CHSRA Resumes Planning for Anaheim-LA Segment

Oct 22nd, 2015 | Posted by

It looks like the California High Speed Rail Authority has decided to move ahead on finishing up the environmental review process for the other parts of Phase I for the high speed rail project. Last week it was the Peninsula, particularly Palo Alto, that was reminded this project still existed and was moving ahead. This week, it’s the segment from Los Angeles to Anaheim.

Fullerton MetroLink

The CHSRA is now talking about a “sealed corridor” approach to providing HSR service along this busy railroad:

This time, the plan calls for the line to use only the BNSF Railroad and turn it into what is called a “sealed corridor,” said Michelle Boehm, Southern California regional director for the rail authority Wednesday at a community meeting at the Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex.

That means the railroad would be fenced or walled off from the community, Boehm said. And all of the crossings would be separated, she said.

“I want to assure you that we have a very different plan than we have had in previous years,” said Boehm.

“We have hit the reset button,” she said. “We think we can make this (railroad) corridor a better neighbor than it is today.”

Back in 2009, several local officials along this segment expressed concerns about the proposal to add more tracks and provide HSR service, leading the CHSRA to postpone the EIR process. Much of the concern was of the HSR denial sort, particularly from Buena Park. But time has passed and it should clear to everyone now that the HSR project is here to stay.

I just got back from a trip to Orange County last weekend that included two trips on the Pacific Surfliner to and from Santa Ana, so I got to see this corridor up close again. I was reminded how few grade crossings still exist on the route and how wide the ROW is for most of the route – Anaheim being an important exception. Trains were packed going both ways, including the 8AM northbound Surfliner out of Santa Ana. I couldn’t tell exactly how busy ARTIC was, but it sure seemed to me like the episode in True Detective Season 2 was probably a high water mark for daily station usage – whereas LAUS was packed.

Some substantial work will have to be done to renovate existing Metrolink stations, including the Buena Park Metrolink station that caused local elected officials to freak out five years ago.

The most recent project area map shows station options at Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs and Fullerton, which is a holdover from the last time work was done on this segment in 2010.

If you’re interested in learning more about what the Authority has in mind on this segment, they’re holding two more public meetings along the route next week (they already held meetings in Anaheim, Norwalk, and Pico Rivera):

Fullerton – Monday, October 26
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Fullerton Public Library
353 W Commonwealth Ave
Fullerton, CA
This meeting will also be webcast live at http://ustream.tv/channel/chsra

Buena Park – Wednesday, October 28
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Buena Park Community Center
6688 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA

  1. beetroot
    Oct 22nd, 2015 at 23:22
    #1

    Is the “sealed corridor” only for HSR trains or Metrolink too? If not, at the least it should be built so as to not preclude the addition of local stations/electric commuter service in the future.

    Aarond Reply:

    I assume they’re going to go blended like they are with Caltrain.

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain also blends with freight. If this sealed track doesn’t include freight then it simplifies the regulatory burden.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If you look carefully, you will notice that while Metrolink has three stations between LA and Anahiem, the Surfliner has only one, Fullerton.

    Connect the dots, and you will see that the Authority is probably trying to help OCTA commandeer the Surfliner to opt out of Metrolink. The Authority is trying to make the focus about safety and grade separations so that the cities that worry about Metrolink take their eye off the ball just long enough to take the patient off life support.

    The truth is that Metro has been working on triple-tracking the LA to Fullerton ROW for over a decade. And while some Amtrak trains use it along with BNSF freight, a dedicated third track is still going to require sharing the rails with FRA-heavy trains, passenger or not.

    So you are thinking to yourself…why would the Authority do this? What’s the logic here? Answer…if HSR spreads enough money around the State for related “praw-jects”, eventually it will gain more popular support in the event that federal money dries up. Local transportation authorities might even be willing to use their local sales tax dollars too to get projects over the finish line…it’s a savvy way to do this unless you are…Buena Park.

    The City that Knott’s built had scratch and claw just to get a Metrolink station in the first place. And because each city has to pay for its own station in Metrolink, it’s very likely that Buena Park was worried that they would have to pay for the station twice and then lose all the revenue from the housing that was supposed to offset their original construction costs. But again, the State isn’t going to have to pay for that if Metrolink simply disintegrates and the station is just mothballed.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[T]he Authority is probably trying to help OCTA commandeer the Surfliner to opt out of Metrolink”.

    You’re as bad as @synonymouse. The Authority is doing no such thing. The Authority is focused on its own concerns, which is building HSR, not helping any other agencies with whatever they’re doing that is not HSR related.

    Useless Reply:

    Ted Judah

    why would the Authority do this? What’s the logic here?

    Perhaps they concluded that the loco-pulled bullet trains could share tracks with freight trains?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Or more likely they’ll be granted an exemption.

    Useless Reply:

    J. Wong

    No exception possible because this is freight train we are talking about. It’s not some FRA Tier I passenger train that is up for consideration, but freight train carrying all kind of explosives and inflammable, God knows what else.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    HS trains will be in the same RoW as freight but not sharing tracks.

    Useless Reply:

    Paul Dyson

    same RoW as freight but not sharing tracks.

    Duh, so you never heard of a derailment collision? Freight trains derail a lot, and the bullet train would be heading straight into the derailed freight train(or vise versa). This is why any bullet train sharing RoW with a freight train must be prepared of a collision scenario against a freight train.

    Joey Reply:

    My memory of the planning documents is a bit rusty, but I believe that there was a crash barrier or a height difference between the freight and HSR tracks for the entire length of the corridor.

    Useless Reply:

    beetroot

    Based on the reading, only for Tier III trains and BNSF freight trains. Yes, needs lots of crash strength to share tracks with freight trains.

    There goes dreams of European style lightweight EMUs down the drain, only loco-pulled bullet trains are permitted along the BNSF corridor.

    Jon Reply:

    There will be no loco-hauled bullet trains, because HSR will not be sharing tracks with freight.

    What is being proposed is an update on the “Consolidated Shared Track” alternative from the SAA. This shows 2 tracks for use by HSR and some of the existing passenger rail services, while freight and the remaining passenger rail services operate on 3 BNSF tracks. It’s still TBD which passenger services will use the 2 HSR tracks and which will use the 3 BNSF tracks.

    There’s no reason why passenger rail services could not use lightweight EMUs/DMUs to share tracks with HSR. There’s also no reason why they would have to use new rolling stock at all. Whichever service does end up using the HSR tracks will only make one stop between Anaheim and LAUS, at either Fullerton or Norwark/Sante Fe Springs, so acceleration rate is not so much of an issue; and the track design is curvy enough that HSR will be operating at approx. 60-70 mph average speed.

    The Consolidated Shared Track plans can be found here: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/LA_Anaheim/AppendixI_Consolidated_Shared_Track_Plans_added.pdf

    Useless Reply:

    Jon

    There will be no loco-hauled bullet trains, because HSR will not be sharing tracks with freight.

    Oh Yes there will be, because of a risk of derailment collision against freight trains.

    Jon Reply:

    Funny how you know so much about what will be required.

    Take a look at page 6 of the PDF I linked to. See the “3+2 (HST) Shared Concept” track section diagram? See the “protective screen” between the 3 BNSF tracks and the 2 HSR tracks? I wonder what that could be there for…

    Useless Reply:

    Jon

    “3+2 (HST) Shared Concept”

    That’s a 6 year old document that has been thrown out under this new reset plan.

    Jon Reply:

    Well, we won’t know for sure until the next SAA is released, but it’s interesting how almost all of the route details recently released for this segment match up with the Shared Track alternative from the previous SAA. The following document has the most detail, with city by city alignment descriptions: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/LA_Anaheim/LA_Anaheim_Project_Elements_Fall_2015_Final.pdf

    Notice that slide 3 of that document outlines “Alternative 1”, with up to 3 new tracks, and “Alternative 2”, with up to 2 new tracks. I think it’s very likely that Alternative 1 corresponds to the Dedicated HSR alternative from the previous SAA, and Alternative 2 corresponds to the Shared Track alternative.

    The rest of document seems to focus on the Shared Track alternative, as the do the statements given by HSR officials, so it’s likely that this is now the prefered option. On slide 4 you can see a vertical profile sketch that matches the one I directed you towards in the 2010 SAA, including the protective screen between the two HSR tracks and the 3 BNSF tracks.

    Don’t be fooled by the branding; this isn’t a reset of the planning process, it’s a restart from the point where they left off.

    Jerry Reply:

    Good examples of sound barriers in the HSR presentation.
    Plus references to 12 cities they have to contend with.
    Looks like a piece of cake compared to the SF peninsula.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[O]nly loco-pulled bullet trains are permitted along the BNSF corridor.”

    Except no responsible agency has made any such official decision.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Beetrood (re commute stations): Probably CPUC will evaluate the safety question.

  2. Jerry
    Oct 22nd, 2015 at 23:50
    #2

    “all of the crossings would be separated” Interesting.
    Who would pay for the separated crossings??
    Has PAMPA heard about this?

    J. Wong Reply:

    It’s not going to be trenched, which is all PAMPA really cares about.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Most crossings are already separated, via the street dipping below the existing tracks. It’s a much different scenario than the Peninsula.

  3. Jerry
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 00:00
    #3

    The CAHSR Authority already held meetings about the project on Oct. 15, 17, 19, and 21.
    Was there any reported wailing and gnashing of teeth??

    synonymouse Reply:

    According to Dave Allen a great weeping and gnashing of teeth – last bit on video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THiV_Wa3Lz4

  4. Roland
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 02:15
    #4

    Parson Brinkerhoff’s Rail Delivery Partner in the news (again)

    “In January 2013 NR estimated the cost of electrifying the line from London to Oxford, Newbury, Bristol, and South Wales to be £874m, but this was subsequently revised to £1.65bn last September.
    NETWORK Rail (NR) CEO Mr. Mark Carne told the British parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on October 21 that the cost of completing electrification of the Great Western Main Line (GWML) has increased to at least £2.5bn and could reach £2.8bn.”

    “Firstly, there was inadequate planning and scope definition in early phases. Secondly there was poor cost estimating in electrification as a whole.”

    “Construction has been very much more complex than it should have been, and that was partly down to planning,” he explains. “NORMALLY YOU WOULD CARRY OUT RESIGNALING BEFORE ELECTRIFICATION. Challenges in the signaling supply chain and construction sequencing meant we weren’t able to do that in all cases, so we decided to start piling. Because the signaling cables were buried in the ballast in the1970s we didn’t know exactly where they were, so we have cut through signal cables on two occasions during piling. This means that for every pile we now need to dig a trial hole.”

    “Department for Transport (DfT) permanent secretary Mr Philip Rutnam told the committee that the late completion of infrastructure works had implications for the introduction of new Hitachi trains on the GWML as part of the Intercity Express Programme. Bi-mode diesel trains are due to enter service on the route in 2017, with the first electric trains following in 2018. “THE ELECTRIC TRAINS ARE OF MORE CONCERN,” Rutnam says. “The DfT is liable to pay for these trains whether electrification is ready or not. WE ARE VERY CONCERNED THAT WE COULD HAVE THE PROSPECT OF NEW TRAINS WHICH WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO USE. We are actively looking at a range of options for mitigating this risk.”

    http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/europe/great-western-electrification-costs-set-to-reach-%C2%A325bn.html

  5. morris brown
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 07:27
    #5

    Robert writes:

    But time has passed and it should clear to everyone now that the HSR project is here to stay.

    An amazing statement. Just to clear it is not clear to me (and others), that the HSR project is here to stay.

    Joe Reply:

    We all read about the shock in Palo Alto- that the project is moving too fast.

    Maybe whe the bulldozers fire up their engines…..

    les Reply:

    And yet to date you offer nothing compelling to justify otherwise.

    Joseph E Reply:

    I’m disappointed to see no new documents on the LA to Anaheim segment. Have there been any changes to the plans since the last set of documents from 2010? I don’t quite understand the “sealed corridor” reference. Does this just mean “grade-separated and fenced?”

    Jon Reply:

    But time has passed and it should clear to everyone now that the HSR project is here to stay.

    FTFY.

    Jerry Reply:

    should BE clear
    (but I guess it isn’t)

    Jon Reply:

    The missing ‘be’ was in the original text. Not that it matters.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Anyone can deny reality. But HSR isn’t going anywhere. Steel is now in the ground in Fresno, the project has its stimulus money and its long-term cap-and-trade money. More must be found, yes, but HSR is here to stay. Get used to it.

    Jerry Reply:

    The Kübler-Ross model certainly applies:
    Denial
    Anger
    Bargaining
    Depression
    Acceptance

    synonymouse Reply:

    When it comes to dealing with PB the process starts and ends with depression.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Not clear to you, @Morris, because you are very much invested in not having HSR. You don’t see HSR as succeeding because you don’t want it to succeed and will ignore any evidence to the contrary.

  6. Useless
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 10:43
    #6

    Joseph

    Does this just mean “grade-separated and fenced?”

    Yes.

