, this will involve coming up with a real solution, instead of just whining like a little bitch. Let’s see if you can do it.)

    J. Wong Reply:

    It doesn’t look wide enough to provide much shelter at the proposed elevation. Sort of like BART through Albany, which no homeless camp under for exactly that reason. Now under a freeway, that’s completely different.

    synonymouse Reply:

    HSR aerials would presumably be considerably more massive than 60’s BART. Similar to what you see in China, definitely sizeable enough to cover a homeless encampmnt.

    And California has likely more stringent seismic requirements than in China.

    EJ Reply:

    What would you build instead?

    Zorro Reply:

    Cyno would build Nothing at all, preferring more and more backed up traffic, while tearing out all the rail transit(Muni, Bart, Caltrain, HSR, etc, etc..).

    J. Wong Reply:

    The video shows both single and double column aerials at an elevation such that they do not provide any shelter. The only place the elevated track is both wide enough and low enough to provide shelter is around the station where there’s presumably 4-track to allow passing.

    You’re just fear-mongering, @synon, not based on anything actual. Please document where BART aerials would provide shelter. Even your dreaded Daly City aerials are neither wide enough nor low enough to provide shelter, which is probably why there are no homeless encamped beneath them. The only place in San Francisco that there are homeless encampments beneath aerials is beneath freeways.

    Jerry Reply:

    In Japan I remember seeing actual houses built under freeway/railroad structures.
    Would there be room to build ‘affordable housing’ under some of these structures in Northern CA cities?? There’s parking under some of them.

    James Fujita Reply:

    Syn would hate Japan. “Stilt rail” in lots of places, and the various rail gauges used by commuter train lines would make BART haters foam at the mouth. Yet it all works. Trains are fast, efficient and crowded and yes, they can withstand earthquakes.

    EJ Reply:

    Syn doesn’t actually have any fixed opinions. He was whining earlier about cable car lines being closed, despite the fact that cable cars have a non-standard track gauge, a non-standard propulsion system, are slow, and are labor intensive. He’s just a whiny reactionary – nothing he says has to make sense.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The first cable lines were 3’6″, later lines were standard gauge.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jy_ifgU-io

    United Railroads electric streetcars crossing at 4th and 3rd Sts. This footage is thought to have been shot perhaps the day before the quake and the film was on its way east to be processed when it happened.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    3’6″ (aka 1067mm, aka “cape gauge”), incidentally, is still by far the most common track gauge in Japan…

    [For a meandering but interesting exploration of why: http://www.jrtr.net/jrtr31/pdf/f33_sai.pdf ]

    synonymouse Reply:

    It was understandable in 1873 as Sacramento Street is quite narrow. One way even then.

    Conversion of the Market Street cable lines to electric trolley was already proposed before 1906 but naturally opposition to the overhead wires. The earthquake and fire cleared the way for modernization and eventually the Roar of the Four.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And being a Scot, Andrew Hallidie would have been quite familiar with this gauge.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Presumably they don’t want the line to go up and down like a roller-coaster (see: Hyperloop), so the line is at a height governed by the highest obstacle within some amount of distance, not hugging the ground like a road can….

    Joey Reply:

    Vertical curves and grades acceptable for HSR are not strong enough to be felt by passengers, and there’s plenty of room for these types of transitions. In particular, there are no grade crossings for a couple of miles on either side of 7th Standard Road.

    agb5 Reply:

    To pass under 7th standard road the ramp down would tend to cut through the middle to the canals to the north which would make the trench prone to flooding.

    Joey Reply:

    7th Standard Road is elevated over UPRR and SR-99. There would be no trench.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It affords a truly stunning view of the Sierras, the Tehachapis, the California aqueduct and the world famous Kern Valley Water Bank. (wink)

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is a predator’s instinct to climb to high perches.

    Roland Reply:

    Deja vu, mon ami:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=267F-75lOik
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCcvsFNhJgs

    Meanwhile in SF: http://www.spur.org/events/2015-11-17/280-opportunity

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah, the second video makes San Jose look like LA. Those aerials are huge, plenty of room for mass quantities of homeless encampments underneath.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Or are you going to store the homeless in those cookie-cutter apartments depicted?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    what makes the railroad overpasses so much more attractive than the highway overpasses?

