Mercury News Gets Confirmation of Northern IOS

Feb 18th, 2016 | Posted by

Jessica Calefati at the San Jose Mercury News has the scoop that the California High Speed Rail Authority will indeed build the Initial Operating Segment in Northern California, as has been rumored for weeks:

In a huge win for the Bay Area, the state will build the first 250 miles of bullet train track between San Jose and the Bakersfield area and now aims to offer service on the line in less than a decade, according to a report set to be released Friday.

The new plan represents a seismic shift from the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s 2012 decision to build the first segment of the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles rail line between Burbank and the Central Valley.

In the draft report obtained Wednesday by this newspaper, the authority says it had to change course to keep costs down, in large part because the southern segment will entail expensive tunneling costs through the Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountains.

Getting even a significant portion of the project built early — by 2025 — would help its political survival. And, as the report notes, the Silicon Valley-to-Central Valley line will better position the state to attract private investors, whom Gov. Jerry Brown and supporters of the project hope will pay for part of the cost, now estimated at $64 billion — down from $68 billion.

This all makes sense. The uncertainty about how to get from Palmdale to Burbank – especially the cost uncertainty – isn’t likely to be resolved anytime soon. So building the cheaper and easier northern segment, from Bakersfield to San José and on to San Francisco, is a smart way to get HSR service up and running. And that in turn helps bring the revenues and private investment needed to get from Bakersfield to LA.

The article is full of interesting quotes from Santa Clara County leaders, most of whom were effusive in their praise of this decision:

“We are talking about a trip from Madera taking 40 minutes to downtown San Jose when you cannot get from the Almaden Valley to downtown San Jose in 40 minutes,” said Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “The unemployment rate in the Central Valley is twice the amount as the rest of California, and this is going to provide such opportunities for workers throughout the Central Valley and then a way for travelers to get from the Central Valley to jobs in Silicon Valley.”

This got a bit of attention on Twitter last night from those concerned that HSR will promote sprawl in the Central Valley. It’s worth noting that there currently are no plans to build a station in Madera County, which lies between Merced and Fresno. Guardino might have been referring to Merced, or to Fresno, both of which will have stations and would become ideal bedroom communities for the Silicon Valley. That doesn’t create any new sprawl pressure that didn’t already exist, and having a centrally located HSR station in those cities can help reduce sprawl pressure and promote TOD, since people will have a strong incentive to live near the station.

Guardino went on to tout the 2025 opening date:

Moreover, Guardino said, getting the train here by 2025 means it would arrive at about the same time as the scheduled BART extension to downtown San Jose.

“So we would have electrified Caltrain, BART and high-speed rail all coming together at the Grand Central Station of the West: Diridon Station,” said Guardino, a member of the state’s transportation commission.

Exactly, and this to me is a big upside of the decision to pick a northern IOS. A San José HSR station will be connected to rail service along the Peninsula and up to the East Bay – and, depending on how the funding develops, potentially to rail service southward to the Monterey Bay Area.

Speaking of Diridon, the station’s namesake is also quoted:

“It is obviously a great victory for Silicon Valley, and it reflects on our solidarity in support of the project,” said Rod Diridon Sr., whom that station is named after. Diridon, past chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority, is director emeritus at the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State.

He said “L.A. lost” because there was too much opposition in the San Fernando Valley and north Los Angeles County “by a very small group of horse and cattle owners in the area.”

“Eventually it will go through, undoubtedly because it’s really necessary, and L.A. County and city will not stand for them being left out.”

I’m not sure how well that quote will be received in Southern California, but it does indicate that the concerns raised by residents in Santa Clarita and in Sunland-Tujunga did have an impact on the CHSRA’s decision-making process here.

Still, a northern IOS would have looked attractive even if that opposition didn’t materialize in SoCal. The cost of building from Bakersfield to Burbank is still pretty high, with a lot of tunneling involved. And that’s true even with a Tejon Pass I-5 route that some observers continue to insist should have been chosen.

The route from the Central Valley to San José is much less challenging from an engineering perspective, as Pacheco Pass is lower and shorter than the Tehachapi or Tejon passes, and that’s before considering the San Gabriels.

Calefati also notes that SoCal didn’t exactly “lose” – they’re still getting $2 billion in improvements, including funding for the run-through tracks project at LA Union Station.

The last of the interesting quotes is from Palo Alto mayor Pat Burt, a longtime HSR critic, who in the article is dangling the prospect of a deal – if the Peninsula gets what they want:

News of the change in direction came as little surprise to Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt, whose city was at the epicenter of a fight against the rail authority’s plans several years ago to build an elevated four-track system.

Burt said the Caltrain advisory group he belongs to anticipated the move when the authority sped up the environmental review process for the Bakersfield-to-San Jose segment about six months ago.

The Peninsula and South Bay cities represented by the group want the authority to provide a grade-separation plan for 40 rail crossings, including a “fair share” of the funding.

“If we simply have a consensus in what we insist upon, they will end up agreeing to it,” Burt said.

It’s the same issue as before: they want either a trench or a tunnel for the tracks and want someone else to pay for it. Though I suppose it’s progress that they are now willing to pay for some of it themselves, as long as the state pays for whatever they determine the “fair share” to be.

All in all, I see this as very good news for the high speed rail project. Building a northern IOS is a good way to get HSR up and running more quickly than is possible in SoCal, and for a lower cost. That in turn can help make it easier to get the tracks through the mountains between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, while also buying more time to figure out how exactly to do that – especially in the Palmdale to Burbank section.

  1. jwb
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 08:42

    Bring on the sprawl! Commute from Los Banos!

    J. Wong Reply:

    Hmm, that’s going to require a station.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    ….aaaaand a ton of water rights…which flow from east to west in the San Joaquin Valley.

    Moreover, it’s not like Los Banos can just borrow some water rights from Santa Clara Valley Water District…San Jose is just as dependent on imported water as L.A….

    William Reply:

    A HSR station would encourage Los Banos to grow denser, instead of continued sprawling as today.

    Yes, why not a Los Banos HSR station? A Merced-San Jose local HSR train would be ideal for commuter and students alike.

    jwb Reply:

    Yes, to be honest I’m all for it, as long as the existing Los Banos gets bulldozed in favor of a car-free city of 1 million people.

    J. Wong Reply:

    HSR cannot build it with Prop 1a funds although I suppose if Los Banos wanted to pay for it itself…

    Peter Reply:

    Ah, but remember, according to the plaintiffs in the Tos lawsuit, Prop 1a limits FOREVER how ANY high speed rail system might be built in CA.

    J. Wong Reply:


    What no one seems to realize is that Prop 1a didn’t specify any remedies beyond initial bond disbursement.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    so cheat, lie, etc. Its ok, they cant touch you.

    Ethics, you cant buy them back after you sell them

    Jerry Reply:

    It sure worked with Iraq WII.

    EJ Reply:

    Dude, stop with the Iraq war crap. I mean, every time. Yes, Iraq II colossal, immoral boondoggle based on lies. It also has nothing to do with CAHSR.

    If someone criticizes something, “well, this other completely unrelated thing was much bigger and worse!” isn’t really a compelling or interesting argument.

    Jerry Reply:

    It comes down to MONEY. Taxpayers money. And it comes down to what people want for their money. It’s not about crap. It has everything to do about HSR. Or any other part of the infrastructure in this country.
    And it is completely related to everything.

