Swiss Tunnel Shows How a San Gabriels Tunnel Could Work

May 31st, 2016 | Posted by

This week the Gotthard Base Tunnel will open in Switzerland. The tunnel is 57 kilometers (35 miles) long and 2,300 meters (7,500 feet) deep.

Route map
By W.RebelOwn work, CC BY 3.0

The tunnel has been under construction for 20 years. But the benefits will likely last for generations:

Once fully functional, the tunnel will not just slice 45 minutes off the journey time between Zurich and Lugano, but also form a central building block of the so-called Rhine-Alp corridor that stretches from the Dutch sea ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp via Germany’s industrial heartland down to the port of Genoa in Italy.

The new Gotthard base tunnel, which has been in planning since the 1980s, will bypass the old Gotthardbahn rail tunnel, which rises and falls through the massif in a winding route. Unlike its predecessor, which was completed in 1882, the new line will run on a flat low-level route, the first of its kind in the Alps.

The idea here is to get traffic off the Alpine roads and put it on trains that go under the mountains – especially for freight. It will also cut travel times, which helps get more people off the roads and onto trains.

This isn’t the only big tunnel project underway in the Alps – the Brenner Base Tunnel began construction in 2008, with an estimated completion date of 2026. And a few other tunnels are planned or under construction elsewhere in Switzerland.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel shares some important similarities to the proposed high speed rail tunnel from Palmdale to Burbank. Both would be major tunnels under a significant mountain range. The most recent alternatives analysis of the routes from Palmdale to Burbank shows that even the longest tunnel option would be at least 10 miles shorter than the Gotthard Base Tunnel, and likely wouldn’t be as deep.

Obviously there are differences between tunneling under the Alps and tunneling under the San Gabriels – with earthquakes being the main difference. But there is a significant amount of experience and knowledge being gained out of these Alpine tunnels, and it can help inform the effort to tunnel under the San Gabriels. It also shows that such a tunnel is possible.

It’s also not going to be cheap. The Gotthard Base Tunnel’s cost was $10 billion, and that’s about what I’d expect for a tunnel under the San Gabriels. Nor is it going to be built quickly. 20 years seems like a reasonable expectation. So if this is going to open before 2040, now would be a good time to settle on a route, secure the funding, and get going.

This could be one of several new tunnels that become an important part of rail travel in Southern California, including a proposed tunnel under the Sepulveda Pass.

None of this is going to be cheap, but it’s necessary and transformative. All the more reason for the California government to get serious about providing more funding to build out the state’s 21st century infrastructure.

  1. Brian_FL
    May 31st, 2016 at 14:27
    #1

    I drove over the Gotthard Pass over 20 years ago while working in Germany and must say the rail tunnel looked impressive. As well as the rail lines located above the tunnel (I purposeful took the old 2 lane road over the summit). I must admit the road tunnel was the longest I have ever gone through. I think it was almost 15-20 miles in length.it was 2 lane at the time if I recall correctly.

    O/T but with lots of construction pics, here is the latest on AAF/Brightline:

    http://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?p=7439775

    Construction is progressing nicely on America’s next new passenger rail system. I looked at Google Maps and saw lots of second track being laid or getting ready for comstruction between WPB and Miami. The Miami station will be very nice and the local governments finally got funding comittments last week to bring Tri Rail service to downtown Miami.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I’m glad to hear that. I am very optimistic and hopeful for the success of Brightline. I have never been to Florida, but have always wanted to, all the construction going on there makes me really think that I should finally go. I hope your state continues to do well (and that Miami Beach doesn’t flood with sea level rise–I just read a fascinating piece about what the city is doing to mitigate climate change that I recommend everybody read: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/photos/2015/11/miami-beach-rising-sea-levels-plan)

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Yeah I have heard of that too. I’m in the Tampa area so we will be impacted too. Miami Beach has severe issues. But no one at any level of governed wants to admit it yet. I figure we are good for about a 100 years here…. then it’s time to panic and move! Such is our fucked up planet.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    FWIW, the Gotthard road tunnel is long, agreed, but “only” 15 km (in other words, less than 10 miles). It is indeed 2 lane.

  2. synonymouse
    May 31st, 2016 at 14:56
    #2

    Why blow so much money on a commute run to Podunk?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Please be quiet. It is to link the LA basin to the north via HSR, and one can’t exactly locate commuter rail stations under the national forest anyway. How many more times will you repeat this idiocy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It would be kinda pointless to build stations where there aren’t very many people.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    *cough* Montabaur *cough*

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    it’s positively crawling with people compared to a national forest. It’s not in a deep cavern.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yes. But Montabaur is twenty kilometers from the next ICE stop along the same line

    synonymouse Reply:

    Of course they will build commute halts all along the line. Softening up and opening the area up to intensive real estate exploitation is the purpose of the project.

    I hope the Cheerleaders are receiving some “consideration” for shilling for the Palmdalee developers.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I really don’t like the way you insult cheerleaders all the time.

    Jerry Reply:

    George W. Bush was a cheerleader.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Do you have any evidence to support your claim that the purpose of the project is to soften up and open the area to intensive real estate exploitation? Even a tiny bit of evidence? Any at all? No you don’t, because nobody but you expects the project to be that way, because it won’t!!! Perhaps some development will happen around palmdale/Lancaster, but that isn’t really a bad thing. Also, why don’t you understand that it is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to build stations under mountains, and since that is public land, it can’t be developed on anyway.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    At that point I fear we are all wasting our time talking to syno…

    synonymouse Reply:

    I believe the SR14 alignment will prevail; and one of the compelling arguments is that a killing can be made on real estate development, say, at Acton.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    CAHSR isn’t motivated by real estate developers, but if the SR14 route is chosen due to lower costs and a shorter construction timeframe, there is no reason why Metrolink can’t split it’s Antelope Valley Line service into a Santa Clarita line to Santa Clarita, and an Antelope Valley Line to Lancaster along the HSR tracks, with stops in Acton, South Palmdale, Palmdale Transportation Center and Lancaster to support dense development around the stations. That wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    Eric Reply:

    The whole reason to serve Palmdale is real estate development.

    (Don’t make me laugh about some medium speed rail to Las Vegas that was once proposed but no longer)

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Are you serious?

    EJ Reply:

    The CAHSRA itself says it will promote development in Palmdale.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That is one minor offshoot of the project, but Palmdale development does not motivate the state in any way whatsoever.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Speaking of which, what is the situation with Xpresswest?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I think it is still active, but hasn’t advanced. The Nevada government seems to be very much behind it.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Acton won’t want HSR. In exchange the Authority will promise not to build a station there.

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    That’s a really long commuter run!!!
    Which Podunk is it going to? There’s a Podunk in New York, one in Connecticut and another in Vermont.
    I suggest connecting all three with a single commuter line called the “SynoCon Express”. We’ll leave it to the rides to wonder about whether the Con refers to extremist conspiracy theories or libertarian confidence games.

    James Fujita Reply:

    SynoCon 2016 – This summer at the Podunk Convention Center. Share and exchange the latest conspiracy theories, cosplay contest, autograph sessions.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Come and see all the latest demos, displays and plans from the State’s leading tract and strip mall developers.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Nonexistent plans, that is.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The thing I still don’t get is: Why would anybody put sprawl next to HSR stations? Why not put high density stuff there?

    It makes no sense.

    But then again, we’re talking about syno…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I think syno thinks all development is bad development.

    Eric Reply:

    You put a few blocks of high density stuff within walking distance of the station. That’s rather insignificant. The much bigger consequence is you build miles and miles of sprawl, where people drive to the HSR station and have a quicker trip to downtown LA than Orange County residents do.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Care to point to any real life HSR station where that happened?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/investor/ar/2015/pdf/ar_2015-all.pdf

    Thought so…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQFEY9RIRJA

    That was the link I was going for…

    Eric Reply:

    LOL, I wasn’t following this. It’s hard to get to everything when there are 484 comments on the post and no “see new comments” feature.

    This hasn’t happened before because HSR has never been built before in the US. In the US, zoning and transit planning are not going to develop the same way they did in Europe or Japan. Take a look at the LA area – it sprawls for dozens of miles in every direction, whether in the Valley, Orange County, or Inland Empire. The only thing stopping this sprawl is mountain ranges and distance. The Mojave Desert is flat and prime for just this sort of development. So far it has only happened to a limited extent, in Palmdale and Lancaster, because the area is so inaccessible from LA. But put a HSR station there, and it will develop in exactly the way the Inland Empire did. Look on Google Maps and you can already see the roads and plots laid out, waiting to be filled up with suburban subdivisions. Within walking distance of the HSR station (not very far in the desert heat – only a few blocks) there will be dense development to maximize developer profit. Everywhere else, it will not be possible to walk to HSR and people won’t take the bus there, so only single family houses will be built and people will drive there. And the area which can be filled up with sprawl here is truly vast – bigger than LA county. That will be much more profitable for developers, and much more damaging to the environment, than the few blocks of density next to the HSR station.

  3. Aarond
    May 31st, 2016 at 14:57
    #3

    On the topic of tunnels: if the state really wants private investors in HSR, I bet both major railroads would love to replace Tehachapi. Freight and HSR can’t mingle but that doesn’t stop a 4-track corridor of 2 systems being built. This would split the cost of the biggest money sink in the project. The only engineering problem is doing 4 tracks (instead of 2), and adding ventilation for diesels.

    joe Reply:

    Wikipedia says the tunnel is “a direct route usable by high-speed rail and heavy freight trains.”

    Maybe Burbank to Palmdale is a good way to get into the high desert. Not sure… but the Swiss have a dual purpose tunnel.

    If this helps the Southern CA ports or quid pro quo on a new tunnel for freight ROW construction in California then it might be a better deal for all.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Freight trains are planned to run at 160 km/h (100 mph) whereas the v(max) for passengers in the GHBT is planned to be 250 km/h. I think the problem with route sharing on a CAHSR tunnel would be that CAHSR is faster than 250 km/h and freight in the US is slower than 100 mph. Not being electrified being one of several reasons for that.

    That being said, I am still not entirely sure whether the Swiss idea to have freight and HSR share this potential bottleneck is really all that wise…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The problem here starts with class one AAR freight cars not maintained to negotiate 100mph operation.

    And with all the telltale graffiti hereabouts you have to wonder about the security of the rolling stock.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Oh there are graffiti on trains in Germany as well. New trains barely a couple of years old. Trains that make exactly 160 km/h maximum speed. I have been in them. Several times. I am still alive.

    EJ Reply:

    It’s a trope among idiot American right-wingers that only the US has crime. It’s a good system – you tell the morons that crime is going up (it’s not in most places), then they believe that they can’t have this or that nice thing that they have in Europe because criminals would fuck it up. That’s what the “telltale graffiti” comment was about.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    you have that backwards. The anti-2nd amendment crowd tells people that mass shooting are going up (but as you noted, crime is at 30 year lows) to try and get laws passed and changed.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    they are up.
    A well regulated militia keeps it’s large magazines in the armory.

    Aarond Reply:

    a well regulated militia lets licensed people buy whatever they want, since the barrier to entry ($25 and literacy) is usually sufficient to keep totally insane people out, and to bust criminals

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I want a bazooka to go racoon hunting. What’s a few trees out in the forest?
    If the licensing is keeping crazy people away from guns why do crazy people keep getting them?

    Aarond Reply:

    Bazookas aren’t firearms. Likewise, most states also prohibit the use of explosives in hunting. Hunters who do so risk having their license revoked. The same is true for hunters who hunt with rifles during bow season. That said, overkill is better than wounding an animal and having it suffer.

    Determined people will always find a way around whatever laws are written: see the shooting in Paris or the shooting today at UCLA. The CA handgun roster, firearm safety certificate, and mandatory 10-day wait did nothing to stop this because the criminal involved was determined to break the law. But the people who were following the law -disarmed teachers- are then put at their mercy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So you do want to limit arms. It’s just a matter of degree.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m not against firearms licensing since that actually accomplishes the goal of increasing public safety. Restricting the items law abiding, licensed, people can buy does not. As does restricting places where law abiding, licensed, people can carry firearms for self-defense.

    Given that the 2nd Amendment is now regulated like cars in California (FSCs have a $15 renewal fee every 5 years), extending the amount of things people can do with their license also increases tax revenues derived from it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So they can buy bazookas and MPADs for duck hunting? And those 50 round magazines are very useful when there is a rabbit in the garden.

    Aarond Reply:

    And what’s the difference between being shot with .223 from a 50 round mag, vs .233 from a 5 round mag? There isn’t. What makes or breaks it is the fact that the person holding the weapon is allowed to do so, and this is where gun control either works or doesn’t.

    Bans or magazines don’t increase gun safety, they are feel-good laws that politicians pass to appease emotionally-driven abolitionists. What does increase gun safety is gating it and licensing it, since it makes it less likely for a totally deranged person to abuse it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It matters to the 6th person the shooter aims at.

    Aarond Reply:

    Because rifles can’t be reloaded?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Make up your mind. Is it magazines or is it rifles that can only fire one or two rounds?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    flatly not true. Total homicides are down more than 1/2 in the last 30 years without extensive gun control. As Al Gore would say, it is an unfortunate truth. The fact that every mass shooting the US now gets national news + twitter + facebook makes them more publisized. But when there were drive by shooting during the crack epidemic in every major city every day in the US there were more shooting.

    It is a fascinating public policy problem. In the 1980s, crime was at the top of the list for problems for voters. The policies enacted were successful in pulling that down, not just on homocide but all crime. Now, a completly new set of voters is around that never experienced those days and is questioning those policies. Very interesting stuff

    Joe Reply:

    US is safer. No thanks to gun nuts.

    More mass shootings period. Facebook social Media is irrelevant.
    Kindergarteners turned into hamburger by AR-15 is tragic and not because of Facebook.

    Fewer people own guns.
    More guns owned by smaller fraction of population.

    Crack epidemic is code for …..

    Aarond Reply:

    @adirondacker12800 Rifles can fire any number of rounds, as they can be reloaded by the shooter. The mag size doesn’t matter at all in a shooting especially when in school shootings the shooter typically blocks the door.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You are changing the goalposts like you changed them last time you tried to equate crime in general to crazy people having access to high capacity automatic weapons.

    Which policy? There’s a large group of people who swear crime rose because evil atheists took prayer out of the schools. There is a growing body of information that lead poisoning from gasoline had a major role.

    Joe Reply:

    Inverse argument holds, why need a clip of ammo when only one bullet will suffice?

    Fire laws require multiple so no they can’t block the door and keep everyone in a school.

    CA law requires a tool be necessary to remove and reload a clip of no more than 10 rounds.
    Reloading is slower.

    Unsure how good a shot you are. I would be less likely to be hit from a person with a 10 clip
    Mag than 30 clip.

    Imperfect but statistically better. All depends when you are shot at, how many Chances you want to give them.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I still fail to grasp why anybody needs an instant death machine in their homes.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    @joe

    mass shooting are up? I was going to ask you for a cite, but I did the leg work for you. it went from 1 to 3 according to Mother Jones (left wing enough for you?) Of course you have to exclude all the ones due to gangs or robbery because apparently those people being dead does not count. I stand by my statement, total mass shooting are down because I count the gangs and the robberies.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/mass-shootings-have-become-more-common-in-the-u-s/

    and crack epidemic is code for….. crack epidemic. Because it happened. Just like there is a prescription opiate epidemic today…which is code for prescription opiate epidemic.

    @adirondacker

    and I did not change the goalposts….you see shooting people is a crime. and crime is down. That is the same thing.

    crime didn’t rise, it fell, so that theory is out. And the theories about lead in gas, or legalized abortion, or others are unproven. Here are 10 for you.

    https://www.themarshallproject.org/2014/11/24/10-not-entirely-crazy-theories-explaining-the-great-crime-decline#.TE8ntzKxt

    simply put, gun control is one way to decrease crime (if it is strict enough). It is not the only way. The US reduced crime without it.

    Jerry Reply:

    It’s more about the, “gun culture”. A lot of shootings are not criminal. Some are accidental. Even children getting hold of firearms and killing someone. In one city, 14% of the policemen killed was by friendly fire.

    Aarond Reply:

    @Bahnfreund

    Here in the US, we’re allowed to shoot people that enter our residences without our permission. Allso most states (and much of California) also allows carrying handguns for self-defense in public.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Actually there is a principle in German law that says “Recht muss dem Unrecht nicht weichen” which can be translated as “The law does not have to stand by for unlawful acts” meaning (I am no attorney so I may be wrong) that if your alternatives are the use of force and giving in to someone doing something unlawful, you are allowed to use force – even (if I understand correctly) if there is no threat of harm to you. So in some cases you may be entitled to shoot an intruder into your home under German law. But very few Germans (even those that have guns) have guns in their home…

    A funny thing about gun culture is: It exists and is very strong in Germany as well. There are Schützenvereine Schützenfeste and what not. But even shooting enthusiasts (who are seen as weird and conservative by most Germans) usually don’t keep their guns at home. And if they do, they usually have a safe for the weapons (I think they made a law to that effect after the last mass shooting a couple of years ago).

    In fact some commentators even said after a mass shooting that stricter gun laws (which were passed) were “the easy way out” and a sign of “avoiding the real problem”… Politics is weird sometimes…

    EJ Reply:

    No, they just think there should be fewer of them and they look to the experiences of other countries that have seen drops in mass killings after they’ve instituted more gun control. But then liberals tend to be more reality-based than conservatives.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    banning guns (if you took the step of collecting them since there are already 300+ million in the US) would reduce shootings. Your problem is that it is 100% unconstitutional.

