Has Caltrain Ridership Hit A Ceiling?

Jan 7th, 2017 | Posted by

Yogi Berra might have something to say about the news that Caltrain ridership has dropped for the first time in six years. “Nobody rides Caltrain anymore – it’s too crowded” seems to be the story:

Caltrain’s average weekday ridership in August decreased 2.7 percent from the same month in 2015. Year-over-year ridership declined 3.3 percent in September and 3.5 percent in October. And according to data to be presented at Caltrain’s Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, average weekday ridership dropped 1.8 percent in November compared to the same month in 2015.

“We might be victims of our own success,” Reisman said.

Translation: Caltrain is now known for having very crowded trains during the morning and evening commutes. That congestion is turning some riders away.

The KQED story suggests BART is facing similar problems – “chronic commute-hour overcrowding” there as well.

Caltrain, at least, has a solution. Thanks in part to high speed rail and Proposition 1A, Caltrain electrification is finally under way and should be done by 2021. BART is further behind but Measure RR will help provide some relief, though a substantial funding infusion will be needed to build things like a second Transbay Tube.

Bay Area commuters face these problems in part because during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, not enough was done to build out transit capacity in anticipation of the future growth that everyone knew was coming. The lesson for HSR is clear: build now and build in the ability to handle higher capacities. That means not locking in HSR and Caltrain to just two tracks on the Peninsula forever.

Caltrain believes that some of their riders are switching to Lyft and Uber. But that’s not a long-term solution either, as regional freeways and roads are also quite congested. The only way forward for the Bay Area is to follow LA’s lead and pass a massive expansion of transit service in the regional core. State support would certainly help make this possible.

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  1. Rob
    Jan 7th, 2017 at 21:18
    #1

    It’s almost criminal that north bay all along the i-80 corridor is without a decent rail service. Every day the 80 is jammed almost all the way from Vallejo to San Francisco. Capitol corridor doesn’t service the area properly and it’s service is too infrequent. Bart needs to be brought out to north bay or Capitol Corridor needs an upgrade with electrification, separate freight tracks and stops at each city it passes along the Bay.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    How about an eBART extension from Bay Point to Richmond via Hercules and Martinez?

    Roland Reply:

    http://vta-sprinter.org/2016/09/13/transbay-blended-tunnel/

    Domayv Reply:

    upgraded Capitol Corridor (including electrification, dedicated tracks) to at least Auburn would be the best bet for an improved rail service along the I-80 corridor. We also need an upgraded I-880 corridor

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Rob

    What you are proposing is what BART should have done in 1962 instead of deploying a bastardized, mutant NYC subway. Blame Bechtel and the SP, whose property would, could, and should have been taken.

    Aarond Reply:

    Anything is possible now that the Dems have a 2/3rds majority in Sacramento. The next two years will be exciting as SMART opens, Caltrain electrifies and ACE adds more trains. And if the Raiders really do move to Vegas, their stadium site is an ideal spot for TOD around a new, larger Oakland station.

  2. Roland
    Jan 7th, 2017 at 22:00
    #2

    Re-posting:

    The 5 x 762 seat trains/hour are running @ 125% capacity so the actual CURRENT demand is 4,763 seats/hour/direction during peak but the CalficKISSentrains will be 1,325 seats/hour short of CURRENT demand (2,650 seats/hour in both directions).

    So, how do we make up for this SamTrans-engineered capacity crisis? Additional freeway lanes on 280 and 101 or single transit-dedicated lanes each supporting a minimum of 22 additional packed shuttles an hour?

    Joe Reply:

    Seats and toilets per train.

    Try counting passenger capacity on the new trains and shorter commute times.

    Roland Reply:

    And the answer is?

    Clem Reply:

    I don’t think we’ll ever see six-car EMUs on the peninsula corridor.

    Roland Reply:

    So why did SamTrans issue an RFP for 6-car EMUs then?

    BTW, how about re-doing your 6-car Stadler seat count for an 8-car EMU and see what you end up with? Please include the length of the train while you are at it. Thank you.

    Clem Reply:

    The RFP was for 6-car EMUs extensible to 8 cars, de-rated by software to perform like 8-car consists. Note the option is sized for 24 x 8 = 192 cars total.

    My blog has the numbers. If the two added cars are without traction equipment, bikes or toilets, the seat count is 573 + 132 + 132 = 837 seats. If one of the two added cars has traction equipment similar to the rest of the train (bringing peak power to 8000 kW), the seat count is 573 + 132 + 100 = 805 seats. In both cases length is about 200 meters (660 feet)

    My expectation is for an option of 32 cars being exercised in 2018, partially funded by Measure B.

    Roland Reply:

    Thank you for the response. The length is OK but the KISS is about 100-150 seats short (same as a twindexx). As far as Measure B is concerned, where is the other 2/3rd match coming from?
    Oh and BTW, you can forget about the VTA continuing to waste money on a system that terminates @ Tamien.

    Clem Reply:

    I think it would help if the board were made aware of reasonable solutions to the capacity shortfall. Rescinding the Stadler contract is not a reasonable solution. Exercising a 32-car option for fleet expansion is a perfectly logical step to advocate for in front of the board. So is (temporarily) using 2nd hand AEM-7ACs to haul 8-car Bombardier consists under the wire.

    EJ Reply:

    I seriously doubt that ancient, maintenance-heavy AEM-7s are a cost-effective solution.

    Clem Reply:

    The drivetrain is only 15 years old. I seriously doubt new locomotives would be more cost-effective

    Clem Reply:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, Caltrain is already planning to purchase several AEM-7ACs for test purposes. Google it!

    Eric M Reply:

    From May 2016:

    Discussions have continued with Amtrak regarding their interest in selling several of their
    AEM-7 locomotives to Caltrain. These locomotives will be used for testing the
    electrification system and will serve as back up. In a May 2015 response letter, Amtrak
    noted that it would wait to put the AEM-7 units up for sale until after acceptance of the
    new Siemens locomotives is complete. In their initial letter the target date for acceptance
    of the new locomotives had been indicated to be December 1, 2015. However the
    overall delivery of the new locomotives to Amtrak by Siemens has been delayed
    resulting in the sale date of their locomotives to be moved out to a target date of June
    2016.

    Domayv Reply:

    what about ACS-64s (or just imported EuroSprinters)

    Clem Reply:

    Too expensive and long-lasting. Hauling Bombardiers under the wire is a stop gap solution that ultimately gets in the way of level boarding, since the Bombardier cars cannot transition to higher platforms. Five or ten years, max

    Roland Reply:

    The fix for 50-inch HSR is on the way (no need for higher platforms).
    Bombardiers are perfect for 25-inch platforms.

    Clem Reply:

    They are, but there is no way to get from here to there, as will eventually become obvious. The transition is structurally and operationally neither feasible nor practical.

    Roland Reply:

    The French figured this out approximately 50 years ago and everybody (including the Russians) is getting on board (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_platform_height#Russia). The only problem is that wind in the northern hemisphere primarily blows from the west to the east…

    Clem Reply:

    Roland, your reply is so typical. When confronted with a fatal flaw in your plan, you change the subject and resort to generalities involving some foreign country. Tell us the specific sequence of platform and vehicle modifications required to implement Bombardier cars that board at 25″ (and even then, keep in mind it will still be the sort of delay-prone assisted level boarding that requires bridge plates for wheelchairs, since ADA specs cannot be met!). Specifics please!!

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2016/08/goodbye-acela-hello-avelia/

    With regards to retrofitting the existing Bombardier rolling stock, the solution is to include the requirement in the RFP for the new rolling stock and take it from there.

    Clem Reply:

    That’s too vague. Be specific!

    Clem Reply:

    (when pressed for details, the conversation quite predictably trails off…)

    Marc Reply:

    You know, all Caltrain really has to do is send out an RFP to rational engineering firms for retrofitting a retractable bridge plate in the Bombardier cars. Electric actuators and limit switches could be fitted within the plate itself, installation would likely require some cutting, riveting, and wiring. In a rational world, retrofit costs per car would be $50K to $100K, in Caltrain world, the sky’s the limit…

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    With regards to retrofitting the existing Bombardier rolling stock, the solution is to include the requirement in the RFP for the new rolling stock and take it from there.

    Exactly.

    And unlike the unlimited amount of bullshit that Caltrain shoved into the “EMU” contract (and Jesus, that’s nothing compared to the budget-busting oversight-board-hoodwinking public-defrauding shit they shovelled into the “electrification” shit-show of pork) this might have actually had anything at all to do with rail vehicles, providing service to the public, might have indicated even the slighgtest shred of intention to ever, ever have level boarding on the Caltrain corridor, or you know, indicated that even one single person with above-siminan reasoning skills existed anywhere within LTK Engineering Services and the coterie of rent-seeking pig-fucker bid-rigging competition-quashing consultants who run Caltrain and pad out the contracts.

    Roland Reply:

    Amen.

    Clem Reply:

    When they’re done retrofitting retractable bridge plates to the Bombardier fleet, maybe they can retrofit retractable bridge plates to the EMU low doors. Because that wasn’t in the RFP. Piece of cake, right?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You know what else isn’t in the RFP?

    Any chance of level boarding, ever.

    Non-trivial, remotely increased levels of service, ever.

    Short-turn trains.

    Platforms. Level or otherwise.

    Decreased operating costs.

    Significantly faster trip times.

    Modern staffing levels.

    Modern maintenance practices.

    FSSF track configuration.

    Clockface timetables.

    Headways of less than an hour off-peak, for that matter.

    Any suggestion of how foot-wide train-platform gaps (gaps from insanely narrow Acela-compatible narrow trains to 100% unfunded never-to-be-implemented high platforms) might be bridged in any fashion that is non-laughable, remotely feasible, or even remotely safe.

    Hey, but there’s the potential for lots of doors in the RFP. Go go go go go LTK Engineering Services!

    EJ Reply:

    This is supposed to be a temporary solution until all the EMUs are delivered.

    Roland Reply:

    And the money for 192 CalFicKissenTrains is coming from?

    Clem Reply:

    …the same couch cushions that were previously searched for loose change

    Roland Reply:

    That was before the FTA discovered that $28M of the $125M EMU money SamTrans had “borrowed” for “essential SOGR” somehow ended up in the new SSF station budget as “refurbishment” and no, I am not making that one up either…

    Oh and BTW, remember the $84M in Prop1A bonds for the 25th Avenue “grade separation project” that never came through? You will NEVER guess where they think that the money will ultimately be coming from (until the FTA finds out about it).

    Is $2.5B to “electrify” 50 miles of track beginning to make more sense now?

    Roland Reply:

    The Board continues to be made aware that neither the Stadler KISS (nor the Bombardier Twindexx) can possibly accommodate Caltrain’s capacity needs for the next 30 years. How about taking a second look at the Omneo and reporting back with what you found?

    Clem Reply:

    I found the Omneo is slow as molasses and would use more than its fair share of scarce train paths.

    Roland Reply:

    That’s because you did not know how to count Omneo cars (the last Regio2N you discounted as “slow as molasses” actually had 6.4MW) but the real point I am trying to get across is that nobody is going to ride a turbocharged supa-dupa whatsit without any seats.

    Bottom line: find the train that offers the highest seating capacity within +/- 650 feet of platform and we will worry about the rest later.

    Clem Reply:

    Too late! Make do with reality, and push for eight-car EMUs.

    Roland Reply:

    This is precisely why the Stadler contract will be cancelled. The RFP needs to be issued for 8-car train sets with maximum seating capacity within 650 feet of platform. There is a new level playing field now that the need for dual sets of doors no longer exists.

    Clem Reply:

    Dear Roland, you’re off your rocker, bless your heart

    EJ Reply:

    The Omneo runs in France, which means the electrical supply is 3 kV DC. Caltrain electrification is 25 kV AC. There are sound reasons for doing it that way, but it does mean that in a double-deck EMU, more bulky electrical equipment has to be crammed into space that would otherwise carry passengers.

    Clem Reply:

    The Omneo runs under 25 kV AC and 1500 V DC

    EJ Reply:

    Where does it run under 25 kV AC? I was under the impression that all French rail electrification outside of the LGVs was 3 kV DC.

    EJ Reply:

    Er, sorry, 1500 V DC – I had it mixed up with Italy.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh hey, Wikipedia has a helpful map. Carry on, I’m dumb.

    EJ Reply:

    Unfortunately, Bombardier did not bid on the Caltrain contract.

    Roland Reply:

    Bombardier and others will definitely bid for the new EMU contract.

    Clem Reply:

    You should explain to us how and why reality will deviate into your fantasy parallel universe.

    Roland Reply:

    Everything will become clear shortly after the FFGA is resolved one way or the other.

