A Closer Look at the New Bakersfield Alternative

Sep 15th, 2015 | Posted by

The California High Speed Rail Authority recently settled a lawsuit brought by Bakersfield against the project. One element of the settlement involved the CHSRA agreeing to study a new alternative through Bakersfield – the F Street alignment.

As part of this work, the CHSRA published the following video simulation of the F Street alignment. This video was released last month, but has been getting attention in recent days thanks to Drunk Engineer’s post damning it as a “concrete nightmare.” Here’s the video:

One of the main criticisms that Drunk Engineer and others, including Eric Jaffe at CityLab, have made of this proposal is the rendering of the area near the station:

And here’s Jaffe’s take on it:

But the station site shown in the video (spotted by Systemic Failure), while admittedly not a final plan, raises questions about how officials envision the Bakersfield stop. That’s not one level of market-priced garage parking embedded in a multi-story retail and residential complex—it looks more like the unpriced surface parking found at big box superstores. Not pictured: any semblance of transit connections, bike storage, or pedestrian access.

Such a scheme would go against the authority’s own original guidelines for station development, laid out in 2010, which emphasize limited parking facilities near high-speed rail hubs. The parking that does get built should be placed in garages, incorporated into mixed use developments, and available for shared use by nearby retailers and residents. And unless the spots are priced right, people will drive to the stations themselves.

But the CHSRA isn’t actually planning to leave the area near the station as a parking lot. There’s no valid reason to assume so. The rendering is just an offering to the people of Bakersfield to show them how the elevated tracks would look in the current built environment.

As the CHSRA says themselves, at the end of Jaffe’s post, they fully intend to promote TOD at all their stations, including Bakersfield:

Authority spokesperson Lisa Marie Alley tells CityLab “no decisions have been made” about parking at the eventual Bakersfield station, and that reducing car- and airplane-reliance will be one of the goals. The authority’s station area planning agreement with the city, announced yesterday, makes multimodal access to the site an explicit aim. “We will look at some of those issues of how much parking will be at a station, how many bike paths will be there, what’s electric vehicle access going to be like, and how are different modes and connectivity going to provide travelers with all types of choices,” says Alley.

We can go even further here. The entire model that the CHSRA has been using for the stations is that they are built out by the cities themselves, who then recover their costs from fees and taxes generated by nearby development. There’s no reason to believe that Bakersfield would just let the site sit vacant, surrounded by surface parking. Bakersfield has intended to build TOD near the original station location in downtown, and presumably would do the same at F Street – and the CHSRA will still push them to do so.

So Jaffe’s concerns seem misplaced. Drunk Engineer’s criticisms are broader in nature:

Trains would run on a humongous elevated viaduct through neighborhoods in the northern half of the city. Highway planners used to build nightmares like this in the bad old days of 1960’s urban renewal. This is the same thing, the only difference being that there are rails and wires on top instead of asphalt and cars…

There is no rationale for these aerial structures. Note that the original plan (in 2005) was to put the station on the periphery and keep tracks more at ground-level. That would have greatly reduced costs and neighborhood impacts. Since everyone will be be driving to the station anyway — as evidenced by the huge parking — a peripheral station location would not impact ridership.

Locating suburban HSR stations on the periphery is also typical European practice. Sadly, some so-called experts are too clueless to figure that out.

I have to disagree that “there is no rationale” for these above-grade viaducts. The rationale is that building these limits the impact to homes and businesses along the route. Bakersfield has long been concerned about the residential and commercial buildings that would have to be torn down for the hybrid alignment. So building a long viaduct through town on a new alignment would reduce the amount of demolition required.

These viaducts are also not unprecedented. BART has operated viaducts in the East Bay for nearly 45 years, like this one in Albany:

BART train from Alb H 7-13 1

There’s also precedent for urban HSR viaducts, like this one in Berlin:

Outbound ICE in Berlin

I get Drunk Engineer’s point that these concrete viaducts wouldn’t be needed if the CHSRA decided to build greenfield stations and bypass city centers. The Authority decided on downtown HSR stations long ago, and I believe it was the right call. HSR should act as a spur to more urban density and seed more multimodal transportation – exactly what Eric Jaffe was calling for in his article criticizing the rendering of a parking lot near the F Street station. In many cities in California, that’s going to require one of three things: a tunnel, a concrete viaduct, or taking a lot of houses and businesses. Given those options, I don’t begrudge the CHSRA proposing a viaduct.

What the CHSRA has done here is show Bakersfield just what this alignment would look like. The renderings are authentic to present conditions. By the time it’s built, the surrounding built environment may change, but the CHSRA can’t predict what those changes would be, and would be wrong to try.

As an exercise in showing Bakersfield what their options are, the simulation is welcome. And the F Street alignment is certainly worth giving close consideration. It’s better than putting the station on the edge of town.

  1. Miles Bader
    Sep 15th, 2015 at 15:57

    There’s more than “precedent” for HSR viaducts in urban areas, they’re very common—and they aren’t a problem. You wouldn’t build one through Versailles, but in most of these locations they’re completely fine.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    There are no HSR viaducts in western cities. There are regular speed / slow speed viaducts on which trains that could go very fast travel. There is a significant amount of noise and vibration associated with 220 mph travel speeds, which the majority of trains that go through Bakersfield are supposed to be moving at. It is not a TOD paradise.

    les Reply:

    “There are no HSR viaducts in western cities”. The French just completed “around 500 engineering structures, including 24 viaducts” for the Tours to Bordeaux line.

    The line goes through “113 municipalities, 6 French départements, 3 regions;” and yet the line still averages over 180+ mph. I don’t think the trains can go faster than this through the cities regardless of structure..


    jedi08 Reply:

    And …..

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    That is a really interesting video, although it really makes the case against speeding through Bakersfield. The contrast between this project and what the CHSRA is doing is startling.

  2. datacruncher
    Sep 15th, 2015 at 16:22

    Using Google Maps and Street View, the parking lot is the existing shopping center across the street from the station site. The two story buildings on the left are existing apartments next to the shopping center.

    The existing shopping center includes a Smart & Final store. The red store sign for Smart & Final can be seen center right in the photo.

    The Authority and Bakersfield just announced a station area planning agreement/grant yesterday.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Yep. No reason to believe it’ll be a Smart & Final store and parking lot once HSR opens.

  3. J. Wong
    Sep 15th, 2015 at 16:35

    The video was produced from video of existing roads and parking. So the parking lot that Jaffe is so concerned about already exists (as @datacruncher found).

