Senators Ask “Where’s the Beef?”

Apr 5th, 2016 | Posted by

A week after an Assembly committee held a hearing on the 2016 Business Plan, a State Senate committee held its own high speed rail hearing – and Senators wanted to see a stronger financing plan:

“We want to see a strategy, like how are we going to get from here to there,” Sen. Jim Beall, D- San Jose, the Senate transportation committee chairman, told leaders of the High Speed Rail Authority. “I’d like to see more beef.”…

“I think ‘Where’s the beef’ is a good comment,” said Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, who praised the plan to build north first but said major questions remain.

With Senators doing their best Walter Mondale impression you might think there was some kind of substantial flaw to the financing plan. But in reality this was a debate about the future of cap-and-trade funds:

Under the revised business plan, the state would have to extend the greenhouse program until 2050 and give the rail authority permission to borrow against future income from the fees. Representatives of the state Legislative Analyst’s Office warned that many uncertainties exist about that funding, including its potential to diminish.

Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) raised concerns about the fees, asking how much it would cost the state to borrow against them in the future. “Who backs the funding … if something happens,” she said.

In other words, this isn’t about the California High Speed Rail Authority, but about the legislature itself. It would be mind-boggling if the legislature did not extend the cap-and-trade system beyond 2020. Global warming isn’t suddenly going away in four years’ time, and it doesn’t look like California is anywhere close to becoming a carbon zero state.

So it is completely sensible and reasonable for the CHSRA to include long-term cap-and-trade fees in its funding plan.

While we’re talking about the near future of California politics, I do want to flag this comment from the hearing:

Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) wondered how politicians can respond to tough questions by constituents, a reality many elected leaders say they are encountering more frequently.

“We have the lieutenant governor talking down the project, and he may be the next governor,” Allen said.

I certainly hope someone other than Gavin Newsom will be the state’s next governor…

  1. Rob
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 09:27
    #1

    In the end they need to start building the project, how much time has been wasted with total administrative bullshit? Once the public sees big projects in motion (like the transbay terminal in SF) then it becomes almost impossible to torpedo the project. While it sits in admin limbo the whole thing is a sitting duck. Start laying track, building bridges and boring tunnels, give the press positive stuff to report! Oh and fold the capital corridor into HSR, can’t believe no one has thought of that.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well that’s the plan: Kill it before rails hit the dirt. Once you start building, you start winning. I think Brown is Genre Savvy enough to know that…

    Aarond Reply:

    The only issue is keeping it up. This is why 2020-22 will be so critical: the IOS will be done and operative but the system will not be complete.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Remind me again, how many people will the IOS serve? As long as a critical mass of people exists that says “Hey this thing does incredibly nifty thing ABC for me” there will be a growing mass of people who say “I want the same thing in my town”. That’s what happened with streetcars in France after they went down to three systems in the whole country. Today they are upwards of thirty…

    Aarond Reply:

    Certainly. But there’s still a gap (literally, between Bakersfield and Burbank).

    Bill Reply:

    Are you being cheeky or did you really not know that construction is well underway? The main holdups have been NIMBY/Republican opposition.

    Phantom Commuter Reply:

    There’s not much, if any, actual construction going on. The site with the two or three bridge pylons looks like it hasn’t been active in months. Looks like it was build mostly for a photo op !

    Peter Reply:

    They’ve already begun pouring the superstructure for the Fresno River Viaduct, they’ve torn down the old Tuolomne Street Bridge in Fresno and begun construction of its replacement, they’ve begun construction on the Fresno Trench, the 99 Realignment is well under construction, and they’ve begun construction of the Cedar Viaduct at the southern end of Fresno. A lot more than a photo op.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Construction info is at http://www.buildhsr.com. That URL leads to photos, road closure info, etc.

    Looks like there are new pictures as of April 1 from the major Fresno area construction sites.

    Andy M Reply:

    Ins’t this why they began in the Central Valley? It’s easy to start building and you can deliver bridges and other photogenic structures that have real visible impact and can be used in news stories and thus build up momentum showing this project is real and not just something utopian on paper. Trying to build something like the Transbay tunnels first would suck up huge amounts of money and it would take ages before you could even begin.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    This.

    Plus, the Central Valley allows for higher speeds. Having some test runs at 400 km/h and above would really help create media buzz. That’s why the French are doing it. There is no real world purpose for a special model train that can go 550 km/h exactly once on a specially prepared track and is basically scrap metal afterwards, but it does wonders for PR…

    Roland Reply:

    I can assure you that “Having some test runs at 400 km/h and above” blasting through downtown Fresno “would really help create media buzz”.

    With regards to “special model train that can go 550 km/h exactly once on a specially prepared track and is basically scrap metal afterwards”, did you forget to mention that this train was a bi-level compatible with every TSI-compliant platform in Europe?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The “basically scrap metal afterwards” is something Siemens said about it and is probably to be taken cum grano salis… And IIRC the IOS will include places outside of downtown Fresno, right?

    And yes, the record breaking TGV could have served regular runs, but it required extensive remodeling (more power, less passenger capacity) as well as changes to the rail line itself (unless I am much mistaken they had to glue together the ballast to prevent it from flying around) and the catenary…

    This TGV test run was nice for PR, but it did about as much for practical rail travel within the next couple of decades as did the 1903 trial runs on the Jüterborg-Zossen line (link in German only, sorry https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studiengesellschaft_f%C3%BCr_Elektrische_Schnellbahnen)

    synonymouse Reply:

    “basically scrap metal afterwards”

    Pretty good summation of the DeTour.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    What won’t be scrap metal is the Hyperloop. As soon as the operation fails (almost immediately) the tube will be used to transfer water from northern California to the center and south, which is of course its real purpose.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Doubt it will ever get that far – I mean there is not a kilometre of maglev thus far in the US.

    Steven H Reply:

    There is 1.034 kilometers of maglev in Norfolk. It kinda sorta works when they turn it on (though last time it led to widespread power outages). I don’t think they’ve torn it down yet… but I’m too depressed to look it up.

    Roland Reply:

    Are you talking about the Fresno aqueduct or something else?

    Jerry Reply:

    Great idea Paul. HyperTube.
    Move water and people through the same tube/tunnel/loop.
    :-)

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    What DeTour? Do you mean running the service to where customers are?
    My, that does sound wasteful. I’m sure in Conspiracy World it would be better to have a hermetically sealed line running straight from LA to SF and not allow any passengers to touch the train.
    The lack of customers would be made up by the shorter running times, so they would still be profitable.
    Unless the point of the exercise would be to artificially engineer a failure so others won’t see success and want to compete for the heavy subsidies to automobiles.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A commute run to a commute destination, not exorbitant HSR via quasi-base tunnels.

    Stupid but then that’s what politicians do. Jerry’s Versailles but not with that much longevity.

    Joe Reply:

    Code: “Commute” means “ridership.”

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You do know that some of the cities between SFO and LAX are actually pretty big?

    James Fujita Reply:

    People like to dump on Fresno, but the population is over 500,000 (more than 900,000 for metro area). Every census count shows the area growing faster than coastal regions.

    And airfare is ridiculous. Any reasonable HSR ticket from Fresno to Burbank or Fresno to the Bay Area would be competitive.

    J. Wong Reply:

    How is it Palmdale is a “commute” but Santa Clarita isn’t? Tejon or Tehachapi some people will us HSR to commute.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Some people make a Berlin-Wolfsburg commute (the two cities are exactly one ICE stop apart, i.e. the train makes no stops between them) although the commuter market was certainly never the intended audience for that particular high speed line. However, in the case of Berlin-Hamburg (an upgraded line for “only” 230 km/h) the mayor of Hamburg explicitly argued for an additional late night departure so his citizens could take in a late night opera or theater performance in Berlin…

  2. Danny
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 09:38
    #2

    a few more well-funded judge-shopping lawsuits should help

  3. Bahnfreund
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 09:56
    #3

    Who are the other candidates besides Newsom? Will HSR be a major campaign issue? Or a campaign issue at all?

    Jerry Reply:

    Newsom?? Why hasn’t someone asked him what he thinks about the new 2016 HSR Business Plan?

    James Fujita Reply:

    If you wait long enough, he’ll change his mind.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Does Newsom have a history of flipflopping? I don’t know all that much about him…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    He flip flopped with his secretary

    Jerry Reply:

    :-) :-)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Sex joke?

    You see, we don’t have political sex scandals in Germany. Which is not to say our politicians aren’t philandering, it’s just to say our media respond with a giant big “I don’t care” to that. Helmut Schmidt for instance recently died, but before that he published an autobiography where he acknowledged he had cheated on his wife. Still is the most popular living or recently deceased political figure. Similar thing with his predecessor Willy Brandt. Could not keep his hands off of pretty women. Nobody gave a crap then, nobody gives a crap now. Oh and Helmut – chancellor of unity – Kohl had an affair that was probably an open secret in Bonn, yet he still managed to keep in power for 16 years – that’s four more than Hitler. I think German attitude to sex scandals can be summed up with Adenauer’s attitude to rumors about his secretary of state and his supposed homosexuality “What do you want? He hasn’t tried anything on me!” – Not exactly enlightened, but close enough…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    A German joke is no laughing matter

    Peter Reply:

    Unless you’re German.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    No, not even then

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    German humor exists… The problem is that most Germans consider puns groanworthy and there is this whole class of political humor that is considered particularly good if right after you laugh you feel bad because it’s so true. Kind of like Jon Stewart but even darker…

    Eric M Reply:

    We have a dry sense of humor :)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    More so in the North, though. In the South the humor is different, and in Austria its different still…

    Peter Reply:

    Gerhard Schroder had been married four times by the time he became Bundeskanzler. That kind of stuff is just not an issue in Germany.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    True. His wearing expensive suits and palling around with big business as well as his job working for Gazprom after he helped built a new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany however were issues…

    Jerry Reply:

    “I did not have sex with that woman!”
    Oh that? Nah. That doesn’t count as sex.

    Jerry Reply:

    Polygamy – more than one spouse.
    Allowed in the USA? NO, Never.
    Can you have more than one spouse in the USA?
    Yes! But not at the same time.
    Ah. So you have Progressive Polygamy.
    ——————
    And you think transportation is messed up?

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Im not sure why polygamy between consenting adults is an issue. The worst thing about it is that vacation packages are always priced per person based on double occupancy- which sucks for polygamists and single people.

    Its probably just illegal because it would complicate the tax code, pensions and benefits.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why does the tax code have to care about who shags whom? Or doesn’t in the case of some marriages…

    les Reply:

    That’s one of the reasons why Conservative states want to ban gay marriage, loss of tax revenue.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Some libertarians want to ban marriage period. Which would ironically mean that gays did indeed “destroy marriage”. Albeit very indirectly.

    Andy M Reply:

    I disagree. Maybe sex sacndals are not a biog thing in Germany but other types of scandals are. There have been a number of high profile cases of politicians plagiarizing their doctor thesis and stuff like that and the press kept on beating the drum long after the guy had apologized and stepped back in shame. It felt almost like when you have a good victim and he’s down on the ground, it can do no harm to keep on kicking.

    Aarond Reply:

    The top two are Newsom and Villaraigosa aka norcal dems vs socal dems. HSR isn’t a campaign issue period since most people don’t care about it, at least not outside the context of their own local transit problems. The issues, as usual, will probably boil down to the state budget, taxes, water, the min wage hike and plausibly immigration enforcement.

    That said, I’m of the opinion that the GOP could sneak up and chip away at the dem supermajority. I wouldn’t discount it, if turnout drops for whatever reason they benefit by default. But even then, looking broadly HSR isn’t a top priority for Republicans compared to taxes, gun rights, water, and immigration.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yeah, but if you look at other states, GOP majorities and/or governors mean bad times for rail. Look at New Jersey, Ohio or Florida… And turnout tends to be lower in midterm than in general election years…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Also, Illinois’s terrible new GOP gov killed funding for Chicago-Rockford and Chicago-Moline Passenger rail.

    Aarond Reply:

    And in NY, the GOP Senate hasn’t been so hot to support the Empire Corridor or Gateway Tunnels. Look at how Christie, a single person, was able to completely muck up the entire NEC by nixing ARC.

    Nathanael Reply:

    In NY, the GOP Senate stays in power by *literally bribing Democrats to switch sides* after they get elected. Seriously. They are that unpopular, they can’t win honestly.

    Joe Reply:

    Used to ride the Rockford airporter to O’Hare in college.

    Rahm wants a high speed link from O’Hare to Chicago core downtown. A line running from Chicago to O’Hare would dove-tail with an extension to Rockford Line.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Thanks rahm

  4. les
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 10:25
    #4

    I think most people knew this day was coming, all except the critics of course. Brown and a democratic majority being around forever was something we hoped for but nothing we could count on. The time is here for the next round of leadership to steer HSR and either sideline it or continue funding it. If Brown and the democratics could get one last chunk of change for the Palmdale section then localities can push for the tie-ins independent of Newsom or whoever gains control. I think Sacramento, SF and LA all have enough political will to tie their cities into the end points. However commuter rail tie ins may be it for awhile.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nothing has happened. Chillax.

  5. synonymouse
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 10:40
    #5

    In the end the key question is how much can you afford to dump into this infrastructure that has to be subsidized regularly and wears out. And usually poorly conceived.

    BART case in point.

    Derek Reply:

    And that goes double for freeways and airports!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    All freeways are making huge profits, didn’t you know that?

    Roland Reply:

    That’s because they are built and operated by the private sector: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=f11e6dea-c9b8-4df2-8065-40ea401ccb01

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    None of the HSR systems in the world receives a cent of subsidy…

    But sure, live in your invented BART-conspiracy reality…

    Eric Reply:

    All make an operating profit, but IIRC not all are making enough profit to pay back their construction costs?

    swing hanger Reply:

    I think it’s widely accepted that the original Tokaido Shinkansen and Paris-Lyon TGV lines are the only lines that have paid off their construction costs. Of course, what other *non-rail* mega infrastructure projects have done the same? Must also consider positive externalities.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You see, DB Netz (the operator of German rail infrastructure) is making a profit and not receiving a subsidy. The same is true for DB Fernverkehr (operator of ICEs and Intercitys). So the question of the operating profit is clearly settled. And if you start a company and take a 100 000 $ loan and make money but have not paid of the loan because you invested in expansion of your company (also profitable), would you say the company is profitable?

    All HSR lines are in the black and nobody expects a project intended for decades of operation to pay back its construction cost. And if the government builds it, some are explicitly designed to not pay back the construction cost (which is not to say they couldn’t). You could easily charge prices on the SFO-LAX line that would earn a profit big enough to pay back construction costs within twenty thirty years. But the smart money is on using those profits to expand instead.

    Aarond Reply:

    >and nobody expects a project intended for decades of operation to pay back its construction cost.

    The problem is that here in the US, many do. The freight RRs typically are able to pay back construction costs for their track (though the core system was built before the automobile). HSR running in the black and “paying itself off” is something Americans expect regardless of how hypocritical it is (as freeways/roads are massively subsidized).

    Brightline is one of the few examples, because they compete directly with toll roads and much of the system uses existing track/ROW.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    HSR will pay its construction cost of, eventually. However, few private sector lenders would be willing to lend billions of dollars over a forty year or longer range… That’s why even the “private sector” railways are usually owned by pension funds and the likes, who like stable long term investments which most banks shy away from.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Moreover, unlike most railroads who’ve lost them in various bankruptcies and corporate restructurings, FEC retains a large portion of their old railway investment real estate, and thus intend to defray some of the capital cost of the Brightline with development profits

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well a railway that owns land adjacent to its stations can make a lot of ancillary profits. Of course train stations attract retail, jobs and the likes. A sufficiently large train station can be a rather profitable venture in and of itself, as evidenced by the bigger DB stations, which are all running a profit and are rather nice places to spend a few minutes or even hours.

    JB in PA Reply:

    Synon keyboard ‘B’ ‘A’ ‘R’ ‘T’ keys must be worn out by now. Also ‘P’ along with ‘B’. Need to write you a keycode script and put it on a hotkey.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Maybe he’s already done that?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …voice recognition software….