    Roland Reply:

    Not necessarily (it depends on the line speed):
    – Up to 110 MPH: Quad gates are OK (hence the 110 MPH proposed speed limit in the Peninsula).
    – Between 111 and 125 mph: “Protect rail movement with full width barriers capable of absorbing the impact of highway vehicles”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRPEW2OMIU8
    -Above 125 MPH: Road closure or grade separation.
    https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L01512

    Joseph E Reply:

    Thank you for the link, quite helpful.
    “The Sealed Corridor program aims at improving or consolidating every highway-rail grade crossing, both public and private, along the Charlotte to Raleigh rail route in North Carolina. The research on the Sealed Corridor assessed the progress made at the 189 crossings that have been treated with improved warning devices or closed between Charlotte and Raleigh, from March 1995 through September 2004. Two approaches were used to describe benefits in terms of lives saved: a fatal crash analysis to derive lives saved, and prediction of lives saved based on the reduction of risk at the treated crossings. Both methods estimated that more than 19 lives have been saved as a result of the 189 improvements implemented through December 2004. Analysis also shows that the resulting reduction in accidents, due to the crossing improvements, is sustainable through 2010, when anticipated exposure and train speeds along the corridor will be increased. “

  7. synonymouse
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 11:13
    #7

    Vegas in decline:

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/23/in-vegas-the-house-is-now-winning-a-little-less.html

    J. Wong Reply:

    You should avoid cherry picking. The problem is that you unconsciously ignore counter-factuals, which usually will result in your being wrong.

    synonymouse Reply:

    This has been a trend for some time. The vegas cash cow is not what it used to be.

    The best test bed for hsr is SF-LA. Straight and express.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[Las Vegas] is not what it used to be”, but it’s still far from being an Atlantic City.

    CA HSR is going to be SF-LA, direct and express. Where did you hear anything different?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Palmdale is not direct.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    SF is a village. We’re still going to serve it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A village with the Zuck in residence.

    Travis D Reply:

    Any definition of “direct” that excludes Palmdale also would exclude Tejon.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Non capisco.

    les Reply:

    And yet business continues to boom and the unemployment rate continues to decline.

    Useless Reply:

    synonymouse

    There are other things to do beside gambling in Vegas. In fact, gambling accounts for only 1/3rd of Vega revenue.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That doesn’t penetrate his cocoon. Not to mention there are millions of people who live in Las Vegas and want to go to places in California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The more affluent fly and the less drive.

    Without scads of gambling money Vegas will in time get rough and frayed like Atlantic City.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The go the fastest way or the cheapest way. Trains.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Which is why Vegas Hauptbahnhof is loaded down with arrivals and departures.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    People forget the large number of visitors from the east and from overseas and Mexico who will likely do a LV/Anaheim two spot vacation. It’s a big market, and 7 days a week rather than weekend focused.

    Travis D Reply:

    I know an Australian who just did that. First LV then drove over to LA to see those sights.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Those who are driving would prefer to take the train. Those who are flying would often prefer to take the train.

    Nathanael Reply:

    You might also note the low levels of train ridership at other cities with no train service (such as Columbus Ohio), which of course means absolutely nothing about how popular train service would be if it existed.

  8. Reality Check
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 12:05
    #8

    Warm Springs BART station opening delayed due to “testing”

    Initially expected to open by the end of 2015, the Warm Springs/South Fremont Bay Area Rapid Transit Station is now anticipated to go into service “sometime next year,” according to a spokeswoman.

    The delay is due to testing, said BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

    “We will be able to set a date once we are further along in the testing phase. We originally had a target date of the end of the calendar year but at this point in the testing we know it will be next year,” she said.

    […]

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “the $890 million project is still on budget and the contract is about 94 percent complete, she added.”

    (Q: How do you know when a BART spokesperson is lying? A: Her lips are moving.)

    The BART extension FROM FREMONT TO SANTA CLARA via Warm Springs and via San José (9 additional stations, not one), was supposed to have been completed in 2009, to have entered service in 2010, and to have cost a total of $3.8 billion for EVERYTHING, and to be carrying well over 78,000 riders per day today.

    VTA and BART promised!

    Oh, and guess which private corporation was the instigator of, promoter of, and out-of-control profiteer from this BART extension program, the one-stop stub and the nine-stop “promise”?
    Why, surprise, none other CHSRA’s overlord and puppeteer PBQD! Bet nobody ever saw that coming!

    America’s Finest Fraud and Corruption Promoting Private Sector Professionals, on the job, doing what they do.

    EJ Reply:

    You just revise the schedule and budget upwards as you need to. Then it’s always on time and on budget. Nice work if you can get it…

    Joe Reply:

    Much to criticize including using county wide tolls without any service relief to pay for the project but.

    What is a “baseline” ? They do exist for a reason. The project started in 2009 so that finish date in 2009 is misleading. That’s intentional I assume.

  9. Reality Check
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 12:25
    #9

    Front page of today’s Palo Alto Daily Post:
    Where did Peninsula HSR grade sep money go?

    (Answer: CA HSRA never had money for Caltrain grade seps)

    J. Wong Reply:

    We should also note (and clarify), CA HSR never had and as of now still does not have any money for HSR grade separations.

    Joe Reply:

    “They took our grade separation money!!”

    The Pennisula cities often block development projects and require the developer provide “mitigation” money in return for the city dropping lawsuits and or the threat of lawsuit.

    They plain do not understand a state wide project with immense power to design and build a system across their city.

    Clearly those calling the shots on the Pennisula thing they have an entitlement to grade crossings of their choosing.

    Eventually city managers will realize out that obstructionism will result in at grade crossings and with gates blocking traffic 15+ minutes every hour at peak commute.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    They opposed HSR and told the state to stick its money where the sun doesn’t shine. They have no basis – especially Simitian – to then whine about money for grade seps. They spit in the face of that money 5 years ago.

    Joe Reply:

    Not only whine but the opposition cities have refused to plan for grade separations out of spite to HSR.

    They’re trying the same tactic Bakersfield’s City Manager tried – do nothing, complain bitterly and oppose in court. They offered no alternatives and demanded the Authority plan for them and being the city options.

    HSR went ahead without them.

    morris brown Reply:

    Robert:

    Just what in the world are you taking about? Spit in the face of what money 5 years ago?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually @Robert I have to agree with @Morris here: there was no money. That said, what they did spit on was working with the Authority to _get_ the money to enable them to get acceptable grade separations.

    Joe Reply:

    Prop1a money for one.

    From 2010:
    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/print/story/2010/09/03/palo-alto-committee-no-confidence-on-high-speed-rail

    Klein, who in 2008 joined the council in formally supporting Proposition 1A, which funded the nearly $10 billion down payment, also wrote a background document explaining the drastic change in the city’s position on high-speed rail.
    He said since 2008 “an overwhelming number of facts have been discovered or developed and events have occurred that lead us to believe that the only reasonable alternative is to stop the HSR project now.”

    morris brown Reply:

    The priceless comment from Richard M above:

    (Q: How do you know when a BART spokesperson is lying? A: Her lips are moving.)

    Just substitute AUTHORITY for BART. In this case Authority spokeswoman Annie Parker fits the bill.

    just look at these citations:

    ———-
    from the 2012 business plan

    located at:

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/BPlan_2012_rpt.pdf

    page ES-4

    In the San Francisco Bay Area, the existing Caltrain corridor will be upgraded through
    grade separations, electrification, and passing tracks (to be studied) to provide the connection north
    from San Jose to the new Transbay Transit Center in Downtown San Francisco. This blended system will
    allow a one-seat ride (meaning passengers will not have to change trains) between San Francisco and
    Los Angeles and provide greater connectivity with existing regional and local transit systems. These
    benefits will be the foundation for implementation of a high-speed program in phases, as described in
    detail in Chapter 2, The Implementation Strategy: Blending, Phasing, Investing in Early Benefits, as
    follows

    from the 2010 business plan

    located at:

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/BPlan_2000_FullRpt.pdf

    page 5 we read

    The plan describes a 700-mile-long high-speed train system capable of speeds in excess
    of 200 miles per hour on dedicated, fully-grade separated tracks with state-of-the-art safety,
    signaling and automated train control systems. The system would serve the major metropolitan
    centers of California in 2020

    from the 2008 business plan

    located at:

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/BPlan_2008_FullRpt.pdf

    Page 23

    The high-speed train system’s backbone Los Angeles/Anaheim to
    San Francisco link is expected to cost about $33 billion, in 2008 dollars.
    Construction costs include stations, track work, earthwork, structures, grade
    separation, right-of-way acquisition, environmental impact mitigation, rail
    and utility location, signals and communications infrastructure, and electric
    power supply and distribution. Specific items of note in the cost estimate
    include fencing along the entire right-of-way, barriers where necessary
    for separation from incompatible rail traffic and grade separation from all
    automobile traffic. The cost estimate also includes a contingency, calculated at
    3 % of the construction cost, as well as an allowance for environmental impact
    mitigation, calculated at 3% of the construction cost.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    For those more educated than me…2 questions.

    — Is there another HSR line in the world that does not have 100% grade separation on day 1?

    — Is it even legal to run a train at those speeds and frequencies without it?

    I was under the impression that HSR = 100% grade separation. This “4 gate” design seems to be coming out of nowhere. I knew the plan to “trench” was never in the budget but I thought the very reasons the bookends were so expensive was because of 100% grade separation.

    Peter Reply:

    Yes, there are HSR lines that have grade crossings. At greatly reduced speed. For example, please see this wikipedia article listing a number of grade crossing accidents on TGV lines.

    Any section of the HSR line that is not grade-separated will be operated at a greatly reduced speed. The highest speed allowed by FRA if there is a grade crossing is 125 mph. I don’t believe any grade crossing in the U.S. meets the regulatory requirements to permit operations at that speed. IIRC, the fastest feasible speed for grade crossings is 110 mph (which just so happens to be the top speed that CHSRA is looking to run on the Caltrain corridor).

    Michael Reply:

    High speed trains can run on non-high speed railways. Happens all over Europe with the TGVs, ICEs, Thayls, even Eurostar (ski trains, etc…). They obey the speeds that the non-high speed railway allows. What seems to be contemplated between SF and SJ is high speed trains running on a non-high speed railway at the speeds allowed for an upgraded Caltrain that is not fully grade-separated. In the US, that means 110mph at max. For true high speed railways, the tracks built for high speed trains to run at speeds 150mph and up, I believe they are all fully grade-seperated. In the US, full grade-separations is required for 125mph on up.

    This has all been discussed around this forum before.

    Aarond Reply:

    HSR can be run without grade seprations, though the trains need to slow down at each crossing as Micheal noted. As far as I am aware, the general idea is to have 100% grade separation between Gilroy and Burbank. Or in other words, grade separation between Caltrain and Metrolink.

    Caltrain and Metrolink will of course grade separate much of their lines too, but for other reasons (such as tight curves, increased commuter traffic) speeds will have to be slower. In urban areas, the biggest issue (aside from curves) are the interlockings, or switches, that trains go over in many places.

    StevieB Reply:

    Is Caltrain going to electrify the tracks between San Jose and Gilroy?

    Joe Reply:

    They make vague references about electrifying but there’s only one track so under present plans I would guess not. I would also bet Capitol Corridor takes over operations to San Jose from GLY and Salinas. Mid term plans to double track the line.

    The GLY to San Jose HSR alignment is not finalized nor is the GLY station site. One alignment follows the UP ROW.

    Building from Gilroy to San Jose shoud be easy – it traverses mostly open space. There are pumpkin fields and ranch land and some homes.

    Under other circumstances they may electrify and run Caltrain and HSR on some blended alignment starting from GLY.

  10. synonymouse
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 12:34
    #10

    http://www.ekathimerini.com/202443/article/ekathimerini/business/govt-paves-way-for-trainose-sale

    This what would happen to a failed CAHSR.

    I cannot tell from this article if it involves complete sale of the real fixed assets, the ROW and rolling stock, etc.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Except the expectation is that it would continue to operate after the sale. It’s not a sale of the assets, but of an operating company.

    Aarond Reply:

    Define “failure”. “failure” to me is for some reason construction stopping and never resuming. That’s failure. But should construction make it to completion, and CADOT actually operates service, they will operate it into perpetuity. The *only* exception is if CADOT’s rail division is entirely ripped up and Amtrak has to take over the corridor. Then it’s run (for better or worse) like the NEC.

    Of course, true “failure” is that the tracks are privatized, then ripped up and sold to various developers. As the Milwaukee Road faced.

    But, these aren’t likely to happen.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Failure is when the State resolves to sell off PB-CAHSR due to losses it cannot afford, as with Greece.

    I cannot imagine Greece getting much for something without real estate involved.

    Aarond Reply:

    Would that be failure, though?

    Bear with me here: who is the most likely buyer for CAHSR’s new lines? Federal Amtrak. There would still be passenger service, though not necessarily HSR. Of course it would be a huge political blunder (one so large, I doubt CADOT will ever give up on HSR for better or for worse) but there would still be a net improvement compared to what we have now. Of course, this assumes a future where federal Amtrak exists which is not a given.

    I don’t see any track CADOT lays down getting ripped up either. While the freight RRs have no use for 200mph capable electric track, they’d readily use the bypasses being built. In a post STB world, track just doesn’t get ripped up. Mendocino County couldn’t even rip out the nonfunctional track along the Eel River.

    But I do get your point, I just don’t see CAHSR admitting failure (assuming it were to happen) and selling their assets off unless a Proposition forced them to.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Tejon line can break even whereas Tehachapi won’t.

    Palmdale deserves improved commute service but that is basically an LA project. And does Nevada want to pay for those underutilized base tunnels?

    The class ones would not be interested in a lot of viaduct to maintain nor catenary.

    Aarond Reply:

    I agree with you, except for,

    >The class ones would not be interested in a lot of viaduct to maintain nor catenary.