    Luckily, the US instituted other policies that brought the shooting rate down by more than 1/2. Those were not unconstitutional. So celebrate having your cake and eating it also.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Fewer implies somewhat more than zero.

    The only people suggesting anyone is attempting to ban all guns are on far right wing talk radio. They then move onto how Obamacare is going to ruin the country. and how chicks with dicks are gonna cause society to collapse because they want to squat to pee.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Where does the constitution say: Everybody has the right to own any gun he or she pleases?

    The constitution talks about a well regulated militia. Which in my mind means the government does not only have the right but the duty to regulate the militia.

    Jerry Reply:

    There is an interesting article in the NY Times regarding a 1934 law that has been on the books and working for years. It covers many of the points you all have been mentioning about guns, etc.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/31/opinion/gun-control-that-actually-works.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

    Jerry Reply:

    When the 2nd Amendment was written, most if not all weapons (guns) were single shot.
    I’ve always wondered how Justice Scalia as a “Constitutional originalist” overlooked all of that?

    Jerry Reply:

    The late US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was always in favor of, ‘bullet control’.

    Jerry Reply:

    When well-trained NYC policemen fire their weapons, they only hit their target 34% of the time.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/nyregion/08nypd.html
    There’s more to the ‘gun’ problem than can be covered by a HSR Blog.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I just hope there won’t be some dumbass amendment into a post office renaming bill requiring CAHSR to carry guns…

    Aarond Reply:

    @Bahnfreun RR police are already armed, and have been for the past two centuries.

    @Jerry arms are arms – the constitution doesn’t reference interstate railroads either but they’re totally legal too. The government even allows people to own and operate multiton death machines on public roads, which cause hundreds if not thousands of deaths every year.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Bahnfreund–they won’t. This is CA, not TX. I love how a HSR blog turns into a guns & politics blog during election years, like everything else. Politics is all anyone talks about these days.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Armed police is kind of different from everybody having weapons and shooting shit up.

    Why would you want to have a gun on a train in the first place?

    Domayv Reply:

    is it even possible to make cars that hold double stack containers go at 160 km/h. Then there’s the fact that many of these intermodal freight trains can go kiloneters long.

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s possible to make double stack passenger HSR, so I don’t see why not as long as track geometry permits. Though, the larger question would be whether or not it would degrade the track in such a manner where maintenance costs make such an operation not profitable.

    Aarond Reply:

    For reference, Amfleet Is weigh about 58 tons, and have a top speed of 125 mph. Superliners weigh about 70 tons and also have a top speed of 125 mph. UP’s website indicates that the maximum load for any container can’t exceed 65,000 lbs (32 tons), which doubled up is only 64 tons.

    Domayv Reply:

    tons/axle for those cars

    Domayv Reply:

    double stack cars used in freight are not the same as the double deckers that the TGV and (formerly) Shinkansen cars used. Also, the double stack cars would be too heavy and wojld degrade the tracks in such a manner where maintenance costs would make it unprofitable. I think a better way is to develop high-speed freight EMUs where the car itself is a container and they would contain the goods unloaded from the intermodal stacks

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How do you get the electrified car to the unelectrified branch or siding? It would also make for very interesting cranes.

    Domayv Reply:

    these trains are intermodal-only. they wont be going to no branch or siding

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I was wondering, could you build a HSR EMU with nothing in them and load them with airfreight containers? Would for example (one day) enable “rail mangoes” that are harvested ripe and delivered to the markets within a couple of days. Or other cargo that can take more than hours but less than weeks…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Or you could grow mangoes in a greenhouse. I have always though the USA should create an industry that grows fresh, local, tropical fruits in greenhouses, year round, in snowy locales. That would be nice.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It would be an insane waste of energy.

    Mangoes grow like weeds in place like Nicaragua. How long can a railroad journey from Nicaragua to the US take if you build HSR?

    And before the “nobody lives there” argument comes… The Central American capitals are quite close to one another…

    Eric Reply:

    Hopefully in 50 years the Central American capitals will be big and wealthy enough that HSR there makes sense. For now, the combined GDP of all of Honduras and Nicaragua is about the same as that of the Oklahoma City metro area. So HSR make no sense. And we haven’t even gotten to the mountains in Central American.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Fun fact: The Plan to build a Canal through Nicaragua once failed because someone saw the flag of Nicaragua (which has five volcanoes on it representing the five Central American Republics that gained independence from Spain in 1821) and decided: Nah the volcano thing makes this too risky.

    Alternatively what that guy saw was a postcard of Ometepe (an island consisting of two volcanoes) but I like the flag thing better…

    And yes the GDP of the Central American countries (sans Costa Rica and Panama) is pretty small, but so is the GDP of plenty of African countries China is building railroads in to extract their wealth…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Maybe eventually, particular freight trains can run at 160 km/h (most likely “Kombinierter Verkehr”; mainly containers). Otherwise, if you can get it up to 120 km/h, you are lucky. And for this speed, the axle load may already be limited (to 20 or 21 t, instead of 22.5 t which is the highest category).

    If I recall correctly, if the freight trains could operate at 160 km/h, it would be possible to squeeze one, maybe two more paths out of the tunnel.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So the plans right now call for the majority of freight trains to be no faster than 120 km/h…

    Do you think it was smart to plan for passenger trains at more than double the speed of freight trains sharing the same line? This almost screams the need for more lines in the very near future (at the latest when Karlsruhe-Basel and the Italian line are fully built)…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    With the currently planned schedules (a passenger train approximately every half hour), they have 7 paths for freight per hour. And there are about 4 paths per hour available by the Lötschberg/Simplon route.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Do you know details about the routes in Italy to access the Gotthard Base Tunnel? It appears they are about as do-nothing as the Germans (Karlsruhe-Basel in case someone needs to google) but I have not found more information on that…

    If I am informed correctly the new line would add two tracks on the German side, though I don’t know whether they are supposed to be freight only. The existing route is severely congested and has two tracks at any rate…

    Domayv Reply:

    I can only see that happen if BNSF and UPRR replace all of their diesels with hybrid catenary/battery trains

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    It would be realistic to electrify the Alameda corridor and run electric trains from the ports to Palmdale, then have a transfer facility to shift onto diesel routes north and east.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Actually, the more I think of it, the better it could be. All containers from the Ports of LA and Long beach that are not going to places within Southern California could be mandated to be transferred onto 220 MPH electric freight trains that run from the ports to intermodal transfer facilities in Palmdale and Victorville, where they can be loaded onto diesel freight trains and trucks.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    What would the maximum frequency of a two track tunnel be, since the system would likely have to support a maximum frequency of 18 trains per hour per direction.

    Trains at peak hour in one direction:

    4X HSR to San Francisco
    4X HSR to Las Vegas
    4X Metrolink to Lancaster
    4X Freight to Palmdale/Victorville
    2X HSR to Sacramento
    —————————————-
    18 trains per hour on one track=One train every 3.33 minutes

    Could the tunnel support these frequencies?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    If the performance characteristics are the same, it could be a bit tight, but with ETCS, it would be possible. Condition is that the the trains can operate at the same speed, and (of course) that the length is not more than around 800 m (shorter would be preferred).

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Speaking of ETCS… Does CAHSR know its train control system already?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Unless this was supposed to be a rhetoric question… I think so. They are not on the NIH bandwagon…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s NIH?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Not Invented Here

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Ah. Thanks, that makes sense.

    Jon Reply:

    Is there anywhere in the world that runs freight trains at 220mph? Is that even possible?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    China runs high speed freight trains along the Ningbo-Shenzhen HSR corridor.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    China does not currently run any trains above 300 km/h. They did run trains at 350 km/h but have stopped doing so for “security” reasons.

    I would like to see a link regarding the HSR freight thing…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    From Wikipedia:
    The Hangzhou–Fuzhou–Shenzhen High-Speed Railway (杭福深高速铁路 formerly 东南沿海快速通道 or 东南沿海铁路) refers to the dual-track, electrified, high-speed rail lines (HSR) in service along the southeastern coast of China, which links the Yangtze River Delta on the East China Sea and Pearl River Delta on the South China Sea. It is one of the eight arterial high-speed rail corridors that form the backbone of China’s HSR network.[1] The southeast coast is the only region of high-speed rail construction where no previous conventional railroads existed. Hence, the high-speed rail lines built on the southeast coast will, for the most part, carry both passenger and freight traffic, and will not be passenger-dedicated lines that comprise most of the other HSR corridors in China.

    An additional bridge will be built across Hangzhou Bay for high-speed rail, providing a direct link between Shanghai and Ningbo before 2020.[2] The Southeast Coast HSR Corridor is approximately 1,745 km (1,084 mi) in length, and crosses three coastal provinces, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong. Major cities along the route include Hangzhou, Ningbo, Taizhou, Wenzhou, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Xiamen, Zhangzhou, Chaozhou, Shantou, Shanwei, Huizhou and Shenzhen. The maximum operating speed of the route is 350 km/h.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It does not say a thing about High Speed Freight.

    There is by the way freight on the Hannover – Würzburg line as well. It runs at night…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That just goes to show that freight could operate at slower speeds through the tunnel at night and at other times with lower train frequencies.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yeah but why would you build a four track tunnel that only ever uses two tracks at the same time? Isn’t that a colossal waste of money?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I’m talking about a two track tunnel-not a for track one. Only Aarond is talking about a four track tunnel, and I’m proposing this as a cheaper alternative.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But wouldn’t a two track tunnel (even with freight only running along it long after the last passenger train) be required to have FRA compliant rolling stock?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Running freight only at night would not work if the idea is to move significant quantities of traffic from the port. The volumes are simply too great and the capacity at the port too limited. It would take a 100 container train every 15 minutes for 24 hours just to clear one ship.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Possible… sure. In fact, until very recently, the French Post Office ran several TGV services from the Paris area to the Bourgogne (Dijon) and the South East (greater Avignon area) and back. They were based on the regular TGV PSE train sets, with identical locomotives (in fact, the spare LaPoste locomotive was occasionally used as a replacement in a regular TGV set). Parcels were loaded in containers.

    The operation ended for one because the trains got fairly old with 25 years, and the containers were no longer the (truck-enabled) regular containers.

    This as an example for high-speed freight; possible if the trains are high-speed trains.

    In France, as well as in Germany, they did (and may still do) freight trains over the HSL at 200 km/h, using locomotives enabled for the signalling system, and highly upgraded (brakes, stabilizers etc.) freight cars.

    What you can forget about is running USAn style freight trains over High Speed Track, simply because of the ridiculously high axle loads.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So unless several things change sharing tracks between the existing US freight rail operators and HSR is not a good idea due to (among other things) axle load, speed difference, inclines and so on.

    But there might be potential for an express freight subsidiary of HSR…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I think so (express freight operator).

    Operating a high speed train is not cheap, therefore, only premium freight (express, parcels, documents, etc. … essentially what also would be transported by air) would justify it. And considering the weather conditions in the SF area, it could actually be interesting for the express shippers.

    I am not sure about the old time very fast freight (fresh produce, fresh flowers), but that could also justify a freight high speed train.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Perishables are a tiny fraction of the freight market.
    The courier companies fairly frequently lie about “overnight air”. It gets there by truck.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well it would certainly be interesting to have the Amazon option “train station pickup” (which is probably a long ways off, but if the drones ever do take of, they can do the last mile thing…)

    And your point about weather is well made… Nothing is more frustrating (and in some cases expensive) than fog in he Bay Area if you need that flight to take of now

    Aarond Reply:

    I don’t see why that would be the case, as ventilation systems can be added. The only major issue would be the significantly larger freight loading gauge requirements, but this is an indirect benefit to HSR despite the added cost.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What about the FRA regulations?

    After all having freight within a mile or so of HSR means it gets crashworthiness cooties…

    Aarond Reply:

    Avoidable by having two for freight run parallel (but not connected to) the two HSR tracks. Obviously this isn’t efficient from a routing angle (as if there is a blockage, trains can’t easily switch tracks) but it threads the FRA needle as it would be impossible for HSR and freight to ever occupy the same tracks.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Does the FRA accept that?

    I mean its logical – there are essentially two separate lines that just happen to e close to one another. But FRA regulations don’t always follow my naive logic…

    Aarond Reply:

    I’d imagine they would, as it would be impossible for HSR and freight trains to have a collision in the first place.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What about a derailment and subsequent crash?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Not if you are running freight in its own system from the ports to the antelope valley, then transferring it onto another.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Just forget about diesel in long tunnels. Period. Even with very good ventilation, it would take too much time to clear even a medium length tunnel (something around 5 to 8 km) for a next diesel operated train to get through.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How do they do it with very long road tunnels?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Ventilation and more Ventilation… And if the air quality gets too bad, close the tunnel for a few minutes.

    Twin-bore tunnels are a bit better, because the traffic creates a continuous air flow.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    According to a very cursory glance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A6rdal_Tunnel this seems to be the longest road tunnel in the world. Are longer road tunnels possible?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Possible is anything, but the longer the tunnel gets, the more expensive it will be to operate, and, even with the best safety systems, it will get more dangerous.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So safety is more of a limiting factor than ventilation?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Correct.

    Roland Reply:

    And here is why: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/gotthard-tunnel-safer-ten-years-after-inferno/31390366 and how the channel tunnel service (3rd) tunnel made it possible to survive 5 fires without fatalities.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Interesting…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Just to get back to the Gotthard Base Tunnel. There is a powerful ventilation system. But in normal operation it is off, because it is not needed. Only in emergencies, it will be switched on.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yes, because generally speaking electric trains only produce noticeable quantities of smoke when something is wrong…

    Roland Reply:

    Total BS.

    The ventilation system constantly extracts polluted air from the tunnel and replaces it with fresh air but the pressure in both tubes is balanced. If smoke is detected in one of the tunnels (the “incident tunnel”), the ventilation system automatically increases the air pressure in the other (“non-incident”) tunnel to keep the smoke out of it.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    How do you pollute air in a rail tunnel with electric operation?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Farting cows?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Also, don’t forget that there are always 2 to 4 trains per direction in the tunnel… That provides sufficient airflow.

    joe Reply:

    Without ventilation, sections of the very deep Gotthard Base Tunnel would reach 46 C.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Maybe you can heat houses with the “waste air” :-P

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I change my statements. There is ventilation, supporting the natural ventilation created by the running trains, in order to get the temperature down to 40 degrees.

    We will see how it will work out this summer when the temperature at the entrances may be over 30 degrees, but even more in the winter. Although, so far, no Alstom-designed and built locomotives are approved for tunnel operation (SBB Class 500, 503 and ETR-610 are “Alstom”, but the design is Fiat).

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Bahnfreund: Not using warm air, but there is already a fish farm using water from the Lötschberg base tunnel, and the same company will build a fish farm using warm water from the Gotthard base tunnel in 2017.

    There are other places where the warm water from a tunnel is used, mainly for heating some buildings. The problem is that the area around the tunnel portals is normally not that densely populated.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Wait… Warm water for fish farming?

    I though most fish hate warm water because it has less oxygen…

    Roland Reply:

    @Joe. Correct but it’s going to take water cooling as well as ventilation: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/05/01/business/business-technology-air-conditioning-a-32-mile-tunnel.html

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Roland: There are more suitable articles, showing what ABB actually delivered. In my quick research, there was very little mentinoning of the supportive ventilation, but mostly about the capabilities in cases of emergency.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Bahnfreund: As the number of links is limited in comments here, I’d suggest a search for “Fischzucht Lötschberg”. There are further explanations, and one thing is that the water coming out of the tunnel is between 16 and 18 degrees… sufficient to heat up the water from the rivers to a temperature more suitable for the fish to be farmed.

    Roland Reply:

    @Max is this what you are looking for or ?? http://www.mathworks.com/tagteam/41977_40992_91476v00_NNR_Poyry_US.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    Is this good enough to show what ABB delivered?
    http://new.abb.com/ch/en/gottardo-english/fresh-air-for-the-gotthard-base-tunnel

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    According to Wikipedia Cajon has four sets of tracks and Tehachapi one. Which one would the railroads like to level out?

    Aarond Reply:

    Obviously both, but since there is a freight rail connection between Palmdale and Victorville it would be trivial to route Port-bound trains through the new tunnel. It offers a significant time savings compared to running the trains through Sand Bernandino then up and over Cajon. Assuming a 1% grade, no helpers would be required.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Hmm. I’m going to make a wild assumption here. They have two tracks they use to capacity so they went out and built a third track and then a fourth. You want to mix that much freight traffic with fairly frequent passenger traffic moving at much higher speed.
    …. how much do you think the Heisenberg compesators are going to cost? So space time can be warped so two trains can occupy the same tracks at the same time?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s strange… They think there’s enough demand for quadruple tracks, but they don’t think there’s enough demand for electrification (which pays for itself once traffic is dense enough)….

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    It is because there isn’t a single logical destination on the other end of the pass to electrify to. Also, the freight railroads are stupid and lazy.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I really despise the freight railroads.

