Bakersfield Isn’t Happy With Shafter Plan

Mar 31st, 2016 | Posted by

To say that the Bakersfield City Council is not pleased by the proposal for a temporary, interim termination of the Initial Operating Segment just short of their city would be putting it mildly:

Admitting the California High Speed Rail Authority would likely pay it no attention, the City Council still voted 7-0 to approve comments opposing the Poplar Avenue interim station northwest of Shafter and to authorize City Manager Alan Tandy to make the agency aware of Bakersfield’s displeasure.

City officials believe Bakersfield needs to go on record opposing the interim station that is mentioned in the CHSRA’s draft 2016 business plan, Community Development Director Doug McIsaac told the council.

McIsaac said Bakersfield believes the CHSRA’s plans to build from San Jose to north of Shafter would delay service to Bakersfield and the corresponding economic boost from 2025 to 2029, as well as eliminating a proposed heavy maintenance facility site in Shafter from consideration….

The interim Poplar Avenue station, McIsaac said, would be a “wasted investment,” and fail to comply with state Proposition 1A because it would neither check urban sprawl nor connect to other forms of transit.

It is “directly contrary to a number of planning and environmental objectives that the high-speed rail agency is trying to achieve,” including greenhouse gas reduction, McIsaac added, summarizing the city’s comment letter.

I can certainly understand their frustration. The IOS should terminate in downtown Bakersfield.

Of course, that’s the goal of the California High Speed Rail Authority. They’re actively seeking new funding to get all the way to Bakersfield with the IOS. Their 2016 Business Plan was necessarily conservative and so they had to propose the temporary stop near Shafter in order to stay within the funding they currently have available.

So while Bakersfield is right to be unhappy and send in this comment letter, they also ought to help step up and find the funding needed to get the IOS trains all the way to downtown Bakersfield.

  1. Anandakos
    Apr 1st, 2016 at 00:55
    #1

    Maybe Bakersfield could offer to build the station and local amenities. If all the Authority has to pay for is the trackway that would make their job easier.

    Of course I don’t know if the City would be allowed to do that or has the financial capacity. It would certainly prove that their complaint isn’t from a “free rider”.

    Joe Reply:

    https://kevinmccarthy.house.gov/about/our-district

    Over 700,000 people reside in California’s 23rd Congressional District, which covers most of Kern and Tulare Counties, and northeastern Los Angeles County. The district includes the cities of Bakersfield, California City, Frazier Park, Kernville, Lake Isabella, Lancaster, Mojave, Porterville, Ridgecrest, Taft, and Tehachapi. The 23rd District also encompasses the Sequoia and Los Padres National Forests.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Bako has opposed HSR as leading to its becoming a bedroom community of LA.

    Now the Cheerleaders claim the Tehachapi alignment with quasi-base tunnels will be so fast as to make 2:40 reachable. Back to bedroom community of LA. So Bako changed its mind?

    Joe Reply:

    Making up shuff.

    You can’t find links or quotes because your both wrong and lazy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Territory that has been covered at length before. Some interests in Bakersfield opposed the Tejon route because it was too fast, thus encouraging commuting to LA. Now with much more money proposed for the Tehachapi alignment – the very long Angeles National Forest tunnels – it is claimed the travel times via Palmdale would not be particularly greater than via Tejon.

    So the anti-commute stance comes back into question and did they change their mind?

    Joe Reply:

    No links or quotes.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Bakersfield concerns about being the first stop after LA is something Syno is correct about. The concern has shown up in documents dating back years. For example, here is a 2011 article from californiawatch.org that said:

    When the rail authority was getting ready to decide whether to build over the Grapevine, local organizations including Kern County and the Kern Council of Governments supported the Palmdale option, but not specifically because of seismic concerns.

    Some said it just made more sense to have the train system serve Palmdale’s growing population. But another worry locally, Brummett said, was that Bakersfield not be the first stop outside of L.A.

    “I think it had to do with becoming a bedroom community out of Los Angeles and losing some identity and issues like that,” he said.
    http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/grapevine-route-emerges-cost-saver-high-speed-rail-10491

    jwb Reply:

    I love that they make claims about the population of their district. My understanding is that all congressional districts are equipopulous.

    Woody Reply:

    They do start out equal, but 5 years now of population growth can change things.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You cannot draw all districts to EXACTLY the same size….

    Alan Reply:

    Another possibility could be for the city to acquire the properties needed for the station and/or ROW and donate them to the Authority. It would be a tangible way of advancing construction, and I think that donations like that could be counted towards the local match for the ARRA grants. And it would show that the city is doing more than just sitting there and whining.

  2. Jerry
    Apr 1st, 2016 at 01:11
    #2

    “would delay service to Bakersfield and the corresponding economic boost”.
    So they admit that there’s an economic boost from HSR.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …isn’t the Council’s current preference for a station very close to Meadows Field (the local airport)?

    If the City owns that airport, that’s your economic impact right there.

    On a side note, an interesting corrolary impact of going through Palmdale is that it splits the petroleum belt of Kern and LA County into two. I wonder if Bakersfield is thinking of the Antelope Valley can be a bedroom community for LA…why can’t it also be one for them?

    datacruncher Reply:

    The airport is some distance from the different proposed station sites. As a rough driving distance from the airport terminal building to:
    Original downtown Bakersfield proposed site – 8 to 9 driving miles
    Alternative Bakersfield station under study – 6 to 7 driving miles
    Temporary Shafter proposed station – 16 to 17 driving miles

    Meadows Field is owned by the county. That is likely one reason Kern County originally wanted the HSR station near the airport. The city’s preference was originally for the site near the current downtown Amtrak station, which won out over the county.

    But even the city’s new preferred site is not really much closer to the airport

    Alan Reply:

    I don’t see the benefit of locating the station near the airport. It doesn’t seem likely that someone would take HSR to the Bakersfield airport when they could take the train directly to a larger airport like SFO or Burbank, where they would find a greater selection of destinations and flights, and likely at much lower fares. Bakersfield offers only 9 departures a day to 4 destinations.–hardly worth the expense to reroute HSR past the airport.

    It makes more sense to locate the Bakersfield station downtown, adjacent to Amtrak and local buses, and where it is more easily accessible to a greater population.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There won’t be any conventional Amtrak trains in Bakersfield

    Alan Reply:

    No one has said that all of the San Joaquins will be discontinued when HSR starts. There will still need to be service to the smaller stops that won’t have an HSR station. I think you’re mistaken.

    Alan Reply:

    Also, the service to Sacramento will continue, at least until HSR Phase II is built.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There aren’t any passengers to speak of at the smaller stops. Ten passenger buses a few times a day would be overkill.

    Alan Reply:

    That’s your opinion, but that opinion runs contrary to what CHSRA and the joint powers authority have said. And you don’t explain how people will get to Sacramento before Phase II is built.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They can change trains in Fresno.

    James Fujita Reply:

    Which implies that there will continue to be conventional Amtrak California service, at least from Sacramento to Fresno. “San Joaquin Jr.”

    And who’s to say there won’t be conventional rail on the south end of the Valley as well? If I’m Kern County, I would be at least considering the possibility of commuter rail on the existing ROW.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Kern County COG did a study of commuter rail options in 2012. One item they looked at was using the current 6 San Joaquin slots on the BNSF for 6 commuter trains that would serve Bakersfield to Shafter, Wasco, and a West of Delano station.
    http://www.kerncog.org/images/docs/studies/KernCOG_Commuter_Rail_Draft_Report_20120720.pdf

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Hundreds and hundreds of people in 2035. In other words a dozen 50 passenger buses.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Alan,

    Only 2 of the 6 daily San Joaquin trains end in Sacramento currently. The other 4 terminate in Oakland.

    Although Sacramento is heuristically considered to be part of the Central Valley, in reality it’s much more tied now economically to the Bay Area. Moreover, a transfer in Fresno would be *faster* than the current San Joaquin service…so…

    Alan Reply:

    Ted,

    I”m hardly saying that there won’t be adjustments in the San Joaquin service when HSR starts running, but I still believe it’s unlikely that conventional service will disappear.

    We’ll see.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    The san joaqins 2016 business plan is here

    -In addition to increasing the frequency of the San Joaquin service, SJJPA will plan for 90 mph maximum speed operations in key locations and other projects which can reduce travel times.

    -Additional potential stations discussed thus far include, Oakley, Hercules, Berkeley, Oakland Coliseum, 65th Street Sacramento, Elk Grove, North Fresno, and North/West Bakersfield.
    Extending San Joaquin trains 5 more miles past the Oakland Station to serve the existing Oakland Coliseum/BART (Oakland Airport).

    -Utilization of the Altamont Corridor to bring San Joaquin service to additional Bay Area markets.

    -Train riders and San Joaquin Valley residents will have a stronger voice in deciding what happens with the service since local decision-making is more responsive and adap- tive to passenger issues. The SJJPA, which is made
    up of elected o cials throughout the San Joaquin Corridor, will be a strong voice in advocating for service improvements and expansions – particularly in Washington D.C. and in Sacramento.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just like the stagecoach companies provide service?

    Ben Pease Reply:

    I noticed riding to Bakersfield several years ago, the lounge car filled up at Corcoran and Wasco with tattooed fellows with un-hemmed khakis going home to LA after their prison sojourns.

    Phantom Commuter Reply:

    If anyone had half a brain at CHSRA, or in this state, the San Joaquins would provide the local valley service between the Bakersfield and Stockton HSR stations, located near I-5. That’s how you serve Valley cities with an I-5 express line for HSR.

    James Fujita Reply:

    The current San Joaquin route doesn’t cross I-5 at any point between Bakersfield and Stockton. So you would have to build new a new cross-valley rail line or maybe several new rail lines. Electrified even, since we are in the realm of unfunded fantasy rail at this point. I would love such an idea, but I fail to see where the money comes from.

    datacruncher Reply:

    @Alan, At one time the thought was that Bakersfield’s airport might be able to become the LAX reliever that Palmdale Airport never became.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    LAX won’t need much relieving once the SFO-LAX market is taking over by HSR. Many airport expansion or relocation projects in Europe were killed by HSR. The last one I could think of off the top of my head is MUC, which was finalized in the early 1990s and had as much to do with redeveloping the old airport site as with overcrowding and ancient facilities…

    A Hamburg airport relocation plan has been proposed in the 1960s and isn’t going anywhere and don’t even get me started on BER….

    There is talk about doing something in London, though, but I don’t quite know the situation there…

    Roland Reply:

    There are the 2 main proposals:
    – Heathwick: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathwick#Proposal
    – Boris Island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_Estuary_Airport#Proposals

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Let me guess, both are stuck in Development Hell? http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DevelopmentHell

    Roland Reply:

    A $100B Boris island in the Thames or Medway estuaries would definitely be a tough pill to swallow but remember that the Mayor of London is now also the MP for Uxbridge (directly under the Heathrow flight path) and could potentially become leader of the Conservative Party and eventually Prime Minister at which point all bets would be off: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Johnson#Return_to_Parliament

    Heathwick makes a lot of sense including here in the Bay Area because it would make it possible to eliminate the need for a third runway in SFO by turning SFO and SJC into a virtual airport linked by HSR (CRRA need not apply) and eventually an HSR tunnel between SFO and OAK (BART may be OK because of the short distance). The same concept could be developed between LAX and BUR.
    The general idea is that it does not matter if two gates are 2 miles or 30 miles apart as long as passengers can transfer to a different flight in 30 minutes or less.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t think large scale expansions of airports are a very smart idea right now. Sure, air travel is growing now, but the writing is on the wall. HSR will kill the short distance markets that airlines themselves are trying to get rid of as we speak. And the long distance market will be hit by a resurgence in oil prices. I doubt planes powered by something other than fossil fuels will ever be a solution to this problem. Maybe we will get Zeppelins with solar panels though. That would be awesome…

    JJJJ Reply:

    The city wants the station. The county (and their federal reps) is the one that has been opposed.

