Two Public HSR Meetings This Week

Sep 21st, 2015 | Posted by

The California High Speed Rail Authority is hosting a couple of meetings this week to discuss various segments of the HSR route.

First up is a meeting in Shafter on Wednesday, September 23, from 4-7 pm in the Shafter Veterans Hall. The topic there will be the proposed route in and around the city of Shafter.

On Thursday, CHSRA staff will be in Morgan Hill to update residents on planning for the San José to Merced segment. That meeting will take place at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center on Monterey Road, also from 4-7 pm.

  1. Jerry
    Sep 21st, 2015 at 10:34
    #1

    Another interesting update meeting will take place in Burlingame on October 7, from 4-7pm. In the Burlingame Hall on Burlingame Ave.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The Burlingame ROW between Broadway and the Burlingame station is wide enough to both encompass 4 track elevated as well as a landscaped path that restores and incorporates the creeks’ riparian corridors. If they were smart, they would get HSR to fund all this while grade separating the tracks (a mix of retained berm and viaduct allowing open pedestrian passage [no tunnels!]). I don’t expect them to be smart, however.

    synonymouse Reply:

    PAMPA has firmly rejected an Embarcadero Freeway on rails. Dream on.

    synonymouse Reply:

    On perhaps more contemporary a Karnak temple colonnade with four rails on top, judging from the obvious Egyptian inspiration of the Bako stilts. Faux Vegas.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Pardon me, 8 rails.

    Jerry Reply:

    8 rails good,
    4 rails bad.

    synonymouse Reply:

    For the uber-rich maybe zero rails best.

    Or just Indian Standard Gauge underground.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The uber-rich live no where near the rails and don’t really care.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I’m not dreaming. Whether they have HSR or not, Burlingame is going to get a non-trenched, non-tunnel grade separation and they’ll want it. (Either that or just effectively block all the grade crossings because of all the trains going through.)

    You obviously failed to read what I was proposing: Not “an Embarcadero Freeway on rails”. Maybe it’s because you’re getting senile?

    synonymouse Reply:

    There is no aerial in this area that would be considered unacceptable. The noise will travel to where the Ritchie Riches live.

    Joe Reply:

    Uncle Scrooge is laughing. youndomt know Money.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Retained wall berms are not aerials. You really are senile.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Berms won’t fly – Walls get the “B” label.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Your problem is that you can only think in terms of binaries. Good or bad never some good some bad. Berms with sufficient open underpasses would be more expensive than just berms but way cheaper than the impossibility of tunnels or trenches.

    And the reality is that Burlingame is going to get grade separation. Continuing to resist just means they’ll get the worst possible grade separation rather than something they could live with.

    Jerry Reply:

    It took Burlingame over 10 years to approve a Safeway they liked.
    And they still mourn the death of, “Tom, the Tree.”

    Mike B Reply:

    But berms put a Berlin wall through the middle of our town, who wants to live with that? Who wants to look at an ugly wall with ugly wires, poles and towers forever? Adding more tracks will cut down even more of our beautiful eucalyptus grove than electrification will. Electrification = a few hundred trees cut down in Burlingame, 4 tracks = up to 1000 trees cut down. Not to mention the criminal element attracted to underpasses.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I would have though elimination of an invasive weed species would be welcomed.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Mike B

    Gees, can’t you people read? The suggestion is that instead of “beautiful” eucalyptus that in actuality functions just like a “Berlin Wall” there be landscaped berm with underpasses that are as large and as open as the ones for the roads but with walking paths rather than auto traffic. The underpasses will have open sight lines.

    Also, this is a wonderful opportunity to restore the riparian corridors for the creeks that are currently concrete ditched through and along much of the ROW. As it is now, no one walks along the ROW. Instead, there is sufficient space to include 4 tracks and landscaped parkland!

    Think outside the box, people! Each tree will be replaced with more appropriate, and yes, more beautiful trees along the walls of the berm.

    Mike B Reply:

    Invasive weed species? What the hell are you talking about?

    And yes we do morn the loss of Tom the Tree!

    And yes we took 10 years to get a Safeway designed to fit well into our community and not a huge monster box store that would have been a blight on Burlingame.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Weeds can be as big as trees,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus#Eucalyptus_as_invasive_species

    Jerry Reply:

    @ Mike Brown
    Eucalyptus trees are not just ugly, they are the ugliest trees in the world. They are constantly shedding bark and leaves. A falling eucalyptus limb has even killed a driver on a 101 exit to Rt. 92.
    To give human qualities and characteristics to a tree might be OK for cartoons, but to admit mourning it’s loss is sick.
    And after over 10 years of the Burlingame Safeway controversy you still got a big box Safeway. Oh. But with parking on the roof.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The elm hates
    Man, and waits

    Beats your Eucalyptus for randomly falling branches.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Pardon, “Mankind”, not man.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Lots of hyperbole being thrown around….