    Also, Drunk Engineer and @synonmouse concerns about HSR viaducts is misplaced. Comparing them to the massive viaducts used to build freeways (cf. 880 through Oakland or 280 in San Francisco), and I agree with anyone who wants to use that adjective, is simply nonsense. The HSR viaduct with 2 tracks in no way compares to freeway viaducts that encompass six lanes of freeway plus shoulders.

    Peter Reply:

    The entire idea was to be able to build HSR through the urban Bakersfield environment to a downtown station without tearing out entire neighborhoods. This approach squeezes through said neighborhoods with minimal disruption.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Believe it or not, this is a HUGE improvement from previous plans.

    Joe Reply:

    Believe it or not it required Bakersfield’s cooperation and dropping their obstructionist lawsuit.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    That is not a true statement. It only happened because Bakersfield objected in every way it could to the original plan. The new alignment is from the settlement – not something that just happened after Bakersfield decided to drop the lawsuit. It was a deal. Too often litigation is required to get what are very reasonable changes to projects.

    Joe Reply:


    The pigheaded city manager had to write a letter of apology to the city council for withholding information and aligenment alternatives form disclosure. The Bakersfield Paper blew open the story which is when he came clean.

    The City was also given an ultimatum by cahsr CEO that any alignment change had to improve travel time by straightening the alignment.

    The city capitulated because the city manager admitted the STB federalizations of the project made a settlement and cooperation the long alyernative to maintain some control over the alignment.

    Palo Alto will have to be ale up some time soon too.

    CARRD has done so much damage to residents chances to influence the alignment.

    Clem Reply:

    Tell us more about this ultimatum, please.

    Joe Reply:

    I’ve posted it prior several times. This link also debunks any suggestion that Bakersfield had a preferred alternative alignment and litigation was leverage to move the project. Or n Bo and the city didn’t have a consensus view either.


    “If we have credible, third-party proposals from elected officials or governmental agencies, somebody takes the time to put together a proposal, I think we have a responsibility to take a look,” said Morales, the rail authority’s CEO.

    But, he added, “it does not change what we’re doing” on the project’s Fresno-to-Bakersfield section.
    Morales noted that there are people in Bakersfield who support bringing the project through downtown because of its economic benefits.

    He added that his agency is open to local suggestions on where the train should run. But at this point, he said, they should pertain to how to “straighten” the route from Bakersfield to Palmdale.

    Joe Reply:

    1. CEQA is invalidated by the STB first thus undermining the CEQA EIR lawsuit
    2. Bakersfield quick drops the EIR lawsuit in a matter of days
    3. Bakersfield settles for a study of a shorter alignment (meeting CAHSR requirement a new alignment be a straightening of the current.
    4. The Current HSr alignment is the approved alignment. If the alternative is not approved by the authority, it reverts to the original alignment. No guarantee or leverage by Bakersfield.
    5. Profit

    BAKERSFIELD, CA – The city announced Friday the dismissal of its California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit, in exchange for a new proposed route through Bakersfield.

    City officials say the proposed alignment is shorter and the environmental impact is much smaller. Officials say the current route, from Fresno to Bakersfield, triggered six lawsuits from plaintiffs here in Kern County, including the city of Shafter and Bakersfield.

    Last week, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board declared that our state’s environmental quality act against the high-speed rail, does not apply to the Fresno-Bakersfield route.

    City officials say with dismissing the lawsuit, the rail authority agreed to a study on implementing a new proposed route in Bakersfield, beginning from 7th Standard road and ending in downtown Bakersfield with a station located in the area of F Street and Golden State Avenue.

    In May, the state’s high speed rail authority board approved a route from Fresno to Kern County that will end just north of Seventh Standard Road. That route would impact dozens of landmarks in the downtown area.

    City officials say the new proposed route would hopefully change that. Officials say the rail authority plans to work with each resident impacted by the alignment. “They have agreed and committed with working with the property owners to addressing their concerns to responding to those who have hardship or difficulty in a workman like way and they did not do that the previous time, I believe that they intend to do that this time and they’re actually obligated themselves to do it this time,” said city manager Alan Tandy.

    There is no timeline for the environmental study on the new proposed route. City officials say if the rail authority doesn’t approve it, the previous route would be the preferred alignment.

    Joe Reply:

    In addition, the record is clear. Bakersfield offered no alignment alternayives or choices to the California high-speed rail authority. Their litigation had nothing to do with creating leverage for an alignment of their preference. There was absolutely no preference or choices offered to the California high-speed rail authority. Thier opposition was 100% obstruction.

    If you’d like, I can take a little personal time and dig up references to each and every comment that I’ve made. You can do everyone a favor by showing everyone what the Bakersfield preferred alignment was. Knock yourself out.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Joe’s description of the history is correct. The pigheaded, hostile, dishonest behavior of the Bakersfield City Manager caused a *lot* of trouble; he was dragging the city into lawsuits by concealing information from the city council

    Once he was forced to apologize to the city council and the council got involved directly, they finally started actually negotiating with CHSRA and that helped a lot.

    Joe Reply:


    In his weekly memo Friday afternoon, City Manager Alan Tandy apologized to city council members for not telling them sooner about a new High Speed Rail alignment being proposed for downtown Bakersfield.


    On Tuesday, The Bakersfield Californian ran an article about the possible alternate alignment.

    In his memo to councilmembers about the topic a day later, Tandy said, “My apologies that this follows the newspaper story. We were attempting to get more understandable material to share, but we should have sent it to you anyway.”

    Tandy and city staff reviewed the alternate alignment in January but didn’t disclose it publicly. The city manager told The Californian he hadn’t told council members about the new plan because he considered it “incomplete” and missing key details.

    Tandy has been an outspoken critic of the High Speed Rail Authority’s interaction with the city of Bakersfield and has said the authority hasn’t been responsive to Bakersfield officials’ and residents’ concerns. In an April 3 letter to the High Speed Rail Authority, he continued that criticism, saying that because the alternate alignment hasn’t been publicly vetted by the High Speed Rail Authority, “the City has no basis for understanding the broader impacts of this hybrid alignment on residents and businesses located in its path.”

    Peter Reply:

    Yeah, compared to the incredible impacts the previous alignment was going to have, this is indeed quite an improvement.

    Clem Reply:

    It’s more than two minutes faster, but express trains are going to blast through Bako at 220 mph on hollow core aerials, the loudest possible arrangement for a steel wheeled vehicle. Properties within about 1000 feet of the rail line are likely to be severely impacted.

    Peter Reply:

    True, but the vast majority of the properties are now commercial/industril versus largely residential.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The route is sandwiched between a wide road (highway 99 / highway 204) and the Union Pacific freight tracks. The only other thing in there are industrial properties. It’s going to be hundreds of feet to the first actual property on either side, with MUCH louder sources of noise in between. Furthermore, nearly all the trains will have to slow to stop in Bakersfield anyway.