  3. Roland
    Apr 1st, 2016 at 01:22
    #3

    OT: Check out the drop dead gorgeous paint job on the new TransPennine EDMUs: http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/hitachi-awarded-transpennine-express-multiple-unit-contract.html

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART don’t do no paint – violation of Brutalism. Thus PB will prescribe corroded bare aluminum for JerryRail.

    EJ Reply:

    Good lord, is there anything you can’t turn into a whinge about BART? Every single illustration put out by CAHSR shows some combination of blue and yellow, so PB better get on it.

    It’s amazing too how you manage to lie about absolutely everything. Aluminum corrodes very little. Please provide evidence of corroded aluminum on BART cars.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Aluminum is dull by nature.

    BART is PB is CAHSR.

    And literally I could see BART running PBCAHSR SJ to Fresno.

    Eric M Reply:

    Really

    synonymouse Reply:

    Check out the inside of an aluminum pot in which you have been boiling water.

    Joe Reply:

    OMG – What are Anodized Alumium pots.

    “Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How many people use BART cars to boil water?

    EJ Reply:

    BART Soup is the next big thing. The economics are a little weird because you get like 15,000 servings out of one BART car, but boy is it delicious.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Yes, but with the elimination of carpets, the funky yet strangely addictive flavor nuances will no longer mask the harsh beercan aluminum aftertaste.

    EJ Reply:

    BART is PB is CAHSR.

    Just constant lying. It’s amazing.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Synonymouse never ceases to amaze…

    JB in PA Reply:

    Bare aluminum forms an oxide layer in a fraction of a second. Fresh cut aluminum can have a bright shiny appearance. It commonly continues a slow oxidation process over months and years and can turn a dull grey, can produce a light grey powder, or if there is contact and vibration, can produce a dark grey or black powder. Exposure can lead to intergranular corrosion and exfoliation and pillowing as the metal returns to a more natural state like the mineral in the ground. Aluminum is commonly protected and prepared for application of paint by a coating process which can include chromium. Primer paint does not adhere well directly to aluminum. The coating process can also be left unpainted. Another common surface treatment is anodize which you likely have seen as the black, red, or blue aluminum flashlights. Anodize is a more durable surface. All of the above is standard practice in aerospace since WWII.
    By the way, the garbage aluminum commonly found in window frames is not what they use in aircraft.

    JB in PA Reply:

    http://blog.aeroinstock.com/corrosion

    James Fujita Reply:

    It’s good enough for the top of the Washington Monument.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Monument#Aluminum_apex

    JB in PA Reply:

    Lightning srikes will leave millimeter or so divots in the surface.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Another prediction that will fail to come true mostly because it is based on a fallacy: “BART don’t do no paint – violation of Brutalism. Thus PB will prescribe corroded bare aluminum for JerryRail”. (The fallacy is that PB controls what happens for both HSR and BART, a logical proposition made without any supporting evidence, in fact examples exist that show the opposite, but are ignored because they violate the ideology of the quoted post.)

    EJ Reply:

    Kind of busy for my taste, but definitely eye catching. Though aren’t all UK train liveries required to have significant areas of hi-viz yellow?

    swing hanger Reply:

    No longer as of March this year, as long as certain headlamp requirements are met. See standard GM/RT2131 (scroll down to middle of article):
    http://www.rssb.co.uk/hot-topics/visibility-of-trains-what-is-changing

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Proof one mans’ gorgeous is another mans’ gaudy. As for the paint scheme CaHSR will choose, I hope it’s something bold yet restrained — either majority blue or majority yellow, avoiding racing stripes, swashes or any unneeded, overthought embellishments. I’d strongly prefer to see either a solid gold metallic/yellow or a GGB/sunset inspired international orange.

    James Fujita Reply:

    No embellishments?

    http://www.punipunijapan.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/pikachu-shinkansen.jpg

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Japanese yuru-chara notwithstanding.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I kind of like the ICE type white with a red stripe design… Probably because I am used to it. However, it probably is a pain in the backside to clean and it does not look all that good once it’s dirty…

    Eric M Reply:

    So do I .. It’s simplistic yet elegant.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yeah, it looks way more classy than the TGV paint-job. Which is probably deliberate, as the TGV was introduced as a service for “everybody” and explicitly promoted as such by the Mitterrand government, whereas the ICE was conceived as a service for business travelers and people with the requisite small change.

    Ironically, Deutsche Bahn later started a high prized subsidiary (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_%28train%29) which ultimately failed, whereas SNCF has recently set up a low price subsidiary (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouigo) which seems to be doing fine but not providing the paradigm shift some thought it might be.

    EJ Reply:

    I was always a fan of the original TGV orange. The current livery is kinda meh, though. Inoffensive but not really eye-catching. DB white and red looks good, but it gets dirty at the drop of a hat. Doesn’t look too good in the spring either with smashed bugs all over it. ÖBB’s Railjet colors (Red, orange, and two-tone grey) are pretty snappy I think, but maybe that’s just because they’re vaguely reminiscent of SP’s Daylight.

    The Italians probably have the best looking HSR trains right now – both the NTV and Trenitalia trains look pretty sharp.

    Roland Reply:

    Did you just describe a drop dead classy Leo Express Stadler EDMU? http://www.le.cz/

    Faber Castell Reply:

    The Leo Express CzRplc trains are sharp. But I’m a sucker for black or solid dark like the new GWR livery.

    Clem Reply:

    Roland, that’s a straight up EMU. There is no D anywhere in it.

    Roland Reply:

    Clem, I am talking about what is (hopefully) coming to the Caltrain ROW by 2018:
    https://youtu.be/3TNFWZrzUw4?t=5582
    http://www.stadlerrail.com/en/vehicles/flirt-3/ (anybody up to a paintshop project?)

    Clem Reply:

    I’ve seen it done :)

    Roland Reply:

    :-)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Too bulky nose for my taste… But than again, I have come awfully accustomed to Hamster-cheek Bombardier Talent II https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_Talent_2 whose nose probably only looks less bulky because of the tilted nose thing stuff…

    Roland Reply:

    Bi-modal Stadler FLIRT Press Release: http://www.stadlerrail.com/en/news/2015/05/13/first-bi-modal-stadler-flirt/

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Those are nice colors I just hope they don’t stick CAlifornia with this yellow and blue stripe thing they’ve been using I’d love to see something else at the top of this page

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Something else like what?

    I have not yet seen a blue and yellow HSR train in real life, and the trains really should be recognizably different…

    However, this being the US, maybe they should put it in red white and blue and a Californian Grizzly all over it…

    Roland Reply:

    Here is one https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_395 which is an ancestor of the train that started this thread: the AT300: http://www.europeanrailwayreview.com/27025/rail-industry-news/at300-inter-city-rail-carriages-transpennine-express/ which itself is a long-range evolution of the Class 800/801: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercity_Express_Programme

    Aarond Reply:

    Their options are basically Government Grey or Amtrak CA blue/yellow. A piece of me hopes they go with either a Daylight orange/red or Super Chief red silver scheme though. I think we’ll end up with grey because it’s not offensive.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why can’t they chose other colors?

    EJ Reply:

    Blue and yellow/gold are just kind of semi-official state colors in California. See for example the UC system, or Amtrak California, or most state government web sites: http://www.ca.gov/

    I don’t know if there’s any specific reason for it, but it’s fairly traditional at this point.

    Reedman Reply:

    The University of Michigan Wolverines (the Maize and Blue) appreciate the added publicity.

    Peter Reply:

    Blue and gold aren’t the semi-official state colors, they’re the official state colors.

    http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/california/state-colors/blue-gold

    EJ Reply:

    Huh, never knew they had actual legal status as such. I thought it was just traditional.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    As a rule of thumb: The average US state has state everything. Some states even have an official state firearm. But before you ask, I am unaware of any official state rail vehicle…

    Eric M Reply:

    Siemens blue and yellow Eurostar e320 looks good.

  4. agb5
    Apr 1st, 2016 at 03:46
    #4

    The value engineered way to build south of the temporary station would be to have one contractor build the viaduct across the whole of Bakersfield, not just half way to the station.
    Unlike the Fresno river viaduct, which was built from below, in urban areas a viaduct is easier built from above, using prefabricated sections and very heavy specialized equipment. After investing in a viaduct factory and equipment, there is an economy of scale to use them to build all of the local viaducts, across Shafter, Bakersfield and beyond.
    For the new TGV line in France, one contractor built seven viaducts, and built one viaduct factory to supply all of the prefabricated sections.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54ZvvU1NXAE

    Joe Reply:

    Write this guy a letter. He is the House Majority Leader.

    https://kevinmccarthy.house.gov/about/our-district

    Ask him to stop opposing HSR. Possibly someone might suggest he actually help find a commitment for funds to extend the project to Bakersfield. HSR project seems to be very very important to the City Kevin McCarthy represents.

    Roland Reply:

    1) Can you please point us to a French city that is completely traversed by an HSR viaduct?
    2) Here is how the Chinese construct viaducts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4B9QBG-OUg

    EJ Reply:

    French HSR normally bypasses smaller cities and towns. Stations are built on the outskirts.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct and this is one of the many reasons why French HSR is so much faster than German HSR.

    EJ Reply:

    Sure, in a more perfect world we’d have West Bakersfield + Tejon. I personally don’t count it out, if CAHSR continues to insist they need to operate trains at full speed through these cities.

    Roland Reply:

    They basically don’t have a choice because the private sector will never step in until they build bypasses for nearly every station with the notable exceptions of LA Union, San Jose and San Francisco. Did I forget to mention that Prop1A Bonds will be excluded for the same reason?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Palmdale deserves thru running at at least 220mph.

    But of course we know every train will be a local, a Palmdale Flyer.

    Peter Reply:

    The main one being ICEs stop at more intermediate stations than TGVs.

    Roland Reply:

    Going through a City to make a stop is not an issue. The problems start when you have to go through a City without stopping (real HSR is no Metrolink/Caltrain).

  5. agb5
    Apr 1st, 2016 at 05:07
    #5

    Bakersfield can take the initiative and pay to electrify the existing BNSF line from Poplar Avenue to the Bakersfield Amtrak station as they suggest.
    The city council should set up a meeting with BNSF to agree on the details.
    In any case this could not be payed for with bond funds because it will not be part of the finished HSR corridor.
    Have they fully considered the platform height incompatibility?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Will BNSF provide enough slots for this to be workable? Also how many tracks does the existing ROW allow for? A single tracked line will probably not do much good…

  6. morris brown
    Apr 1st, 2016 at 06:40
    #6

    Evolving California High Speed Rail Now Degraded To Only A Commuter Train!