    Eucalyptus is a fine type of tree, but they’re hardly rare, and the narrow band of common trees along a rail track are not some precious treasure that must be preserved at all costs. If you want to increase tree cover, there are much better places to focus your attention…

    There’s nothing particularly ugly about train lines running on berms, indeed, they’re often rather nice, with grass growing on the side, arguably nicer than the same train running on level ground. The shot of a train running along the top of a berm with kids running alongside at the base, or silhouetted in the setting sun, is a classic movie trope, one that elicits nostalgia, not horror or despair.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ MikeB: “Electrification = a few hundred trees cut down in Burlingame, 4 tracks = up to 1000 trees cut down.”

    Where do you get this information? From Russ and your buddies at Boondoggle?

    People like Mike, Boondoggle, CCHSR, etc. are not interested in facts. Their only interest is to stop HSR (and possibly Caltrain electrification) at all costs. They are about spreading as much misinformation as possible to scare ordinary citizens into opposing HSR. They claim: HSR will cut down thousands of trees, destroy hundreds of homes and businesses, HSR will create unbearable noise and vibration, HSR will disrupt classes at Burlingame and San Mateo High Schools, HSR will destroy thousands of acres of pristine farmland, and so on and so on, plus my personal favorite: HSR will scare dairy cows into no longer giving milk.

    I remember going to an anti-HSR rally in downtown Burlingame several years ago. I printed up some flyers stating facts from fiction, people would initially take them but once they read them some threw them back at me, chastised me for “killing trees” (of course trees came up lol), and I am sure Mike B was one of them.

    Their tactics seemed to work pretty well; I encountered some merchants on California Drive insisting that HSR would take away their businesses. A number of residents along Carolan Avenue (including the apartment complex I was living at the time), believed that their homes were going to be destroyed by HSR. So somebody had to canvas the neighborhood spreading misinformation.

    Joe Reply:

    Eucalyptus are non native and many considered an invasive species in California.

    Joey Reply:

    I never understood the “berlin wall” mantra. Raised track creates a visual barrier, sure, but actual, physical access from one side to the other is improved due to the elimination of grade crossings. If you lobby hard, you can even get additional pedestrian undercrossings open, and possibly even re-unite streets which are currently severed by the tracks (Burlingame doesn’t have many of those, but other Peninsula cities do).

    john burrows Reply:

    Speaking of walls—A 1911 photograph looking toward the railroad tracks and taken from what I think would be the corner of Burlingame Ave. and California Drive shows a wall of eucalyptus trees extending the length of the photo and appearing almost as if it were going to engulf the town like a 40 foot high tidal wave of trees. I am sure that the trees helped to dampen down train noise, but visually it looks like they did one heck of a job of splitting Burlingame in two.

    That was over 100 years ago and sadly for Burlingame, trees don’t live forever. The future of the Burlingame eucalyptus trees likely will follow along the lines of the willow trees which were planted along The Alameda between San Jose and Mission Santa Clara by the Fathers at the mission in 1799.

    Old photos from the late 19th century show rows of willow trees at least 50 feet high lining each side of The Alameda, but as time progressed almost all of the willows died out or were removed to make room for progress. Many were replaced by other species. By 1917, thirteen of the original trees remained. By 1933 the number was down to three and efforts were made to insure their survival. In 1934 the president of Santa Clara University blessed the trees and each received a bronze plaque. The blessing may have helped but by the morning of October 16, 1982 the last tree was gone, the circumstances of its demise unclear.

    I can imagine that in the not too distant future, Burlingame may be making a much more heroic effort to save the last eucalyptus. If we get a Godzilla El Nino this year with a day anything like Jan. 4, 1982 that day may come a little sooner.

    john burrows Reply:

    It turns out that eucalyptus trees can have life spans of several hundred years. The Burlingame trees are, I believe, around 140 years old and some will likely be standing for a long time.
    I hope that if we do get severe weather this winter any trees that do come down cause minimal damage and no injury.

    Mike B Reply:

    People say that putting the wall through our community is nothing and wont hurt anything. Maybe you guys don’t have to look at it every day. How can any sane individual compare a grove of trees that offer shade, pleasing sight lines, convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, etc. to an berm made out of dirt that nobody can see through?

    If you put the train underground then you open up that area once occupied by tracks into a wonderful open space, parkland, maybe even some housing, all this is better than having trains running through the middle of the peninsula.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    when you find someone who thinks parkland is worth 80 milllion dollars an acre, go right ahead and dig a tunnel.