    EJ Reply:

    No, it isn’t. Are you saying that Clem, Nadia, Elizabeth, John N., Paul Dyson, Richard M., and everybody else who ever criticizes CAHSR – all of them supported the Iraq War? You know this for a fact?

    Look, I get where you’re coming from, it makes me sick when I think about all the stuff we could achieve as a country if we didn’t spend 5% of our GDP on “defense.” The military industrial complex is a huge political, economic, and moral problem, and shit like Iraq II is just a symptom.

    But even if by some miracle we knocked our military spending back to reasonable levels, created a truly “defensive” military, stopped our foreign military adventurism, and routed all the money, industrial capacity, and people freed up into more productive uses like infrastructure, health care, education, science, etc… we’d still want all that stuff to be conceived and managed as efficiently and honestly as possible.

    The reason I and others don’t bring this up all the time on the “California High Speed Rail Blog” is, well, look at the title of the blog. It just derails the discussion if every damn time you come in and say, “wait, why are we talking about this latest screwup when THE IRAQ WAR was such a bigger waste of money!”

    J. Wong Reply:

    Dude, who’s cheating or lying? Prop 1a was pretty clear. Just because you didn’t understand it, is no need to get upset.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Its simple for me.

    I support following the law because that is the right thing to do. I don’t follow the law because of “punishment”

    You are advocating to directly ignore the requirements set forth in the law because “there is no recourse”. That is not ok. If you dont already understand this then there is no way for me to explain it to you.

    As state employees they are supposed to execute the project per the law to the best of their abilities. Not ignore the parts of the law they dont like and spend the bond money to build a system regardless of the constrictions. These are not small details. These restrictions were put in specifically to gain the votes necessary to make this a law. To ignore them now is to ignore the law and democracy

    To their credit, the staff of CAHSR are not saying this, you are. They are claiming to meet the requirements (right now). They have not gone this far as to say they are ignoring the law.

    Joe Reply:

    The AG of Califronia is the Principle legal officer who represents the State in legal proceedings and gives legal advice to the government.

    The deputy AG made the same representative statement Wong wrote did in court this Feb. In fact She quoted the Appellate Court insisting the prop1a bond act governs bonds only.

    You have no misgivings second guessing the AG yet make a soap box speech about your ethical campus and following the law.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I’m not advocating anyone to violate the law. And yes, the Authority is following the law. The Authority won’t be the ones to build a Los Banos station (if anyone does).

    I’m glad you’re admitting the Authority is following the law although I think that contradicts other posts you have made here (re: Meeting the time requirements, funding for all segments, etc.)

    And to close, I’ll point out that we have laws against murder, but how effective do you think those laws would be without very clear penalties? You may follow the law w/o the threat of punishment (but I know for a fact that you have violated the law at some point; everyone has!), but I would guess that a significant minority wouldn’t.

    Zorro Reply:

    IOS is not part of Prop1a or of AB3034, and neither is ‘full funding for the entire system must be in place before any construction can begin’, also ‘blended or not’ between SF and SJ is not in Prop1a or of AB3034, “full funding for building each usable section” is, anti HSR forces will say that to try and stop the project and scream bloody murder like babies, when they don’t get their way.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. I said the CAHSR people are CLAIMING to meet the law. I disagree they are. Other agree they are. But we all agree they are required to follow the law.

    2. You are absolutely advocating they violate the law by saying there is not remedies when they do. The very term “remedy” implies that the law was broken and it needs to be remedied

    3. You do not “know for a fact” that I have broken the law because you don’t know jack about me. Not everyone has broken the law.

    4. In actuality, the punishment in the law is for the minority of people. The vast majority of people would not commit murder regardless of law/punishment or not because of their personal ethics. Same with theft, rape, and fraud. There absolutely have to be punishment for people. But that is not the majority.

    J. Wong Reply:

    CAHSR should and do follow the law. They will meet the requirements for bond disbursement as laid out in Prop 1a, which is what Judge Kenny will find. None of what Tos, claims will be validated.

    The law says a lot of things, I’m sure you’ve broken some of them (like the posted speed limit, intentionally or not). By your reasoning anytime HSR fails to make the 2’40” time for whatever reason (like an earthquake), then they have violated the law.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Another reason why you don’t want legislation by initiative. The Runner HSR/Water initiative is also another “lie” since it’s true purpose is to lock in water rights not to transfer bond funds from HSR.

    Zorro Reply:

    Of course it does also steal HSR Bond money, so far I’ve not seen any signature gatherers for either of Huff and Puff’s(Huff & Runner) efforts, if they make it and get on the ballot(good luck, in 2014 they tried this and failed), I’ll vote NO on anything that goes after HSR.

    And yes I do like the fact that HSR will be able to go from SF to Bakersfield, since the the “Train to Nowhere” Meme will and should be DEAD, with a Stake in its slimy undead vampire heart…

    J. Wong Reply:

    I’m not claiming that it wouldn’t steal HSR bond money only that that is misdirection to get what they really want.

    Zorro Reply:

    Maybe I didn’t make Myself clear, I support what you said J. Wong, I just added on what it lacked.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ William

    Why does this keep coming up time and time again?


    (d) The total number of stations to be served by high-speed trains for all
    of the corridors described in subdivision (b) of Section 2704.04 shall not
    exceed 24. There shall be no station between the Gilroy station and the
    Merced station.

    The last I knew, Los Banos is between Gilroy and Merced —NO?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    This, btw, is why the Authority’s argument that prop 1a is only about how bond $$s are spent can’t be true – the los banos ban wouldn’t mean anything if it was only about bond $$$.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Except Prop 1a doesn’t specify any remedy for (supposed) violations after bond $$s are spent.

    Zorro Reply:

    I always knew that CARRD was suspicious, CARRD is on the a Tea Party Page against HSR, a Pro Big Oil page.

    TeaPAC-CA ID#1328425

    Californians Advocating for Responsible Rail Design” or CARRD, glad to see that 2014 effort failed, worse luck this time.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Have no clue – for real – who these people are. Logos are easy to cut and paste…

    Peter Reply:

    Time for a Cease-and-Desist letter?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    We have found that polite emails usually do the trick.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Whoever thought the Los Banos station ban meant anything long-term? It was put in merely as a temporary sop to take away the argument Altamontistas were making that Pacheco would spark Los Baños sprawl and enrich some well-connected landowners in that area.

    Zorro Reply:

    Did you read the article jwb? Sprawl has been already happening in the Central Valley, HSR is not going to create sprawl.

  2. EJ
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 09:12

    It’s the same issue as before: they want either a trench or a tunnel for the tracks and want someone else to pay for it.

    Ah yes, suddenly cost increases are very important when someone wants grade separations.

    Joe Reply:

    Palo Alto is accustomed to getting its way by blocking development and only approving projects when the desired mitigations and cash are given to offset the inconvenience.

    The City has absolutely no coordination with neighboring cities about the billion plus dollar ROW trench. Palo Alto has little experience cooperating and don’t accept or understand that the Authority doesn’t need city council approval.

    EJ Reply:

    the Authority doesn’t need city council approval.

    In theory. Caltrans theoretically doesn’t need South Pasadena’s approval to build the 710 freeway through town either, but South Pas has managed to block it for 50 years.

    Domayv Reply:

    cant they just tunnel under it (which is what theyve been trying to do)

    EJ Reply:

    Only because they finally realized that’s the only way it will ever get built.