    Clem Reply:

    Everything will become clear after [insert next calendar milestone]

  3. JimInPollockPines
    Jan 7th, 2017 at 22:14
    #3

    How complicated can it possibly be to run a 50 mile long, two track railroad in a straight line from SF to Sj ?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Very complicated. Of course, it be becomes significantly less complicated if you allow for the occasional curve. :-)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    There is this apocryphal story that the only curve between St. Petersburg and Moscow is because the czar’s finger got in the way when drawing the line…

    Roland Reply:

    Extremely complicated after 15 years of “management” by a gorilla with the brain of a chipmunk. https://youtu.be/CLy_Bb8FjhA?t=1099

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    You weren’t around prior to Scanlon, if he is a gorilla with the brain of a chipmunk, then his predecessor was a mouse with the brain of an amoeba.

    Prior to Scanlon the service was fairly complacent. There was no vision or likelihood for service expansion or additional railcars. The primary focus was on BART, BART, BART.

    Under Scanlon, Caltrain acquired the Bombardier cars, installed two way crossovers, increased mid day service to every 30 minutes (and taken away during their fiscal crisis), implemented baby bullet service. We could not have seen on expected these service improvements under Scanlon’s predecessors.

    Michael Reply:

    Exactly Jeff. Under prior management, early 90’s (?), Caltrain needed to buy more cars to supplement their original mid-80’s hunks of crap. At that time all new agencies understood Bombardiers were the way to go. (See ACE, Metrolink, Sounder, Roadrunner, Coaster, Utah…) and people went to repeated Caltrain board meetings and pointed out the need to go with Bombardier. Of course, staff said that it was impossible to run two fleets on the same line, so they bought more crap. It wasn’t until the agency improved under Scanlon that the Baby Bullet fleet arrived.

    Michael Reply:

    And then there was Caltrain rooting for a SURFACE alignment to Market Street. Just put the tracks down Brannan and Second, or right up Seventh, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET!!! And yes, this assumed the existing fleet!!!

    Roland Reply:

    H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!!!

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    It goes even farther than that. In the early 1980’s, Caltrans (CA State Department of Transportation, District 4) issued an RFP for nearly exact replicas of the inherited 1950’s SP gallery cars that were running on the peninsula. At the same time, GO-Transit in Toronto was ordering Bombardier cars. We told Caltrans that they should piggy-back on that order but as usual they didn’t heed or take that advice.

    Caltrain/Samtrans repeated the mistake in 1998…

    Roland Reply:

    You are right: I barely used Caltrain until about 15 years ago and thank you for explaining why so many people believe that Scanlon was the best thing that ever happened to Caltrain (I did not know about the mouse with the brain of an amoeba).

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks.
    Interesting background information on how we got to where we are.
    (Another note to Robert – It’s what makes this blog special.)

  4. Roland
    Jan 7th, 2017 at 22:36
    #4

    In June 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) set an all-time high of 65,049, which is 1.3 percent MORE than the June 2015 AWR of 64,202.

    In July 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) INCREASED by 2.5 percent to 64,216 over July 2015 AWR of 62,630. However, the total number of passengers who rode Caltrain in July 2016 DECREASED by 2.2 percent to 1,691,661 from July 2015 ridership of 1,729,241. This is due to the fact there were 23 weekdays in 2015 and 20 weekdays in 2016.

    In August 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) DECREASED 2.7 percent to 61,156 from August 2015 AWR of 62,849

    In September 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) DECREASED 3.3 percent to 60,769 from September 2015 AWR of 62,833

    In October 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) DECREASED 3.5 percent to 58,814 from October 2015 AWR of 60,935

    In November 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) DECREASED 1.8 percent to 57,046 from November 2015 AWR of 58,119

    http://www.caltrain.com/about/bod/Board_of_Directors_Meeting_Calendar/Board_of_Directors_Meetings_Archives.html

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain just added a third bike car which removed 20 seats to make room for
    for 24 bikes.

    We’re now losing paying customers so bikes can ride on high demand peak commute trains.

    Roland Reply:

    Wong again (100% perfect score): http://www.caltrain.com/Page4384.aspx

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Don’t confuse Joe with facts or “purposeless” information.

    Joe Reply:

    What fact Jeff?
    Looking forward to you explaining Zoro’s random Links.

    Caltrain bike cars remove 20 seats to make space for 24 bikes.

    Caltrain added a third bike car. We should have added a passenger car and left all space for paying customers.

    Joe Reply:

    http://www.caltrain.com/Page4355.aspx

    For five years, Caltrain has enjoyed consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 60,000 average weekday riders. Because of Caltrain’s popularity, trains are often operating at or beyond 100 percent of available capacity.

    This has created a particular issue for bicyclists, who have been “bumped” or not allowed to bring their bike onboard the train due to overcrowding. To help improve the situation, Caltrain will be adding a third bike car to its Bombardier train sets, which will increase onboard bike capacity from 48 bikes to 72 bikes.

    Trains are over capacity so bike advocates got Caltrain to add a bike car. Now we see the effects of the bikes first crowd.

    Roland Reply:

    In June 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) set an all-time high of 65,049, which is 1.3 percent MORE than the June 2015 AWR of 64,202.

    In July 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) INCREASED by 2.5 percent to 64,216 over July 2015 AWR of 62,630. However, the total number of passengers who rode Caltrain in July 2016 DECREASED by 2.2 percent to 1,691,661 from July 2015 ridership of 1,729,241. This is due to the fact there were 23 weekdays in 2015 and 20 weekdays in 2016.

    In August 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) DECREASED 2.7 percent to 61,156 from August 2015 AWR of 62,849

    In September 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) DECREASED 3.3 percent to 60,769 from September 2015 AWR of 62,833

    In October 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) DECREASED 3.5 percent to 58,814 from October 2015 AWR of 60,935

    In November 2016, Caltrain’s average weekday ridership (AWR) DECREASED 1.8 percent to 57,046 from November 2015 AWR of 58,119

    http://www.caltrain.com/about/bod/Board_of_Directors_Meeting_Calendar/Board_of_Directors_Meetings

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Do summers have more riders because of tourists?

    Roland Reply:

    Roads are pretty deserted in the summer because the kids don’t go to school (no school mums clogging carpool lanes) and everybody else is on vacation, so I personally never understood this summer peak phenom.

    The thing that finally broke the camel’s back was a SamTrans-engineered capacity crisis caused by parking 11 of the 16 Metrolink cars we bought 2 years ago and running 5-car Gallery bullets instead of 6-car Bombardiers. The resulting catastrophe made for some great pictures for the newspapers (and MTC). “We are victims of our own success. We need MOAR MA-NEY!”. Par-Tay. J-O-B-S. Whoo-hoo.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Maybe baseball games?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t think bike capacity should be increased before there is secure bike parking at every station.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Rain is a real factor. Caltrain “stations” provide less than no amenities. “Connecting” transit isn’t, and doesn’t. You have to be a bit of a masochist at the best of times.

    Caltrain starts out twice as slow and more expensive than driving — a truly marginal proposition — and then goes even further downhill as a something actual humans with choices will put up when it’s dark and wet.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Zoro’s random links? Facts?

    The link was posted by Roland, from the Caltrain webpage, facts from Caltrain.

    As for my reference to “purposeless,” that is something you brought up when I was posting about my efforts to obtain details on Caltrain ridership calculations and ticket sales.

    Joe Reply:

    Zoro as in the character who slashes a Z and leaves. Roland’s links are graffiti.

    Your reply just a twitch back at me. Okay. Touché

    Now the facts are we have a system dedicating space to free bike passange and turning away passenger. The data show the overcapacity system is losing riders. BART has the same problems.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Zorro is Spanish and means fox. Zorra is the idiomatic word for “bitch”….

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    And paying bike customers are not being lost due to bike bumping?

    How many (non bike) paying customers are denied boarding due to bikes?

    The fact is that Caltrain fails to run adequate service, and even if there were NO bikes on board, trains will still be crowded to the point of possibly “losing paying customers.”

    Joe Reply:

    Yes. If we turn away 24 non folding bikes per train we can add new 30 paying passengers.
    If the non folding bikers quit Caltrain the we have room for replacemt riders.
    We are at capacity and losing riders to lack of space.

    Folding bikes are allowed on all cars. These are what the text of the civilized world uses on trains at peak.

    Bikes First has consequences.
    It’s not Caltrain’s fault. It’s thenlavkmofnaoce due to bikes!!

    Get a folding bike. There is a simple compromise.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    I guess bike customers are not paying passengers?

    So if you turn away 24 non folding bikes and riders, you gain 30 new paying passengers so the net gain is 6 passengers.

    Once again Caltrain is failing to provide adequate service.

    Your initial claim about the third bike car denying paying passengers is wrong. Caltrain added a sixth car to the five car Bombardier sets, so the overall capacity has increased, and now there are some six car gallery sets. But Caltrain needs much more capacity than they have added.

    Folding bikes are great, but they may not be for everybody.

    Joe Reply:

    Your math is wrong.
    Converting space for 24 bikes opens space up for 20 seated 10 people with standing room. 30 more power.

    Every bike passenger boycott is room for a new passmager. We lose nothing since the system is over capacity and losing riders to crowding.

    Free space for non folding bikes on over capacity trains!!! It’s a bad policy in 2017.

    Any sane person knows the bikes are displacing people and need to be taken off train or folded

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Wrong, any sane person knows Caltrain is failing to provide adeqaute capacity. They should be running longer trains and more frequently.

    Maybe we should have a survey, are bikes displacing people or is inadequate service/capacity displacing people.

    Are high fares and low gas prices displacing people?

    Traffic congestion is certaily not going away.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In the absence of a quick fix for overcapacity issues you can either a) raise fares (thus decreasing ridership while not significantly harming the bottom line) or b) increase capacity on existing trains by either ripping out seats (to make more standing room) or converting bike space into standing room and/or more seats.

    There is a reason DB did not offer bike spaces on the ICE until the ICE4 – ICEs don’t receive a subsidy and bike tickets do not even begin to cover the costs of the amount of seats they displace. The ICE4 is also not a “true” ICE in both seat pitch and top speed (only 250 km/h) and the lower speed Intercity trains have always had bike spaces…

    joe Reply:

    Under any scenario, hauling bike cargo displaces paying passengers.

    Bike hauling on peak commute is bad policy and why Caltrain leads the world in reserved bike capacity on a commuter system.

    8:1 bike space is a Badge of Honor for the Bike advocates and a clear sign they have done something wrong.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Under any scenario, hauling bike cargo displaces paying passengers.

    False. The only way that could happen is if non-bike customers were getting bumped, which is not the case.

    The easiest way to increase capacity (with existing crew/fleet) is to eliminate the low-utilization Gilroy service. I’m sure Joe would be in favor — because every empty seat running out to Gilroy displaces a paying passenger, right?

    joe Reply:

    False. The only way that could happen is if non-bike customers were getting bumped, which is not the case.

    That’s the Bike Cult’s first nonsensical response.

    Roland and I just said otherwise. We’re avoiding the crunch and opting to use a car and VTA more often because of the crowded conditions. Clem’s riding an electric bike.

    Running trains 150% over capacity at peak, non-bike customers are displaced by bike cargo space.

    Adding 20 seats and 10 spaces for standing room would attract more riders. You’d argue the space would be unused because people are not being bumped.

    You want evidence people actively bumped which is impossible since Caltrain does not have a policy to count and bump people.

    joe Reply:

    The easiest way to increase capacity (with existing crew/fleet) is to eliminate the low-utilization Gilroy service. I’m sure Joe would be in favor — because every empty seat running out to Gilroy displaces a paying passenger, right

    Grow-up.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    One of the reasons Roland has opted to use a car is because Caltrain doesn’t operate to Blossom Hill outside of very limited peak hour service.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    There is VTA light rail to Santa Teresa, right?

    Roland Reply:

    Here is the reality:
    Let’s suppose I am in SF until 8.00 PM. The first possible Caltrain is at 8:40 PM which pulls into Tamien at 10.18 PM (on a good day). The next southbound Santa Teresa light rail is at 10:40 PM which pulls into Santa Teresa at 11:00 PM. It then takes me another 10 minutes to get into my car and drive home.
    Total trip time: over 3 hours.

    If I drive to the City, I can be home no later than 9.15 PM (total trip time 1 hour).
    Why would any “choice rider” use public transportation when you consider that the Caltrain $9-75 one-way fare alone is equivalent to the ROUND TRIP cost of gas???

    Roland Reply:

    BTW, we are just about done building 4,500 homes between Blossom Hill and the Cottle Road light rail station. Some people drive to the Santa Teresa light rail but the majority of Caltrain riders drive to Tamien which has to accommodate parking for over 1,000 cars scattered over the entire neighborhood.
    Everybody else drives to Silicon Valley and that’s why 85, 87 and 101 are so congested. Gilroy alone sends 15,000 cars north every day because there is no other viable way to get to and from work.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A car costs more than just the cost of gas.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Bahnfreund: “A car costs more than just the cost of gas.”