    Aarond Reply:

    They’re businesses from the midwest (Omaha and Fort Worth), they’re at least predictable in that regard. The entire reason people jumped to cars was because the railroads had managed to be so greedy that nobody liked or trusted their entire mode of operation.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Imagine a President Teddy Roosevelt had nationalized the railroads as a war measure in the first world war. Even in the real world the US came awfully close to doing that…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Wilson was President during the Great War. We did nationalize the railroads.

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

    Zorro Reply:

    @ Bahnfreund: From 1917 to 1920, the US did nationalize the railroads in the US, by creating the USRA(United States Railroad Administration).

    synonymouse Reply:

    And FDR, considerably to the left of the inept Wilson, did not repeat this move in 1941.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yes. I mean nationalize in a way that makes it stick. Not temporarily. Given that the real life came awfully close to a peacetime public railroad, it’s not hard to imagine what progressive icon Teddy Roosevelt could have done…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    One of their biggest problems is their conservative “That’s the way we always did it” approach to everything…

    Another is that electrifying substantive parts of the US network won’t be an easy task. But it will have to be undertaken eventually.

    EJ Reply:

    The freight railroads have pretty smart employees who have repeatedly shown that electrification doesn’t pencil out, especially in the West. We’re talking large distances here, and modern diesel locomotives are getting more fuel-efficient and cheaper to operate all the time.

    Not to mention the railroads pay property taxes on their infrastructure – an electrified line would likely be assessed at a higher rate.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The only thing I can find is references to one BNSF study. The BNSF study was on the intertubes. It evaporated. If I remember correctly it makes sense at four dollars a gallon for diesel. Railroads buy wholesale. Again, if I remember correctly, the preferred alternative was to have a third party own most of it. It could be exempted from property taxes because it’s benefits are worth it.

    Modern diesels are more efficient. It’s very very difficult to make small power plants as efficient as large ones. Stationary ones are less constrained when it comes to space and weight. And are a lot less constrained when it comes to which fuel they use.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Four bucks a galon is about an Euro a liter give or take… Which is at the low end of the fuel prices (at the pump) in Germany. And you have to remember that Diesel is subsidized in Germany even more than regular gasoline which makes it artificially cheap. (Before this debate starts again: No driver in Germany pays all external costs of driving, making driving subsidized)

    I don’t know whether railroads in Germany get a discount on Diesel, I know that they get one on electricity (they pay less feed-in tariff) and as the railroad is state owned electrification is not always only a business decision.

    In the West the case for electrification gets confounded by two things: Altitude and grades. If I recall correctly engines get thirstier at higher altitudes. At the same time electric traction is much more adept at climbing grades (one of the reasons why Switzerland went all electric very early on). I think electrification is a question of time… But the railroad that does it first might have problems and the railroad that does it last might end up bankrupt for it… Of course the more electrified lines there are, the more sense it makes to electrify the rest…

    Amtrak (if a miracle occurs and Congress actually funds it anywhere near sufficiently) or states could also enter the equation if they electrify important routes that are shared with freight and someone somewhere pencils out the purchase and maintenance of new e-locos for that particular corridor… Maybe from that a snowball effect gets started… Who knows?

    As for the tax disincentives to electrify… They are perverse and should be reversed. Packaged the right way Republicans could sell that as a job creating tax cut…

    EJ Reply:

    Switzerland gets a lot of cheap power from hydro dams. And, again, Switzerland is much smaller than any western US state. It’s about 1/5 the size of Utah.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You could plaster the “whole lot of nothing” in the US West with solar panels for even cheaper electricity…

    Aarond Reply:

    @Bahnfreund

    Funny you bring that up, as the only electric freight railway in the entire US is in Arizona. It was built to supply a power plant with coal:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mesa_and_Lake_Powell_Railroad
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navajo_Generating_Station

    >The Navajo Generating Station is the United States of America’s third largest emitter of carbon dioxide.[4]

    wdobner Reply:

    You could plaster the “whole lot of nothing” in the US West with solar panels for even cheaper electricity…

    That “nothing” happens to be one of the most delicate ecosystems in this country. I’d rather not see what the construction crews, to say nothing of the pesticides and herbicides used to maintain solar panels will do to the creatures that have managed to eek out a niche in those inhospitable areas. It certainly does not speak well of self-declared environmentalists that they’re so desperate to pave the desert in a foolish effort to convert us to an intermittent power source.

    And channelling that power from the desert to the places people actually live isn’t going to result in “cheaper” electricity by any measure.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Have you ever been to Lusatia? (Lausitz in German) I have. It’s one of the biggest lignite mining areas in Europe and probably the world. There the dirtiest and cheapest fossil fuel there is has been mined in open pits since the days of the Kaiser and it was one of the chief resources the Nazis and the GDR relied on for their quest to gain “self sufficiency”. The Nazis even made jet fuel from lignite. Nowadays lignite is used almost exclusively to produce electricity in places like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwarze_Pumpe_power_station

    The ongoing mining creates areas that look like this: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tagebau_Welzow_Süd_Panorama.jpg or this: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:050816-See-in-Flutung-Klinge.jpg

    Your “concern” about solar panels hurting the desert (and fun fact if the desert environment is too sensitive for PV, you can also put them atop waste heaps and next to freeways as long as it is sunny) is duly noted, but it pales compared to the alternative. Or should I go on by talking about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountaintop_removal_mining

    A smart man once said, we will have to die one of those multiple deaths anyhow. I much rather pay the price that solar and wind will indubitably cost than continue to pay the price that coal gas oil and uranium have already cost millions of humans.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I would love to see mandatory solar panels on all new California construction. If you covered every roof in LA, you could power the city. There isn’t any need to pave over the Mojave, while the LA basin is already paved over. Or of course, there is always this: http://inhabitat.com/massive-solar-serpent-winds-along-the-santa-monica-freeway/

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Solar panels are less efficient laying flat. Much better to put them at an angle.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Of course. That’s why the solar panels you see in Germany are invariably built at an angle. Some of them even have grass underneath and/or between them and probably constitute an habitat all by themselves…

    wdobner Reply:

    Have you ever been to Lusatia? (Lausitz in German) I have. It’s one of the biggest lignite mining areas in Europe and probably the world. There the dirtiest and cheapest fossil fuel there is has been mined in open pits since the days of the Kaiser and it was one of the chief resources the Nazis and the GDR relied on for their quest to gain “self sufficiency”.

    Not as such. I did ride a bus down the A13 between Berlin and Dresden, but that runs a bit west of that area. However, I did travel west of Kön with the Garzweiler and Hambach lignite mines. I’m not sure how you became confused to the point where I’d think that a strip mine is preferable. There are methods of power production which do not require such dispersed impacts on ecology, and trying to justify the damage done by solar and wind by arguing it’s slightly better than coal is a facile argument. And for all the much trumpeted ‘success’ by Germany, fossil fuels still provide 2/3rds their electricity and nuclear provides as much power as solar and wind. That level of ineffectiveness is not worth the cost Germany is paying.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Stromerzeugung_Deutschland.png I don’t know how good your German is, but your data on the relative importance of nuclear energy seems outdated… According to this graphic nuclear is at roughly 14.1% whereas renewables come in at round about 30% with of course a falling trend for the former and a rising trend for the latter.

    Now as for uranium, the countries marked on this map: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Karte_Urangewinnung.svg together provide 94% of global uranium production. Some of them are countries from which dependency is no major problem (the US, Canada, Australia) others on this map… Well let’s just say they are not governed by the shiny happy people’s Republic of the people…

    This https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arandis_Mine_quer.jpg is what a uranium mine looks like (granted the fuel use for nuclear plants is much lower than for coal fired plants, but uranium is much less concentrated than coal) and to take just one of countless examples, the Uranium mining in the Ore Mountains (“SDAG Wismut” if the name rings a bell) has been so dirty that twenty five years later we are still not done with the cleaning up, to say nothing of the human cost.

    But at least in Germany and probably in the US the facts of nuclear are not all that relevant (yes politics is frustrating) because it is a political non-starter.

    So mining is dirty and uranium is at least in part produced by shady regimes. Fracking has its own downsides. Solar has some downsides as well (Though they mostly only concern the production of the panels and to some degree panels can be recycled) and wind has arguably the smallest downside – a few birds may hit wind turbines, but in recent years better design has reduced that greatly. Some people find wind turbines aesthetically questionable, but that is if anything a question of time. I for one rather like wind turbines.

    And even if we somehow made uranium mining clean and flipped the narrative on nuclear power, Uranium is a finite resource and with current technology we won’t be able to satisfy a large portion of world energy needs for a very long time before it runs out. And what then?

    wdobner Reply:

    Again with the strawman arguments.

    According to this graphic nuclear is at roughly 14.1% whereas renewables come in at round about 30% with of course a falling trend for the former and a rising trend for the latter.

    I did not say “renewables”, I said “solar and wind” and had been looking at this slightly older image. Including hydro and biomass as renewables given the inability to significantly increase the former and the severe environmental damage from the latter is artificially inflating the impact of the renewables sector. For all the plaudits, solar increased by just two tenths of a percentage points from year to year. The growth in wind is impressive, but their toll on wildlife is unacceptable.

    Now as for uranium, the countries marked on this map:… together provide 94% of global uranium production.

    Why do you think we need to mine uranium? Do we not have spent nuclear fuel which still has more than 90% of its energy unused? Again you’re arguing against the light water reactor and I’m wholly in agreement with you on that. But the light water reactor is one example of wide variety of nuclear reactors. Reactors can be fueled with the waste from light water reactors and provide a century or more of power without the requirement to perform any mining.

    And once that runs out we can use seawater extraction of uranium to supply energy without requiring strip mining.

    But at least in Germany and probably in the US the facts of nuclear are not all that relevant (yes politics is frustrating) because it is a political non-starter.

    Only because of the irrational fears of the Baby Boomers and their counterparts in other countries.

    Uranium is a finite resource

    It effectively is not. At current worldwide electrical energy consumption of 650GWe there is enough Uranium in seawater to maintain that level of production for around 7 million years. That’s to say nothing of other fissionable elements which are even more common in both the crust and seawater. Even using a Light Water Reactor with an efficiency of just 5 to 10% the would result in thousands of years of energy.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You have yet to show your supposed effects of wind turbines on wildlife. And given that Germany (with its extremely strict environmental regulations) had some of the biggest solar panel producers might also call into question that solar is (necessarily) “dirty”.

    And trust me – at least in Germany – the baby boomers are far from the only generation to oppose nuclear energy.

    As for your claim to make nuclear power from nuclear waste… That was what breeding reactors were supposed to do… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wunderland_Kalkar this is what has become of it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reprocessing Nuclear reprocessing has also failed to gain currency…

    And you also fail to address the elephant in the room: Building a nuclear power plant is a financial risk that no private investor in a democracy undertakes under normal circumstances. Governments subsidize renewable energies: You cry foul. After decades of wasting money on nuclear energy, you want yet more government subsidies for nuclear energy. I have to ask: Why?

    Aarond Reply:

    There’s plenty of demand for increasing track capacity, right now both Cajon and Tehachapi are bottlenecks on the national freight rail network. In particular, the high grades make trains slower and much shorter. Much as they do for passenger rail. Tunnels mean longer trains and faster trains.

    Electrification is great as well, but doesn’t offer the same immediate benefits.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Could electrification be paid for in part by federal or state credits?

    I am not saying subsidies, but rather federally guaranteed credits at the low rates possible right now. With maybe some nudging of the railroads for them to take the money (e.g. they can claim the money spent on it against their taxes or something)

    Aarond Reply:

    The main issue, from my understanding, is that railroads aren’t be allowed to sell excess power to the grid or to cities as it would violate antitrust laws. So there’s less of a reason to invest in power transmission equipment in the first place.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    There does not seem to be a reason not to change this rule.

    Or am I missing something here?

    Aarond Reply:

    Well, here in the US things only happen if someone can make money off it. Electrification of railways is something they’d have to elect to do themselves. And, part of making that more palatable is giving them more ways to make money off the power they generate.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yes. That’s my point: Why can’t railways sell excess power to the grid?

    EJ Reply:

    Why would the railways have excess power? Most railway electrification in the US is powered from the grid, the exception being the ex-PRR system used by Amtrak and NJT with its oddball frequency that has it’s own generation and transmission system.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It might make sense for the railways if they have a large network to at least have backup that is more or less independent of the general grid…

    Most railways in Europe have their own power plants…

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Aarond

    The class ones are not doing that well at the moment. One of the reasons they do not want to invest in fixed infrastructure, such as catenary. Or expanded trackage. Just the minimal.

    Aarond Reply:

    They’re at least profitable operations though, and are generating net income. That’s more than what CHSRA/CAHSR is at the moment.

    synonymouse Reply:

    At the moment? I suggest the optimal route might just break even. Worth it but not this Palmdale turkey.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    You think Palmdale alone will make the route unprofitable. That is foolish.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    CAHSR will be profitable just like Eurostar is. Or the JRs. Mark my words.

    Who will bet against me?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Bahnfreund Not me!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    @car(e)free: I would have been surprised had you said otherwise…

    Aarond Reply:

    No, not mix freight and HSR traffic. Have it run parallel, inside the same tunnel. 1 tunnel, 2 systems, 4 tracks total. There is never a situation where HSR or freight have to occupy the same track space since both systems would be isolated from each other.

    A 1% grade tunnel under Tehachapi at 60-79 mph can move more trains than a 20-30 mph corridor at a 2-3% grade. Figure in both the time required to connect/deconnect helpers, and the extra time spent going around curves and the higher grades.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    An alignment that has to both reduce grades and curves will be expensive. But if you’re building a tunnel anyway, the damage might be a bit limited…

    Aarond Reply:

    Generally speaking, 220 mph HSR will require wide curves and low grades (max 2%) that 60-79 mph freight won’t have any problems with. The only issue is that a tunnel built for freight requires more ventilation and a taller ceiling.

    Also, the list of CAHSR alignments don’t preclude freight rail (from an engineering standpoint):

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/Palmdale_Burbank/Palmdale_Burbank_Old_and_New_Alternatives.pdf

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It does from a scheduling standpoint. Unless you think the whole point of building HSR is to run a train every other hour.

    Aarond Reply:

    The entire basis of this idea was that freight would have their own two (2) tracks, and HSR would have their own two (2) tracks. They would only share a single tunnel (which would be four (4) tracks wide).

    It’s more technically challenging, but it is a means to split the costs.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Many tunnels for HSR are now single track per bore. I don’t know whether a four track tunnel with HSR and freight in it has ever been done. Let alone a tunnel of significant length.

    Aarond Reply:

    There’s a first for everything, including a 16m x 7m x 32,000m tunnel from Burbank to Palmdale and another from Palmdale to Bakersfield.

    For comparison, Big Bertha in Seattle is 17m wide (8.5m radius).

    Joe Reply:

    Swiss will run electric and have no dedicated freight tracks.

    http://m.dw.com/en/exploring-the-worlds-deepest-and-longest-train-tunnel/a-19284501

    But they seem to have one rack per bore.

    “GBT consists of two big train tunnels spaced about 40 m apart from each other, enabling trains to flow in both directions simultaneously, plus four smaller interconnector tunnels between the main tubes, to enable emergency evacuations in case a fire ever breaks out in one of the main tubes.”

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t know what you think the difference between 220 mph HSR and 200 mph HSR is, but along the Cologne Frankfurt line the Velaro D (capable of 320 km/h on French lines + 10% in testing due to EU regulations) runs at 300 km/h – even on the stretches where the grade reaches 4% – which is too steep for any freight.

    Of course CAHSR might not want to buy a train that can climb a 4% incline, but if they do they can save a lot of money…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The dimensions of a 4 track tunnel would be ridiculously large, and cost exponentially more than the Gotthard per kilometer. Given the losses in coal and oil traffic the railroads have no interest in huge long term capital investments such as base tunnels through California mountains. Yes they would enjoy operational savings (eventually) but who knows if they’ll still enjoy the same container volumes via the west coast ports in twenty years. They have plenty of stranded assets in the coalfields, they will be gun shy about building more in the west.
    As for hauling containers to the Palmdale area, only UP has service there and only UP has operating rights between the ports and Palmdale. Furthermore most traffic is going east rather than north. Shippers would not be very interested in a Palmdale shuttle or in establishing DCs in the high desert. It’s too far west. Better to spend the money electrifying to Barstow and Yermo to leave shippers with competitive options.

    Aarond Reply:

    @Dyson

    good point, but the cost would be split between both the private RRs and the state. It’d still cost an immense amount of money, but it would be distributed between two parties. Also, doing a tunnel benefits both north and easternbound trains.