    Domayv Reply:

    and i’ll likely be a double decker twin tube tunnel (upper is for cars that would get off on a nearby street adjacent to the tunnel, and the lower deck is for cars going all the way to I-210 at Pasadena

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I think in return for building the 710 tunnel, caltrans should remove the dangerous, outdated, and narrow 110 north of the 5, and replace it with infill and parks. They could mitigate this traffic impact by adding two two lane expresslanes tunnels alongside the two four lane tunnels already planned.

    William Reply:

    I don’t think Caltrans possess all the ROW to bridge the 710 gap, while Caltrain does. Also, the jurisdiction of Caltrain ROW doesn’t belong to the cities either, unlike the 710 gap situation.

    Joe Reply:

    In practice. The ROW is there already cutting across Palo Alto and no station is required.
    They can’t take back the ROW or stop electrification.

    Their local politicians already legislated prop1a must pay for some of the blended electrification. Santa Clara Co. wants the HSR system.

    The grade crossings can remain and quad gates installed. Gates will be closed longer if the city wants to protect property.

  3. morris brown
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 09:30

    Robert writes:

    All in all, I see this as very good news for the high speed rail project. Building a northern IOS is a good way to get HSR up and running more quickly than is possible in SoCal, and for a lower cost. That in turn can help make it easier to get the tracks through the mountains between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, while also buying more time to figure out how exactly to do that – especially in the Palmdale to Burbank section.

    How can delaying bridging the passenger rail gap possible make for “lower costs”? It makes no sense.

    On the political side, 2 new Authority directors, both from So. California were just appointed. Lynn Schenk from San Diego is still a director. The State Senate leader deLeon, is from So. California and has already announced he wants more, not less funding for the south.

    To date everything Chair Richard has mandated, passes almost always unanimously. (big exception was Schenk saying no to the blended plan).

    One might assume that Chair Richard might not have such smooth sailing with this plan.

    les Reply:

    X and Chinese are much more interested in funding the gap and doing tunneling then anything up north. If foreign investment is to occur it will be here.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I saw that Board member Lowenthal made a note of my comment that we (RailPAC) does not want an interim terminus in Burbank. The build north plan is the only viable option to keep the project alive and leaves the door open for an RFP for a toll tunnel (rail of course) to link Bakersfield and L.A. The proposers can offer any route they think can be built, which would put Tejon on the table pari pasu with Palmdale.

    synonymouse Reply:

    AFAIK Richard has never broached a revisit of Tejon.

    Clearly PBCAHSR and Richard & co. were either mislead or deluded themselves that the southern mountain crossing via Palmdale was a slam dunk. And then when opposition mysteriously appeared they thought the Antonovich Angeles National Forest long tunnels would assuage and win the day. Once again major misread of the tea leaves.

    The underlying issue is PB downgraded the project from real hsr to a collection of regional commute ops. SJ to Fresno should open up many eyes to this reality. It is such a marginal undertaking and such an egregious waste of transit funding that should go to SoCal where the cost benefit ratio would be infinitely greater.

    I have to think Gavin and Willie are smiling today as they know this is not going to play out without a fight and some Demo pols are going to roll over to the idea of a revote of Prop 1a.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Um…yeah…try again.

    The reason to pick L.A. was to have the best chance of pulling down federal money because of how much of Congress is from Southern California. The reason to pick the Bay Area was private investment being much easier to find.

    The federal vision of HSR is fading away, now the public-private vision of CAHSR is coming to the fore….

    Joe Reply:

    Obama Proposed $10 barrel import oil tax for HSR.

    Zorro Reply:

    The GOP will deep six that idea, the GOP has an allergy to taxes and to HSR, even if it’s for the public good.

    Joe Reply:

    Right. That might be their position initially.

    Taxing imported oil $10 a barrel helps domestic producers who gain a $10 advantage over importers and who today are operating at a loss. So the senators from oil producing states will get calls from oil producers. It’s a clever election trick that has yet to play out.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Lower costs than the southern mountain crossing to get HSR running.

    Useless Reply:

    Morris brown

    They are not saying delaying would lower cost; rather the Northern IOS cost less than the Southern IOS because tunneling is not required.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Useless

    They certainly are saying that delaying will lower cost. The present $68 billion projected cost, according to this article is being recast at $64 billion; that is for a whole Phase I presumably, not just an IOS of San Jose to Bakersfield.

    BTW, on CBS radio this AM in the Bay area, Chair Richard was quoted as saying:

    “I am neither confirming or denying the Mercury article.”

    Joe Reply:

    Delaying resulted in a lower cost Pennisula ROW. It probably did the same, allowing time to plan a less cost way to Anaheim.

    Delaying a start, delaying the release of an bid process, to improve the planning doesn’t cost much. It’s inflation on yoe dollars. If the delay gets us Caltrain from SJ to SF then it’s tens of billions in savings. That you for delaying the 4 track build.

  4. Reedman
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 10:31

    BART hasn’t been able to complete its testing and open the Warm Springs Extension (Alameda County). The San Jose – Berryessa Extension is obviously dependent on this (a reminder that the Santa Clara County sales tax to fund the extension only passed by the-skin-of-its-teeth [it failed at the polling-place count, but mail-in ballots eventually gave it about a 12 vote margin, and provisional ballots gave it 66.78 percent approval (a few hundred votes margin over the 66.67 percent required out of about 600k cast.)])

    jwb Reply:

    Is there something they tested that didn’t work, or is the testing just behind schedule?

  5. Useless
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 10:42

    Hopely, the oppositions will go away when they see bullet trains jam-packed with commuters from the Central Valley to the Silicon Valley.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yea, no. I don’t expect the trains to be jam-packed at the prices they’re going to be charging.

    Useless Reply:

    J. Wong

    Northeast Corridor commuter rail charges arms and legs for monthly pass, yet the trains are still packed.

    Considering the rent of SF-Silicon valley area, even a $500/month commuter monthly path is highly attractive.

    EJ Reply:

    $500/mo. seems cheap. Using your NEC example, I just checked Amtrak and a monthly pass between New Haven and Manhattan, which is 75-ish miles, is over $1000. And that doesn’t even get you on the Acela. Metro North is a little less than $500, but Metro North is heavily subsidized, which is not allowed for CAHSR.

    Useless Reply:


    Well, I was thinking Metro North, NJ Transit, and LIRR monthly pass prices.

    Joe Reply:

    $1000 a month is the full cost of a 90 mile round trip, daily car commute.
    Now employers can offer some assistance to Altenative commuters. Say $200.00.
    That makes a 1000 pass competitive with someone living 35 miles from work.

    If the commute allows a parent to stay home then it saves daycare expenses which are easily 1,500 a month per child in the Bay Area. Also saves on after school program costs.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh yeah, the economics definitely still could pencil out. I could see some Bay Area employers fully subsidizing a $10K-$12K annual commute, for the right employee, especially if that meant they didn’t have to pay said employee Bay Area money.

    Lewellan Reply:

    Commute systems create more demand for commuting than they can handle, the excess demand met by driving, then by widening rural highways and interstate freeways. This question is central to a Pacheco vs Altamont debate though HSR speed freaks sheepishly consider its discussion unecessary. Increased ACE Altamont service will only increase demand and traffic. Frequent all-day HSR via Altamont has the potential to be like light rail service and guide more infill development than via Pacheco.