    Mike B Reply:

    Public interest and watchdog groups have done studies and analysis of plans by Caltrain and HSR and have determined that many trees will be cut down. More than stated in the not-certified document that Caltrain calls an electrification EIR, which is why Caltrain is being sued.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They are wasting their money. It’s a railroad and railroads can more or less do whatever needs to be done for safe operation. Including cutting down trees that they own. Or trees that are trespassing.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Mike B

    People say that putting the wall through our community is nothing and wont hurt anything. Maybe you guys don’t have to look at it every day. How can any sane individual compare a grove of trees that offer shade, pleasing sight lines, convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, etc. to an berm made out of dirt that nobody can see through?

    The problem with what you’re saying is that there is already a wall there through your community (or maybe you don’t think people on the other side of the tracks are your community). The trees that are there do not provide shade for anyone because no one uses the ROW. A line of trees is also not a “grove”.

    As I already pointed out, Burlingame can get open space and parkland for the parts of the ROW next to the berm, if they are smart about it. The ROW is more than wide enough for this. They’ll even replace all of the trees (with better ones, in my opinion). The concrete retaining walls of the berm can be landscaped to be hidden much like the existing growth hides the ROW.

    Really, your resistance to this is going to get you exactly what you’re most afraid of. You’re not going to get a tunnel unless Burlingame pays for it yourself exactly because of its cost. What? Burlingame cannot afford it? Then that’s an indication of exactly how much it is worth to Burlingame.

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain tracks divide communities. That’s not a debatable topic.

    There is an opportunity to improve Caltrain corridor communities with HSR funding.

    Here’s Palo Alto’s study identify improvements in their community. Squander the opportunity or take advantage of it is city dependent. Bakersfield tried obstructions and lost.

    http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/pln/advance/rail_corridor_study.asp

    Neil Shea Reply:

    @Mike B

    Try to open your mind a bit and be part of the solution here. If Burlingame engages many nice things are possible — arches, parkland, beautiful new trees (no Koalas live in B’game). Some cities put shops under the tracks (cafe, bike service, florist, news).

    Quiet electric trains will replace noisy, smokey diesel ones. Increased capacity will reduce congestion pressure on 101 and 280 and El Camino, to keep driving options more available for you (if that’s your preference).

    It sounds like you’re saying ‘Get off my lawn’. Are you wanting to stop all growth in the Bay Area? Or did you want to add several more lanes to 101? Care to let your grandkids weigh in on this too?

    Aarond Reply:

    However, nearby San Bruno went with it. Instead of an elevated concrete expressway they did an earth embankment with retaining walls. And given that San Mateo and RWC want grade separation in their areas, I could see them pushing Burlingame through it (even through the courts, if necessary).

    Burlingame will get the same thing Belmont and San Carlos got ten years ago. Only question is how much of a battle residents will fight against it. I’m of the opinion that since CAHSR is going blended, they’ll be able to pass it off as necessary for Caltrain safety.

    J. Wong Reply:

    With or without HSR, Caltrain is planning grade separations.

    Rather than thinking they can hold out and get what they want (trench or tunnel), Burlingame should instead think out-of-the-box and see how to design an elevated berm that gives them something that improves the city. As it is now, the ROW is entirely unused by any of the residents of Burlingame and it functions as just as much a dividing line as a wall. Instead, they could get parkland and parking for downtown.

    Joe Reply:

    Bakersfield held out and ended up with a alignment selected by the California high-speed rail association with no Bakersfield input.

    There is an agreement that is nonbinding. The high-speed rail authority will consider alternative alignment that straightens and shortens the current alignment. There is no commitment on the high-speed rail authorities part to move to this new alignment Nora timetable for them to complete the study.

    In short Bakersfield held out with a lawsuit and ended up with nothing.

    datacruncher Reply:

    There is a timetable to complete the study on the Bakersfield alternative. The Authority cannot approve or build the originally preferred Bakersfield Hybrid Alignment until the alternative study is finished.

    From the settlement agreement page 7:

    “Until the process contemplated by this paragraph 5.4 is concluded by HSRA completing the Future Document, that includes review of the Refined LGA provided the above-mentioned concurrence is obtained, HSRA will not approve the Bakerfield Hybrid Alignment or approve any contracts for its design and construction.”

    Settlement is at
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1384094/final-executed-settlement-with-city-of-bako-121914.pdf

    Joe Reply:

    Look at section 5.7.

    There is no timetable. What you reference is not a timetable.

    What concessions have CAHSR given to Bakersfield?