    Roland Reply:

    Nothing and that is precisely why SF is going to take down 280 right after they reroute Caltrain to the TTC.

    William Reply:

    One thing of note, the new BFSSA still avoids using any UP ROW, which may be the cause of the alignment not taking advantage of the existing grade separation structures.

    The taller viaduct, from the simulation video, looks like to be above the normal sight line so people would barely notice it if they didn’t look up, and would not create all day shaded spots underneath it.

    James Fujita Reply:

    All-day shaded spots in Bakersfield in July would not necessarily be a bad thing.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Indeed, I’ve never got the knee-jerk hatred for viaducts you often seem to see…. It depends a lot on the details, but the protected spot underneath is often a nice thing.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Indeed, and such spaces need not be wasted- they can serve as public parks (e.g. basketball courts, skateboard parks, etc.), as well as pay parking lots, space for storage units, and other revenue-earning uses.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    There’s also quite a few businesses of all sorts built underneath viaducts, especially near stations. I wonder if there are any special regulations concerning what’s permitted there… besides the usual grocery stores and restaurants, I’ve seen a nursery school with playground…

    Besides the obvious financial benefit of using this space, doing so also really enlivens and improves the area.

    agb5 Reply:

    Last year the same folks claimed that the Municipal Services Corporation Yard would be “devastated” if the Hybrid Alignment viaduct passed above it.

    swing hanger Reply:

    @agb5
    LOL. Next we will be hearing how HSR will ruin the ambience of junkyards and liquor store parking lots.

    Andy M Reply:

    The traditional stone or brick arched viaducts such as can be found in Paris and London for example are very attractive and no doubt a source of good income for whoever owns that space, judging from some of the boutique style stores and bistros that are displacing the car repair shops and storage booths that used to occupy these spaces.

    I’m just wondering what it will take for modern concrete viaducts to develop that same ambiance. Maybe if the architects who design the viaducts could take that into account from the beginning, this could be made into an urbanist selling point and also a secondary source of income for CAHSR.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Retail space in railway viaducts also has a long history in Japan, even having a term for it- “gaado shita”, literally “under the girders”. The latest redevelopment is JR East`s Maach Ecute retail stores and restaurants at the old viaduct and station at Kanda Manseibashi. However retail developments under high speed line viaducts are not normally done- perhaps vibration is an issue?

    datacruncher Reply:

    I’m wondering how much of the elevated alignment is due to Bakersfield’s request. In an article a few weeks ago Bakersfield Planning Director Jacqui Kitchen supposedly commented, “She noted the alignment city officials are working with the rail agency on would be raised on viaducts in such a way that its ground footprint would be minimized.”
    http://www.bakersfield.com/news/2015/08/04/alternate-high-speed-rail-route-through-bakersfield-ready-for-public-inspection.html

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’ll bet that’s the reason. Bakersfield asks for elevated, Bakersfield gets elevated.

    EJ Reply:

    Very little of that looks any taller than the Queens boulevard viaduct in NYC. If you build viaducts slightly taller than is strictly dictated by ground clearance needs, you actually reduce the nearby visual impact somewhat.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I got a good lol at the associated-videos links, which included a bunch of “CAHSR boondoggle!” type videos on the “ReasonTV” channel…. ><

    agb5 Reply:

    I wonder if a Chinese company will bid to construct this section. According to this report, the scale of Chinese HSR building incentivised companies to invest heavily in technology to mass produce viaducts. With a slowdown in China they must have a spare viaduct factory ready to ship to CA.
    Giant gantry crane.
    Avoid federal money and get the job done quicker and cheaper?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    FWIW, what you see with this crane is pretty much standard practice for this kind of viaducts.

  14. trentbridge
    Aug 26th, 2015 at 09:23
    #14

    The “long tunnel” option from Palmdale to Burbank – i.e. the East Corridor option E3a E3b looks less expenisve than I first thought if this Australian project (North West Rail Link in Sydney) is anywhere close on costs:

    “NFM Technologies has supplied four 120 m long, 6·99 m diameter hard rock TBMs to the consortium of Thiess, John Holland and Dragados which is building the 15·5 km twin-bore tunnels under a A$1·15bn contract awarded in June 2013.