    The entire point of this is to get costs down for the state, or at least get the tunnel built within a reasonable period of time.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Well Aarond, read what I wrote. The railroads have no desire to make such an investment. And the enlargement to 4 tracks, 2 with freight clearances, would more than double the cost so there is no benefit to either party. And how does it benefit eastbound trains? Crack open your atlas, electronic or paper, and see that BNSF traffic could not use it and UP traffic would have to go north to Mojave then east over BNSF on trackage rights before getting to Yermo. And no way to serve the sunbelt states. You have to understand right of way ownership and rights before you (and the other posters) make these wild suggestions.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Dyson

    That isn’t entirely accurate. The freight railroads have long wanted better access to the ports, but capacity would not allow it. In fact, thousands of trucks a day operate between the ports and rail yards in the Inland Empire, due to the fact the railroads simply can’t get enough trains to the ports. A rail link with intermodal transfer facilities in Palmdale (UP) and Victorville (BNSF) allows many trains to come from the north (UP) and the east (BNSF). The only main route not directly linked into the system is UP’s route towards Phoenix and San Antonio, but that is linked by the Alameda Corridor East. There is actually a decent business case to this. Moreover, the Surfliner and Metrolink would love more access to the freight railroads that this would bring.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    car free, the railroads need capacity at the ports. That is the choke point. BNSF has tried to get a new terminal for about a decade to serve LA and Long Beach. ICTF is being expanded. On dock rail is a great concept but the piers don’t have many mile long tracks. Once again look at maps.

    agb5 Reply:

    How about a single freight tunnel, with uphill traffic during mid afternoon, and downhill traffic during peak electricity demand in the morning. The heavy downhill trains can generate electricity and sell it it the grid, the uphill trains can profit from the abundance of solar power available during peak sunshine.
    This assumes that the freight trains are electrified and can climb an 3% gradient.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Peak electricity demand is in the afternoon.

    scdennis Reply:

    Three of the tracks through Cajon are BNSF, one of which was built in the last few years.

    The fourth is UP, which also has two tracks headed east through San Gorgonio pass to the Coachella Valley and Arizona.

    Much less freight goes north than east.

    Rich Lowry Reply:

    The fastest and shortest route between LA and SF for HSR is through and under the Tejon Pass. That would avoid the Tehachapi-Palmdale alignment. But how? Build a pair of big tubes between Grapevine and Castaic, each bore 17 M Ø (or a 19 M Ø Herrenknect) with two tracks in each tube and an air pressure separator wall in between, plus exit and safety shelters. The other spaces inside the tubes can carry 8′ Ø Hyperloop tubes, plus several Cal water pipes to avoid pumping costs from
    The tunnels would be about 37-miles long and essentially flat with grades less than 1% just for drainage. Grapevine and Castaic are both around elevation +500′
    The cost avoidance of the 26 (13 twin) tunnels and 23 twin viaducts over fifty route miles on the planned CAL HSR route would offset the costs. In addition the right-of- way costs would be near zero.
    Four or more TBMs could bore the tubes in about 6 years. Cost at ±$1 billion per mile is around $37-billion. What will the Palmdale route cost and how long will it take? The Grapevile Tunnel will save time in the long run.

  4. Bahnfreund
    May 31st, 2016 at 15:58
    #4

    Something that should be pointed out: Both the German and the Italian side are behind in their lines from the Swiss borders to their own HSR network and freight trunk lines https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mannheim%E2%80%93Karlsruhe%E2%80%93Basel_railway#Developments_in_the_21st_century https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karlsruhe%E2%80%93Basel_high-speed_railway

    All that despite bilateral treaties and EU legislation to the effect of those things being of the highest priority… It may well be that Switzerland will for a decade or two have a tunnel and superb infrastructure in their own country dumping rail traffic onto bottlenecks on neighboring countries that did not do their homework…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I actually would argue the opposite is true:

    There’s an increasing rivalry between Germany and France to become the “standard” for a pan-European HSR system. Switzerland and the Alps act a convenient barrier to allow each rail operator to expand its territory before using the new trans-Alpine route to compete head-to-head.

    The reason for this is very simple: the EU as whole benefits from knowing the absolute maximum viability for HSR on the Continent. However, both the French and German have much less incentive to build many of these far-flung routes after they start competing head-to-head through the Alps and it becomes more clear who the “standard” bearer will be.

    In fact, I’d argue that the correct metaphor for a tunnel under the San Gabriels would be BART’s TransBay Tube. A critical investment that helped trigger the revenue needed to complete the system and its viability

    A Gotthard Tunnel outcome, meanwhile, opens the door to XPress West planting its flag in Southern California before CAHSR can clear the Tehacaphis. Even if both operators use the same technology standard (which I doubt), there would still be far more incentive to build out their networks in Northern California and Southern California respectively before connecting them to each other.

    An interesting scenario to be sure…but not one real compatible with Prop 1a…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I am not quite sure we are talking about the same thing here…

    The standards for European HSR are actually a mix of German French and neither. the de facto voltage standard is 25 kV with only the DACH countries as well as Sweden and Norway still clinging to 15 kV. The de facto standard train looks a lot more like the Velaro than like the TGV, even though France tried to ban any Velaro type train from the Channel Tunnel (they lost. Badly.) However, DB and SNCF are both already active in several countries. SNCF owns part of NTV, the Italian “private” railroad and that company in turn uses TGV technology. SNCF is also part owner of Thalys (Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany) so the landscape will probably not change all that much by the opening of the GHBT. Yes, DB has announced direct Frankfurt Milan service for some time 2018 through the GHBT, but given that there are already two HSR operators on the domestic Italian market as well as several bus companies, I see it as unlikely that DB will enter into the Italian domestic market with force. Now the “k.u.k.” market of former Austria-Hungary seems dominated by ÖBB already and given that Germany seems to have no pressing interest in better connections to the Czech Republic, this may well stay so for the next couple of decades…

    On the other hand the whole “relieve the North Sea Mediterranean freight axis” part of the GHBT plan cannot come to fruition if any part between North Sea and Mediterranean is congested. The Maschen freight yard may well become a bottleneck once again, once Denmark electrifies its main lines and if and when the Fehmarnbelt Line opens for freight. But currently all of this pales in front of the backlog along the Rhine… And the same can be said for Italy..

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Could be. I was falling asleep last night trying to finish my thought…

    The lack of upgrades on both the German and Italian sides is a classic Prisoner’s Dilemma, if you will. Neither side wants to surrender any leverage, so both of them refuse to cooperate with each other.

    But as to the rivalry of between SNCF and DB, I wasn’t referring to technical standards, per se. Instead, I meant it in the broader sense of platform standards that firms use to anchor themselves to their market share.

    For example, I understood the “French model” of HSR to involve total separation from conventional freight rail infrastructure to the extent that city centers are bypassed in favor of HSR-only green-field stations. The “German model” I thought, emphasized more synergy with freight and non HSR track but with more convenient stations and lower costs. Of course, the French model also reinforces a unitary political structure concentrated in one, dominant capital city. The German model, by contrast, emphasizes more political and economic decentralization.

    Either way, there are studies in SCAG’s archives done on a potential MAGLEV train between Anaheim and Las Vegas from the late 90’s. What are the chances that Xpress West dusts those off to help expand their reach in Southern California before CAHSR can get there in the first place?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Even Germany has started to go away from shared HSR and freight tracks. And Montabaur and Limburg are arguably greenfield stations in the middle of nowhere as is Siegburg…

    However, your observation that political systems and settlement patterns to a certain extent dictate the way HSR looks like is indeed correct.

    As for the lack of national cooperation… Yeah, I think this is part of the reason why the US has a higher rail freight modal share… It is not as easy to run a freight train from Madrid to Warsaw as it is to run a freight train from Los Angeles to New York… And national egoisms are part of the reason for that…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The lack of upgrades in the Rhine valley and south of Chiasso/Luino has nothing to do with “Leverage”; it is more so that the according governments are lazy bums.

    The Rhine valley issues have been known for a long time (Bahnfreund: do you remember CCIR ELKE?)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    No.

    Probably because I am either too young or from the “other corner” (I feel reasonably at home at the North Sea Coast, in Saxony and in Franconia, I have yet to visit most of the Southwest…)

    Max Wyss Reply:

    OK, as a Nordlicht, you probably did not read about the attempts to improve the signalling and train dispatching between Mannheim and Basel. In short, it did kind of work, but was abandoned after a few years…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I am not a Northerner (though I like the North) as can be seen when I order a beer :-P

    What were the things they did? And why did they abandon it?

    It somewhat confuses me when they sometimes say “the line has a capacity of x but currently x+0.1x trains run on it” – How do you run more trains on a line than there is capacity for?

    Or is this “capacity” figure just how many trains can run without a small problem fucking up the whole thing… (e.g. a train being five minutes late will throw off the schedule for a week)

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The capacity is a nominal value, which ensures stable operation.

    However, for example, if you have short trains, you can let them run a bit more frequent than longer trains, because they free a block faster (and may also accelerate faster). With that, you may squeeze in an additional train beyond the nominal capacity.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So a line at 90% capacity may already “notice” problems due to that and a line at 110% capacity might still have room for “just one more” train…

    Another thing: If you want to move the same amount (people or stuff) would that be easier with more shorter or fewer longer trains – from the capacity standpoint…

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Max, you’re “arguing” with a teenage Pufferkusser with at all nothing at all better to do at any time of the day or night than post comment after comment after meaningless comment. Don’t waste your time.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The more similar the operation characteristics of the trains are, the better.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    HSR and freight infrastructure… The “representative” line for TGV operation (the “Imperiale”, Paris – Lyon – Marseille) has essentially been 4-tracked, with (south of Lyon) one double track line used exclusively for freight since about 1950 or so, and the other having still considerable freight besides conventional passenger trains. Therefore, it made a lot of sense to build a new line. In fact, before the Lyon bypass got built, TGVs went through Lyon Part Dieu. The Lyon bypass had, however, a side effect, as its station is part of the Satolas airport (the walking distance between the train station and a terminal is about the same as between two terminals).

    The Avignon stop is at the outskirts, and that for good reasons, because the orientation of the Avignon Centre station is east-west, and would have required too much slowing down. (and, it would have required the LGV to cross the Chateauneuf-de-Pape wine area, it would have ended up very expensive (vineyards are valuated up to 10 times regular agricultural land)). OTOH, it was very easy to add a connector to the centre station.

    The “German model” is that there are no (well essentially no) long-distance non-stop high speed trains (among all the ICE services, there are about half a dozen “sprinters”, nonstop between, for example München and Frankfurt). All “regular” services do have a stop maybe every 30 minutes.

    Bahnfreund’s mentioning of Montabaur and Limburg is correct; I do disagree with Siegburg, because it is also the end point of the light rail line to Bonn, and even with changing trains in Siegburg, it is faster from Frankfurt (and beyond) to Bonn than via the (agreed, more scenic) line along the Rhine.

  5. Clem
    May 31st, 2016 at 19:32
    #5

    The southern mountain crossing does not need such massive tunnels. Comparing the San Gabriels and Tehachapis to the Alps is silly. What’s needed is a return to basics, the most direct alignment with the steepest possible grades resulting in the fewest miles of tunnel. Nothing else stands any chance of being built. At 3.5% ruling grade the entire LA – Bako section can have just 27 route-miles of tunnels compared to the CHSRA’s plans, currently pushing 40 route-miles. With even steeper grades, the amount of tunneling can be further reduced to fewer than 20 route-miles.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Clem, I respect all the engineering work you have done on this, however it simply isn’t possible. prop 1A specifies that CAHSR MUST pass through Palmdale, and this route does not achieve this. End of story. Moreover, Palmdale wants the train and Santa Clarita, Sylmar, and San Fernando don’t. Finally, future transit connections must be considered–for instance, high speed metrolink to Lancaster, and XpressWest service to Las Vegas. Suddenly the whole advantage of crossing one mountain pass (Tejon) over two (Tehachapi and San Gabriel) disappears when one realizes the alternative is San Gabriel and Tejon, because eventually, a high speed link to Vegas and the Antelope Valley will and should be built.

    Domayv Reply:

    they could use Tejon as an express route in the future

    Joey Reply:

    Just like it specifies that Stockton is betwen Merced and Oakland…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Well someday it might be–Merced-Gilroy-San Jose-Palo Alto-Millbrae-Transbay-Oakland

    Clem Reply:

    HSR must go via Palmdale, until it mustn’t.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Perhaps via Delphi first?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Nevada will need to help us find an incremental $4B+ Or so in govt or pvt funds to avoid a value engineering switch to Tejon (after 1A funds are gone). That would strand them since we’re also not expanding I-15 for them.

    The other variable is LA County, if they push Sac to make BUR-PLM as the next segment

    joe Reply:

    The current alignment is an alignment that expects billions in federal funds.

    Nevada has two US senators. That’s going to help HSR gain money past 2017. One Senator has protected billions in HSR money from being pulled back.

    If money is so important, and it is, then having the federal money for the current alignment has to matter as much as the price for the current alignment. That was an alignment going thru palmdale.

    Joey Reply:

    It makes sense under the false pretense that there is no other way to get to Las Vegas.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s the way to go to Las Vegas if you want to spread the cost around with traffic to Bakersfield and points north.

    Eric Reply:

    No, the way is Tejon plus a Las Vegas spur along CA-138.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And in 2040 when Metrolink has Metra levels of ridership, you are screwed.

    Eric Reply:

    In 2040, if Metrolink has Metra levels of ridership, then it uses its two existing tracks to LA, just like any Metra line that successfully relies on a single track pair.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Still waiting for the Tejonistas to publish a map of their route from say Castaic south, avoiding all the no go areas promised by the local pols.

    Joe Reply:

    A well engineered, sensible alignment will sway people to support the project.

    Amiright?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The vast majority of the opponents are NIMBYs. However, NIMBYs live everywhere. The vast majority of the financial and political backers of said NIMBYs don’t give a crap about the alignment. They don’t want any train on any alignment built. They fear for their profits from oil and airlines and cars. And above all they fear the train could be successful. Hence alignment changes will not solve the problem that HSR generates opposition.

    Eric Reply:

    If you can afford a giant unnecessary tunnel from Burbank to Palmdale, then why not a tunnel of similar length from Burbank to Castaic?

    Joey Reply:

    Eric: why would you tunnel from Burbank to Castaic? Most of the Metrolink ROW is very wide, and in the Santa Clarita Valley the alignment would follow I-5 very closely.

    Eric Reply:

    For the same reason that you tunnel from Burbank to Palmdale – to avoid NIMBYs, at immense cost.

    Joey Reply:

    Either way, the wye is between Burbank and Bakersfield. The only difference is which leg Palmdale is on.

    Joe Reply:

    “false pretense”

    People don’t know about your awesome alternatives and instead they support the actual project approved by the CA leglislature along an alignment given in prop1a.

    What’s more important ? This Reality or the reality on Earth-323 which uses the Tejon alignment ?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Prop 1a is a joke; the courts don’t want to have anything to do with its nonsensical self-contradictions.

    The Vegas business model is proving to be shaky over the longer run. Gambling is in decline because it is being run by bankers and bureaucrats who insist the players always lose. And no more subsidized comps like cheap food.

    Vegas has little natural beauty – unlike Tahoe – and is large enough to go really seamy ghetto real fast. Evidently that is one of Atlantic City’s issues.

    Even the economics of the St. Gotthard base tunnel could disappoint in time. We’ll see.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Prop 1a is carte blanche in the real world of Party machine politix.

    les Reply:

    A few interesting results from a recent Vegas tourist survey:
    • 61 percent attended a show, and 72 percent visited a lounge. Of those, 41 percent attended Broadway-style shows, 26 percent attended a performance by a big-name headliner, 12 percent attended a comedy performance, 7 percent attended a magic show and 5 percent attended an impersonator or tribute show.

    32 percent visited downtown Las Vegas. Of those, 59 percent said the main reason was to visit the Fremont Street Experience.

    57 percent of all visitors arrived by ground transportation (cars, RVs and buses); 43 percent arrived by air.

    http://lasvegassun.com/blogs/kats-report/2016/apr/10/survey-describes-las-vegas-average-tourist/

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But but business was down after the Republicans blew up the economy. And it’s going to decline at the same rate forever. Just like they didn’t come back the other times the Republicans blew up the economy.

    les Reply:

    Actually last year was a record year for visits.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    dont confuse him with facts…it makes them mad

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Is there data about how many of the people visiting Vegas would have taken a train (any train) had one been available?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    25 percent of all visitors to Vegas are from southern California. Of those, I would assume at least half would use HSR, so one could conservatively estimate that 12.5 percent of all visitors to Vegas would arrive by train, or 4,543,933 round trips per year–24, 898 total trips per day on average. Assuming a one way ticket form LA to Vegas was $40, the railroad would generate $363,514,689 per year.

    Joe Reply:

    If they put in a 150mph train to LAS the traffic from SoCal will increase. No driving, no traffic and party on the way in. Free tickets and you pay for the booze.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I know–that’s why I called that estimate conservative. I could see the train taking 75% of trips, plus at least 50% from Northern California, plus induced demand. The statistics could easily double.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    And some number of international visitors arriving at LAX would add a side trip to Vegas by HSR

    les Reply:

    I also think there is a healthy percentage of reverse trip travelers. My nephew lives in Vegas and he regularly takes trips to California.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    This company tried and could not fill even a train a day

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vegas_Railway_Express

    I checke out the website. They don’t have anything planned for 2016 so it appears it was a total bust

    http://vegasxtrain.com/coming-soon/

    So experimental data would indicate it is well short of 25%. Closer to 0%

    EJ Reply:

    X-train would have taken something like 5 and a half hours to get to Vegas from LA. Do you literally not understand that Xpress west would do it in about half the time, and these things are time-sensitive? Or are you being disingenuous?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    it is argued on this board all the time that people would rather spend those 5 1/2 hours on a train rather than a car. That an overnight train would be full because people like it better than 2 hours of flying. That given the choice, people would travel in care free luxury than on dirty highways with the masses.

    I am not being disingenuous, I am point out that these ridership estimates are ludicrous in the presence of the actual facts.