    I don’t think there’s going to be much noise impact.

    There’s more noise impact from whatever route the rail line will take to get out of the Bakersfield to the east, but that’s a matter for another day.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Even most of the properties on the far side of the highway, and on the far side of the UP line, are commercial or industrial — or vacant.

    Nathanael Reply:

    To be more specific, I don’t think there will be much noise impact from the *funded* part of this route, which is Bakersfield – north.

    There will have to be some thought regarding noisewalls for Bakersfield – east.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Additionally the new Bakersfield station site has constraints that will limit redevelopment or new development in the immediate area.

    A few hundred feet northwest of the station site is the Kern River.
    A few hundred feet northeast of the station site (across the UP tracks) is a large park complex that includes the Kern County Museum/Pioneer Villlage, a large baseball/softball complex, etc.

    The above areas will provide recreational opportunities for new jobs and housing near the station. But it will also limit some of the opportunity.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The only part that is a tad unrealistic is the assumption this alignment won’t have to be widened to support four-tracking. That sort of freeway-wide viaduct is not going to spur the type of TOD everyone wants.

    Express SF-LA trains also won’t be able to slow down that much through this section and the noise could be quite loud as a result, even with the affected neighborhood being largely commercial.

    But concrete nightmare, probably not. If I had to guess, the unstated purpose of local leaders is probably the same as CalTrans in the 1960s. Use this alignment to sever the whiter, upscale parts of the city, from the older, more Hispanic parts. By putting the station in between, the city can also control what sort of mass transit connection happens as well. If a bus to an undesirable area serves the station, it can be appended at night, for example.

    Given that Bakersfield is one of the few urban GOP redoubts left in California, it seems logical they would try to use the inevitability of the project to serve their needs just as much as all the other affected cities will….

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Surely a viaduct will do a lot less “severing” than an at-grade track…

    Bdawe Reply:

    Especially when it’s not as wide as a freeway viaduct.

    Vancouver is run-through with elevated concrete rail viaducts with noisy linear induction trains, and they hardly divide anything – though it should be noted that double track elevated light metro viaducts seem to be quite a bit less bulky than what CHSRA is planning

    Andy M Reply:

    I don’t see what the physical width of a viaduct has to do with its severing of one part of a city from another.

    Bdawe Reply:

    No? Well, why do viaducts divide cities? In a very abstract sense they shouldn’t, since they are 100% permeable. You can walk under them as easily as you can walk anywhere else, so why do people avoid them? Freeway viaducts are dark, noisy, uninviting. But if a viaduct creates less darkness and less noise, presumably it would sever less, no?

    Compare the difference in urban environment between old elevated railroads in New York with Robert Moses’s elevated freeways that were sometimes built down the same routes. The freeways were wider, and less permeable to light than the els, and the generated the continuous din of freeways as opposed to the periodic noise of the el. The freeway blocked all light, where as old steel els often allowed light through the crossties of the tracks and were built less massively. Neighborhoods that had thrived with an el, though they might have had lower property values, collapsed with the freeway because the din, darkness, and pollution of the freeway was so much greater than that of the el.

    That’s the effect in Vancouver, where a multi-lane elevated roadway would sever a neighborhood and be full of dirt and debris, an elevated railway shades a bikelane and some community gardens

    synonymouse Reply:

    Between PB’s addiction to hollow-core and seismic demands rest assured the viaducts will be massive.

    Just be honest and admit we are blighting a corridor to achieve other ends, deemed desirable and necessary, mostly for people who do not live near the corridor.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You have no track record in predicting anything @synon so there is no “rest assured”. The HSR viaducts will not be “massive”. Also can you point to any BART viaducts that are “massive”? No, I didn’t think so.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART tinny crap is way lacking in strength – that is how it gets to be so light and crinkly. If they ever have a big accident and a lot of riders get squished the heat will be on them to buff up. Their old stilts are too weak and reflect 1960’s seismic standards. Besides JerryRail trainsets will be heavier and much faster and the stilts will have to be beefier accordingly.

    And more massive can probably better get by with deferred maintenance, a reality with a money-losing op like the DogLeg..

    synonymouse Reply:

    crap = rolling stock

    J. Wong Reply:

    crap = whatever @synonymouse posts

    synonymouse Reply:

    I just looked at Drunk Engineer’s site and the artist’s renditions of the Bakersfield aerials. They are fabulous and obviously inspired by Karnak.


    What is missing in the image are some huge statues of Jerry as Ramses II.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sorry, the link did not work right.

    joe Reply:

    A reworking of a ROW for HSR can improve neighborhood connectivity.

    In Palo Alto the Caltrain ROW bisects the city and severely blocks flow of people: pedestrians and bikes. At grade crossings are busy and dangerous.

    A ROW improved with HSR funding could have bike and pedestrian grade separated crossings to reduce traffic and increase connections within the city.

    A report was done showing the benefits of the project to help the city but of course many don’t want to talk about any positive outcomes out of HSR.

    Maps of area here http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/38026

    Report here

    The City Council initiated the Palo Alto Rail Corridor Study in July 2010 to evaluate land use, transportation and urban design elements of the rail corridor, particularly in response to potential improvements to fixed rail services along the Caltrain tracks.

    Eric Reply:

    When they widen to 4 tracks, the next two tracks will bypass Bakersfield and not stop there. (And more/all of the trains that do go through Bakersfield will stop there, decreasing the noise issue.)

    J. Wong Reply:

    It’ll certainly be 4 tracks near the station from the start to enable passing.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Ted, I don’t know Bakersfield but it does not look like the route will split the city into two sections using ethnic or income demographics. Using the CalEnviroScreen maps it does not look like that happens.

    These maps use Census 2000 demographic data but are probably still close to the current situations if you do not want to review CalEnviroScreen.

    If the route dropped due south along 99 it would cause more of the type of split you described.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s an interesting map, but I would trust this panel from Trulia more: http://www.trulia.com/local/los-angeles-ca/type:rental_prices_affordability In any case, the alignment in the vicinity of the station doesn’t seem like redlining, but further to the northwest it does.

    But it’s also important to point out that even though that may or may not be the intent of the alignment, the strategy has never worked. Even if the seminal case of the 110 freeway in the 1960s, there was too much block-busting by real estate agents for the viaducts to slow the advance of demographic change.

  4. keith saggers
    Sep 15th, 2015 at 20:11

    @Drunk Engineer “Locating suburban HSR stations on the periphery is also typical European practice. Sadly, some so-called experts are too clueless to figure that out” please explain.