    Class Is would tear down the catenary, but not rip out the track. Assuming it would ever fall to their hands. As for the viaducts, if it offers a time savings I don’t see why they wouldn’t using them.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Apart from the issue of the ruling gradients the class ones work from the rule at grade except when a bridge is absolutely necessitated.

    I believe we have established it is not possible to build a Tehachapi line that would simultaneously satisfy the needs of freight and hsr.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Of course not. the freight trains would get in the way of the passenger trains. Anyway the freight railroads already have a route.

    J. Wong Reply:

    In general any HSR route over either Tehachapi or Tejon would not be able to satisfy any freight line needs. But why should it? The railroads already have Tehachapi.

    Aarond Reply:

    Well, assuming that the HSR line was being sold it offers a great deal of savings to Class Is. The existing Tehachapi Loop is a bottleneck, and while it’s not really a *problem* per say for the freight RRs, if they had the option of replacing it (say, via a public auction of CAHSR assets) they’d jump on it.

    But this is all hypothetical.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Loop line is definitely a bottleneck and improvements are underway.

    As far as I can tell PB’s route shows no thought of an interconnect to the UP in the Tehachapis and the property owners affected by hsr eminent domain(the Ranch?)might fight freight on environmental grounds, such as impact of derailments, spills, etc.

    Zorro Reply:

    @ Aarond: The HSR line would either be useless to freight cause of the grade being too steep, or trains would have to be broken up to double the hill going up any tunneled route.

    @ Cyno: You and as everyone else here should know, you’re LOOPY.

    Zorro Reply:

    So says the Cranky Mental Patient, and who has no credibility.

    Domayv Reply:

    the reason CHSRA chose Tehachapi was to serve Palmdale and to connect with XpressWest. Nothing else. Once they finish Phase 2 then they can study a dedicated I-5 HSR alignment between San Diego and Bakersfield.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Privatization, the Europeans are nuts about it, especially the Brits.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Same thing with Network Rail, that’s why its getting bad PR and being “restructured”

    Peter Reply:

    That’s why Deutsche Bahn has been deferring so much maintenance (see 2009 Berlin S-Bahn meltdown), so that their books look better for the privatization they’ve been planning for nearly two decades.

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s surprising to me that DB would do that, given that they’re the ones buying up most of the railroads in the EU (which some claim is economic imperialism on the part of Berlin and Brussels). From what I heard they’re having issues controlling migrants on trains heading into Germany and France now.

    Peter Reply:

    Which railroads have they bought up?

    Peter Reply:

    Other than consolidating railroads in Germany, of course.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m fairly certain that DB has bought up most of the rail service companies in the UK. As in, the companies that own and operate the trains, not the actual track (which I’m fairly certain is still publicly owned via Network Rail).

    Anyway, the process played out like this: in 1997 when British Rail was broken up most of it was bought by a US holding company Genesee & Wyoming RR and the German DB. They were the ones who replaced all the old BR locomotives with new USA made GE Class 66 diesels. Then sometime in the late 2000s GWR sold it off to Canadian National RRs, who then sold it to DB. Which makes me wonder why DB would want to bother with privatization.

    Amongst other companies, GWR owned the English Welsh & Scottish RR which is now DB Schenker Rail. GWR apparently bought out Freightliner RR too.

    I’m not British though, I’m certain an actual Brit could give a much better explanation.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Aarond: You are discussing only the freight operating companies, which is a fringe activity in the UK. You are also confusing Genesee and Wyoming with Wisconsin Central. They formed EW&S which was later taken over by DB. Various subsidiaries of SNCF and NS (the Dutch that is) own passenger franchises as well as DB. Plenty of work for corporate attorneys.

    Aarond Reply:

    thank you

    keith saggers Reply:

    Also British companies First Group, Virgin and Stagecoach operate passenger franchises.
    Other companies are trying to operate under open access schemes.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    I could easily tell (since they said it flat out in the article) that the pan is not a dismantling and sale of assets. It’s a liquidation of debt and privatization, similar to the creation of the modern JR companies.
    Which were obviously failures, because of the high speed rail. JR Central has profits of a mere $2.5 billion a year.
    Kyushu used to be subsidized by an investment fund, but they got HSR and now make over$1 billion in profits, so they returned the fund and went on the stock market.

    Nathanael Reply:

    This is basically one of the lootings of the Greek state assets being demanded by their German overlords. Nothing to do with the US.

  11. John Nachtigall
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 16:07
    #11

    I’m really confused, Anaheim was dropped

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/07/local/la-me-bullet-anaheim-20120407

    “It was partly the elimination of service from downtown’s Union Station to Orange County that helped slash the project’s price tag by $30 billion, said Lance Simmens, a spokesman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Until the recent revisions, the estimated cost of linking the Bay Area to Anaheim was nearly $100 billion.”

    “Electrifying and improving the Los Angeles to Orange County route would cost $6 billion and save only 10 minutes of travel time, said rail authority Chairman Dan Richard.

    “Why would we do that, pay $600 million per minute?” he said in an interview Friday.

    Richard said the savings to be achieved by dropping an Anaheim link from the initial construction plans made financial sense.”

    How is the total cost of the system still 68 billion if they add Anaheim back in. Did they find a way to do it for free? I dont think a “protected corridor” is without construction costs.

    Jerry Reply:

    That is an article from the year 2012.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    yeah…have things gotten cheaper since 2012?

    Joe Reply:

    Well, read the article.

    “We have a very different plan than we have had in previous years,” said Boehm.”

    And

    “This time, the plan calls for the line to use only the BNSF Railroad and turn it into what is called a “sealed corridor,” said Michelle Boehm, Southern California regional director for the rail authority Wednesday at a community meeting at the Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex.”

    Too busy trolling to care?

    Jon Reply:

    I’ve made this point earlier in the thread, but it needs repeating. Everything in the documents released by CAHSR this fall indicates that the plan is likely to be very similar to the Shared Track alternative from the last SAA. That means two new dedicated tracks, substantially within the BNSF right-of-way, for HSR and other passenger rail.

    When Michelle Boehm talks about using ‘only the BNSF railroad’, she means using only the BNSF railroad ROW. This was the major complaint about the Dedicated HSR alternative that was first proposed, which is why they are making clear that this will not be the case this time around. But although they are planning to use the BNSF corridor, they do not appear to be planning to run HSR on BNSF tracks.

    Just look at the presentation: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/LA_Anaheim/LA_Anaheim_Project_Elements_Fall_2015_Final.pdf

    Notice how every city from LA to Montebello is described as having an elevated alignment, which matches the Shared Track alternative by the previous SAA. Also note that although they say ‘using the existing corridor’ for every city, they only say ‘using the existing corridor and tracks‘ for the section through Anaheim, which makes sense as this section is not BNSF track. I don’t know for certain, but presumably this section is already passenger only track, and so can be used by HSR.

    Jon Reply:

    To be clear – property takes due to the alignment going outside of the BNSF ROW was the major complaint first time round.

    joe Reply:

    That’s how I saw it. The “sealed” corridor will lessen impact of all rail traffic on the local community. That’s a cost but also an added benefit.

    Jon Reply:

    Yeah, but John Nachtigall does have a point. LA – Anaheim was nixed to reach the $68bn figure, and the section seems to have been added back as a full build without revising the $68bn figure. Presumably that discrepancy will be fixed in the 2016 Business Plan, which we should be seeing a draft of before the end of the year.

    Joe Reply:

    The 68b cost is quoted for SF to LA. It excludes Anaheim benefits and ridership.

    LA to Anaheim is additional work and costs more. It also brings additional ridership, revenue and benefit to the 68b system not attributed to this SF to LA segment.

    Costs more and does more.

    morris brown Reply:

    Not only was LA -> Anaheim removed from the $68 billion current estimate, 4th and King to the TBT was also not included. It is all one very big shell game.

    The $68 billion price tag, like the 2 hours 40 minutes for SF – LA, like 117 million passengers per year all part of the same scheme.

    Jon Reply:

    2014 Business Plan, page 16

    Phase 1
    520 miles
    San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim

    – One-seat ride between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim.
    – Dedicated high-speed rail infrastructure between San
    – Jose and Los Angeles Union Station.
    – Shared use of electrified/upgraded Caltrain corridor between San Jose and San Francisco Transbay Transit Center.
    – Upgraded Metrolink corridor from LA to Anaheim

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/BPlan_2014_Business_Plan_Final.pdf

    The $68bn figure has been used by the Authority as the cost for both SF – LA and SF – Anaheim. The reason for the this is that the upgraded Metrolink corridor from LA to Anaheim was costed at $0.7bn, so to the nearest billion, SF – LA and SF – Anaheim both cost $68bn.

    The upgrades described in the recent LA – Anaheim documents looks like they are going to cost a lot more than $0.7bn. I suspect this cost change will be reflected in the 2016 Business Plan, possibly along with a change in IOS to Palmdale – Anaheim and/or SF – Gilroy. The renewed focus on LA – Anaheim and SF – SJ supports the theory that the IOS is being revised to to a pair of IOS’s in the urban areas of the state, rather than Merced – Burbank.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Freights operate at night between Barstow to San Diego via Atwood and the Olive sub. As I posted above, they would need to be “temporaly separated”. The track is owned by OCTA with BNSF trackage rights.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Actually Jon, you are right if the trains only go to Anaheim. I don’t think there are any scheduled freight moves between Fullerton and Anaheim unless the local that serves the Olive sub goes that way to get back to I think Pico Rivera. I’ll check.

    les Reply:

    Nice to know we have a troll patrol for this sanctimonious forum.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    No I read that, what I missed was the price tag. Because the price tag remains at 68 billion but this line which was excluded specifically to save 6 billion was just added back in without adding to that 68 billion number.

    So trolling or not explain to me how it is free…”different” or not

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    There never was any sense in building dedicated track to Anaheim. I was told $21B estimate about 5 years ago. I anticipate that it will be accessed over existing tracks, with some sort of temporal separation for freights. If that is the case one would hope that the HS sets will go at least to Irvine which should be a major traffic generator.

    Joseph E Reply:

    “I was told $21B estimate about 5 years ago…”
    By whom? That’s a silly estimate.
    Even the USA could build completely underground tracks for much less than 21 billion for 30 miles.
    (Los Angeles is currently building a completely new subway with underground stations every 1 mile at a price of 1/2 billion a mile). HSR will not need any tunnels from LA to Anaheim, so there is no reason for it to cost even half that much, and there is only 1 new station to be built. $200 million per mile ($6 billion) is still excessive; half that amount should be more than sufficient for an new elevated route. But at-grade tracks in the right-of-way would be more cost-effective and better.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You are right Joseph E, I misquoted. An engineer who resigned from the project gave me a number, it was in fact $4.5 billion. Blame my bi-focals.

  12. Roland
    Oct 23rd, 2015 at 23:51
    #12

    Calmod update: “Caltrain submitted the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) Federal Transit Administration’s Core Capacity Program application to be “rated” and included in the Fiscal Year 2017 Presidential Budget. To account for more contingency, the grant ask was increased from $220 million to $447 million. In addition to the grant submittal, JPB staff is continuing to work with the funding partners to finalize the Supplemental Funding MOU as well as the agreements with the California High Speed Rail Authority. All funding commitments will need to be confirmed before construction contracts are awards (sic)”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Meetings/October+2015+E-Update.pdf

  13. Aarond
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 00:00
    #13

    Does anyone have a solid map of the freight traffic that goes through the LA area? As a Norcal resident, I have difficultly in discerning how freight traffic is routed LA. All I know is that port traffic goes through the Alameda Rail Corridor.

    EJ Reply:

    The main routes are shown on page 161 of this document: http://californiastaterailplan.dot.ca.gov/docs/Final_Copy_2013_CSRP.pdf

    This is from 2012-2013 but it’s still largely accurate.

  14. joe
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 07:53
    #14

    Guest opinion: End the Caltrain-High Speed Rail Authority alliance
    By Morris Brown

    With the huge cost escalation of the high-speed rail project, a new plan was conceived. No longer would Caltrain and the high-speed rail run on separate tracks. Rather, they would share a two-track roadbed — an idea dubbed the” blended plan.”

    Factually challenged – the opposition had everything to do with the impact to property values.

    Since PAMAP is now thinking to trench the system for billions, the cost of the project is furthest from their minds.

    With the huge cost escalation of the high-speed rail project, a new plan was conceived. No longer would Caltrain and the high-speed rail run on separate tracks. Rather, they would share a two-track roadbed — an idea dubbed the” blended plan.”

    Funds for grade-separating the road crossings now are no longer available.

    People who fake concern over project costs should not be surprised when the project responds by cutting costs and features.

    Adding on to this is the major upsurge in passenger traffic on Caltrain. It is obvious that in the near future, six trains per hour in each direction for Caltrain will not be sufficient.

    Full build or blended – that’s the choice. Stopping HSR in San Jose isn’t going to happen.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Basically Morris will come up with any argument against HSR, he hates it so. As such his opinion isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

    morris brown Reply:

    Guest opinion: End the Caltrain-High Speed Rail Authority alliance

    Jon Reply:

    So your arguement is that we can’t run HSR on a blended system, because of gate downtime, and because Caltrain needs the capacity that would be used by HSR in the ‘blended system’. This argument makes no sense, because if Caltrain uses the capacity used by HSR, the gate downtime will be just the same. 10 Caltrains per hour causes the same gate downtime as 6 Caltrains + 4 HSR trains per hour.