    – a train was offered from LA to LV
    – It had 3 classes of seating and charged $200 round trip (lowest class).
    – They could not make it work on a regular schedule (and did not try)
    – They could not make it work on a “chartered” basis either

    Would HSR do better, certainly. But you are advocating that ridership goes from 0 to 25% by cutting time in 1/2. And that does not include the time it takes to drive to the station, which in this case is well outside the city

    Simply put, they have no business plan.

    – it is 240 miles from Palmdale to Las Vegas
    – The cost to operate HSR is $0.50 a mile, assuming they can match Europe which is a strtch considering they should not be as efficient since they have no experience.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/california-bullet-train-elephant-room_n_1465669.html

    – so operating costs are $120 per leg or $240 a round trip (break even).
    – a quick search showed flights starting at $140 round trip.
    – You can get a bus ticket for $5-$10
    – plus they have to pay back the infrastructure loan.

    Thee math is never going to work without free infrastructure (i.e. the government pays) and a subsidy to run the train.

    Math is unforgiving

    Joe Reply:

    Xpresswest is not Xtrain.

    Nouns are not forgiving.

    Jon Reply:

    But you are advocating that ridership goes from 0 to 25% by cutting time in 1/2.

    Yes, that is extremely plausible.

    Your operating cost assumptions – and therefore assumed ticket costs – are implausible. Digging out an apples-to-apples comparison for operating costs for different HSR operators in different countries is going to be challanging, but it’s simple to compare the ticket prices of existing HSR operators to the ticket prices proposed by CAHSR, and doing such a check indicates that those prices are comparable. This in turn implies that the 50c/mile operating cost claimed in the report you link to is greatly overstated, because those companies simply wouldn’t be profitable if it were accurate.

    https://systemicfailure.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/high-speed-rail-operating-costs/

    Good travel times and reasonable ticket prices will attract riders regardless of the mode. In addition, the comfort of a train surpasses the comfort of driving, flying, or taking a bus, and this factor will attract additional riders over those that you would expect based on ticket price and travel time.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The vast majority of travelers (business and pleasure alike) have two concerns when it comes to choice of travel mode:

    Price

    Time

    While some individuals value other factors almost as high in the aggregate those are the only factors that matter. Now trains have a hard time eating into the bus travel market, because people on buses tend to value price over time. However, they have shown to be very successful at eating into the air travel market in countries as different as France and Japan, China and Spain, Germany and Italy and even to some extent the US with the overpriced and not actually high speed Acela.

    Evidence shows that a train that takes three and a half hours or less will have more people on it than the airlines between its two endpoints. I don’t think I have to ask you whether people fly from Los Angeles to Vegas.

    What your cited examples show is that the amount of people who would take “a train, any train” at “any price” is indeed quite low. It does not however show us anything about the number of people that would take a train that travels the distance in three hours or a train that is cheaper than a flight.

    Oh and before you bring up some mumbo jumbo about flight prices… Europe is home to Ryanair who are famous for their one pound offers. Ryanair is notorious for flying to airports with trivial or zero landing fees. Fuel for airliners is not taxed in the EU. If rail can be competitive with air and make a profit in the EU High Speed Rail in the US an too.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i agree…the companies are not profitable. They are subsidized by the state.

    and Acela charges $0.37 a passenger km. More than anyone else for lower levels of service.

    http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2009/09/08/getting-the-price-right-how-much-should-high-speed-fares-cost/

    now 1.6 km per mile = $0.60 per mile. And they break even (when they offload all the maintenance to the other lines and dont pay for infrastructure).

    XTrain is different than Xpresswest, but the economics are the same. Without “free” money from the government passenger train economics dont work.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The JRs are not subsidized. Eurostar is not subsidized. DB Fernverkehr is not subsidized. SNCF long distance is not subsidized. Stop spreading falsehoods.

    Or if you think they are subsidized, please find me the exact number of subsidy the ICE has received in 2012 (I am taking an older years as numbers for more recent years are sometimes hard to come by).

    Airlines of course are subsidized by money losing public airports, no taxes on fuel and “essential” air service. The same goes for buses and cars that rarely pay tolls for the roads they use.

    Meanwhile almost all trains pay track access charges.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    subsidy…simple. Who paid for the track? Proof? granted.

    http://www.economist.com/news/business/21638109-high-speed-networks-are-spreading-fast-face-rising-competition-problems-down-line

    “Supported by EU and national subsidies, Europe has added more than 6,000km of high-speed track”

    “Between 2000 and 2011, as high-speed lines opened across the EU, rail’s overall share of passenger-kilometres travelled was little changed, at 6.4% in 2011. Cars’ share had barely budged, at 72.5%. Buses and coaches lost a percentage point, to 8.2%, with air travel (excluding flights to outside the EU) gaining more than a point, to 8.9%.”

    Dont like that one…ok how about wiki

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

    run down to the rail subsidy line.

    And that is important in this case because Xpresswest says they are paying for the track in addition to operating costs. All forms of transit, including walking, are subsidized. You hate the “unfunded mandate” of parking spaces, but the “unfunded mandate” of sidewalks does not seem to bother you as much (or building codes or any other government regulation that costs money to meet).

    The economics of train travel are well known and fixed. In a best case it can break even if they dont have to pay for the initial infrastructure.

    Now back to this specific example, why do you think it will be cheaper to operate than Acela? How much cheaper. Lets say it is $0.30 a mile, or 1/2 as expensive. still $80 a ride to break even or $90 to turn a modest profit. Then you have to add paying back the loan to build the tracks.

    Show me how the numbers ever work out. Use numbers…not just conjecture.

    les Reply:

    John you’re such a cherry picker. You leave out important facts from your own sources: “Eurostar now claims more than 75% of the combined rail/air market on its main routes; and Paris-Lyon and Madrid-Barcelona are also successful.” Other modes of transportation are fighting back for self preservation which rail is adjusting to. And sure most lines are subsidized as Morris points out on a weekly basis, but many do well and LV-LA has a great shot at being one. It has the optimal distance between nodes, great node population densities, a node that is a major tourist destination, nodes that is part of a future HSR network and a populous that prefers rail over flying or driving. I took Cascades (i hate flying) from Seattle to Portland last week. It cost $50.00 RT at 3 1/2 hrs each way. Air would have taken same amount of time (considering gate time and transpo to/from airports) and 4+ times the cost. Cascades runs at 1/2 the speed of Xpress so not sure how X could fail given Cascades minuscule state subsidy.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If you had cared to actually do your bloody research, you’d know that the subsidy European countries pay their rail operators only ever goes to regional (i.e. non HSR) trains. To dumb it down sufficiently for you: Hamburg-Munich: no subsidy Hamburg S-Bahn: subsidy.

    And as I mentioned a gazillion times before, Deutsche Bahn SNCF and all the others pay track access charges, which are either handed on to the government (the owners of the tracks) as profit or invested into the network for upkeep and new construction.

    When Japanese National Railways was privatized, the new companies took over the construction debt, the network and even some obligations to run certain lines regardless of their profitability. Yet all Shinkansen operators today make a profit.

    And if you read articles on certain rail lines (I do that for fun, cause well, yaknow…) you will often see sentences like “Construction was paid by EU funds, federal funds and the national railway” or the like. Now when was the last time Delta paid for airport upgrades or Megabus paid for a highway upgrade?

    But of course you want to push your ideology, so you treat facts like a nuisance. You hate rail and everything associated with it, so it has to be a black hole into which trillions of dollars disappear. And if anybody dare suggest that oil is finite or the bring up the trillions in subsidy airlines and highways have received you put your palms on your ears and sing lalalala….

    Go ahead. Look up the numbers for JR Central or JR East and tell the CEO that actually he is in a money losing business and being subsidized… Let’s see if Japanese politeness is gonna save you from being laughed at.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Oh and if you want numbers, here’s your fucking numbers: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/investor/ar/2015/pdf/ar_2015-all.pdf

    Joe Reply:

    Nationwide rail subsidies for HSR at the system level don’t disprove fiscal viability of short, high traffic rail corridors like those in Texas or NV.

    Cherry picking city pairs could be profitable and profit need not be the sole motivation: private return on investment can include establishing an early presence in the USA market.

    Anyone know if Amazon is profitable yet ?! Maybe John needs to write Jeff an essay in business smarts.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Joe I am sorry, where is the nationwide HSR subsidy?

    Japan does not have one

    Germany does not have one

    France does not have one

    Spain does not have one

    The only thing you could construe as a “subsidy” is the fact that routes are usually built by the state and then managed by a state owned agency. However, said agency is a for profit entity that charges for track access and is usually in the black. Sometimes so much so, that competitors and the EU suspect foul play…

    So… Where is the subsidy?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. So we agree. They subsidize the infrastructure and the operating costs on the short routes and just the infrastructure on the long routes. Glad we are on the same page. and for the umpteenth time, I agree with you, all forms of transit are subsidized. so we 100% agree, rail gets a subsidy like everyone else.

    1b. As I understand it, these are the same companies. So when they are given a subsidy (17 billion euro a year in Germany as an example) the company that gets that money runs both kinds of trains. So overall, the company is not profitable without a subsidy on an operating basis.

    2. Xpresswest has specifically said they will pay for the infrastructure. Unlike the profitable rail lines in your example. That makes them different. as a private company, with no subsidy, they would have to operate this line as well as pay for the construction and turn a profit. Explain how that math works to me because I am still confused. Joe seems to think they will do it to “break into the US market” which is interesting since there is no proof the US market for passenger rail will ever turn a profit and lots of proof it does not.

    3. Your statement about JNR is 100% wrong. The state paid off the debt. 310 billion….impressive investment. As it turned out a good investment, given the success of the HSR lines, in the “common good” just what the government is supposed to do. But I have no problem telling the CEO of any Japan Railway that they received a huge subsidy to get started. Good for them that they reached self sustaining after that.

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

    By 1987, JNR’s debt was over ¥27 trillion ($280 billion at 2009 exchange rates) and the company was spending ¥147 for every ¥100 earned.[3] By an act of the Diet of Japan, on April 1, 1987 JNR was privatized and divided into seven railway companies, six passenger and one freight, collectively called the Japan Railways Group or JR Group. Long-term liabilities of JNR were taken over by the JNR Settlement Corporation. That corporation was subsequently disbanded on October 22, 1998, and its remaining debts were transferred to the national budget’s general accounting.[4] By this time the debt has risen to ¥30 trillion ($310 billion in 2009 dollars).

    4. If they stay private, and dont use government loans or pay them back, the Xpresswest is free to lose as much money as they like. I was commenting that a fare of $80 round trip does not jive with the known operating costs of established systems.

    I dont hate trains. I only hate bad logic and bad math.

    Joe Reply:

    The rest of the world does as they wish unfettered by libertarian and US conservative ideology.

    Texas officials openly admit that a private system will look different than the public system. The private system is designed for profit a public system is a public service.

    If you want to build an empirical case then you need to train your empirical model on relevant examples. What we see internationally is a focus on public service. The full benefits of an electrified high-speed rail system seem to be realized by putting public benefit above profit.. This doesn’t mean they can’t be profitable, it just means that eventually the public want the full benefit and profit becomes his secondary concern.

    Express West is currently working on a business plan and ridership plan. I’m sure if they need help I’ll give you a call.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We can spend money on more highway and more airport or spend less money on HSR and get the same capacity.
    A highway lane can carry 2000 cars an hour. An HSR track can carry many times more people. Eight 750 passenger trains an hour can carry 5600 at 100% full and around 4,000 at 70% full. It will, with long single level trains have capacity for 12,000 an hour.
    Assume all the new car trips are really packed at an average of three people per car. How much is it going to cost to add four lanes in each direction on I-5?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It is hard to determine whether a subsidy for rail infrastructure actually exists in Germany or France. It certainly does not exist in Japan. As I said, the companies owning the infrastructure are for profit and pay that money into the general revenue of the state, from which among other things new railway construction is financed. Now it may be that in some years there is more money spent on upkeep and new construction than comes in from track access charges, but in other years that is reversed. So what you call a subsidy can reach a negative amount and has in the past done so.

    Now to the regional train subsidy… Apparently you are under another misapprehension. The subsidy is paid only after a bidding process in which several companies submit bids for the route and service. The bids all have to accept the number of trains and the schedule and often further things like WiFi or electrical outlets are specified as well. Usually the winner of the bid is the company requiring the lowest subsidy. However, the prices are also set by the state. If for example the trains always run at 110% of capacity, the operator cannot raise prices to make ridership more manageable and/or enhance their bottom line. And those prices are sometimes very competitive. For instance, you can get a day ticket for the entire state of Bavaria for 23€ and for a group of five that same ticket costs 31€. Now try and make a profit from a group of five making a round trip that is 200 kilometers one way for that price. And for regional trains the price stays the same whether you book a month in advance or five minutes, whether you book an overbooked train or the empty coffee run. Al that of course has a good reason: Those trains provide a public service for everyone.

    On the other hand long distance trains like the ICE do not receive a subsidy but the operator is free to set whichever price they damn well please. Before the advent of long distance buses, there were even some private operators in competition with Deutsche Bahn running their own long distance trains. Without a subsidy and with the prices they damn well pleased. Often along lines built before the Federal Republic of Germany even came into existence and all of them paying their taxes and track access charges.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    What you said

    When Japanese National Railways was privatized, the new companies took over the construction debt

    What actually happened

    remaining debts were transferred to the national budget’s general accounting.[4] By this time the debt has risen to ¥30 trillion ($310 billion in 2009 dollars).

    A 310 Billion dollar start is a hell of a subsidy. Even HSR could show a profit if they were just given 310 billion up front.

    Look, I am not against a subsidy for transit. It is a basic government function like education, police, fire, courts, etc. I pay taxes (a lot of taxes) so these services can be provided. They will never “make money” and are societal goods.

    What I am not ok with, however, is saying they are not subsidized. It is easy (took me 1 min) to find all these rail lines were subsidized. It is true that JR does not currently receive a subsidy, good for them, but a 310 billion up front payment is a hell of a jump start. I am not saying it is bad or wasted, I am saying it existed.

    Now back to the point of this sub-thread. Xpresswest has stated they can make money running an HSR train from LV to Palmdale. They are not a government agency, they are a private business. So they have to run a profit after operating expenses and infrastructure expenses. I simply stated I dont see how they can do that when even the most efficient and advanced HSR lines in the world cant do that.

    if they want to waste thier money trying that is there right. Plenty of people has wasted plenty of money on less

    https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/biggest-startup-failures/
    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/technology/1003/gallery.dot_com_busts/index.html

    But I suspect, at some point, they will ask the government for a loan because no one with that kind of money is going to invest given that no modern train system has shown that kind of earning potential. can they pay back that loan or will they become…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A123_Systems
    or
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyndra

    I am still waiting so see someone show me the math on how they run at a profit paying for infrastructure.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_National_Railway_Settlement_Corporation This article says that 40% of the JNR debt was taken over by the JRs. So instead of a some trillion Yen head start as you claim, they started several trillion Yen in debt…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    By the way, about Solyndra, WP says the following:

    By 2014 the loan program had wiped out its losses, including a $528 million loss from Solyndra, and was operating in the black

    Interesting that Faux Noise never mentions this…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It very specifically said 310 billion was transferred to the government. Just because that is not all the debt is irrelevant. They got a 310 billion subsidy. Why is it so hard for you to admit you were wrong. JR clearly did not pay the entire debt. They got a :10 billon free pass

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And how much have they paid in taxes since? And remember, they did have to pay 40% of the debt…

    So all in all the “subsidy” you are talking about becomes very close to nonexistent. And if we make the same calculation for the airlines…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They didn’t pay 40% of the debt. Read the article. 40% of the debt was transferred to them and they made interest payments for awhile until the government stepped in. Quote below

    You are wrong, just admit you are wrong, JR got a huge subsidy to start out. Your pride is keeping you from admitting it.

    – And they are private, they always had to pay taxes and you have no idea if it is close to 310 billion which is irrelevant anyway
    – and airlines are irrelevant also. We are talking about Xpresswest and JR.

    Be and adult. Admit you are wrong

    While the smaller portion was expected to be repaid, the three JR Group railway companies were not held liable for failed earnings, and only made significant profit through sale of stock. JNR dignitaries staggered interest payments on the large existing debt to keep the JNRSC from paying back the debts that it was expected to. During its tenure, the debt increased, leaving taxpayers to pay off nearly ¥24 trillion as of 2009.[citation needed]

    joe Reply:

    The DOE Loan Program was net positive and in the black.

    Solyndra went bankrupt and did not fully pay back debt but the Feds can choose to get full payment back from the Chinese who were then accused and later found to be dumping solar panels on the US market.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-10-17/solyndra-lenders-ahead-of-government-won-t-recover-fully

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/17/business/energy-environment/-us-imposes-steep-tariffs-on-chinese-solar-panels.html

    So illegal dumping caused prices to drop and undercut Solyndra’s business.

    if this were a private bank, they’d go after the money but it makes no sense for the US to escalate and seek funds for a program that was 100% successful.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Let’s just agree to disagree.

    But before you dismiss me as a liar, have a look https://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/defrauding-the-public-on-european-rail-profits/ here and https://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/is-low-cost-intercity-rail-possible/ here…

    Trentbridge Reply:

    From Las Vegas Review Journal: May 30 2016:

    Convention attendance continued to soar in April, keeping visitor volume for the month in positive territory compared with last year, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported Thursday.

    The authority reported 3.544 million visitors for the month compared with 3.540 million in April 2015, a 0.1 percent increase.