    The authority has a alternative alignment that can shorten the track length, reduce curves and reduce structural impact. That alternative probably saves the authority money and can improve travel times. Naturally they will study it but retain unilateral control over which alignment is selected.

    Holding off on starting construction until the authority can assess the potentially superior option is not a concession.

    This is CAHSR winning. They conceeded do their job as a state run project.

  2. Joe
    Sep 21st, 2015 at 11:36
    #2

    4pm start time is problematic. Who are they targeting?

    The first commuter train arrives after 5pm.

    Peter Reply:

    “Who are they targeting?”

    Probably the 51,000 plus Gilroy residents who DON’T ride Caltrain? Not everything is about the 140 daily Caltrain riders.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, the subset of those 51,000 who have 9-5 jobs but can manage to leave a couple hours early. God forbid CHSRA personnel work late to accomodate people’s work schedules.

    Peter Reply:

    Sorry, my bad. They’re targeting the 41,000 plus Morgan Hill residents who don’t ride Caltrain.

    It’s an open house that goes until 7 pm. Arriving later to the meeting does not mean you will miss anything.

    Joe Reply:

    The link above goes to the Gilroy Dispatch. It’s a meeting for south county residents.

    Joe Reply:

    The formal presentation is at 6PM.

    Joe Reply:

    The meeting is relevant to well over the 100,000 people who moved to the south county area since 2005.

    “The bottleneck is Masten Avenue to Cochrane Road, and the gridlock starts in the 5 a.m. hour,” said KLIV-AM traffic reporter John McLeod about the 101 surge, citing a 127,000 jump in population in Hollister, Gilroy and Morgan Hill in the past decade.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_27809931/traffic-surges-i-580-and-highway-101-gateways

    Peter Reply:

    I’m not saying the meeting isn’t relevant to the people in the South County area. I’m pointing out that the number of people who live in the South County area outnumber the number of Caltrain riders from the South County area by so much that the Caltrain riders are basically irrelevant in the grand scheme. Therefore, I’m questioning why the miniscule number of Caltrain riders should be dictating the meeting times for a meeting relevant to ALL the South County area, as you point out.

    Joe Reply:

    What’s the BFD about moving the meeting back ? Stop ripping the ridership and address the benefits of leaving them out. I see none.

    The Caltrain system is going to electrify and impact every one of those riders who pay money and depend on the system. For some it is a life line to work and independence since some people are unable to drive due to economic or medical reasons. We are a low cost area with access to county services and jobs.

    Attend a Caltrain meeting down here and you’ll see them desperate to keep access to the SV and hold down a job.

    Public transit is a public service of a civilized society.

    I’m glad the presentation is at 6pm which allows time for people to work and get back down on Caltrain, VTA bus or car.

    Peter Reply:

    No BFD. If the meeting is about service levels and times, then of course it’s critical to include the Caltrain riders.

    If it’s about alignments through South County, then it’s less important, because being a Caltrain rider doesn’t give one special insight into alignments, but being an affected homeowner might.

    Joe Reply:

    The meeting topics are given. Station locations are topic of discussion including San Jose.

    That station directly impacts Caltrain users under electrification and blended service. Diesel train station use, location, transfers and ridership access to the HSR system for trips to SF.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Yes – when the schedule was announced, we raised the issue that 3 of the 4 meetings were essentially not accessible by Caltrain but told that it was availability of meeting space

    It is irritating on one level but also concerning about what role Caltrain is playing in this exercise.

    Joe Reply:

    I agree Elizabeth. This is a public transportation system heavily dependent on Caltrain infrastructure which will impact Caltrain riders.

    In this case I have read in the Gilroy dispatch that the public presentation will occur at 6 PM which means the first train which arrives about 5:10 PM will allow people to get back home to attend this meeting.

    For what it’s worth, when Caltrain was considering terminating all south county service they held the public outreach meeting. That meeting occurred before the first Caltrain arrived in Gilroy. All those attending had to take the day off work in order to be at that meeting.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Old news.

    Roland already confirmed Ben Tripousis has revealed the Authority plan to usurp express CalTrain service as a way to bolster HSR ridership (and revenue) on the Peninsula. Time to extend the Capitol Corridor to Monterey and be done with this.

    I know Joe and some other residents are going to have to find another way to work, but with Ring the Bay coming too, there’s no escape for what will happen eventually. At least the Capitols offer a decent alternative for South County residents.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Commute trains lose money.

    Roland Reply:

    Not Caltrain. We recently discovered a Board resolution that restricts farebox recovery to a maximum of 65% so SamTrans were “forced” to artificially inflate operating costs to remain within the 45 to 65% band: http://www.caltrain.com/about/News_Archive/Caltrain_Raises_Farebox_Recovery_Range.html

    synonymouse Reply:

    See BART.