    Tunnelling began in September 2014, and more than 20 km is now complete.”

    All that tunnel for about $1 billion? (A$ 1.00 = US $0.71) – CA HSR could pay five to ten times that amount and feel they got a bargain.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Same logic applies to HypeLoop tunnels.

    EJ Reply:

    Elevated rail is bad. Tunnels are bad.

    synonymouse Reply:

    JerryRail infrastructure is approaching that of exotic.

    Zorro Reply:

    Cyno’s a Bad Crank.

  15. Roland
    Aug 26th, 2015 at 12:18
    #15

    Breaking News: Jim Hartnett rearranges the deck chairs on the Titanic http://www.samtrans.com/about/news/Transit_District_Chief_Announces_New_Organizational_Structure.html
    Highlights:
    – Gigi (former voodoo budget/accounts wiz) steps sideways (pending indictment).
    – Michele returns from a 3-year stint managing the automated Oakland BART connector raising unfounded rumors that future driverless Caltrains will have 3 conductors.
    – Enough material for a couple of seasons of True Detective.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Naah. Evidently the True Dectective script writers are afraid to death of not being able to work in this Town again if you cross certain people.

    Mike B Reply:

    Roland, you should contact NBC 11 investigative unit: theunit@nbcbayarea.com.

    Let them know about all the shenanigans at Samtrans/Caltrain, CBOSS incompatibility/cost overruns, consultant featherbedding, high pay to CEO’s, high cost of electrification, etc.

    I have suggested on here that someone such as Richard M. or Clem contact the NBC 11 Investigative Unit a number of times but to no avail.

    I have contacted The Unit/Vicky Nguyen some time ago but I don’t have the technical expertise to go into the gory details. I alerted Vicky to this blog and Clem’s blog and I believe she tried to make contact with Clem but no response from Clem.

    Samtrans has already been under scrutiny by NBC 11 for questionable accounting practices. Isn’t it interesting that Scanlon decided to retire a year or so after the initial NBC 11 investigation?

    Other bay area TV stations have investigative teams maybe this should be brought to their attention also?

    Roland Reply:

    Scanlon retired less than 2 weeks after the report from the San Mateo District Attorney’s office into SamTrans’ accounting practices: http://www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo-county-times/ci_26324257/da-probe-clears-samtrans-accounting-crimes.

    This blog post highlights ongoing challenges with “bringing their accounting practices into line with generally accepted accounting principles.”: http://www.greencaltrain.com/2015/08/want-more-frequent-service-jerry-hill-bill-proposes-more-cap-and-trade-funding-for-transit-operations/.

    The CBOSS disaster is unraveling as we speak: http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2015/05/cboss-headed-for-trouble.html

    Mike B Reply:

    Great! Please take it to NBC 11 Investigative Unit. I have gone as far as I can with them, they need someone who is more versed in these technical issues and details than I am. Sure they can read all this blogging but it helps if someone can explain all the gory details.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Speaking of Caltrain, here is interesting doc on their “operating conditions and constraints”

    https://goo.gl/26Uxwv

    Roland Reply:

    Is there any particular reason why this PDF is not searchable?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I did not do very much in-depth checking, but the embedded fonts do not map to valid Unicode characters; when you copy the text, and open it in a (very good) text editor, it shows only crappy symbols.

    A very quick (and potentially wrong) verdict: the creator used a crappy PDF creator, which was not properly configured.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    the creator used a crappy PDF creator

    From the PDF properties: Producer: Microsoft: Print To PDF

    It looks like it maybe it just converted all the text to images and put those in the PDF file… ><

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Exactly, the “Producer” entry led me to the verdict. Text did not get converted to images, because it is selectable.

    But if you want to have it searchable, just for yourself, use Acrobat, export as TIFF, and re-open in Acrobat. It gets turned back into PDF, but now can be processed with Acrobat’s OCR engine (which is not that bad at all)… 

    (just for the records, I have been creating smart and complex PDF forms since it was possible to do so…)

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Okay – this one is all my bad. We are huge fans of searchable PDFs and do a lot of conversion ourselves (CHSRA has on occasion provided us with documents in … unusual… formats).