    @Elizabeth I doubt trains will be travelling at 220mph in built up areas.

    Clem Reply:

    They won’t stand a chance of making SF to LA in 2:40 if they need to slow to 150 mph through every built-up area.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Is this really true…?

    Let’s say there are five stops where they need to slow down to 150mph, where blasting through at 225mph was also an option, and lets say they need to slow down for a distance of about 5 miles.

    With an acceleration/deceleration of 0.7m/s^2, I calculate it will take about 2.5miles each for acceleration / deceleration. Then the difference between the amount of time it will take to traverse that 10 miles at 225mph versus 5 miles @150mph + 5 miles @187.5mph is about 1 minute.

    So at 1 minute lost per station, you lose 5 minutes total for traversing those five stations at 150mph.

    5 minutes is not nothing, of course, but… is it really a killer?

    Clem Reply:

    Two figures are questionable: 5 restrictions (too low) and 0.7 m/s^2 (too high)

    Miles Bader Reply:

    0.7 m/s^2 is slightly less than the N700 shinkansen acceleration (and of course quite a bit less than a typical urban EMU

    The number of locations is of course very variable; not all intermediate cities need opt for the same solution, so it can vary from zero to the total number of bypassable stations.

    Clem Reply:

    You will find that residual acceleration decays quickly with speed. No train on this planet can pull 0.7 m/s^2 at 150 mph. Take the max power output of the train. Subtract what is needed to overcome drag (at those speeds, measured in megawatts). Then divide by train mass and train velocity. This is residual acceleration.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Where on earth do you find such data though… ><

    Aarond Reply:

    Seriously? Probably on manufacturer’s websites. I’m of the opinion that ICE’s Velaro EMUs will be what CAHSR uses (due to Siemens’ factory outside Sacramento), so you could find the numbers for those and run them.


    I’m not an engineer though.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Seriously… the problem is that although you can find a lot of summary information (like the 2.6km/h/s max acceleration I incorrectly used), actual detailed data like velocity/acceleration-over-time curves, drag formulas, etc., is not something they stick in their PR material. Googling around gets some stuff in academic publications etc, but often it’s for very old models, too summarized, etc…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    One of the CAHSR technical memos has actual acceleration curves for two trains (I think AGV and Velaro) and guesswork for two more (Talgo and N700?), where the N700 is really bad because they copied a drag figure in newtons to describe a train that’s twice as long as the others.

    By the way, there are exact figures for the X2000, from which you can derive performance (link, PDF-p. 64).

    swing hanger Reply:

    Miles, depending on your language skills, you may find this interesting. From the Japan Association of Rolling Stock Industries, a (very) detailed spec sheet of the JR East E5 trainset, including a graph on page 27 that may have the example you’re looking for.


    *I find English language sources almost useless for this type of data and subject matter. Plenty in Japanese, and perhaps (?) available in German or French.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Thanks, that does look useful…!

    [Unfortunately that graph appears to have been scanned at a fairly low resolution… the smaller words are very blurred… maybe a Japanese person who knows the subject matter can recognize them quickly, but… ><]

    Clem Reply:

    So cool, thanks. I think I can derive the meaning of the graph axes, but just to be sure, could you (or any Japanese speaker) please translate the graph labels?

    KT Reply:

    The graph that relates to the discussed topic is Figure 12 on top left of Page 25/26 in the pdf. The curve shows relationship between tractive force on y-axis (引張力 KN/train unit) and speed of train on x-axis (速度 km/hr). The curves represent performance at each notch level on the master controller (something similar to different gears on automobile? Maybe someone can explain better).

    E5 has acceleration rate of 1.71 km/(hr*sec), and this acceleration rate seems be maintained up to 143 km/hr. Starting from this point, the curve shows decrease in tractive force. The graph only goes up to 360 km/hr, but according to Japanese Wikipedia, 360 km/hr is when traction force of E5 equals combined resisting force (acceleration = 0) when going 0.3% uphill. It is very fuzzy, but there is a curve that intersects with curve 10N at 360 km/hr, and the last 2 letters out of 4 letters show 3 permil.

    I don’t know how to convert KN to km/(hr*sec), this graph should be somewhat useful when estimating the acceleration rate of E5 at the speeds between 143 km/hr (1.71 km/(hr*sec)) and 360 km/hr (0.0 km/(hr*sec)).

    BTW, other two graphs on the same page shows performance of brake.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    The interesting thing from that graph is that the E5 seem to have essentially the same running resistance curve as the N700, but a great deal less tractive force…

    The E5 is only 10 cars, so I guess its limited in the number of motors, and plugging the E5’s power output (which looks proportional to its length compared to the N700), shows the same thing. The effect on acceleration is partially offset by the lower weight, but only a bit.

    So is the implication that longer EMUs just have inherently better acceleration…?

    Clem Reply:

    Thanks. What are the annotations within the graph axes of Figures 12 and 14?

    Clem Reply:

    (I take it Figure 14 is the emergency braking curve, while Figure 13 is the braking curve for each of the seven different levels of service braking– I have an N700 simulation for the PS3 that works the same way.)

    snogglethorpe Reply:

    Fig. 14 seems to be about regenerative breaking….

    KT Reply:

    Following are the annotations:
    Figure 12
    図12 力行性能曲線:Accerelation curve
    Y-axis: 引張力(KN/編成):Tractive force (KN/Operating Unit)
    X-axis:速度(km/hr): Speed (km/hr)

    Figure 13
    図13 ブレーキ性能曲線: Rating Curve for Break Performance
    Y-axis: 減速度(m/s^2): deceleration rate (m/s^2)
    X-axis: 速度(km/hr): Speed (km/hr)

    Figure 14
    図 14 ブレーキ性能曲線(E5/E6 併結時): Rating Curve for Break Performance when E5 and E6 series are coupled
    Y-axis: 減速度(km/h/S)[m/s^2]: deceleration rate (km/h/S)[m/s^2]
    X-axis: 速度(km/hr): Speed (km/hr)
    Bold line seems to be breaking curve when E5/E6 series are coupled, and regenerative breaking is on full performance for both E5/E6 series.
    Dotted line is breaking curve without regenerative breaking, which matches with B7N curve on figure 13.

    Hope this helps.

    Clem Reply:

    Thank you again, that makes sense. Asking for just a bit more: what are the labels directly on top of the curves in Figure 12?

    KT Reply:

    Following are the labels on the curve in Fig 12.