    Reality Check Reply:

    J. Wong: I missed where HSR fares were announced … can you link to the fare chart?

  6. William
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 11:24

    As Jon posted in Feb. 9 before, Bakersfield-Palmdale section also received more route refinement as well

    While detail alternatives comparison is missing, at glance the 2015 alignment is more direct, so the route length should be shorter as well.

  7. John Nachtigall
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 11:48

    The fascinating thing is how they lowered costs 4 billion while adding back in Anaheim and delaying the project.

    expand scope, have delays, lower costs….yeah right

    morris brown Reply:

    @ John Nachtigall

    The net result is don’t believe anything they say. The Authority has lost all credibility, at least all credibility on cost projections.

    Joe Reply:

    When reality disagrees with dogma.

    First The authority needs to cut costs. Hrumff!

    Now: They cut costs so don’t believe them!!!!!

    Without looking I can guess the Anaheim alignment is now running along an existing rail corridor. That would eliminate property acquisitions for a dedicated ROW through an urban area. Very expensive.

    Just a guess.

    Probably better estimate of tunneling from Spanish consultants.

    I bet the authority will also improve grade crossings along that ROW which is a win-win.

    Not hard to see how they can add value and cut costs. The added time gives them more time to plan. Delays don’t always result in higher costs.

    Useless Reply:


    Probably better estimate of tunneling from Spanish consultants.

    There is little tunneling in Spain HSR because Spain is flat.

    Talk to Asian consultants instead, because they come from countries whose HSR require tons of tunneling and viaducts.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Except for the Pyrennes!

    Joe Reply:

    Not just the Pyrenees.

    “The Iberian Peninsula is a mountainous region that’s most associated with the countries of Spain and Portugal.”

    Clem Reply:

    Spain is far more mountainous than South Korea.

    Travis D Reply:

    Um, no. Spain HSR has tunnels everywhere. Hundreds of them. Many of them are quite long too.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Guadarrama Tunnel between Madrid and Segovia is roughly 17.5 miles long.

    Jerry Reply:

    What “cost projection” of anything, of anything, ever had credibility? ?
    Build the wall. Make it huge. Make the Mexicans pay for it.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    They better route the wall through Palmdale.

    Zorro Reply:

    Shouldn’t that be “Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge”? ;)

    I don’t see a way to make Mexico pay for either a Wall or for anything else, but then NAFTA did away with Tariffs on goods imported from Canada and Mexico.

    les Reply:

    When they are still studying routes how can any estimate be cast in stone.

  8. synonymouse
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 12:17

    How come clamorous Palmdale, erstwhile center of the universe, is not suing? They are showing themselves to be a true paper tiger.

    This North IOS is far worse news for them than any tentative revisit of Tejon Van Ark may have recommended. The southern section may never be built; indeed maybe not even the North. There is no private financing for the SJ to Fresno turkey.

    C’mon, Palmdale, whaddya have to say now?

    les Reply:

    Palmdale will still get their Chinese PandaExpress located in the station. Only now, it will be a few years later.

    J. Wong Reply:

    On the basis of what would they sue, @synon? Nothing about the pivot to IOS North says anything about the Palmdale alignment.

    Still, once HSR to Bakersfield is built just maybe they’ll revisit Tejon since Tejon Ranch won’t have that to threaten the Authority with. And just maybe a private operator would only invest if it was Tejon given how much Tehachapi looks to cost.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Palmdale exceptionalism is clearly under attack – essentially they’re screwed and if they don’t protest they have already adjusted to the bad news. The Capitulation at Acton joins the Capitulation at Lebec. Splitting up the project into parts, taking up the weakest link, and putting the most important part on indefinite delay totally does not comply with Prop 1a, which clearly calls for an orderly construction path, pretty much simultaneous in the same manner in which BART was built.

    SJ to Fresno is not viable and will not attract any private investment. If these SoCal board members, etc. prove susceptible to PB’s jedi mind tricks to go along with this failure they will be seen as puppets and sellouts by their homeboy constituents.

    Gavin just won over some of the Party cadres to his position on PBCAHSR.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Palmdale never had the power you ascribed to them. (Per other’s comments on this blog, Tejon Ranch had the power.)

    “[O]rderly construction path”? You just making things up now, @synon. Nothing in Prop 1a requires simultaneous construction.

    San Jose to Fresno may not be viable standalone (but maybe it will be), but I’m sure it will attract private investment with the promise of the LA-SF franchise. In fact, I suspect that is why the Authority pivoted to IOS North.

    They’ve already gone along with the business plan, @synon. They are certainly cognizant of the financial realities. They cannot insist on IOS South with no money.

    synonymouse Reply:

    SF to LA hsr is the equivalent of BART Oakland to SF. That’s the core of what Prop 1a promises, not truncated for a decade. The gist is simple: contracts let in an orderly fashion; longterm delays due to politics violate the thrust of the proposition and could be seen to invalidate it. This whole thing should go back to the Legislature and the electorate.

    I’d have to think TOS et al would cry foul and ask this major admission of failure be admitted into the litigation, since it changes the circumstances so much.

    Go ahead, Palmdale, sue. You know you want to.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Jerry Brown seems to be utterly oblivious. This decision is much farther reaching and controversial than Van Ark’s miniscule request to look at Tejon again.

    The Sperminator would have done better than this. Brown must be comatose.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s a clever ruse to cover up the vast conspiracy he’s coordinating.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[C]ould be seen to invalidate it. This whole thing should go back to the Legislature and the electorate.”

    Just your non-legal and inconsequential opinion, @synon.

    And no doubt, Tos et al might try to sue based on the business plan, but only after they lose the current lawsuit. Kenny won’t allow them to add it. Also, spin it as you wish, but it is not a “major admission of failure”. If anything, it is a plan for success.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They have no money to do the job.

    They are not being met with roses being thrown on their tanks as they enter Acton.

    They have no stones.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Apparently they do have the money from cap n trade. They’re not going to Acton. You have stones in your head.

  9. Aarond
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 12:38

    On the bright side, this basically guarantees that Caltrain will be grade separated and electrified in the next decade. Perhaps even ACE as well if any of the Caltrain East stuff comes to fruition.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Certainly electrified, but I don’t think they’ll be finished with grade separations before they start running trains into San Francisco.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If Acton can stop this thing dead in its tracks, PAMPA can do the same thing.

    Prop 1a is internally contradictory. And Caltrain way trumps hsr on the Peninsula.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Acton hasn’t stopped HSR “dead in its tracks” or otherwise. As @Elizabeth hinted, Tejon Ranch has the power, neither Acton nor Palmdale do. And PAMPA is far from being in agreement about HSR. There are probably more residents in favor of HSR than against. And if you think they have any power, look at what happened after the “blend” was legislated. They have absolutely no leverage.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Tejon Ranch does not want any hsr in its kingdom at all and its strategy is winning so far grosso modo. Palmdale wants significantly upgraded commute service to LA, so no necessary conflict with the Ranch.

    It will take a little while for the reality to sink in that SJ to Fresno is still nowhere to nowhere and a guaranteed tho eventual fiscal and political fiasco. This is a major defeat for Jerry’s Legacy.

    J. Wong Reply:

    What the f’ are you arguing?