    If you’re really concerned about Caltrain capacity, the solution is to increase capacity by adding more four track sections to the blended system.

    It’s important to note that it’s not a question of a two-track blended system (with few impacts but limited capacity) vs. a four-tracks-all-the-way concrete wankfest (with major impacts and an excess of capacity). The blended system will add track capacity as required without necessarily four-tracking the whole corridor. You’ll probably be long dead by the time the section through Atherton ever gets four-tracked, so why are you so mad about it?

    J. Wong Reply:

    A majority of the comments are in favor of HSR & the blend and they are residents of Menlo Park.

    Jerry Reply:

    “Yes, this will mean the loss of around $600 million that the high-speed rail project was going to provide to Caltrain for its electrification project. New sources for this funding must simply be found elsewhere.”
    “simply”????
    OK Mr. Brown, any suggestions for the new sources of $600 million??
    And then you still have the increased ridership on CalTrain with 20 trains an hour.
    Why not use the ‘new’ sources of $600 million for separated grade crossings?
    10 feet up, 10 feet down.

    J. Wong Reply:

    They’ve already been considering giving cap-n-trade to Caltrain to fund the electrification rather than Prop 1a funds. Caltrain is going to put more effort into that while it still continues piecewise to find funding for grade separation. There won’t be any “big bang” grade separations, but there wouldn’t have been with HSR either. (That is, HSR would be running before all grade separation would be complete.)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Morris is correct in stating important changes have occurred in the evolution of the project.

    Most importantly SoCal has come to dominate CAHSR. Most of the money will be spent there and that is more than anything due to the veto power accorded the Tejon Ranch Co. concerning every aspect of the mountain crossing.

    Morris should have brought up the nuclear option of BART, as distasteful as that may be, just to get the attention of PB.

    Speaking of the devil, I assume PB is planning on 220mph thru Palmdale. Proper punishment.

    synonymouse Reply:

    10 feet up, 10 feet down.

    PB don’t play that. 19 feet up, 1 foot down.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @synonymouse

    You have absolutely no evidence for that statement. The reality is that the Authority will decide what is the best way to grade separate the Caltrain ROW, and they have an existing example in both San Carlos/Belmont and San Bruno. The Authority knows that funding will be a problem: They’re going to go with 4-track retained wall berms, and there is no way Parsons-Brinkerhoff would tell them otherwise.

    Clem Reply:

    You should read the 2010 supplemental alternatives analysis. Maybe even look at the appendices, showing the planned track height. Then get back to Synonymouse with some facts to back you up.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Ok I stand corrected. PB recommended aerial viaduct for many sections on the Peninsula including those that _already_ have berms. Not clear how high the viaducts would be.

    The stated reason is local opposition to berms although why this should be an issue where they already exist is not stated. They also seem to believe that viaducts wouldn’t engender local opposition. Maybe they’ve been enlightened over the last few years.

    They do admit that viaducts are more expensive to build and maintain than berms. Given the funding difficulty it should be easy for the Authority to push back on this especially since viaducts or berms will both be opposed locally.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Morris in turn pushing back with hsr out. But he does not look to be a BART fanboy either.

    BART-MTC is greatly responsible for Caltrain’s funding problems, past, present and future, as it has tried to undermine Caltrain at every turn. However not responsible for Caltrain’s internal issues.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I could describe the dilemma better. With CAHSR out where is the funding for electrification and upgrading coding from and who or what is going to fend off BART predation?

    synonymouse Reply:

    coming from – terrible keyboard

    J. Wong Reply:

    Given limited availability of funds, BART managed to get most of them to Caltrain’s detriment, but that’s a far cry from actively trying to undermine Caltrain. Does BART purposely blow up its capital budget to guarantee that no other funds are available to Caltrain? No, not really.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “BART purposely blow up its capital budget to guarantee that no other funds are available to Caltrain?”

    For “Caltrain” substitute any and all other transit ops.

    Roland Reply:

    Thankfully, there is hope on the horizon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aun05r6phRA

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Does BART purposely blow up its capital budget to guarantee that no other funds are available to Caltrain? No, not really.

    Actually, yes, the consultants who control BART capital spending (the exact same cast of criminals throughing it up at CHSRA) do systematically eliminate competing projects, and then “unexpectedly” encounter cost overruns on their promoted projects that have to be funded somehow. Oh look, there’s this “second-priority” project for this “second-priority” system with only partial funding that isn’t “ready” and that can be picked over. Pick over the carcass, suck down the tasty fatty cash deposits, gnaw on the bones, and repeat.

    Where has the promised regional Caltrain downtown extension money for the last two decades gone? BART to Millbrae, BART to the SJ flea market.

    Where has the Santa Clara County sales tax money for Caltrain service improvements, grade separation and electrification gone for the last 15 years? BART to the SJ Flea Market.
    Where was the regional, state, and Santa County funding for Dumbarton rail gone? BART to the dead car factory in south Fremont.

    PBQD, Bechtel and Tutor-Saliba have done this again and again and again over the decades.
    History shows that “BART” (the “public” agency whose capital spending they completely control and have controlled for sixty years now) does in fact actively undermine Caltrain, and every remotely cost-effective transit investment in the Bay Area. Decades of plummeting regional system-wide ridership and region-wide transit mode share attest to their success.

    America’s Finest Transporation Mafiosi, wiping the floor with you again and again. Oink oink burp. Thanks for your support, suckers!

    Joe Reply:

    Where has the promised regional Caltrain downtown extension money for the last two decades gone? BART to Millbrae, BART to the SJ flea market.

    BART to San Jose is for Santa Clara county and predominately funded by that county which as a tax payer who voted for the tax makes far more sense then my paying to extend Caltrain from 4th and King in San Francsico county to transbay terminal San Francsico so San fatamciso can attract business from my county.

    Hey – you live in San Fransico. Maybe you want other people to further subsidize your awesome city. BART extensions still benefit SF but it isn’t enough.

    Joe Reply:

    Dumbarton requires three county participation – almaden county reject a tax to support the project.
    Benefit to Santa Clara Co is questionable.
    http://www.scscourt.org/court_divisions/civil/cgj/2008/DumbartonRailBridgeProjectpdf.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    “Benefit to Santa Clara Co is questionable”.
    Do you mean like linking http://www.relatedsantaclara.com/by-the-numbers/ to Facebook and Redwood City in under 30 minutes and SF 30 minutes later?

    Nathanael Reply:

    The BART people simply are not the same people as the CHSRA people. Richard M. is engaging in conspiracy theories again.

    CHSRA is an LA / Central Valley driven project, guys. Get used to it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    For reference, San Francisco San Jose Supplemental Append B — Plans and Profiles (8/5/2010).

    Clem helpfully pointed me to this for the proposed aerial profile: 60′ (80′ through Palo Alto) where they are recommending aerials such as through Burlingame/San Mateo and through Belmont/San Carlos, where there is an already existing berm.

    I don’t really know why they thought this would be less objectionable than berms, but clearly they did. Maybe it’s just engineers can’t see why anyone would object to 60′ concrete viaducts: “They’re so beautiful!”

    Clem Reply:

    The nickname Stilt-a-Rail was abundantly deserved.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you are a fan of the Il Commissario Montalbano series as I am you will see in the opening scenes of every episode a viaduct-bridge somewhere in Sicilia with the tallest stilts. It actually succeeds in iconic. Well, the Italians have been erecting viaducts for a while and know what to do.

    Jerry Reply:

    Four 100+ year old CalTrain bridges (built 1903) are being replaced in San Mateo. Tracks are raised only 4 feet in one area.
    A street underpass in one location had only 8 1/2 feet vertical clearance. (usual parking garage height).
    All street underpasses DO NOT have to have extremely high vertical clearances.
    A simple, “Trucks Prohibited” sign can be used on some lightly used underpass streets.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The ROW there too is wide enough for (tight) 4-track.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The ROW there too is wide enough for (tight) 4-track.

    No it isn’t. Sub-60 feet (18.1m) property line to property line won’t go.
    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2009/01/caltrain-right-of-way-maps.html
    http://www.tillier.net/caltrain_maps/17-TCCM-200-B.pdf
    Why make this stuff up?

    3 x 4.6m inter-track spacing plus 2 x 5.1m side clearance = 23.9m

    3 tracks fit barely (19.4m (64.5 feet) required, but spacings can be shaved a bit), and would in fact be adequate.
    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2009/07/threading-san-mateo-narrows.html

    However nobody anywhere at Caltrain or PBQD=CHSRA were doing any planning at all, not least infrastructure driven by service planning, which of course they aren’t and never will do, because doing wrong things over and over and over is infinitely more profitable than wise and strategic phased investment in aid of public benefit. So no accommodation for anything but two tracks for you, but please give us two billion to spend on electrification and then run exactly the same crap level of service that we do today, indefinitely into the future.

    Joe Reply:

    and then run exactly the same crap level of service that we do today, indefinitely into the future.

    Like the Bengazhi, you always overreach.
    I took you serious at one ime and checked this claim.

    There is no Electrified Caltrain schedule. What’s on line is clearly marked as a placeholder.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Project proponents over-promise and under-deliver. Always. In every realm of human endeavour, but especially in the unremittingly fraudulent public-private wealth transfer domain of large to mega-scale “public” transit capital projects in the USA.

    They’re decades and billions into the “under-delivery” part. All going to plan.

    Caltrain’s service “plan” for 2040 is guaranteed-not-to-exceed. Guaranteed.

    joe Reply:

    No link to that electrified Caltrain service schedule. And so too do you over promise and under deliver.

    Why bother when most people are too busy to fact check your chicken-nuggets of wisdom.

    FAQ http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/FEIR/PCEP+FAQ+Update+Dec2014.pdf

    Will the service or schedule change under electrification?

    A: The project includes an increase of peak hour service from five trains per peak hour per direction to six trains per peak hour per direction. In addition, electrically-powered trains can accelerate and decelerate faster than diesel locomotive trains, providing the flexibility to increase the frequency of service without adding travel time and/or reduce the overall travel time from one end of the corridor to the other.

    Caltrain has not yet developed a specific schedule for when EMUs would first be placed into service. In the EIR a “prototypical” or example schedule is used as part of the analysis. In the coming years, there will be robust public outreach to help determine the schedule that best balances the demands for more frequency and faster trip times.

    synonymouse Reply:

    My evidence is what PB has done with BART. 4 feet is inadequately brutalist. But go for it if you can get it. I’ll be amazed.

    In the words of Junior Soprano, PB is a “slippery f**k”.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The BART aerials for the most part are lower than what they seem to propose for HSR & Caltrain. Do you think aerials were forced on BART where more aesthetically pleasing alternatives were available?

    PB seems to be typical of most engineers and not particularly creative: Propose whatever seems to be easier to build with concrete.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It seems to me the lower and more “lacy” BART aerials date from the original construction, based upon very light equipment. It has been suggested BART would have to beef them up if heavier rolling stock were mandated for structural integrity. For instance after a WMATA type wreck. The newer elevated, say at Daly City, is pretty massive.

    And of course Caltrain cars are FRA heavier and then sometimes more than 2 tracks. I’d imagine monolithic aerials.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So they had real requirements for building the aerials in Daly City the way that they did. Did PB force them to do this or not?

    Also note that 280 is significantly below the grade where the aerials are making it feel like they loom over the freeway. Doubtful it could be helped.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Daly City is relatively poor and no match for MTC-BART-PB. They just acquiesced to the ghetto treatment.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Plus the freeway had already wasted the place, like a lot of the Peninsula.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You say it’s “ghetto” treatment but won’t say what better solution was available.

    Clem Reply:

    Right. The usual excuse when someone suggests that the vertical profile should hug the ground except for grade separations is something about not wanting HSR to be like a roller coaster. True bullshit artists.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    HSR on Caltrain north of San Jose could be deferred until Caltrain is fenced and grade separated.

  15. Car(e)-free LA
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 10:44
    #15

    The route between LA and Aneheim really should leave the existing metrolink route in Commerce, and run elevated along I5 as far south as Cerritos Ave in aneheim, before bending east towards artic. This route would be so much faster than the existing track. Optionally, a HSR station could be put in at Norwalk, allowing access to an extended Metro green line (and consequentially, to the South Bay and LAX.) If there was a Norwalk station on HSR, then the new rail route should be quadruple tracked from LAUS to Alondra Boulevard in Buena park, before having two tracks ben eastward towards the old metrolink route. This would allow the Surfliner and Metrolink to be faster and facilitate transfers between them and HSR at Norwalk. If this were constructed, a new Metrolink only station should be built at Lakewood Boulevard between Downy and Pico Riviera. Someday, Metrolink, Coaster, and the Surfliner should be merged into Southern California Railways, and Metrolink and Coaster should be rebranded as Local Routes, and the Surfliner (and Future Coachella Valley Service) should be rebranded as Express Routes. Eventually, this would result in two express routes (SLO to Indio, Palmdale to Tijuana, with some trains running SLO/SB to Tijuana/San Diego), and seven Local Routes (Goleta to San Bernadino via 91 Line, Lancaster to Tijuana, Barstow to San Diego (via Perris, Murrietta, Temecula, Fallbrook, Camp Pendelton, Oceanside), LAX/LAUS to Palm Springs Downtown, LAUS to Riverside, San Bernadino to San clemente, and the Sprinter route). Last among my suggestions would to be to not build HSR in the San gabriel valley, anr instead have it continue from Aneheim via a tunnel to the Eastern Transportation Corridor, then on a bridge across that valley, and a tunnel to the 71/91 interchange, then along the metrolink route to a Station in Corona. After Corona, there would be a wye, with some trains routed towards Riverside and San Bernadino (and eventually under Cajon Pass to Las Vegas), and some trains routed soth to Temecula, Escondido, Mission Valley, and San Diego (I would route hsr along the 163 to a terminus near Petco Park–this could be a new Southern calicornia Railways Stop—Santa Fe Station could be downsized to local trains only).