    For Descending curve (labels on top left)
    “1M…..” is acceleration curve when 1 motor car is not in use, under emergency
    “2M…..” same, when 2 motor cars are not in use
    “3M…..” same, when 3 motor cars are not in use
    FYI, E5 series has 8 motor cars, according to page 1/26 in this publication.

    For ascending curves (labels on bottom like). My guess is they are curve for resistance force
    From Top:
    Tunnel with 3 permil slope increase
    Linear Flat Line (for tunnel?)
    3 permil slope, open space? (could not decode first two letters)
    Liner Flat Line (should be same as third one, but without 3 permil slope increase)

    Clem Reply:

    In the CHSRA tech memos. Hint hint.

    So I did the calculation for an AGV. A five-mile 150 mph speed limit results in a 1:25 penalty with the most aggressive braking and acceleration. In reality (with more gentle train handling) it’s probably north of 1:30.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    In the CHSRA tech memos. Hint hint.

    Heh… ^^;

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    And Bakersfield and Fresno would probably require 10 mile stretches of speed penalties.

    Clem Reply:

    Every extra mile at 150 mph instead of 220 mph costs 8 seconds. So a ten-mile restriction will cost about 2:10.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    And now the train is supposed to go through both Wasco and Shafter – each are short but it seems prudent from a risk mgmt standpoint to assume it will have to slow.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    And before anyone goes on about existing freight trains, I think it is uncivilized to permit these types of noise levels, including unnecessary horns (at a minimum there should be wayside horns) near people, most of whom are in the lower socioeconomic brackets. There really should be noise ordinances for residential / school areas.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are regulations for the trains. That they have to blow their horns.

    synonymouse Reply:

    By the time the Judge gets around to waving 2:40 on thru(move along – these are not the droids you are looking for) Jerry will almost be out of office and Prop 1a a distant and foggy memory.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    AFAIK, on e.g. the TGV, they often use low-cost periphery stations for “unimportant” stops. It’s a way of saving money… land cheap, routing easier, fewer issues with noise etc…

    I suppose all those things are true, but on the other hand, in a smaller town, the potential local impact of HSR will be relatively greater than in a big city, in the sense that a well-thought-out TOD-oriented city-center-ish station could be a huge shot in the arm for urban development in an ailing town. On the periphery, it’s basically just another large parking lot.

    In the U.S., compared to europe, you probably have fewer issues with preserving beautiful historic towns (little beauty left in many of these places), but on the other hand, the probability of sane TOD seems …. smaller.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    If there is a reason to have a station downtown, but the city will not be a stop for all trains and it is on the part of the route where trains are supposed to be moving fast, the standard practice is to have a slow loop through town and a bypass for express trains.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s true, but it’s not compatible with Prop 1a technically.

    Either way, any spur or extra track is not going to pencil out to cover its added cost. This dilemma is not unique to Bakersfield…all the intermediate stations will have to find a way to address your concern using innovative means.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Bakersfield will be a stop for all, or nearly all, trains. The demographics make it certain. There might be one or two superexpress San Francisco-LA trains per day…. maybe… but most likely every single train will stop in Bakersfield.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    The current schedules that CHSRA has been using do not have most trains stopping in Bakersfield.

    First, there is really very little demand currently for Bakersfield – SF (2 regional jets a day), which is the same distance as Lyon – Paris.

    Second, the Bakersfield demand would be much more about going to LA and Fresno. Bakersfield to LA would be highly peaky. Rail operators do not like to sell these tickets on routes like SF to LA where selling a short seat means leaving it empty for most of the route.

    I think there is a strong case for a different approach to developing an intercity rail system for California, one which would plan for regional transit and longer distance express service. You will not get the buildup of the downtown areas unless you have bypass tracks or another route for express trains.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    The reason to build it like this now is that building these urban stretches to allow 220 mph speeds is unbelievably expensive. It is probably possible to build an express and local system for the same cost as a mainline that goes through Fresno and Bakersfield.

    Peter Reply:

    Building a grade-separated line costs about the same no matter what the max speed is.

    I doubt building an express bypass for Bakersfield or Fresno without significant impacts would be possible, sprawl there is ridiculous.

    Also, didn’t they look at building separate express and local alignments for Gilroy, which did not pencil out?

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    The issue is two fold –

    1) The curves. Slow rail can follow existing corridors more precisely.
    2) Separation from freight. Freight is insisting on 102 feet from closest possible track that might build one day OR very, very expensive still being specified barriers OR differences in elevation.

    In Fresno, at least, there was a strong case for moving all freight along with express trains to a corridor west of town. This would have dramatically changed the cost/benefits if the UP corridor was available and if the BNSF corridor could have become a bike trail.

    Roland Reply:

    Yes they did and no it does (pencil out)
    BTW, “High Speed” rail and “downtown” is an oxymoron.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    “BTW, “High Speed” rail and “downtown” is an oxymoron.”
    This is why the Shinkansen doesn’t go into Tokyo.
    Oh, wait a minute: Yes it does. Most Shinkansen stations are in downtown areas.

    I think the super-express service should stop in Bakersfield and Fresno. While this would certainly allow passengers to get off and open up a seat, it also allows paying customers to get on and sit in the seat. An advantage that trains have over airlines.

    Roland Reply:

    Look at the Gilroy alignment for the high speed by-pass (east side): http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/newsroom/maps/San_Jose_to_Merced.pdf.
    There is no need for a by-pass for major cities if every train stops there.

    Aarond Reply:

    >I think there is a strong case for a different approach to developing an intercity rail system for California, one which would plan for regional transit and longer distance express service.

    I’m almost certain that CADOT will run both regional and HSR trains. Which is how it’s done on the east coast. I mean, that’s exactly what they’re doing in Phase II (Capitol Corridor fixins, ACE consolidation). Doing a “high speed” SF-LA run and a lower-speed regional makes a lot of sense. Only issuing is timing it correctly.

    The issue is that the CV area cities for the most part don’t have mass transit aside from the token bus system, and that’s unlikely to ever change. LA, SF and Sac all have light rail, commuter rail and subways which is why they are the terminals.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Most airports don’t have mass transit. They do quite well.

    les Reply:

    The thought of inducing urban development around an airport and rental car lots just doesn’t sound right to me. I think the idea is that once these cities attain a downtown station then urbanism and mass transit will follow. Otherwise, you’re right, they are just adding another “airport” and continued sprawl.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Continued sprawl is the intent of the DogLeg route.

    les Reply:

    Sounds like sprawl as already occurred if you ask me.

    Palmdale Area: 106.2 mi²
    Population: 157,161 (2013)
    Density 1,400/sq mi

    Bakersfield Area: 142.164 sq mi
    Population: 363,630 (2013)
    Density 2,400/sq mi

    In contrast:

    SF area 46.87 sq mi
    2014 population of 852,469
    Density:18,187/sq mi

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Yes, it is noticeable.