    You answer absolutely none of my arguments, but just go off repeating the same old word salad. When HSR is running from San Jose to Fresno, it will be no defeat for Gov. Brown nor his legacy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    hardly any passengers

    J. Wong Reply:

    Define “hardly”. We know at least 1.2 million passengers ride the San Joaquin. And yes, I know that not all of those will be riding HSR, but let’s take that as an upper bound. With 70% that’s 840000. Add in those current SFO departures of San Joaquin valley passengers who will choose to take HSR rather than drive and park as they do now, and we’re probably getting close back to 1 million. Is that “hardly”?

    J. Wong Reply:

    The Draft report uses 7.3 million for the San Jose to north of Bakersfield service and 12.8 million for the San Francisco – Bakersfield service.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m optimistic about the grade separations. RWC wants it, Palo Alto will learn to want it (now that the CDC is looking into their teen suicides) and the could will follow suit. That said, the trade-off is that we could end up with a 200 mph train to Bakersfield.

    Also, in case you haven’t seen it yet:

    Of course, even if the CDC doesn’t implicate Caltrain as the cause of said suicides (which is what some parents claim), there’s no reason for the city to actually respect anything they say.

  10. morris brown
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 12:41

    Fresno Bee with a new preliminary report:

    Report: High-speed rail plan pivots toward Bay Area

    Quoting from this report:

    Lisa Marie Alley, a spokeswoman for the rail authority, said Thursday that she was unable to comment on the Mercury News report, but said the newspaper had received a two-week-old preliminary version “that has since gone through numerous edits and iterations.”

  11. John
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 14:28

    Seems obvious to me.

    1) Build IOS North
    2) Fund Burbank to Anaheim – let SoCal figure it out.
    3) Two PPP projects for two “crown jewel” tunnels
    a) Chinese build tunnel from Palmdale to Burbank for Xpress West.
    b) Another firm builds tunnel from Bakersfield to Palmdale.
    c) PPP “annual revenue” is based on per passenger-mile toll past onto rider’s price of ticket (ala airport fees).
    Toll is capped by Authority on sliding scale of construction cost and schedule as well as actual passenger loads. Faster construction schedule, higher toll/revenue.

    Travis D Reply:

    Could be three PPP projects. They could go Tejon, divide that into two PPP’s, then add a third leg to Palmdale which connects to Nevada HSR.

  12. John
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 14:35

    Robert – this web interface sucks.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    This is vintage 2009-era stuff. Cutting edge, I tell ya!

    Zorro Reply:

    Anymore ancient and the Pyramids will want their stone carvers back. ;)

    EJ Reply:

    Typical Millenials, a 6 year old wordpress template just isn’t good enough. Dammit, Robert, we pay you, uh, well, nothing to maintain this blog! Why don’t you update the technology!

    John Reply:

    Millennial!? I yearn for the simple days of the bbs, uunet, and AT commands from modems that are not cellular in nature!

    Joe Reply:

    I’m interested in an editor. Shall I use vi or emacs?

    BruceMcF Reply:


    Aarond Reply:

    Honestly it’s better than most imageboard software. My standards are incredibly low though, I mean this place at least updates posts reliably.

  13. Useless
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 14:47

    Can some mod delete John’s duplicate posts?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:


  14. Trentbridge
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 15:35

    The Future Has Been Delayed..

    “We will have to wait a little bit longer before we get to see life-size pods shoot down Elon Musk’s Hyperloop test track.
    SpaceX sent an email to student teams on Thursday letting them know that the final part of the competition would likely take place in August, or possibly even later.
    Originally, SpaceX had said the final round would take place in June.”

    “Our best guess for Competition Weekend is early-to-mid August, but this could move in either direction (based on construction and post-construction testing),” the company said in the email obtained by Tech Insider.

    Clem Reply:


  15. Car(e)-Free LA
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 15:46

    In actuality:

    Toll is not implemented.
    XpressWest receives exclusive operating rights along the very profitable CAHSR corridor, in exchange for funding part of the project.

    Domayv Reply:

    were did you hear that XpressWest received operating rights along CAHSR since its railcars it will be using aren’t even buy america compatible

    Joey Reply:

    Buy America is a requirement about how money can be spent, not about who can access whose tracks.

    Domayv Reply:

    but doesnt it also require that the trains be made here in America (XpressWest is just straight up importing the trains from China, and these trains arent going to be compatible with CAHSR’s. Unless XpressWest does what that ine Turkish HSR line did by having the Chinese fund it and a non-Chinese company provide the infrastructure, rolling stock and whatnot)

    EJ Reply:

    No. It generally means that if you’re spending public $$ to buy equipment, it’s got to be whatever % US made. Freight railroads run all sorts of traffic over publicly owned tracks, and there’s no requirements that the equipment is US made. It happens that a lot of it is, because one thing US industry is still good at is making big powerful diesel locomotives (so much so that even the Chinese buy them from us), but there’s no requirement that they be built here.

    Domayv Reply:

    is XpressWest being publicly funded

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, so they don’t have a requirement for buying U.S. made equipment. But there is nothing preventing them getting an agreement from CA HSR to run their equipment (for a fee) on HSR tracks.

    Domayv Reply:

    but wouldn’t those XpressWest trains (assuming they’re direct imports from China) have to be modified so it can use what could be two different signalling systems, one for CAHSR and another for its own

    I still wonder if its possible for a Shinkansen train to run on CAHSR tracks

    Clem Reply:

    Yes, there would need to be compatible systems. No, the Shinkansen would first need to comply with FRA Tier III regulations.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Clem: would the Chinese trains that XpressWest is ordering be Tier III compatible. if not then they cant run on CAHSR tracks

    agb5 Reply:

    XpressWest needs to be buying the same frequencies of radio spectrum in Navada as CAHSR is buying for California. That would simplify signalling system compatibility.
    Chinese Train Control System (CTCS) is similar to the European Train Control System (ETCS) which is what CAHSR is planing to use.

    Domayv Reply:

    @agb5: it still would not solve the issue on whether the Chinese trains are tier III compatible (which is the most important issue concerning interoperability on CAHSR tracks)

    swing hanger Reply:

    I assume if the trains are to be run on CAHSR, the engineers in China (or any other firm in any other country) will design and build a trainset that complies with the regulations, as that’s what engineers do. Anyway, talk of what is or is not compatible is premature at this point, the time the trains will run is still 2 or 3 design generations away, *at least*.

    Domayv Reply:

    @swing hanger: CRRC opened up a factory Massachusetts (probably for the purposes of making Tier III compliant trains) so they can use that factory to manufacture the XpressWest train sets

    Aarond Reply:

    That would pretty much kill CAHSR given how things are breaking down between the US and China over the South China Sea. It’s not much now but I don’t see any way the situation could improve. All it takes is one stupid accident/diplomatic spat to have trade cut (in lieu for other south pacific nations, of course). Construction would then immediately stop and CAHSR would die right there.

    When it comes to private financing, as Brightline showed there’s at least a plausibility of developers and realtors funding it. However private financiers would opt for 125 mph diesels and existing ROWs/alignments (Altamont and Palmdale).

    agb5 Reply:

    one stupid accident/diplomatic spat to have trade cut

    And shipments of iPhones to the US would stop right there.

    Aarond Reply:

    Apple would either move production elsewhere or simply become a victim. Most phones are made in Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia anyway.