    J. Wong Reply:

    Your conclusion isn’t supported by anything you say in your essay. Why not fund it instead? That seems like a more reasonable conclusion.

    Roland Reply:

    As Maggie once said: “Eventually, you will run out of Other People’s Money”.

    Zorro Reply:

    Republicans lost on HSR and on the budget in 2011… California is a Deep Blue state, it won’t be red for a long, long time…

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, it’s our money since California is a net payer of Federal tax receipts (that doesn’t receive back in benefits what it pays). Apparently, they haven’t yet run out of money for roads yet. Why is that okay, but funding HSR is not?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Because Californians aren’t Real Americans(tm).
    S’kay to take their tax money but anathema to spend any of it on them. Tax money should be spent of Real Americans(tm).

    Jerry Reply:

    @J. Wong. “It’s our money” and we are “a net payer of Federal” taxes.
    Agreed. And that point cannot be emphasized enough.

    Edward Reply:

    19% of capital outlays for roads in California is Federal money. This is the lowest of all the states. The US average is 44%. The only other states getting less than 30% are Florida 29%, Maryland 28% and New Jersey 21%. At the other end of the spectrum are Alaska 95%, Arkansas 80% and Montana 88%. In the over 70% federal camp are Alabama, Idaho, North Dakota, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont.

    Much of this makes sense as large area and small population would make paying to build roads a burden, but we certainly get the short straw on this.

    Joe Reply:

    X-MT resident. CA is getting screwed. Fewer people in MT and fewer roads needed. Taxes are lower. They have two senators – same as CA. That’s the Magic.

    Much of the land is Federalized which also means more federal investment per person but it’s not like you’re going to develop this marginal land.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I say California say screw you to the federal government and legalizes alcohol for 18 year olds. That means their will be less highway funding, but Cali could make it up with… I don’t know, gas taxes. Or taxes on medical marijuana. Or taxes on booze for 18 year olds.

    EJ Reply:

    Californians will have our revenge. There are hardly any good paying jobs in MT, and ordinary Montanans can’t afford to buy housing now that Baby Boomers are cashing out their $2 million crapshacks in Santa Clara and retiring up in Montana…

    Nathanael Reply:

    The Senate should be abolished. It’s obscenely antidemocratic.

    Of course we’d also need to get rid of gerrymandering in the House. I support proportional representation.

    J. Wong Reply:

    An interesting take on infrastructure spending by Matt Yglesias over at Vox.com: The best way to pay for an infrastructure surge is to not pay for it at all.

    The point is interest rates are so low and the return on infrastructure spending is so high, then you don’t really need to worry about paying it back. (Of course, the naysayers are going to claim that HSR won’t have any return by making invalid claims about how it will operate. It’s not a streetcar.)

    Joe Reply:

    He tweeted yesterday a comment that many new transit infrastructure projects like stations are designed more for aesthetics than practicality. The roundabout design makes commutes longer.

    I hope that the tight funds for HSR phase 1 results in modest, practical stations rather than signature stations designed with long walks through station shopping areas.

    Clem Reply:

    Wait, I thought we always began station planning with the all-important “Visual Design Guidelines?” At least that’s how we do it in San Jose.

    Jerry Reply:

    I still don’t know where ARTIC fits into all of this station design stuff.

    Clem Reply:

    Sometimes form follows function. Other times disfunction follows form.

    Peter Reply:

    An example of zero function following form: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Brandenburg_Airport

    EJ Reply:

    I probably wouldn’t find it as funny if my tax dollars were paying for it, but that description of the failed fire safety system is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while.

    Roland Reply:

    Here is the direct link to the failed fire safety system saga: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Brandenburg_Airport#Construction_failures

    This brings us to the 2016 Draft “Business Plan” where one discovers similar disasters waiting to happen:

    “The tunneling costs were reduced based on the value engineering resulting in reduction of tunnel diameter and revisions to the mechanical ventilation requirements relative to the assumptions included in the 2014 Business Plan estimate.”

    “Ventilation in tunnels is based on a trainset compartmentation strategy for smoke control in tunnels which would eliminate requirements for mechanical ventilation”.

    “Based on compartmentation strategy for smoke control in tunnels that would eliminate shafts
    to the surface within Angeles National Forest”
    http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/DRAFT_2016_Business_Plan_Basis_of_Estimate.pdf

    What is hilarious (not) is that the MTI Long Tunnel Analysis research paper link http://transweb.sjsu.edu/PDFs/research/1429-long-tunnels-trend-analysis.pdf is on the same page as the link to the 2016 Draft “Business Plan” and that Professor Jae-Ho Pyeon wrote as follows in the Executive Summary (bottom of page 2):

    “Ventilation to control smoke dispersion is one of the most important systems in a long tunnel. Twin-tube tunnels equipped with cross passages significantly shorten the escape distance and allow easier access by rescue and firefighting personnel.”

    Conclusion: It is unclear at this time if we are dealing with certifiable cretins or indictable criminals but the bottom line is that there is apparently not enough money for a Safe and Reliable high-speed line between San Jose and Merced (let alone Shafter) and that the sooner the Legislature learns about this scandal and does something about it, the better!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I have recently been through Berlin train station and actually took the longest walk you can take their changing trains (from the lowest level where ICEs stop all the way up to the S-Bahn) it took me about five minutes in a speed that wasn’t quite running. And Berlin main station is one of the biggest stations in Europe and also a shopping center earning tons of money for Deutsche Bahn. In that case, I advise California to ask nicely for Deutsche Bahn to help them build stations…

    EJ Reply:

    Berlin Hauptbahnhof is terrific. The article was about Berlin’s new airport, which is apparently a clusterf**k of epic proportions.

    Peter Reply:

    I’m really confused what the relevance of BER-style incompetence is to long tunnels planned for the HSR system.

    The smoke removal system was a new design, of a type never before constructed on such a large scale.

    On the other hand, long tunnels have been built all over the world for HSR.

    Roland Reply:

    Peter, you need to start by reading on page 17 of this document: http://transweb.sjsu.edu/PDFs/research/1429-long-tunnels-trend-analysis.pdf which gives an introduction to tunnel ventilation basics followed by ventilation strategies for specific tunnels on page 18.
    Next search for “ventilation” in the Draft 2016 “Business Plan” http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/DRAFT_2016_Business_Plan_Basis_of_Estimate.pdf and you will find that the PB clowns are proposing to replace conventional tunnel ventilation with “special” compartmentalized trains.
    I hope that the BER-style incompetence analogy makes sense now.

    Peter Reply:

    Meh, ventilation will be included in the final design.

    Roland Reply:

    One would hope so but the “Business Plan” now has a problem because ventilation fans interfere with air flow and the only way around this is to increase tunnel diameters (this is why the HS2 urban tunnels are 8.25M OD vs, 8.15 for HS1) which means that CRRA now have a “minor” issue with their (realistically) non-existent budget as discussed earlier today during the Senate hearing.

    Peter Reply:

    From the Cost Estimate on page 27, footnote 5: “Cost savings based upon July 2014 White Paper on Cost Reduction Strategies and include a reduction in the nominal inside tunnel diameter to 28 feet”

    28 feet is 8.5 meters.

    Joe Reply:

    Labeling people “cretins” and “criminals” requires both better target acquisition and aim.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    My comment regarding Berlin main station was with regards to train station design. On the whole I love train stations and hate airports… Part of the reason for that is that airports tend to price gouge whereas train stations (at least the ones I know) don’t.

    Roland Reply:

    @Peter. Go back to http://transweb.sjsu.edu/PDFs/research/1429-long-tunnels-trend-analysis.pdf and look at Table 24 on page 45 (“Width” is the tunnel diameter in yards). You will find that tunnel diameters are all over the map because they depend on many factors some of which are covered in this document: http://www.tillier.net/stuff/hsr/TM-2.4.2-Basic-Tunnel-Config-R0-090730-A.pdf.

    Peter Reply:

    Roland, if you want to make an argument, make an argument. Don’t just post links. Most of the time I have better things to do than try and figure out what point you’re trying to make.

    Joe Reply:

    Hoping the station budget doesn’t allow for the signature station with 100,000 sq ft of retail and a mayor hat has people walking by the stores.

    I really want a bare bones gilroy station – quick and easy.

    Joe Reply:

    “Mayor hat” was indented to be “layout”.

    Edward Reply:

    Boy, that’s an aggressive spellchucker.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Haha!… Mayor Hat!

    Safari on my iPad has had some of the funniest spelling replacements. I wish I would have been taking screenshots, I could have a blog.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That’s what happens if you use Apple products…

    Roland Reply:

    Here is what got Tripousis fired from SJ DoT:
    – From the south: https://youtu.be/vCcvsFNhJgs?t=80
    – From the north: https://youtu.be/267F-75lOik?t=27

    EJ Reply:

    I particularly like the sad little existing Diridon station house below that behemoth. “I get to stay, guys, right? I’m still useful! Right? Uh, guys?!?”

    Jerry Reply:

    Now that Big Ben is back, will they update the videos?
    (The A’s stadium is in the old ones.)

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually, low interest rates have been making life difficult for most public agencies recently, whether or not they are building infrastructure.

    Investors actually buy fewer government bonds as low interest rates persist. It’s more lucrative to wait until rates rise to guarantee a higher return.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What do they do with the money in the mean time? Stuff it in the mattress?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Well maybe not a mattress, but many corporations are just sitting on cash reserves and thus don’t need much extra funding for financing unless it’s somehing risky.

    Roland Reply:

    In case you missed the transition from CHSRA to CRRA, here is the link:
    http://www.planetizen.com/node/84795/californias-ambitious-transportation-projects-designed-include-communities

    Joe Reply:

    WTF – Quote the text can you?

    Alan Reply:

    At least it wasn’t another stupid YouTube link…

    James Fujita Reply:

    Uh oh. There seems to be a broken link. This doesn’t say anything about “CRRA” or using high-speed rail to commute.

    Roland Reply:

    “We’re transitioning from looking at high-speed rail as something to get people from San Francisco to LA and instead seeing it as tying together the state and reinforcing what’s happening in our cities.”

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Does morales read this blog. Cuz that’s what I’ve been saying ca hsr is for for the last 8 years
    Of course tying the regions together is the whole point
    You out as many Californians as possible. Within say 30 minutes of a high speed rail station and suddenly the majority of Californians are within a couple of hours from each other
    That was obviously the point of hsr. The other 56 counties would never vote to build something that only served LAcounty and SF county

    Just like its wrong to assume that once phase one and two are done. There will never be a phase three or four

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Rail transit projects tend to perpetuate themselves with their success. Once you build one line, people not on the line will see what they’re missing and they will want to get in on the action. And as long as LA-SFO is below three hours, the airlines will get clobbered. It’s an empirically observed rule all over the world.

    Travis D Reply:

    Shh, don’t bother Roland with reality.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The most difficult step in building something like that is the first step. Once its built, it will automatically gather steam…

    High speed rail works. That’s the reason why so many networks have seen explosive growth in countries as different as South Korea, France and Germany.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Morales’ comment could imply many things. However, Roland has been quite critical of HSR usurping commuter traffic as far as the Bay Area goes, it clear that the author is referring to Fresno and HSR’s role there.