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    BART BART BART

  6. nslander
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 10:55
    #6

    Tony V.

    God help us all.

    beetroot Reply:

    Yeah, god forbid we elect the guy who is responsible for LA’s massive transit expansion program.

    nslander Reply:

    And effectively quit years before his term was over.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I had thought Villaraigosa was favored to be next governor. Is that incorrect?

    Eric Reply:

    Kempton is retiring soon from the CTC…wonder if he has eyes on the governorship

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Seems unlikely as the next election is going to cost a lot of money and the GOP doesn’t want to have spend millions just to raise his name recognition. Although given the number of high profile alternatives, that might be inevitable.

    I think SD mayor Kevin Faulconer or Frenso’s Ashley Swearagin think it’s theirs for the taking…although Mitt Romney does have that house in San Diego…and does know a thing or two about running a blue state as Governor…

  7. john burrows
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 12:37
    #7

    I am more concerned about our present governor. Jerry Brown attended the Jan. 2015 groundbreaking ceremony in Fresno where he spoke on behalf of the project in a 12 minute address. During the address Brown stated that he “Wasn’t sure where we were going to get the rest of the money” but “Don’t worry about it. We are going to get it”. In the fifteen months since January 2015, Brown has, as far as I can tell, been silent. About time for our governor to reaffirm his support for high speed rail.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I see your concern, but I don’t share it. He’ll do it in due time.

    Aarond Reply:

    He doesn’t need to reaffirm his support for it, CAHSR exists due to Prop 1A. Killing it outright is virtually impossible (though, delivering it within a reasonable timeframe is another issue). At any rate the real power is in the state legislature, which Brown is probably aware of. The Governor himself has no direct control, the people running the state now are the people tasked with writing the budget.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Aarond

    The Governor really has full control. The appoints 5 of the 9 members of the Authority Board; he can hire or fire them as he pleases

    CHSRA was not created by Prop 1A; only the funding for the Authority use to design and build is part of Prop 1A

    Aarond Reply:

    thanks for the correction

  8. morris brown
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 14:58
    #8

    @ Robert:

    You really should take in the whole debate presented in the meeting.

    Cap and Trade funding and its problems, was certainly a main theme from both Demo and Republicans.

    But even if all the hurdles are crossed as the Business Plan would have you believe, all funds will have been exhausted to build the IOS north, and there will still be a shortfall of over $43 billions needed to complete Phase I.

    When Richard was asked about the possibility that the IOS might be all that can ever be built he reverted bask to the usable utility of the IOS north on its own. Yes indeed, usable yes! Good value for the money spent? HARDLY.

    NOTE: There is a hearing of the Assembly Budget sub-committee #3 tomorrow (4/6/2016) 9:00 AM.
    Different kind of meeting with 2 citizen panels to be speaking.

    Agenda and Background

    Jerry Reply:

    “Good value for the money spent? HARDLY.”
    On what would you much rather have the money spent which would be of greater value? ???

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yet more highways?

    joe Reply:

    Do. Nothing.

    Peninsula NIMBYS are like middle earth elf trying to preserve the past. Menlo Park is his Lothlórien.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Menlo Park? More like Atherton, no?

    Peter Reply:

    Morris and the other most vocal NIMBY opponents lives in Menlo Park.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Have NIMBYs ever been right about anything?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Long lists of highways?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    True. There were NIMBY protests against highways. And many of them were entirely justified….

    James Fujita Reply:

    I suppose it depends on your definition of NIMBY.

    If anyone who opposes a development for any reason is a NIMBY, then we are probably all guilty at some point or another. I remember the Little Tokyo jail protests and I was definitely on the side of the protestors (and still would be). However, I support the Regional Connector construction, which is at roughly the same location as the jail would have been.

    The difference is, I can see a clear benefit to the community, which outweighs the potential negatives of the construction. Also, there were reasonable alternatives to the jail, while the rail line pretty much ought to go through Little Tokyo.

    Each case is different; and there is definitely a sliding scale of NIMBYism.

    keith saggers Reply:

    The Rail Authority estimates it will cost about $20 billion to build the northern route, which Richard says could generate $8 billion to $10 billion in private investment. He said the segment could be operational by 2025

    Roland Reply:

    Here is the link to the audio for room 447 (no video): http://assembly.ca.gov/listen/447-audio

  9. Mattie F.
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 15:26
    #9

    There is also the risk of a national cap-and-trade program, which would eliminate California’s ability to determine how best to use those funds to mitigate global warming. Of course, any congress liberal enough to implement cap and trade would likely fund high speed rail, in contrast to our current congress’s shortsightedness.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Certainly. The only way I could see such a liberal Congress happening anytime soon is either Sanders or a similar candidate in 2020 bringing such people downballot through a huge amount of liberal enthusiasm. And Sanders is probably the most pro-infrastructure guy there is.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Have you seen how Hillary goes on about infrastructure. She is at least as great in that department as Sanders.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I have not, but I would be glad for video evidence…

    Nathanael Reply:

    If the question is about who will “bring people downballot through a wave of liberal enthusiasm”, however, Sanders will bring in huge turnout, while Hillary will bring low turnout.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That is true.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Sanders…pro infrastructure yes…the best transit nerds could hope for? Um, no.

    Biden would have been way better and Trump (as a developer) is not far behind him. Sanders would be supportive but not make it a priority over health care, etc. Clinton even less so. Kasich is a mass transit skeptic, but willing to listen to budget neutral proposals.

    Cruz though, as a tool of the oil industry, is the AntiChrist for transit nerds.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    I disagree about Sanders. I think he would be just as serious about infra $ as Biden, it’s just that Biden has that salt of the earth way of talking about it that it seems he’s more enthusiastic.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Biden in any capacity affecting transit would of course be superb. Head of Amtrak or transport secretary would be cool, but senator is also not bad. Biden loves Amtrak and everybody knows that.

    That said he might have avoided the subject as president, given how the 2009 HSR proposals were killed by guys like Kasich or that Florida governor…

    Phantom Commuter Reply:

    Biden and Obama have done nothing

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That’s not true. Obama even mentioned rail in the state of the union… Unfortunately, the two years the Dems controlled the House weren’t enough to do more…

    Aarond Reply:

    Obama gave us HISPA funding, which helped boot CAHSR and much of the recent NEC modernization. Problem is that Congress then went red, meanwhile Christie scrubbed the ARC tunnels.

    HSR wasn’t a priority for him, which is a shame.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It was A priority, but it wasn’t the biggest priority. And I cannot really begrudge him that he thought health care more important than HSR…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    There’s a different between “doing nothing” and “being unsuccessful”.

    Local jurisdictions ate up the TIGER grant program, for example. It’s just that every major initiative Obama embraced…the GOP sought to kill. Lots of Republicans know especially on infrastructure that it’s stupid to do this.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s ironic that the secretary of transportation during Obama’s first term was actually a Republican…

    Oh and the party that boosted the transcontinental railroad? Republicans…

    Bdawe Reply:

    You may have noticed that the Republican Party has deteriorated considerably since 1865

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I have. It’s really one of the biggest tragedies in American political history… Imagine what could have happened if BOTH parties had become enlightened on race issues…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Both parties did back in the 60s. The Dixiecrats then co-opted the Republican party.

    joe Reply:

    @ adirondacker12800 Right.

    GOP could have done the right thing and reformulated multicultural party after Goldwater but instead Nixon and his strategists pandered to race animosity and nurtured resentment to motivate voters.

    Evangelical leaders sold out – they hated Evangelical Carter but loved the divorced and non-church going Reagan.

    They sowed mistrust with authority and now cannot lead the rank and file who have been told to not trust washington and political leaders.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Republicans mistrust authority because their leaders lie to them fairly frequently.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Imagine Reagan had won the 1976 GOP primary. He could not have possibly won the general that year. And that would have probably been the end of the “Southern strategy”, Reagan Democrats would never have happened… It’s really one of the many missed chances of America…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Reagan proved in the real world to be a very effective opponent to Jimmy Carter.

    Hard to say how he would have handled the Gerald Ford pardon of Nixon in a 1976 presidential campaign had he been nominated.

    And don’t forget it was Kennedy and Johnson who launched the disastrous Vietnam War.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Goldwater gained fame in part because he opposed the Civil Rights Act; Nixon’s career was built on his anti-Communist stance, even going back to his time with Eisenhower. Kennedy’s victory was also seen as illegitimate because of his father’s ties to Prohibition and the Irish Mob.

    Each of them helped cement the “broad church” of Democrats as being an alliance of discriminated sub populations (Jews, blacks, and Catholics) than one based on ideology. However given how the New Deal and World War II had made American fiscal policy very homogenous at that point, it’s not surprising that we had this outcome and was perhaps unavoidable.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Reagan won in 1980 because of the economic downturn and the Iran hostage crisis (which was the fault of the French if anybody – they decided to send Khomeini back to Tehran). No Republican could have won in 1976. And no incumbent could have won with the economy of 1980 and the Iran hostage crisis the way it was. Had either of those two been different (say hostage freed in October), Carter might well have won against Reagan…

    Eric Reply:

    …Rick Scott, the tool.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That was the name

    Nathanael Reply:

    Rick Scott was famous for being the CEO of the company behind the biggest FRAUD against Medicare and against Medicaid in national history.

    His company was convicted of many felonies for this, but Scott was an unindicted co-conspirator, so Scott was never officially convicted of the many crimes of which he was guilty.

    Florida then elected him governor. Go figure.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I heard his opponent was not much better. Let’s hope he loses reelection.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    So this happened the other day: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rick-scott-medicaid_us_570476a1e4b0a506064d8dba

    Gotta love it.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You can’t say she’s wrong…. BTW, the screen-nick… A reference to the pencil company?

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    why does it take a sanders on the ticket to bring out pro transit voters to support down ticket candidates? can’t pro transit voters just get up off their behinds and go vote because they are suppose to or do they need the appropriate color and temperature of smoke to be blown up their butts first?

    EJ Reply:

    Yep, keep sneering and condescending to Sanders supporters. The same attitude toward Obama supporters worked out really well for Hillary in 2008.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Its your responsibility as a us citizen to vote and its very easy to do so. Ive been voting absentee by mail for years. You don’t even have to leave the house. I vote in every election I can. Federal, State and local. I don’t need to be enthused. Its my right. That’s all the motivation I need. I wouldn’t dare sit back and let someone convince me not to vote. Rights done come easy.

    EJ Reply:

    Good for you. Not sure what the hell your point is, though.

    Joe Reply:

    Sanders doesn’t have to be on the ticket to motivate transit friendly voters to vote. I agree.

    The paid political consultants’ job is to get out the vote. If they can’t make the case it’s their problem, not the voters.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The current users of transit are all groups of people that tend to vote in smaller numbers for various reasons. Poor, urban, African-American and Latino folks. So a candidate that motivates at least some of those groups to vote can bring a lot of buzz downballot. Some say Obama motivated a lot of African Americans to vote in 2008 which had the unintended consequence that many gay rights measures failed downballot, because African Americans (at least back then) were more conservative on that issue than the general democratic voters. However, if you have a transit ballot measure downballot, you should have it in a general election year with a lot of Democratic enthusiasm, especially if you have a “historic” candidate…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    America’s transit agencies have heard you, (and the sound of no coins in their wallet) and are going after “choice riders” with some degree of success. Given the increasing levels of gentrification, transit is becoming a bigger issue locally which paradoxically is more important in Congress than what happens at the state level.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well let’s just hope it won’t be too little too late…

    I do see that many ballot measures in favor of transit pass, but the US is still decades behind other countries.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Is it your right, or your responsibility?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Both

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Look, in a European democracy where everybody is free to vote because elections happen on public holidays and voter registration takes no more than five minutes (or is even done automatically) you have no excuse for not voting. In the US working people have a perfect excuse for not giving up a workday for choosing between two different shades of gray. The left needs enthusiasm if it ever wants to win. People who cannot afford to vote will only come out to vote if they feel genuine enthusiasm. Like they did for Obama in 2008. And like many do again for Sanders.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Technically Election Day is still a public holiday in the U.S. Many people would get the day off before Saint Ronnie and the Holy Laffer Curve took over. These days it’s mostly government offices and schools. Partly because many are polling places.
    It’s relativity easy to register to vote in most states. In most states there aren’t any lines to speak of, there may be dozen people ahead of you in the early evening, when people get home from work. It’s hard to vote in states where the Republicans don’t want poor people to vote.

    Reedman Reply:

    Since 1999, the Detroit3 UAW contract has had federal election days as a holiday. The companies have since extended this to salaried employees. The UAW obviously supported the GM/Chrysler bailouts.
    http://media.mlive.com/auto_impact/photo/11859603-large.jpg

    Aarond Reply:

    Most european countries have compulsory voting laws that fine people who don’t vote. Voting in the US isn’t difficult, your employer is required to give you time off to do it and the dates are known far enough in advance where arranging it isn’t difficult. Most hangups stem from voter registration (either getting the form, filling it out, or sending it back in on time).

    As for enthusiasm, there’s a lack of it on the left due to Obama being a fluke. The Snowden scandal did a lot of damage to him, people who would otherwise be championing the party are now bitter. For all the issues the GOP has they are stoked to vote.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If Lichtenstein and Luxembourg are “most”

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

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Most of the “compulsory voting” countries have slap on the wrist fines or a long tradition of an “amnesty” being the first thing the new parliament passes.

    Also there is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotelling's_law this as a reason why two party systems (like the one the US has by virtue of its first past the post voting system) depress turnout.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Employers are well known for NOT complying with the laws requiring them to let people get off work to vote.

  10. Scramjett
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 15:33
    #10

    This gist of what I’ve been getting out of all of the recent “news” and “reports” regarding HSR in California is that I’ll be able to take a high speed rail train from Sacramento to Los Angeles when my 5 year old son retires…assuming I’ll even still be alive.

  11. morris brown
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 16:48
    #11

    Links to video excerpts posted on Youtube for the April 4 2016 State
    Senate T&H hearing on High Speed Rail

    https://youtu.be/xTK8-13P7iY

    Lois Wolk -D (13 min)

    Concerns

    1 Cap and trade securitize risks
    2.Expires in 2020
    3.Costs of Financing
    4.Legal problems

    ————-

    https://youtu.be/rYq34TFI75Y

    Richard Roth -D (22 min)

    ONly 1 billion allocated to So. CA.
    Legal challenge of Prop 1A
    About LA Times Articles
    PB powerpoint
    dispute with URS

    —————————–

    https://youtu.be/ebxdrSkUWbo

    Jim Nielsen -R (10 min)
    Financing very shaky

    ———————

    https://youtu.be/N89xw1YaLNk

    Cathleen Galgiani -D (6 min)

    Promoting moving funds from Fresno South
    to Madera North and on to Merced

    ——————
    https://youtu.be/kuB2ECon1hc

    Ted Gains -R (9 minutes)

    Stability of Cap and Trade
    $44 Billion Gap for Phase I
    Very negative on project

    ———————–
    https://youtu.be/Iy9BaL-ubAk

    Ben Allen -D (12 min)

    How to tell voters the cost is justified

    ———————
    https://youtu.be/iCnPn36NSu8

    Bob Huff -R (11 min)

    Take it back to the voters

    ————-
    https://youtu.be/7gZvvW4Jmvc

    Lou Thompson (8 min)
    Peer Review Group

    ————–
    https://youtu.be/FXI3GHg3OLM

    Jessica Peters (17 min)
    Leg Analyst

    —————–
    https://youtu.be/yBnVW-0jHuw
    Dan Richard (17 min)

  12. Roland
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 17:06
    #12

    OT: Breaking News: Head of TJPA fired during yesterday’s closed session: http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Fight-renewed-over-equipping-SF-police-with-stun-7230298.php

    Michael Reply:

    From the Chronicle…

    Outbound: The head of the multibillion-dollar Transbay Transit Center project is being sent packing — although the reasons behind MariaAyerdi-Kaplan’s pending exit are as murky as the future of the troubled project itself.

    Costs for what some have billed as the “billion-dollar bus stop” soared by $1 billion in the past eight years, to an estimated $2.4 billion. As a result, Ayerdi-Kaplan’s management of the project has been called into question by both the mayor’s office and transportation planners, and City Hall is now being asked to step in with $250 million in short-term financing to complete the job.