    Here is an interesting article that goes through the challenges this will present for ridership


    les Reply:

    “Less costly and more flexible approaches to inter-urban transit that better utilize air travel, conventional rail, car sharing and bus travel may better match the polycentric urban form of US cities.”
    This cracks me up. The thought of re-engineering American cities obviously never crossed this guys mind. Of course European cities are more dense then US cities, and of course the greater the density the greater the ridership. Europeans gas, electricity and other prices spurred their detachment from the petro driven transportation decades ago. The US has now achieved these prices along with dirtier air.

    It is a chicken vs egg thing. For Europeans the egg came first (density and Public Transport) but the egg never hatched; for the US it was the chicken (suburbia) with the egg being the new objective. The US wants to reverse direction and make non-petro oriented transportation systems more accessible resulting in denser European like cities.

    Joe Reply:


    The study experimental design focus only on end to end trips. This skews the analysis to a component of HSR ridership (shorter distance trips are a larger fraction of use in the recent model) and also skews the result to cities with built up cores. Using HSR to navigate within a region isn’t in the study design. Finally the LA study area is massive and only (unless I read this wrong) focus on trips to sf Bay Area.

    This is an academic paper for publication and gain citations – publish or perish.

    It isn’t a study on ridership.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    … the Bakersfield demand would be much more about going to LA and Fresno. Bakersfield to LA would be highly peaky. Rail operators do not like to sell these tickets on routes like SF to LA where selling a short seat means leaving it empty for most of the route.

    In a remotely rational world, the direct and very high speed Tejon line from the Central Valley to the LA Basin would have a peripheral station (“West Bakersfield”).

    Rather than a loop from the high speed line into and out of “downtown” Bako, construct a simple connection branching from the north of station site and running, either via the UPRR ROW or elevated along Hwy 58, to “downtown” (and to any other stops constructed on the extensive Bakersfield S-Bahn by the Bako S-Bahn Authority.)

    Each HS train stopping at West Bakersfield could be met by a shuttle that wends its near-empty TOD-riffic way from the “periphery” to the “core” of the “city”. (Honestly, a single city bus or two could do the job, but none of this is about transportation, but rather about buying off egos, as with the San Jose situation.) At peak hours, some supplemental commuter-y trains would run directly to or from the shuttle line up and over the pass and from or to LA. They just need enough power/weight to slot in with the LA—SF through-runners over the big big Tejon hill.

    synonymouse Reply:


    Nathanael Reply:

    I’m afraid Elizabeth Alexis understands southern California travel patterns better than you do. Everything you wrote is completely wrong.

    Bakersfield demand for train service to LA will probably exceed San Francisco – LA demand. Deal with it.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    That’s a great idea. We’ll have trains pull off the main line at every station and cruise at low speed to the station, then reverse for the long commute back to the main line to continue its journey.
    What will that do to the overall travel time?

    Roland Reply:

    Look at the Gilroy alignment (no reversing): http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/newsroom/maps/San_Jose_to_Merced.pdf

    Max Wyss Reply:

    That would be a similar setup as in Avignon (TGV stop in the southwest of the city, and (now) a rail link to Avignon Centre).

    The only difference is that there is no “Bakersfield Centre” station deserving that name…

    Nathanael Reply:

    “The current schedules that CHSRA has been using do not have most trains stopping in Bakersfield”

    Well, those are obviously not the schedules which will be used.

    Honestly, look at the demographics. Of all the planned stations on the list, you obviously stop in LA and San Francisco. You probably stop in San Jose. If you stop in a fourth city, it’s Bakersfield or Fresno. It’s more likely to be Bakersfield; it’s growing faster than Fresno, and LA – Fresno – San Jose – SF is a schedule with badly unbalanced loads. If you stop in five cities, you stop in Bakersfield and Fresno.

    Nathanael Reply:

    By the way, it’s Bakersfield. I expect the train station to have an enormous parking garage next to it and not much else. :-P But it’ll be a busy parking garage.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct and that is precisely what needs to (and will) happen in Gilroy or they will have to operate below 125 MPH between Gilroy and San Jose.
    BTW, it is very common to start with a downtown station and build a high speed bypass later (examples: Lille and Ashford). This is exactly how the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) was built: first “blended” (including third rail) to Waterloo (1994) followed by HS1 Phase I to Northfleet with a connection to the North Kent Main line at Fawkham Junction in 2004 followed by HS1 Phase II at which point they switched to St Pancras and shut down Waterloo International in 2007.

  5. Bdawe
    Sep 15th, 2015 at 23:04

    I’ve still yet to see a satisfactory explanation how European peripheral stations are comparable with the North American situation where the periphery of an urban center is dramatically farther away from the core due to much wider belts of low density suburbs. I hate to be the guy saying that Americans are special, but our especially bad land use policies and transportation pricing practices have put us in a different situation

    Andy M Reply:

    Many European towns, even smaller ones, have a well defined core area, typically where the historic buildings are as well as shops, offices, amenities etc. Furthermore, sue to the compact structure of the town, a high percentage of homes are within walking or at least cycling distance from said area. You may get a bakery making fresh bread, smaller grocery stores etc. Many US towns of comparable size may have a nominal downtown but most examples of less than say 100K inhabitants don’t genuinely have a walkable downtown where you can buy everything and find all the services you typically need while beingl reasonably accessible by walking or by bicycle. Typically such downtowns may have a number of offices and a courthouse but the proverbial sidewalks will be rolled up after 8pm and few people will seek to shop for groceries there during the day or go for a beer in the evening. It is only in considerably larged US cities that you see a genuine donwtown with such real life emerging. So if these small cities don’t have a de facto functioing downtown, but have the wish to create one, should they do so in the ashes of the historic downtown, or should they start afresh on a greenfield site served by HSR. The answer may depend on the precise conditions and geography, but i don’t think the old historic downtown will win in all cases, especially if the decay has gone too far and there’s not enough there left worth saving or gentrification is not desired. Of course on the other hand if an area is completely moribund, flattening bits of it to build HSR should not be so objectionable.

    Joe Reply:

    Gilroy California station will either be downtown at the legacy rail station / transit hub or a greenfield station at the north east side of town.

  6. synonymouse
    Sep 15th, 2015 at 23:05

    In the 2 examples of urban viaducts their removal would increase the adjacent property values.