    Reedman Reply:

    On the “commute” topic: 15 of Menlo Park’s firefighters live more than 100 miles away from their job:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-facebooks-hometown-the-first-responders-arent-local-1458924085

    Jerry Reply:

    And still PAMPA resists faster public transportation such as HSR so their own employees can get to work. And they create more and more jobs in the area and then complain about the increase in traffic and the lack of parking.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Easy solution.

    The tech tycoons can simply decamp to Oakland and environs and build as many highrises as they like.

    Roland Reply:

    They have a much better idea: Silicon Valley II in the East Bay.

    Alan Reply:

    The shifts the department’s firefighters work accommodate long commutes, because they work 48 hours straight and then are off for four days.

    That’s basically 5 round-trips a month. While it doesn’t resolve the issue of being available in a disaster, it may be more cost-effective for the department to help its employees pay HSR fare, than pay to buy a “crash pad” in PAMPA.

    EJ Reply:

    Menlo Park FD make enough money to live locally:
    http://www.mercurynews.com/salaries/bay-area/2014

    Choose “Menlo Park Fire Protection District” under “Entity”

    They just choose not to, because they’d rather have a nice spread somewhere rural than a 3 bd 2 bath near work. I mean, if you only had to commute 5 times a month, you might make the same decision…

    Alan Reply:

    I might, but then again I might not. And you’re making some pretty good assumptions about what the firefighters choose. I believe the WSJ article cited an average salary of $147,000. That’s pretty good, but is it enough to float a mortgage on a $2 million house, not to mention the 20% down? Maybe the land is important to some of them, but maybe some of them would just prefer a house that’s not so jammed up against others that you can hear the neighbors snoring…

    EJ Reply:

    Isn’t that basically what I said?

    swing hanger Reply:

    With a salary like that, you can buy a shack in PAMPA.

    EJ Reply:

    Santa Clara median home price: $988,500. San Mateo median home price: $1,044,000. Fremont median home price: $687,400. All decent places to live, affordable on ~ $150K salary, and a perfectly reasonable commute to Menlo Park.

    You’ll get quite a bit more, though, in Auburn (median home price $380,000), Capitola ($558,500), or Tracy ($413,700). Again, it’s a choice you might make if you only had to commute 5 times per month. Now, I know that’s not a correct narrative, it’s not tech bros vs. working class heroes, but it’s the reality.

    Joe Reply:

    Two of my son’s friends each have a parent working for MountainView police dept. They would love to work in a mtview neighborhood but cannot. New Giltoy homes on postage stamp lots start in the high 600’s.

    Reality Check Reply:

    I assume you meant “live” (not “work”) in Mountain View.

    Have you looked up what each of them made in 2014? What’s their title and how many years on?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Firefighters buying and living far from the Bay Area is common … and not because they can’t afford to live somewhere within a reasonable distance … police and fire on the Peninsula are very well compensated, but they love their big trucks and big houses with lots of land out in the country.

    Michael Reply:

    Novato is a favorite for SFFD and SFPD.

    Joe Reply:

    Bullshit. Goofy stereo-types.

    I can name two out of two who would love to live in the city they serve. They cannot so they live here in My town and commute in to work. They have kids and would likes vests to the public schools.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Yes, please, name them. These are the MVPD employees? Are they full-time officers … and what’s their seniority?

    Joe Reply:

    Well the argument you offer is that police and firefighters like live in rural cheaper places so their Pennisula salary is justified. Where they choose to live is irrelevant to the fact thier salary isn’t enough to afford homes in their communities. Full time salary.

    I know two who would like to live work in the city and expressed that desire as we watch our kids play soccer and talk.

    I can name two who have kids my son’s age but I ain’t going to. Just as I would not like my foster care status and identity/city discussed on a blog.

    Jerry Reply:

    Under FOI Act the Daily Post obtains and publishes all the positions along with salaries and overtime of Peninsula employees.
    The same information could provide the zipcode of all employees residences. With the actual data everyone would know the percentage and distances of employees living away from their workplace.

    Peter Reply:

    Agencies in California fall under the California Public Records Act, not the Freedom of Information Act.

    EJ Reply:

    If everyone could live in the community where they worked, we wouldn’t be talking about freeway expansions vs. BART vs. Caltrain vs. whatever else. I don’t doubt that many firefighters/cops/etc. (not to mention mid-level white-collar workers and govt. bureaucrats) can’t afford to live in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, etc. We’re talking about some of the most expensive real estate in the country.

    What I’m calling bullshit on is the idea that they can’t find somewhere within 100 miles of their place of employment that gives them a reasonable standard of living.

    EJ Reply:

    I suppose you could say it comes down to: do you subsidize local housing or do you subsidize commuting? Labor mobility is an important if often-overlooked component of a strong economy, so I say subsidize commuting. Subsidizing commuting also helps out those workers who for whatever reason don’t want to live locally (e.g. spouse works in the community where they live, don’t want to make their kids change schools, just happen to like the town they live in, etc., etc.)

    Joe Reply:

    Stanford provides subsidized housing for faculty and, recently athletic coaching positions, AND subsidizes public transit. They also penalize driving with relatively expensive parking and it’s not convenient.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, that probably makes sense for them as an individual employer, given the nature of their workforce and the type of institution they are. I was thinking more as a matter of public policy.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    You have to subsidize both housing and transportation. Labor mobility AND land ownership to ensure a healthy middle class.

    The problem is, the American economy has become far more weighed toward capital than labor. Thus, centrally located property explodes in value, but with little realization how hard it will be to fill certain jobs…

    Alan Reply:

    More fearmongering and deceit from Morris.

    For one thing, I don’t believe that Sen. Simitian’s 2012 coments had anything to do with IOS-North vs IOS-South. As Morris himself admits, in 2012 IOS-South was the official plan. Morris is obviously taking the quote out of context and distorting it.

    Morris also claims that the LA basin is being cheated because they’re paying taxes while IOS-North is built. Where was the righteous indignation about the Bay Area being cheated, while IOS-South was the approved plan? Why weren’t you whining about that, Morris?

    And Morris, where does Prop 1A define California HSR as “a premium service”? Hmm?

    The blather about commuting costs is also deceitful and misplaced. First, not everyone who uses HSR to get to a job will do so 5 days a week. Some jobs may allow telecommuting 3 or even 4 days a week. Some employers may cover part of their employees costs, just as some do now for public transit, carpooling, etc. And nothing prohibits the Authority’s operator from offering discounted multi-ride tickets. Common sense tells us that an empty seat generates no revenue, while a seat sold at a discount generates some income. And in any event, it’s simply stupid to proclaim that 5-day-a-week commuters are going to locate as far away as Fresno and Bakersfield

    Morris, you’ve lost. The project is being built. Man up and get used to that.

    Zorro Reply:

    Same goes for Roland and Cyno, another 2 Whiners who seem to be too stupid to release, that they’re all preaching to the choir, HSR is being built and no lawsuit is going to stop it, nor whining or ballot initiative, which was tried in 2012, 2014 and in 2016, all have failed to get on the ballot, same will happen in 2018 too.

    HSR is here to stay and the anti-HSR types better get used to this fact of life, as y’all don’t have an army to change that fact with, anti-HSR has been soundly defeated, get over HSR and get on with life…

    Zorro Reply:

    Realize, not release, duh…

    Roland Reply:

    “HSR is being built” “No lawsuit is going to stop it” “Anti-HSR types”
    Q: Are you talking about High Speed Rail, Rapid Rail or some Yet-To-Be-Named Vaporware?

    Faber Castell Reply:

    “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

    ― Victor Hugo

    synonymouse Reply:

    That was pretty much what they were saying about Prohibition.

    Edward Reply:

    I regularly have lunch with a lady who telecommutes from from her house in Berkeley. Every two weeks she flies to LA for company meetings. That makes her a 1/2 day per week commuter. I’m even better. I do all my work from home and fly to the job sites for a week or two every year. Business class over eleven time zones keeps up my Lufthansa frequent flier status. :-)

    Edward Reply:

    This is a reply to a previous thread. How did it get here? Not to worry…

    Jerry Reply:

    The lead story for this blog is from, The Bakersfield Californian.
    In the article, “Vice Mayor Harold Hanson observed he and Mayor Harvey L. Hall “will be out at Greenlawn Memorial” Park, a cemetery, by the time the train is operational, getting a chuckle from the audience.”
    That will be true for most of the old opponents. Even the ones from PAMPA.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    So you are unhappy Morris with CAHSR be able to be less of a burden on taxpayers?

  7. J. Wong
    Apr 1st, 2016 at 07:37
    #7

    Maybe Bakersfield should ask their Congressional representative to help get the funding from Congress. As a Republican he should have some influence since the Republicans control Congress. If he won’t help then vote him out.

    Joe Reply:

    Right!

    Kevin McCarthy wrote a book about his awesome powers and super vision as the new Young Guns running the US House. He is the House Majority Leader. That the city doesn’t bother speaks to their timidity and foolishness.

    Kevin’s Book

    Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders

    http://www.amazon.com/Young-Guns-Generation-Conservative-Leaders/dp/1451607342

    Make no mistake: Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy are proud Republicans. But they believe the party had lost sight of the ideals it believes in, like economic freedom, limited government, the sanctity of life, and putting families first.

    Aarond Reply:

    Or probably because McCarthy let an amendment pass back in the 2016-7 budget which would have gutted all federal CAHSR money, luckily it was stopped in the Senate.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    I love how on of those wingnuts, Cantor, is now a very out of office Young Gun of congress.

    Alan Reply:

    And of those three, Cantor is out, Ryan is in deep trouble, and McCarthy is likely to be caught up in the anti-Trump tidal wave.

    “Limited government”? Yes, unless is has to do with womens’ health care, marriage rights, using the Bible as a science text, and so on. And ensuring that oil companies and the military-industrial complex have a never ending stream of profits at our expense.

    Zorro Reply:

    Limited Government was a feature of the Articles of Confederation and does not exist anywhere in the US Constitution, no matter how much some idiots want it to exist…

    Alan Reply:

    I agree. I was being somewhat sarcastic…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Conservatives have always been in favor of the federal government upholding their vision. That was already true when it was the Democrats who wanted to force the North to round up their fugitive slaves….

    But dare to raise “states rights” as a defense for smoking pot and you are in a world of hurt…

    Aarond Reply:

    >and McCarthy is likely to be caught up in the anti-Trump tidal wave.

    Do people still think this will happen? There is no response to Trump. Or rather, there’s no popular wave against him since he’s the populist. The only people who truly dislike him are people on the far left. In order to have an anti-Trump wave you need another populist to fight him. As much as I love Sanders, he’s not it. Even here in CA voters are more preoccupied with the budget than social justice issues.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    “The only people who truly dislike him are people on the far left.”

    You really must not be paying attention. At most Trump has 40% of republican support and very substantial amounts of conservatives declaring no support under any circumstances. You can not win a general election in this net negative position.

    And the world rejoices.

    Aarond Reply:

    Primary season isn’t done, come July most Republicans will acquiesce and support him. Meanwhile Sanders will (unfortunately) loose, and Democrats will be faced with an HRC nomination. At the end of it, Hilary is a harder pill to swallow than Trump. Republicans (and many moderates) will take him over another Bush-styled dynasty.