    The city is on pace for a record year, 2.6 percent of 2015’s pace for the first four months of the year. At the end of April, the authority reported 14.1 million visitors.

    Most of the decline in gambling is the increasingly neglected slot machines – which are a passé form of entertainment for smartphone users: dancing video symbols isn’t that enthralling any more..

    Although Nevada casinos saw a slight 2.44 percent decline in overall statewide gaming win in April, one reason was that the month ended on a Saturday, meaning that some of the winnings from wagers at the end of the month won’t be counted until May, he said.

    For the fiscal year that started July 1, 2015, gaming win has increased 0.67 percent.

    The game and table win in April was up 4.1 percent and totaled $308.6 million, but slot win was down 5.7 percent at $567.4 million.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Check out Montbleu in Tahoe – the pay table on video poker is as poor as at Graton. Suckers’ game, but of course they are plentiful, especially in California where there are only low pay games.

    Still the gambling allure of Vegas glory days is gone. They could not even handle Ben Affleck, who AFAIK was not cheating.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They are all sucker games. The house always wins. since someone carved some bone into a cube…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Unless you “cheat” like card counting in Blackjack. It’s statistically proven that you can beat the house doing that if you are good at it. Which is of course why Vegas throws you out if they catch you at it….

    EJ Reply:

    Technically card counting isn’t cheating. Cheating is illegal and they can and will arrest you for it. They’ll just 86 you if they catch you counting cards.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They have made it much harder to count cards. Mostly different shuffling techniques to screw up the count.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Of course they make beating the bank harder, even if the technique employed to do it is not technically speaking “cheating”. There is one rule to gambling: the bank always wins.

    Joey Reply:

    The point is that the goals of Nevada’s legislators aren’t dependent on the current alignment. Whether the current alignment is far enough along that it wouldn’t make sense to switch is a completely different question. Though I would say I doubt it – the switch to IOS-North means that there’s still a lot of time before anything is built on that segment and the reduced construction cost could very well make up the time required for the additional environmental reviews.

    Joe Reply:

    Point is your dead ass making up facts contrary to the Nevada official’s public comments.

    I can repost Harry Ried’s letter to Gov Brown but you’ve already wishes it away favoring your mind reading and “logic”.

    Joey Reply:

    And that’s under the assumption that Palmdale is the only way to connect CAHSR to Las Vegas. What real reason does anyone in Nevada have for supporting a particular alignment other than that?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Being part of the ancient BART conspiracy ™ ?

    Joe Reply:

    A Business plan is required. A critical goal is connecting to CA HSR and estimating ridership to SoCal and NorCal and construction which means they do not have TBD and need to estimate the distance and cost competitiveness – that means they establish an alignment and Base their plans and price on that alignment.

    They have the Palmdale alignment on the Xpresswest site.

    Joey Reply:

    So don’t question the official plan because it’s the official plan. Got it.

    Joe Reply:

    Mack and a financial consultant gave the authority board an update on XpressWest’s $8 billion, 185-mile, dual-track system with no grade crossings between Las Vegas and Victorville, roughly along the Interstate 15 right-of-way.

    The project’s second phase would extend the track 50 miles west from Victorville to Palmdale, where it would intersect with existing commuter rail service.

    Eventually, that commuter rail would be upgraded to high-speed rail when the California system is completed. In the third phase, XpressWest trains would link directly to the California line.


    XpressWest’s next big undertaking is completing an investment-grade ridership and revenue study evaluating service between Anaheim, Los Angeles, Burbank, Palmdale, Victorville, Las Vegas and Northern California being conducted by international transportation consultant Steer Davies Gleave.

    HSR to Palmdale is a critical aspect of any cost to construct estimate and ridership-revenue model.

    les Reply:

    Xpress seems to be quietly pushing forward waiting for some final EIS/EIRs and ridership studies to be completed. I found this doc from April from NDOT:

    https://www.nevadadot.com/uploadedFiles/NDOT/About_NDOT/Board_of_Directors/Item%207%20Presentation%20April%202016.pdf

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s strange that this isn’t on their website (which still claims construction activities starting by August/September).

    Also, it’s not going to be possible to offer a “1 seat ride between LA and Las Vegas” if they have an FRA safety waiver. Their own maps indicate a transfer between either Metrolink’s Antelope Valley line, or CAHSR. There’s also apparently no talk of where the Vegas station would go exactly.

    Perhaps it’s just a cultural thing (Chinese business practices vs more western ones) but everything here still seems off.

    les Reply:

    It doesn’t say “FRA safety waiver”. Says “FRA issues Buy America waiver” which I believe only pertains to financing.

    Aarond Reply:

    Good point, I should have caught that. Makes me really wonder what exactly XPW will look like, if it even is still a thing.

    les Reply:

    What if you mean it is still such a thing? Better forewarn these folk:
    http://www.rtcsnv.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/NHSRA-2016-05-31-FINAL.pdf

    Aarond Reply:

    I guess I’m full of shit for expecting this to be on XPW’s website. It *is* a privately financed project, after all.

    Anyway, that’s the proof I was looking for. Thanks for posting it. Though I wonder if XPW will actually build a fancy Victorville station.

    Also: pages 19 (“dave”) and 64 (skytrain) actually did make me laugh out loud.

    les Reply:

    obviously nevada’s authority, for whatever reasons, is not up to california’s standards.
    I think they are being hush hush until they get the politically charged elements taken care of (primarily the mojave route issues).

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Judging from the Canal business in Nicaragua (from which nothing can be heard or seen despite construction supposedly having started in 2014) Chinese business practices really are that opaque…

    Joe Reply:

    Silly headline but a good 5/31 article updating status and next steps.
    http://m.reviewjournal.com/news/traffic-transportation/xpresswest-executives-have-talked-hyperloop-one-about-high-speed-rail

    XPRESSWEST EXECUTIVES HAVE TALKED HYPERLOOP ONE ABOUT HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s Hyperloop doing in that headline?

    Joe Reply:

    I believe the X press West officials had a due diligence obligation to talk to the hyper loop yahoos about that option and document the immaturity of the technology.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Clem, another short term possibility is the capitulation – the cheapest possible SR14 route, significantly slower and clearly commute.

    Clem Reply:

    SR14 is a festival of tunnels, which prompted the question “why not tunnel directly to Burbank”. Tejon is still far easier.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I thought somewhat similarly, except why not bypass Burbank altogether for a straight to LA route?

    Most likely scenario: spend a huge amount of money on mediocrity, the true extent of the failure only becoming clear later. BART redux.

    It is senseless to spend this amount of money on a blended op. You have to be able to automate to justify this kind of expense. Widespread strikes in Europe currently underline this reality.

  6. JBinSV
    May 31st, 2016 at 20:16
    #6

    OT
    Rode on Vancouver light rail from airport to downtown today.
    While crossing the cable-stayed bridge I noticed the breather switch that allows for movement and expansion of the bridge. I have not seen a breather switch before. It makes sense. The full section rail is guided by a gang of braces and the points fit inside.

    System is automated so you can look out the front window.
    Noise was about half as loud as BART (which likely causes hearing loss for the BART operators).

    Tunnel under downtown was bored and lined with the concrete segments. The bore winds smoothly with eaments.

    System is simple and effective. Generous and consistent deceleration to approach the platform.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I love the SkyTrain

    JBinSV Reply:

    Vancouver is a graduate level seminar in architecture. A great city for walking. Beautiful.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Welcome to town. If you’re up for some site-seeing/transit nerding, the SeaBus has some of the best public views.

    JBinSV Reply:

    Thank you Bdawe
    It will have to be next time. Our ship leaves after lunch. I plan to enjoy as much as I can this morning.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Amalgamated don’t play automated.

  7. Jerry
    Jun 1st, 2016 at 00:19
    #7

    Work has started on the Cottonwood Creek bridge in CP1.

    http://m1.mail-work.com/9a21nLyjaY/d4a3/56b5/1a02t8241nLo8z/vnqnLpnvgv7/bh1uix8241nLq/v01z8pxf?_c=d%7C12n93n4q5o65m8b%7C1428kvh1uo8m10i&_ce=1464765381.cba910dbf9e28cf0e84c695af914f4f2

    agb5 Reply:

    The authority has apparently given up on posting images to its flickr account, which is a shame because it was the best source of hi-res photos.
    I still think they should make their live webcams at the construction zones public.

    Jerry Reply:

    At least time lapse photos from their webcams.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I love having construction updates, and look forward to seeing more in the future.

  8. morris brown
    Jun 1st, 2016 at 06:13
    #8

    Fox and Hounds: Gov. Brown, Time to Cut the Losses on High Speed Rail

    Tokkyu40 Reply:

    It’s amazing how the author looks back on the failure of something that hasn’t even been built yet.
    I wish he went into more detail about why this will be the only HSR system in the world to fail to earn an operating profit after completion.
    Unless the whole point is actually how much he hates the idea of HSR and wants to make sure that no one can choose for themselves.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Don’t bring up profits…

    The anti-HSR crowd will raise a non-sequitur about which lines have paid back their construction cost…

    Which is about as useful as asking which one year old startup has paid back all credits it ever took…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    When will you quit posting stupid ani HSR rants on that unreliable, poorly written , conservative-liberatarian blog

    Aarond Reply:

    In fairness, the article posted there on Marijuana taxes suggests the revenue could go towards “transportation funding”.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Conservaspeak for highways…

    Oh and airports…

  9. Max Wyss
    Jun 1st, 2016 at 09:09
    #9

    A little bit of nitpicking, but in the map, it should read “Göschenen” instead of “Andermatt”.

    Andermatt is an important village in the Gotthard area, but the old rail tunnel and the road tunnel run between Göschenen and Airolo.

    Note to moderator: this comment can be deleted after the correction is done.

    Edward Reply:

    It’s a Wikimedia map. The moderator has no way to correct it. If it bothers you you can complain, or correct, the map at Wikimedia.

    Ted K. Reply:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andermatt

    Per the above Andermatt is an intersection town just north of the St. Gotthard pass. It seems the map makers chose a place where roads and rails crossed for their map.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Obviously the map makers had no clue…

    Ted K. Reply:

    Mein lieber Herr, sehen Sie unter.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Dieser Satz ist….

    … unvollständig

    auf Sächsisch:

    unvollständsch

    auf Tschechisch:

    neúplný

    Sorry, but I had to :-P

    Ted K. Reply:

    Wie bitte ? Was ist denn los ?

    I admit my college German is rusty, but Google’s Translate tool says I was not too wide of the mark (per GT : “My dear sir, you will see below.”). Looking back, and further down in the comments, I made a sort of double entendre out of “unter”.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    For see below you would have to say “sehen Sie weiter unten”

    Your sentence implies “see under…” and that was what made the sentence sound incomplete…

    Ted K. Reply:

    Danke.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Keine Ursache.

    Ted K. Reply:

    P.S. Here’s a quote from the Wikipedia article :

    The opening, in 1881, of the St. Gotthard railway tunnel, however, reverted its fortunes as the tunnel runs immediately beneath the town, connecting the Central Swiss town Göschenen with Airolo in Ticino. Some Andermattians, who worked on the tunnel were killed during its construction.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It always fascinates me how people seem to have just accepted the death toll of construction projects way back when…

    EJ Reply:

    The workers tried to go on strike at one point, demanding, among other things, better working conditions. The Swiss Army was called out and shot a bunch of them. That sort of thing happens a lot less often now, at least in first world countries.

    EJ Reply:

    Also don’t forget nine people died building the GBT. A lot fewer than the first Gotthard Tunnel, but shows that this kind of work is still pretty dangerous.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Someone said that back in the old days ™ a company would calculate one dead per million (I can’t recall if it was Deutsche Mark or Dollar and it may well have been billion, I am forgetful these days) and that was “just the way it is”… It’s almost hard to believe those companies ever got workers…

    Edward Reply:

    It was one per million on bridges. That is why the Golden Gate Bridge was such a change. They had nets strung under the work to catch anyone who fell. Those who did and survived because of the net were members of the “Half way to hell” club. One unfortunate accident dropped enough steel into the net to bring it down. Several died.

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

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Interesting…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    In China, there is a monument commemorating everyone who “gave their life in service of the state” while building railways.

  10. morris brown
    Jun 1st, 2016 at 11:52
    #10

    WSJ: California’s Cap-and-Trade Bubble — The carbon-credit market sputters, as it also has in Europe

    Joe Reply:

    “Sorry kids but you’re all going to have to burn.”

  11. keith saggers
    Jun 1st, 2016 at 13:47
    #11

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/01/renewable-energy-smashes-global-records-in-2015-report-shows

    Aarond Reply:

    ….along with increasing energy costs. California may have doubled up on solar but we also doubled up on coal we buy from AZ. Addressing climate change requires the government putting cash on the table, and a willingness to not go the cheapest route. Meanwhile California has three nuclear power plants sitting idle because the state government won’t pony up the cash for them.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    We should dramatically increase nuclear capacity in CA, and replace all the oil gas plants in the South Bay and Moss Landing with them. Much greener and cleaner.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Nuclear costs too much

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

    Aarond Reply:

    nuclear is also 100% clean and produces a lot of power without the need for batteries/power storage

    CA has worse smog than both NY (30% nuclear) and IL (40% nuclear). In fact, the cities with the worst pollution (LA, Long Beach, Bakersfield, Fresno) used to be supplied by nuclear power (San Onorefe and Rancho Seco). CA didn’t make the investments in clean energy other states did.

    http://www.stateoftheair.org/2015/city-rankings/most-polluted-cities.html

    Though, the current solar subsidy program for homeowners is nice but it doesn’t make up for raw investment.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s 100 clean if you don’t count dead fish etc. and storing nuclear waste securely for longer than civilization has been around.

    Aarond Reply:

    This might be a controversial statement, but I have never, EVER, cared about the delta smelt. I also don’t care about garter snakes either. And we’d have Yucca Mtn built by now if it weren’t for deliberate obstructionism.

    EJ Reply:

    This might be a controversial statement, but I have never, EVER, cared about the delta smelt. I also don’t care about garter snakes either.

    THERE it is! That’s why nobody buys the nuclear power lobby’s claims to environmentalism.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nuclear is dirty upstream (uranium mining) and downstream (waste disposal) to say nothing of the blatantly underinsured risks involved and the fact that hardly any nuclear power plants have been newly built in first world democracies for quite some time now… And those few that have (e.g. the one in Finland) are fraught with problems and cost overruns…

    Joe Reply:

    Nuclear isn’t clean and we all know it.

    Our recent shutdown was in San Onorefe and due to unpredicted wear which means the plant design isn’t performing to specification and subsequently increasingly unsafe.

    Geography explains why our air isn’t as clean not nuclear. IL smog blows eastward. CA sits in the cental valley.

    Aarond Reply:

    Nuclear is plenty clean, but as the San Onorefe shutdown showed the state has to pay for maintenance and repair. Coal is cheaper in part because maintenance standards are lower.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Then why are coal plants being converted to natural gas? Or retired and replaced with higher efficiency gas plants? Just a few short years ago we got half our electricity from coal. It’s a third now.

    Joe Reply:

    Not the State’s power plant.
    Private built and not performing to design spec.

    Nuclear standard is higher due to risk of catastrophic disaster lasting longer than our civilization.
    You call out coal as a problem – I agree.

    Coal is not as cheap as renewables but is robust vs renewables intermittent availability.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Actually coal is a huge problem. Besides the radiation released by coal ash (look it up – the Chinese are even mining the ash for fuel for bombs and power plants) coal has a major problem in not being able to scale up or down with demand. Placing serious stress on the grid if… I don’t know… there’s a sunny day in summer…

    To say nothing of the problem dumping warm water into the rivers creates..

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    and the co2, of course

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well the Carbon Dioxide goes without saying, really…

    Joe Reply:

    Have we doubled up on coal?

    We have too much mid-day solar electricity and have had to shut down solar facilities at peak generation.
    We have a storage and shipping problem. Peak demand is early evening but peak solar is earlier and power grid can’t move solar out of state right now.
    http://insideenergy.org/2016/04/19/with-too-much-solar-california-looks-to-west-for-markets/

    It’s an interesting problem and I think solvable.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That is why you need base energy from nuclear, and solar that increases with peak demand.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Or a cheap battery the size of a refrigerator out in your garage. Well, maybe the size of a washing machine.

    wdobner Reply:

    Where do you propose buying one? It doesn’t exist? Not only does it not exist, but the “gigafactory” to produce them will be incapable of making even a minor impact on our complete and utter lack of electrical storage capacity for at least 50 years. And even if we poured many trillions of dollars into building hundreds of factories we’d still have no additional generating capacity. Course that’d come at a cost of making Lithium nearly as valuable as gold or platinum. That ends up making residential energy storage an insuperable problem.

    And even after you’ve spent trillions massively inflating the cost of Lithium chasing residential energy storage, you still haven’t done a thing about the electrical consumption in commercial, industrial, and transport sectors. Those areas account for more than 60% of our electrical consumption.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    One proposed solution is using electricity when it is cheap to produce hydrogen and/or methane to burn when energy is required….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Hydrogen made sense when batteries were expensive and short lived. It doesn’t any more.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A big problem with Hydrogen is that it is notoriously hard to store…

    Edward Reply:

    You assume that residential energy storage can only be used by the residence. It is connected to the grid, as are commercial, industrial and electrical transport.