    Yes that is true, it is one of those bullshit arguments transit managers use to justify high fares/fare increases. However the typical driver/commuter doesn’t care or pay attention to such arguments. They do care/notice how much they pay for gas with each fill-up and if they pay for parking such as in San Francisco. Parking fees are not an issue at Silicon Valley campuses that are surrounded by acres of free parking.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Roland
    Wow. Okay. I guess that makes sense. Will Measure B increase VTA light rail frequencies. Also, if you’re coming home earlier are their any quicker baby bullet options?

    Roland Reply:

    The last bullet leaves at 6.33PM (1 hour 10 minutes to Tamien), there is a “Limited” at 7.55 PM (1 hour and 30 minutes) and then NOTHING until 8.40 PM which is the reason why I ended up driving to evening meetings in San Carlos.
    The VTA light rail is pretty good (55 MPH) on the Santa Teresa line but frequency drops to every 30 minutes after 8.00 PM so I end up driving to Tamien to catch Caltrain because I can be home in less time (20 minutes) than it takes to wait for the light rail connection.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    There is a clear consequence to be drawn: More services throughout the evening.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I think a big part of the solution has to be expanding bikeshare, and making it fare-integrated with Clipper Card.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That is one avenue of solution. Another is more secure bike parking at stations.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Another question is how many people are not riding Caltrain because they can’t find a parking space?

    Many Caltrain parking lots are at capacity too. Each bike frees up a parking space, or a seat on a conecting transit vehicle.

    Roland Reply:

    The Caltrain electrification budget includes an additional 55 parking spaces at the future San Carlos Multimodal Transit Center (MTC). This project is funded entirely by FTA funds previously earmarked for EMU procurement through a process known as “SOGR”: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2016-12-28/paving-way-for-transit-crews-begin-construction-of-new-san-carlos-transit-center/1776425173464.html

    Clem Reply:

    Every penny spent on the San Carlos station is a direct subsidy to the developer of the Transit Village. This is SamTrans practicing the art of Development-Oriented Transit (DOT), with the added benefit of pissing away valuable land that will be needed for HSR overtake tracks. Heckuva job.

    Jerry Reply:

    CalTrain sold off part of their parking lot at the Hayward Park Station.
    A Sears type management decision.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/sears-failing-stores-closing-edward-lampert-bankruptcy-chances-2017-1
    The difference with the public sector is that they will never run out of money (no need to file for Chapter 11).

    Joe Reply:

    Another question is how many people are not riding Caltrain because they can’t find a parking space?

    Irrelevant.

    Caltrain is at peak capacity due to demand. Ridership grew without adding parking.

    Infill around stations, walking, bus and train all bring people.

    Station parking and folding bikes solve the problem you made up.

    Joe Reply:

    Station bike parking. Take out a few car spots.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Simple math will tell you that there is not enough space around stations to fill every single train with people who arrive at the station in a car.

    Roland Reply:

    Simple math will tell you that the solution is to add new stations every couple of miles which is precisely what the County of San Mateo did.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That still does not work. Imagine a train ever five minutes holding 300 people. Assuming a rather high occupancy of 1.5. per car one single train carries the inmates of 200 cars. How many square miles do you need to sacrifice to the holy car to park 200 cars every five minutes?

    joe Reply:

    We have added In-Fill along the ROW.

    Bike policy is a holder over when trains were struggling for ridership. It mirrors the Peninsula entitlement that they can have low density and protect their 60’s suburban life style. Space for their cars at home and space for their Bikes on trains.

    Roland Reply:

    As stated elsewhere we have indeed added MASSIVE infill right in front of the Blossom Hill Caltrain station but the end result was complete gridlock instead of congestion relief.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Why not remove all seats and turn them into cattle cars?

    Caltrain can cram more people into the trains without those pesky seats in the way.

    Roland Reply:

    One of the major advantage of cattle cars is that passengers can conveniently crap on the floor, thereby eliminating the need for toilets.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Caltrain is a shorter corridor than BART Richmond to San Jose, which won’t have toilets.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well German S-Bahns also play fast and loose on the toilet issue – some have them, some don’t…

    Roland Reply:

    The determining factor is the amount of time spent on trains (not the distance). Caltrain does not show up on any of the SJ-SF trip planners outside peak because trains stop at every single San Mateo County station so many people end up taking BART (I am one of them).

    EJ Reply:

    Quick glance at the schedule shows Caltrain off-peak locals doing SJ-SF in about 95 minutes, which is only about 10 minutes longer than BART from Pittsburgh/Bay Point to SFO. The difference with BART is that it’s frequent enough that if you really gotta go, you can get off, use a bathroom in the station, and get the next train.

    Roland Reply:

    The Google trip planner takes BART to Fremont followed by the 181 to downtown SJ.
    I expect Caltrain ridership to take another serious hit after the Berryessa extension opens.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Roland

    I suspect some BART riders already are making their own toilet.

    joe Reply:

    What’s gotten you so panicked?

    Convert some free bike cargo space into passenger space.
    Bikers can park their bike at the station or bring a folding bike on any car any time.

    Seems very dishonest to misrepresent a conversion of bike cargo space into passenger space as a trap to remove all seats.

  5. Jeff Carter
    Jan 7th, 2017 at 23:26
    #5

    Re-posting…

    So what is causing the drop in ridership?

    Overcrowding?
    Inadequate service?
    Service disruptions?
    High fares? (Revenue is up.)
    Lower gas prices?
    Is it just a trend?

    BART ridership is also down, BART (like Caltrain) suffers from overcrowding and service disruptions. And BART has also had fare increases, i.e. inflation based small fare increases every two years.

    Clem Reply:

    I think it’s a leading indicator that the economy has maxed out

    J. Wong Reply:

    +1

    Trentbridge Reply:

    +2 local SF economy has peaked. Rents too high – across the Bay Area.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    BUILD MORE HOUSING!

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    the bay area has tons of room for really big housing projects *cough* coliseum city *cough*

    Reedman Reply:

    Go to the forthcoming Milpitas BART station (being brought to you by VTA). You will see multistory/multifamily residential construction in multiple directions. But, BART-Milpitas requires BART-Warm Springs (brought to you by BART itself) to be open and functional, and that track/station has become a struggle to implement.

    Clem Reply:

    Rents have peaked and are dropping, just like Caltrain ridership

    Roland Reply:

    You are mixing up ridership and fares. Other countries decrease road congestion by increasing transit capacity (seats/day) and decreasing fares (or at least provide discounts for riding off-peak).

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    I forgot to mention the proliferation of free Google buses, as another reason for declining ridership.

    Roland Reply:

    There would be no need for shuttles if there was a faster, cleaner, cheaper and more convenient alternative: https://youtu.be/BTYUBsu6KQg?t=112

  6. Jerry
    Jan 8th, 2017 at 01:27
    #6

    This spring, the 10-car Train Suite Shiki-Shima will offer 34-passenger luxury tours in sleeper cars that will travel from Tokyo to the Tohoku and Hokkaido regions.
    Each train car will be a luxury suite.
    Eat your heart out CalTrain.
    https://www.jreast.co.jp/shiki-shima/en/train.html

    Roland Reply:

    Here is an even better idea: https://youtu.be/BTYUBsu6KQg?t=55

    Jerry Reply:

    Instead of buses, I wish that Facebook would use a private train like this from San Francisco through Redwood City Junction to their campus in Menlo Park.
    Hey, the ROW and tracks are already there.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Or a public train, that everybody could pay fares for (Facebook employees ride free.) It would probably cost less than all the busses they run. Also, they could get into the business of building really dense housing in East Palo Alto.

    Roland Reply:

    That is EXACTLY the plan except that SamTrans are afraid that he will eventually takeover the entire line. BTW, his proposal is for FLIRT3 hybrids which means that his trains can pretty go anywhere but may need a subsidy if people want the service.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Which may or may not be a good idea and may or may not even be a real proposal.

    Roland Reply:

    Is this real enough? https://youtu.be/3TNFWZrzUw4?t=5480

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Why have there been no news articles about this?

    Clem Reply:

    Because it was nipped in the bud by our transit industrial complex, which wasn’t in the mood to be “disrupted”

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    So it is or isn’t happening?

    Roland Reply:

    https://youtu.be/BTYUBsu6KQg?t=129

    Jerry Reply:

    Also, because the Military Industrial Complex beats up the Transit Industrial Complex kid in the schoolyard and takes all of his lunch money.

    Roland Reply:

    http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/15/news/economy/european-trains-leo-express/
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/billrobinson/leoexpress-a-gleaming-new_b_7258824.html

    Jerry Reply:

    Call it UberExpress and it might get some traction.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Honestly, I like the thought of getting train tickets via Uber.

    Roland Reply:

    Expect a $1M award (+10% commission) for a new app at the next “Caltrain” Board meeting.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Will your libertarian-boner for that Czech guy ever subside?

    Roland Reply:

    How about stuffing your mouth with your own boner for a change?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    News at 11: 8th grader named Roland tells Bahnfreund to put his boner in his mouth.

    Roland Reply:

    News at 12: 3rd grader reports on 8th grader.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well sometimes I long for the days when “boner” meant “mistake”… But then I recall it was a time without female suffrage, and then I get over this nostalgia…

    Roland Reply:

    http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000582108

  7. Distant armchair
    Jan 8th, 2017 at 09:37
    #7

    We should know in a couple of days what the recommended alternative for the Central Valley Wye will be.

    The last couple of F&A Operations Reports projected they would land their recommendation in January 2017, and the next Board Meeting agenda has recently been published and confirms they’ll hit that target:
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2017/brdmtg_011817_Board_Meeting_Agenda.pdf
    I imagine we’ll see the staff recommendation docs posted next week that reveal which alternative is getting the nod in advance of a board rubber-stamp on the 18th.

    This is an important critical-path piece for the northern IOS, and they’ve been fiddling around with various routing options and assorted community pushback for over 8 years now. Finally seeing it narrowed down to a single routing will be less of a pop the champagne moment and more of a big exhale moment.

    Clem Reply:

    Expect the tightest and slowest possible curve radius for the Fresno – Merced leg, to further preclude Altamont with “facts on the ground”

    EJ Reply:

    Well, you and I both know that Altamont is the better alternative, but San Jose has way too much pull for it to ever happen.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    As it should, because it is worth serving directly.

    EJ Reply:

    It could have been served directly if BART hadn’t grabbed the ROW.

    Roland Reply:

    ???

    EJ Reply:

    As it is, it gets a station at Diridon, which will require an ongoing connection to get almost anywhere in San Jose that anyone actually wants to go. Whereas, with Altamont, if it didn’t get its own branch line, it could have gotten a connection to BART at Union City.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Dirdon is closer to where most people want to be than Union City is. Besides, Gilroy’s 500K regional residents and millions of tourists would like a station.

    Roland Reply:

    Are you disparaging Le Festival du Garlique?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    No. I’m pointing out the importance of serving tourist destinations like Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Roland
    What is your point?

    Joe Reply:

    Well, tourists can disembark and Rent a Hertz auto in Gilroy. Better to take a hotel shuttle or MST bus but there will be auto rentals at the Gilroy station.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Sure. Okay.

    Roland Reply:

    Did anyone ever consider moving the wye south (closer to Fresno) and potentially save another 5-10 minutes on LA-SF?

    Clem Reply:

    Why would that save time?

    Roland Reply:

    Imagine a straight shot between Fresno & Gilroy and let’s see what you end up with.

    Michael Reply:

    Check out “South of GEA” in this doc… Alignment went down along I-5 and then cut across just north of Fresno.

    http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/statewide_rail/proj_sections/SanJose_Merced/San_Jose_to_Merced_Preliminary_Alternatives_Analysis_Report_3_6_2_10.pdf

    Clem Reply:

    Fair enough, but it’s the same mileage and therefore wouldn’t save 5-10 minutes on LA-SF as originally claimed by Roland

    Jerry Reply:

    But would it lessen “the tightest and slowest possible curve radius for the Fresno – Merced leg”??

    Jerry Reply:

    Or the curve radius from Fresno to Pacheco pass?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Just look at the stupidity of the grotesque Palmdale Detour on the putative PBCAHSR map.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That could definitely make sense. I suppose it would look something like this: https://s24.postimg.org/98f235nt1/wye.png

    However, I don’t think that is realistic with construction already happening.

    Roland Reply:

    Look at the existing line west of Fresno and the Gilroy-Hollister line and things will make even more sense. There is definitely a lot less tunneling involved further south even with a +/- 1% grade.

    datacruncher Reply:

    Chowchilla City Council discussed the Wye at a December 13, 2016 special meeting. They support Avenue 21 for the east/west portion and Road 11 for the north/south leg. Both would be the farthest alignments considered from the city.

    Previously among the alternatives, there was a Highway 152/Road 11 alignment and a Avenue 21/Road 13 alignment under study. The City Council appears to be supporting a hybrid of the two. I don’t know if CHSRA staff and Chowchilla have already discussed and agreed to the hybrid or if this is a last minute proposal by Chowchilla.