    It’s infuriating because any candidate other than Hilary could beat Trump in the general. Imagine how much better everything could have been if Webb had stayed in and come in first in the South leaving Hilary in third place.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Sanders actually has a very solid chance of winning the election.

    Provided *California* votes overwhelmingly for Sanders. California has way more delegates than any other state. Sanders just needs to keep tying the states before California, and then win big in California, and he wins the pledged delegate vote. The Superdelegates do not dare to overturn that, or the Democratic Party blows up.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    You have a real blind spot about Trump and Republicans in general. Trump is failing at “closing the deal”. He’s about to lose Wisconsin by 10+ points, he hasn’t gotten over 50% of the vote anywhere, unlike for example Romney at this stage.

    His misstep this week proposing to jail women who have abortions will not help with his 70% unfavorables with women. Some portion of voters actually are adults, and his proposal for Japan and Korea to have nukes, and for us to pull back from NATO are dangerous non-starters for adults.

    (So what he would do as president is an irrelevant counterfactual hypothetical, but for all we know he might support infrastructure spending… ;)

    Aarond Reply:

    Meanwhile, Trump is set to win delegate heavy states (CA, NJ, NY). While he hasn’t gotten 50% yet, he’ll be the strongest candidate going into the nomination. Once everyone is made a free agent, Trump needs less coming over to his side than Cruz does. Kaisch must drop out for Cruz to have any chance of beating him.

    At this point either the GOP endorse him, or the party self-destructs. Given that there’s an unresolved SCOTUS battle, I reckon that most Republicans will go for the candidate with the most energy.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    That makes for internal GOP excitement but even assuming he wins the GOP is dealt a major wound, with its coalition frayed. Not only will this Presidential race be challenged, but down ticket races and future cycles will not be immune from its effects.

    john burrows Reply:

    The chase for the Presidency has brought out Trump’s highly developed predatory instincts, much like a dog chasing a car. But when the dog catches up with the car—Then what. Trump appears to be having the same problem with the Presidency.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The GOP is about to bifurcate between Wall Street and Main Street and Trump is the only thing holding them together. Any other Republican candidate will lose worse to Hillary than Trump. And the Repubs seem to have wanted to go out this way when they pushed their best moderate “mainstream” guy, Mitt Romney, off the stage at the beginning.

    And as time goes by the only halfway decent jobs for the lumpen will be government. So a patronage machine similar to the one that runs California is inevitable for the country overall. The rural areas should probably try to achieve some degree of autonomy like Catalonia from Spain so they can have the country lifestyle.

    With a GOP in eclipse the rich and the corps will pump bribe money known as campaign contributions into the Democratic Party and lifers like Hillary will want to drift right. This will be the big conflict of the future – you see this already in France – with a big schism developing between the 401k crowd and the Social Security crowd within the Democratic Party. The most important event from the point of view of political ideology will be how Bernie deals with Hillary at the convention. Let’s see if he has the stones to refuse to kiss and make up unless Hillary signs a contract in blood to a forgiveness, amnesty, reform of student loans.

    That should rile the Gnomes of Zurich, the TARPers of the day after tomorrow.

    EJ Reply:

    I think we’re going to see a significant political realignment, but I’d question whether you can really look to Europe for an example. For one thing, we’ve got a huge wildcard in the evangelical Christian right, which no European country has (sure, many European countries have a religious right, but it’s smaller, Catholic, and usually has somewhat different goals than the US religious right).

    I could see the GOP dwindling away to a rump far-right party and then the Dems splitting between the center-right and the left, but I could also envision a situation like Britain, where UKIP/BNP drew off the far right headbangers and made it respectable to be a Tory again, and Labour ended up adrift between Blairism and traditional leftism.

    Joe Reply:

    A split ? Our winner take all system disfavors splits. Realignment – skeptical about that.

    Trump is pretty much inline with the standard GOP dogma. He isn’t any more nuts than Sarah Palin.

    He appeals to the mythical real America which our press has pandered to for 30 years. Reagan Democrats. The only problem is the party leadership isn’t in control and Frank Lutz code word polling isn’t needed to get across the racist messages.

    Political and think tank jobs within the GOP are at risk. Hence the anxiety and TV coverage.

    Newt put in radicals and could not control them and Young Guns Eric Cantor Ryan and McCarthy continue the radicalism and have the same problem with rank and file.

    The party has radicals that want kick out the leadership and don’t respect the standard television personalities.

    Religion isn’t a factor. It’s all about nativism.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Of course religion is a factor in the Bible Belt.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Isn’t any more nuts than Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is clinically insane. That is meaning absolutely nothing.

    Nathanael Reply:

    A realignment is absolutely guaranteed. The only question is when it will happen and exactly how it will play out.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Suggesting rural areas in the U.S.A. is in any way similar to Catalonia is completely stupid. Catalonia is more like California. It is 20% of Spain’s economy. Which rural state here is like that? Absolutely none.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Catalonia is one of the better known examples of some significant autonomy from the central government.

    There is one similarity in that Catalonia and Euzkadi lost a Civil War just as with a good part of the rural areas in the US that would seek some cultural independence from a central government dominated by urban values.

    EJ Reply:

    Every US state is one of the better known examples of significant autonomy from the central government. It’s called Federalism.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am not talking about just one state. I am talking Flyover Country.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Repubs want much more states’ rights.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Perhaps it would be best to ban human habitation in the flyovers, and just turn the region into a buffalo preserve.

    EJ Reply:

    You keep saying this, yet every poll I’ve seen shows either Hillary or Bernie handily beating Trump in the general. The only group that even possibly favors Trump is white men, and even that’s not likely, and anyway you haven’t been able to win an election with just white men on your side in decades. I mean, polls have been wrong before, but what’s your reasoning that he’s unstoppable?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hillary will win easily but prove much less popular than Barack.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    all she has to do is get the economy booming like bill did and suddenly nothing else will matter.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    The lions share of the “presidential approval rating” in [relative] peacetime is and has always been the speed of the increase or decrease in the size of Joe Shmo’s bank account.

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s not going to happen, the world is already slipping into recession (depression in the BRICS) while the US economy stagnates (hence the Fed slowing down the interest rate rise). Hilary would only enrage the GOP more and cause them to get a Supermajority just in time for the 2020 census.

    I agree with Hilary on a lot of issues, but for reasons outside her control she cannot win even if she is elected.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Hillary, with all the secret intelligence report we will never see, could not grasp the Arab Spring was in fact the Allah Spring.

    Liberals cannot conceive that some 3rd worlders hate liberals. It is a Berkeley mindset.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Hillary won’t have a problem working with normal republicans to make deals and get things done
    And the Republican Party knows now that it needs to cleanse itself of the kooks

    Aarond Reply:

    Jim: The “normal republicans” are fast taking dirt naps. They’re being replaced by people much more openly radical then they are. Look at all the friends Obama has with the GOP establishment (including McCain). It doesn’t do him any good.

    Syno: It makes me wonder how she’ll bungle the slow death of the EU

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yes, it does look bad for Europe.

    Maybe the Russians can invade and save it from itself!

    nyuk nyuk nyuk

    North Africa belongs in the European constellation not to what the Romans would have called asian despots.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And nukes in East Asia are indeed probable, depending on how bad conflicts become there. Again one of Trump’s major upsides is his willingness to let Americans handle the truth instead of bullshitting.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Those new republicans won’t last long if they continue to fight against the economy even the kookoo ding dongs on the right will only tolerate stagnation for so long And the only way to make the economy run is by making deals loosening regs and investing heavily in infrastructure, research and trade. They will cooperate or they will be out

    JBinSV Reply:

    I recall hearing the old wisdom about the power of the economy but was blown away 4 years ago as the economy took Wall St. and shook it like a cat and mouse throwing it to the ground stunned with no pulse. The economy is a Godzilla that can stomp a nation. I agree, it is much better to determine the flow of the economic river and go with the flow with the faint hope of guiding the flow to a preferred direction if at all possible. For all the conspiracy and politics I still conclude the Federal Bank attempts to keep a guiding hand on the throttle even with OPEC yanking their lever and China yanking their currency.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Jim

    Sadly Bill Clinton’s roaring nineties ended with the dot.bomb. Cyclical I guess.

    Aarond Reply:

    Most polling has Trump tied with Hilary, not that general polling matters during primary season. Sanders could easily beat Trump though, most Democrats can. Except Hilary.

    Joe Reply:

    Really?

    Name a current poll.

    Not one of these seven polls shows it close.
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He’s looking at the same pollsters that had Mitt Romney winning in a landslide.

    Joe Reply:

    They are never wrong. Reality has a liberal bias.
    That is why “voter fraud” is so in vogue with the losers. It’s always someone else’s fault.

    Aarond Reply:

    Meanwhile Cruz vs Clinton has both of them tied:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_cruz_vs_clinton-4034.html

    Once Cruz supporters jump to Trump and Sanders supporters drop out entirely the gap will close. See the polls after the conventions are held, those are the ones that will matter.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Trump isn’t going to get anywhere close to winning anything
    His popularity is strong among a tiny portion of Americans
    If it really does come to Hillary versus trump he will be lucky to get 35 percent

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Republicans I know And I’m surrounded by them are shaking their heads because they have no good choices and they resigned to a madam president
    They are republicans because the like the message of
    Less regulation
    Lower taxes
    Don’t touch my gun

    They don’t even care about social issues
    Ive seen some trump signs but most normal people especially can’t stomach trumps style when it comes to his comments about women

    Aarond Reply:

    Does it matter if his popularity is small? People hated Dubya as well. All that matters are the swing states, all of which he will do well in (except maybe PA). He plays well to disenfranchised blue steel Democrats, which combined with disenfranchised progressive Democrats means at good shot at the White House.

    But, this assumes he can win the nomination in the first place. For all my sweet talking the GOP could choose self-destruction over Trump.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Trump is not going to do well in the swing states And he’s not going to get anywhere near the White House People are not going to actually show up and vote for him

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    He also doesn’t want the job

    JBinSV Reply:

    @ Aarond
    ‘hate Dubya’
    I did not hate Dubya, I just wanted him to be president. I only recall seeing him presidential once during the first Space Shuttle memorial in Texas when emotions were raw. He spoke and rose to to occasion.
    The rest of the 8 years is was mostly an ongoing disappointment.
    I wanted him to
    – Speak in full sentences and pronounce words clearly.
    – Learn the basics of diplomacy, etiquette and protocol.
    – Walk up to the podium like he knows what he is doing and like he is the leader of the most powerful nation, not like he is going to take a piss during commercial break.
    No, I did not hate W. I was just mostly disappointed.
    He wanted to be president. So do it then.
    I have no hope Trump would be as good a president as W. I am afraid he would be much much worse.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Hillary just has to win blue States and Florida. Polling shows her easily winning Florida, North Carolina, and every rust belt state against trump. She is even likely to flip Utah. Mormons hate Trump. Trump has a 30% popularity rating, which is a death sentence. Any Bernie supporters not going for Hillary (but Bernivores, please go for Hillary) will be cancelled by Kasich/Bush/Rubio/Some Cruz supporters not going for trump. Many Republicans simply won’t vote.