    Ayerdi-Kaplan has also resisted changes in the project’s management, as well as Mayor Ed Lee’s push to tear down the stub of Interstate 280 and reconfigure the planned underground Caltrain route into the transit center so sports fans could take the train to AT&T Park and the proposed Warriors arena. Even without the track change, bringing trains into the transit center is expected to cost another $2.3 billion.

    Members of the three-county Transbay Joint Powers Authority decided in closed session Monday to part ways with Ayerdi-Kaplan but have yet to agree on the terms of her exit, according to knowledgeable sources.

    Ayerdi-Kaplan is entitled to about 11 months severance under her contract, or about $215,000. But one stumbling block is her pension. Between her time in city government and at the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, Ayerdi-Kaplan has 18 years of public service — two years shy of what she would need to maximize her retirement. Some board members want to find a way to give her the full ride.

    Ayerdi-Kaplan was in New York on Tuesday to accept an award from a construction industry trade publication, Engineering News-Record, for her role in building the new transit terminal, and did not return our calls. And other than praising her accomplishments, none of the board members is commenting.

    Jerry Reply:

    Does she have an account in Panama?

    Roland Reply:

    Enjoy until it’s gone: http://transbaycenter.org/tjpa/about-the-tjpa/staff/about-the-executive-director

    Aarond Reply:

    that’s what happens when you build a train terminal without any tracks

    Phantom Commuter Reply:

    The $185 million ARTIC station in Anaheim sounds like a “bargain” by comparison. These are the kind of overbuilt projects that turn people against rail.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Inevitable under a patronage machine. This is how politicians build things.

    Joe Reply:

    What’s the patronage with ARTIC ? I’m curious if you understand the word. Try a
    Paragraph explaining how it worked with ARTIC.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Phantom’s post included the TBT “by comparison”.

    Joe Reply:

    Fail. You don’t know what patronage is…or what is needed for it to work.

  13. Reality Check
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 17:22
    #13

    O/T: Some problems plaguing BART were built in from the start

    Design decisions made decades ago at the origin of BART now haunt the system, making it more difficult and more costly to operate, officials with the transit agency say.

    Designed at the beginning of the Space Age, the people who built BART wanted an ultramodern transportation system. The first transit system to be built after World War II, the goal was to create a sleek, light and smooth riding system. The hope was to draw people back into public transit — using large, tinted windows, wool seats and carpeting and promising speeds of up to 80 mph.

    […]

    Crossovers are mechanical and electrical switches that allow trains to be routed around problems. BART’s are few and far between, and, according to Oversier: “the ones that we do have are basically in the wrong locations.”

    […]

    “A lot of decisions made 50 years ago about this system really limit what we can do today,” said Tom Radulovich, a 19-year member of the BART governing board. The use of ultra-lightweight aluminum cars gliding along on extra-wide gauge tracks at up to 80 mph, he said, had unforeseen consequences.

    “We couldn’t order off-the-shelf rail cars — they had to be custom designed, we had to have them custom made,” he said, referring to the latest order of new train cars expected to come on line as soon as next year. He said the new cars cost nearly double the price of more conventional rail cars, which are made of stainless steel and can be mass produced.

    Radulovich says nearly all of BART is one of a kind.

    “Because of BART’s uniqueness technologically, it is a bit of a crafts project,” Radulovich added. Cheaper stainless cars are simply too heavy for the structures built to support BART’s elevated tracks. The wheels on cars have to be custom made, which involves using heat to press steel rims around aluminum hubs.

    BART is also constrained based on the dimensions of the Transbay Tube — it cannot use roof mounted air conditioning units, Radulovich says. Instead, the air conditioners must be mounted underneath cars, a maintenance headache that means cars have to be out service for a full day to replace them.

    New York, by comparison, can change a roof mounted unit in a matter of minutes.

    BART’s 1,000 volt electrical system is unique. So is its station design and even its ticketing system. Having such custom features, according to Radulovich, means that projects are not only more expensive, but take longer. Added to that, he said, “there’s a chance it won’t work — or at least won’t work the first time.”

    […]

    Roland Reply:

    You will never guess who designed the Transbay tube (clue: it’s not Bechtel)…
    http://tunneltalk.com/Immersed-tubes-Mar04-BART-seismic-retrofit.php

    Peter Reply:

    Seriously, do you know how to actually write and make a point? Or is innuendo all you can do? Do you write clickbait for a living?

    Roland Reply:

    Seriously, do you ever post anything remotely intelligent on this blog?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Actually Peter does, and has for many years. I know, given your more recent tenure you may not know who the real old-timers are here…especially if they don’t have memorable names…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Who are the real old timers? You? Syno? Adirondacks?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Adirondacker*

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I’m not that senior. Peter, Richard M. Synonymouse, Clem, JiminPollockPines, Nadia, Elizabeth, Morris.

    We have lost others along the way…but they just be lurking or found another favorite hangout….

    Neil Shea Reply:

    That system must not be extended to Santa Clara.

    Roland Reply:

    We tried cross-platform transfers at Berryessa. No cigar (so far?)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaWpKw6H8cw

    joe Reply:

    Right. End it at the SJ HSR station.

    The rail car unit cost isn’t twice however. Compare unit costs the DC METRO and Chicago CTA cars

    Roland Reply:

    We tried that too but my friend Carl wants to loop back to the airport followed by Levi’s (why run Sprinters for practically nothing when you cab blow another $3B on BART?).

    Phantom Commuter Reply:

    Excellent idea

    joe Reply:

    BART claim to be is paying $2.2 million per car.

    DC METRO is paying $2.1 million per car (886 M for 428 cars)
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/metro-to-debut-first-of-its-7000-series-cars-on-blue-line-on-april-14/2015/04/11/a0ba5376-dede-11e4-a1b8-2ed88bc190d2_story.html

    CTA is paying 1.5 million per car. ($1.3 billion for 846 cars built on the SE side of Chicago)
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-cta-board-rail-cars-0310-20160309-story.html

    Bdawe Reply:

    BART cars are lighter and more powerful than other metro cars. CTA cars are also quite small

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    American transit systems tend to be more expensive than European ones in general…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    To build? To operate? To ride? All of the above?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    To build and to operate. Not necessarily to ride (at least if you only count the on the spot fares)

    Joe Reply:

    Right. Lighter and faster.

    Ignoring all features, BART cars are _not_twice as expensive. Fairly close to the cost of cars for DC metro.

    Joe Reply:

    New BARTcars were unveiled today
    http://m.SfGate.com/bayarea/article/BART-gives-first-look-at-new-train-cars-7232520.php

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    very nice. the first person to tag windows or spill soda should be tazed in public.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    And this will happen in 5…4…3…2…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The new bilevel Intercities of Deutsche Bahn have already been sprayed with graffiti mercilessly, despite being less than a year in revenue service….

    I really don’t know a solution to the graffiti problem except removing graffiti on sight as fast as possible.

    EJ Reply:

    Looks real nice. I think they’ll get customer pushback on the new horn though. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the current BART horn that sounds like a 1970s VW Kombi-Van. It’s pretty distinctive and I think for a lot of riders it’s a familiar friend.

    Joe Reply:

    Too few seats.

    EJ Reply:

    Inevitable when you’re adding an extra set of doors. The original plan IIRC was to have even fewer crosswise seats and more standees, but the public didn’t like it. I feel like this is a good compromise – the people taking the longest trips, who get on at the outer ends of each line, should be able to get seats, rush hour commuters who get on in Berkeley and Oakland might have to stand. With the current passenger volume, even running all 10-car trains on minimum headways, there’s no way to give every rush hour commuter a seat – which is the case on pretty much every well-patronized commuter and metro line in the world. At least BART is nowhere near Tokyo-style having pushers physically shove people into the train.

    Joe Reply:

    Right, and the added space for crumple zones.

    maximizing tube capacity by shortening dwell time is driving the design.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Bart is saying once the whole new fleet arrives that there will be more total seating. Of course with the state of the current fleet one doesn’t dare want to sit on the seats anyway.

    Michael Reply:

    Grow up. If you are afraid of BART seats, be afraid of everything you touch in public anywhere.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    ….Riders on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system have long complained about germs in the hard-to-clean cloth seats. As Bob Franklin, the BART board president, acknowledged, “People don’t know what’s in there.”

    Now they do.

    The Bay Citizen commissioned Darleen Franklin, a supervisor at San Francisco State University’s biology lab, to analyze the bacterial content of a random BART seat. The results may make you want to stand during your trip.

    Fecal and skin-borne bacteria resistant to antibiotics were found in a seat on a train headed from Daly City to Dublin/Pleasanton. Further testing on the skin-borne bacteria showed characteristics of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, the drug-resistant bacterium that causes potentially lethal infections, although Franklin cautioned that the MRSA findings were preliminary.

    High concentrations of at least nine bacteria strains and several types of mold were found on the seat. Even after Franklin cleaned the cushion with an alcohol wipe, potentially harmful bacteria were found growing in the fabric.

    John Swartzberg, a clinical professor at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, played down the threat of infection from harmful bacteria on a BART seat. “I suspect it’s not a very big problem,” Swartzberg said. “That said, if there’s another way to do it, where you can clean it better, then you should do it.”

    He said the cloth seats most likely allowed bacteria to flourish because they were more difficult to clean and disinfect.

    James Allison, a BART spokesman, wrote in an e-mail that the findings were “not surprising,” considering that 330,000 commuters rode the trains daily. Last year, the BART police received 1,051 complaints of smoking, eating and drinking; 245 complaints of urinating or defecating; and 56 reports of spitting.

    Allison encouraged riders to wash their hands and use hand sanitizers available at BART stations.

    Hygiene has emerged as a key issue as BART officials determine what kind of seats to install for a new fleet of cars in 2017. In January, system employees were invited to test a variety of seat models at a Hayward warehouse. One employee, Melissa Jordan, filed a report on BART’s website about the trade-offs in selecting the new seats.

    “Can I live with some type of seat that’s less cushiony — maybe padded vinyl instead of fabric — if it’s easier to keep clean?” Jordan wrote.

    Franklin’s analysis also revealed that Muni, which uses acrylic plastic seats, appears to be more sanitary.

    She tested a seat on the No. 28 bus, a route frequented by college students traveling from San Francisco State to Daly City. Two benign bacteria colonies were found. Unlike the BART seat analysis, Franklin’s test of the Muni seat after cleaning it with an alcohol wipe detected no bacteria

    Wow muni is cleaner than bart. I remember when bart used to be clean but that was 40 years ago when the trains were mostly empty.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “The first transit system to be built after World War II…”

    Untrue – Cleveland rapid transit – 1955.

    BART was the result of a modal war between an RER-S-bahn(similar essentially to the Key, IER, Sacramento Northern but with much more grade separation) versus the NYC subway and 3rd rail. The S-bahn was anathema to the SP and politically unpalatable to Bechtel in that the powers that be had just torn up those systems as obsolete. So instead of the genuine exotic, like monorail, they reinvented the wheel, badly, and called it space age. Maybe Radulevich should have called it Jetsons Rapid Transit. Might as well have been designed by Hanna-Barbera.

    So is BART ready to repent?

    synonymouse Reply:

    a modal holy war that continues.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I know you are willing to believe the US is headed toward Cairo-seque urban dystopia from density. But unless we repeal every last government policy since the New Deal, land use patterns are going to dictate more suburban friendly transit system design.

    The alternative (despite what Mlynarik thinks) isn’t Switzerland or Hong Kong. The other side of the BART coin is what happened in L.A. when they rejected a similar approach in the 1960s…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Wasn’t there a private monorail proposal that would have covered more of the city than Metrorail currently does?

    EJ Reply:

    Yeah. Ray Bradbury was a big time booster of it. Also Walt Disney – AFAIK he considered the Disneyland monorail to be a prototype for the transportation of the future in LA.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why was it rejected?

    Aarond Reply:

    Cost. Especially in the 1960s I don’t see how it would be possible to convince people to invest in mass transit especially a brand new mode of transport (monorail). Be it voters or private investors, everyone wanted cars. It took the 1973 oil crisis to even get people thinking of an alternative. It took another 20 years for LA’s traffic to get so bad that a metro system could be voted on and built.

    Aarond Reply:

    A source;

    http://micechat.com/29530-why-the-monorail-failed-in-los-angeles/

    >The offer was for “a turn-key proposal in which a group will share risk, finance the construction, and turn over to MTA a completed and operating system to be repaid from MTA revenues.”

    The “repay” part is the stumbling block. Of course we all know about the streetcar conspiracy, but the only reason such a situation can occur is because companies like GM can exploit people’s fears/concerns/cautions regarding the “repay” part. Why did HSR die in Wisconsin? The officially stated reason from Walker was that he didn’t want the tax money to pay for the upkeep after it was operative.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Here’s a link to a description of the “five corridor plan”:

    http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/10/what-old-transit-maps-can-teach-us-about-a-citys-future/381149/

    What flies under the radar (since the current rail map in LA is similar) is that the number five was chosen to ensure each County Supervisor got something out of it. Even so, as I’ve said in earlier posts, the reason BART del Sur didn’t happen is that the county as a whole had to vote on it. BART dodged that bullet by only have the most urban and diverse ones opt in, and leave Marin, the South Bay, and Stockton out of it….

    James Fujita Reply:

    Just as well that they rejected it, as the ridership capacity of a monorail system is typically far less than that for a subway or even light rail — especially when you are talking about 1960s technology levels.

    Aarond Reply:

    Fujita: To play devil’s advocate, it’s more of a land use problem. Monorails could probably work as well as most subway systems, but the problem is that the high density places that would benefit the most from them either want cheaper at-grade standard rail, or more expensive below-ground subways. Monorails exist as a middling compromise option. One which a very expensive and proprietary price tag.

    It’s somewhat the same issue Personal Rapid Transit vehicles have. Outside of connecting large airports, their use is questionable. Smaller cities want cheaper buses and shuttles while larger cities want higher capacity rail systems.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Ted Judah

    BART dodged that bullet by only have the most urban and diverse ones opt in, and leave Marin, the South Bay, and Stockton out of it

    In a way it’s rather sad though … I lived in Mill Valley as a young child, and in many ways it’s an almost perfect railroad suburb—relatively compact, very very walkable, with a well-defined and lively downtown area. As I recall, one of the centerpiece buildings in the downtown was actually the old rail station… (IIRC, it had been converted to shopping)

    synonymouse Reply:

    You guys are being way too rational – the people who sewed together FrankenBART wanted Manhattan highrises in SF, but too dumb to do a better job of it with rail tech they loathed. They could not entrust monorail to be Manhattanizing enough. Ergo supported duorail.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think one of the problems of monorail is that it was never widely adopted. Light rail / streetcars (which are really one and the same in Europe) have gone out of fashion for a time, but there were always several competing manufacturers for almost every conceivable system. True, some had to pay a premium for unusual gauges, but mostly they are a lot cheaper than strange one off systems like Translohr or most monorail systems…

    Nathanael Reply:

    ” The other side of the BART coin is what happened in L.A. when they rejected a similar approach in the 1960s…”

    LA has a better urban rail system than SF does, now. So, uh, that sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? In the long run?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    This is a good sign though…the BART board is hinting any new tax measure this fall will go to upgrading the major systemic defects instead of subsidizing extensions. It’s a good strategy since only the counties where BART is already built out will vote.

    It does make it tougher to subsidize extensions into the South Bay, but that is a good thing for CAHSR actually…

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s a dream of mine that BART would be regauged to SG and thus could possibly be used to ring-the-bay. But they’ve already committed to the new cars, which means broad gauge for another decade at least.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    IBG isn’t the problem, in fact it was actually a smart decision at the time.

    Other than the sort of faux crisis over having to buy custom-made cars because of it, it’s a really a non-issue functionally.

    (Recently on KQED’s “Forum” program…either Tom Radulovich or Paul Oversier admited that the Transbay Tube has such low clearance that you can’t buy cars with overhead cooling units either…which also requires using cars that are not off-the-shelf.)