    Chowchilla City Council Dec 13 special meeting packet including a Dec 8 2016 WYE presentation from CHSRA.
    http://www.ci.chowchilla.ca.us/agendas-minutes/council-2016/2016-12-13-cc-agenda-special-pkt.pdf

    Distant armchair Reply:

    Interesting find. Very much looks like a last-minute bit of weirdness on Chowchilla’s part.

    If an Avenue 21+Road 11 combo were to be seriously considered through the EIS process, it would have had to gone onto the table as a fifth alternative at least 12 months ago, when SR 152+Road 11 (Alternative 4) popped back up again. I bet we’ll see SR 152+Road 11.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Just so long as they don’t choose the loopy road 18 wye, I’m happy. I think that we’ll end up with SR 152/Road 13 or Avenue 21/Road 13 (which pleasantly happen to be my preferences.)

    Jerry Reply:

    datacruncher
    Thanks for posting the meeting packet.
    (Note to Robert – It’s what makes this blog special. )

    Jerry Reply:

    The meeting packet highlights some of the challenges the CAHSRA is constantly dealing with.
    Four counties along with 16 stakeholder and agency groups. Including a required PG&E network upgrade.
    On top of all of this, Chowchilla is developing the Chowchilla Industrial Center. All in the packet.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    152/19 looks like it would make the most sense.

    keithsaggers Reply:

    Item 6 CHSRA Board Meeting

    Consider Providing Approval to Release Five Requests for Qualifications for Right-of-Way Engineering and Surveying Services for the Silicon Valley to Central Valley Segment

  8. J. Wong
    Jan 8th, 2017 at 09:40
    #8

    The problem with the supposition that overcrowding is causing drops in ridership on both BART & Caltrain is that it doesn’t address where said passengers are going instead. The freeways are at capacity too so why would someone trade an overcrowded train car for an overcrowded freeway?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Are we seeing bus or ferry ridership increase?

    joe Reply:

    Safety. We’re older and my wife has in particular had problems on crowded trains such as being pushed. We are more inclined to now use the VTA Bus – 522 and 22. We now drive – car pool more.

    Clem bought a electric Bike and no longer rides.

    Roland Reply:

    Same here (I drive half of the time). The only thing that can possibly beat a car is a bullet and a 20-minute light rail ride south of Tamien is the final straw that causes a mode shift away from transit.

    Roland Reply:

    There are plenty of available seats and no standees on 101 and 280.

    Jerry Reply:

    So is it a good time to increase the carpool lane to at least 3 or 4 in the vehicle??

    Roland Reply:

    The is no carpool lane on 280 north of San Jose. Same with 101 north of Santa Clara County.

    Reality Check Reply:

    The 101 carpool / HOV lane starts/ends well into SMCo. at the San Carlos/Redwood City border.

    Joe Reply:

    Huh? The carpool lane picks up again on 280 and extends well past HW 85.

    Roland Reply:

    Touche. I will pay closer attention to my GPS next time.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Bay Area toll bridges all saw increases of around 1-2%. So the answer to J. Wong’s question is that travelers are giving up on transit in favor of automobile. Anecdotally, the highways do seem a lot more crowded this year.

    And it doesn’t help that Caltrain just had a huge fare increase. Hard to convince people to choose transit when it is more expensive and less reliable.

    Roland Reply:

    And you don’t get a seat…

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Drunk Engineer: “And it doesn’t help that Caltrain just had a huge fare increase. Hard to convince people to choose transit when it is more expensive and less reliable.”

    True… gas prices are now under $3.00/gallon from near and above $4.00/gallon a year or two ago.

    In the last three Caltrain report months, ridership is down by 2.9%, and fare revenue is up by 2.8%.

    There are some who claim that Caltrain fares are too low and fares should be increased. This statement has been made here and made a number of times by one or two regular public attendees of Caltrain JPB and CAC meetings and including one or two CAC members.

  9. StevieB
    Jan 8th, 2017 at 16:42
    #9

    Los Ángeles rail ridership is up but public transit is criticized for lower bus ridership. LA Weekly asks “Where Are the Riders?”

    The good news for Metro is that more people are riding its trains. November of 2016 (the most recent data Metro has released) saw 700,000 more rail boardings than November of 2015. Most of that increase came from the recently extended Expo and Gold lines.

    Unfortunately, bus ridership continues to tank. November of 2016 saw about 2 million fewer bus boardings than in November of 2015. Which, according to the laws of mathematics, means Metro’s total ridership fell by about 1.3 million boardings. (There were still nearly 24 million bus boardings, compared to fewer than 10 million train boardings.)

    The author sees public transit only as a way to remove cars from roads he is driving on and anything else is a failure. This way of thinking is the reason that recently passed transportation sales tax Measure M needed to provide large amounts of road building to pass.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Of course, people may just be making fewer transfers with the new expo line. For instance SaMo-DTLA is now one train instead of a bus-train trip or a REALLY LONG single seat ride on a bus.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Stupid question, I know, but could you – in theory – pass a new measure that forbids already allocated funds from e.g. Measure M to be spent on a specific project, say road building? And would such a measure than still require two thirds to pass?

    So you could get rid of the car stuff with a simple majority, couldn’t you?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    You could get rid of the car stuff with two thirds, but that isn’t really realistic though. The “car stuff” really isn’t that bad though–its mostly just adding carpool lanes.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You’d have to move fast. The “car staff” gets built first usually. They know how to do car stuff, lot’s of institutional knowledge. It’s the rail stuff they screw up, gold plate, allow NIMBYs to delay, sometimes eventually cancel because they run out of money. Not that I am cynical…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    True, but I’m pretty happy with measure R and I think measure M will be good. Here’s hoping for a measure M2 in 2024.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well the more rail stuff gets built the easier it becomes to build more rail stuff. First because the popularity rises and second because the people doing the building know better what they’re doing…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    That’s why we’re going to have unconnected rail on Van Nuys Blvd, because they know what they are doing. We’re proposing (Transit Coalition and RailPAC) a Metrolink station at VNB in Pacoima along with the double track Brighton Roxford to serve Pacoima and connect with the light rail when eventually built.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That’s smart. Right now, I’m part of a group known as Metro Done Right and we’re advocating for a properly constructed Crenshaw Line Northern Extension. We’re hoping to launch in February, but you can see our initial plans here: http://metrodoneright.sitey.me/crenshaw-done-right
    Perhaps all/some of the California rail groups should unite and collectively push for projects like this. We’d probably all have more success.

    Danny Reply:

    the BRU cultists were given absolute control of Metro 1996-2006 and that meant buses, buses, buses; so half the buses are driving around empty because nobody wants to go on a nowhere-to-nowhere route that doesn’t connect to rail, while the other half is so packed that they have to inject empty buses at each stop to prevent people from being crushed to death: naturally these sardine routes are on places that should’ve had rail three decades ago

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s BRU?

    And why don’t they fix that by adding frequency to the busiest routes?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    BRU was known as the Bus Riders Union and they tried to oppose new Metro Rail construction here in Los Angeles, making senseless arguments that rail was somehow elitist and racist. It was really just a NIMBY attempt to stop progress at the expense of everybody else.

    Danny Reply:

    note that their headquarters is at the Wiltern (exactly at the last station of the Purple Line that they stopped) and their chartreuse vests are only ever spotted on the subway, not the buses

  10. Clem
    Jan 8th, 2017 at 17:40
    #10

    Assignment for Roland: explain why the proposed FRA Tier III regulations will lead to a low-floor HSR fleet for California. Identify candidate trainsets.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Assignment for inhabitants of Planet Earth: explain how PBQD=CHSRA’s decades-spanning record of accomplishments in routing, funding, operation, or cost-containment will lead to any requirement for any type of any HSR equipment anywhere in California any time in the next 30 to 40 years.

    (Test track!)

    Roland Reply:

    Roland Reply:
    July 5th, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    According to CRRA’s top honcho, “The lower floor of the Duplex can be elevated to provide level boarding at a 550 mm (21.7”) platform height” http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2015/2015-05-20+JPB+BOD+CHSRA+Trainsets.pdf (slide 17 on page 8).

    Now that we have this settled (including full and completely unbiased CRRA endorsement), would anyone care to elaborate on this definitive masterpiece https://systemicfailure.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/chsra-platform-fail/ and the solution for the Duplex internal steps in particular: https://systemicfailure.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/chsra-platform-fail/#comment-12713?

    Roland Reply:
    July 15th, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Kindly help me understand which part of “The lower floor of the Duplex can be elevated to provide level boarding at a 550 mm (21.7”) platform height” it is that you do not understand? http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2015/2015-05-20+JPB+BOD+CHSRA+Trainsets.pdf (slide 17)

    Roland Reply:
    September 9th, 2016 at 10:42 am

    You answered your own question about step arrangements: the platform detection system automatically deploys either a step @ 18 inches or a bridge plate @ 550mm depending on the platform configuration in front of each door when the train stops, so is your question “why deploy a step when you can add a second second set of doors” or something else?

    Clem Reply:

    Should CHSRA or their future operator lock themselves into a product offered by a single vendor (Alstom) instead of drawing from a wide competition among the world’s train vendors? That sounds just like your advocacy for the Bombardier Omneo. I thought vendor lock-in was bad.

    Roland Reply:

    I forgot to mention that the selection of rolling stock is now off PBRRA’s hands and lies firmly with the future rail operator (public funding of trainsets IS an operating subsidy).

    Clem Reply:

    Is the trainset RFP no longer imminent?

    Roland Reply:

    Which one? Caltrain or HSR?

    Clem Reply:

    HSR. Caltrain’s contract with Stadler is past the RFP stage and, back here in reality, is unlikely to be rescinded. So, is the HSR RFP no longer imminent?

    Roland Reply:

    No. Nothing will happen on the rolling stock front until the Board gets feedback from the Early Operator:
    http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2016/brdmtg_121316_Item5_Early_Operator_Procurement_Presentation.pdf (slide 2)

    As far as Caltrain is concerned, the 50-inch platforms and the dual sets of doors are dead. Grow up and get over it.

    Roland Reply:

    “The 2016 Business Plan called for the engagement of an early train operator to ensure that their perspective is considered in the planning and design of the civil works, infrastructure, high-speed trains (rolling stock), and facilities”
    http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/newsroom/2016_HSRA_Moves_Towards_Securing_Early_Train_Operator_121616.pdf

  11. mike
    Jan 9th, 2017 at 11:10
    #11

    Any comment on the Caltrain deal with UP to take over freight rights on the Peninsula? Seems like this should be a big positive, but I don’t know the specifics.

    zorro Reply:

    Why would UPRR give up on Freight on the SF Peninsula?

    BTW: CSX, NS run Doublestack Container trains under Catenary in the NEC, as does India, which is supposed to be 25′ above the railhead.
    Doublestack Container Train in the NEC under catenary

    Joey Reply:

    It’s possible, sure. But higher clearance means the wires have to be higher, and that means any structures (bridges, etc) over the tracks have to be taller, if the tracks are in a trench it has to be deeper, if they’re in a bored tunnel it has to be wider. It adds up. Additionally, pantographs designed to minimize drag at very high speed lack the vertical range to reach such wires, meaning that the high speed trains would need two sets of pantographs and would have to switch over somewhere.

    Roland Reply:

    Every TGV comes equipped with dual pantographs: https://youtu.be/wCeQuJBYlXM?t=1575

    Here is where the switch takes place (when the train switches to the 25KV high speed line): https://youtu.be/wCeQuJBYlXM?t=866
    14:30: Lower pantograph
    14:48: Start of 25 KV high speed line (LGV sign)
    14:57: Raise (other) pantograph
    15:02: Switch from KVB to TVM (who needs CBOSS’ fucking LTK-“engineered” “dual broadcasts”???)

    Joey Reply:

    Not sure how much the additional pantograph costs, but it isn’t free. But that’s really secondary – the main cost of double stack clearance is structures.

    Roland Reply:

    The Port is not asking for double stack. Only autorack.

    Joey Reply:

    If it requires more clearance, it will cost more.

    mike Reply:

    Because it’s a money-losing distraction that has no real value except as a bargaining chip?

    To be clear, I’m not asking about UP hypothetically giving up on Peninsula freight. I’m referring to the apparent announcement that they are in fact turning over freight rights to the PCJPB.

    http://www.greencaltrain.com/2017/01/union-pacific-accepts-electrification-plans-to-open-bids-for-peninsula-freight-service/

    Roland Reply:

    ” In addition, as part of JPB’s reconfiguration of SSF station, JPB will remove the existing team track and associated loading dock, and JPB will pay $2,000,000.00 to UP to compensate for the loss of the existing team track and loading dock, which are UP assets, and for the cost of temporary access to freight by those shippers affected by the loss of the existing team track and loading dock (collectively, “Loss Compensation”). “

    Roland Reply:

    “JPB will implement, at JPB’s sole cost, by December 31, 2018, or alternatively no later than December 31, 2019 if authorized by applicable law or regulation, a Wabtec I-­ETMS® positive train control solution for any JPB trains operating on UP-­owned track south of CP Lick, which PTC solution complies with applicable law and the Association of American Railroads Positive Train Control Interchange Agreement for ITC PTC systems (“AAR-­PTC Interchange Agreement”). Notwithstanding the terms of any other agreement, if the JPB does not meet this deadline, the JPB will suspend operations on the Lick/Gilroy Line until such time that the JPB has implemented a PTC solution that meets the requirements of this paragraph.”