    Aarond Reply:

    Jim: plenty of people will vote for Trump, especially in the rust belt. Look at Hilary’s comments on coal, I agree with them but that message does not play well at all to voters in Ohio.

    Car(e)-Free LA: Come back in August when Cruz is finally buried. Republicans will take Trump over Hilary easily. Florida itself heavily favors Trump, given that they have a totally Republican government and Rick Scott himself has endorsed Trump.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People other than Republican primary voters show up, and vote, in the general election.

    Aarond Reply:

    yes, but not on parity with Republican voters should HRC be the nominee. Her presence increases GOP turnout while decreases Dem turnout. Which I constantly harp on because it’s frustrating to watch it happen. At least Republican voters got Jeb! humiliated.

    EJ Reply:

    Plenty of people will vote for Trump, sure. Just not enough of them for him to actually win. Heck, some polls show that if Trump gets the GOP nom, Utah will be in play. Utah!

    Nathanael Reply:

    Both Hillary and Bernie can beat Trump based on current polling.

    If Cruz is the nominee, we NEED Bernie to be the nominee. Because Hillary loses to Cruz, but Bernie wins against Cruz.

    And unfortunately there is a serious chance that Cruz will be the nominee. And he’s a religious extremist.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Id like to head about one thing Kevin has done for Bakersfield. Just one.

    On the other hand, Costa has been very good for Fresno, including pushing for construction to start in the city.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Costa spent more time in the Legislature than McCarthy…if memory serves….

  8. Roland
    Apr 2nd, 2016 at 00:24
    #8

    OT: Newsflash: Bay Area Council is moving to Texas
    “After 70 years in the Bay Area, the Bay Area Council today announced it is pulling up stakes and moving to Texas. “Our work here is done,” said Council CEO Jim Wunderman. “Texas’ problems are Texas big. The Council has always focused on solving difficult challenges and Texas has got plenty of them.” The Council had been eyeing a move out of the Bay Area for many years as a parade of governors from other states have visited and highlighted California’s many competitive disadvantages, including its booming economy, world-class universities, unparalleled workforce, unrivaled innovation culture and its stunning natural beauty. Wunderman said the Council was finally swayed by a recent opinion article by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that declared the Lone Star State the new “Tech Mecca.”

    Wunderman said it didn’t matter that among the 10 largest public companies headquartered in Texas, not a single one was a technology company. “Texas is a big state and I’m sure there are some tech companies somewhere down there,” Wunderman said. The decision to leave behind iconic Bay Area-based companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, Oracle, Twitter, Genentech, Airbnb and Salesforce was difficult, Wunderman said, but “when the siren call of the Texas Tech Mecca beckoned we couldn’t resist.” The Council plans to make its move in the next several months after putting the finishing touches on fixing the Bay Area’s housing and traffic problems and solving the drought, among a few other loose ends. “We don’t want to leave the place in a complete shambles,” Wunderman said.”

    Aarond Reply:

    Most of the tech companies left in the bay area are high-end webservice companies. While some are large like Google or Salesforce, most are unprofitable startups. Meanwhile Texas has far more industry (manufacturing etc) spurred in part by their right-to-work policies and lower taxes. Texas actually has chip fabs, the Bay Area has Evernote.

    Texas has it’s problems but it’s easy to see why this is happening. The tech companies in the Bay Area are like banks, they may be movers and shakers but they don’t actually innovate anything anymore. How many startups have a business model similar to Webvan or pets.com? The stupid restrictions on office and housing development is more than enough to push sane people over the edge.

    It just goes to show the end result of extreme NIMBYism: the Bay Area will end up in a hole like Connecticut is.

    Peter Reply:

    God, you’re gullible.

    J. Wong Reply:

    I think he knows an April Fool’s joke when he sees one but like much of what he posts he doesn’t add any commentary explaining what he means.

    Roland Reply:

    Apologies. I Forgot to mention that this was the Bay Area Council’s April Fool’s joke :-)

    Aarond Reply:

    well, I got egg on my face then.

  9. StevieB
    Apr 2nd, 2016 at 16:28
    #9

    Tunneling North of Transbay Terminal creating a loop is considered in the Railyard I-280 Boulevard Alternatives Study. I though the tight S shaped approach to Transbay was because tunneling north or south was prohibited by building footings.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals are happy to take millions and spend years uncovering your insight.

    Ted K. Reply:

    Please take care when reading a compass – I get Northeast (NE) aka bay-wards. Locals tend to treat “North” as Market-wards. There’s a local custom of adding 45 degrees (roughly) when in the SOMA sector.

    JBinSV Reply:

    45 degrees off happen along most of the peninsula. I struggle with it all the time. As a child riding in the back seat by the time I arrived at my aunts house in Cupertino I was not just 45deg off but literally 180 deg off. Went back decades later and could swear the house was on the wrong side of the street.

    StevieB Reply:

    Street grids laid out by the Spanish in California are oriented 45 degrees to the compass points.

    joe Reply:

    Why?

    https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/why-la-has-clashing-street-grids
    “Laws of the Indies dictated that the city’s plaza—the social and political center of Spanish colonial settlements—be oriented 45 degrees off the cardinal directions”

    Huh?

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

    “The Laws specify many details of towns. A plan is made centered on a Plaza Mayor (main square) of size within specified limits, from which twelve straight streets are built in a rectilinear grid. The directions of the streets are chosen according to the prevailing winds, to protect the Plaza Mayor. The guidelines recommend a hospital for non-contagious cases near the church, and one for contagious diseases further away.”

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Burbank is confused. Our end of the City is N-S. East of the 5 it’s off 45 degrees. I always assumed that was because of the Railroad but maybe I’m wrong.

    StevieB Reply:

    University of Miami translates the Laws of the Indies.
    https://cbp.arc.miami.edu/Resources/Laws%20of%20the%20Indies.html

    114. From the plaza shall begin four principal street: One [shall be] from the middle of each side, and two streets from each corner of the plaza; the four corners of the plaza shall face the four principal winds…

    The points of the compass are called the Winds. What are called the principal winds are likely the points of the compass and not local winds. The translation from 16th century Spanish is not clear.

    Joe Reply:

    Some interesting digging into the history of compass directions and the winds all boils down to the decision of either aligning the four sides of a plaza (US) with the four main compass points or the plaza corners (Spain).

    The US has streets run N/S east west which means the plaza sides face each main direction while Spain has the corners facing each direction.

    keith saggers Reply:

    http://mtc.ca.gov/our-work/plans-projects/other-plans/core-capacity-transit-study

    keith saggers Reply:

    http://www.bayareaeconomy.org/report/the-case-for-a-second-transbay-transit-crossing/options-and-opportunities-for-a-new-transbay-transit-crossing/

    keith saggers Reply:

    McKinsey’s Global Infrastructure Initiative is exploring alternative approaches that could produce a second transbay tube in a much shorter timeframe, and it is expected to release a report in early 2016. Rapid delivery of a second transbay transit crossing would entail applying innovative means to construction; project phasing that optimizes speed and minimizes disruptions; and financing models that provide incentives for fast, safe delivery. bayareaeconomy

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Well the Japanese are putting high speed trains on ferries
    I think they used to do that in SF bay too
    https://ulearnchinese.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/train-ferry-to-hainan-island/

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Chinese

    Roland Reply:

    The Orient Express used to cross the Channel on a Ferry until 1980.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Not really…

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.caliberforumz.com/showthread.php/38770-Railroading

    Peter Reply:

    Is it really so hard to copy and paste the relevant part from the TLDR links you constantly post?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The VSOE was not “The Orient Express”. The Night Ferry only ran to Paris or Brussels, no through coaches.

    Roland Reply:

    I stand corrected (I could have sworn that I watched Orient Express carriages getting loaded in Dover in the seventies): http://www.seat61.com/OrientExpress.htm#heyday.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The Night Ferry had its own small pool of UK loading loading gauge coaches. Not enough for them to go wandering about in foreign parts. We impecunious parties had to put up with the “classic” ferries but at least once at Calais or Boulogne there were through coaches available, even via Paris and the Grande ceinture, to plenty of interesting destinations. I always preferred the Harwich Hoek overnight route. The first class diner on the boat train was open to second class if dining, and cabins were cheap on the ship. Stoomvart Maatschappij Zeeland. Undercooked ham and eggs for breakfast, Dutch style. Then the Lorelei to points south.

    Roland Reply:

    I used to take BAF in the seventies (Oostende to Southend in 20 minutes or about the same as Eurotunnel) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_United_Air_Ferries#Accidents_and_incidents

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Apparently German ice trains ride ferries to Denmark too

    synonymouse Reply:

    Took the night ferry from Victoria to the continent in 1970. I remember being impressed with how all the Brits in the lounge car could throw back the whisky with abandon. In the sleeper in the middle of the night what sounded like huge chains being dragged to secure the cars. Marley’s Ghost.

    Domayv Reply:

    and soon the ferries will end once the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link and (possibly) the Gedser-Rostock Bridge get built

    keith saggers Reply:

    The Gedser-Rostock Bridge is a proposed project to link the Danish island Falster with the German city Rostock, stretching 40-45 kilometres (25–28 miles) across the Baltic Sea. The proposal is an alternative to the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link. (being built) Wikipedia

    Domayv Reply:

    how about this: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWLI5V544xAc.kps6PIgTbaaI

  10. morris brown
    Apr 3rd, 2016 at 07:29
    #10

    Breaking News:

    Source: Two Amtrak Workers Dead After Train Derails In Chester; Service Suspended

    Peter Reply:

    Ugh, that’s horrible. I’m curious if this was on one of the sections without ACSES.

    Roland Reply:

    What does ACSES have to do with a backhoe? Did you click on the link (just curious).

    swing hanger Reply:

    If the backhoe was one of those with rail wheels to allow propulsion on tracks, wouldn’t it being on same result in block occupation indication? Also, the latest traffic control systems allow maintenance periods/track occupancy to be blocked into the running timetable, with requisite signal interlocking.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Some tamping machines, hi rail vehicles etc fail to trigger track circuits
    However, obviously they should not be working on line without authorization
    We have to wait for the investigation to see who was authorized to be I that section of track, the train or the MoW.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    On that section of track

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s at least four tracks wide there. Maybe 5, there is track to access a yard in Chester.

    Roland Reply:

    Here are pictures of one of the backhoe wheels. Does anybody recognize this? http://media.dailylocal.com/2016/04/03/photos-2-dead-after-train-accident-involving-amtrak-in-chester/#20

    Roland Reply:

    The buckling in this picture would seem to indicate that the backhoe was on a different track so the question is how did the train end up hitting it? http://www.home.tampabay.com/resources/images/dti/rendered/2016/04/500744045_16982254_8col.jpg

    EJ Reply:

    Well, it’s a backhoe. Presumably its bucket had a long enough reach that it could have fouled an adjacent track. Not like we’re gonna figure this out from poring over news photos, though.

    Roland Reply:

    The backhoe was on the wrong track when it was hit by the train so the buckling of the near-track may have occurred when it was hit by what was left of the backhoe(?) http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/04/us/amtrak-crash-philadelphia/index.html

    Anandakos Reply:

    Two effyouseeking Darwin candidates left a BACKHOE on an active high speed rail track and wonder why they’re dead now. End of story.