    Don’t forget there are lots of *other* structural issues at BART that have zero to do with broad gauge. My favorite is that people forget the District has its own police force. After the Legislature allowed more generous pension benefits in 1999 for any peace officer in California (as in 3.0% at 50), you had one loss-leading entity (the police force) that relied on another loss-leader to subsidize the police force at the same time….

    Aarond Reply:

    BART police is probably beneficial, controversies aside people in San Mateo and Santa Clara Co enjoy their presence. Not that it matters since BART doesn’t really serve either.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No…what I meant is…Metro in LA doesn’t have their own police force, they contract with the County Sheriff.

    BART could, jurisdictional rivalries notwithstanding, do the same thing and it would be a cost savings for them.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Where does this strange arrangement originate that university campuses or public transit operators can have their own police?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The UK has had the British Transport Police since at least the 1960s.
    At least you get officers who are somewhat savvy about rail operations and safety around trains. The downside is that they are thinly spread and response time can be slow.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It dates from before cities had police. Railroads and universities had police before cities did, in many cases.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Interesting. I did not know that. In Germany, the federal police takes care of train stations. For whatever reason.

    EJ Reply:

    Hamburg and Berlin S-Bahn are both third rail systems. Just saying.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And they are also the oldest and the ones that defined the term. However, compared to the majority of S-Bahn systems in Germany as well as other countries that adopted the term, this is more a case of http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EarlyInstallmentWeirdness than anything.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh for sure, I’m just pointing it out because syno and a couple of other people on here seem to think that BART’s third rail power supply was some bizarre Bechtel driven aberration, instead of fairly typical technology for the time. In particular, with the tunneling technology then available, there was a good case for making the tunnel as small as possible, thus, third rail.

    Most of the postwar European S-Bahn type systems were assembled out of existing regional and commuter lines which were already electrified using OHLE, so naturally they went with that instead. But even if BART had been built to a mainline heavy rail standard, there was no existing railway electrification in the Bay Area, so that wasn’t really a consideration.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The crucial point of S-Bahn as opposed to many commuter rail systems is that lines run burb-center-burb and have a denser spacing of stops in the center than the burbs. And they also (though the recent “uptitling of some lines that aren’t S-Bahn has somewhat diluted this) usually run half hour or fifteen minute headways throughout the day, sometimes with a certain peak factor. Of course, Berlin S-Bahn does not really fit this characterization insofar as it has even shorter headways on the trunk lines…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The “S-Bahn” as we understand it nowadays is kind of based on the concepts München had. As stated, it consists of building a city link (in München between Hauptbahnhof and Ostbahnhof), serving important places within the city, and linking through various lines. And, the other crucial part is to set up a fixed interval schedule, maybe slightly densified for rush hour, but maintaining that schedule throughout the day. The München I remember has 20 minutes intervals (in some cases 40 minutes at the outer ends).

    Similar concepts can be found in Paris (RER), or London (Crossrail; although one could consider several underground lines as well).

    EJ Reply:

    Well yeah and that’s why BART gets compared to an S-Bahn. It’s faster than almost any metro, and it’s got wide stop spacing in the burbs, funnelled into a core urban route with dense stops. Of course, on the San Francisco side, it never made it very far down the Peninsula.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think the alleged conspiracy had more to do with Bechtel and Southern Pacific trying to use technology that would be so incompatible with traditional rail as to be a golden goose for Bechtel but also not threaten Southern Pacific’s freight revenue.

    I say “alleged” because unless you wanted a system like Sacramento’s light rail which is old tyme railroading pretending to be something more modern…BART’s incompatibility helped the Bay Area control sprawl and other land use issues because municipalities and taxpayers had to pay for the real cost of expanding the system.

    To me, it’s a feature, not a bug…but to Synonymouse it’s a sign of the Bildabergs and Rothschilds using their power behind the scenes somehow…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Is BART good at what it does?

    If yes, then what needs fixing?

    If not, fix it.

    Roland Reply:

    Same in the UK: HS1 the only 25kv OHLE in the southeast. Everything else is 3rd rail but they had the common sense to stop 3rd rail electrification of existing lines after 1980:
    http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/1fd183d2-7775-11de-8c68-00144feabdc0.img

    EJ Reply:

    Not true. They were electrifying lines in the southeast with third rail well into the 1990s. Not because they thought third rail was better, but they didn’t want isolated sections of AC OHLE electrification that would require bi-mode trains to access it.

    Roland Reply:

    Quote or example?

    EJ Reply:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Western_Main_Line
    Electrification completed in 1988.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastleigh_to_Fareham_Line
    Electrified in the 1990s

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastings_Line
    Electrified 1986.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    And if common sense prevails they will use third rail for Wokingham to Aldershot Junction South and from Shalford to Redhill.

    Nathanael Reply:

    They’re now planning to convert the lines to Cornwall to overhead, because the third rail needs to be replaced.

    Peter Reply:

    Operation of the first portions of Cleveland Rapid Transit began well before WWII.

    I’d assume they put further construction on hold during the war.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not true. The 1955 rapid transit line is entirely separate from the Shaker Height lines built during the teens and which operated originally with Peter Witt type cars, then later with PCC’s for decades.

    The 1955 Cleveland rapid transit is standard gauge and OC, totally grade separated AFAIK. Anathema to the SP and Bechtel, so of course they would ignore its existence.

    EJ Reply:

    In real life, plenty of third rail electrification was being done worldwide in the 1960s and 1970s. The idea that it was some sort of Bechtel conspiracy is just your usual unsubstantiated horseshit.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Bechtel and SPUR types wanted Manhattanization.

    EJ Reply:

    What does that have to do with third rail? Heavy rail subways with OHLE already existed. In SF The Market St. subway with your precious overhead wire was built at the same time as BART.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART tried to talk Muni into ditching streetcars but it failed at the ballot.

    It is the blinking prissy architects who love 3rd rail, hate overhead lines, love the TransAmerica erection.

    EJ Reply:

    Which prissy architects?

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Why hasn’t bart been doing ongoing upgrades? Ongoing replacement of parts?

    Edward Reply:

    The reason the “C” cars have been failing and not the “A” and “B” cars is that these older cars had their motors upgraded to ac from dc and the control systems were also upgraded. They use IGBTs instead of the triacs still used in the “C” cars. The equipment from the older upgraded cars has been kept as spares for the newer cars that weren’t upgraded.

    And then there are the non-operational upgrades in response to public comments: elimination of carpets, replacement of fabric seat covering with non-porous covering, the addition of straps for standees and at last starting to put housings and gates at the *top* of the entrances to subway stations. That last item greatly extends the life of the escalators and stops the bottom of the stairs being used as a public toilet.

    Yes, BART is getting new cars, which will help. Next is a new control system which will reduce headways and, along with adding outside platforms at Embarcadero station, will increase the capacity of the transbay tube by 20-25%. Beyond that will take real money: A second transbay tube, sidings to get failed equipment out of the way and (someday) express tracks in a few places.

  14. morris brown
    Apr 5th, 2016 at 22:54
    #14

    Assembly speaker signals concern with bullet-train plan

    From the article:

    “But to be honest, last month when the new (rail) business plan came out, as a Southern Californian and an Assembly member from Los Angeles County, I was a bit surprised, and I have significant questions about it.”
    …..

    High-speed rail, he said, is one of those concerns.

    “I’m still a supporter,” he said of the proposed 520-mile, $64 billion system that ultimately would connect San Francisco and Los Angeles with 220-mph, electric-powered passenger trains.

    “But I want to make sure it’s done correctly. … I want to make sure it’s on time and on budget, and I want to make sure it has a ridership that’s significant enough to be worth the investment.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    translation:

    I don’t know squat and don’t want to be told anything but I guess I like World Peace.

    Joe Reply:

    No jingoism or union bashing. Clearly he is your inferior.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Hot potato allergic.

  15. Phantom Commuter
    Apr 6th, 2016 at 16:15
    #15

    So you’d rather have a Republican governor? Good luck with that :-)

    James Fujita Reply:

    Nah, California has a “top-two” open primary system. So we’ll get Newsom vs. Villaraigosa vs. whoever the sacrificial GOP candidate is vs. maybe some other Democrat vs. all other third party candidates in the primary. Everybody but Newsom and Villaraigosa will probably crash and burn in the first round.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Top two primary would actually be an awesome thing on the national level for President…

    Though come to think of it, stuff like France 2002 could happen…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_presidential_election,_2002

    Nathanael Reply:

    What you really need is approval voting.

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

    This eliminates all “spoiler effects” and makes sure that the most popular candidate actually wins.

    Aarond Reply:

    It could also plausibly allow for the Dems to split their vote and allow a GOP interloper in. I’m not a fan of the system, voting should be as dead-simple as possible and trying to reinvent it won’t improve results. Making it a pain just to try and nix a GOP Governorship doesn’t help anyone even if the goal is laudable.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think anything is better than first past the post which breeds two “alternatives” that are so close to each other as to be virtually the same. And I really dislike tactical voting, but it is probably unavoidable in (almost) any conceivable system…

    Aarond Reply:

    FPTP isn’t perfect but it at least causes internal civil wars when people get pissed off. Such as the one playing out in the GOP, and the one that is likely to consume the Democrats in the near future (Sanders is just the start).

    The problem with proportional systems is that the endgame is that 2-3 of the same centrist parties dominate and are able to crush any reformers. Look at Germany and the AfD for example. In the US, politicians get faced with primary challengers instead of alternative parties popping up.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    First Past the Post does not necessarily mean party internal democracy. I would like for primaries within the CDU/CSU and SPD for instance. Israel – which is VERY proportional – has had quite a few primaries and also some upset wins. However, I still like to be able to vote for what I want instead of against what I don’t want. When Germany got its Blair/Clinton/whathaveyou with Gerhard Schröder, the consequence was the founding of the Linkspartei which is basically the SPD of twenty, thirty years ago on most issues. That’s better than “internal civil war” like the Democrats or Labour seem to have right now….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Democratic candidates, to use their own words “are in violent agreement” on most issues.
    The Republicans on the other hand are busy trying to decide if they want to go the way of the Know Nothings or Dixiecrats.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why not both?

    You can always appeal to an even smaller subsection of white male anglosaxon protestant right wingers than the next bigot…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    What about the white male Anglo-Saxon formerly Protestant socialists? I know of 2 at least

    Aarond Reply:

    The South will always remain the South. Not even a full blown Civil War could change them. At the very least this means they will remain a bloc and thus have the ability to choose which parties are in power. The Democrats embracing Civil Rights meant that Dixiecrats became “free agents”, without any ties they can demand the parties cater to them. Bill understood this, as did Nixon. Southern Strategies work.

    Which, on an unrelated note, makes me wonder who Jim Webb will endorse.

    Joe Reply:

    @Paiul Jim Webb had their numbers.

    @ Aarond
    One wonders if you ever looked at an electoral map post 1968. The south is the GOP. There are paths for Dems to win 270 electoral votes without the confederate states.

    Democratic Party passed civil rights leglislation and lost the bigots. It worked out for the Dems. They embraced a majority of voters.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Southern Strategy works on less and less people as time goes by.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Virginia has become quite blue, Obama won North Carolina one of his two cycles, younger Florida Cuban Americans are no longer reliable GOP voters. The Southern strategy has not produced A GOP presidential majority five of the last six cycles. Yet it seems some folks like whistling past the graveyard

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Whom do you mean by the anglo saxon formerly protestant socialists? Sanders is a lapsed Jew, and I don’t know whether Clinton is either anglo saxon or socialist.

    And on a related note, the Southern strategy in my humble opinion did not work because the South would always stay racist, it kept racism respectable in the South and hence kept the racist Southern vote alive. I for one doubt any region holds certain political views inevitably. Take for instance North Rhine Westphalia: “naturally” a worker’s state with left wing majorities, it has still produced quite a few conservative majorities. On the other hand Lower Saxony which is “naturally” an agricultural conservative state has produced Gerhard Schröder…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Hillary Clinton is a country club Republican. The foaming at the mouth “conservatives” started to push her type out of the Republican party back in the 60s. The purge is almost complete.

    joe Reply:

    @ adirondacker12800 She’s probably not a country club Republican but a Dem willing to accept a county club republican compromise to get something done.

    You are right that the GOP pushed out the old NE GOP and killed off a type of functional conservative philosophy.

    The ACA is a Country Club GOP innovation, complex and inefficient and sues private sector. So too is 401K retirement experiment a country club solution.

    By abandoning any compromise and solution based philosophy, the GOP killed these hybrid solutions that offset New Deal solutions, the country club philosophy no longer has appeal if it cannot win GOP votes.

    Hillary’s health care push in 1990’s wasn’t “republican”. Nor women rights advocacy. Certainly she is not as rigid as Jimmy Carter.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Nearly indistinguishable from Nelson Rockefeller. Well maybe bit to the right of Rocky. Which is why she is so popular with country club Republicans.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Unfortunately the south still fills the Congress with rightists, some of them extreme or quite looney.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Bahnfreund, I mean me and a couple of my mates

    joe Reply:

    @adirondacker12800 That the GOP would loath both doesn’t make him a peer.

    That jackass Andrew Mark Cuomo is the old school Eastern Establishment.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just because Richard Nixon would be denounced as a Communist by today’s GOP doesn’t make Hillary or Andy less of a Rockefeller Republican.

    Joe Reply:

    She’s not even close. It’s also not a commonly shared view.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    She lacks his edifice complex.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Hillary did campaign for Goldwater. And Goldwater late in his life came to detest the religious nutcases his party had attracted. It’s a shame that we went from an election starring a socialist, a progressive and a Democrat (who – admittedly – was a racist) with the Republican coming in third (1912) to an election where a Republican from Massachutah ran against his own health care proposal from a few years ago and called it socialist (2012). But I do think this whole thing will ultimately prove temporary. Whether from within the current system or through a new constitutional convention, the paradigms of the current system may well shift during the lives of some in this conversation.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Bahnfreund: Actually, Sanders is a *socialist* Jew. This is a very particular subdivision of Judaism which decided that the core teachings of the Jewish religion were the ones about taking care of fellow people, as opposed to what most other sects focus on. Socialist Judaism is a specific belief system at this point, and one I admire quite a lot.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t know whether Sanders’ socialism has much to do with his Judaism. Of course, you can be a Jew – even an orthodox Jew – without believing in god. Judaism is a very fascinating religion in many ways.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “The problem with proportional systems is that the endgame is that 2-3 of the same centrist parties dominate and are able to crush any reformers.”

    Nonsense. See the Green Party in Germany for a dramatic example. Or the recent elections in Greece (where a *brand new party* won) or Spain (where Podemos has come out of nowhere and turned into a major party.)

    Proportional systems are valuable precisely *because* it is possible for reformers with wildly different views from the “establishment” to get a foothold.

    Please learn something about how proportional systems actually work in practice before you spout off. The usual complaint about proportional systems is actually that they’re *unstable* due to how easy it is to have dozens of different parties who can’t agree with each other (see Spain, which has no government right now)

  16. Brian_FL
    Apr 6th, 2016 at 17:29
    #16

    First pictures of AAF/Brightline Charger locomotive shell. Very aerodynamic looking compared to the multistate order (CA, IL, WA, MD).

    https://www.facebook.com/GoBrightline/photos/a.1484552041850660.1073741827.1484550728517458/1530454213927109/?type=3&theater

    James Fujita Reply:

    They’re all Siemens Chargers. Did Florida ask for some modifications that California, etc. won’t be getting?

    It will be new track down there, so maybe a little extra streamlining will help.

    Clem Reply:

    At these low speeds, the nose cone has the same effect as a racing stripe. Curious to see how it stands up to shopping carts.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Or more likely trespassers and the occasional automobile! I am no longer shocked by the number of people and cars hit by Amtrak trains alone here in Florida. It’s like Amtrak is a magnet to them. I hope AAF/Brightline does better. But this is Florida after all LOL

    I assume the missing bottom front section in the production pictures will be made from fiberglass to reduce cost and replacement time after the inevitable crashes… I hope they order plenty of spare covers 😊

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Low speeds? Thier 125 mph section is as fast as the UK network (with the exclusion of HS1 which used to be called – tellingly – Channel Tunnel Rail Link)

    Clem Reply:

    125 mph is not a top speed that requires aerodynamic streamlining. It is practiced all over the world (including Germany) with blunt ended vehicles. But I like the nose, it’s a nice change from the usual American rail aesthetic.