    J. Wong Reply:

    It means UP isn’t, or is at least finding it difficult to be, profitable on the Peninsula. What they’re looking to do is find another operator who because of lower costs structure (like lower union contracts) would be able to operate freight service profitably.

    I suppose that Caltrain could just kill freight service if they really wanted to, but of course, all the existing customers would complain. I also suspect that the FRA would get involved if there was elimination of freight service giving the existing customers plenty of opportunity to complain.

    Alan Reply:

    I think this confirms an opinion that I expressed here some time ago–that UP was making such a fuss about HSR on the Peninsula not so much because they were objecting to the Peninsula plans per se, but because they did not want to set a precedent that could be held against them in other, more profitable, parts of their system.

    Now that they’ve made their point, they can walk away and save face.

    Clem Reply:

    It might have been related to the recent CPUC approval, which was treated as an exception rather than through the precedent-setting rule making process

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You should also be careful what you wish for, because private UPRR could (after a few hearings and whatnot) say “fuck you” to money-losing trivial business and just stop service — and as a side-effect, improving the utility of the publicly-owned rail corridor and hugely improving overall environmental quality even when a few extra trucks are added to highways –, while the “public” PCJPB, rubber-stamping “staff recommendations” following “stakeholder consultation”, will put, say, the interests of the worse-than-pointless and self-perpetuating bureaucracy that is the Might Port of San Francisco far ahead of that of tens of thousands of potential daily riders, and do so at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Oh, this was supposed to have been done well over a decade ago, but it was decided that “designing” and “implementing” CBOSS, at a public cost of around a third of a billion dollars and climbing, because “working with freight would be a fun project” (actual horses’ mouth words of the public employee responsible!)

    Death really is too kind a fate.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Mike, J Wong and the rest of you:
    None of you has the information to conclude whether freight business on the peninsula is “profitable” or otherwise. None of the traffic both originates and terminates on the line so its costs and revenues are part of a much bigger calculation.
    I agree that operational costs for UP are likely to be above average. But on the other hand their track costs are fixed by contractual agreement whereas on most of their system they are responsible for their own right of way. This can include sudden and unexpected expenses such as washouts, failing bridges or other issues. Likewise they are not responsible for the cost of PTC and other signaling and dispatch related expenses.
    Bringing in a third party operator may appear to offer lower costs but in reality I doubt if a short line would be able to attract train crews if wages and benefits were lower than current UP contract rates, given the cost of living in the region. (Note the travails of SMART in this regard.)
    What you seem to have missed, but I at least conjecture, is that any new operator will have to negotiate a new deal for track charges. PCJPB may at least attempt to set these at a punitive level with the objective of driving the business away. This in turn would lead UP to add a surcharge or simply increase their through rates. Whether UP would appeal this to the STB, or whether they would stand aside and let the short line or the shippers go through the long and expensive process of challenging the track charge remains to be seen.
    I doubt very much now that there is any concern about catenary height. There is and will be no double stack traffic because there is no nor ever will be a container yard to handle it. The only traffic with a slight chance of moving would be automobiles with high level cars. Union Pacific pricing can effectively discourage this and drive it to other UP served ports. Whether you feel that it is OK to drive the remaining traffic onto the highway is for you to decide, but I think it sets a poor precedent.

    Clem Reply:

    The majority of the PCEP is designed and will be built to Plate H clearances, except for a few tight spots.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    “except for a few tight spots. ” That’s reassuring! Better not use too many coats of paint.

    Mark Duncan Reply:

    Granite Rock runs rock trains from its quarry in Aromas to its cement facilities in San Jose, Redwood City and South San Francisco. Typically they operate daily. The number of rail cars varies depending with the amount of construction, but there have been instances of upwards of a 100 cars. These trains typically operate at night after the evening commuter rush traffic.

    Given the volume, weight and frequency of this traffic, it is not in the interest of San Mateo and Santa Clara countries to move this cargo to trucks traveling on 101. Currently freight pays a ton-mile charge to travel on Caltrain ROW. While this charge may increase slightly, I would be highly surprised to see a major cost escalation.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Mark,

    How many zeroes in “billion”?

    Joe Reply:

    None.

    There is one in “billi0n”

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How many are there in “milliard”?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Paul, re “None of you has the information to conclude whether freight business on the peninsula is profitable or otherwise.”

    Some of us have had such information passed on over the years, and the answer has always been that this is a business which is not UPRR’s business.

    Regardless, the economics of serving rail freight at various levels in the US are very well understood in the US, and pretty much every marginal quasi-railfan type who has sought to revolutionize low-volume short lines has gone bye-bye.

    Re: “PCJPB may at least attempt to set these at a punitive level with the objective of driving the business away”

    No, the danger (actually it’s a certainty, not a potential) is that the “public” PCJPB staff will do the exact opposite, and will subsidize marginal, un-economic and anti-environmental (in net effect) freight at a public cost measured in the many hundreds of millions of dollars (more likely north of a billion) and at the expense of many tens of thousands of lost daily passenger trips.

    This will happen for three reasons:

    First, the PCJPB staff and particularly the consultants DBA “public” agency staff will always come up with “requirements” that maximize cost, minimize public service, indefinitely defer real improvements, and guarantee lucrative lifetime lives of under-employed over-paid leisure. Always. There’s been no exception to this pattern in decades, and it’s only going to get worse with the grotesquely unqualified executive “leadership” that’s been installed.

    Second, the PCJPB’s nominal “oversight” public board is totally non-analytical, immune to argument from cost-benefit, and highly amenable to manipulation by industry and local agency interest (as opposed to the interest of the public they nominally represent.) The three SF representatives are never going to vote to shut down freight to the Port of San Francisco (not because they’re from San Francisco, but because they represent their fellow apparatchiks, not the residents of SF), and the other six board members will go along because they will want votes later for some other totally insane, wasteful, and corrupt local scam of their own.

    Third, Freight Is What Olde Tyme Commuter Railroading People Do, culturally. The entire careers of ever single one of them are based around US freight railroading, and the results — “passenger” equipment and facilities and standards and service and quality that are appropriate to bulk grain or bulk coal haulage — clearly reflect that. They’re not going to throw their own kind under the bus. They’re going to do what they always do, which is bring passenger service down to freight level.

    A public agency in our environment, in short, is guaranteed to engineer the worst possible outcome, and will without question be easily manipulated to put uneconomic freight first. The nearby and catastrophic example of Sonoma-Marin’s SMART (a total and complete clusterfuck engineered by and to the direct profits of rent-seeking pig-fucking LTK Engineering Services, Inc, who of course are behind Caltrain’s EMU procurement) is an object lesson in which “requirements” for non-existent freight totally torpedoed any chance of any sort of useful passenger rail service, and did so at huge capital cost.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    We used to call passengers “self-loading cargo.”

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Best use of Port of San Francisco is coal export. I could easily put 6 unit trains a day through there. Best quality high bru Utah coal.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Btu as in British thermal units.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    How much is that in furlongs?

    Roland Reply:

    The real deal is that the SamTrans retards want to buy UP’s SSF yard so that they can stick a fucking island platform in the middle of the mainline (which they can now afford because of “SOGR” and “electrification”) and no, I am not making that one up either.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Another way to get rid of freight is to eliminate the support yards.

    Roland Reply:

    This is precisely what happened here (they wanted a yard they would not have needed if only they knew how to design railway stations).
    http://calhsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/08-TCCM-200-B.pdf
    http://calhsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/09-TCCM-200-B.pdf

    We can now look forward to blood and assorted human remains to start flying on the brand new island platform in the middle of a freaking 110 MPH line. Par-Tay. J-O-B-S and F-U-C-K anybody who wants to live in San Francisco and work in Silicon Valley (and vice-versa).

    And while all this is going on, the port of Oakland and 101 can no longer handle the freight traffic…

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    We can now look forward to blood and assorted human remains to start flying on the brand new island platform in the middle of a freaking 110 MPH line.

    Roland,

    Once every 20 or so messages you do bury something that makes sense.

    But boy, does this sort of batshit insanity make it possible to forget that.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2545932/He-doing-right-thing-Hero-Silicon-Valley-tech-worker-35-killed-trying-save-suicidal-person-train-tracks-ended-surviving-crash.html
    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/2-People-Hit-1-Killed-at-Santa-Clara-Caltrain-Station-241220401.html
    How about increasing the speed by another 30 MPH just for fun?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    You’re quite good at typing, Roland.
    You, “Joe”, “Adirondacker12800”, “bahnfreund” all get special gold stars for extra effort in typing.

    Joe Reply:

    Bet you want to reach out of the screen and cut off our fingers.

    Clem Reply:

    SSF can become FSSF. Islands are great.

    Roland Reply:

    This one happened less than 24 hours after I pointed out the 2 missing FF tracks to the Mayor of Santa Clara (it happened the day after the 150 Year party): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2545932/He-doing-right-thing-Hero-Silicon-Valley-tech-worker-35-killed-trying-save-suicidal-person-train-tracks-ended-surviving-crash.html

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Clem
    You’re absolutely right. Sam Trans is actually intelligently planning for the future with island platforms.

    Roland Reply:

    Would you care to share your personal experience with 110 MPH island platforms?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    1225mph https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CXzvl7TDmY&t=3m10s
    Moron.

    Roland Reply:

    Asshole.

    Peter Reply:

    230 km/h side platform: https://youtu.be/e0JVmNpDozk

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    blood and assorted human remains to start flying!

    Peter Reply:

    Oh the humanity!

    Roland Reply:

    Richard was referring to miscellaneous body parts.

    Eric M Reply:

    And here is something on the east coast:

    https://youtu.be/zykZ7DxJ2g4?t=61

    Take a look at the platform in the backround

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,4172532

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CFSj4f2fwg0
    Ebbsfleet Intl. Station.

    Roland Reply:

    Dear 3rd grader. Thank you for your nice video link. Please refer to the Ebbsfleet track layout (http://raildar.co.uk/map/EBB) and kindly help me understand what your point is:

    Q1: Are you saying that passengers standing on Platform 1 (Up International) have access to Westbound HS1 (Up CTRL) and that passengers standing on Platform 4 (Dn International) have access to Eastbound HS1 (Dn CTRL)???

    Q2: Do you have any idea why Ebbsfleet had to be designed designed as FSSSSF?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Dear thin-skinned. Your welcome for the video link.
    A1: No, but Southeastern High Speed trains do pass a platform.
    A2: I would assume because of custom controls.

    Roland Reply:

    Dear 2nd grader,

    A1: No Sir. Non-stopping trains are not allowed on platforms 1-4 and the HS1 Up and Down tracks are isolated from platforms 1 and 4 by the fence depicted in your nice video around the 00:48 mark: https://youtu.be/CFSj4f2fwg0?t=48 (no opportunity for NEC “SPLATs” as advocated by the folks who voted for Agent Orange http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,4172532).

    A2: No Sir. Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International have the same customs controls (Stratford is SFSSFS). The real reason is that Ebbsfleet has domestic platforms both on HS1 (2&3) and on the North Kent Line (5&6) and the only way (given the proximity to the Thames Tunnel and the need for passing tracks) to access both sets of domestic platforms via the same set of tracks was to locate the viaduct connecting HS1 (AKA CTRL) & the NKL between the two HS1 mainline tracks (Up CTRL & Down CTRL) http://www.kentrail.org.uk/Ebbsfleet_International_Track_Plan.htm

    Jerry Reply:

    And hopefully four tracks soon in San Mateo.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhFu6aM4nY8

    J. Wong Reply:

    Actually, that’s southern San Mateo. There’s no 4 track through downtown just from somewhere south of downtown to at least Redwood City border.

    Clem Reply:

    Obscure Caltrain Fact: Hayward Park is pre-built for 3 tracks. The southbound platform is “scarred” to be cut back some day to make way for a third track.

    Roland Reply:

    Who needs a Hayward Park station???

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I suppose the people who use it. What would you do?

    Roland Reply:

    Replace the “station” with an ECR BRT bus stop.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The one thing that rivals your love of Leo Express is your love of ECR BRT. Why?

    Roland Reply:

    How about picking on someone eminently more qualified for a change? https://leoexpress-california.herokuapp.com/#testimonials

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Hey. I think the plan is good. I just find your moderate obsession moderately entertaining. Have a nice day.