    In this case, the document was buried at page 5655 of a 7000 page RFP document (500 MB) and it crashed all my normal sytems so I went to plan B, which obviously failed.

    If someone wants to cleanly extract the pages 5655-5713 of the large document at this dropbox
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/az34k161d28ah78/AACzwbjBH37v79hHRow8r2LZa?dl=0

    or clean up the old one, email it to me at my first name at calhsr.com and I’ll switch the old one out.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Document extracted from the original and just sent. (File size half of what has been floating around, and properly searchable).

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Okay everyone – here is new and improved version

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bx5S0AJ0bopyenJJUl80WVBHUUhtVFNZdG1CZ1JpRE0tV0Vn

    Thanks Max!

    Roland Reply:

    Way to go Max!!! You are DA MAN!!!
    Elizabeth, thank you and CARRD for going through this pile of junk and extracting the interesting bits!

    Max Wyss Reply:

    You’re welcome, Elizabeth, and Roland.

    @Roland: Now, that 7000 page pile of junk is what the vendors have to work through to make a proposal… no wonder why costs are so high. Or… that’s what happens when you let consultants run the show.

    Peter Reply:

    @Roland & Max Wyss: Sorry, but how else would you put a project like this out to bid?

    Peter Reply:

    Here’s another example of a recent locomotive procurement.

    Roland Reply:

    Here is another one: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100304012206/http:/www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/iep/iepinvitationtotender/
    12 MB of useful information instead of nearly 600 MB of useless copy/paste cookie-cutter garbage.

    EJ Reply:

    @Roland those IEP documents run to hundreds of pages and include such extremely useful information as a table of exact route lengths of every major train route in Britain. Because you can’t design a train unless you know exactly how far it is from London to Birmingham.

    They’re smaller in size because they have fewer pictures and whoever made them knows how to properly create a pdf file.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    No, but text recognition procedures are quite easy to find with a search engine.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    DO NOT USE THIS VERSION LOOK DOWN THE THREAD

  16. Reality Check
    Aug 26th, 2015 at 15:54
    #16

    KTVU report on Palo Alto “doing something … (anything!)” about teen suicides

    In addition to the new cameras linked to 911 triggered by body heat up to a mile away, note how they’re also wasting money in denuding the trackside screening vegetation (ROW uglification!) and installing fence-top extensions which will deter people from climbing the fences they already don’t climb in order to commit suicide at or near crossings “protected” by ineffective and costly security guards who can do nothing to stop suicides either. Only-in-Palo-Alto insane. Because, um, “Look! We’re blowing money on doing something (… who cares if it’s ineffective)?”

    Joe Reply:

    Do keep riding that bike without a helmet.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Your point being?

  17. synonymouse
    Aug 26th, 2015 at 22:37
    #17
  18. JimInPollockPines
    Aug 27th, 2015 at 04:07
    #18

    Ot. Day three east coast vacation. Boston is fantastic. Friendly. And unlike today’s sf. The people here are are giving total realness. The humidity is dreadful. The architecture is in the north end and back bay. Stunning
    And most important. The T subway is awesome. Hella (wicked) easy and fast. Frequent and perfectly color coded. I could almost live here if it weren’t for the humid summers
    On Amtrak regional 95 now. To Manhattan These trains are fast. I’m thinking we’re hitting 125
    Only disappointment is that I’m not hearing as much Boston accent as I remember hearing in 79

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Which lines on the T did you ride?

    (Asking because the Green Line is dreadful, and the Red Line less so than the rest. They all break down a lot, like the New York subway did in the 1980s.)

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I lived in Cambridge for several years and used both the red and green line a lot (I’ve no driver’s license), and commuted on the red line. Both seemed just fine, my main complaint was that there were lots of places you couldn’t get to on the T.