    Roland Reply:

    This may be true in open space but not so in single-track tunnels.

    Roland Reply:

    “As high-speed trains enter tunnels they create pressure waves as the air hits the nose of the train and is pushed forward, resulting in a large boom as the train emerges out of the other end. Designers looked at the way Kingfishers dive into the water to catch their prey leaving just the tinniest of ripples on the surface. The solution was to develop longer, more pointed noses, like the beak of a Kingfisher that would slice through the air in front of the train.”
    http://www.globalrailnews.com/2014/01/24/learning-from-japans-bullet-trains/

    Joe Reply:

    “As high speed trains…”

    Roland Reply:

    Please address your spelling comments to the editor of Global Rail News.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think he was doubting the use of “high speed trains” as such, because 200 km/h arguably isn’t high speed.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, an aerodynamic shape has advantages, even at speeds around 160 km/h. The nose does not need to be thaat long, but it helps to reduce drag along the train. If you look at the 200 km/h+ rated locomotives, you will see that they have a “nose” maybe 1 m in length, and (at least in the case of the SBB Re460 and its siblings) I am positive that there was extensive research in the wind tunnel before finalizing the shape of the front. (a side effect of that shape is that this locomotive has an excellent behavior with snow-drifts, as can be found in Norway; they say that the engineers threatened with strike if they ordered another model than the (now known as) EL18.)

    Of course, you can run at 200 km/h with a totally blunt end; you will simply need more energy.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Plus those snouts look a lot better (“duck” AVE and some Shinkansen notwithstanding)

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Oh I love the Talgo 350 duck. To each his own I suppose.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Indeed. Gutsy design is gutsy because many people will consider it ugly, whereas others love it. I guess many people wont like “Hamster cheek”, but I have kind of grown accustomed to it. My only beef with it is the fact that there are far too few electrical outlets

    (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/442_228_in_N%C3%BCrnberg%2C_2014_%2802%29.JPG this is the train I am talking about)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The newer Intercity rolling stock has much more streamlined snouts. Soon the only non streamlined trains doing more than 160 km/h (100mph) on German rails will be the regional trains doing the Munich-Nuremberg run, which are run by old Intercity locos…

    Btw, the new Intercity rolling stock includes bilevel cars, which have been accused of the typical problem of European bilevel cars of not leaving enough space for luggage. I have not yet taken one, so I cannot opine…

    Roland Reply:

    125MPH is the maximum speed on UK non-electrified lines (just like AAF) but the other mainlines are faster and HS2 will blow the rest of Europe out of the ballpark (including Paris-Lyon): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/08/High_Speed_Railroad_Map_of_Europe_2015.svg/640px-High_Speed_Railroad_Map_of_Europe_2015.svg.png

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    HS2 is not yet built and may still get killed politically. And you are misreading the map. 125 mph is equal to roughly 201 km/h thus it is “above” 200 km/h. No train in use on any of those lines does anything above 125 mph in revenue service. The only truly high speed line (if you take the definition as “above 250 km/h”) is the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

    EJ Reply:

    Virgin keeps needling network rail to allow 140 mph operation (which both the pendolinos and the Intercity 225 stock on the East Coast Main Line were designed for), but UK regulations say you need cab signaling for speeds above 125 mph, and neither the West or East Coast main lines have it.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s strange how arbitrary those regulations seem to be… In Germany legacy lines are limited to 160 km/h (100mph) in the US it’s 79 mph and in Britain it’s 125 mph. Does anybody know any real world justification for that?

    Bdawe Reply:

    The US case was, I’ve been told, supposed to strong-arm the railroads into installing cab signalling/ats/atc etc, though a lot of the effect was simply to bring about lower top speeds

    Canada legacy speed limit is 95

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    80 mph or faster the train needs cab signals.

    swing hanger Reply:

    In Japan, the limit is 130km/h for lines with grade crossings- this is the top speed a train can manage an emergency stop within 600m. For elevated lines i.e. no grade crossings the limit is 160km/h using lineside signaling with double green aspects. Above that cab signaling is required.

    EJ Reply:

    Parts of the BNSF southern transcon and surf line have 90 mph maximum speeds due to ATS, which isn’t really cab signalling.

    keith saggers Reply:

    Driving from Miami to Orlando takes about four hours. Brightline will allow passengers to cover that same distance in about three hours — while reading, relaxing or simply enjoying a more productive way to travel.
    Quality passenger rail holds the power to transform the travel experience. Rather than putting miles on your own car, paying for gas and navigating heavy traffic, passengers can sit back and enjoy the ride. Brightline will deliver you to your destination faster than when driving — and you will arrive more relaxed, refreshed and comfortable. AAF

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Are both stations close to the city center or other common destinations? If yes, it could also rival air travel in a serious way. Usually the tipping point is somewhere between 3:30h and 2:30h.

    Steven H Reply:

    The Miami station is right in the city’s downtown. The Orlando station is in a new airport terminal. Since Orlando is so tourist-centric, all of the major destinations have good airport access, so an airport station might be marginally better than one downtown.

    Supposedly Orlando International will be a transit hub for Sunrail, a local commuter rail line with access to downtown; and the ROW for Orlando-Tampa HSR (with a station at Disney) still exists, I guess, so an extension of the Brightline to Disney via International Drive is also possible.

    James Fujita Reply:

    The Miami station is downtown because that’s where the Florida East Coast ROW is. If I understand it correctly, the Orlando section of the route will be completely new, so they could have put the station downtown or at the airport. The biggest obstacle is finding the room for it.

    If your final destination is Disney, the airport would be a better station location than downtown Orlando.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If your destination in Disney ( or the other attractions clustered around it ) a train to Disney makes the most sense. Origins too, a few days at the resorts and a few days in Miami or Fort Lauderdale or wherever Grandma lives.

    James Fujita Reply:

    of course it would, but I’ve learned from rail transit experience that you can’t always get to the front doorstep. (for funding reasons, political reasons and just plain geography).

    as others pointed out, the airport is a central hub; and why build a few miles out to the resorts when the resorts will provide shuttles?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Because they designed the highway that goes to the resorts to have rail in the median?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    IS there anything that keeps them from later expanding towards Disney with a new station?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s more than one proposal about how to get from the airport to the railroad ROW in the middle of I-4.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    …Setting aside the horrendous odor of inside baseball surrounding All Aboard Florida that I routinely get mocked for…

    There is already a shiny new airport station for South Florida’s existing commuter rail service (Tri-Rail) that AAF is going to compete with when they open their first segment next year to West Palm Beach. Moreover, it’s an intermodal station with Metrorail, so a person can get from the terminal to the location of AAF’s proposed Miami Central hub in less than 30 minutes.

    Part of Orlando’s calculus using MCO as their hub is the idea that some air passengers will favor a one-seat ride to downtown Miami even if it’s *three hours* not *half an hour*. Even though downtown Miami continues to be engulfed by gentrification and big new buildings, it’s still not that helpful if you have to then take a taxi from downtown to the cruise terminal or Miami Beach. Nor would it spur more ridership for Amtrak if they switch to AAF’s new station.

    Paradoxically, Miami would probably oppose expanding Metrorail from downtown to the cruise port and Miami Beach to ensure that more people fly to Miami airport and take a cab the whole way (which will generate far more revenue for them locally.) It’s the same reason that Orlando has no desire to build out AAF to Disney or even downtown Orlando. (It may have even been the reason the Tampa to Orlando HSR project was killed by Rick Scott. To me, it would still be a mistake (along with not building extensions to Miami’s cruise port.)

    What’s kind of funny is that this is the exact drama playing out with CAHSR where SF is clearly hoping to usurp some of LA’s international passengers too, as anyone arriving from LAX will have at best a 30 to 45 minimum ride on a light rail or subway to LA Union Station and probably no direct option to Hollywood.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Mainly to differentiate the look from the state orders elsewhere, I reckon. More streamliney. After all, they will be running in the land of jai alai and go-fast boats.

    EJ Reply:

    I think they’re all identical. Must just be the camera angle.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    No, the AAF/Brightline Charger locomotives are definitely more streamlined compared to the others. See slideshow at this link:

    http://www.rockwellgroup.com/announcements/brightline

    EJ Reply:

    Is that the actual final design or just an artists impression? Either way I really like the Brightline paint scheme. Wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate everywhere but it definitely says “Florida!”

    Brian_FL Reply:

    It appears to be the final design as evidenced by the seam lines in the pictures versus the actual front end metal work. Also AAF has been straightforward and truthful about their designs so far, so i dont have reason to doubt their public PR.

    The paint scheme is actually an explosion of at least 5 different colors. All locomotives will share the yellow striping. The train cars will be red, purple, blue, green, and pink I believe. I suppose they will somehow try to keep the trainsets together lol and yes it does scream Florida! 😊

    AAF has approached their service as an experience or entertainment versus just a mode of transport. Check out their executive team and u will see their links to the entertainment industry, primarily Disney. Even the AAF Facebook page says they are a “travel agency”, not a passenger railroad!

    swing hanger Reply:

    Your last point is worth noting- presenting and running this as a transportation service, emphasis on *service*, rather than as a *railroad*, with all the political baggage and public perception issues that go with that term, is an astute move on AAF’s part.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    To add to your comment, I am aware that AAF has reached out to Uber, various hotels/resorts, and of course the cruise lines in trying to coordinate their services. AAF at one point promised to be able to provide “last mile” service to the final destinations of passengers. That way their customers won’t have to figure out how to get to places not directly served by public transit. They seem to have done their home work as far as maximizing passenger trips and revenue.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Interesting. So they correctly know they are running a service business door to door, not merely “running a train from station A to station B, passengers are not our responsibility after they leave the station premises”. May be that Disney knowhow.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Of course it will be an additional fee but that info was mentioned in several EIS documents previously. It makes sense as that would be the only way to guarantee making profits from passenger rail here in auto-centric Florida. Add value to the service. Treat it as much more than running trains. That also includes their huge TOD plans at each station as well. It is a well thought out project actually. Part transit utility, part entertainment and part RE development.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    They are certainly not the first or thew only railroad to do that. Deutsche Bahn for instance includes “City” with (almost) every ticket bought with a BahnCard (25% savings, almost everybody who rides trains regularly has one) or for first class, which allows you to take public transit at your destination for one trip to your final destination. And they recently introduced a service to get an electric car with your tickets for a surcharge. They also run a carsharing service as well as one of the two biggest bikesharing services in Germany. Of course people have accused them of neglecting their “bread and butter business” and I understand that concern.

    But compare that to Flixbus, Postbus and the other bus companies that dump you at the airport if the access charge for downtown stations gets too high, you can see that paying peanuts gets you monkeys…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    When will they be carrying the first passengers?

    Brian_FL Reply:

    End of 2017 between Miami and West Palm Beach. Late 2018 for the Orlando service due primarily to the time required for getting the intermodal station built at the airport. 5 four car trainsets for initial service, then ramping up to 10 seven car trainsets once Orlando comes online. And hopefully by 2023/25 they will have expanded to Jacksonville or Tampa.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Thanks for the info. Is it clear already what their pricing model looks like? More like flying, more like driving? And will there be fixed prices or advance purchase offers similar to European hsr?

    Brian_FL Reply:

    They have not released pricing info other than to say it will be competitive with flying or driving (I assume they mean true cost of driving not just fuel for the trip). AAF has said the fare model will be like airline pricing. Demand driven and variable pricing based on time of day, when ticket is purchased, etc…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Ok. Thanks for the info. This type of pricing makes the most sense imho, even though many old timey railroad fans in Germany bemoan the days of the “good old” Bundesbahn that calculated prices based on distance and did not take peak factors into account… Which naturally lead to empty Tuesday afternoon trains and overcrowded Friday evening trains…

  17. morris brown
    Apr 6th, 2016 at 17:57
    #17

    @ Robert:

    I still have “under moderation” a posting I made, which contained video links to Monday’s Senate T&H hearing. It as of now still has not been cleared. I would have thought your readers would be interested.

    Now I have audio links to the Assembly Budget sub-committee of today (4-06-2016). I am not going to post not knowing if it will be ok or not. today’s meeting was not video cast; therefore audio only which is a shame.

    morris

    Peter Reply:

    Email him. It’s faster than leaving him messages in a posr (which he may not see for several days).

  18. keith saggers
    Apr 6th, 2016 at 19:03
    #18

    http://www.seat61.com/Germany.htm#London_to_Hannover_&_Berlin

    EJ Reply:

    A 10-hour train trip across Europe is relevant to…?

  19. Aarond
    Apr 6th, 2016 at 20:47
    #19

    I’ve dug this up:

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/94fall/p94au21.cfm

    Pre-hyperloop tube freight talk. Apparently there was also some functional examples in the USSR:

    >A number of tube systems, called TRANSPROGRESS systems, for moving crushed rock are being used in the former Soviet Union. (10) An 11-km (6.8-mi) line for garbage was built in 1983 from St. Petersburg to an outlying processing facility using TRANSPROGRESS technology. This technology has also been applied to intraplant systems.

    Can’t find anything more on them though.

    agb5 Reply:

    According to their web site, Transprogress got out of the business of pneumatic tube transport in 1992 and now specializes in warehouse storage and automation equipment.
    http://www.transprogress.ru/about/o-nas/

    agb5 Reply:

    As the article points out, the showstopper problem with these systems is the inability to do high speed switching. The hyperloop white paper brushes over this problem because Musk doesn’t have a solution.
    It must be great fun to fire a giant hoverboard down a straight track with other peoples money, but if they can’t solve the switching problem, they can’t build an economically viable system.

    Roland Reply:

    The solution is to use multiple tubes. As an example, the SF and SAC tubes could merge/diverge @ 700 MPH near the Chowchilla Wye. This would make the future 160 MPH switches look somewhat “yesterday”.

    agb5 Reply:

    Connecting each of the 24 HSR stations with each of the others using dedicated tubes in both directions would need 552 tubes.

    Roland Reply:

    And that’s precisely why Hyperloop does not have 24 stations (just like Southwest does not stop at 24 airports between LAX and SFO and Eurostar does not stop between Paris and London). The bottom line is that CRRA is designing a commuter line between Shafter and San Jose, not a high speed line between LAX and SFO

    agb5 Reply:

    No, the reason that hyperloop does not have intermediate stations is because nobody knows how to build a high speed switch. Its a bug, not a feature.

    Clem Reply:

    Even if you did build a high-speed switch, it would introduce massive increases in the minimum headway whenever used. Switches drive headways, headways drive throughput capacity. That is the principal weakness of the Hyperloop concept.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Railroads make money with intermediate stations. If you pass through a city already, stopping there costs you no more than fifteen minutes (including breaking and accelerating) and you can justify charging more for express service. It’s one of the best features of railroads. Neither buses, nor airlines nor hyperloop could ever hope to get such a low speed penalty for serving city centers…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Roland, you know quite well that some eurostar trains make intermediate stops. You mentioned Ebbsfleet in a response to me just the other day. You do however use the phrase “real HSR” which in my view puts you in the category of a zealot of some kind looking for a holy grail. Humble beings like myself are just trying to provide useful transportation for large numbers of people, even if they have the temerity to live other than in the downtowns of SF or LA. I don’t give a damn about HSR. I do want to build new stretches of railroad capable of operating trains at high speeds because our existing lines are completely uncompetitive. But that is just a tool to get the job done, just like grade seps on conventional tracks that will bring those trains into urban areas.

    Roland Reply:

    Paul, I think that we are on the same page: we are trying to do the same thing between SF, Oakland and SJ as what you are trying to do between Burbank and Anaheim but that is not HSR and, as such, does not qualify for Prop1A Bonds. Having said that, I will follow you all the way to the bank if you go to the Legislature and make a business case that all Cap & Trade funds should be redirected to public transportation systems other than HSR.