    Peter Reply:

    Only if you also undergrounded the line at the same time. Which, in the case of the Berlin example, would be ridiculous. And I highly doubt the property value increase would be anything near the cost of tunneling at least four tracks and building what, a dozen stations underground (I forget if there are now than four tracks on that viaduct).

    Yet again, you just don’t know what you’re talking about.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, there will be 4-track near the Bakersfield station to allow passing of trains making the Bakersfield stop.

    Peter Reply:

    I was referring to the picture of the ICE on the Stadtbahn in Berlin. That’s four tracks even outside of stations (two S-Bahn tracks and two mainline DB tracks). I haven’t even bothered to count how many tracks it has at stations.

    Andy M Reply:

    Spain has done some of tehse massive undergrounding projects, for example the AVE crossing Barcelona. The tunnel actually passed very close to the foundations of Gaudi’s Sagrada Famila cathedral which led to quite a lot of protests from concerned citizens. In the 1980s there were still numerous railroads on or above the surface in barcelona but now there are only shortish segments. This is precisely the thinking that contributed to Spain’s high debt situation. Not to mention the fact that as tunnels age they need maintenance so there isn’t even a long term saving.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Stilts require maintenance and are more exposed.

    Eric Reply:

    The cost issue is a red herring, as Barcelona builds tunnels for the same price the US builds at-grade rail.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Albany property values are quite high enough, thank you (mostly because of the perceived quality of the public schools).

  7. JimInPollockPines
    Sep 16th, 2015 at 15:16

    Just because the station area starts out with a surface parking lot and not much else doesn’t mean it stays that way. All the bart stations that currently have various types of economic development around them and or multi story parking, started with nothing asphalt patches of parking. Its up to the city to plan its preferred developemnt around the station based on what makes them money.

  8. synonymouse
    Sep 16th, 2015 at 17:37

    HypeLoop refuses to STFU(phrase courtesy of ZORRO)


    “There seems to be global movement getting behind this construct,” he said. “We think the public wants it. We think the public is tired of having an antiquated transportation system that’s based on technologies that were invented a century ago.”

    Railroads maybe a couple of centuries ago; electric traction 130 years ago; maybe he is referring to diesel. Yeah, diesel is antiquated.

    swing hanger Reply:

    “We think the public is tired of having an antiquated transportation system that’s based on technologies that were invented a century ago.”
    Does he mean automobiles, ’cause that fits the description.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Also airplanes….

    This sort of mindless-appeal-to-modernity is a constant feature of screeds by the Reason Foundation and their hangers-on. When you don’t have a real argument, focus on your readers’ vanity… ><

    synonymouse Reply:

    One of the ongoing appeals of gadgetbahns is there usually aren’t very many of them around so their shortcomings aren’t very well known. Monorails for instance.

    Unfortunately for HypeLoop it has real competition known as aviation. Ditto for TehaVegaSkyRail.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    At least there are extant monorails, in real every-day operation, that you can look at and evaluate….

    synonymouse Reply:

    Quite so, and then there is the Schwebebahn to add historical gravitas.

    To me a monorail is a captive trolley bus dmu’d sans OC. The major advantages of rubber tires are good acceleration and quiet operation. The downsides of rubber tires are well known.

    Steel on steel gives one simple and reliable switches and ability to handle great weights. Con is noise, which could be probably properly addressed if certain Bechtelian a-holes did not celebrate noise as a wondrous asset, part and parcel of Brutalism.

    I still think HART should have gone quiet rubber tire since it eschewed light rail’s ability to run in the street to enable driverless. For a small place and totally tourist on top I would have gone for traditional light rail you could shunt all over Oahu. Nothing is that far away and besides why do you need to get anywhere so fast in Paradise?

    Miles Bader Reply:

    The only monorail I use with any regularity is the Haneda airport line (apparently one of the few profitable monorails), and the most obvious properties of that are:

    (1) The line is extremely curvy and threads its way through buildings etc with an abandon that’s pretty neat looking from the ground, and a bit disconcerting from the train (it always seems like it’s going around those curves wayyy too fast).

    (2) The track seems to have a very minimal physical presence, as its elevated quite a bit and has only the two narrow concrete beams, one for each direction. I used to work in an area it passes through (Tamachi), and it’s quite unobtrusive, significantly less so than any conventional rail viaduct I’ve ever seen.

    It’s a straddle-beam type monorail, so I suppose they’re confident it’s not going to come off the track.

    I’m no great fan of monorails, and the Haneda monorail has undesirable properties as well, e.g. I think it’s a bit slow in absolute terms, and seems to have less capacity than conventional rail of similar scope (in part because it has these honking great wheel enclosures intruding into the passenger compartment). I will say, though, that this one, at least, is clearly not just a “captive trolley bus”…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Straddle-beam monorails are currently basically illegal. No escape walkway.

    Zorro Reply:

    So the monorails in Las Vegas NV and in Disneyworld Fl and in Disneyland CA are illegal? Since when?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Illegal to build new. The old ones are grandfathered.

    You can build a straddle-beam monorail, it just ends up looking like a giant viaduct because you have to have a side escape pathway.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Why does the escape walkway have to be on the side? Just stick a steel mesh floor between the beams (side protection provided by the beams themselves), wham!, done, takes no room, total cost $12.

    Granted the people writing the regulations are probably idiots, but still….

    BrianR Reply:

    I recently saw a rendering by Hyperloop Technologies of their freight version of the Hyperloop which they plan to put into service before the passenger version. The pod for the freight version looked like it would carry (2) standard 40′-0″ long shipping containers end to end. For a cylindrical pod that would need to enclose an 8′-0″ wide x 8′-6″ tall container the overall cross section of the pod + tube looks like it would be enormous (for a pod at least) and that’s before accounting for all the electrical, mechanical and propulsion equipment.

    The hyperloop tubes might end up being large enough that you could theoretically run a BART train through them. Likewise the support piers every 100 ft could end up being pretty massive. It won’t exactly be like the “benign minimalist structures” Elon Musk presented in his white paper. I would assume the freight hyperloop would be adapted to carrying passengers rather than a whole separate tube network to carry the smaller 28 person pods exclusively for passengers.

    It makes me wonder how receptive the anti-HSR Central Valley farmers will be to massive elevated tubes across their property cutting sunlight from their fields a good proportion of the day, especially early morning / late evening. Is it to be assumed those farmers would prefer that to HSR on a berm or at grade which would have a smaller cross section overall (trains not occupying track 100% of time). Will Palo Alto welcome replacing Caltrain with something that looks like the transbay tunnels except dragged out of the bay and elevated on piers? It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

    Today I listened to an interview with Hyperloop Technologies newly appointed CEO and the word ‘disrupt’ was used enough to make me want to vomit but he referred to self driving cars as their “last mile solution”. I don’t suppose anyone will be allowed to walk, bike or take transit to their local Hyperloop station. I guess doing so would not be disruptive enough and be just another example of “dinosaur technology”.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    I don’t suppose anyone will be allowed to walk, bike or take transit to their local Hyperloop station. I guess doing so would not be disruptive enough and be just another example of “dinosaur technology”.