    EJ Reply:

    You seem like a lovely person. Just kidding.

  11. keith saggers
    Apr 3rd, 2016 at 19:21
    #11

    http://www.allaboardflorida.com/

    Roland Reply:

    This just makes so much sense… Is anyone suing them?

    swing hanger Reply:

    Treasure Coast communities.
    http://www.tcpalm.com/opinion/columnists/rich-campbell/treasure-coast-officials-are-doubling-down-on-their-bad-all-aboard-florida-bets-2a3edd14-72b0-7ff9-e-366983571.html

    Aarond Reply:

    Aren’t they using the same ROW as the FEC RR?

    Jerry Reply:

    Rich Campbell in another article reports:
    “It is not the intent of All Aboard Florida or Florida East Coast Railway to require municipalities to sign an indemnification agreement focused on participation in quiet zones,” said an All Aboard Florida spokeswoman.
    What is the position of the Federal Railroad Administration?
    “If a municipality establishes a quiet zone meeting FRA requirements … it does not shift liability from the railroad to the municipality,” said Matthew Lehner, public affairs director for FRA.”
    If it is all true, Peninsula cities may want to look into quiet zones for some of their crossings.

  12. datacruncher
    Apr 4th, 2016 at 08:16
    #12

    Bakersfield media talking about benefits from potential HSR job training at local educational institutions.

    One thing the article does not mention is that Fresno originally proposed the idea of a training center located at Fresno State in its response to the HMF RFEI.

    CSUB positions itself as a ‘national training center’ for high-speed rail

    Despite political obstacles, problems with land acquisitions, logistical issues and Bakersfield City Council members recently calling California’s $64 billion bullet train “a sham,” Cal State Bakersfield is posturing itself as a national training center bent on preparing a workforce for high-speed rail projects.

    The university has been hosting a year of seminars on how union workers might help build the statewide transportation system, hired a world-renowned expert who is developing engineering courses that emphasize high-speed rail, and even has a simulator being shipped overseas from China to train conductors.

    It expects the program to have value even if California’s troubled high-speed rail project is delayed or never materializes at all.

    “We’ll have the only high-speed rail training system in the United States, and as other states like Maryland and Texas look at high-speed rail, we’ll become the training center for the whole country,” Mark Novak, dean of CSUB’s extended university division, said.

    More at
    http://www.bakersfield.com/News/2016/04/02/Cal-State-Bakersfield-A-national-training-center-for-high-speed-rail.html

  13. Roland
    Apr 4th, 2016 at 10:11
    #13

    Senate Joint Oversight Hearing on High Speed Rail
    – Agenda: http://calchannel.granicus.com/AgendaViewer.php?view_id=18&event_id=2277
    – Live webcast: http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=18&event_id=2277

    Roland Reply:

    Progress!!!! Dan Richard just announced that they are up to 120 MPH in urban areas. The question now is how they could possibly do that without tunnels… BTW, Mr. Richard’s analogy with Paris does not pan out: the “blended” approach to Paris is less than 20 (not more than 50) miles long.

    Peter Reply:

    Have you ever even heard a passenger train going by at 120 mph? It’s really not that loud. Even a heavy FRA-compliant train is pretty quiet. I have relatives who live less than a block from the NEC, and they don’t even notice the passenger trains.

    The freight trains are a different story, of course.

    Roland Reply:

    Noise is not the issue and I believe most of the NEC is grade-separated(?)

    J. Wong Reply:

    Why would they need tunnels?

    Roland Reply:

    For sections with multiple grade crossings where grade-separation is not realistically possible without viaducts.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yes, grade separation is likely required (or at least desirable) for 120 mph operation. Viaducts can achieve that. Viaducts are not tunnels.

    Roland Reply:

    Viaducts through city centers are the preferred solution for lazy “engineers” operating in third-world countries.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah, California is pretty third-world.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    City-center viaducts are a perfectly reasonable solution in some cases.

    The key is to choose intelligently based on the situation at hand, not to follow simple-minded guidelines.

    Roland Reply:

    Paging Paul: how would you like a viaduct all the way between Burbank and LA Union? Any takers?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Retained berm also is adequate for grade separations and cheaper than viaduct. Neither Caltrain nor HSR have any plans for viaducts but they will use retained berms to achieve grade separation.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Burbank Wall

    Roland Reply:

    Wong again:
    • 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
    • Gilroy Station on fill embankment
    http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_plans/DRAFT_2016_Business_Plan_Basis_of_Estimate.pdf (page 31)

    Peter Reply:

    Pretty sure J Wong was referring to the viaduct you mentioned between Burbank and LAUS.

    Ready. Fire. Aim.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So there’s some viaduct where appropriate, none on the Penisula. What’s the deal? Everywhere you mentioned also has plenty of freeway viaducts too.

    Joe Reply:

    Over 2B savings Bakersfield to Palmdale by reducing tunnels and viaduct in favor of earthworks.

    Roland Reply:

    I am sure Morgan Hill can’t wait for a 60-foot viaduct right through their downtown…

    EJ Reply:

    Not really relevant to LAUS-Burbank, as there are a grand total of 8 (I believe) grade crossings on the existing line between Burbank and LAUS, and most of them are in an industrial area just south of Burbank.

    Anandakos Reply:

    Where exactly are viaducts “not realistically feasible”? Oh, right, where NIMBY’s and BANANA’s live.

    EJ Reply:

    It’s more comparable to the old “blended” (they didn’t call it that, but it was similar to what’s proposed for SF) line from the Channel Tunnel into London. Nobody wants to bring that up, since it was widely judged to be a significant hindrance to Eurostar service. Oh well, at least they won’t have to fit CAHSR trains with third rail equipment…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Hindrance to Eurostar service, probably. Except if you lived on the southwest or southeast side of London with direct service to Waterloo or Waterloo East. The third rail crawl through the suburbs was small price to pay compared to having to get to St. Pancras, unless you are near a Thameslink station. I wonder how many former Eurostar patrons from west Surrey and Hampshire reverted to flying from LHR when the terminus moved. The lesson here is that however much a pain LAX may be westsiders are likely to stick with flying rather than go to LAUS.

    EJ Reply:

    No doubt. Just as the Shinkansen reduced but didn’t entirely replace intercity air travel in Japan. Or Eurostar didn’t eliminate flights between London and Europe.

    Roland Reply:

    Paul, the ridership projections used to raise the private capital for CTRL Phase I (Folkestone to Fawkham Junction) called for 8 trains per hour (2 to Waterloo and 6 to St Pancras). Once reality set in and the Government had to bail them out, they closed Waterloo international the same night that they opened St Pancras. I am fairly sure that people who lived in Hampshire and west Surrey would rather drive to Gatwick or Ebbsfleet than spend an hour on the train to Waterloo to catch a Eurostar.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You spend a lot more than an hour driving to Ebsfleet around the M25, and Gatwick isn’t a whole lot better. I think you’ll also find that passport control and customs didn’t want to staff two locations. Anyway, that’s history. The point is I believe that proximity and convenience are big drivers of modal choice in addition to fares and other considerations.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, sure, in the UK example though, anyone from the Northern part of greater London had to make their way down to Waterloo, so some people were inconvenienced either way.

    If I still lived in West LA, I might very well opt to fly out of LAX vs take HSR from LAUS (Well, I personally wouldn’t, ’cause I’m a foamer, but if I was a normal person). But LAUS/Anaheim/Burbank is a huge catchment area, so who cares? At least until we reach the fabled peak oil, or in the unlikely event the government passes ruinous taxes on jet fuel, people are just gonna opt for whatever’s convenient. If you’re going to the Bay Area and you live in Playa Vista, that’s LAX. If you live in Pasadena, Altadena, Mid-Wilshire, Downtown, Silver Lake, etc., etc. that’s HSR out of LAUS.

    Roland Reply:

    Speed is more important than proximity (try it on Google maps). I can drive from Heathrow to Rainham (Kent) in 1 hour and 25 minutes (50 minutes from Gatwick). It takes me more than an hour and a half to get into Central London by car.

    Anandakos Reply:

    Blah-blah-blah-blah.

    Joey Reply:

    Worldwide, speeds up to 270 km/h maybe be considered acceptable in urban areas.

    Roland Reply:

    Can you quote a City/station, please?

    EJ Reply:

    IIRC correctly nonstop Eurostars go belting through the middle of Ashford at full speed, though part of that is in a tunnel.

    Roland Reply:

    The tunnel is under downtown: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ashford,+Kent,+UK/@51.1520367,0.8545094,1131m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x47dec322dc36f387:0x280d4f34618ec61e. The viaduct was added later to allow non-stopping trains to bypass the station @ 160MPH further south.

    EJ Reply:

    If you look at the map you posted, the area around the tunnel is mostly industrial. The surface level tracks and viaduct are near residential areas.

    Roland Reply:

    Sorry I messed up. The Ashford bypass tunnel southern portal lines up with the southern tip of Apsley street and continues in a trench until going under the A2042. https://www.google.com/maps/search/Ashford,+Kent+town+center/@51.1473729,0.8688007,563m/data=!3m1!1e3. It then starts rising to go over the legacy tracks to the Canterbury line before coming back down to grade and merging with the Dover line on its way to the Channel Tunnel.

    There is a pretty good description of how this was built and why (Eurostar had to bypass Ashford at high speed to increase ridership on the London-Paris route) here, including a picture of the trench as it starts rising for the viaduct: http://www.kentrail.org.uk/ashford_international_2.htm (2nd paragraph). The first paragraph talks about fun and games with platforms height incompatibilities (760mm for Eurostar vs. 915mm for the rest of the BR network)

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Does the Eurostar in a trench through Stratford count? http://youtu.be/37ltzD4q_ds

    For reference, how fast do you think this train is moving in this clip? Looks like it could be 120mph.

    Roland Reply:

    Stratford International is an uncovered station box (not a trench per se) approximately 3,500 feet long: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Stratford+International/@51.5448667,-0.0124747,1068m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x48761d64e18ae069:0xaaced41578c06648.

    In your video, the train emerged from the western portal at 3 seconds and entered the eastern portal 25 seconds later while it took 15 seconds in this instrumented video to cover the same distance: https://youtu.be/Uv14ylJjqvM?t=24 @160 MPH, so the estimated speed in your video is 95 MPH, not 120 MPH.

    I then tried with a feet/second to MPH converter and got the same numbers:
    3,500 feet divided by 25 seconds is 140 feet/second (95 MPH)
    3,500 feet divided by 15 seconds is 233 feet/second (160 MPH)

    Anandakos Reply:

    I was going to say “about 75”, but you did the math. Thanks.

    Joey Reply:

    Ashford, these comments.

    keith saggers Reply:

    @Roland- Dan Richard just announced that they are up to 120 MPH in urban areas
    citation required

    Roland Reply:

    You have to watch the video. I will post the link once they load the archive.
    BTW, the only way to make Diridon to Transbay in 30 minutes is to tunnel under Palo Alto at 150 MPH (or do some SERIOUS curve straightening :-).

    J. Wong Reply:

    You clearly don’t know what you are talking about, re Palo Alto. Per Clem’s blog, they likely can make the trip in 30 if they straighten a few curves including the one in Palo Alto. And that was with a top speed of 125 mph (not that a higher speed would make it any faster unless there are sections where they can maintain it w/o having to slow for curves!)