    As far as “real HSR” between Paris and London, here is the timetable (5-7 trains a day with no trains to Paris from Ebbsfleet or Ashford in late afternoon/evening): https://www.eurostar.com/sites/default/files/pdf/timetable/UK_timetable(1).pdf

    agb5 Reply:

    not HSR and, as such, does not qualify for Prop1A Bonds

    Prop1A Bonds are to be used to build “usable segments”. A usable segment is not an HSR system. A usable segment is defined as bits and pieces of an HSR system. This is what the authors of prop1A intended.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    exactly, usable, for something as opposed to not useful for anything. So that in the off chance that hsr wasn’t completed the infrastructure would still be usable for something else.

    Alan Reply:

    The Burbank to Anaheim section is part of the HSR system defined by Prop 1A, and as such is certainly entitled to the use of Prop 1A bonds. That’s the whole point of the “bookend” funding.

    Zorro Reply:

    Roland you can propose all you want, your side lost, the money is not movable, especially to something that is not proven to work or be practical, et3 is GARBAGE and so is Hyperloop, no one that isn’t insane will touch either one until they’re both proven.

    Roland you are not getting any support here, so give it up.

    If you move any HSR money, whether Prop1a and/or Cap and Trade, the State would owe the DOT between $2.5-3.2 Billion dollars that would have to be paid back to the DOT, that would mean an appropriation by the CA State Legislature, which since it would not be budget related, that means a 2/3rds vote is required.

    Alan Reply:

    No, the bottom line is that CHSRA is planning a true high-speed line between LA and SF (not between the LAX and SFO airports). Your cute little renaming of the Authority doesn’t change anything, nor does your refusal to accept facts.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Indeed. It’s pretty clear that nobody involved with HL (to the degree that anybody’s actually involved with it) actually knows much about transportation…

    Roland Reply:

    Right. Nobody at Tesla or SpaceX knows anything about transportation.

    Joey Reply:

    Electric motors/batteries and chemical rocket engines are both relatively mature technologies that Tesla and SpaceX respectively figured out how to make more cost effective than previous iterations. Hyperloop by contrast uses a lot of things that haven’t even been proven.

    Joe Reply:

    Right.

    The SpaceX innovation is to “mass produce” the same Merlin engine design and refine it as they operate and evaluate performance. They cluster 9 engines for the Falcon 9 rather than create a second engine. The heavy lift vehicle will use 27 engines.

    Tesla is designing electric cars at a time of transition both owning and mass producing the high cost batteries.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Space X for instance built a rocket without the rather outdated electromechanical parts of older models, replacing them with computer technology instead. Problem is, trains already run with computer technology, so no easy victories there.

    Joe Reply:

    Auto’s too.

    They are increasingly becoming software centric. VW cheating was in software. Autonomous driving in SW. Control in SW.

    Electric cars are far simpler mechanically than combustion and don’t have the patent and are not legacy tech giving auto manufacturers some core advantages.

    SpaceX Musk is going after a market in transition. Defense Contractors formed the company United Space Alliance which launches US Sats. It is DOD/inefficient, has established business with the Feds and consequently vulnerable.

    Aarond Reply:

    What I find hilarious is that Musk is trying to build a new form of transport, when he could be pushing AVAC systems instead. The latter uses similar technology but is also totally proven to work.

    James Fujita Reply:

    It is possible that Musk doesn’t care. Hyperloop looks and sounds futuristic, fits into his mad genius iconoclast persona and seems positioned specifically to derail HSR. Even if it doesn’t work, if it helps draw FUD over HSR, Musk wins.

    Aarond Reply:

    Sure, but why not dump cash into something less extravagant like a civilian V-22? He could shove them into existing local airports and helipads. I figure he cares most about making money.

    James Fujita Reply:

    If Hyperloop crashes and burns, he can still make a Scrooge McDuck money bin from his SpaceX and Tesla profits. Also, a lot of the heavy lifting is being done by startups, not directly by Musk.

    Aarond Reply:

    Sure, but even with his current model you’d think that he would want a better chance of making money. I’m not claiming I know anything about his line of thought though. Just making guesses.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t think any of the things he has done with regards to Hyped Loop has cost him more than peanuts. And if it keeps California (probably the biggest market for Tesla in the world) driving cars, he has already won…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Musk has put precisely $0.00 into Hyperloop. That tells you how seriously he takes it.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Musk kinda reminds me of the monorail guy from the Simpsons…

    Miles Bader Reply:

    It’s always been fairly clear that musk doesn’t really care about HL or take it seriously…

    It was originally created after a journalist took a rather random-off-the-cuff answer he gave more seriously than he probably intended, and when asked for details, he had nothing, and sort of waved his hands and said something along the lines “oh, er, we’ll get back to you on that.” He then apparently ran to his engineers at spacex and had them put some effort into coming up with a real design that was at least minimally viable. Basically he was trying to avoid the blow to his ego of being called out on something he hadn’t really thought too much about.

    Since then HL has sort of taken on a life of its own in the dreams of the uncritical muskian fanboy hordes and the clueless public, and musk’s actions generally seem to be along the lines of damage control, trying to avoid embarrassment while also keeping any investment on musk’s part as minimal as possible….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Gadgetbahns aren’t new

    http://www.interstatetraveler.us/

    swing hanger Reply:

    And Americans eat up this kind of “off the cuff, started-out-written-on-a-napkin” stuff. Alon has written about this in his blog wrt to hyperloop and Musk before.

    Aarond Reply:

    I wouldn’t say that Americans eat it up. Investors and Venture Capitalists do. Most Americans want to drive their cars. It’s one of the reasons people think so derisively of transit in general: they’ve had things like PRT, monorails, etc sold to them before and lump it all into one thing.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think American exceptionalism does play into it. If a German journalist or politician says something like “Why is Germany the only country that x…?” It is perceived as a call to change whatever Germany does wrong. If an American does a similar thing it is perceived as a moment to do some back patting and be proud of America being number one. I think that is the reason for the right wing backlash against Sanders. Sanders sounds too “European” what with his “America can learn from other countries” and similar heresies…

    Danny Reply:

    y’all forgot the obvious LaRouchite project at http://www.et3.com!; even back when the Internet was just BBS feeds they were plastering their cult project as the key to global peace and prosperity
    the techie magazines are full of these grandiose projects that make Singularitarian “Wired” readers all tingly but are basically physically infeasible (MuskPod’s a LIGO tube but 100 times as long and with something being fired down it every 30 seconds, and even that gives only one-tenth HSR capacity)–early 90s these techies were saying we didn’t have to worry about ozone holes or global warming because we’d be able to upload ourselves within a few years
    this is a whole sector of society, primed and receptive for back-of-the-napkin projects and off-the-cuff remarks, and telling their creators that this, THIS is the greatest thing humanity has ever invented: that’s why he felt comfortable casually proposing to solve both hunger and the Bomb by nuking Mars
    they sneer at the fundies while tremblingly anticipating that THEIR version of the Rapture is just around the corner
    this techie narrative is readily taken advantage of by anti-transit types: there was PRT with Bachmann and BRT in Los Angeles–anything, ANYTHING to keep steel on steel from being laid down

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Danny
    Hahaha… that site…
    It’s amazing what can be done when you completely ignore reality and just make stuff up… ><

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Real Americans(tm) want to drive their cars. The rest of us are a bit more agnostic.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_Mass_Transportation_Act_of_1964

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Speed_Ground_Transportation_Act_of_1965

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What even is “real America”? I feel it gets smaller with every new election. Is Chicago in it? Is Atlanta? Is Florida?

    Zorro Reply:

    And people like Roland buy it hook, line and sinker…

  20. JimInPollockPines
    Apr 6th, 2016 at 20:49
    #20

    The last time I saw Newsom in person was at city hall. He’s super hot. That’s the only thing good I can say about him. Governor? No. Unless all you want California to accomplish is paper bag bans and organic gardens in front of the Capitol. He should move to Hollywood and try to get into show biz where he can’t do any harm.

    Joe Reply:

    Hot? Jennifer Siebel Newsom!

    They should have a Reality TV show.

    “His and Her Hotties”

    The Arnold can drop by unexpectedly and share some comic wisdom and inappropriate humor.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    whats arnold up to since he left sac anyway?

    Aarond Reply:

    he made another movie, of course

    EJ Reply:

    Jerry Brown wasn’t bad looking back in the day. The man dated Linda Ronstadt, after all.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Who cares what a politician looks like?

  21. synonymouse
    Apr 7th, 2016 at 10:10
    #21

    Why the casinos won’t pay for TehaVegaSkyRail:

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/07/steve-wynn-nobody-likes-being-around-poor-people.html

    Aarond Reply:

    Exactly. LA residents will pay for it.

    On a similar note, it appears that Xpresswest has died in vitro. From their website they claimed that (a) “implementation” would begin 100 days after obtaining money (which would have been mid-January) and that (b) construction would start in September of this year. Given that they haven’t even bought rolling stock or started an EIS for construction I think it’s safe to say it’s dead.

    http://www.xpresswest.com/news.html

    Given that China is in the middle of their first major slowdown since the 1970s (and, if you’re the conspiracy type, experiencing a US style mortgage meltdown) this isn’t surprising. China has lots of surplus steel and trains, but none of it usable in the US.

    les Reply:

    Only a month ago: “Nevada’s congressional delegation on Thursday announced the introduction of legislation that they hope will fast-track the XpressWest project to provide high-speed passenger rail service between Las Vegas and Southern California with stops in Victorville and Palmdale.”
    Under bills introduced in both the House and Senate, 520 acres of the Mojave National Preserve would be transferred to the Bureau of Land Management from the National Park Service.”
    http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/nevada-s-delegates-launch-bill-fast-track-high-speed-rail-project
    “April 1, 2011, the FRA released the final EIS for the XpressWest.” “September 2014, Caltrans and the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Authority issue The High Desert Corridor Draft EIS including High Speed Rail between Victorville and Palmdale.”

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Isn’t all or most of xw at grade across open desert? construction should be able to move swiftly without much trouble.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Do you think Wynn and Adelson are going to pay for that? Too plebeian and pedestrian. They can send LV homeless to LA on a bus.

    If you cannot afford to fly or drive to Xanadu go to an Indian casino. he he he

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It should be easy, but the thing that tends to cost and delay the most are tunnels and bridges. How flat is the land between Victorville and Vegas?

    Peter Reply:

    It’s not as flat as people think, it crosses a mountain range. They were planning on using grades of 4 or 4.5% (I forget which). Those would be the steepest grades ever used by HSR trains.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    4% is the grade used on the Frankfurt-Cologne line. You have to build trains that can handle that, but if you use the right trains, it’s no problem to run a train at 300 km/h along such a line. 4.5% would be a new record, but I doubt it would involve a reinvention of the wheel…

    Clem Reply:

    The Las Vegas connection mostly follows I-15 including lots of sharp bends that will cause trains to slow down from their 150 mph top speed. There will not be any 300 km/h speeds!

    Aarond Reply:

    However, this occurred in February:

    http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20160201/NEWS/160209981
    http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20160203/NEWS/160209908

    >The City Council on Tuesday night agreed to terminate its master development agreement with proposed high-speed rail operator XpressWest, but one councilman warned that the move should not be taken to mean the city is no longer interested in the project.

    >The city now appears to be seeking a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with the Las Vegas-based company “in order to provide for the mutual cooperation on future development opportunities and development of the XpressWest Project at such time as construction commences,” the report said.

    >Officials have hinted at the feeling being mutual. A message left with XpressWest on Wednesday was not immediately returned.

    This is probably a non-issue given that the termination exists due to a legal technicality, but Xpresswest should have issued a statement regarding it. Their newsroom has nothing which is a red flag. Another one is the fact that apparently the Victorville city council is apparently unaware of XPW’s status as a “thing”.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So we can expect them to start service – as Keith Olbermann is fond of saying – in the year twenty-five twenty-five?

    Or will the state of Nevada get involved, IIRC there was pretty broad consensus in favor of not being left out. Of course once CAHSR is up and running, things will get into motion to link it up to Vegas – it’s the natural extension out of state (apart from in-state extensions like San Diego or Sacramento)

    Nathanael Reply:

    Basically XpressWest starts when they get the money.

    Peter Reply:

    Xpresswest already has environmental clearance through an approved EIS.

    Clem Reply:

    They still need a CEQA EIR and Nevada’s equivalent (if there is one)

    Peter Reply:

    Actually, they don’t. It’s (quite literally) an interstate rail project, which takes it out of California’s jurisdiction.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Shhh, you’ll ruin the FUD.

    Peter Reply:

    I don’t think Clem spreads FUD. I just think he’s mistaken about this.

    Aarond Reply:

    Also, I’m the one that spreads the FUD around here. Clem actually knows what he’s talking about.

    Clem Reply:

    I wasn’t aware; thank you for the correction.

  22. morris brown
    Apr 7th, 2016 at 16:36
    #22

    @ Paul Dyson

    I am really surprised that you are comfortable and approve of the new business plan. So. California is being “bought off” with a “measly” $1 billion. Compared to the 2012/2014 plans, would be getting a huge amount of funding and solving issues like “filling in the passenger rail gap”

    There is simply no funding for the $43 billion to implement extending the new IOS to So. California.

    It might be interesting to see if the new Plan will pass with a full consensus of the Board. Lynn Schenk should surely not approve, as should any member from the southern part of the state.

    I have elsewhere expressed these views:

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

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    morris, as someone who doesn’t approve of the project your comment has no relevance to any discussion. If you think there is “simply no funding” to extend the IOS south then there is no funding to build the previous business plan either!

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Paul Dyson

    Well you sound just like the Authority. I won’t mention your views again. Certainly views opposed to the project have plenty of relevance, regardless of what you write.

    In any case, the money being expended to extend the ICS by going IOS north, would have been used to extend the ICS to the south; there certainly is funding to at least try to build a southern extension to the south.

    End of discussion

    Joe Reply:

    No relevance for Opposing views that see comradely and validation from HSR proponents like Lynn who want HSR built.

    It’s no more relevant than those who misrepresented Adorable Care Act advocates unhappy and wanting MORE as ACA opponents and allies with the tea baggers.

    Alan Reply:

    “Adorable” Care Act? :)

    Alan Reply:

    Morris, for once in your life try being honest with us. You were happy as a clam with IOS-South, because you thought that you and your friends Laurel and Hardy had scared the Authority away from the Peninsula. Now that construction is headed your way, you’re scared s***less and willing to stoop to any level of lies and deceit to try to frighten people into opposing IOS-North.

    You’re entitled to your views, but you’re not to spread lies, fear and deceit, or to create your own “facts” to support those views.

    Alan Reply:

    “…not entitiled to spread lies…”

  23. JimInPollockPines
    Apr 7th, 2016 at 19:31
    #23

    Seventh Valley Amtrak Train Coming In June

    5AM Hanford Departure-Returns Home 8:40PM

    April 6,2016-

    AMTRAK 2016-04-05 at 7.22.29 AM
    The Central Valley-based San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority that now runs Amtrak is ready to launch the 7th daily round-trip train along the San Joaquin cooridor. The new train would connect Bakersfield and Oakland with a stop in Hanford.

    ”We are shooting to be operational by June 6” says Dan Leavitt,manager of the JPA. The organization had promised to begin service this fiscal year.

    The early morning train is scheduled to leave Hanford on the way to the Bay Area at 5:18 AM, about an hour earlier than existing service. It gets to Oakland by 10AM.”This allows travelers to spend a full day in the Bay Area and take the train back home to Hanford in the evening,” if they want, points out Leavitt. The train will arrive in Hanford at 8:40PM.

    Currently the San Joaquin has six daily round-trip trains (four between Oakland and Bakersfield and two between Sacramento and Bakersfield. The trip from Bakersfield to Oakland takes an average of 6 hour 5 minutes, at around 52 mph.

    “We were able to shave 12 minutes off the average travel time” for this new train, says Leavitt, because of less conflict with freight trains that travel on the same BNSF track.

    The addition of the 7th train has been a top priority of the new JPA that includes Kings County representation on the 10 member board.

    This is the first time since 2002 that an additional train will run along the corridor.

    Leavitt says they have ordered new equipment for the train system including new double decker passenger cars as well as single level cars and new locomotives.