  16. morris brown
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 16:22

    LA Times:

    In a major shift, bullet train will start in Bay Area, not L.A., officials say

    Note that a press conference is mentioned. Haven’t yet seen any coverage on that, if it has already been held

  17. morris brown
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 16:32


    In interviews Thursday, officials said the segment from north of Bakersfield to San Jose would begin operating in 2025, three years later than previous plans calling for trains between Merced and the San Fernando Valley by 2022.

    Dan Richard, chairman of the board that oversees the project, says California officials will ask the federal government for another $2.9 billion to connect all the way to San Francisco and Bakersfield.

    The Authority can ask for anything, it never hurts to ask. They will receive nothing.

    J. Wong Reply:

    You don’t know whether the Republicans will still be in control of Congress when they ask, or if there are possibly other grant money that might be available, not specifically HSR. Never say never @morris brown.

    bixnix Reply:

    If the Authority gets nothing more from the Republicans, then there’s no reason to give any weight to Harry Reid’s insistence on Palmdale. The Authority can spend the bond funds dry in accordance to Prop 1A, insisting all the while that they’re planning for Tehachapi…. then change the route to Tejon.

    In other words, it’s time for the Nevada Republicans to help bring home a lot of bacon, if they want any connection to Vegas in the next twenty years… a lot more than the $5B extra that Tehachapi will cost.

    Joe Reply:

    Not only is the future undetermined.

    The GOP cannot pass a bill without democratic support in the senate today. They need to cut a deal to pass a budget.

    People like Morris forget the authority is challenged to spend existing federal money. Why in gods name would they fight and cut a deal for CA money now when they can’t spend it until ARRA and Prop1a matching is spent ?

    Zorro Reply:

    The same can be said of the House Joe, the GOP needs Democratic support to pass a bill, Baggers don’t like doing more than collecting a pay check, spending money they are against, unless it’s a blank check for the Military…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The love spending money in their district. It seems that the only thing my district’s Critter does is send out press releases about how much money she is bringing to the district.

    Joe Reply:

    McCarthy is still against HSR while his district seeks the maintenance faculty.
    After his disastrous bid for Speakership, his refusal to cooperate seems less strategic and possibly a blunder-in-waiting when the facility is put elsewhere.

    les Reply:

    I also think if the fed monies get spent and the NOS gets built then Denham will fall in line. I’m sure he was never a fan of ACE until it got built and proved successful.

    les Reply:

    A lot can happen by 2025. With all the cannibalization within the Republican party these days, Tea Party politics may be a thing of the past. Throw in the fact that Texas, LV and SJ will all have successful HSR systems by 2025, we can then count on sentiment being in CAHSRs favor.

    Aarond Reply:

    The GOP aren’t going away. But HSR in Texas and Florida will be able to convince enough of them to begin Interstate privatization (TX/FL both have toll roads paralleling their HSR routes) which would obviously help out transit privatization. At least some of them have read Atlas Shrugged.

    CAHSR’s biggest threat is the winds changing in Sacramento.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Republicans are trying realllllllllly realllllllllly hard to go the way of the Whigs.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    For a party that’s is “dying” they seem to be electing people to congress in record numbers. The GOP majority is at an all time high.

    Now speaking of fracture, Bernie seems to be doing a great job of making it clear that a strong minority (if not majority)’of Dems do not support Hilarty and her “I am inevitable” US tour. When she pulls out the super delegate card at the convention and cuts down Bernie how many of those people will support her?

    And yes, before you say it, Trump is an idiot and can’t be allowed to win at any cost, but fracture is worse for the Dens right now, they can’t earn anything but the presidency. They are not taking back either house because the majority is so big.

    Aarond Reply:

    A Hilary nomination guarantees a Republican Congress and White House in 2016. Isn’t it ironic that the “progressive” party is now running the most establishment candidate possible? At least the GOP had the decency to let Jeb get eaten.

    It’s frustrating, honestly. Sanders himself has an uphill battle since the stock “hope and change” platform was poisoned by Obama. Hilary has no chance period.

    Jerry Reply:

    Since the extra $2.9 Billion will help his district, will Kevin McCarthy come through?
    Would the HSR Maintenance Facility in Kern County help to persuade him??

    Joe Reply:

    No McCarthy is dogmatically fixed. In wasn’t impressed with him when the Speakership was his to lose.

    He will not switch to support HSR because he’s positioned himself as the guy leading ag water vs rail. Putting the facility in Kern will not change his view. Kern opponents could use the facility commitment against the project.

  18. morris brown
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 16:51


  19. morris brown
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 16:53


    California high-speed rail’s first leg to connect Central and Silicon valleys


    By Robin Respaut

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California’s ambitious plan for high-speed rail service will become reality within a decade with service between the state’s agricultural Central Valley and high-tech Silicon Valley, state officials announced on Thursday.

    In an updated draft plan for the rail line that will whisk passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under three hours by 2029, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) revised downward the cost of the entire line, to $64.1 billion from nearly $68 billion.

    The draft plan includes a new initiative to request $2.9 billion in additional funding from the federal government.

    The first leg of the line would connect Kern County in the state’s agricultural breadbasket to San Jose in Silicon Valley by 2025.

    The state had previously said the first leg would run from Merced, in the heart of the Central Valley, to Burbank, in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, and would be completed by 2022.

    The newly defined initial leg, estimated to cost $19.8 billion, would be covered by funds already available for the rail line. Additional federal funds, if secured, would help extend the initial leg south to Bakersfield.

    “No other sequence works as quickly and as effectively,” said Dan Richard, CHSRA board chair. “What we’re talking about here is to do this in a way that is realistic, achievable, and fast. No one is getting left behind.”

    California’s project is one of a handful of high-speed trains planned in the United States, which has failed to keep pace with Europe and Asia, where such trains have become commonplace.

    Of the U.S. plans, California’s is considered the most ambitious – with travel speeds over 200 miles per hour – and the farthest along after breaking ground in 2014.

    The project has captured attention from international firms, financiers and train manufacturers that view it as a foothold into a burgeoning high-speed rail market in the United States.

    California would eventually tap private firms and investors to help cover roughly one-third of the total project cost. But first, the state must get an initial segment “up and running as quickly as possible” to prove ridership, said Richard.

    “That is the fastest way to unlock the private sector investment,” said Richard. “That then helps us build out the rest of the system.”

    The state has raised about $13.2 billion through state and federal funds, plus a pledge of cap-and-trade proceeds – funds paid by companies to offset carbon emissions.

  20. datacruncher
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 18:25

    California bullet train officials push plan to head north

    SACRAMENTO — The decision to build the first leg of California’s bullet train north to the San Francisco Bay Area instead of south as planned since 2012 marks an acknowledgement of the project’s waning political support and an ongoing funding shortfall to build a system that spans the state.

    Officials said Thursday that the first 250-mile segment, from north of Bakersfield to San Jose, would begin operating in 2025, three years later than the previous plan that called for trains to run from Merced and the San Fernando Valley by 2022. It is also 50 miles shorter.

    The shift allows officials to put off the costly and hotly debated plan to tunnel through the Tehachapi Mountains, which has drawn intense opposition from residents.

    “The math is pretty clear,” said Dan Richard, chairman of the board that oversees the project. “It’s just longer and more expensive to get to LA. And looking at the available funds, we just couldn’t get there.”