    Allow me to summarize the general trend of your comments: There are difficulties and things we don’t know, so it is impossible.

    wdobner Reply:

    You assume that residential energy storage can only be used by the residence. It is connected to the grid, as are commercial, industrial and electrical transport.

    Then what is the residence going to use that night? At that point you’re playing a zero-sum game. I can just see parents saying “Sorry kids, no TV tonight, PGE needed to keep CalTrain running and well, it was cloudy and rainy today.”

    Allow me to summarize the general trend of your comments: There are difficulties and things we don’t know, so it is impossible.

    Not impossible, just impractical. Chasing the renewable+storage solution to make intermittent sources fill in for reliable base load sources just means you’re investing far more money than is necessary. You end up having to build roughly 3 times as many panels/windmills/tidal generators to reliably capture a full day’s worth of power in the 4 to 6 hours of maximum solar insolation. There are much more cost effective means of producing carbon free energy.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When it’s cloudy you skip charging the car because your commute is 30 miles and there is 150 miles of range left in it. When it’s cloudy it tends to be breezy, the wind blows all night long.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Plus sunshine Arizona tends to track the need for air conditioning pretty well…

    And in Europe windier days also tend to be days with more energy consumption…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They put lots of things into batteries. The constraint on lithium ion batteries is cobalt.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Really?

    I think I’ve once read that Cobalt comes from and Ore Mountain term for worthless ores they believed to have been cursed by goblins (Kobolde in modern standard German). How the times have changed…

    Joe Reply:

    Nuclear waste stays on site and is accumulating.

    I consulted on long term storage and use of plants to keep water from penetrating barriers. It’s a problem unless you wish away the safe storage requirement and plead ignorance to long half life.

    Also we can now statistically see failures in nuclear accident and containment. Three mile island was an unusually fortified to protect from airplane crash. Still leakage but exposition was contained in structure.

    Chernobyl.

    Japan will be freezing soil at fukushima to stop water flow and radiation leakage into the ocean. Not sustainable. I understand robotic systems on site quickly fail due to high rad environment.

    California plant has unpredicted wear and is shut down as precaution.

    What could go wrong ? A lot.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Is there any better solution for the world’s energy needs, because battery capacity doesn’t work, there has to be some base level of energy beyond solar and wind, hydro requires dames which are ecological disasters, fossil fuels pollute, and conservation can only get us so far.

    Joe Reply:

    Energy Storage for renewables is relatively new area of investment long neglected by corporate power. Auto industry battery r&d and other solutions are rapidly evolving.

    wdobner Reply:

    IOW: Energy storage doesn’t exist, isn’t coming, and is the last hope of the foolish innumerates who tell themselves solar panels are ‘green’ while ignoring the processes required to produce them. But if we clap hard enough we can keep the dream alive long enough to funnel billions of dollars in “research” to labs owned by Big Oil and their retinue in the desperate hope they’ll innovate their parent companies out of existence.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s your proposed solution?

    Even if you believe Donald Trump when he says global warming is a hoax, Coal Gas and Oil are still finite. Coal might last three more centuries and oil might last another century, but eventually they’ll be gone. And then what?

    Joe Reply:

    innumerate refers to what numerical argument ? You haven’t made one.

    Green energy like solar has never meant footprint free manufacturing.

    Investments are global and progress continues unlike nuclear where they blame hippies and regulation for the inability to solve problems completely and poor ROI.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The fact that “Let’s poison a river if it saves a cent on the ton” China is now the biggest producer of wind energy and a huge player in solar shows you need to know about the business case for wind and solar…

    Eric Reply:

    That’s what happens when you use 50 year old designs and don’t allow any newer and safer reactors to be built. It’s as if you didn’t allow any new car development because all those Model Ts on the road are unsafe.

    Joe Reply:

    Oh so the once super safe reactors were not so safe and poorly designed but the NEXT ones are really safe.

    Cars fail and we collect data and over time improve the design. Reactors can crash too and we can learn better ways to build them after we collect the data but the crash is catastrophic. Not the right model.

    Sorry but the consequences of evolutionary learning are unacceptable so we have learned that nuclear reactors are not the future.

    EJ Reply:

    Remember when Chernobyl blew up and the nuclear folks were telling us, “well we don’t really build those old-style graphite moderated reactors in the west, so that can’t happen here.”

    Then Fukushima melts down and it’s like, “hmm, well TEPCO is really shady and didn’t build a big enough seawall. BTW sorry if we didn’t make it super clear to the public that if a natural disaster takes out both the power grid and the backup generators, a BWR will likely melt down. Our bad.”

    But trust us, the reactors we want to build now are totally safe!

    Aarond Reply:

    Notice how both of those were outside the US.

    Travis D Reply:

    Fukushima was also a very old design. Do you have examples of newer designs that have had accidents? The US Navy uses many newer reactors with no issues.

    EJ Reply:

    Nope. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Also interesting that Fukushima apparently moved the goalposts from “being in the former Soviet Union” to “not being in the US.”

    So, just to be clear, safe reactors are now ones that are 1) in the US and 2) built after the mid-1970s? Just want to make sure I know what the current criteria is.

    Joe Reply:

    Excuses that these are old systems is a lesson:
    old unsafe nuclear reactors are operated and not decommissioned when defects in design are understood.

    when thesemold systems fail we have an excuse. “They’re old!! What did you expect!!!”

    Also USA is better. Japan is horribly unorganized and incompetent. They have little expleriemce with reactors. Oh wait. They have extensive experience and process oriented culture. Hmmm.

    Military doesn’t report accidents. Guess they’re safe because they don’t report.

    Except we now know they accidentally dropped atomic bombs and flew aircraft with them on accident. Also accidents happened like sl-1 in eastern Idaho and the FOE Hanford site leaks “wtf is this nuclear stuff” into the Columbia river.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nuclear power is one of the few things where “safe enough” does not exist. You would have to make it so safe not even someone intent on malice could destroy it.

    We all no the consequences of failure in the nuclear biz. Whether or not the fear of radiation is justified, a nuclear power plant blowing up near a major population center is a risk that can only ever be justified if the benefits are either huge or the risk is extremely small. And as we know see the risk is not extremely small and the benefits are not what they were cracked up to be either…

    EJ Reply:

    @Joe if you get started on the military’s mis-handling of nuclear material, you’ll be typing all day. Like all the crap they just dumped into the ocean off the Farallon Islands. Without even keeping proper records of exactly what or how much of it there was.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Wasn’t there even a Bomber that accidentally dropped a nuclear bomb on the US once that did not explode by sheer luck?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Aarond: And what about Three Mile Island?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The Fukusima power plant was designed to a certain specs. Now, something happened which was beyond the specs. Foreseeable? maybe…

    Aarond Reply:

    Three mile island’s partial meltdown resulted in no injuries or death, and the plant continues to produce power via it’s other reactor to this day.

    http://www.exeloncorp.com/locations/power-plants/three-mile-island

    Joe Reply:

    “Partial meltdown” is scary uncontrolled process.

    Resulting Explosion was contained by unique design to reinforce the structure due to location near airport and secure against risk of aircraft crash.

    Lesson not Learned.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They have to learn the lesson that alternatives cost a lot less money these days.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How many nuclear power plants in the US would survive a crash of a fully tanked Boeing 747?

    How many wouldn’t?

    Can we afford the latter?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Airplanes are rather delicate. All of the reactors?

    Joe Reply:

    How many 747 class commercial aircraft in US crash annually?
    Now add the odds this rare event impacts a nuclear plant.

    Joe Reply:

    Momentum = mass * velocity.

    Force = momentum / time

    Speed matters. That’s why they took precautions.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    *cough* terrorism *cough*

    wdobner Reply:

    “Partial meltdown” is scary uncontrolled process.

    Irrational fear is hardly a good basis for making decisions upon which our futures will depend.

    Resulting Explosion was contained by unique design to reinforce the structure due to location near airport and secure against risk of aircraft crash.

    That is not true, but is a popular myth amongst fearful anti-nukes. TMI’s containment was the same as all other PWRs built in the same period. They were designed to withstand the impact of a 350,000lb 727, regardless of their proximity to an airport.

    They have to learn the lesson that alternatives cost a lot less money these days.

    Mostly because those alternatives either trade on destroying the environment (solar, wind, frack gas), or are extremely subsidized either by the government or the utility (solar, wind).

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How on earth do solar and wind destroy the environment?

    wdobner Reply:

    Nuclear waste stays on site and is accumulating.

    If you were to shut down all the nukes tomorrow and go with a coal/gas/solar/wind mix for your grid you’ll still be stuck with roughly 64,000 tons of nuclear waste with a requirement that it be stored for somewhere in excess of 20000 years. OTOH, as Eric said, if you allow innovation in the nuclear field then you can build designs that are only 40 years old consume the waste from light water reactors as fuel. That way you reduce the amount of spent nuclear fuel by roughly 90%, and its half-life is reduced to a few centuries.

    Per TransAtomic’s white page, if you shut down every existing light water reactor tomorrow and replaced it with their waste consuming reactor we’d have enough accumulated spent nuclear fuel to provide 350 years of energy. Convert every coal power plant and that number drops to a mere 150 years. But that’s a century and a half without ever mining anything, because the fuel sitting in Nevada, Washington, New Mexico, and the parking lot or waste pool of every light water reactor running in the US. And it’s worth noting TAP’s reactor is hardly unique. Terrestrial Energy’s DMSR would do much the same thing, and the Southern Company as well as Bill Gates’ Terrapower are investigating Molten Chloride fast reactors which like most fast reactors are designed for waste burnup.

    So if you really do love spent nuclear fuel then I suppose we could go solar/gas and keep it around for you. Or we could go with nuclear and destroy that spent nuclear fuel.

    EJ Reply:

    Who is “not allowing” innovation in nuclear power? Transatomic seems promising, but they’ve yet to demonstrate their technology actually works outside of theoretical models and computer simulations. Nobody’s stopping them from forging ahead.

    wdobner Reply:

    I’d argue the DoE and their regulatory framework are not allowing new nuclear reactors. The NRC has developed regulations which describe a ‘safe’ reactor as a light water reactor with all the bells and whistles to keep the reactor from blowing up. But these liquid fueled, molten salt or molten chloride reactors do not require those systems because they’re intrinsically much safer. The DoE has signalled that they’re willing to change, but progress will inevitably be slow. Canada is a lot more open to innovative nuclear designs, perhaps because of the CANDU, and that openness may give Terrestrial Energy a bit of an advantage in getting their DMSR operational.

    Joe Reply:

    Not true DOE Regulatiions stop new reactors. DOE and Mil invests in nuclear and accepts risk for waste.
    Top us supercomputers are built and used to simulate nuclear processes.

    Safety hampers risk taking and “innovation” — okay. What regulation(s) hampers innovation? “Regulations” are an excuse.

    Liability and long return on investment hamper nuclear investments. Shorter than predicted lifespans hamper investment. Also cheap and multi-billion dollar alternative energy competition.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Nuclear waste can right now be had at cent for the ton (probably less). There are round about two hundred states in the world. What are the odds of regulations in all of them being so odious that the design is being shut down by some global conspiracy?

    Everybody wants to get rid of nuclear waste. Everybody wants electricity. If you can buy the former and sell the latter, there should be a market for you somewhere…

    Or am I naive?

    wdobner Reply:

    Top us supercomputers are built and used to simulate nuclear processes.

    …for nuclear *weapons*, not nuclear power plants or spent nuclear fuel. If you think those things have anything to do with each other then there’s no point continuing this discussion. But again, even if you thought SNF was the subject of the investigations conducted on those supercomputers, it’d still be a requirement even if you shut down every nuclear power plant in the US tomorrow. That spent nuclear fuel isn’t going anywhere unless you build new nukes.

    What regulation(s) hampers innovation?

    The NRC requires new reactor designs to have hydrogen recombiners, containment dome steam condensers, redundant heat exchangers and other ancillary devices to keep a light water reactor from any of its various failure modes. Liquid metal, molten salt, and other more modern reactor designs do not use water and consequently do not require those devices but at the moment are required to justify their deletion of what the NRC considers vital safety equipment.

    Nuclear waste can right now be had at cent for the ton (probably less).

    That’s demonstrably false.

    There are round about two hundred states in the world. What are the odds of regulations in all of them being so odious that the design is being shut down by some global conspiracy?

    How many of those nations have the indigenous technology to produce something like a light water reactor themselves? How many of those nations are capable of undertaking their own design program to build a modern reactor not related to what went before? It’s going to be a small number, and in the west most of them are going to be beholden to the demands of fearful Greens on one side and entrenched energy interests on the other. Then there’s China, where they’re perfectly willing to allow the byproducts of solar panel production to turn the areas around a few cities into toxic waste dumps.

    Everybody wants to get rid of nuclear waste. Everybody wants electricity. If you can buy the former and sell the latter, there should be a market for you somewhere…

    There definitely is, but when we’re dealing with the Boomers and their irrational fear of everything nuclear it’s a difficult proposition to jumpstart technology that actually stands a chance at curbing climate change in a way the astroturfed solar sector has singularly failed to do.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well what does nuclear waste cost? (Weird things we start discussing on this blog, I can tell ya)

    And you don’t need indigenous technology or anything to invest in a foreign country and build that reactor there. The Chinese do similar stuff al the time: They bring Chinese engineers, Chinese plans, Chinese workers Chinese everything to build stuff that would not necessarily be within reach of native engineering alone.

    So you posit the technology exists or is within reach. Okay. That means it can be built anywhere on earth where it is allowed. Or am I missing something?

    Transporting nuclear waste may be some cost factor, but it cannot be that expensive given that many first world countries are already dumping it all over the world.

    The only argument not to start building it in some third world country right now is (if all your arguments are indeed true) political instability, which indeed can fuck up long term investments…

    So methinks you have a rather tactical relation to the truth in at least some parts of your argument, or am I again missing something?

    Joe Reply:

    I should not have to post a counter example that indeed the DOE supercomputers support and DOE itself develop simulations and industry tools for both fuels and reactors.

    Tools for the designer that spans from “Pellet to plant”

    Secondly pointing to NRC regulations that pervent hydrogen gas accumulation and explosions and gas pressure build up so NOT hamper innovation. These lesson learned rules hamper irresponsibility.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Maybe the ancient BART conspiracy ™ is behind the decline of nuclear energy…

    wdobner Reply:

    Well what does nuclear waste cost?

    Depleted uranium sells for around $5/lb, but that’s only one type of nuclear waste. High level nuclear waste is of course not something you’d be able to buy or sell on an open market at this point.

    And you don’t need indigenous technology or anything to invest in a foreign country and build that reactor there. The Chinese do similar stuff al the time: They bring Chinese engineers, Chinese plans, Chinese workers Chinese everything to build stuff that would not necessarily be within reach of native engineering alone.

    And the Chinese are developing a variety of nuclear reactors. They’re the exception, probably in part because they’re bearing the environmental brunt of solar panel production.

    The only argument not to start building it in some third world country right now is (if all your arguments are indeed true) political instability, which indeed can fuck up long term investments…

    You ignored my answer and fell back on a weird environmental determinist argument where they cannot be trusted to develop technology. Please don’t make strawman arguments.

    I should not have to post a counter example that indeed the DOE supercomputers support and DOE itself develop simulations and industry tools for both fuels and reactors.

    Sure, that’s a nice cover they have. Thankfully most of the public, yourself included, takes nuclear to be one overarching thing.

    Secondly pointing to NRC regulations that pervent hydrogen gas accumulation and explosions and gas pressure build up so NOT hamper innovation. These lesson learned rules hamper irresponsibility.

    It is if your reactor has no water in it. No water, no steam nor hydrogen explosion.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So you don’t know what the nuclear waste in question costs.

    And you claimed that the magical reactor that turns nuclear waste into electricity is either already technologically possible or very close to that. To which I ask: Why has nobody in over a hundred and fifty sovereign nations on earth built such a thing?

    wdobner Reply:

    So you don’t know what the nuclear waste in question costs.

    Even with the fabrication of solid fuel pellets the fuel is a very minor part of cost of running a nuclear power plant. A liquid fueled reactor will of course dispense with the fuel fabrication costs.

    And you claimed that the magical reactor that turns nuclear waste into electricity is either already technologically possible or very close to that. To which I ask: Why has nobody in over a hundred and fifty sovereign nations on earth built such a thing?

    It’s only magical if you lack an understanding of the processes involved. And a number of them were built in the 1960s. Thermal spectrum uranium breeding in liquid fueled reactors were developed by Oak Ridge national labs. Unfortunately the Nixon administration determined the US would pursue the liquid metal cooled fast plutonium breeder reactor, at least in part because of the synergies with the nuclear weapons program, but also because it was more politically advantageous. The Clinton administration finally put the LMFBR out of its misery in the 1990s.

    Joe Reply:

    These novel reactors from the 1960’s like oak ridge’s work are research grade systems.

    The proposed benefits are …. proposed.

    Safety considerations for these reactors are TBD. That’s is these systems have yet to be fully analyzed for risk and processes developed for safe operations.

    NRC in the way because safety analysis and new designs requires time and money. Same for civilian aviation where 737 is endlessly updated because it is a proven design. Same in USDA regulated drug development, it takes time and money.

    Safety is not cheap. Inherit risk and catastrophic consequences of failure are intrinsic barriers.