    OMG! Legs?!? Do you know how absolutely prehistoric those are??? OMG!!

    swing hangers Reply:

    Reminds me of the humans depicted in the movie Wall E:

    agb5 Reply:

    I can’t see any economic justification for accelerating a shipping container to 700mph.
    Who is going to pay a premium to have freight moved from SF to LA in 35 minutes vs. several hours on a slow overnight train on already amortised infrastructure?
    The largest generation of Maersk economical container ships travel more slowly than the older ships because the market favours cost over time. Hyperloop is going against the trend.

    Andy M Reply:

    What’s the airfreight market like between those two points?

    However, SNCF are now abandoning their postal TGV service after La Poste pulled out and they have been unable to find any other customers or shippers willing to use that equipment.

    With the last working high speed rail freight service folding, things definietly don’t bode well for the concept.

    datacruncher Reply:

    After all the “hyperloop is privately funded” hype from HSR opponents it is nice to see this admission.

    Lloyd said the business model that will be born out will be different from country to country, but hyperloop infrastructure would probably be government funded in some cases and built through public-private partnerships in others.

  9. StevieB
    Sep 16th, 2015 at 22:53

    China Railway International USA and private rail venture XpressWest said in a joint statement on Thursday that they will form a joint venture to accelerate the launch of a high-speed rail linking the western cities of Las Vegas with Los Angeles.

    Domayv Reply:

    and XpressWest has effectively shot itself in the foot since it will have to be on its own tracks even in Palmdale since CHSR isn’t going to let trains that aren’t approved run (CHSR is looking for proven designs which most likely will be European trains) on their tracks. Plus we’ll have an Oakland Bay Bridge eastern span replacement 2.0

    BrianR Reply:

    But if the technology used by China Railway International USA is derived from (or an adaptation of) proven European technology shouldn’t that meet the requirement? While serving as the host to Xpresswest can CHSRA really control who manufactures Xpresswest’s equipment other than to require operational comparability and to meet certain technical specifications?

    BrianR Reply:

    Compatibility not comparability

    swing hanger Reply:

    Aren’t they building a rolling stock plant somewhere in Massachusetts? They can meet Buy America regs then, after running afoul a few years back.

    les Reply:

    Something about dog legs and Chinese, I never thought it would come to this :)~
    All aboard mouse!
    Starting construction next year is absolutely amazing. You gotta think Reid is smiling.

    “XpressWest and the Chinese firms said in their statement that the accord would help accelerate the plan for a 230-mile high-speed line, with an expected construction start date of September 2016.

    Gary Wong, an Hong Kong-based analyst at brokerage Guotai Junan, estimated the project could be worth about $5 billion. He said it would likely offer the many Chinese firms involved little financial benefit, but was significant as a means to help open the undeveloped U.S. high-speed rail market.

    CRRC also last week broke ground on a factory in the United States which will manufacture trains for Boston’s subway system as part of a $556 million deal that China CNR, now part of CRRC, won almost a year ago.”


    synonymouse Reply:

    In the first place I don’t think there is much of a high speed rail market in the US, save California and the NEC. I am not even so sure about Texas. Now grossly subsidized ops, like Amtrak, are an entirely different matter.

    As far as I can tell China has a government directed economy. Thus this venture has at root a Chinese government backing. Ergo geopolitical, probably mostly, very little profit motivated. China’s foreign policy seems to me to be heavily colored by historical bitterness and a desire to get even for past humiliation, particularly by Japan and western colonialists. The US is in that category as a long time supporter of the Kuomintang. What China wants above all is the US out of Asia.

    So just as the CIA would do, any and all CRRC employees are potential Chinese intelligence. Their objective would be the same as the US vis-a-vis Iran: to change an antagonistic government into a client one.

    Domayv Reply:

    how else would America deal with the fact that their Interstate Highway System can’t be the commuter’s route forever and that adding more lanes and airport runways would do little to relieve the conjestion (if anything, doing frequent mid-distance flights results in increased maintenamce costs duw to the frequency of the flights compared to long-distance types. aor lines work better for long distance flights). Just look at Colorado. I-70 is very clogged, so an HSR line could help relieve that conjestion

    synonymouse Reply:

    Columbus cannot even get streetcars.

    Travis D Reply:

    Ohio is a hotbed of anti-transit politics.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is deeper than that – Ohio likes to build stuff – like malls – and then flatten them.

    Columbus is the only place prospering, because as the state capital it sucks all the money out of the rest of the place. A vampire city.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There is a very substantial market for high speed rail in most of the US. I could catalog the lines which would be successful, but no matter…

  10. john burrows
    Sep 17th, 2015 at 09:25

    Dropped by the HSR open house in San Jose on Tuesday—

    Was greeted by a familiar old face, (Rod Diridon) who was circulating through the crowd of around seventy.

    Left the presentation early because nothing said of much interest. Talking to HSR reps at tables was more interesting and I came away with some impressions different from what I thought.

    1. I thought that the downtown Gilroy station option had been chosen, but both options are still in play.
    2. An elevated station at Diridon might not be necessary. If this were true it would be terrific news for me.
    3. Prop 1-A requires that the Transbay Center be the starting point for a 30 minute run time to San Jose, but this can be achieved running trains at 110 mph. Trains won’t necessarily have to make the trip in 30 minutes but it will have to be shown that they could.
    4. IOS North is a real possibility. An indication of how real this possibility might be could come at the next board meeting after the Sept. 28 due date for the “Requests For Expressions of Interest, (RFEI)”.

    john burrows Reply:

    If this Los Angeles to Las Vegas venture with China should pan out then I would assume that IOS North would be off the table.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The only reason Las Vegas exists is because a corrupt California government refuses to legalize wide-open gambling.

    In that instant Sin City would be Atlantic City.

    J. Wong Reply:

    There seems to be plenty of casinos available to Californians in state, which doesn’t seem to have impacted Las Vegas significantly.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    They want to do both the Bay end and the LA end, and so far, it looks like they are doing the LA end first (IOS South). But doing the Bay end first (IOS North) might still happen.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Of course they’re going to say that IOS North is a possibility in a San Jose meeting.

    LA is gunning for IOS South to go first and honestly it makes more sense.

Comments are closed.