    On tap for the JPA is the addition of an 8th train says Leavitt, that will likely launch every early morning from Fresno to be funded by state Cap and Trade monies.

    Leavitt says a major priority for the JPA is to build ridership by encouraging more use of the service by small groups. Over 70% of the ridership are single riders. Beginning in May, Amtrak will offer discount fares called Friends and Family when one person buys a full price ticket an additional five tickets come at half price. Student and large groups get a break as well.
    “Enjoy your visit on the way” to your destination, he adds, including access to the cafe car on each train

    According to the JPA’s business plan in addition to increasing the frequency of the San Joaquin service,they plan for 90 mph maximum speed operations( instead of 79 mph) in key locations and other projects which can reduce travel times

    J. Wong Reply:

    I thought no one wants to travel between Bakersfield and the Bay Area. At least that’s what the naysayers led me to believe. :-)

    Danny Reply:

    “there’s no demand for it and it’ll cause sprawl and it’ll be empty and it’ll be crowded and it’ll be too cheap and it’ll be too expensive and it’ll be to fast and it’ll be too slow and it’ll be too Black and it’ll be to White and you’re saying I contradict myself!”

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I though Californians love their cars and will never take the train…

    Roland Reply:

    The Tesla Model S fits nicely in the freight version of the hyperloop: http://www.argodesign.com/hyperloop.html (free charging included).

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Heh, for anybody that thinks the already ridiculously low passenger capacity of Hyperloop isn’t low enough, the bad points of Hyperloop and the bad points of Autotrain combine together for…Ultra Badness…? ><

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And just when you think ridiculousness could not get any more ridiculous, it does…

    Roland Reply:

    Ever taken one of man’s best friends across the pond on Le Shuttle? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeVH2Xath7I

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Does it come equipped with magical fairy dust?

    Roland Reply:

    Like this? http://www.spacex.com/webcast

    Joe Reply:

    No.

    Danny Reply:

    it seems to be a design company run by some pelagically-themed cult

  24. les
    Apr 8th, 2016 at 10:35
    #24

    Who needs a hyperloop when you got the Pipe.

    http://www.channel933.com/onair/chino-42512/who-is-down-to-try-this-14579272/

    Aarond Reply:

    obligatory:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y981k2pSfY8

    les Reply:

    crazy shit. reminds me of the luge tracks outside of Budapest. During the summer they run bobsled like cars down them and it is scary as hell. fun though.

  25. Jerry
    Apr 8th, 2016 at 13:41
    #25

    A new study by Estately.com published in today’s Daily Post shows all residential real estate square footage in close proximity to ALL CalTrain stops.
    The highest is in Palo Alto at $1,630 per Sq Ft.
    The lowest is in Gilroy at $314 per Sq Ft.

    Joe Reply:

    Also done for BART stations.

    Concern high housing costs are slowing SV job grow.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_29738633/silicon-valley-job-boom-unleashes-challenges-that-could

    Santa Clara County in recent years has powered to annual increases in total jobs that typically ranged from 4 to 5 percent. But Michael predicts that job growth will be about 2.2 percent over the next year or two.

    “Some businesses will move to lower-cost areas,” Michael said.

    The East Bay and San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties could benefit from job shifts out of the packed Silicon Valley.

    Aarond Reply:

    but will they actually wake up and embrace growth? A lot of existing homeowners would probably choose jobs leaving as a solution to the housing crisis

    Joe Reply:

    I don’t know. I agree that many home owners would choose jobs and growth moving elsewhere – until that shift shows up as lower home appraisal values. Values are already proper up by private employer buses pushing transit capacity.

    Next earthquake, we’ll see. Is google going to rebuild and pay to bus employees or shift work?

    J. Wong Reply:

    The problem is most people want their cake and to eat it too. They want life frozen at some point (like @synonymouse) without realizing that stasis is death.

    Joe Reply:

    Frozen residential. They also expect increasing property values as corporations expand.

    NIMBY Morris Brown didn’t make a ruckus when Facebook came to menlo park and literally thousands of more car trips. His property values went up.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Growth is good.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That’s why unlimited cell growth is a good thing… You know… In cancer…

    Joe Reply:

    Like affordable housing is cancer.

    WTF is wrong with people. Is The wealthiest US Zipcode, Atherton CA at some maximum human carrying capacity?

    If there isn’t room then cities have to stop adding corporate office space.

    Zorro Reply:

    Yeah they don’t want any Hillbillies…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Cities have always been dense. That’s what cities are all about. Only the relatively short car “era” has temporarily changed this in some places. Cities will have to become dense again or die.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I need to read this a few times over again.

    Joe Reply:

    Only God knows on what planet you reside.

    In the Bay Area, it’s pretty clear wealthy Pennisula cities accept corporate growth yet are willfully negligent in meeting even basic housing commitments.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_20650739/menlo-park-come-up-1-975-more-homes

    The plaintiffs sued to compel Menlo Park to complete a state-mandated planning document called a “Housing Element,” which ensures the city will make land-use and policy decisions that allow for more homes affordable to people of all income levels.

    In a statement released Thursday with the settlement agreement, Menlo Park officials acknowledged that the city’s last Housing Element was done in 1992 and seven-year updates for 1999-2007 and 2007-2014 were not completed.

    Menlo Park’s new city manager, Alex McIntrye, said the city “fell behind due to other priority planning projects.”

    synonymouse Reply:

    There is no such thing as stasis. Even in the medieval period some progress went on, altho perhaps more in China than in Europe with gunpowder and paper.

    On the other hand some historians opine that large scale population reduction, viz. the Black Death, could have helped with the Renaissance. A lot of dead wood got replaced with new blood in the hierarchy.

    And talk about dead wood; the Democratic Party machine in California is loaded with it. The senescent functionaries refuse to retire and make a place for new faces.

  26. keith saggers
    Apr 8th, 2016 at 18:47
    #26

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/sf-chamber-delegation-hits-dc-tackle-affordability-transportation-issues/

    keith saggers Reply:

    TRANSPORTATION
    The Chamber is dedicated to making high speed rail a reality. We are pushing for additional funding to support the California High Speed Rail Authority’s financing plan, including early investment in Bay Area projects identified in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley Corridor Investment Strategy. We must ensure Caltrain electrification as a means to make our regional rail system compatible with the coming high-speed trains. We support improved Caltrain commuter rail operations using electric vehicles and high-speed rail equipment in a blended system that begins at the Transbay Transit Center. sfexaminer

  27. Clem
    Apr 8th, 2016 at 19:00
    #27

    Is nobody discussing the biggest HSR news of the month, the release of supplemental alternatives analyses for the entire southern portion of the project from Bakersfield to Anaheim? Lots of new details! New post please!

    Eric M Reply:

    Bakersfield to Palmdale Supplemental Alternatives Analysis

    Palmdale to Burbank Supplemental Alternatives Analysis

    Burbank to Los Angeles Supplemental Alternatives Analysis

    LA to Anaheim Supplemental Alternatives Analysis

    Eric M Reply:

    Sorry, ignore those. Use these:

    Bakersfield to Palmdale Supplemental Alternatives Analysis

    Palmdale to Burbank Supplemental Alternatives Analysis

    Burbank to Los Angeles Supplemental Alternatives Analysis

    LA to Anaheim Supplemental Alternatives Analysis

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Bakersfield Palmdale 1 and 5 look most direct.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Honestly, I like all the routes in the Supplemental Alternatives Analyses. They don’t differ much. E1 is arguably better than SR14 or E2.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    https://youtu.be/ggxb2HOBK0M

    Why does this old NC3D animation show a full trench just north of the Metrolink HMF by the RioLA State Park but the 2016 SAA never mentions this ever being considered for the SR-2 to LAUS segment? Why would have CHSRA contract for this animation if they never considered a trench here? The new SAA shows everything at grade.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Probably because it was never “officially” considered, i.e., not in any EIR or CEQA report just in initial presentations. (Sort of like viaducts on the Penisula.)

    EJ Reply:

    Looks like they decided to play nice with Metro, which is good. I’m still glad they finally figured out that they can get into LAUS at grade and use the existing train yard, rather than those grandiose tunnels or elevated lines they were proposing.

    I also still think that, especially if they’re going to upgrade LOSSAN to get to Anaheim, they ought to upgrade it the whole way to San Diego, rather than the dogleg through the IE. SANDAG has already committed to double-tracking the corridor all the way to the OC border.

    The biggest challenge is San Clemente. Back in the 1990s there was a proposal to build a long (and expensive) tunnel from SJC all the way to south of San Clemente, but that never went anywhere. They’d also need to tunnel under Del Mar Heights and Miramar hill, but those projects are already on the table. On the other hand, much of the rest of the line is fairly flat and straight, with not many grade crossings, and would be easy to upgrade.

    You wouldn’t even really need to make all of it full speed HSR – if a train could average 80 mph, including stops, it would make LAUS to SD in 90 minutes – about the same as the 87 minutes proposed for the LA-IE-SD route.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The IE has 4 million people, more than SD. It would be terrible to miss out on serving such a large population center. Instead, they should run the line east from ARTIC to Corona, then have a wye with trains going north to Downtown Riverside and San Bernadino Transit Center, and eventually under Cajon Pass to Vegas, and have trains go south from Corona to San Diego via Murrietta, Escondido, and University City. That way, LAUS-SD would take about 70 minuites, far larger populations would be served, and the areas served would be downtowns.

    Domayv Reply:

    IE is getting an HSR line in Phase 2 already (which will connect LA, IE and SD together). Besides, having a new Cajon Pass passenger train is next to impossible unless dedicated tracks are built.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    This is proposed to replace that line. Also a Canon Pass line would likely not happen until after 2040, but is by far the best way to Link Vegas to the IE and SD. It would likely be in a tunnel from CalState San Bernardino to East of Hesperia.

    EJ Reply:

    IE should get a HSR line, but, it should, like you said, branch of somewhere in OC and head toward Corona.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    @EJ – HSR does not follow LOSSAN to SD because it’s a nearly impossible lift, through N. SD County, through Pendleton and as you note through several wealthy, car-happy S. OC towns. As CareFree notes, if you miss millions of riders while slowing down so much that there’s no time savings, we haven’t gained anything.

    @CareFree – interesting idea. Eventually the I-10 route should probably exist also, forming a loop and a direct route between LAUS and Palm Springs/PHX/etc. (and your wye to Riverside/SB may one day cross Cajon pass). But the LAUS-SD run time you quote sounds good, and OC is now connected to SD – sounds promising…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Thanks. I always wondered if there was some realistic way to run the PHX Lina off of the IE to SD line South of Temecula, via Indio/Coachella. It is rather mountainous and misses Palm Springs, but brings PHX and SD significantly closer together. (SD is a huge tourist market in PHX.) Also, I wrote the HSR authority about the Anaheim-Corona route and they pretty much shot it down due to pressure to connect to Ontario Airport (which would best be served by Gold Line and improved Metrolink anyway). Hopefully there will be pressure against HSR from the SGV, and San Bernardino, Corona, and Riverside will Ally and pressure HSR to take the Anaheim-Corona route. I’m planning on writing the three cities about it.

    Domayv Reply:

    Building an I-8 HSR would be really difficult due to sudden changes in elevation compared to Tejon HSR. If you want the HSR trains to cross those mountains, you would need a lot of tunnelling and (in the case of San Diego city) viaducts

    Also, I want my place (San Gabriel Valley) to be served by HSR.

    For Ontario Airport, Metrolink cant serve it well (unless a new ROW along I-10 was built) because UPRR doesn’t want any more passenger trains on their ROW. That’s why CHSR is going to serve Ontario Airport (the I-10 line is also strategically placed so they can build a future HSR line to Phoenix)

    Domayv Reply:

    You know they can just build the HSR closely to the tracks up to San Juan Capistrano (and from there tunnel to San Clemente to avoid that 90 degree turn that I-5 gets). Also they can build it closely to I-5.

    And yes, there should be an I-10 HSR line connecting LA with Phoenix and Tuscon.

    My suggestions
    * Reroute all freight trains coming to/from SD onto a new I-15 rail line via the UTC dogleg. This would make LOSSAN between UTC and Fullerton largely freight-free (i.e. no heavy freight) (you’ll see some local freight, but they will be reconfigured into “light freight”, see this for more details: http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2009/08/effect-of-heavy-freight.html)
    ** The new I-15 rail line will have 6 tracks: 4 are for regular trains (this is where the freight will be), 2 are for high-speed trains only. The line will branch off with a line that follows I-215 (this will will be four tracks wide and will have both passenger and freight rail, as the I-15 line north of Murrieta is passenger only (I-15 north of Murrieta is 4 tracks wide: 2 for regular passenger and 2 for HSR)).
    ** The I-215 line makes a split at Moreno Valley. 4 tracks connect with the CA-60 rail line, and 4 tracks go to the BNSF Southern Transcon ROW (2 tracks are freight-only and connect directly to the line, and 2 are passenger-only and follow the Southern Transcon on its own ROW).
    ** A branch line from the I-10 rail line would be build to connect HSR with the I-215 rail line north.
    * Build an I-10 line that serves the LA-Phoenix/Tuscon corridor. This line would have 6 tracks (4 for regular and 2 for HSR only).
    ** Freight trains using the Alhambra subdivision will be rerouted to the new line. The former line will be retooled into a Metro commuter line.
    ** 2 tracks will split off at Pomona to connect with the UPRR Sunset Route. From there on, the I-10 rail line is 4 tracks wide (2 regular passenger and 2 HSR)
    ** At Indio, the regular passenger tracks split off (2 go to Phoenix and the other 2 go south to serve Imperial Valley)
    * Build a CA-60 rail line. Between LA and Avocado Heights, the line is 2 tracks wide, but at the latter, the UPRR Sunset line will rerouted to connect with the CA-60 line.
    ** The old UPRR tracks between Avocado Heights and Pomona that are not connected with the I-10 and CA-60 rail lines will be dismantled.
    ** At Beaumont, 2 tracks (freight-only) will connect with the UPRR line and another 2 tracks (passenger only) will connect with the I-10 rail line, making it 6 tracks wide again.
    * The BNSF Southern Transcon between LA and Riverside will be modernized (as well as electrified) to enable higher speeds.
    ** At Riverside, 2 tracks will split off and connect with the I-215 rail line. This is only for passenger trains.
    ** A wye will be build near Fullerton so trains coming from Riverside/IE can terminate at Fullerton.

    EJ Reply:

    Why is Pendleton an obstacle? Surfliners already go barelling through there at 90 mph, and the DOD is generally bullish on rail transportation – they’ve been angling to get the Coaster extended to Pendleton for years. San Clemente’s not so much an obstacle for being wealthy and car-happy, more that the line runs directly next to the beach and double-tracking and electrification is problematic. The I-5 corridor through there is far too curvy and steep (that’s why the rail line was built along the beach in the first place).

    North SD county doesn’t seem like as big of an obstacle. A lot of that is already 90 mph track, and several areas like Solana Beach already have the tracks trenched.

    EJ Reply:

    In San Clemente you’d also lose out on the feeling of, as a fellow Surfliner passenger once put it, “Holy shit, we’re in a train, but we’re on the beach!” which I suppose is a selling point if you’re calling your train the “Surfliner.” It certainly is scenic.

    Spencer Joplin Reply:

    Talk about burying the lede. It irritates me that #iwillride is in a huge font, but meeting agendas are 3 clicks from the home page. Not even an RSS feed like Public Health’s or the Secretary of State’s website.

    The other news is that that construction updates from the Office of Communications and Media Relations have been much rosier than reports to the Finance and Audit Committee. According to @CaHSRA, “the number of work sites continues to grow.”According to CP-1 performance metrics, schedule performance index has held steady at <33% of target since September.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Clem and others

    LA Times:

    State releases new details on possible bullet train routes

    Donk Reply:

    Strange that when it gets into LA, they would have HSR and Metrolink share tracks on one side of the LA river and Amtrak and freight share tracks on the other side of the river. Is Amtrak being given second class status? There are so many more Metrolink trains than Amtrak trains, not sure what the thought process is here.