    Roland Reply:

    BART have a Board-mandated maximum farebox recovery cap????

    Ted Judah Reply:

    “BART is all powerful and all knowing. Right now BART is reading your mind and learning from it to protect its omnipotence. BART is Big Brother on rails…”

    Oh sorry, I was just listening to Synonymouse’s stream of consciousness there…back to our regularly scheduled programming….

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART does not have to read your mind to have its way with y’all.

    Imperial BART has all the juice required to dominate Bay transit without any of Adi’s brain waves.

    Mike B Reply:

    Roland said: “We recently discovered a Board resolution that restricts farebox recovery to a maximum of 65% so SamTrans were “forced” to artificially inflate operating costs to remain within the 45 to 65% band:”

    That is very interesting, can you please explain?
    How can they do that?
    Is this more questionable accounting practices?

    Jon Reply:

    It’s a target for budgeting purposes, not a restriction. Roland is, as usual, making things up.

    The actual board resolution and explanation is here (p44-45): http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2013/1-3-13+JPB+BOD+Agenda+Packet.pdf

    Mike B Reply:

    I read the resolution, it states a goal of 45 to 65%. It does not set a cap at 65%, nor a low of 45%. Thanks for the clarification.

    Mike B Reply:

    So Roland is blowing smoke? What about all these other Caltrain critics such as Richard M. or Clem? Could that be why nobody goes to the TV news investigative teams or the Legislative Analyst or the GAO or the grand jury? I have mentioned this a number of times and yet nobody ever makes any effort to contact them to expose the shenanigans at Samtrans/Caltrain. So I guess none of these accusations holds any water, CBOSS uniqueness to only Caltrain, CBOSS cost overruns, CBOSS incompatible with freight and HSR, huge payouts to consultants, questionable accounting practices, over inflated operating costs, projected cost and time of electrification, Americas finest transportation professionals, everything Caltrain does is f**ked up. So you guys must be blowing smoke for whatever reason?

    Jon Reply:

    There are definitely valid criticisms to be made of the folks running Caltrain and CAHSR, but there are also a lot of hysterical claims thrown around by those who are just enjoy creating drama. In my opinion, folks like Roland and Ted Judah definitely fall into the latter category, while folks like Clem, Alon Levy, and Paul Dyson have much more defendable positions.

    Ultimately, it’s up to you who to believe. It’s not like the people who post on this blog (‘you guys’) have a unified position on these issues.

    Mike B Reply:

    Doesn’t it seem interesting that none of the people I mentioned (Roland, Richard M, Clem) even bothered to respond to my comments?

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Mike B

    Roland is blowing smoke. Richard Mylarnik has his personal opinion, which he never was able to convince anyone to listen to when he was a consultant. Clem has very well informed opinions, which sometimes, he actually gets the relevant parties to take into account (witness level-boarding).

    Why didn’t they respond? Mostly because although they all have problems with the Authority and Caltrain these are all very technical issues that do not rise to the level of actual illegality vis-a-vis the hyperbole some of them seem to use (Richard M.) The technical level is also the reason no journalist have investigated any of this.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Caltrain and CAHSR do need criticism but not constant ad-hominem attacks. Constructive criticism can work towards a common goal. Constantly attacking them does nothing but turn people off and they just blow the attacker off as a jerk.

    Roland speaks on nearly every item at every meeting, talking down to them, accusing them of breaking the law, etc. it gets really annoying after awhile. Richard thinks it should be his way and any other way is not worth exploring. Who knows where Synomouse is coming from? Clem seems to present things objectively, offering constructive criticism, although he does have a somewhat sanctimonious point of view.

    Roland claims that Caltrain/Samtrans artificially inflate the fuel costs and administrative costs. And he claims that without these artificially inflated costs, Caltrain could be running a lot more trains, I don’t know if there are any actual facts to support this assertion.

    Roland wants Caltrain to acquire a hybrid train he is promoting; it could run with and without electrification. He is also promoting VTA Sprinter DMU. Roland thinks VTA should be managing Caltrain. VTA, an agency that is beholden to San Jose and beholden to BART to Silicon Valley (like Samtrans was beholden to BART to SFO in the ’80s to ‘90s), an agency that has a farebox recovery under 20%, an agency that has one of the poorest performing light rail systems in the country…

    Jon Reply:

    Synonymouse is coming from the point of view that everything about pre-WW2 San Francisco/California was perfect, and everything that came after (bustitution, BART, freeways, population growth, immigration, ‘doodlebug’ DMUs) was terrible and must be fought to the bitter end. Because all these changes are lumped together in his mind, everything that happens today is either part of a conspiracy promoting them or part of the heroic resistance. It’s all nonsense, of course, but it’s so estranged from reality that it’s mostly harmless.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    And let’s not forget Syno’s anti-union mantra. Everyone should be working for pre-WW2 wages, working 10-12 hours/day and seven days a week. There should be no medical benefits and there should be no retirement pensions, people should work till they die.