    The green line is far from perfect, but I think “dreadful” is completely unfair.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    We’ve been using all the colors. And it’s a dream
    I wish sf had a subway like this

    Update on nyc s day trip
    Just ugh. Fuck New York. I was through in the first 15 minutes walking from penn to times sq
    A massive sea of humanity. All day. Everywhere in every direction
    I could wait to get out of there
    We were three hours behind sked all day because of the volume of people
    Finally made it to stonewall inn at 5p and had to down two martinis and I nearly took up smoking
    Never again as for transit. We used the number 5 train and the number 1 train with no prob. But the Boston t. Is much better
    Also. First class in Acela home was great but they are showing their age and track in many places is really rough

    Today. Amtrak Downeaster to Portland Maine. The train is packed

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Fuck New York.”[?!]

    Anathema. Heresy. Manhattan is the paradigm of perfection to which all else must aspire.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Manhattan is the paradigm of perfection to which all else must aspire.

    Obviously not…. but at least it’s a lot better than the ‘burbs*…

    * I mean American ‘burbs, of course; suburbs in many other countries are vastly nicer.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    I found Bostonites incredibly friendly on a recent visit. Even the homeless people were friendly. Not sure if it’s a show they put on for tourists or what.

    New York, not so much.

    You didn’t mention it by name but I hope you also visited Beacon Hill, which is my favorite neighborhood of Boston in terms of architecture.

  19. Reedman
    Aug 27th, 2015 at 11:23
    #19

    This was the answer to a JEOPARDY question. The worlds highest capacity bus seats 256:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2198063/Worlds-largest-bus-AutoTram-Extra-Grand-trialled-Dresden-Germany.html

  20. Reality Check
    Aug 27th, 2015 at 15:20
    #20

    German “Trainrider” surfs ICE windshields … but always with a valid ticket!

    Reminds me: years ago, on several occasions, I’d see teens hitching rides on southbound Caltrain cab cars. Not nearly as risky or creative as sucking onto ICE windshields.

  21. agb5
    Aug 28th, 2015 at 15:18
    #21

    New photos at the Fresno river viaduct:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/hsrcagov/albums/72157657735011526
    Unfortunately it is the usual disappointing bunch of amateurish photos taken out of a car window which don’t tell the story of what is happening.
    Please install some live webcams!

  22. Roland
    Aug 29th, 2015 at 00:02
    #22

    Sept 8 2015 Board Meeting Agenda: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2015/brdmtg_090815_Board_Meeting_Agenda.pdf.

    Given that the only item on the agenda is to be heard in closed session, how about moving the Finance & Audit Committee to the Board of Supervisors Chambers and webcasting that instead? http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2015/brdmtg_090815_FA_Committee_Agenda.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/aug/29/high-speed-rail-project-dead-train-walking/

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Given the bluster with which Gov. Jerry Brown has defended the project, it may seem naive to think a judge will defy a popular governor. But it is plain that in 2008, voters wanted what the appellate ruling agreed was a “financial straitjacket” on the project to make sure it didn’t end up as billions of dollars wasted on miles of abandoned track.”

    Is there a level of puerility beyond naiviete? The patronage machine which rules California could care less about “miles of abandoned track”. In the first place they can subsidize a few trains for decades until the guilty parties are all pushing daisies. Who even knows about Queretaro or the Milwaukee Road except for a few traction fans?

    All the wars we have lost since WWII are just boondoggles in a way, really big ones, so the fiasco of JerryRail does not stand out particularly. My question is under economic and social royalism where is the money coming from if the 99% is utterly destitute? Even the Sheriff of Nottingham won’t be able to squeeze another farthing out of the masses to pay for any vestige of the machine state.

    Yeah, Jerry is a popular governor, in the tradition of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

    john burrows Reply:

    Robert has mentioned a “Quiet HSR summer” that we are now in. The opposite will be true next February. On Feb 11 judge Michael Kenny begins hearings on the Fukuda-Tos Lawsuit which will require the Authority to have a legal business plan identifying the sources of funding for the IOS. And not too surprisingly the 2016 draft business plan is also due out in Feb. 2016.

    But before next February, ( on Sept 28 to be exact), interested parties are requested to submit their responses to the High Speed Rail Authority’s “Request For Expressions of Interest” (RFEI). As I understand it the Authority is basically saying to the private sector “This is how much we have already done and this is how much money we have to work with—How would you get from where we are now to an operational IOS.”

    We will have to wait a month to see what these hoped for interested parties come up with but there is a certainly a chance that big changes may be in the works for the 2016 business plan as a result of these Requests For Expression of Interest.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It appears that the delay going to trial likely says the Judge is buying into PB’s jedi mind tricks.