    Joe Reply:

    Possibly that metro link trains are more predictable than Amtrak, that with this track, improving metro link on time performance will have a larger, positive impact on ridership.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    In addition, remember that heavy American-style freight trains aren’t very compatible with HSR, with the latter requiring track in good condition and the former quickly destroying it… I suppose maybe it doesn’t matter as much for a low-speed final approach segment, I dunno.

    Domayv Reply:

    here’s what they should do: build a new, electric, dedicated 4-track ROW parallelling the BNSF Southern Transcon all the way to Nowalk. After Norwalk, the track go south to use an ex-SP line and will follow I-5 before reconnecting at Santa Ana. Once it reaches the ex-SP ROW two tracks will split and follow the new 4-track ROW (these two tracks are the dedicated high speed rail tracks). At Norwalk, two tracks will split from the new ROW and connect with the BNSF Southern Transcon. Those tracks are only for the Metrolink 91 line and Old Main line trains (Amtrak Southwest Chief trains will still follow the old ROW), which will be provided by battery electric multiple units (like in Japan). LACMTA Green Line/Pink Line light rail will also be extended to follow the Old Main Line ROW (it’s on its own tracks) providing a direct link between LAX and Orange County.

    also, doesn’t Metrolink also use those dino trains that Amtrak also uses, unless they want to eventually electrify.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The LAT is a bit inaccurate. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight will be on whatever tracks Metrolink’s Ventura County Line is on. The other Amtrak routes don’t follow the same corridor.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Someday in the future, why would there be conventional Amtrak trains west of Phoenix?

    EJ Reply:

    The central coast, for one thing.

    Domayv Reply:

    but if were going to have a much more reliable Surfliner service (that includes connecting LA with San Jose), it’s gonna have to be extensively modernized (hundreds of miles of new tracks (this includes bulding new tracks that follow US-101 into LAUS), electrification, new singalling and equipment, etc.) becsuse the existing ROW is too antiquated.

    EJ Reply:

    That’d be the Coast Daylight, which, let’s face it, is never gonna happen. But the existing Northern segment of the Surfliner (LAUS to Ventura, Santa Barbara, and SLO) will probably keep on truckin’ for the forseeable future.

    Domayv Reply:

    here’s the thing, I want a direct LA-Bay Area rail line (I know CHSR is going to fulfill that purpose but it wouldn’t hurt if there was also another one since CHSR will be via CA-99 and the one I’m suggesting is via US-101).

    They could build a modern US-101 rail line (hopefully in tandem with a further modernizatiom of the highway into future Interstate 1) in patches
    * Segment 1: Tamien-Salinas (as UPRR owns the existing tracks)
    * Segment 2: Salinas-San Luis Obispo (enough open land and is straight enough, though a tunnel would have to be build between near Santa Margarita and San Luis Obispo to avoid the Cuesta Grade)
    * Segment 3: San Luis Obispo-Santa Barbara (a tunnel would have to be made to bypass the Gaviota Pass)
    * Segment 4: Santa Barbara-Oxnard
    * Segment 5: Oxnard-LAUS (this would involve the most amount of construction, since two tunnels would be needed, one for the Conejo Pass and the other for Hollywood hills and LA (to bypass the existing rail line), and also a long viaduct following Ventura Boulevard)

    Joe Reply:

    Too few people, not enough available water to support the growth needed to justify the expense.

    A good portion of 101 Gilroy to Salinas had been upgraded to full freeway.

    Upgrade track from salinas to gilroy/San Jose and have a transfer to HSR at Gilroy.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Joe I agree. The most that route will ever be upgraded is bringing the routhe due north before Point Conception through Lompoc and Santa Maria, straightening San Luis Obispo to Paso Robles, a Santa Susana Pass tunnel, and an Oxnard bypass.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Get real. You can’t even lay double track in LA without s fight. The car dealers and oil companies rule, aided ny NIMBYs

    Domayv Reply:

    @Car(e)-Free I would prefer that they build a new ROW for the Ventura-LAUS segment that follows US-101 (thus serving Thousand Oaks) since it’s straighter compared to the ROW that uses the Santa Susana Pass (follows CA-118). For north of Santa Barbara north, before Gaviota, the line would go north in a tunnel (two tracks will split at the junction, where they will serve as a local service to Lompoc. A lot less tunneling would be needed compared to Point Conception-Lompoc because between those two places is nothing but mountains (one long tunnel)).

    Domayv Reply:

    @Care(e)-Free Additionally for SLO-Paso Robles, they should build a tunnel that goes under the Cuesta Pass because the existing ROW can’t be straightened (too many hairpins).

    EJ Reply:

    WTF, so the most that’s ever going to happen is a total realignment and rebuild of all the major mountain crossings? With what $30 billion?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    LaLa land thinking

    EJ Reply:

    I’ve always been a fan of the term “crayonista.”

    Domayv Reply:

    @ EJ given that much of the Central Coast region is mountainous, pretty much. For costs, scaling from CAHSR’s $64.2 billion for roughly 485 miles between Anaheim and SF, it would be $132 million per mile, and given that the distance between LA and San Jose via US-101 is 385 miles, the cost would be 50.9 million if we’re going by CAHSR price scaling. If it was entirely privately funded like what Texas Central is doing ($12 billion for 240 miles = $50 million per mile, almost 3 times less than CAHSR), the cost would be $19.2 billion.

    Bdawe Reply:

    While we’ve got our crayons out, if you can go under San Juan Grade or through 101 and bypass the legacy line through Watsonville Jct and Elkhorn Slough, you could have a regional service that could hit Monterey and Salinas

    datacruncher Reply:

    “They could build a modern US-101 rail line (hopefully in tandem with a further modernizatiom of the highway into future Interstate 1) “

    Even if they did convert US 101 to an interstate, it seems doubtful they would call it Interstate 1. There would be too much confusion with California Highway 1 which runs most of the state.

    les Reply:

    @Domayv Texas Central’s work is low population density and flat compared CAHSR.
    A better comparison for Texas Central would be to the Central Valley: 110 mi valley at 4 billion is 36 million a mile. Texas Central before major city construction work would be 240 miles at 10 billion or 41 million a mile. So much for the benefits of private funding.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    US-101 rail line (hopefully in tandem with a further modernizatiom of the highway into future Interstate 1)

    What does “modernization” here mean, anyway…?

    Domayv Reply:

    @Bdawe Monterey does not lie on US-101. Still, there would be a local service that serves Monterey, Santa Cruz, Salinas and Gilroy on the old line.

    Domayv Reply:

    @datacruncher I know they can rename CA-1 between Daly City and Dana Point to something else (either as “new” US-101 or CA-101) and renamed CA-1 between Mill Valley and Leggett as something like CA-21 (highway name is currently unused). I know some state even have an Interstate and a US Highway with the same name.

    @les: Wait it costs 4 billion for the 110 mile valley? I though it costed more.

    @Miles Bader: Further upgrades of the highway to interstate standards in this case.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    @Domayv
    But what exactly do you want, specifically?

    You’ll understand my suspicion, I’m sure. The last thing the U.S. needs is bigger and faster roads…

    datacruncher Reply:

    @Domayv, there would probably be a large public outcry over renumbering Highway 1. CA-1 is an iconic part of California lore connected to the coast drives. Few if any politicians and government employees would even consider making that proposal and facing the public afterwards.

    Aarond Reply:

    Well, there’s plenty of freight rail traffic. UP’s Yuma Subdiv. is amongst their busiest. The area provides the quickest access to both the northeast and the southeast for overseas traffic arriving at LA’s port. AZ is looking into their own state-run service, while Amtrak has the habitually late Southwest Chief.

    It’s surprising that Vegas has no Amtrak service though, not even a token operation to just LA. But that’s probably because the station is on Fremont Street, and not The Strip. Money talks.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Vegas is probably the oddest place to not be served by Amtrak of them all. There is neither a good geographic reason for that, nor could you possibly say there wouldn’t be the ridership

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The train was canceled for lack of interest.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1997-05-08/news/mn-56759_1_desert-wind-passengers

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Thrice weekly service and a dirty deal with UP

    EJ Reply:

    AFAIK the X-Train is still promising service “sometime this year,” but they’ve been saying that for going on 4 years now.

    Part of the problem was that when Amtrak ran the Desert Wind, it took over 7 hours to get from LAUS to Vegas. Even with traffic, a bus can normally do it in less than 5. Flying to Vegas from LA is still pretty cheap and convenient as well. As Paul says, it also only ran 3 days per week.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well seven hours is probably too long. However, bus operators along the Paris-London route take the same amount of time and they seem to be doing fine… Probably because they are after the dirt cheap market…

    Aarond Reply:

    Amtrak is given second class status because west of Chicago they are definitely a second-class rail service. In terms of scheduling, imagine trying to route HSR and commuter trains around long-haul trains that are anywhere from 30 minutes to 10+ hours late?

    This isn’t an easily solvable problem because Amtrak’s long-haul services cover so much ground and making it reliable is not an easy (or cheap) task.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You could always build dedicated passenger tracks…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Dedicated passenger tracks as in the non amtrak XpressWest, CAHSR, Texas Central and AAF/Brightline that are slowly replacing Amtrak, you mean.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    FEC is going to be running their freights in between the passenger trains.

    Domayv Reply:

    and FEC owns AAF/Brightline (the freight trains could explain why they go at 79 MPH between West Palm Beach and Miami, and 110 MPH between Cocoa and West Palm Beach, but hopefully FEC can make further upgrades including even electrification on their passenger line sometime in the future)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think once they have an established cash flow, they will start expanding and upgrading their existing infrastructure. Probably nobody will cry and say “It’s not profitable” even if they still have credits to pay off thirty years down the road, because they continued investing…

    Donk Reply:

    I guess when I asked why Amtrak isn’t included on the shared HSR/Metrolink tracks, I was referring to the state-funded Amtrak services. Amtrak on LOSSAN is a viable, useful service that should also be given priority on the new tracks. Sure, keep the Coast Starlate and the other crap that goes east on the freight tracks.

    Domayv Reply:

    the only part where CAHSR and Metrolink share tracks is south of LA, so the only Amtrak train that would now be sidelined to the freight tracks is the Southwest Chief

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Been traveling a lot (in NorCal!) last week, so was only able to get to the new SAAs today. But thanks for kicking off the discussion in this subthread!

  28. datacruncher
    Apr 10th, 2016 at 11:44
    #28

    Kings County is beginning public hearings April 12, 20 and 25 over the new town proposal Quay Valley, site of the proposed California Hyperloop test track for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.
    http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/lewis-griswold/article70981592.html
    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2798073/Quay-Valley-Public-Workshops.pdf

    The Hyperloop test track supposedly will receive its own project hearings.

    Quay Valley, located a few miles south of Kettleman City is proposed to grow to 80,000 residents. One issue will be water. Currently the developer says they will use water from the California Aqueduct belonging to portions of the site within Dudley Ridge Water District. In dry years water is supposedly coming from water banks. Long term the developer will attempt to purchase permanent State Water Project rights.

    Preliminary design plan for Quay Valley (with maps showing the Hyperloop test track paralleling I-5)
    http://countyofkings.com/home/showdocument?id=12648

  29. JBinSV
    Apr 10th, 2016 at 12:21
    #29

    Lets build a bridge. Today.
    Stilt-s-bridge while you wait.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbaD2-2Ktwc

    Are bridges and road-beds for HSR required to control dynamic deflections so as not to allow track to deviate from required geometry?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Are bridges and road-beds for HSR required to control dynamic deflections so as not to allow track to deviate from required geometry?

    No, it’s fine for them to assume any geometry, and maximal controlled dynamic compliance with dynamic defections is current state of the art.

    JBinSV Reply:

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12205-015-0565-z

    JBinSV Reply:

    http://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/6/1/24/htm

    JBinSV Reply:

    and the horse you rode in on.

    JBinSV Reply:

    the vertical deflection must be smaller than 1.1 L/1000 (L is the main span); lateral deflection must be smaller than L/4000; and beam end rotation must be smaller than 0.2% in a ballast track bed and 0.1% in a ballastless track bed.

    http://www.egr.msu.edu/~hunan2/_doc/j8.pdf

    agb5 Reply:

    One of the problems with this approach is that the weight of the machine plus the carried bridge section can be considerably heavier than the weight of two high speed trains, so the bridge has to be over-engineered to support the construction process. Not a problem in China where they can build as many chunky support pillars as they want and don’t worry about slimline aesthetics of the bridge deck.

    JBinSV Reply:

    Interesting to consider construction vs. operational stress/strain.
    Lighter weight structure can have greater deflections. Controlling deflections and controlling strain will tend to result in heavier structure even with efficient section properties.

    Looking at images, HSR bridges appear to be stiff structures.
    http://www.lusas.com/case/bridge/taiwan.html

    agb5 Reply:

    Worst case scenario: fully loaded train crossing bridge does emergency stop at 220mph, bridge pillars get pushed over like dominoes.

  30. JBinSV
    Apr 10th, 2016 at 13:54
    #30
  31. keith saggers
    Apr 10th, 2016 at 18:19
    #31

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/newsroom/2016_HSR_and_City_of_San_Jose_Enter_Into_Station_Area_Planning_Agreement.pdf

    Neil Shea Reply:

    I got to agree with so many others, when posting a link at least give one whine about why

    Reality Check Reply:

    Agreed! Hey lazy ass @Keith Saggers … please stop just posting “naked” links.

    Take a few seconds to provide a hint as to WTF a link is about or why you’re posting it or why the audience may want to check it out.

    Eric M Reply:

    At least try this with your links

  32. Reality Check
    Apr 10th, 2016 at 22:13
    #32

    New BART car tapered wheel profile should eliminate howling sound, rail expert says

    […]

    John Zuspan is a train-and-track specialist with over forty years of railroading experience on systems all over the world.

    […]

    Some of the larger and more infamous decisions made by the original designers — going with a wider, nonstandard track gauge, for example — simply can’t be fixed. That would require changing all the rolling stock, replacing 100 miles worth of rails, and rebuilding every station platform.

    But in the future, BART will have to consider: if it builds a second Transbay tube, should it abandon its oddball standards and instead adopt a platform, track, and voltage that will allow it to share tracks with an electrified Caltrain. A white paper from the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) recommended this as an option to consider for a second Transbay tube and extension. Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director for SPUR, said BART has to consider decoupling the “BART” brand from BART technology.

    That’s a long-term vision. In the short term, as BART rebuilds its core, it should also standardize whatever it can. It seems to be moving in that direction. For example, it’s impossible to miss the howling noise generated by BART trains. Zuspan blames that on rail “corrugation”: when train wheels slip, they cause small rippling deformations in the rails. Over time, this results in inefficiencies — and noise.

    So why is BART noisier than other trains? One of BART’s “innovative” design features left over from the 1970s is its cylindrical wheels. Nearly all other trains in the world use tapered, slightly conical wheels. Standard railroad wheels, because of the taper, naturally self-center the train between the rails. BART’s unusual wheel design, which was supposed to provide a more comfortable ride, actually just slips more and corrugates the rails faster, explained Zuspan. Thankfully, BART’s new cars, as seen in the picture above, have standard wheels. That, along with good track maintenance and better sound insulation, should finally eliminate BART’s infamous howling sound.

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    If this report be true, and have they been sitting on this capitulation, the Bechtels are revving up the rotations as they spin in their graves. Along with Billy Ray.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Cable cars do not slip and they evidence advanced corrugation. I suggest flatted wheels as a subtle culprit.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Slipping indeed in braking but I don’t believe he is only talking about braking mode but acceleration as well.

    keith saggers Reply:

    BART is now one step closer to providing much needed capacity relief with the arrival of its first new train car now set to begin a crucial onsite testing phase. The first train car was unveiled today at BART’s testing facility in Hayward, marking the beginning of the arrival of a new fleet of 775 train cars over the next five years.

    “This next testing phase is critical to having safe and reliable new train cars,” said Board President Tom Radulovich. “As these new cars arrive and get approved for passenger service, we can finally start running longer trains. That’s something every line on our system needs right now. In fact, the need is so great we’ve been able to get the manufacturer to increase the monthly delivery rate from 10 cars per month to 16 per month, putting the final car delivery 21 months earlier than the original schedule.”

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