    Domayv Reply:

    The I-5 HSR alignment I agree on, but I would have it branch off from Commerce and reconnect at Santa Ana (see this for more details: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kXYCPG04HKNw)

    Must of everything else I don’t really agree on
    * A Barstow-San Diego/Tijuana service would work better if it began using the I-15 alignment entirely rather than go through Oceanside. Allso CA-163 would be too constrained a ROW to build a railway ROW on (I-15 works better). Also a better new San Diego terminus would be near Lindbergh Field (all they have to do is relocate it onto an artificial island near Chula Vista and retool the old space as a large station).
    * Your from Anaheim-71/91 Interchange alignment makes little sense, especially since you would use this for your SLO-Indio/Goleta-San Bernardino services. They would go a lot faster if they followed an alingment that follows US-101 and I-10 (see this for more details: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kXcHwZ4Hlc-0). The 91 line should pretty much only be reserved for trains that terminate at LAX.
    * LAX/LAUS to Palm Springs Downtown would go faster if it followed I-10 than CA-91. Same with LAUS to Riverside via CA-60.

  16. Paul Dyson
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 11:40
    #16

    Car free – your idea of a new alignment over I-5 would save very little time compared to the existing route, even for non stop trains to Anaheim. I’m figuring about 4 minutes, others may come up with a different number, and almost no difference with intermediate stops. I agree 100% as to the reorganization of passenger rail administration in Southern CA. Unfortunately, as long as we have an artificial demarcation between Commuter and Intercity, FTA vs FRA, the status quo is likely to continue.

    Jerry Reply:

    Very true, re: “artificial demarcation”.
    Old airline CAB was eliminated. Even cable TV companies got fed up with dealing with all local municipalities.
    Time to eliminate a lot of this “artificial demarcation” crap.

  17. J. Wong
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 12:26
    #17

    The Authority’s renewed planning for the bookends is interesting. I know several here were in favor of starting at the bookends.

    Maybe that’s what’s happening. Given the lack of funding, the Authority is going to propose upgrading the bookends with the expectation that local politicians and agencies will step up in obtaining funding, and said funding will be easier to obtain since it won’t be exclusively for HSR. Then start running trains from San Jose to San Francisco and from LAUS (or Burbank) to Anaheim.

    Once that happens with the Central Valley tracks completed, maybe they are expecting private investors to step up and fund the gaps.

    Clem Reply:

    The gaps are the expensive part (about $20 billion a piece)

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yup, which is why it will probably be easier to find funding for the bookends. Maybe the Authority will start running trains on the bookends and in the Central Valley, and then propose a bond measure with the idea that voters will see that the gaps is all that stands in the way of true SF-LA HSR.

    Jon Reply:

    The challenge will be making money on 2-3 independent lines without any track over the mountains between them. Kinda like running BART without a Transbay Tube.

    J. Wong Reply:

    It will be easier to make money on the bookends with the existing commute demand on the Peninsula, and in the south, the novelty of an HSR ride from LA to Disneyland (or visa-versa). Trains running in the Central Valley would likely be for “testing” purposes only (really public relations).

    Joe Reply:

    HSR can operate an EMU between SJ and SF stoping at RWC/Palo Alto, SFO, 4th and King and SFT.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Well, they do have a little problem getting to SFT from 4th and King. They might just start with San Jose to 4th and King with later platform upgrades enabling Palo Alto and Millbrae.

    Jon Reply:

    Commute service doesn’t make money; long distance service makes money.

    Jon Reply:

    Well, that said, it might be possible for CAHSR to turn a profit on a route like SJ – SF by running just a few trains each day at the peak of the peak. The peak of the peak Caltrains probably turn a profit, but the farebox recovery of Caltrain as a whole is pulled down by all the half empty trains run during off peak times. If CAHSR can fill a few super express trains with customers lured away from the Baby Bullets, and leave the money losing off peak runs to Caltrain, they might be able to make a profit.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, peak operation is expensive because resources (equipment/crews) have to be made available specifically for it. And we all know, resources not moving are the biggest money losers in a transit system…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The way to think about is not “profit”.

    If BART and HSR cost about 20-25 cents per mile for a fare…that’sa little less than CalTrain but not Metrolink. If. like with CalTrain people are already conditioned to paying that much, having HSR usurp the commuter traffic would help pad the bottom line significantly.

    Jon Reply:

    The way to think about is not “profit”.

    Prop 1A requires any service operated on HSR track to make a profit, even if it’s just a very small profit, so that’s absolutely the way to think about it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Nope. It only requires that the HSR service itself have no OPERATING subsidy.

    So the $64 billion question is what happens if commuter options like CalTrain and the Antelope Valley line of Metrolink lower their fares below the break even point for HSR? Sure, the agencies in exchange for capital funding could agree to discontinue the competitor, but then you also have buses which are only sensitive to the price of gas…

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain would lose every dime in subsidy if they decided to have a price war with the CA system.

    This isn’t Taco Bell vs Mc Donald’s.

    Thankfully the new head of Caltrain was on the HAR Board and seems to have influenced Caltrain to be more cooperative. The Miracle of Level boarding using dual height doors for example.

    Roland Reply:

    “The Miracle of Level boarding using dual height doors for example” What could possibly go wrong?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sloterdijk_train_collision#/media/File:Treinongeluk_Westerpark.JPG
    The combined speed at the time of impact was 30 MPH. The guilty party (a Sprinter) left the scene under its own power…
    BTW, this happened after the powers that be decided that wayside signals were “good enough” during construction even though the line had full PTC…

    Jon Reply:

    “Not requiring an operating subsidy” is the same thing as “making a profit”, is it not? You total up all your operating expenses, and you total up your revenue. If your revenue is less than your expenses, you need an operating subsidy equal to the difference in order to balance the books. If your revenue is greater than your expenses, you make a profit equal to the difference between the two. What did I miss?

    There will be no price war between HSR and commuter rail. I can’t comment on Metrolink, but given the lack of alternatives and the wealth of many of it’s riders, Caltrain would probably improve their farebox recovery by raising fares, not lowering them. Lowering fares would result in significantly less revenue for only a few extra riders, and so would require an increased subsidy from the three counties that support the system. Those counties would never agree to an increased subsidy just for the purpose of engaging in a pissing contest with HSR.

    Eric M Reply:

    @ Roland,

    What does dual height doors have anything to do with that crash!!!

    Roland Reply:

    “There will be no price war between HSR and commuter rail”. Correct and this is precisely why “the new head of Caltrain was on the HAR Board” is about to increase fares (because the current Caltrain fare structure makes it impossible for HSR to compete with Caltrain without an operating subsidy). http://www.caltrain.com/Fares/codifiedtariff.html
    Meanwhile, this really nice and polite young man is knocking on the Caltrain door: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aun05r6phRA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaMEPlCjDn0#t=240
    BTW, Leo Express trains have a toilet in every other car, so Caltrain could be in serious trouble…

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Spotted in the wild: scenarios 26 and 27 for a CHSRA service that would supposedly not compete with Caltrain

    http://imgur.com/EwehhHP

    Jon Reply:

    Where did that service plan come from?

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    CHSRA

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Pls note: just because CHSRA is evaluating an idea doesn’t mean they will do it

    joe Reply:

    @roland – lay off the caffeine.

    @Elizabeth

    Spotted in the wild: scenarios 26 and 27 for a CHSRA service that would supposedly not compete with Caltrain

    I missed the part where HSR was formulated to not compete with any other transportation service.

    Electric service made possible with HSR money will run faster accelerating and trains, with level boarding and cut the time penalty for stopping.

    Electric service offers riders bullet train travel times with the more frequent limited stop trains. More stations served, more choice and more benefit.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct. They came up with this to “sell” HSR to Gilroy. Meanwhile, the 400K people who live within 5 miles of Blossom Hill and are no longer able to drive to Tamien are working on Plan B: http://vta-sprinter.org/blossom-hill-station/

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Reply:

    “Prop 1A requires any service operated on HSR track to make a profit, even if it’s just a very small profit, so that’s absolutely the way to think about it.”

    What will happen if it turns out the system doesn’t make a profit, 10 or 20 years from now? Will CHSRA be forced to refund the $10b in bond funds? Who will make them do it, and where will the money they pay back (to whom?) go? How would they even come up with $10b to pay?

    When will the determination be made that the system is/is not making a profit? When only pieces of the system have been built (e.g. a book-end or two, test track in the CV)? When the entire line from SF to LA is operating revenue service? In opening year or a few years out?

    Roland Reply:

    @ Joe – lay off the Kool-Aid.

    Jon Reply:

    @Elizabeth Alexis – it would be helpful if you would post the source document, rather than just a screen grab of one table. It would be really interesting to see the other 25 service plans under consideration.

    @Oliver Wendell Holmes – I agree that the no-subsidy provision in Prop 1A is going to be difficult to assess and enforce. I don’t have the answer to any of your questions, and I suspect CAHSR don’t either; but I’m sure they will want to be able to show a profit on any service they do operate, and so avoid having to find out the answers to those questions.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    More of the same, everyone is ignoring what I said and thus the most likely outcome…

    Useless Reply:

    Jon

    World’s two most profitable HSR services, Shinkansen and KTX, made killings on serving commuters.

    CHSRA likewise would make its money serving commuters to SF and LA area.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Shinkansen commuter traffic only seems to account for about 5% of daily passengers (and probably less revenue, as the distances tend to shorter, and there are slight discounts)…

    Roland Reply:

    @Eric M Did you miss the bit about what happens to double doors located above the bogies?

    Eric M Reply:

    No, but your’re insinuating the crash was caused by dual height doors, not same level doors over the bogies. Just a bit of difference. Besides, who cares. The crash was not caused by door placement nor the injuries.

    Roland Reply:

    The crash was caused by the driver of the Sprinter missing a red light.
    The collapse of the carriages above the double doors was caused by bad train design. See http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2015/2015-07-02+JPB+BOD+EMU+RFP.pdf slide 7 bottom right (single pocket door just like HSR).
    Thankfully, America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals have certified a solution based on a Mad Max prototype of the double-decker train of the future: https://www.ltk.com/uploadedImages/LTK/Project_Experience/Sub_Project_Experience/image003.jpg

    synonymouse Reply:

    Will not fly politically when Jerry is gone in few years.

    Zorro Reply:

    A majority of Democrats support HSR, unlike you poor Cyno, HSR will be built, you don’t have an army to stop HSR with.

    Danny Reply:

    he can compare it to forcibly giving children full-body tattoos
    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/sep/23/coronado-puts-brakes-all-future-bike-lanes-after-r/
    the blue-rinse gentry sure like to whine about things in the most disgusting terms

    too bad city councils listen to them

    Zorro Reply:

    That’s false equivalence Danny…

    Danny Reply:

    you’re right, I should’ve used an example where transit-bashers use *opposite and contradictory,* rather than *comedically outrageous,* accusations

    the point, as with the Purple and Expo Lines in LA, is to tar the target with as many negatives as possible: it’s not an “argument” (think George Will saying that train travel is pinko because it has a schedule and you have to sit next to someone)

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, Gov. Brown might get behind it before he leaves. Also, wasn’t Newsom saying it would be better to spend money on the bookends?

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Zorro

    I should have put it clearer. If you concentrate on the bookends the rest will not get built when Jerry is outtahere.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Why not? Seems like it would be politically more doable once it is only the gaps (expensive as they are) that are left.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Stranded “investment”.

    Too Big To Fail.

    Good Money After Bad.

    We triple dare you to admit we fooled and screwed you!

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

    What a splendid way to undertaken public policy and adjudicate between wider legitimate competing social interests in human governance and budgeting.

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, it isn’t a splendid way but it seems like it’s the only way we have to get it built. Of course to you it would be better if never built since it is such an abomination. And the people should suffer even more for their mistakes than just getting ripped off.

    Zorro Reply:

    Republicans aren’t in interested in Governing, just anarchy, next up your Social Security Benefits will be cut, another manufactured crisis by the GOP.

    Zorro Reply:

    As to a stranded investment, the i5 fwy in the Central Valley was built in segments and not all at once.

    Zorro Reply:

    As is said in the i5 fwy wiki: Interste 5: History The Stranded Investment is Bunk and is and was Debunked… And is therefore BS…

    This re-route through California’s Central Valley was the last section of I-5 to be constructed, with the final segment dedicated and opened to traffic near Stockton, California on October 12, 1979.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A “manufactured crisis”? That would be the “TARP”. Paulsen and the rest should have been renditioned to Guantanamo for that.

    A railway, especially a specialized one like HSR violating every legacy rule known to the FRA, is not at all analagous to a highway. As soon as you open up a piece of freeway it will be full of cars. You do not need an Amalgamated or BLE-UTU chauffeur.