    Jon Reply:

    …everyone except himself, of course,

    Joe Reply:

    While collecting a public employee pension.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is a slow news day when the only Cheerleader bete noire left standing is yours truly.

    Things are slow – I think the economy is drifting into a slow-motion recession, driven by moribund consumer economy with the ordinary people not having anywhere nearly enough money to do what they need to do – more than anything purchasing the big ticket stuff, like cars, refrigerators, and fixing their houses. It is not just stagnating wages; it’s much higher overhead: taxes, fees, food costs. These are the costs the Reaganites dropped out of the cost of living index.

    Stupid infrastructure schemes like JerryRail just make things worse – way underutilized fixed plant that requires constant and expensive maintenance. Aka boondoggling. Meantime you cannot get a simple trolley bus line on Geary that could pay for itself in deadhead savings because of BART corruption.

    synonymouse Reply:

    John Friendly is my union leader.

    Bdawe Reply:

    American commuter trains lose money. Even the Canadians and their FRA equivalent equipment can make commuter rail break even

    Roland Reply:

    The only problem with the Capitols is that they don’t do anything for the 350K residents who live within 5 miles of the Blossom Hill Caltrain station and driving to Tamien is no longer an option during peak so people in the south take the VTA light rail to Tamien and everybody else goes “F*ck it, I might just as well drive all the way” :-(

    joe Reply:

    @Ted, find a map.
    East Bay Capitol Corridor has nothing to do with the Peninsula.

    @roland – WTF
    The Capitols will reach the five south county stations including blossom hill.

    Transfer at San Jose to electric Caltrain. We do this transfer now at Tamien on to an express train.

    Roland Reply:

    The Capitols will not stop @ Blossom Hill, Capitol or Tamien so there is NFW I’ll ever be able to get back to my car if I drive to Blossom Hill instead of the Santa Teresa light rail.
    BTW, I am on NB 319. If you just transferred from 217, we are on the same train.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Remember, the Baby Bullet service is totally incompatible with any HSR service on the CalTrain ROW.

    Joe doesn’t seem to get what I mean: the mixed non-commuter traffic on the Capitols justifies more frequent stops which will allow to transfer at Diridion to your 32 minute HSR ride to TBT or an intermediate station that lets you transfer to BART or VTA and onto your final destination.

    Nobody said our increasingly crowded future was compatible with the epicurean standards of CalTrain today, with plenty of comfortable seats and enough privacy to actually enjoy your morning commute with a good book or your favorite progressive blog…

    Roland Reply:

    BTW, it is totally unclear why anyone would ever consider electrifying such a piece of junk: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lazytom/26985315/sizes/o/in/set-72157594542422049/

    Peter Reply:

    How is Caltrain any more or less of a “piece of junk” than other railroads?

    Roland Reply:

    Metrolink decided to spend their SB1029 bribe money on grade separation and improved track speeds (they already have some 90 MPH sections) while SamTrans systematically destroyed the northbound (AKA MT-1) track with their stupid barriers and, wait for it, a freaking island platform between MT-1 & MT-2 in Belmont soon to be followed by repeat stupidity in SSF.
    Meanwhile in Chiltern land: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PdTr06tIlA
    What about electrification? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiltern_Main_Line#Electrification

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Metrolink improved track speeds? Noooo. The only 90 mph (south of San Onofre through Camp Pendelton) has been 90mph for years. Metrolink does not pay for any grade seps, those are built by the track owners. Metrolink does not own any track.

    Roland Reply:

    So where did the $500M bribe money go to then?

    Clem Reply:

    Island platforms are what you want for the blended system, so that Caltrain incidents don’t cascade to HSR. Belmont is perfectly fine the way it is. San Carlos, on the other hand, needs to be nuked to make way for the blended system, preferably with an island platform.