    Meanwhile….alternatives continue to mature and risk is far lower hence regulation less.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Once again: If such a reactor has existed since the 1960s, why has nobody gone to one of the populist dictatorships of this earth and said: Look, I build you this shiny new reactor that will produce energy for a remarkably cheap price (That’s what you claim or at least imply) all you have to do is give me permission, a plot of land and a guarantee to buy that energy. Because – as you say – the technology exists. So why has it not happened?

    Joe Reply:

    It is if your reactor has no water in it. No water, no steam nor hydrogen explosion

    There is NO requirement for a molten salt reactor to have liquid cooled safety systems. None.
    You’re misleading.

    Show the requirement.

    The safety requirements, systems and processes, for these EXPERIMENTAL repactors are TBD. It will take years and hundreds of millions to license this new design because there is a risk barrier, not the NRC.

    New Airplane designs and avionics are expensive. So much Boeing reuses avionics for their new aircraft.

    This is how we deal with risk. No short cuts.

    Also low cost of natural gas and alternative fuels added an investment risk to nuclear reactors.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s the worst that can happen with a wind power plant?

    It might fall over and kill somebody

    What’s the worst that can happen with solar panels?

    They may have been affixed badly to the roof fall down and kill somebody.

    What’s the worst that can happen with nuclear power?

  12. Reality Check
    Jun 1st, 2016 at 18:01
    #12

    Looks like a nice 44-min. documentary (with ~16 min. of commercials removed):
    Discovery Channel: Gotthard Base Tunnel — Build it Bigger

    Reality Check Reply:

    Of course, there were dignitaries and formal speeches and fireworks too … but I doubt CAHSR will match the artsy-fartsiness of this part of the opening ceremony:
    Bizarre Opening Ceremony For Gotthard Base Tunnel In Switzerland

    Eric Reply:

    I’m sure the land of fruits and nuts can match that.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It will probably not be quadrilingual, though…

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Flying Death Baby Cometh

  13. morris brown
    Jun 2nd, 2016 at 07:33
    #13

    Woes of commuting in LA — even with new rail lines now open

    Don’t Believe the L.A. Transit Hype

    EJ Reply:

    Yep, that’s why LA needs signal priority for transit and needs to finish the regional connector. Or do you have a different solution?

    Jerry Reply:

    I’m in favor of transit signal priority. Is it operating anywhere?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What do you mean by that?

    Do you want to ask whether other cities have signal priority for transit?

    Sure. Loads of ’em actually…

    Or what is your question?

    EJ Reply:

    I assume he meant in the LA area.

    EJ Reply:

    LA has it, sort of. Santa Monica, not at all.

    Roland Reply:

    First Street, San Jose, CA

    bixnix Reply:

    LA Metro Gold Line Foothill extension – opened a couple of months ago.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Quit posting things from that idiotic blog. It is one of the most inaccurate sources on the internet!!!

    EJ Reply:

    That article wasn’t inaccurate. Though I think the tone should have been more along the lines of “Metro Rail still has a ways to go,” especially since two of the things he identifies (it takes three transfers to get from Pasadena to Santa Monica and there aren’t enough trains) are being addressed. But there’s still the fact that the trains don’t have signal priority along the whole route, which is ridiculous.

    synonymouse Reply:

    This article is quite transit friendly for a Jarvis-Gann type of publication. But he misses – execusable for a civilian – the absolute necessity of driverless in re his subway instead of LRT.

    I don’t think he’d like BART fares spiked by out of control payroll.

    EJ Reply:

    You need complete grade separation for driverless operation, which would have dramatically increased the cost of building the thing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I agree but there is a contingent of subway in LA fanatics who demand that level of expenditure. But the only way you can justify that outlay is with driverless savings.

    EJ Reply:

    So what’s your point? I get that one of the 167,324 things you hate is unionized workers, but LA is a pretty pro-union town in general.

    The Red, Purple, and Green lines are all grade separated and could potentially go driverless, but there’s no real public demand to do so.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    It is very misleading. He claims LA transit if a failure, because a stretch of metro 7 miles long between Culver City and Santa Monica gets as many boardings in a day as the entire 233.5 mile long NYC subway system does every few minuites. Of course it does.

  14. Aarond
    Jun 2nd, 2016 at 12:13
    #14

    I took the Capitol Corridor to Oakland again, to be reminded about how terrible their rail situation is. Some thoughts:

    1. Embarcadero West needs to be closed off, and turned over into a dedicated 4-track corridor.
    2. The existing Jack London Square station needs to be extended down to Broadway, and have another platform added (this would be possible if Embarcadero West was removed.
    3. It would be really cool if 2nd street was “covered” with a canopy (like Fremont Street in Las Vegas, but without the LCD displays) and closed to cars as well.
    4. Doing light rail between UCB and JLS via College and Broadway would really open it up

    I also went off on a flight of fantasy: Oakland has enough space for a cut-and-cover station underneath Mandela Bvld, which would not only connect to West Oakland BART but also have 500 meter platforms and a full 1000 meters of parking space. It’d be a through running station with a northern connection under 580.

    Jerry Reply:

    to Oakland from where?

    Aarond Reply:

    San Jose, which is where I transfer from Caltrain. Diridon may be an oven (in the same manner as a parking lot) but there’s at least enough space for loading and unloading multiple trains (unlike JKS or Emeryville).

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But underground rail stations are the devil! Just look at Stuttgart where otherwise normal people got into clashes with police because the EU and the federal government wanted to build a new underground railroad station…

    Aarond Reply:

    True, but even after Diridon BART is done having a BART transfer at all three major Bay Area cities would make it more efficient. West Oakland BART is the cheapest place to do it in as it’s surrounded by low income plywood housing and tilt-up industrial warehouses (as opposed to downtown Oakland which has skyscrapers with basements).

    Edward Reply:

    A house on Wood street just sold for over $1 million, a few hundred grand over asking. Being one stop from expensive San Francisco real estate is gentrifying West Oakland rapidly.

    Aarond Reply:

    And that’s a good thing, which would continue if an actual rail station were added.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It has an actual rail station.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Oakland_(BART_station)

    Aarond Reply:

    And notice how my first point was about how having a BART transfer in all three Bay Area cities would be a good thing. Being able to transfer from the CC onto BART in Oakland means a two seat ride into SF, at least until another tube is built.

    Speaking more broadly, Oakland needs a proper station to act as an access/transfer point into the city. Right now if CC riders want to access downtown via BART they have to transfer at Richmond or Coliseum. That’s not as convenient, especially when both those stations are extremely “modest” to the amount of commuters they service.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Into every life some rain must fall. It’s too bad Amtrak passengers have to sit on icky BART for a few extra stops. If they don’t like it Amtrak provides buses.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I prefer bart from Richmond or collegium, or ferry from Jack London, to using amtrak busses to get to sf

    EJ Reply:

    Hey guys, I wonder what the idiot from New York thinks about Bay Area transit! I bet he’ll tell us! He never lets not knowing what the fuck he’s talking about hold him back from spouting off his worthless opinions!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Could you please moderate your tone?

    EJ Reply:

    Oh, do fuck off with the tone police shit. If it bothers you, see if you can get Robert to let you moderate his comment section.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Can’t say that I haven’t tried nicely…

    I don’t mind the occasional fuck and shit, but I do dislike terms like idiot….

    Domayv Reply:

    whatever is wrong with underground rail stations

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A question for the ages…

    Domayv Reply:

    but wouldnt it allow people to develop stuff over it so it wouldn’t eat up horizontal space

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yes, but don’t tell that to the people in Stuttgart…

    Domayv Reply:

    must I bring this up https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=16RvM3kNXl9rROpJNaGBbOPC_UJ0

  15. Reality Check
    Jun 2nd, 2016 at 14:06
    #15

    Tonight’s Trump rally in downtown SJ may disrupt VTA bus & rail service:
    Trump expected to draw 12-15,000 to San Jose campaign rally

    Due to expected street closures in downtown San Jose during the evening commute, both light rail and bus service may be impacted as early as 5:30 p.m.

    Trains will not stop at the Convention Center Light Rail Station. Bus bridges will be on standby but customers can stay on trains through downtown.

    Lines 23, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 81, 82, 168, 181, 323 and DASH shuttle may have detours, details of reroutes here: http://www.vta.org/notice?id=a0W1200000HsFgMEAV

    Updates will be provided as service impacts change. Thank you for your patience!

    Jerry Reply:

    Happy that the Sharks aren’t playing at the same time.

    Aarond Reply:

    why on earth isn’t VTA LRT servicing a convention center when a major convention is going on? The whole point of a convention center stop is to have it be utilized.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Trump is pure evil.

    Aarond Reply:

    In fairness, he’s at least neutral on the bathroom “issue”. I despise him but he’s also the least crazy Republican to run in a long time. Imagine if Cruz had got the nomination and pushed bathroom laws as a tentpole issue.

    It could be a lot worse.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    You’d be OK with him as Commander in Chief? That’s the job you’re endorsing him for

    (I know it’s hard when you’re used to rooting for Team Red, but at some point you have to think of country over party)

    Aarond Reply:

    I ain’t voting for Trump, I was with Sanders from day one. But out of all the possible GOP candidates, at least 90% of his remarks (I hesitate to use the word “speech”, since he doesn’t write anything and just talks out of his ass) are about trade and not about bathrooms or gays. That’s an improvement compared to the rest of the party, at least.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Either way, it is lies about trade vs lies about bathrooms and gays. But the rest of the party generally doesn’t insult Mexicans, women, and Muslims, so that sort of neutralizes it.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What about Mexican Muslim women?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    There’s no contest between them saying how they feel about our LGBT citizens versus undermining NATO, encouraging nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula or destroying the independence of the US judiciary. So there is no way in which Trump is an improvement over anyone.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Its just a different kind of crazy. And he’s not an R, he’s a Trumpian, a party unto himself, to himself, for himself.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Of the Trump for the Trump and by the Trump…

  16. Domayv
    Jun 2nd, 2016 at 23:04
    #16

    http://tcbmag.com/Industries/Transportation/Stealth-Train

    Aarond Reply:

    Why build 200 mph HSR between two otherwise forgettable cities? Neither is a hub. Even if it’s down to 45 minutes, are they going to be able to find enough riders? There’s only ~110,000 people in Rochester, MN.

    And adding “time sensitive freight” is curious because I strongly doubt a city of 100,000 people requires multiple daily carloads of time-sensitive freight from St. Paul (as opposed to milk from WI or juice from FL).

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    This is just the first stage of what would be a twin cities to Chicago HSR lie, between two large and unforgettable cities.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The North South spine of Germany’s HSR links Hanover and Würzburg… Two cities nobody would be offended if you couldn’t find on a map. But it helped slash travel time between much more important cities like Munich and Hamburg…

    Aarond Reply:

    My main beef with it is that if there’s another railroad from St Paul that failed – the (electrified) Milwaukee & St Paul Pacific RR. And they failed despite having a transcon route. A St Paul to Rochester line is a commute op.

    Alternatively, they could probably wiggle their way in as a smaller railroad if they managed to have the fastest connection between St Paul, Chicago, and Omaha.

    Aarond Reply:

    But I don’t see why they wouldn’t go eastward instead of southward. If WI won’t do HSR, then why not the private industry? They’d get access to Chicago and, assuming they are serious about freight, access to dairies.

    100,000 people isn’t much. Even Modesto has 200,000 people.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They will let people from the suburbs use it. The 2015 estimate for the metro area is just under 214,000. … Everybody in metro Rochester takes a round trip a year and a quarter of the people visiting the Mayo Clinic use it… they get 2,000 boardings and 2,000 alighting a day. In very round numbers. It’s only 75 miles. It would be extraordinary for every one in metro Rochester to take a round trip to Minneapolis every year.
    As a stop on the line between Minneapolis and Chicago, it makes sense…

    keith saggers Reply:

    Currently HSR doesn’t exist in North America. Amtrak’s 125 mph Northeast Corridor is too slow to qualify. The taxpayer-funded line under development in California should be the real thing, but will take decades to build out. A private venture using Japanese HSR technology to connect Dallas and Houston is a year or two ahead of NAHSR, but has not turned earth. Sperber believes it will by next year.
    tcbmag

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Other places in the world define it as more than 200 kilometers per hour on legacy track. Amtrak runs at 217 for long stretches between New York and Washington. Next generation of Acela is going to be spec’d for 260. Or 300 depending which rumor you believe.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Building a faster train will not necessarily mean faster travel times along the NEC. Large stretches of it are in dire need of repairs…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Their main problem right now is that they don’t have enough seats. It makes sense to buy cars that will be able to use the improvements as they get done.

  17. Reality Check
    Jun 2nd, 2016 at 23:37
    #17

    In the Southern California desert, residents grow weary of HSR

    In Southern California, a section of the high speed train linking San Francisco to Los Angeles would have to navigate through mountains, fault zones and what may be even more daunting: cowboy country.

    […]

    synonymouse Reply:

    Acton will be bulldozed for TOD.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Yeas, sure, who cares if it does.

    les Reply:

    I thought getting rid of sprawl was a good thing.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    TOD isn’t bad sprawl.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Will High Speed Rail murder the cows?

    Is that the “new” line of attack?

    Aarond Reply:

    They don’t want development, they will eventually say so openly. I don’t blame them either, even though they stand to get rich if the state doesn’t reform our zoning laws then the CV will end up like LA and Santa Clara did (ie car centric suburbs, strip malls, and office parks).

    There’s a right way and a wrong way to do development, and in order to make the best use of HSR the state has to be more proactive in incubating denser development.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The only thing they have to do to incubate denser development is allow for it next to the stations and simply not build roads into the wilderness…

    Aarond Reply:

    The roads into the wilderness already exist, they were drawn up at least a century ago. The issue is concentrating development inside Bakersfield and Fresno themselves, and not into subdivided suburbs. Because all things equal, the latter is more likely to happen as that’s where developers, banks, realtors and farmers can all make the most money.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Then why has this not happened in other countries when they built HSR?

    Greenfield stations also exist in France or Germany…

    Aarond Reply:

    Both California’s tax code and zoning codes give a great preference to homeowners. Homes effectively become a low-cost retirement plan. For another example, look at parking requirements for new developments. This is rarely a problem for single family detached homes with lawns, but is a huge problem for urban spaces.

    That said, I expect getting around these issues will happen before CAHSR actually opens because the problems are already seen in SF and LA.

    EJ Reply:

    Like Le Creusot TGV? https://www.google.com/maps/place/46%C2%B045'55.0%22N+4%C2%B029'59.0%22E/@46.7656088,4.4991329,571m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d46.765278!4d4.499722?hl=en

    Look at all that parking! Quelle horreur!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well there’s parking, but I fail to see any settlement.

    There is what looks like a pre-existing village a bit to the Southeast…

  18. Jerry
    Jun 3rd, 2016 at 13:26
    #18

    A very short video entitled :
    High Speed Rail: It’s Happening
    will be shown at all DMVs across the state.
    Video is available at:
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You can also find it on YouTube:

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

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks. I can’t always copy/cut/paste from a cell phone.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    No problem. I know the feeling…

  19. Aarond
    Jun 3rd, 2016 at 13:42
    #19

    VTA is now putting a half cent sales tax on the ballot.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/bart/ci_29971739/sales-tax-that-would-bring-bart-san-jose

    I’ll be voting yes, since I’d definitely use BART a lot more if there was a transfer in San Jose. Also $1 billion for much needed Caltrain grade separations.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Let me guess… It will need a two thirds majority?

    Aarond Reply:

    Yes, but VTA’s 2000 Measure A and 2008 Measure B both won (with 70% and 66% of the vote respectively), give how bad traffic is I doubt they’ll have many problems with it. BART to SV is a thing most people want, and with the recent spate of suicides people are warming up to Caltrain grade separation.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Imagine how much further we could get without the two thirds requirement…

    We could probably throw out half of the “olive branch” highway and parking BS that is still wrapped into those measures…

    Aarond Reply:

    Well, as of right now it’s only screwed up transit projects once in LA. But Measure R2 looks like it will pass since the last measure’s failure pissed a lot of people off.

    What screwed up transit in the Bay Area was the SM County board of supervisors voting against inclusion into the newly formed BA RTD, and BA RTD’s miscalculation on where growth was going to happen (they planned eastward, when all the growth was south in Santa Clara Co). This was a decade before the tax revolts of the late 70s.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Of course we will never know how those measure were changed for fear of failing to the two thirds requirement…

    Jerry Reply:

    Proposed projects for the $6.3 billion in anticipated revenue include:

    BART to San Jose, $1.5 billion.
    Street repairs, $1.2 billion.
    Caltrain capacity improvements and grade separations, $1 billion.
    County expressways, $750 million.
    Interchanges, $750 million.
    Transit operations for vulnerable and underserved populations, $500 million.
    Highway 85 corridor express lanes, $350 million.
    Bicycle and pedestrian improvements, $250 million.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It’s too much highway for my taste, but it’s still a step forward for transit…

    Jerry Reply:

    The measure also has a provision that if the funding formula is rejiggered down the line, it would take a three-fourths supermajority of the board to do so. 

  20. Bahnfreund
    Jun 3rd, 2016 at 15:44
    #20

    In totally unrelated news, Deutsche Bahn celebrates 25 years of High Speed Rail with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j80tCzDZgU this gutsy ad. They have drawn some negative commentary for something that doesn’t happen at the end…

Comments are closed.