    Zorro Reply:

    So how is Construction of HSR not like an Interstate Highway Cyno? Enlighten us, your unhinged whining is pathetic.

    Both are expensive, as such both are done in segments due to cost, especially since HSR is being done like the i5 was, from Scratch, land was acquired, land was cleared of obstacles, a roadbed was laid on the row(right of way), materials were put on the roadbed and then the alignment was opened for business.

    The constructed segments were linked to other minor roads/CA highways via DeTour signs, which is equivalent to HSR being linked to legacy tracks, just like is done in France and Spain with HSR there.

    Only in Japan is HSR not linked to minor tracks, since everything else there is narrow gauge track.

    Trains have always been superior to fwys in ability to carry passengers, trains in the Civil War, WWI and WWII moved lots of Troops in the US, faster than any bunch of Military 6×6 vehicles or Wagons could ever hope to do.

    Fwys are just crude copies of the German Autobahn, Fwys can’t match the speed of an autobahn, since Fwys were not designed with high speed in mind.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Any legal motorist can use a highway or fraction therof as soon as it is opened. And since there are a lot more vehicles than roads it will be well used right off.

    The start with the weakest, least important part of the line was ill-advised IMHO. They should have begun with the most problematical, the southern mountain crossing, right away and if they ran into an impasse they could go back to the Legislature and reboot.

    That may be the outcome anyway but much time and money has been spent. The orphan trackage won’t be worth much as it is the least trafficked segment.

    Zorro Reply:

    I don’t see what legal has to do with a highway and/or motorist.

    Any person can buy a ticket and board a train and sit next to someone else, even someone who might be black or latino or gay or lesbian, same difference as a motorist.

    Well Cyno, the money was/is earmarked by the DOT for the Central Valley part of HSR only, not the Southern Mountain crossing, the CAHSR had no control over the Federal money, as that can’t be moved, only spent or returned never to be seen again.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You have to have a drivers license – I don’t.

    The ARRA was purely political and bad politics at that.

    Joe Reply:

    20 billion in a context.
    Rebuilding the Bay Area’s 101-880 interchange is a billion dollar project.

    Jerry Reply:

    $20 Billion is chump change. Especially with the all around benefits. (And the trillions that large corporations have laying in cash all over the world.)
    Make America Great Again. As Nike says, “Just Do It.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    $1bil is a fortune to Muni, which actually carries a lot of passengers.

    les Reply:

    I also think it has to do with the clock ticking on fed funds. Board can’t sit around forever waiting for valley construction projects to absorb fed funding, they need to use it through spreading it out.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The Federal funds are restricted to the Central Valley. The Authority cannot spend it elsewhere.

    les Reply:

    Kinda. “On Sept. 30, 2017, the stimulus money will go away, regardless of whether the authority intends to spend it or not. To meet the deadline, the authority, which has spent $500 million in the past six years, would have to spend $2.7 billion in the next two years – 16 times its current rate of spending. At the same time, the authority would have to come up with an additional $2.7 billion in state matching dollars. This seems impossible. The stipulations of the stimulus funding are written into federal law and cannot be renegotiated by the Federal Railroad Administration and the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

    Is there enough work in the Valley to spend 6.25 billion? The way these contracts are coming in I see maybe 5 but not much over.

    http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article6550740.html

    Nathanael Reply:

    There’s enough work. If they can get environmental clearance done through Bakerfield, that’ll easily eat up the remainder.

    john burrows Reply:

    It is my understanding that the Obama Administration gave the Authority permission to spend the federal funds first. They would then need to spend roughly $2.7 billion by Sept. 30, 2017. I don’t think that the Republicans will be able to do anything about this for as long as Obama is in office, or for that matter, for as long as his successor, President Clinton, is in office.

    And regarding state matching funding—In the Sacbee op-ed ,Jeff Denham made a big factual error, either deliberately or out of ignorance. Denham is absolutely wrong when he states that high speed rail will get only $250 million per year from cap-and-trade.

    The actual amount that high speed rail will receive from C&T is much much more. To date HSR has received $650 million. And based on the $645 million in proceeds from the Aug. 2015 auction, a good guess would be that HSR will get $645 million for fiscal year 2015-2016, $645 million for fiscal year 2016-2017, and $645 million for fiscal year 2017-2018—A total of $2.6 billion. With auction proceeds inching upward over the last three quarters there could easily be more than $2.7 billion available by the end of the fiscal year during which the Sept 30 deadline occurs.

    It would appear to me that cap-and-trade by itself would supply enough money to match the Feds, even if the State Legislature does not immediately release more of the currently unavailable Prop 1-A funding.

    agb5 Reply:

    Alternatively, The Authority could be maximising the “shovel readieness” of the project in expectation of governments switching to infrastructure spending to ride out the next global economic recession.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Expecting the Republican Congress to start acknowledging reality is really a fantasy. They won’t authorize any stimulus no matter how dire the economy, but hopefully, the extreme pain this would inflict on their constituients would encourage the voters to replace them with Democrats.

    The Authority is more realistic than that and won’t bet anything on Congress. Instead, they’d be smarter to bet on local and state politics.

    keith saggers Reply:

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/23/politics/grumpy-cat-obama-republicans/

  18. keith saggers
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 12:54
    #18
  19. morris brown
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 16:42
    #19

    Special Report $68-billion California bullet train project likely to overshoot budget and deadline targets

    A real block buster of a report here. Much of the cost over runs and certainly many of the technical problems, have been previously noted in this blog.

    But quite damming is the withholding of information, as revealed in this secret report the Times secured.

    A 2012 report by Parsons Brinckerhoff, obtained by The Times, warned the rail authority that the “seismotectonic complexity … may be unprecedented” and that the rail route would be crossing faults classified as “hazardous.”

    The document was never made public, and the state rail agency declined a Times request to provide it under the state’s public records act. The Times later obtained it from an engineer close to the project.

    This is really going to please the State legislators, I am sure.

    Eric M Reply:

    Big whoop Morris. You’re just trying to fill Roberts’ blog up again with anything you think might look bad. Time for you to start your own blog.

    Just love the “Maybe” scenarios.
    Maybe this, maybe that, bla bla bla.

    Naysayers have been around since the beginning of time with all sorts of things being built. Nothing new.

    les Reply:

    You just gave your endorsement for a Japanease partnership. Glad to finally see you onboard Morris.

    Joe Reply:

    Nice way to crap on that Palo Alto-Menlo Park grade seperations and trench Morris.

    You clowns argue both sides of the argument. Here you bang the cost overruns and risk drums and then elsewhere demand expensive row and grade crossing accommodations.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually @Morris doesn’t want HSR at all so trenching is irrelevant to him.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    So the Chief Executive of CHSRA says:

    “Nobody can sit here and tell you what something like this is going to cost over a 20-year period,” Morales said.

    Yet isn’t that exactly what the politicians are trying to tell the voters? That the cost is set in stone and that the concerns of going over budget are unfounded? This is crazy in that the construction schedule seems to completely ignore the reality of tunnel boring. As the Swiss example shows, it would take a miracle for CA to complete it’s tunnel with rail and all subsystems installed by 2022. Mr. Morales seems to push the responsibility onto the future tunnel contractor as far as providing a schedule. Why cant the CHSRA and their engineering consultants provide a preliminary schedule estimate for each possible route? Where are the realists that will speak the truth? Why the deception?

    les Reply:

    I didn’t know they had decided on where they’re tunneling from Palmdale yet.

    les Reply:

    Tunneling through the Angeles National Forest hasn’t always been part of the anticipated route. Locking down an expected date with these kind of variables is not realistic.

    Joe Reply:

    The rate of tunneling Ralph picked, 10ft a day, is for crossing a fault. He then used that rate to estimate tunnel time. He got generous and doubled it to 20 ft a day for an optimistic time.

    Actual rates when not crossing a fault are 100-200 ft a day, not 20.

    morris brown Reply:

    The tunneling expert Joe writes:

    Actual rates when not crossing a fault are 100-200 ft a day, not 20.

    but we read from Times Special report this from established experts:

    Einstein’s estimate is endorsed by other engineers, including one who has worked closely on the bullet train project and told The Times that 10 feet a day is the likely rate of advance.

    joe Reply:

    In good rock, such as limestone or chalk, TBMs can advance 100 to 200 feet a day. But in fractured mixed rock through fault zones, the advance rates can slow to 10 to 20 feet a day, Einstein of MIT said.

    Einstein’s estimate is endorsed by other engineers, including one who has worked closely on the bullet train project and told The Times that 10 feet a day is the likely rate of advance.

    The entire route is not a fault zone. A fault zone is an interface.

    10ft a day is the worse case rate.

    Clem Reply:

    Why are they tunneling through fault zones when the Tejon alignment can cross all faults at grade?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Clem, are there any tunnels on the essential Tejon alignment which are likely to be so geologically challenged?

    This article paints a much more daunting picture of the Angeles long tunnels than has been forthcoming from PB. Perhaps I jumped the gun concluding the SR14 route was out. But if it is back then so will be Sta. Clarita and Acton, et al. I am having difficulty grasping why Sta. Clarita so hates the prospect of a station there when Palmdale is so gung-ho.

    PB-CHSRA should have started out with the escape from LA instead of the San Joaquin Valley. I guess they figured once they got their little Valley orphan testtrack the momentum would carry them thru. It does not look that way. They needed to expend all their efforts initially negotiating and mitigating the southern mountain crossing.

    Clem Reply:

    I’m not saying the tunnels for the Tejon alignment would be easy to build, but none of them cross through an active fault zone. Fault crossings are not avoidable if you want to reach LA from SF, but they can and should be performed at grade. PB’s own documents insist so, but they are taking exception to their own policies to satisfy the political constraints.

    Joe Reply:

    You answered your question: Political considerations which matter for a public funded project.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Real leaders deal with crass politics by cutting deals, adjusting plans etc. to to meet needs. I think the Sperminator would have performed better.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Neither Governors Schwarzenegger nor Brown are down that far into the weeds with HSR. I’m afraid the Authority decided this all on their own. What that says about the board I’ll leave to you.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They are going to need to have it out over the mountain crossing crisis before going any further.

    The real decisions and choices cannot be made until the detailed cards are on the table.

    Tejon suffers from being denied a genuine, funded, unbiased engineering out.

    The only way to compare costs and impacts.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Ralph didn’t mention that they’re drilling test holes to evaluate the geology. Seems like we’d have a better idea of the risks then.

    Zorro Reply:

    Going under a National Forest is preferable, to going at Grade thru the same forest.

    les Reply:

    Besides private interest wouldn’t a Tejon route also run through National Forest? I don’t believe a route through Tehachapi requires doing so and I don’t see congress making allowances for it.

    Clem Reply:

    No. In other news, have you heard about the Palmdale to Burbank route
    (through a National Forest AND a fault zone underground) ?

    les Reply:

    Isn’t that tunnel though? Tejon is at grade.

    les Reply:

    E3 – “The alternative then enters a 13 mile long tunnel
    from the outside of the Angeles National Forest.
    The alternative continues in a tunnel heading southwest through the Angeles National Forest, entering
    the City of Los Angeles east of the Lake View Terrace neighborhood.”

    Big difference between running through a US Forest then under it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That’s not how the Forest loyalists see it at all.

    les Reply:

    That’s how the chipmonks see it and that’s what matters.

    les Reply:

    There is no way in hell US Congress sanctions a HSR corridor at grade through a US Forest. It will never happen.

    Zorro Reply:

    Going under a National Forest is preferable, to going at Grade thru the same forest.

    Clem Reply:

    Tejon does not cross into National Forest boundaries. Its sin is to cross into the Tejon Mountain Village real estate development. Tre$pa$$ing on that is far worse than, for example, running HSR right through the Yosemite Valley.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The Clem Tillier memorial Tejon rail route does not cross into Angeles national Forest, but I-5 does, and is not unique among interstates. There are precedents for transportation infrastructure in national forests, they are not off limits.

    les Reply:

    “The I-5 Study alignment crosses Angeles and Los Padres National Forest for 14 miles.”
    “The current Antelope Valley alignments still avoid National Forest, so the Study confirms the conclusion of the 2005 Program EIR/EIS”

    les Reply:

    Like I said before, US Congress will never allow for this.

    les Reply:

    The authority is hedging its bet with Japanease engineers over US congress. Wouldn’t you?

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ les

    Chipmunks have money and vote?

    les Reply:

    when they control congress they do.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Chipmunks do belong to the order Rodentia but it is another more assertive and adaptive rodent that controls politics.

    Steven H Reply:

    Of course national forests aren’t off limits to interstate highways, oil drilling and mining enterprises…those are all recreational activities. But we’re talking about trains here. Trains.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But that argument won’t float with the Angeles forest fans because they don’t like that stuff either.

    PB-CHSRA is like the defendant who won’t listen to his lawyer. They cannot handle the truth. They hired a principled expert in Van Ark who counseled them correctly to bring Tejon into serious consideration. So they deserve any and all flack.

    And all this because of a stupid proposed golf course, one of your “recreational activities”.

    Travis D Reply:

    Also I doubt they would just proceed from the end points. An access tunnel midway with tunneling proceeding outward on both sides makes a lot of sense and is a fairly standard practice with long tunnels.

    keith saggers Reply:

    http://www.crossrail.co.uk/news/articles/names-our-first-six-tunnel-boring-machines-announced

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.tunneltalk.com/Crossrail-Apr11-Staging-the-excavation-works.php.
    Check who got the contracts on the right.
    Q1: Who did the tunnel design?
    Q2: Who got the tunnel contracts?
    Q3: Did someone lie through their teeth to get a $700M “Rail Delivery Partner” contract?

    synonymouse Reply:

    To save money why not go all the way off the anticipated route?