    The reversal in directions is partly an admission about the challenges of constructing a rail line through the steep Tehachapi Mountains. The decision could also cause other political problems. Some Southern California Democrats agreed to give the bullet train a quarter of future revenues from the state’s pollution fees in exchange for additional spending in Southern California.

    Among them was Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles. He said in a statement Thursday that he supports the new plan, noting that it calls for additional rail spending in the Los Angeles area.

    “Building high-speed rail first where infrastructure already exists benefits everyone in the long run,” he said.


  21. datacruncher
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 18:29

    High-Speed Rail helps farmer with water

    A state-wide debate is heating up over whether or not High-Speed Rail funds should be used for water storage instead.

    While a state-wide solution hasn’t been reached yet, one Central Valley farmer says he’s found a middle ground with the rail authority.


    He says water storage has been a struggle for the area and the state, but he says High-Speed Rail is helping with just that.

    “You are looking at at one half mile by one half mile of a recharge basin 20 feet deep.” Says Johns.

    Johns is one of many farmers up and down the state who are giving dirt off their property to build High-Speed Rail.

    “It is spending that one pot of money, but the other issue also benefits from it.” Says High-Speed Rail Authority Central Valley Regional Director Diana Gomez.

    The 3 million cubic yards of Johns’ dirt will leave a big hole. It will store water that can be used for farming or recharge the surface water supply.

    After spending thousands on several wells recently, Johns hopes a basin will help keep the water table high.

    More at:

  22. Clem
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 20:10

    Draft 2016 Business Plan
    Come and get it

    les Reply:

    Can we finally let Tejon rest in peace:
    “The third objective is to construct additional segments as funding becomes available. This requires completing the
    environmental analyses for every mile of the program and securing environmental approvals. The Authority will continue
    to move forward with clearing all project sections between San Francisco and the Los Angeles/Anaheim area by 2017.

    Wasn’t a complete EIR a legal requirement and yet I see zero dollars being spent on a Tejon route.

    Clem Reply:

    I don’t see how their lack of plan to clear Tejon by 2017 implies anything about it never getting built. Nor do I see how their plan to clear the Palmdale route by 2017 implies anything about the certainty of building it. These things hinge on very large sums of money, or in this case, lack thereof.

    So, no, we cannot let Tejon rest in peace just yet. We might once $25 billion materializes to cross those mountains. In the meantime please pass the popcorn.

    les Reply:

    Then I guess the nail in the coffin for some will be the actual laying of tracks. How about when X starts laying tracks to Palmdale at the end of this year, will that suffice?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Nope. X doesn’t have plans to go to either Bakersfield or Burbank so laying tracks to Palmdale from Las Vegas doesn’t mean anything.

    les Reply:

    Still part of the business plan under the BURBANK TO ANAHEIM CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENTS section:

    “ Tie-in to a potential future high-speed rail line to Las Vegas by advancing
    this corridor and preparing the way for the Burbank to Palmdale
    section.” I don’t see X having any reason to not start building to Palmdale.

    les Reply:

    Fact is Santa Clarita is getting zero love in the plan.

    Clem Reply:

    If X is that rich let them lay track from Palmdale to Garlock.

    les Reply:


    Clem Reply:

    Excuse me, I meant Gorman, not Garlock.

    J. Wong Reply:

    What @Clem said.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    So no Electro-link. Instead, CHSRA proposes to purchase new “Tier 4” diesel locomotives for Metrolink, as part of the Burbank-Anaheim corridor improvements.

    Jon Reply:

    So the IOS is actually from San Jose to a temporary station at the end of CP4, at Poplar Ave in Shafter. That seems a bit like penny pinching, does it not?

    agb5 Reply:

    Perhaps the HMF can serve as a temporary station, that would be value engineering.

    Jon Reply:

    The cost changes are rather interesting. San Jose station is officially at grade, saving $2.2bn. They’ve also nixed the $1.5bn contribution to Transbay.

    Jerry Reply:

    At grade? Interesting. CalTrain is scheduled to begin the Los Gatos Creek Bridge Replacement approx. 1,200 feet south of the San Jose station.
    Will the new bridge now have to be replaced to accommodate HSR??

    Jon Reply:

    The cost estimates section is where the juicy stuff is:

    Light Maintenance Facility is assumed to be in Brisbane
    High platforms at 4th & King, Millbrae, and San Jose Diridon for HSR use
    Third track through Gardner district
    Monterey Highway alignment to Gilroy, downtown Gilroy station
    SR152 to Road 13 central valley wye
    Temporary Shafter station at Poplar Ave
    Bakersfield F Street alignment
    Oak Creek Pass alignment to Palmdale ($9.7 bn)
    E1A Angeles National Forest alignment to Burbank ($11.9 bn)
    Shared Metrolink ROW through Glendale, shared track into LA Union Station
    Shared track out of LA Union
    Shared ROW (but not tracks) with BNSF for the bulk of the line to Anaheim
    Shared track into Anaheim

    It’s actually all rather sensible. Fix the $22bn southern mountain crossing, and you might have a viable system.

  23. J. Wong
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 20:11

    I get the sense with the release of the business plan focusing on IOS North a lot of the naysayers on this blog are sounding a little desperate. Either they absolutely don’t want HSR or their cherished hypotheses are revealing them as foolish, but with the possibility of an actual running service, both are freaking out.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A little while ago the Cheerleaders were trumpeting that TehaVegaSkyRail would be up and running to Palmdale and Sin City practically the day after tomorrow.

    So the BART Empire has to turn its back on Bechtel gospel and absorb standard gauge OC. But in the process it(BART-MTC-ABAG) gets Fresno before Sac. Who would have thunk it?

    It is going to need a big and ongoing subsidy but BART is the master at getting funding. Maybe a special tax district all along the line. King Co. will love that.

    J. Wong Reply:

    No, @synon, BART is not necessarily going to be the operator (and so what if they were?). And yet again you claim it is going to require a subsidy but you fail to offer any evidence at all.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It goes back to the comment Ben Tripousis made at the US HSR Association: if HSR replaces the Baby Bullet, then commuter traffic would subsidize riders going across the state.

    The BART Empire is happy, but we could do a lot worse.

  24. Reality Check
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 20:40

    Dispatcher in Deadly German Train Crash Faces Investigation


    “Had he behaved according to the rules, according to his duties, the trains would not have collided,” Mr. Giese told reporters at a news conference in Bad Aibling, which is about 35 miles southeast of Munich. The man was questioned on Monday, he said.

    The trains and the track were fitted with an automatic brake system that was introduced in Germany after 10 people died in a similar accident in 2011, but the German news media have reported that the system had been turned off at the time of the crash. Prosecutors have declined to comment on the reports, citing the continuing investigation.


  25. Roland
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 21:39

    OT: Caltrain WiFi update: the “Completed solution design and cost estimates based upon an engineering design study of the proposed solution” at the bottom of page 4 are eye-watering: Did anyone expect anything else from America’s finest?

    Clem Reply:

    They lost me at the requirement to interface with CBOSS, although WiFi would be an attractive way to dump more money into that pit without attracting too much attention…

    Roland Reply:

    Right on!

  26. Joe
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 21:58

    The plan:

    In 2014, the City of Gilroy and the Authority entered into a station planning agreement to work together to develop a station area plan that will serve Gilroy, south Santa Clara County and surrounding areas. Gilroy will become a new gateway to the Bay area bringing new oppor- tunities for redevelopment and economic growth.