    Roland Reply:

    1) PROJECT TITLE: Station Relocation & Provide Future 4 Track Improvements – South
    San Francisco
    “Design only for a new station immediately south of the existing station. Station features to include: connection to the east side of downtown South San Francisco via Grand Avenue, pedestrian underpass or overpass, reconfigure existing parking area, demolish existing station platforms,
    shuttle and Kiss and Ride stops on east and, potentially, on west side of station. Also reconstruct the existing 2 track main with provisions for 3rd and 4th main track from Tunnel Avenue to Colma Creek: realign existing two main tracks; reconfigure existing UPRR yard tracks; construct crossovers; and reconfigure existing UPRR team track.” http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/_Finance/BUDGETS/JPB/FY2005.pdf
    2) “Island platforms are what you want for the blended system, so that Caltrain incidents don’t cascade to HSR”. Kindly help the rest of us understand how that is going to work with 2 tracks.
    3) Do you understand that inserting an island platform between MT-1 & MT-2 will make it impossible to ever have more than 2 tracks in South City?
    4) Do you understand what an island platform does to track geometry (why doesn’t the Gare des Betteraves have an island platform?) http://tinyurl.com/orwflzx
    5) Do you understand that trains stopping on mainline tracks impact the track capacity of non-metro systems?
    6) Kindly help the rest us understand which part of these incidents it is that you do not understand:
    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/07/01/women-struck-killed-by-caltrain-in-belmont/
    http://www.pottroff.com/railroad-news/good-samaritan-killed-caltrain-train-he-save-fellow-passenger

    Clem Reply:

    By the way things seem to have changed for South San Francisco. Any idea when this development occurred?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The $500M went to Metrolink for diesel locomotives and Metro for SCRIP etc. and grade seps. Got to get your agencies right. I really think that those that voted for 1A had in their minds that the best use of some of the money would be for diesel locomotives. A Great Leap Forward!

    Roland Reply:

    Paul,
    Thank you for helping us “follow the money”.
    Question: would you rather have 125 MPH diesels for $500M or 79 MPH Electrolink for $2B?

    Joey Reply:

    The electric trains might yield better travel times overall. 125 is only achievable on a few segments and electric trains (especially EMUs) accelerate much faster leaving stations and speed-restricted areas (such as sharp curves).

    Clem Reply:

    Right. Diesels of any kind should never be allowed to gum up any tracks shared with HSR. “High speed diesel” is an oxymoron that was only ever attempted in the UK, so I’d be immediately suspicious of any advocates who were exposed to it in their youth :)

    keith saggers Reply:

    Supporting eventual service expansion between Oakland and San Jose from the current 14 to 22 daily trains (and setting the stage for service extension to Salinas) the CCJPA is in the process of using $3.35 million to support engineering design and environmental documentation for a series of track improvements between Oakland and San Jose (called the Oakland to San Jose Phase Two Project). For both these service expansion projects, the construction phase of the projects are on a scale such that even State transportation bonds (Proposition 1A – $15.8 million and $47.5 million, respectively) are insufficient to fully fund the planned improvements. For these more costly service frequency improvements, additional capital funding is required

    keith saggers Reply:

    Maybe the cap and trade lottery

    Roland Reply:

    T48 Alviso Wetlands Doubletrack $156M
    http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/key/8tS73cxI42zOEN (slide 5)

  3. keith saggers
    Sep 21st, 2015 at 18:17
    #3

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/newsroom/FINAL_Bakersfield_to_Palmdale_Public_Meetings_Flyer_9.18.15.pdf

    keith saggers Reply:

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority) Bakersfield to Palmdale Project Section will connect the Central Valley to the Antelope Valley by travelling from Bakersfield through Edison, Rosamond, Tehachapi and Lancaster. The Authority is preparing to begin the evaluation of route alternatives and invites you to come and learn about the project, ask questions and provide early feedback

  4. Domayv
    Sep 21st, 2015 at 22:03
    #4

    And it appears Amtrak will be siding with Alstom for the new HSR sets in the NEC: http://www.stargazette.com/story/news/2015/09/21/amtrak-award-alstom-25b-contract/72556256/

    Here’s hoping CAHSR can side with either Alstom or Siemens or AnsaldoBreda (which will soon become Hitachi) for their HSR sets

    Roland Reply:

    Alstom could definitely use some cash: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30581119

    Miles Bader Reply:

    The hopeful note, though, is:

    In June, the company agreed to sell most of its power business to General Electric (GE) so it could focus on its smaller rail unit.

    Roland Reply:

    Coincidentally, GE dumped its signaling unit (including I-ITCS) on Alstom in the same transaction, which could account for some of the “challenges” depicted on slide 6 of this presentation: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2015/2015-09-03+JPB+CBOSS+Update.pdf

    Nathanael Reply:

    Never buy train cars from Breda. They’ve never made a good product in their history, as far as I can tell.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Note though, Alon’s recent blog post about the price Amtrak is (apparently) paying for their new trains from Alstom: https://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/amtrak-pays-more-than-double-for-high-speed-trains/

    swing hanger Reply:

    Over-priced pendos? Looking at Alstoms catalog, that’s all I can see.