    Travis D Reply:

    Because saving money isn’t always the end all be all. I mean the best savings occur if we build nothing, ever.

    Zorro Reply:

    And that would be a waste of time and money, since doing nothing, saves nothing. Cause doing nothing costs more, why? Cause whatever is there already will still have to be maintained and expanded and that costs loads more money, than just building HSR in the first place.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Jeff Morales, the rail authority chief executive, said he was not aware of the Parsons Brinckerhoff projection.”

    yuk yuk yuk

    I assume the 7 mile tunnel referred to is the SR14 alignment.

    john burrows Reply:

    From a CHSRA memo dated Aug 11, 2015—
    “SUBJECT : Answers to frequently asked questions, RFEI HSR #15-02

    QUESTION #3—Which project does the authority intend to develop? IOS-North, IOS-South, or both?

    —-The Authority’s objective is to build a high speed rail system and to begin operations as soon as possible. Certain constraints and requirements such as the operating system not needing an operating subsidy, available funding, and market constraints, all must be considered in the Authority’s delivery strategy.

    —-Based on Authority analysis, both IOS-North and IOS-South do not require an operating subsidy. The Authority’s revenue and operating cost projections for IOS-North and IOS-South are available in its Draft 2012 Business Plan and 2014 Business Plan.

    —-The Authority will use feedback received in the EOIs (Expressions Of Interest) in determining its ultimate delivery strategy for moving forward with delivering the first high speed rail system in the United States.

    —-The Authority is open to receiving ideas and proposals for alternative segments other than the IOS-North or IOS-South. However, Respondents are advised to consider the Authority’s objectives (as stated in the RFEI) and constraints outlined above when considering submitting ideas or proposals for alternative segments and should provide the Authority with an explanation of how an alternative segment can meet both the objectives and constraints of the Authority including the key objective of an operable high-speed rail service that does not require an operating subsidy.”
    ___________________

    If costs for IOS-South begin to rise dramatically and if the construction time also increases dramatically, then I assume that the Authority will seriously consider switching to IOS-North, or as a remote possibility a different segment altogether as the place to start running high speed trains. It would be unfortunate if the money is not there to go south, particularly if the possibility of a Palmdale to Las Vegas connection ls for real. We should know more by February when the 2016 Business Plan comes out, if not sooner. Not sure though how IOS-North would play with the Legislature or with the voters.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Really dry humour, almost worthy of a PBS import from the Olde Country. Polite giggle.

    “—-Based on Authority analysis, both IOS-North and IOS-South do not require an operating subsidy.”

    Ted Judah Reply:

    If costs for IOS-South begin to rise dramatically and if the construction time also increases dramatically, then I assume that the Authority will seriously consider switching to IOS-North, or as a remote possibility a different segment altogether as the place to start running high speed trains. It would be unfortunate if the money is not there to go south, particularly if the possibility of a Palmdale to Las Vegas connection ls for real.

    The main reason to go South was always that half the Legislature hails from there.

    From a concept or operational standpoint, IOS South offered nothing. A route that drops passengers off in downtown LA isn’t exactly going to attract a mass of riders on its own. (See Metrolink’s declining popularity during an economic recovery.)

    It’s the Bay Area that has the dynamic economy now. It’s IOS North where a HSR line oozing into cheap real estate and high unemployment can have the most impact. It’s where there will be a direct connection to an International Airport, BART, powerhouse universities, major sporting venues…you name it.

    In Los Angeles, it’s all a work in progress. A subway system that someday might be comprehensive enough to change the car culture. An international airport that requires a transfer by bus of over an hour in rush hour.

    Still, don’t get me wrong. It’s crucial that LA gets HSR, but perhaps the Big Four has the idea right the first time. Build from the Peninsula southward to LA and beyond.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Naah.

    Put everything you have got into the southern mountain crossing. That is the only part of this thing that is truly new. Fuggedabout Tehachapi and Vegas; they don’t even have one lousy train.

    Do you really think there is that much demand for Bay Area people to go to Fresno? If they do they will drive because it is the Valley.

    Your test of hsr concept is Bako to Burbank – it is expensive but not exorbitant and via Tejon it will impress, I assure you.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Um, no. Los Angeles has a growing vibrant economy, even if it is a work in progress. San Francisco is… well, it’s stagnating in some strange ways. Silicon Valley had a vibrant economy, but it’s started to hit walls… it’s become NIMBY heaven. With bad housing policy, they’re finally hitting the point where companies are considering moving elsewhere because their workers can’t afford to live there. Took long enough….

    *More* than half the legislature hails from the south end, and that percentage is *increasing*.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    L.A.’s struggles to provide opportunity and growth simultaneously is nothing new. You might however want to check out this book:

    http://www.sfgate.com/books/article/The-Rise-and-Fall-of-Urban-Economies-6511749.php

    You see, I have lived in both Northern and Southern California and the way you have to look at is this way:

    Add Fresno to the Bay Area…you get an exciting, volatile combination of growth and development.

    Add Fresno to Los Angeles…you get more smog and traffic.

    Silicon Valley needs more housing, more land, and more water. LA needs more water, but has all the sprawl it will ever need. What’s missing are high-wage jobs in Southern California and the only place they are in shorter supply is in Fresno. You might as well siphon a dry well.

    As for the Legislature…Southern California’s population peaked in the mid-90’s as percentage of the State as a whole. Moreover, back then it was the Republicans who were the beneficiary. Today it’s the Latino bloc who shore up the Democrats’ near-supermajority.

    In other words, the Surenos would gladly trade the IOS away for something else more important to them, but they have to hold it hostage to ensure they get something out of the deal.

  20. Donk
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 21:03
    #20

    $15M approved by LA Metro to study run-thru tracks in coordination with CHSRA study. From Metro website:

    Recently, the California High Speed Rail Authority expressed a desire to come directly into LAUS rather than at the location on Vignes Avenue as shown in the illustrative approach in the Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan (LAUSMP).

    The consequential impact of accommodating HSR in the heart of LAUS would change the environmental footprint for SCRIP as this will require a new environmental approach for the amended SCRIP project.

    The CHSRA has secured funding to aggressively accelerate the document for the southern California area. A timeline of 2017 has been established when the environmental document for the segment between Burbank and Anaheim, including the area surrounding LAUS, is complete. In order to meet the CHSRA timeline, and incorporate the LAUSMP passenger concourse and not preclude a high speed rail commuter system into Union Station, the SCRIP will need to be advanced along the same timeline. This creates the need to move forward with the environmental and preliminary engineering work in order for it to be completed by August 2017. The urgency of the project is created by the need to have SCRIP functional at the start of the Initial Operating Segment (IOS) of the California High Speed Rail (CHSR) system. The additional capacity gained by this project will be necessary to serve the IOS.

    Staff has been discussing the execution of the environmental work with the CHSRA and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) as there are several environmental studies by Metro and HSR that will overlap. It is expected that both the CHSRA and Metro can clear their respective projects with coordination of the environmental studies.

    The entire text is here as well as a recent slide presentation to the Metro BOD:

    https://metro.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2486700&GUID=565A0CBC-80E6-427D-919F-D9A099F97909&FullText=1

    Clem Reply:

    Nice. Here comes Electrolink

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Electrolink maybe, only if HSR stays alive long enough to get it started

    Ted Judah Reply:

    ….and only is Metrolink also survives…

    Roland Reply:

    Did anyone notice that LAUS is giving HSR a maximum of two dedicated platforms (a single island) and that there are no known plans to throw away the toilets and 200 seats on every Metrolink train to make room for two sets of pocket doors?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Did anyone notice that LAUS is giving HSR a maximum of two dedicated platforms (a single island)

    Nice-ish. At least “not utterly brain damaged and insane”-ish.

    The single island in “phase 1”, two islands (four platform faces) in “phase 2”.
    That’s perfectly adequate for shared HSR/Electrolink service for up to 30 trains per direction per hour. What’s the problem supposed to be? The first stage is perfectly adequate for 12tph or more, which means for a long time indeed.

    This is one of the very few remotely rational things that’s ever come out that part of the world.

    and that there are no known plans to throw away the toilets and 200 seats on every Metrolink train to make room for two sets of pocket doors?

    There is no need for a platform height transition for “Electrolink”. The number of stations, the number of passengers is trivial. Just build the new non-FRA HSR-compatible infrastructure, build the new Electrolink platforms on the new non-FRA tracks, buy a small fleet on non-FRA Electrolink trains that only ever need serve the new station platforms, put them into service. No need for different height doors. Just match the doors to the level boarding platform height (which would have been ~760mm in a less stupid world).

    No low-high platform transition. One day Metrolink dino-trains are chuntering along with two (or more! more is better!) locomotives carrying no passengers between under a dozen low-use stations. (Or maybe somebody has stuck a fork in inutile Metrolink altogether by then.) The next day Electrolink trains stop at new and different platforms close by. Just do it.

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/07/debate-over-hsr-routing-near-la-union-station-heats-up-again/#comment-81757
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/07/debate-over-hsr-routing-near-la-union-station-heats-up-again/#comment-81779
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/07/debate-over-hsr-routing-near-la-union-station-heats-up-again/#comment-81781
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/07/debate-over-hsr-routing-near-la-union-station-heats-up-again/#comment-81803
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/07/debate-over-hsr-routing-near-la-union-station-heats-up-again/#comment-81823
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/07/debate-over-hsr-routing-near-la-union-station-heats-up-again/#comment-81838
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/07/debate-over-hsr-routing-near-la-union-station-heats-up-again/#comment-81842
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/07/debate-over-hsr-routing-near-la-union-station-heats-up-again/#comment-81898
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/07/july-chsra-board-meeting-2/#comment-80902
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/09/carrd-charges-two-chsra-board-members-have-a-conflict-of-interest/#comment-87389
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/01/octa-board-questions-artic-plans/#comment-99364
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/03/march-chsra-board-meeting/#comment-103935
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/03/march-chsra-board-meeting/#comment-104024
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/03/march-chsra-board-meeting/#comment-104159
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/11/kopp-and-morshed-raise-questions-about-new-business-plan/#comment-129937
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2012/01/learning-from-high-speed-rail-in-spain/#comment-135870
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2012/08/getting-union-station-ready-for-high-speed-rail/#comment-162665
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2012/08/getting-union-station-ready-for-high-speed-rail/#comment-162772
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2014/04/state-asks-fra-for-flexibility-on-buy-america-rules-but-only-for-prototypes/#comment-223476
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2014/04/state-asks-fra-for-flexibility-on-buy-america-rules-but-only-for-prototypes/#comment-223565
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2015/09/china-announces-it-will-help-build-la-vegas-hsr/#comment-261850
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2015/09/metro-hopes-to-use-2024-olympic-bid-to-accelerate-rail-construction#comment-261326

    Clem Reply:

    If it’s a through station, HSR and Electrolink can share four platform faces (two islands). Ditto in San Jose, if Caltrain stops using the station as long-term train parking.

    SS Reply:

    Electrolink seems to have been briefly discussed at the July Board Meeting – page 21:

    http://metrolink.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=metrolink_3a03b149d424633411da0df0a22d59a7.pdf&view=1

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Hardly.

    “Replace all diesel locomotives with electric locomotives, string catenary over freight lines all over the place” is just America’s Finest Transportation Planners at work, doing what they do best. It isn’t a rational plan, it isn’t desirable, it isn’t anything but a strawman.

    (Well, it’s a little more than that: heads you decide this is crazy and we continue to operate a useless Olde Tyme Commuter Railroad forever; rails you decide this has to be done and we continue to operate a useless Old Tyme Commuter Railroad forever with wires on top for a couple extra billion dollars, just like Caltrain is doing! It’s a win for us either way! Signed, America’s Finest.)

    Nathanael Reply:

    “Replace all diesel locomotives with electric locomotives, string catenary over freight lines all over the place” is the rational plan being carried out by the UK government. And the Russian government.

    For reference.

    Roland Reply:

    “HSR and Electrolink can share four platform faces (two islands)”.
    What height might these platforms be, pretty please?

    Eric M Reply:

    Going to have to be 51″ ATOR

    Roland Reply:

    Sooooo Electrolink is going to lose 200 seats, all double doors and every single toilet just like Caltrain????

    Jon Reply:

    Where did you get that number from?

    4 seats lost per extra doorway
    x 4 extra doorways per EMU car
    x 6 cars per train
    = 96 seats lost

    Clem Reply:

    The toilet issue is an ADA thing, namely how to provide bathroom accessibility during the transition to level boarding. Not all manufacturers have cracked that nut, but some have. It requires an in-vehicle lift.

    Jon Reply:

    PDF page 14. Seat loss due to adding high-level doors is quoted as “60 – 100 per 6 car train”.

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2015/2015-05-20+JPB+BOD+EMU+Procurement.pdf

    Joe Reply:

    60 seats removed per caltrain train assuming three bike cars.

    J. Wong Reply:

    And they’ll be added back once the transition is completed.

    MarkB Reply:

    @Roland: There are two options in the deck: 1-platform/2-tracks and 2-platforms/4-tracks. They’re listed as “phase 1” and “phase 2” for whatever that’s worth, but it’s in the mix.