    Jerry Reply:

    And how do we ensure that the new Hillsdale Station at 31st Street will have four tracks?

    Jerry Reply:

    31st Avenue

    Roland Reply:

    Like http://www.tillier.net/stuff/caltrain/JPB_UPRR_Deal_Terms_Sheet.pdf page 10, right?
    Whooops, Richard, some retard just obliterated your nice tight schedule…

    Roland Reply:

    SamTrans and intelligently is the ultimate oxymoron.

  12. J. Wong
    Jan 9th, 2017 at 15:05
    #12

    For all those who think that passengers will just own their own self-driving cars and be able to take them to L.A. or San Francisco instead of riding on HSR: Driverless cars will mean the end of mass car ownership.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Which means increased transit usage because of untreated booking, cheaper prices, easy multimodal-ness, the fact that people would even think not to drive, and, most importantly, the guarantee of a car at the other end of a transit journey.

    Joe Reply:

    Jet packs will mean the end of mass car ownership.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The car is a transient phenomenon, I still believe in the horse.

    les Reply:

    I think the Detroit lion running backs could have used self-driving car technology. Maybe miss a few tackles?

  13. synonymouse
    Jan 9th, 2017 at 16:37
    #13
  14. keithsaggers
    Jan 9th, 2017 at 18:21
    #14

    Even states that supported Donald Trump in the presidential election had moved heavily to renewables. Iowa generated 32% of their electricity in 2015 from wind, up from 8% in 2008.
    Guardian

  15. car(e)-free LA
    Jan 9th, 2017 at 22:40
    #15

    Attention Santa Clara County dwellers:

    What are your opinions on VTA’s next network. I have been curiously viewing the project for some time, and want to know what locals think.

    Roland Reply:

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Okay. What are your initial reactions to the service changes. You can see the proposed 85/15 map on the VTA’s website.

    Roland Reply:

    Here is the meeting schedule: http://www.vta.org/projects-and-programs/transit/next-network
    I will post the link to last week’s Board meeting video when it is available.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    OK. But what are your personal views on the new routes and frequencies?

    Roland Reply:

    My exact words at last weeks Board meeting: “A sucking sound emanating from Milpitas BART results in a vacuum in the south”.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    So I guess you don’t like it then. I suppose it’ll be nice when BART gets to DTSJ so some lines to Berryessa and Milpitas can change.

    Roland Reply:

    The other comment I made is that Santa Clara County’s southern boundary is somewhere south of Santa Teresa so I asked them to increase the frequency of the 68 to every 15 minutes (there literally is NOTHING else down there).

    Joe Reply:

    VTA 68 and 168 run between San Jose Diridon and Gilroy Caltrain station.
    68 can be sketchy and, as a local, is slow. If we miss Caltrain tell this line takes us home.
    168 commuter expresses with stops at the three south county Caltrain stations. It’s preferred.

    VTA is adding another 168 commuter bus and changed the schedule.
    There is the 121 commuter that expresses from Gilroy / Morgan hill to Sunnyvale area and the complementary new 185 which runs only three buses but extends into mountain view.

    Joe Reply:

    MAJOR SERVICE CHANGES:

    Line 168 Gilroy Transit Center to San Jose Diridon Transit Center: An additional trip will be added in the morning and afternoon to improve frequency and running times will be adjusted, resulting in major schedule changes.

    NEW Line 185 Gilroy Transit Center – Mtn. View: This new weekday, peak hour express route will operate between Gilroy/Morgan Hill and two research parks in Mountain View (see attached map). There will be three northbound morning trips and three southbound afternoon trips.

    These Express commuters, IMHO, help build demand for additional south county Caltrain service. They use the stations and riders park at the stations. They differ in they bring riders into sunnyvale and mountain view other than the Caltrain stations. The slow bus time can make up by saving trip time if dropping riders off closer to work.

    Roland Reply:

    The 168 does not stop at Blossom Hill or Capitol. Same with the 185 which could follow Google’s example and pick up massive ridership @ Ohlone Chynoweth.

    Joe Reply:

    The Express 168,121 and 185 should do pretty well with ridership from the south county residents.

    joe Reply:

    Proof of the chef is in the eating of the pudding.

    I like the general guideline which is to increase service on important routes.

    I share some concern that a few less used routes that may have dependent ridership will be cut.

    Reedman Reply:

    VTA is implementing a “center lanes dedicated to buses and board platforms” on Alum Rock Ave that I find to be a truly bad idea.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Why? It makes sense to me. Of course, it should probably be an extension of the Winchester LRT line someday.

    Roland Reply:

    That would have made real sense, would it not? But no, Rod Diridon decided that the quickest way from Santa Teresa to Alum Rock was via the Great Mall and this is how the Montague (soon to be renamed Milpitas) station ended up with the lowest ridership in the entire system.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Perhaps, but I bet that LRT line was always intended for trips to north first, or for transferring to the Mountain View line.

    Roland Reply:

    The East side was supposed to get light rail but did not “because BART is coming”. The East side subsequently realized they had been screwed when they found out that the proposed “Alum Rock” BART station was nowhere near Alum Rock which is on the east side of 101. The East side eventually ended up with the now infamous Alum Rock BRT (there was no money left for light rail after BART was done sucking up most of Measure A).

  16. Roland
    Jan 10th, 2017 at 11:49
    #16

    Breaking News: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2017-01-09/electric-trains-get-cash-infusion-feds-require-contingency-san-mateo-county-takes-on-more-than-partner-agencies/1776425173982.html

    Paging Clem (and Joe): kindly help me understand how “electrifying that train is going to allow us to put more trains on the system and the ridership can go from 50,000 or 60,000 now, to 100,000” after we toss 200 seats/train out of the window.

    zorro Reply:

    With electricity one can have higher hp than 4400hp(4400hp is the most hp from a Diesel Locomotive, pure electrics go higher), so trains can be faster, faster trains, means more trains.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Electric trains are also sleeker (no need to carry around fuel and electric engines are less heavy than diesel engines) and have better acceleration. Those things matter more for commute runs

    Clem Reply:

    If the super-contingency required by FTA isn’t used, it’s more than enough to lengthen EMU consists from 6 to 8 cars, exercising the Stadler contract option.

    Wells Reply:

    I’ve rode DMUs, Budd cars mostly, Ft Worth-Dallas, Portland-Astoria Budd cars.
    I’ve been on DMU Sprinter cars between Escondido and Oceanside.
    DMU Acceleration/deceleration is certainly slower than LRT.
    Electrifying the Peninsula I’d say would be fun to watch.

    Roland Reply:

    SamTrans agrees that electrifying the Peninsula would be great fun to watch.

    Roland Reply:

    Given that It takes 5×762-seat trains running at 125% capacity/hour to carry 60,000 passengers/day, how many 803-seat trains/hour would it take to carry 100,000 passengers?

    Joe Reply:

    What’s the available standing room on each?

    Roland Reply:

    Where did you get the notion that anyone would be remotely interested in standing on Caltrain?

    Joe Reply:

    so you want to ban standing riders.

    Any other innovations?

    Roland Reply:

    Joe Reply:
    January 8th, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Safety. We’re older and my wife has in particular had problems on crowded trains such as being pushed. We are more inclined to now use the VTA Bus – 522 and 22. We now drive – car pool more.

    Clem bought a electric Bike and no longer rides.

    Joe Reply:

    You can’t mixup standing at peak which is acceptable with over crowding.

    All commuter rail systems have a design for standing room at peak demand.

    Your seat/toilet train, besides being slower, offers less safe, comfortable room for passengers at peak because they offer less standing room. You know this defect exists so you count seats and not capacity with standing.

    Even inbound and seated, exiting an over packed train becomes hazardous. We board at Gilroy so the issues are totally with over crowding and your toilet train will be over crowded and less safe. It offers less total system capacity at peak.

    Roland Reply:

    So Gallery railcars are safer than Bombardiers because they have only one toilet?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Passengers stand on Caltrain all the time.

    Clem Reply:

    Not every train today is a six-car Bombardier, nor is every train at 125% seated capacity. But let’s solve your equation anyway. 762 x 5 = 3810 seats per hour per direction.

    With 8-car EMUs and 6 tph, you get 837 x 6 = 5022 seats per hour per direction, or a 32% increase. That’s good for 80k riders/weekday at the current 20% standee fraction, or 100k riders/weekday with a 36% standee fraction. Since the KISS EMU was designed for the Zurich S-Bahn, I’m sure a 36% standee fraction will be quite manageable.

    In reality, Caltrain’s average train load (during rush hours) is nowhere near 4800 bodies.

    Roland Reply:

    The $200M extra supercontingency required by the FTA is only 1/2 of the Stadler contract option which is 100 seats short even after extending the trains to 8-car (an 8-car Bombardier set would have over 1,000 seats) and this is precisely why the Stadler contract will be canceled.

    With regards to “In reality, Caltrain’s average train load (during rush hours) is nowhere near 4800 bodies”, any guestimates the day Transbay opens?

    Clem Reply:

    The option is for 96 cars. Stretching 16 consists from the base contract to eight cars requires only 32 cars, for a sum smaller than the supercontingency. Math. It works.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    But what’s with this “16 consists” bullshit?

    Under THE VERY MOST OPTIMISTIC POSSIBLE SCENARIO:

    * No Downtown Extension (which is pessimistic and pathetic, but reduces fleet size by reducing end-to-end train-minutes)
    * No service south of SJ Cahill (ie no Tamien, no Blossom Hill, etc, for the same reason)
    * First world operating practices and reliability (minimal schedule padding, aggressive turnback times, EXCELLENT FLEET AVAILABILITY) (All of which are actively worked against by Caltrain and its contractors)
    * Corridor-wide level boarding (Actively worked against by Caltrain and its contractors)
    * Redwood City four-track two-island major interchange station (Actively worked against by Caltrain and its contractors)
    * Quad tracking Belmont—Redwood City (Actively worked against by Caltrain and its contractors, in fact blown up into tiny smithereens by the sub-siminan criminal assholes at SamTrans)
    * Altamont HSR (Actively worked against by Caltrain and its contractors)

    the fleet requirement for adequate Caltrain service is 13 trains in active, intense service, meaning a minimum fleet size of 16 trains including spares and maintenance (first world maintenance, first world spares, first world intensive service … not Caltrain-type practice.)

    http://mly.users.sonic.net/Caltrain-Timetabling/201105-takt/takt.php?title=4%2B4tph+100mph+6MW+NoDTX+level+boarding+to+Cahill&t1t=KISS-100MPH-6MW&t1=.420.20…20..30…30…..90..20.30.20.20.30.20.20.20..420.&t1d=&t1h=15&t1l=S.Clara+KISS+NoDTX&t1s=-1.5&t1n=6&t1c=0000FF&t1p=7&t1f=L&t2t=KISS-100MPH-6MW&t2=.480.20.20.20.20.20.20.20.20.20..20.20.20.480…………&t2d=&t2h=30&t2l=S.Clara+Shuttle+NoDTX&t2s=0&t2n=-5.5&t2c=FF0000&t2p=7&t2f=S&t3t=AGV-100MPH&t3=.900……60……..60.1………..&t3d=&t3h=30&t3l=Altamont+HS+NoDTX&t3s=-8&t3n=15&t3c=1FFF1F&t3p=10

    zorro Reply:

    Show Me where HSR is going to use Altamont, since the CHSRA has said Pacheco is the preferred route, while Altamont is ignored. Source please.

    zorro Reply:

    Here’s one source that backs up Pacheco as the preferred route:
    California high-speed rail route through Pacheco Pass Dec 3rd, 2009.
    And the pass just won’t die, anti-HSR Stuart Flashman lose in court, again. Too bad…
    Proposed California High-Speed Rail Route Through Pacheco Pass Upheld By Appeals Court Jul 24, 2014.
    This article from 2007 shows both Altamont and Pacheco on a map.
    High Speed Rail Authority staff advises Pacheco Pass route to L.A. Nov 15, 2007.
    Altamont route starts almost in Stockton, which is part of the unfunded Phase 2 of HSR, funds for Phase 1 can’t be legally used for this end of the route, the other end of the Altamont route ends about halfway between SF and SJ, almost in the Bay, which might require a tunnel and to avoid any sensitive areas like Marshes that might be protected by interbational treaties that involve migratory birds, that’s one of those pesky details known as the environment that some in power want to rape and pillage.

    zorro Reply:

    “international”, not “interbational”, no edit, unlike on FB.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    WordPress parsing bug, ugh.
    http://mly.users.sonic.net/Caltrain-Timetabling/201105-takt/takt.php?title=4%2B2tph+100mph+6MW+NoDTX+level+boarding+to+Cahill&t1t=KISS-100MPH-6MW&t1=.420.20…20..30…30…..90..20.30.20.20.30.20.20.20..420.&t1d=&t1h=15&t1l=S.Clara+KISS+NoDTX&t1s=-1.5&t1n=6&t1c=0000FF&t1p=7&t1f=L&t2t=KISS-100MPH-6MW&t2=.480.20.20.20.20.20.20.20.20.20..20.20.20.480…………&t2d=&t2h=30&t2l=S.Clara+Shuttle+NoDTX&t2s=0&t2n=-5.5&t2c=FF0000&t2p=7&t2f=S&t3t=AGV-100MPH&t3=.900……60……..60.1………..&t3d=&t3h=30&t3l=Altamont+HS+NoDTX&t3s=-8&t3n=15&t3c=1FFF1F&t3p=10

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    WordPress parsing bug, ugh.
    HOPELESS WORDPRESS

    Clem Reply:

    The sheer power of the hyperlink! Seriously, that is one tight timetable. Nice.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    I was going to ask what do you propose for a schedule?