    Joe Reply:

    I think that 30 minutes was calculated for the more sluggish deisel engines.

    Roland Reply:

    Quote?

    Clem Reply:

    No, this is what Clem’s blog had to say about it: http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-blend-hsr-style.html

    110 mph, no DTX. F40 diesel consist could nail it in 39 minutes.

    Roland Reply:

    Thank you!

    Roland Reply:

    Wong again (did you miss the “Transbay” bit?)

    “In January 2013, the Authority’s consultants performed a simulation analysis to determine whether the blended system could currently comply with this requirement. (AG 022899.) Using a travel speed of 110 mph, the memorandum concluded the nonstop travel time would be 32 minutes. Using a speed of 125 mph, the travel time could be reduced to 30 minutes. Via a revised February 7, 2013 memorandum, the Authority’s consultants concluded that, using a travel time of 110 mph the nonstop travel time would be 30 minutes. (AG 95 022912.) There is no clear explanation for this change in conclusions, other than an email exchange requesting that the consultants disregard the 125 mph proposal. (AG 022909.)

    On February 11, 2013, this 30-minute travel time was presented to the Authority via a memorandum. The memorandum indicated that “further improvements may be achievable through improved train performance, use of tilt technology, more aggressive alignments and higher maximum speeds.” (AG 017435.)

    Most troubling about this study is the fact that the Authority relied on a 4* and King Caltrain Station as the location in San Francisco from which the travel time should be calculated.
    (AG 013030, AG 022903, AG 013038.) The Authority acknowledged this fact during oral argument on this matter, and argued that section 2704.09, subdivisions (b)(1) and (3) do not require a specific San Francisco terminal, only requiring that the calculations be between “San Francisco” and the indicated destination. Plaintiffs argue the Bond Act requires the trip to start at the San Francisco Transbay Terminal, a location that is 1.3 miles further north, thus extending the time it will take a train to complete the required distance.

    Section 2704.04, subdivision (b)(2) provides that “Phase 1 of the high-speed train project is the corridor of the high-speed train system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim.” Subdivision (b)(3) identifies specific high-speed train corridors, and lists, “(B) San Francisco Transbay Terminal to San Jose to Fresno.” Subdivision (a) identifies that the purpose behind the Bond Act is “construction of a high-speed train system that connects the San Francisco Transbay Terminal to Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim…”

    Consequently, it appears that the intent of the Bond Act was for the system to extend, in San
    Francisco, to the Transbay Terminal, not stop 1.3 miles short at a 4th and King Caltrain Station.
    This specific language and indication of intent does not conflict with a general referral to “San
    Francisco” in section 2704.09 subdivision (b)(1) and (3). It is reasonable to interpret this reference to “San Francisco” as indicating the Transbay Terminal identified as the intended San Francisco location in section 2704.04.

    It appears, at this time, that the Authority does not have sufficient evidence to prove the blended system can currently comply with all of the Bond Act requirements, as they have not provided analysis of trip time to the San Francisco Transbay Terminal, and cannot yet achieve five-minute headways (even allowing for the definition of “train” to include non-HSR trains.)”

    http://www.thehamiltonreport.com/downloads/TOS-RULING-KENNY-3-4-2016.PDF pp14-15

    J. Wong Reply:

    WTF does any of this have to do with your claim that tunnels are the only way HSR can make the time especially tunnels in Palo Alto? Per Clem, the Authority’s estimates showed no slowing through Palo Alto, which implies they straightened the double reverse curve there, which per Clem again is easy to do within the existing ROW. In the end there are other curves that can be straightened (sadly not San Bruno) that can also result in time savings again not with tunnels.

    As for the TBT, I’ll just note that SF is looking at alignment changes (yes using tunnels but the TBT approach was always tunnels) that can straighten the approach making it faster (besides which eliminating 4th & King!).

    Roland Reply:

    Lets try one last time… How are you going to get from Diridon to Transbay in 30 minutes and achieve 30-minute headways (AKA 12 TPH)?

    agb5 Reply:

    Easy, don’t spend any bond funds on the Diriton to Transbay section.
    So long as no bond funds are spent on it, the high speed trains can run up and down the electrified peninsula without that section of track ever becoming a legally explosive prop1A usable segment.

    Roland Reply:

    OK Let’s go there. How are you going to electrify the Peninsula without Prop1A bond funds?

    Clem Reply:

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Let’s just say there’s a will and leave it at that…

    Joe Reply:

    Pennisula electrification with 600M prop1a funds was legislated by Jerry Hill’s blended bill.
    It’s permissible and is not subject to the travel time constraints.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “How are you going to get from Diridon to Transbay in 30 minutes and achieve 30-minute headways (AKA 12 TPH)?”

    I don’t think there is any “magic” involved here. The answer is pretty straightforward: straighten some curves, mid-line overtake, some grade separations. Nothing that isn’t physically impossible, none of which requires tunneling especially where you seem to think it requires tunneling.

    Clem Reply:

    @JWong: Roland’s implied point is that hitting 30 minutes will require speeds of 125 mph or more, which in turn requires grade separating long stretches of track. With elevated grade seps highly unpopular, tunnels are possibly the only feasible option to significantly increase speeds.

    @Joe: the Hill blended bill does not remove or loosen any of the strings attached to Prop 1A bond funds.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Clem

    Yes, elevated grade separations are unpopular, but equating the unpopularity of viaducts with berms isn’t justified (even though berms aren’t popular either, just not as unpopular). Yes, in an ideal world everyone would get what they want (tunnels). Given reality (costs) however then berms turn out to be the most cost effective and mid- unpopular choice. (Why Parsons-Brinkerhoff ever proposed viaducts was just engineering stupidity coupled with greed.)

    With or without HSR, the Peninsula is going to get berms for grade separation. Caltrain’s long term goal is grade separation. Berms is the most cost effective. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    Joe Reply:

    Clem

    Electrified Caltrain doesn’t have to achieve 30 min SJ to SF trip.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Richard, who was recently appointed to the board of directors by Gov. Jerry Brown, defended the decision to start in the Central Valley. Starting the rail system in this region will allow the agency to test the new 225 mph trains, he said. On the Peninsula, the trains would reach speeds of up to 125 mph.
    Pleasanton Weekly 2012

    Roland Reply:

    @Keith: http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=3525 FFW 00:32:15 What Dan Richard actually said is that “the maps back in 2008” showed 120 MPH (not sure what “maps” he is referring to?)

    keith saggers Reply:

    !20 mph or 125 mph, now we have a pretty good idea what CHSR is aiming for. Do those speeds require total grade separations, and wots a berm anyway.

    Domayv Reply:

    not necessarily but they want grade separations to make it more modern, and to reduce the suicide rate (suicides on Caltrain are rather high)

  14. synonymouse
    Apr 4th, 2016 at 12:20
    #14

    BART knows not:

    http://kron4.com/2016/04/03/no-regular-bart-service-from-north-concord-for-monday-commute/

    “From BART: This testing made clear that the system is not ready to return to weekday regular service as some trains experienced propulsion problems while traveling through that stretch of track.”

  15. Reality Check
    Apr 4th, 2016 at 16:01
    #15

    SJ gets Diridon Station funding through HSR agreement

    San Jose has received about $600,000 in government funding for the Diridon station through an agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, authorities announced today.

    The station area agreement will help local and regional transportation agencies plan new ways for passengers to transfer between different carriers, since high-speed rail is expected to run there in 2025, high-speed rail authority officials said.

    The downtown station will receive $200,000 from the state and $400,000 through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The first segment of the high-speed rail will span between the Diridon station and north of Bakersfield, which would cut a typical three-hour road trip to one hour, rail authority officials said.

    […]

    john burrows Reply:

    An example of forward thinking planning professionals at their finest—

    Back in the 1990’s,when the San Jose Redevelopment Agency took the lead in redeveloping the industrial area immediately to the west of Diridon Station, someone came up with the brilliant idea of trying to make the street that borders the western side of the train station into a country lane. They came up with the perfect name—Laurel Grove Lane—And to make the setting more rural, they kept the street narrow and for interest added four sharp (90 degree) bends as you approach and leave the station. No parking provided except for parallel street parking.

    Jumping forward to 2016—We find that a situation is developing on Laurel Grove. This country lane, which is only a quarter mile long, is the only access for 500 residential units, is the only access for the Diridon Light Rail Station, and is the Western access for the tunnel leading to the 9 tracks of the main rail station. Those blind curves are becoming more and more hazardous as more and more cars park in the street waiting to pick up passengers.

    Right now the combined station serves somewhere around 5,000 riders per day. According to projections made in the Diridon Station Area Plan this number could go up to (if I remember right) 35,000 by the mid 2030’s. How this will all work out over the next 10 or 20 years remains to be seen. This potential congestion problem could have been foreseen, but hopefully it will now be addressed as part of this $600,000 funding agreement.

    john burrows Reply:

    Laurel Grove Lane is the main access to the light rail station—Pedestrians and bicyclists can get to the light rail station from the train station by continuing on in the tunnel beyond the loading platforms.

  16. morris brown
    Apr 4th, 2016 at 20:51
    #16

    LA Times reporting on today’s (4-4-2016) Senate T&H committee hearing on HSR

    Senators share their doubts about bullet train financing with rail officials

    From both Republicans and Democrats, a lot of skepticism raised; it was certainly no love fest for the Authority.

    Senator Galgiani looking out for her own district, wants funds taken from construction south of Fresno and spent on Fresno north to Merced.

    Joe Reply:

    Hilarious article. Ralph’s reporting on how Ralph’s reports are very important. Hope the floundering tribune co figures a way to keep him on the payroll.

    Galgiani is right to want construction moved to Merced . Good for her. She’s works for the project and some Merced residents work in the Bay Area. That move would all but kill Bakersfield’s shot at the maintenance facility.

    Bakersfield’s Rep Kevin McCarthy should step in and help out.

    Roland Reply:

    Meghan McCarty: http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/04/04/59208/high-speed-rail-executives-on-hotseat-as-latest-pl/

    Katie Orr: http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2016/04/04/senators-ask-tough-questions-about-high-speed-rail

    Don Thompson (AP): http://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/lawmakers-want-beefier-details-on-california-high-speed-rail

    Joe Reply:

    LinkMaster

    It’s like pool, you have to call your shot. What is your point ?

    Roland Reply:

    My point is that you always like to point your cue to the Ralph ball but you never said anything about Meghan McCarty, Katie Orr or Don Thompson.

    Roland Reply:

    Here is the link to the video archive:http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=3525. Looking for Ted’s bit…

    Roland Reply:

    Morris has been busy (good man :-).
    This particular clip is definitely SNL grade: https://youtu.be/iCnPn36NSu8?t=168

    Roland Reply:

    Oh look! Some blogger just spent 5 minutes on YouTube and nearly saved us $5B: https://youtu.be/rKFAuRr0KpA?t=146. This is so cool!!!

    Roland Reply:

    Even better: https://youtu.be/UNAv1x_6EvI. So the question is why are these “engineers” testing trains??? Maybe they plan to test tracks to figure out how to make them faster in which case things are going to get really interesting really soon…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s your point with those videos?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Wow!

    This has literally almost dozens of views!

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