  5. synonymouse
    Sep 22nd, 2015 at 10:53
    #5

    I suggest the underlying issue with the Chinese offer is whether they would finance the purchase of non-Chinese vehicles just to secure running rights into LA from Palmdale to wherever CAHSR terminates.

    The easier way would be for JerryRail to buy the same Chinese trainsets “Deserted Xprss” would be using. All you have to do is further dumb down CAHSR to the 150mph level. Just vacate Prop 1a and Judge Kenny could accomplish that, grant carte blanche and no appeal from Jerry.

  6. Lewellan
    Sep 22nd, 2015 at 11:03
    #6

    I’m wondering why the segment is called San Jose to Merced.
    Does the proposed route from San Jose reach Merced first then south through Madera?
    Last I heard, Madera was the point where the route turns west and
    Merced is on the eventual extension to Sacramento.

    john burrows Reply:

    Interesting point since I believe that under the Bay to Basin plan you won’t be able to get from San Jose to Merced unless you go to Fresno first and then transfer to a train that does go to Merced. I don’t know if later on they would run trains just to Merced or if they would wait for more stops to be completed on the route to Sacramento.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, I think the IOS is Merced to Burbank (supposing it is IOS south), which makes sense because you can take an Amtrak Thruway bus from Oakland to Merced (or the San Joaquin if you have the time).

    J. Wong Reply:

    Chowchilla, where there is to be a wye going north and south, is halfway between Merced and Madera. The plan is to run tracks with a station into Merced as part of phase 1.

    Jerry Reply:

    Is ACE still trying to get to Merced??

    Jerry Reply:

    Could there be a “blended” system of ACE and CAHSR from Merced to Stockton??

    Edward Reply:

    Here’s your link:

    http://www.acerail.com/About/Public-Projects/ACEforward/ACEforward_July2015-email-web.pdf

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It won’t be ACE, but a chimera of the San Joaquins and ACE that combines more options between the Bay Area and cheap land for tract homes…I mean, uh, the Central Valley and connecting service to Fresno.

    “Merced to Fresno” was all about satisfying Prop 1A…I’ll be shocked if HSR ever runs north through all that Lebensraum — excuse me — Bay Area exurbs along the 99 and doesn’t connect via that other ROW west of the Delta, the Western Pacific, I think it is?

  7. Roland
    Sep 22nd, 2015 at 13:11
    #7

    That would be because America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals issued an edict that says that the fastest high speed route between SF and Sacramento has to go through SJ, Gilroy and Merced. Kapish?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No. The fastest route can’t go through Altamont, AFTP’s told me.

    Sonoma County, Napa Valley, Pacheco, the Carquinez Straits, two space age tunnels under the Delta, Yosemite…any option but Altamont…

    Domayv Reply:

    and why tunnels under the delta

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Currently that is the big plan to save us from the drought in California, tunnels that bypass the Delta.

    Aarond Reply:

    I thought the BLM nuked it though? I was almost certain that the Delta Tunnels were on hold for some reason hence why Prop 1 (the desal water bond) was passed.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Metropolitan Water District is trying to buy 4 of the Delta islands in the path of the tunnel plan. That would eliminate some landowner conflicts on the route and also would include some water rights.

    Westside Water District was talking about buying the islands also, but according to the Sac Bee as of now “the big Fresno-area agricultural district doesn’t expect to make a purchase offer.”

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article36068055.html

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    The term thinking with the water tunnels may be that rather than continuing to route the freshwater through the vulnerable and ultimately failing delta artificial island system ( levees with farming in between)…. the tunnels will secure a safer more reliable ( protected against brackish/salt water intrusion) source of water, in the even that the levees fail. Eventually, the long term plan should be to let the levees fail and return the delta to its natural state wherein the sacraemnto and san joaquin rivers naturally deposit soil, and tides and storms naturally arrange and rearrange that soil over the years. In that scenario the fresh/brackish/salt/ water line will fluctuate naturally through the seaons and over the years thus the need for a more direct tunnel to protect the existing supply,.

  8. Reedman
    Sep 23rd, 2015 at 09:45
    #8

    Speaking of Caltrain (another argument for barrier doors) ….

    Man struck by Caltrain while standing on platform in Mountain View
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Person-struck-by-Caltrain-while-standing-on-6524147.php

  9. Phantom Commuter
    Sep 30th, 2015 at 16:53
    #9

    Ever time I see CHSRA staff, I am convinced they are Scientologists. They have the glazed look and repeat the same script every time. Ask a question and get an off-topic answer every time.

    William Reply:

    Example? Or just that you don’t get the answer “you like”.

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