    The private sector is interested in taking the taxpayers’ money, just like PB. Nothing but government-guaranteed loans. The Chinese might come up with what amounts to some grant financing so long as their stuff is purchased, trainsets at the very least. Just for make-work; after the whole idea over here is make-work for friends of the Party.

    synonymouse Reply:

    after all

    synonymouse Reply:

    JerryRail with the DeTour can have no “operational IOS” other than a massivly subsidized IOS.

    Zorro Reply:

    Massively subsidized HSR = R/W MYTH…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The State has neither the money nor the will to even subsidize one train over the Loop Line and the bustitute travels via Tejon. End of story.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So they’ll have to subsidize except they won’t so I take you’re predicting there won’t ever be any trains running over Tehachapi. Meanwhile subsidized Thruway using Tejon is okay because that’s the optimal routing. So inconsistent.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Prop 1a is routinely ignored. JerryRail is subsidized, detoured regional commute ops.

    joe Reply:

    John;
    I agree with what you wirte but would like to point out one distinction. IOS vs usable segment.

    On Feb 11 judge Michael Kenny begins hearings on the Fukuda-Tos Lawsuit which will require the Authority to have a legal business plan identifying the sources of funding for the IOS.

    “IOS” and “initial operating segment” are not in the statue. There is no legal requirement.

    Prop1a defines “corridor”, or “usable segment”.

    CAHSRA equated the IOS with the useable segment in the 2011 business plan. That plan was what went to the legislature and once submitted and voted on that plan became obsolete. This was litigated and Kenney’s request the 2011 plan be reworked to identify all funds was over turned.

    The 2016 plan must identify all funds but….CAHSRA should be able to fix this in a word processor. They can submit an updated plan that defines the Southern IOS but also call out the useable segment of the IOS for which they have funds identified. The useable segment is what is in the statute.

    (2) The plan shall include, identify, or certify to all of the following:
    (A) The corridor, or usable segment thereof, in which the authority is proposing to invest bond proceeds.
    (C) The estimated full cost of constructing the corridor or usable segment thereof, including an estimate of cost escalation during construction and appropriate reserves for contingencies.
    (D) The sources of all funds to be invested in the corridor, or usable segment thereof, and the anticipated time of receipt of those funds based on expected commitments, authorizations, agreements, allocations, or other means.

    Prop1a/AB 3034 requires the funding be identified for bond appropriation. They put out the 2011 plan and that was litigated. The appellate court already ruled the appropriation is valid.

    (c) (1) No later than 90 days prior to the submittal to the Legislature and the Governor of the initial request for appropriation of proceeds of bonds authorized by this chapter for any eligible capital costs on each corridor, or usable segment thereof, identified in subdivision (b) of Section 2704.04, other than costs described in subdivision (g), the authority shall have approved and submitted to .the Director of Finance, the peer review group established pursuant to Section 185035 of the Public Utilities Code, and the policy committees with jurisdiction over transportation matters and the fiscal committees in both houses of the Legislature, a detailed funding plan for that corridor or a usable segment thereof.

    synonymouse Reply:

    obfuscating verbiage

    Jerry just writes the law as he rolls merrily along and the sycophants snap to.

  23. JimInPollockPines
    Aug 29th, 2015 at 05:45
    #23

    The Downeaster service to Portland Maine was great Portland had no rail transit but a fantastic city and very friendly
    As usual the boston T has continued to operate flawlessly and seamlessly
    Next stop. Ptown ferry

    Andrew L-A Reply:

    Jim – Going out to Peaks Island? It’s a very peaceful place.

  24. Mark
    Sep 1st, 2015 at 13:45
    #24

    I am very impressed that all of you naysayers have taken the time to read the many pages of docs from Ahlborn’s group, which have thousands upon thousands of man hours of analysis in them.

    That you’ve done so with such thoroughness and then successfully dismissed all that work in just a few sentences will let me rest so much easier at night.

    Or, I assume you’ve also all been aware of Pishevar’s totally separate group and dismissed it as well. They have too many full-time people to be taken seriously.

Comments are closed.