    Gilroy Dispatch:
    “I wish that everyone was Gilroy,” said Ben Tripousis, the director, based in San Jose, after hearing comments from the audience about how they hoped the rail line would bring more foot traffic and customers downtown.

    Tripousis was brought in to let the school board know how the rail line could affect schools, but his answer was that it shouldn’t have any more effect than the current rail line has. The line’s goal is to keep the trains on the rail right-of-way used by Union Pacific, adding a track close by. Between Gilroy and San Francisco, it will use CalTrain tracks.

    Roland Reply:

    The only problem with that plan is that:
    1) The “Caltrain” tracks between Gilroy and San Jose do not belong to Caltrain.
    2) This “plan” is about to be declared illegal by the courts (bye-bye Prop 1A bond money).

    joe Reply:

    From the Plan:

    Assumptions (San Jose to Gilroy)

    Based on an alignment section length of 30 route miles 

    Assumes electrification of two high-speed rail /Caltrain tracks and maintaining one non-electrified track for UPRR from Diridon to south of Caltrain’s Tamien station 

    Between Diridon to south of Tamien in this section, assumes construction of a third at-grade track, 4.6 miles long 

    Freight siding track and a spur track are included as a total added cost 

    Includes dedicated high-speed rail viaduct along Monterey Road from south of Tamien to Gilroy 

    Includes a 60 foot elevated viaduct to cross major roadways including: Capital Expressway, Blossom Hill Road, St. Rte. 85, Bernal Hwy. and Bailey Ave 

    Includes $50 million allowance for UPRR realignment at Communication Hill including a new single track bridge crossing 

    Right-of-way cost reductions of 50% from the 2014 Business Plan based on a review of revised alignment assumptions compared to prior regional consultant alignment plans prepared in 2011 

    At-grade Diridon station 

    Gilroy Station on fill embankment 

    An intrusion barrier where high-speed rail is at-grade in Caltrain right-of-way from San Jose to south of Damien is not required due to operating speeds less than 125 mph

    This station, by virtue of past documents, implies a berm with road underpass for HSR and the single track UP ROW as it comes into the Downtown station, Gilroy.

  27. Clem
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 22:48

    Memo to Joe: ZERO is the amount of OPM/HSR money allocated in the new business plan to grade separations in the Caltrain corridor in Santa Clara County. I would think this would figure into the calculus for the upcoming VTA sales tax measure.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Clem, we found some in the back pages of the appendices!

    Clem Reply:

    Thank you, $500M to split between two counties. That’s not going to make a very big dent.

    joe Reply:

    Everything has to figure into the VTA sales tax dispersement.

    Add to the equation both State and County have additional incentive to bring BART to HSR Diridon by 2025. They cannot operate the system on subsidy and need access to the East Bay BART “catchment”.

  28. Joe
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 23:01

    Big loser with the switch north is LATimes Ralph Vartabedian.

    “Change in bullet train construction plans will delay rail line’s arrival in Southern California”

    It not a pressing SoCal issue anymore.

  29. Roland
    Feb 18th, 2016 at 23:40

    OT: DTX preview:

    Jon Reply:

    That video is ridiculously contentious… do you know who the audience is?

    Jon Reply:

    It’s like she’s giving a presentation to a room full on synonymouses…

  30. agb5
    Feb 19th, 2016 at 02:54

    The other advantage of IOS North is they can buy off-the-shelf trains which will be cheaper and faster to procure than trains customized for steep gradients. The train manufacturer just needs to show they have a credible upgrade path for the second batch of trains which will be procured later.

    This forecloses on Flashmans argument in court that you can’t buy a train today which can get over the Tehachapis at 200mph. Now you don’t need to buy such a train today.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ agb5

    You wrote:

    This forecloses on Flashman’s argument in court that you can’t buy a train today which can get over the Tehachapis at 200mph. Now you don’t need to buy such a train today.

    So you understand that forever a bit north of Bakersfield will be as far south as the project ever gets! You understand that the Tehachapis will never be crossed and that this project at best becomes a San Jose to Fresno project, with a 50 mile spur using CalTrain to San Francisco.

    Glad you understand… good for you..

    Just count the number of Prop 1A mandates that this plan violates.

    John Reply:

    Using a car buying analogy.
    Authority buys a Honda Civic equivalent trainset today
    10 years from now, with more stable, they buy a few Tesla equivalent trainset that can keep top speed over grades
    Both can go on the autobahn/track.
    But the Tesla can get there much faster (and meet prop 1a requirements)
    To me, Buying a Honda to save money now is completely legal.
    Actually sounds like what most citizens do in real life. Keep expenses down early in life and once you have stable income (revenue) go splurge for what you (or your parents) really wanted

    agb5 Reply:

    A better analogy is the airline industry.
    When an airline buys a new airplane, the deal with the engine manufacturer can include the future application of Performance Improvement Packages (PIPs) which the manufacturer is planning in it’s long term product evolution roadmap.

    Buying a Honda now would not be completely legal because of the “Components shall be designed to achieve” clause, but if the procurement package for the train and long term maintenance included a PIP roadmap, that would be designed to achieve. (probably)

  31. morris brown
    Feb 19th, 2016 at 05:51

    LA Times:

    Change in bullet train construction plans will delay rail line’s arrival in Southern California

    “This project is nonexistent,” said Quentin Kopp, a former Superior Court judge, state legislator and a past chair of the high-speed rail authority board. “There is no private investment. So what they are doing is just whistling Dixie and somehow hoping the public can be fooled. It is over except for the waste of taxpayer money.”

    Kopp said the project is a far different proposal today from what was called for in a successful 2008 ballot measure that provided more than $9 billion in bond funding for the project.

    “What they have done in effect is destroy my intentions and those of the voters of California,” he said.

    Kopp is right on target. Another way to put it is:

    The Authority is pushing a complete fraud on the voters of California.

    Joe Reply:

    Ralph misspelled Kook.

    Just Sour Grapes. Poor Ralph will have the McClatchy Group newspapers, Fresno Bee Tom Sheehan and Mercury News covering HSR. Also SFChronicle.

    How did Ralph get scooped ?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Kopp’s problem is what he intended was pure magical fairy dust. He assumed the Federal gov’t would provide the funding in the same way they did for BART to SFO another example of magical fairy dust. The political environment is no longer the same and he doesn’t seem to realize it like the dinosaur he is.

    If anyone has a legacy problem with HSR, it’s Kopp.

    And @morris brown, you keep expecting some definitive victory in your quest to stop HSR, but instead it had turned into a grinding slog where the Authority keeps moving forward bringing the reality of HSR closer to fruition.

    les Reply:

    These guys are hopeless. They’re going to continue whining until, well, forever.

    Reality Check Reply:

    This is odd coming from Morris — he’d crap his pants if the “intentions” Kopp speaks of were realized.

  32. Lewellan
    Feb 19th, 2016 at 10:59

    Commute systems create more demand for commuting than they can handle, the excess demand met by driving, then by widening rural highways and interstate freeways. This question is central to a Pacheco vs Altamont debate though HSR speed freaks sheepishly refuse to discuss. Increased ACE Altamont service will only increase demand AND traffic. Frequent all-day HSR via Altamont has the potential to guide more infill development (where it’s needed) rather than via Pacheco where development will undoubtedly sprawl over what were natural hillsides.

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