    While it may not be ideal, it is probably better than the current schedule. Once per hour for some stations just don’t cut it.

    Does the 7:00am to 8:00am repeat each hour throughout the day?

    You have all stop trains every 15 minutes south of Redwood City, would all stops set well with current bullet customers?

    North of Redwood, some stations are being served only every 30 minutes, could this be better?

    Some stations don’t have any service, Hayward Park, College Park, Atherton. Atherton I don’t care about being that they are leading the fight against electrification and improved service.

    You show HSR trains in the schedule, in the absence of HSR, could a Caltrain be substituted?

    What can be done to provide better service now? I know they need to get out of 1940’s operating practices and do away with heavy padding…

    Clem Reply:

    Also, six car Bombardiers dwell for 2 minutes at Palo Alto today. Can level boarding really cut this by 75%?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Also, six car Bombardiers dwell for 2 minutes at Palo Alto today.

    Got to refill the water tanks, shovel coal, and uncouple the mail car.

    Can level boarding really cut this by 75%?

    15 minute headway (uniform headway with uniform service) and level boarding — are you joking??? Does BART dwell for 2 minutes at Embarcadero at peaks?

    J. Wong Reply:

    One day riding southbound in the morning I missed my stop and had to deboard at Palo Alto to catch a northbound back to my stop. The northbound platform was entirelypacked solid with passengers waiting for the train. It easily took at least 2 minutes to board them all.

    fyi, more seats on the train doesn’t solve this problem.

    J. Wong Reply:

    fwiw, it was a gallery consist either a limited or bullet.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    I was going to ask what do you propose for a schedule?

    Pretty much the same thing I’ve proposed for a decade now.
    The only trivial thing on which I’ve much changed is that I believe South SF can merit all trains stopping.

    While it may not be ideal, it is probably better than the current schedule. Once per hour for some stations just don’t cut it.

    It’s not supposed to be ideal. It’s supposed to show that a total of 16 EMUs is ridiculously low, and you’re not going to get this sort of (pretty damned good!) service, no matter what lies Caltrain makes about “modernization” and “at capacity today”.

    Why only 16 EMUs on order? Because of the FUCKING INSANE RENT-SEEKING FRAUDULENT OVERHEADS of Caltrain’s consultants, that’s why. We’re paying nearly double the global price for these turkeys.

    All the crazy talk about seats per hour and lengthening trains ignores this totally basic fact: not enough trains, idiotically conceived LTK-fucked-up trains that will never provide level boarding, and fucking horrible costs per train.

    Caltrain electrification is not going to result in improved service, just increased costs, because all of the “THE VERY MOST OPTIMISTIC POSSIBLE SCENARIO” requirements I enumerated above are being worked against by Caltrain and its consultants.

    Does the 7:00am to 8:00am repeat each hour throughout the day?

    As demand justifies. Of course!

    The nice think about Taktverkehr is that you can use the same timetable “bones” while keeping connections (yes, there is supposed to be coordinated and connecting transit to the trains — another something against which out local transit agency shitheads actively work) intact.

    Starting from a base 4tph Limited and 2tph shuttle
    you can go to 2tph Limited and 2tph shuttle off-peak
    or contrawise if there’s tons of demand from small San Mateo stations go to
    4tph Limited and 4tph shuttle peak-peak

    You have all stop trains every 15 minutes south of Redwood City, would all stops set well with current bullet customers?

    Yes. The stop penalty is small (because of fictitious better trains and fictitious level boarding) and headway beats skipped stops every time.

    North of Redwood, some stations are being served only every 30 minutes, could this be better?

    Yes. It costs more trains and more crews. All you do is change the “30 minute” headway to “15”.

    Some stations don’t have any service, Hayward Park, College Park, Atherton.

    No shit, Sherlock. These have to be closed, years ago.

    You show HSR trains in the schedule, in the absence of HSR, could a Caltrain be substituted?

    You know, the program to generate this stuff has been up for years. Play around with it.

    There’s a fundamental trade-off in which you can have either 2tph HSR and 2tph Redwood Shuttle with very limited and very strategic infrastructure or you can have 4tph HSR or 4tph Shuttle and need to add passing tracks through San Mateo, at extra cost, but costs whose benefits and trade-offs you can at least see.

    (With Pacheco HSR it’s far far worse concrete concrete concrete everywhere throughout the corridor … or … kill service for Caltrain passengers to make way for useless HSR. One guess who’s going to get fucked!)

    The nice thing about service-driven planning is that it exactly focuses on what infrastructure is needed to provide service, what the cost/benefits might be, and … on what infrastructure is worse than useless. Caltrain doesn’t and never do planning around service — their sole aim is to shovel cash into dumpsters and set it on fire.

    What can be done to provide better service now? I know they need to get out of 1940’s operating practices and do away with heavy padding

    It’s not like we haven’t been talking about this for 25 years.

    Evans Reply:

    J. Wong, Train to train spacing (=frequent train servcice) will solve the issue of platform crowd. Caltrain need more train peak, midday, weekend, night!

    Roland Reply:

    “The only trivial thing on which I’ve much changed is that I believe South SF can merit all trains stopping.” justifies why there won’t be any passing tracks in SSF after the fucking SamTrans retards stick their fucking island platform between MT-1 and MT-2, right?

    Roland Reply:

    The reason for the 2-minute dwell @ PA is that the train is at 125% of capacity after leaving Sunnyvale (also 2-minute dwell) and that +/- 300 passengers have to deboard at PA followed by another 300+ boarding. This is the reason why I asked the Board to add passenger counters to the Bombardiers at the last Board meeting instead of letting the Samtrans retards wait for another 5 years.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “The only trivial thing on which I’ve much changed is that I believe South SF can merit all trains stopping.” justifies why there won’t be any passing tracks in SSF after …

    Roland, your technical analysis and rationality leaves a great deal to be desired.

    Scheduled train overtakes and transfers are what justify passing tracks and multi-platform stations. Trains stopping do not do so in isolation. Really, try to think things through, just once in a while, and try to get past Network Rail. You can do it!

    If you want to be upset about the sub-cretinous scumbags at PCJPB, South SF (which in the plans I’ve seen is not yet FSSF incompatible, though god only knows what horrors they’ll engineer as part of “freight accomodation”), but rather about Transbay, San Bruno, Millbrae, Hillsdale, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City (and more!), where they have gone far out of their way, every time, to actively sabotage train service and public service on the corridor, for no reason at all, at a public cost measured in the billions.

    Clem Reply:

    There are perfectly logical reasons: why do something right when you can do it twice and get paid for it? The players adapt to the game, and the game is rigged against the taxpayer. Don’t blame the players for acting in their self interest.

    Jerry Reply:

    To accommodate the optimum schedule(s) is there an optimum placement of four tracks for passing purposes?
    And because of ROW width problems, is it possible to accomplish the optimum schedule(s) with just three tracks for passing purposes? Even if it would be two tracks northbound and one track southbound in some areas. And reverse the process when the traffic is heavy in the other direction.
    Some auto/truck bridges change lane directions with traffic lights and the moving of lane barriers to increase roadway capacity in rush hours.

    Roland Reply:

    Dear Richard. Kindly help me understand what it is that Clem understands that you do not understand: http://www.tillier.net/stuff/caltrain/JPB_UPRR_Deal_Terms_Sheet.pdf (page 10).

    MarkB Reply:

    Dear Roland. Kindly help your fellow posters by finding a different expression that shows your condescension toward us all. The one you’re now using expired several months ago. Thank you, and have a wonderful day.

    Roland Reply:

    Dear MarkB . Kindly help me understand which part of get lost it is that you do not understand. Thank you, and have a wonderful day.

    MarkB Reply:

    Dear Roland. Thank you for kindly creating such a witty and clever reposte! You are such a master of language and persuasion. Have a wonderful day.

    Roland Reply:

    Dear MarkB . Thank you for your kind compliment. Have a wonderful day.

    Roland Reply:

    And San Mateo County’s 1/3rd contribution is coming from?

  17. StevieB
    Jan 10th, 2017 at 14:38
    #17

    Cap and trade is not as dead as some would suggest. Governor Brown anticipates an extension.

    Brown plans to ask the legislature to extend California’s cap-and-trade program beyond its current 2020 sunset date. The program has raised billions of dollars in auction proceeds to reduce greenhouse gases, and Brown’s budget anticipates another $2.2 billion in sales.

    StevieB Reply:

    “Gov. Jerry Brown pushes to extend cap-and-trade program with new budget proposal,” by the LATimes’ Chris Megerian.

    As an inducement for lawmakers to act, the governor said he doesn’t want to spend an estimated $2.2 billion in revenue projected from the cap-and-trade program until it is extended.

    Brown counts on some of that money to fund construction of the bullet train, and lawmakers have allocated other dollars to their own priorities, such as affordable housing and local transit.

  18. Roland
    Jan 10th, 2017 at 15:33
    #18

    Who needs Caltrain when you have ECR BRT? https://youtu.be/oExDaZZX61g

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Someone wanting to go somewhere over a couple miles quickly does.

    Roland Reply:

    Great point! Just imagine how much capacity Caltrain would gain after closing 2/3rd of the San Mateo County stations and converting them to ECR BRT bus stops!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Or focusing on turning Caltrain into a real urban metro line!

    Roland Reply:

    Like train 156, right?

    Evans Reply:

    What Caltrain capacity can be increased by closing station in San Mateo? What Caltrain needed is by-pass track, more specifically station with 2 island platform and 4 tracks. This enables local to express alternative transfer.

    Roland Reply:

    Just like SSF, right?

    Evans Reply:

    South San Francisco serves only local train. I mean
    S□F F□S or
    F□S S□F
    In Sam Mateo county, Millbrae, Hillside or Redwood City need this configuration.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Why Hillsdale? Compared to other stations, it doesn’t seem very important.

    Joey Reply:

    It was a fairly popular station even before the Baby Bullet was implemented.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That seems odd. I would think that San Mateo would be more popular.

    Joey Reply:

    In 2003, they were about equal. I’m not sure why they chose Hillsdale over San Mateo as the baby bullet stop

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Stats+and+Reports/Ridership/2003_Caltrain_Ridership_Counts.pdf

    Joey Reply:

    (pdf page 6)

    Jerry Reply:

    Could the selection be based upon parking?
    Or TOD?
    Or a wider ROW for possibly four tracks?
    Or all of the above?

    Neil Shea Reply:

    More bus connections, including to Eastbay

  19. Jerry
    Jan 10th, 2017 at 17:59
    #19

    George Lucas selects Los Angeles for his $1 Billion Dollar museum to be built in Exposition Park.  Public transportation may have been a factor.

    “While Lucas was not made available for comment, accessibility may have been the deciding factor between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
    Whereas Exposition Park can be reached by several public transportation lines, Treasure Island is a four-acre parcel of land in the middle of San Francisco Bay, accessible only by traffic from the bridge and a ferry.”

     http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/george-lucas-selects-los-angeles-1-billion-museum-963313

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yay!

    Danny Reply:

    it’s like poetry

  20. Roland
    Jan 10th, 2017 at 18:18
    #20

    Breaking News: http://transbaycenter.org/uploads/2017/01/Item11_Discussion-Potential-Action-to-invite-public-agency-to-join-TJPA.pdf

    Michael Reply:

    Should have been done ten years ago.

  21. Brian_FL
    Jan 11th, 2017 at 14:31
    #21

    http://www.tcpalm.com/picture-gallery/news/local/florida/2017/01/11/all-aboard-floridas-first-brightline-passenger-train-debuts/96459666/

    Nice pics of the inside of the new Brightline train. It looks like each trainset will have its own name. This one is called Brightblue. Nice shop facility as well. 2 tracks with open pits underneath. Finally a decent interior to train car!

    Brian_FL Reply:

    http://malled.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2017/01/11/see-inside-all-aboard-floridas-first-brightline-train/

    Testing to begin next week on 9 mile section of track neat West Palm Beach.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Also, some good pics here

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2017/01/11/brightline-florida-high-speed-train-unveiling/96450136/

    Brian_FL Reply:

    And some interesting quotes from the USA Today report:

    “This is the starting line, not the finish line, for sure,” he said. “We’re introducing a disruptive sort of product. We’ve learned so much about how to deliver this kind of a transportation service profitably with private sector investment dollars that there has to be other places in the country, and other places in Florida, where we can expand this to.”