    Jon Reply:

    The reason for the two phases is that they’d have to move the Gold Line tracks and platforms for phase 2.

    Roland Reply:

    @Mark, platform sharing is not the issue (that’s the way it’s done in Europe), the issue is that the same rent seekers who were incapable of designing a workable tunnel alignment want to raise platform heights to 52 inches (http://tinyurl.com/ohog8gx). This is how Caltrain ended up losing 200 seats (and every toilet) and pocket doors instead of double doors.

    MarkB Reply:

    @Roland: You’re inventing problems that don’t exist. LAUS today is Metrolink + Amtrak. Both are low platform. LAUS is projected to be Metrolink + Amtrak + CAHSR. Metrolink and Amtrak will continue to share low platforms while HSR will be high platform. Should Metrolink convert some of its rolling stock to high platform, LAUS will become Metrolink + Amtrak sharing low, Metrolink + HSR sharing high. Should Metrolink convert all rolling stock (not going to happen), it would be Amtrak having low, Metrolink + HSR sharing high. LAUS can convert low platforms to high as demand warrants. Of course there’s a cost involved, but it’s the economical way to proceed.

    Looking at the forest (and not the trees): don’t we get any “huzzahs” for swapping an underground bunker a quarter mile away for shared facilities within the exiting station footprint? How many billions can be saved? Or is that goodness overruled by some silliness up north?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Agree MarkB. However, Anaheim and any intermediate stations do present a problem for mixed use.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yep. By the way, it’s 48″ platforms (not 51 or 51) if they have any sanity (and I think in LA, they do).

    Clem Reply:

    50.5 to 50.75 inches, to be precise.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I don’t know what’s up with this futzing around with funny-height platforms. The standard for high platforms in the United States and Canada is 1219 mm (48 inches); in Spain it’s 1250 mm (49.2 in); in Japan it’s 1100 mm (43.3 in); Subways in NY are between 44 and 45 inches; etc.

    Supposedly the standard interior height of train floors is 51 inches, though this varies and can drop if the suspension sags. But for ADA purposes, the trains are going to be incrementally changed to 48″, rather than the hundreds and hundreds of platforms being raised by 3″.

    Steps down into the train are discouraged, so the platforms need to stay at 48″. Not 51″ . Not 52″. Not 50.5″. 48″.

    snogglethorpe Reply:

    @Nathanael
    Shinkansen = 1250mm

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Anaheim and any intermediate stations do present a problem for mixed use.

    Only if “mixed use” is a thing. Not if they’re Electrolink (level boarding EMU) only.

    Why have non-ELectrolink 8-inch-platform stations at Buena Park, Norwalk, Commerce at all?

    Make the Metrolink-Electrolink transfer at dual-served Fullerton as easy as possible (cross-platform isn’t really feasible) and you’re done.

    All freight-style commuter-style Metrolink trains run non-stop LAUS—Fullerton, with intermediate stops served by more appropriate Electrolink service.

    (I’d like to say Anaheim ought to be Electrolink-only too, but won’t.)

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Unfortunately the neanderthals at SCRRA have not yet signed up for Electrolink. Tier 4 diesels are just dandy, thank you. As for Anaheim, it does not generate much business for Amtrak and Disneyland could be accessed from Fullerton for the Surfliners. They make too many stops in OC.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Paul, they don’t have to sign up for anything. Just stop stopping at the intermediate stations, and then remove the stations altogether.

    Less service = good, right? They ought to be all over it!

    Instead of “Electrolink”, pick a colour to name Sylmar—LAUS—Anaheim—Orange route and tell them it’s part of the LA Metro. Only “metro” trains can be level boarding after all.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Ultimately, the difference in boarding levels only strengthens the argument I made that HSR should have a separate station below the Red Line subway stop.

    If this nonsense with SCRIP continues to thread all HSR traffic (and thus force all trains to stop at LAUS) through two tracks, we are building for an operational nightmare that makes the Peninsula looks like child’s play.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Read the diagram.

    (a) all trains are stopping at LAUS anyway period,
    (b) The proposal is to have a completely separate pair of HSR approach tracks to LAUS from south and north, separate from the Metrolink/Amtrak approach tracks — so four tracks total from the south, more from the north.

    Clem Reply:

    If 51 inch boarding height is not to your liking but platform sharing is, just what is your recommendation? You can’t have it both ways (low and shared).

    Jerry Reply:

    Mind the Gap
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_the_gap
    :)

    Useless Reply:

    Clem

    A train that serves both low and high platforms.

    http://youtu.be/MBXUUYPy1bA

    Eric M Reply:

    That wouldn’t be allowed under ADA regulations.

    Clem Reply:

    As Eric M points out, that is not highaccessibleworthy.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Roland is bitter because they didn’t choose Euro platforms…

    Roland Reply:

    According to Clem:
    ” I don’t see how 30″ platforms would be non-compliant with 49CFR38.175. It’s the ideal compromise height for blended level boarding, not too high for Caltrain and not too low for HSR. In an ideal world this would be Plan A.
    HSR certainly seem to think that 30″ is too low based on their insistence for procuring ten-year-old train designs. I don’t think they will bend one inch on this, which is why I am advocating Plan B (dual height Caltrain boarding with eventual transition to 100% high). It’s not as good as Plan A, which I readily acknowledge. But it’s better than segregated infrastructure, both in terms of operational flexibility and capital cost. That is where I disagree with you or Andy or Roland.”
    http://www.greencaltrain.com/2014/12/high-speed-rail-considers-paying-for-caltrain-compatibility-capacity-level-boarding/

    Clem Reply:

    That’s an excellent description of my position. What’s yours?

    MarkB Reply:

    Friday evening (23 Oct) I posted basically the same comment as Donk #20. The comment was visible on the site for at least two hours and then it vanished. It hasn’t appeared since. Why is this? I’ve been an occasional commenter here for years and have never had this happen before.

    Nathanael Reply:

    GOOD. California HSR belongs in Union Station.

  21. Donk
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 21:17
    #21

    Metro Gold Line extension to Asuza to open March 2016, for anyone who cares:

    http://thesource.metro.net/2015/10/22/gold-line-to-azusa-to-open-march-5-ten-things-to-know-about-the-foothill-extension/

    Opening Expo Line to Santa Monica not yet announced.

    Looks like they were able to use some of the cap & trade funds to support operating costs for the Gold Line opening.

    synonymouse Reply:

    good show

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Now that’s “a train to nowhere”…

    synonymouse Reply:

    I think they should rename LACMTA, more like an STD, the Pacific Electric, viz. the PE.

    Go PE; let’s get it all back.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART – a train to infinity and beyond!

  22. JimInPollockPines
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 21:23
    #22

    House Transpo Bill Spells Trouble for Transit Projects Across America

    …. Currently, transit capital projects are eligible to receive 80 percent of their funding from federal sources, with local sources providing the remaining 20 percent. This is the same as the federal match available for highway projects. But the new House bill would cut the maximum federal match for transit projects to 50 percent while leaving the highway formula untouched. The bill would also prohibit transit agencies from counting funds from other federal programs (TIFIA loans, for instance) toward the local portion…

    Zorro Reply:

    Big Oil is involved, they don’t like Passenger Rail Transit, since PRT is often running with no oil, so the GOP sets the bar lower on Federal funding and higher on Local funding, to stop or slow down PRT…

    Joe Reply:

    It predominately hits mass transit and thus urban areas which is intentional. They mistakenly also hit suburban riders such as the METRA which is motioned in the article and reaches republican voting counties around Chicago. Lipinski is a dem in name only.

    Roads require cars and the average price per vehicle exceeds 30k. Red state troglodytes might like sticking it to urban metropolitan areas and pushing highways but it comes at a high price.

    Time for more bike lanes in cities.

    synonymouse Reply:

    This should not happen.

    On the other hand gadgetbahns like monorails and Indian Standard Gauge projects should maybe be punished with 50%.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And doodlebugs.

  23. Donk
    Oct 24th, 2015 at 21:38
    #23

    OT: In general LA Metro has been doing a good job in developing integrated, logical projects. However, one major failure was that they built a brand the brand new El Monte bus station less than a mile from the El Monte Metrolink station, even though the bus station is adjacent to the rail line. This image from Metro illustrates the stupidity:

    https://lametthesource.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/elmonte.jpg

    They are now doing a study to see if it is feasible to move the Metrolink station next to the Busway station (after they have just recently completed the busway station). Unfortunately, there is a new commercial development going up there. Not sure who was asleep at the wheel during this one.

    bixnix Reply:

    It seems to me like this is a Metrolink (or El Monte) failure, not Metro. The bus station isn’t really new (just rebuilt from the ground up), and it’s always been in the right place. It’s the Metrolink station that should’ve been moved.

    Donk Reply:

    Well, if you are right, then it probably isn’t a coincidence that this is being done now, given that the new Metrolink CEO is the former Metro CEO.

  24. Mark
    Oct 25th, 2015 at 07:33
    #24

    A new slam article by Vartabedian. It’s amazing how slanted he is against high speed rail.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-train-cost-final-20151025-story.html

  25. morris brown
    Oct 25th, 2015 at 07:49
    #25

    You can view a scan of the LA Times Special Report as it appears in the Sunday Times (Oct 25 2015), starting on the front page.

    Link to Times Report

    The Sunday Times has a circulation of over 950,000.

    Eric M Reply:

    You already posted the article. STOP SPAMMING!!

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Freeway Morris is enjoying his moment in the sun. Of course we are all shocked that the HSR project turns out to be difficult and challenging, and may cost more than originally projected. Absolutely unprecedented in the history of mankind! We are equally shocked that adding freeway lanes decade after decade has not solved traffic problems. Increased flights and wider (or double deck) freeways is what we’ll get without a modern electric railroad system. “No project” is not an option, unless you ration mobility.

    les Reply:

    “Digging stopped on the 2-mile Alaskan Way tunnel under Seattle when a boring machine broke down in December 2013 and had to be retrieved for repairs, causing a multiyear delay with an unknown cost overrun.” Funny how experts always make reference to the failed tunneling of Bertha and fail to mention Brenda, Pamela and their sisters exploits which have been performing under budget and ahead of schedule. This is so typical of Morris fodder.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Everyone who had a clue knew that the HIGHWAY tunnel under Seattle was a giant mistake.

  26. keith saggers
    Oct 25th, 2015 at 11:33
    #26
  27. Eric
    Oct 25th, 2015 at 13:50
    #27

    “$68-billion California bullet train project likely to overshoot budget and deadline targets”

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-train-cost-final-20151025-story.html

    les Reply:

    Can someone repost this one more time.

    Zorro Reply:

    More Garbage from Ralph Vartabedian, He writes this anti-HSR junk cause it sells papers… Yellow Journalism is what He writes.

  28. Jerry
    Oct 25th, 2015 at 17:24
    #28

    ” likely to overshoot budget and deadline targets”
    No big deal.
    It happens ALL the time with the military budgets.

    Roland Reply:

    Might this be because they have not heard of NEC contracts? https://www.youtube.com/user/NEC3Contract

    keith saggers Reply:

    Maybe, but they have heard of design/build contracts

  29. Reality Check
    Oct 26th, 2015 at 14:01
    #29

    Front page of today’s Palo Alto Daily Post:
    SoCal gets HSR tunnel, but not us (Wahhhh!)

    Clem Reply:

    If Palo Alto can increase its geological complexity they might stand a chance. They’ll have to move at far greater speed than tectonic.

  30. Reedman
    Oct 26th, 2015 at 15:09
    #30

    There are articles in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post about the railroads saying they will shutdown a lot of track on Jan 1 if the PTC mandate deadline isn’t extended. They say that the liability if something went wrong on non-PTC track with the federal mandate in place is too large to allow continued operation.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/deadline-for-train-safety-technology-undercut-by-industry-lobbying/2015/10/25/f893446a-2720-11e5-b77f-eb13a215f593_story.html

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/railroads-say-disruptions-loom-if-safety-system-deadline-isnt-extended-1445885962

    Jerry Reply:

    Well you have to blame someone. And the WSJ blames US Senator Barbara Boxer.
    And the WSJ adds that the PTC technology is by now out of date.

    Joe Reply:

    Yeah. What is her title? Queen of the senate or her majesty of Congrss?

    Hapless majority Repunlican leadership is responsible.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Bill Vantuono did a good job in describing PTC in the last Railway Age. I have reproduced it in the next “Steel Wheels” which will be leaving the printer shortly. It really is a horse designed by a committee.

    Zorro Reply:

    For those that would like a link to something about PTC, here it is: Taming the PTC elephant At least this is what came up in a Bing search. Sen Boxer’s being an Ass… The FCC is mentioned too.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The PTC technology being installed in the US was stupid when it was designed by the idiots at the Class I freights. They just refused, refused to use any of the several off-the-shelf systems which were available, because Not Invented Here. “Out of Date” hardly begins to cover it.

    This was the fault of the private companies, period. Congress should have simply ordered them to use one of a list of approved systems in use abroad, but Congress doesn’t like to “micromanage”. Oy.

    Nathanael Reply:

    By the way, the system used by Amtrak on the NEC is OK.

    Zorro Reply:

    American exceptionalism at its finest… Of course the railroads do have a lot of locos to upgrade to PTC & a lot of freight to move, with a locomotive shortage to boot, from what I’ve read.

    Peter Reply:

    And … deadline extended.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-metra-ptc-extension-met-20151028-story.html

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