    Also this very interesting comment from a Siemens worker:

    Russ Harvey of Siemens said local laws limit the train’s speed to 79 mph throughout the heavily-populated South Florida region. Once it gets a bit farther north on its way to Orlando, it can kick it up to 125 mph. And, if it were allowed, Harvey said it could go even faster.

    “It can go 125 mph not even at full throttle,” Harvey said with a grin.

    So does this mean that the Chargers can go faster than the rated 125mph top limit? And is AAF looking to expand outside of Florida in the future?

    swing hanger Reply:

    Running above 125mph may be physically possible, but whether it is *economically* possible is another matter, given fuel consumption and axle load concerns with diesel locomotives. Certainly the expansion of HST type services on secondary corridors (ie those that don’t warrant full electrification) is something worth consideration.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Very true. I doubt that Brightline would ever run above 125mph or close to it for any length of time. Here is a press release from Brightline with more details

    http://gobrightline.com/brightline-reveals-first-trainset/

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think eventually they will electrify. And for an electric train at certain speeds higher speeds safes you more in rolling stock and staff costs than it costs in extra electricity. Now that sweet spot is not at the same point for all trains at all times, but even if you can’t jack up the price for a faster service, going faster may make economic sense.

    But first they gotta make a buck with the train they are building now, once that is done we can see the future.

    Peter Reply:

    At 125 mph these trains will be tied with the fastest DMUs for fastest diesel trains. Does anyone run diesels faster than that in operation?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I would not know of any.

    Roland Reply:

    “Touchless bathrooms are large enough to accommodate those in wheelchairs or with small children in strollers.” The horror!

  22. Roland
    Jan 12th, 2017 at 07:23
    #22
  23. John Nachtigall
    Jan 12th, 2017 at 08:29
    #23

    Hello

    Happy New Year. Its that time of the month again, new metrics from the construction. The main operations report is found here.

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2017/brdmtg_011817_FA_Operations_Report.pdf

    And the performance reports are found here

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2017/brdmtg_011817_FA_CP1_Performance_Metrics_113016.pdf

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2017/brdmtg_011817_FA_CP2_3_Performance_Metrics_113016.pdf

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2017/brdmtg_011817_FA_CP4_Performance_Metrics_113016.pdf

    CP1 broke a string of 7 months in a row of meeting plan and in a big way. They were 53 parcels short of the plan. Given the data it appears they just cant manage more than 10 +/- 5 parcels a month.

    CP2/3 was 23 parcels above the plan for the 2nd month in a row. Proving again that setting your plan at 0 almost always leads to success.

    I say “almost always” because CP4 proves that CASHR will always find a way. On a plan of 0 they delivered…..0. Thats right, for the entire month of November they managed to acquire no property.

    a couple of other interesting notes. If you look at the number of properties in the eminent domain process for CP1 (pg 14) and CP2/3 (pg 26) I find it interesting. They are running at about a 1 in 5 or 20% rate for needing eminent domain. Now this can only go up at the end as the last holdouts will all be eminent domain. I have no idea what the normal rate is, but I would not have guessed 20-30% or higher number of people would hold out for a court order. Seems like a lot of trouble and expense for what in the end will be the same result (you get money and they get the property). Is it because they are low-balling the number of because of landowner emotions?

    The other note is on Page 35. The expenditures for ROW in CP1 took a sharp upturn over the revised budget. It may look small, but that is a ~50 million dollar deviance on a ~450 base so more than 10%. Since they didn’t acquire 10% ore property than planned it is caused by higher prices than anticipated. So another source of being over-budget.

    The schedule performance is more of the same from the last few months. A value of 1 would be on schedule. The authority considers anything below .85 to be red

    CP 1 is very poor but continues to make up ground at a very slow pace, SPI=0.51
    CP2/3 continues it downward trend SPI = 0.71
    CP4 is the best performing of the bunch at SPI = 0.82, just hovering outside a marginal number of 0.85

    In conclusion, nothing revolutionary here, CAHSR continues to miss their own plans and fail their own metrics.

    Joe Reply:

    So very happy to see John drop the “HSR incompetence” meme.

    Parcel acquisition should be assessed by mapping parcels to work schedule and cost of work enabled.

    Good PM adapts to the situation and would reprioritize acquisition for all Constriction Packages to obtain the land which impacts critical path and also high cost work which would help the project meet ARRA deadlines.

    Focus attention to their ability to spend the ARRA money within time and maintain the critical path.

    Least important is to ignore current conditions and reality – lawsuit delay impacts – and follow their initial parcel acquisition raw numbers.

    Project Budget overrun would be exceeding the authority’s cost estimate and contengicies.
    Don’t be fooled into thinking the Contractor Bid is the project cost estimate.

    Jerry Reply:

    Is that similar to, “Just in Time Inventory” for a production line?
    Just-in-time manufacturing – Wikipedia
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-in-time_manufacturing

    Joe Reply:

    Kind of like that.
    You prioritize staff to acquire parcels balancing the needs of all Construction packages. This could delay one to accelerate aquistion for CP1.

    ARRA spending is most critical so work that is high cost like land for bridges and overpasses. That would be CP1. It’s in construction.
    Critical path – any delay would delay project completion which would also be large construction takes like bridges and overpasses.

    Clem Reply:

    Reminds me of the epic eminent domain fail in Tokyo Narita’s second runway… the farmer wouldn’t sell

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Stupid Japanese property laws!

    Jerry Reply:

    An interesting note in one of the summaries:
    ” The ARRA Grant expires 9/30/2017. As of December 13, 2016, total ARRA expenditures and accruals are $2.186B or 85.7% of the $2.553B grant, resulting in $366.1M or 14.3% of the grant remaining with approximately 6.5 months before June 30, 2017, the deadline for the Authority to receive invoices so they can be processed prior to the grant’s expiration.”

    Joe Reply:

    There is a low probability risk of rescission. Congress pulls back the remaining money. Possible but not likely.

    Jerry Reply:

    The FRA has issued a warning. Hurry Up!! Not just with invoices. But with EVERYTHING.
    A word to the wise should be sufficient.

    Joe Reply:

    Generally, I loath “everything” since it’s not very informative. As a manager it doesn’t inform how to do resource allocation.

    Also on slide 27 of the presentation I see an unordered list of mitigations which, again, I would prefer to see an ordered list or categories of prioritization.

    I assume the omissions are intentional and prioritization is left to the project given they have the best insight and possibly already knew the issues and this report will help the authority prod the state to involve quicker.

    It’s not uncommon to have assessments to help project management make their case to sponsors.

    StevieB Reply:

    John Nachtigall continues to focus on only ROW Acquisition in a large report. Perhaps because it is not construction and construction is going well.

    Contract Management
     CP1 – Construction activities continue to increase. TPZP continues to progress construction at multiple locations throughout the project. The following provides a summary of the major structure activities by location: Fresno River Viaduct – completed the installation of temporary formwork and continuing with structural concrete construction for the bridge superstructure; Cottonwood Creek – removed all temporary formwork and began construction of the barrier rails; Fresno Trench – continued foundation work; State Route 180 – continued installation of temporary shoring and completed a traffic shift to allow for continued construction; Tuolumne Street Overcrossing – completed concrete barrier on half of the bridge, continuing with constructing the concrete barriers on the other half of the bridge superstructure; Downtown Fresno Viaduct (North Avenue & SR-99) – continued constructing bridge columns, began installation of temporary formwork for the bridge superstructure; San Joaquin River Viaduct (SR-99 On-Ramp) – continued with foundation work; Avenue 8 – continued the construction of embankments; Thorne Creek – began utility work at this location; and Road 27 – continued with foundation work, The Authority and TPZP continue to jointly plan to maximize construction work at critical and near critical path structure locations in the coming months.

     CP 2-3 – The Joint Venture of Dragados/Flatiron continues to mobilize and plan the work, including developing and submitting various design and construction plans, meeting with third parties to understand their design requirements, and continuing building demolition activities. Field work continues with geotechnical exploration, utility location activities, and installation of delineators to identify the environmental footprint. Tulare County resurfacing is continuing along with site work between East Manning Avenue and East Springfield Avenue. Other early start activities are being planned for, including clearing & grubbing and embankment construction in the north area of the project.

     CP 4 – CRB continues to mobilize and plan the work, including continuing with design activities, planning for environmental reexaminations, utility identification work, meeting with third parties and acquiring right-of-way.

     SR-99 Realignment – Construction work on the Early Work Package is nearing completion, and the Main Package work is continuing. Main Package and Early Work Package includes retaining walls, grading and paving at various locations such as on State Route 99 (SR-99) mainline, McKinley Avenue, Shields Avenue, Clinton Avenue and Princeton Avenue.

    Exciting amount of construction activity in multiple locations. The number of construction crews is limited so everything was never going to be built at once. No report of any construction crew being idled by ROW acquisition.

    Jerry Reply:

    Since a lot of the construction is near rivers and streams there will be some delay due to heavy rains.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    On CP1 alone they have spent 428 million dollars. I would hope there is construction! And specifically the excuse for the awful SPI on CP1 is ROW acquisition. So you are deminstratably wrong on that.

    The point is they are behind schedule, which is caused by ROW aqusition.

    As for CP2/3 and 4. If you read through those words you notice a disincentive lack of construction. On CP2/3 that means 268 million spent so far on some ROW and utility moving. Impressive!!

    As I said, they continue to miss their own plans

    StevieB Reply:

    Nachtigall, you have no idea what goes on in actual construction. Here are a few videos showing construction for your elucidation.
    Fresno River Viaduct: 2016 Year in Pictures
    Tuolumne Street Bridge: 2016 Year in Pictures
    Cedar Viaduct: 2016 Year in Pictures
    Central Valley Construction Update- December 2016

    Joe Reply:

    CP1 was delayed by the bogus lawsuit.

    The delay also caused completed parcel appraisals to expire.

    You have been told these facts and choose to ignore them because you want to troll the project.

    Be a troll and accept the title.

    Joe Reply:

    All contracts are design and build. Our troll who mockingly tells us the high cost of pre construction work doesn’t mention these are costs to **design** and field test sites for assessing alternative cost saving design changes. Sad.

    When faced with an external delay, the project can choose to reprioritize resources, staff, to catch up on critical path activities and to spend ARRA money. This would be done to acquire land for high cost construction on CP1. This seems to be working as the project currently estimates ARRA will be spent by the deadline. Smart & Winning.

    Number of parcels isn’t important. The parcels on critical path matter. Raw number based assessments don’t jib with the continually improving CP1 schedule performance.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Modern construction doesn’t really involve crews. The union trades supply workers on an as needed basis – the large firms have very few employees.

    StevieB Reply:

    Do you contend that if the entire ROW were acquired there is enough construction equipment and workers available to build everything at once? That would be amazing.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    No more than you tend there is only enough for 3

  24. datacruncher
    Jan 12th, 2017 at 19:11
    #24

    Board Meeting materials for next week are also now posted.

    Probably one of the bigger, if not the biggest, items is the Wye Preferred Alignment.

    Recommendation is Highway 152/Road 11 be adopted as the Preferred Alignment.
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2017/brdmtg_011817_Item3_Consider_Concurring_Initial_Staff_Recommended_PA_for_Wye.pdf

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    They should go with Avenue 24 to Road 11, if not Avenue 24 to Road 13. It has less turns and is the most direct alignment.

    Clem Reply:

    You should click through and find out what they chose!

    datacruncher Reply:

    Avenue 24 alignments were removed from studying back in 2013. The reasons Avenue 24 was removed was all of the Ave 24 choices “would result in a greater impact to aquatic and agricultural resources than the similarly aligned SR 152 (North)”. That reason was combined with “opposition from the City of Chowchilla and rural farm interests” for Avenue 24 alignments.

    Chowchilla’s preferred alignment of Avenue 21/Road 11 that I posted upthread a few days ago was also removed from consideration in 2013.

    Quotes and other info are from this 2013 report to the board on Wye alternatives carried forward or eliminated from consideration:
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2013/brdmtg0413_item3_WyeSupplementAA.pdf

    Spencer Joplin Reply:

    Yay, I want SR-152. I consider it a marketing tactic to build track adjacent to a freeway. This would be one of the few places where you could drive 70 and see a train whiz past at 160+.

    Travis D Reply:

    Also there are fewer legal challenges that can be brought when it parallels a highway. A farmer may hate selling land but if there is already a highway there…

  25. Clem
    Jan 12th, 2017 at 20:10
    #25

    News: Paris renews its bilevel commuter EMU fleet.

    Profile view
    Alstom press release

    For high capacity (1860 passengers in a seven-car 130 meter EMU) they have level boarding with deploying steps, wide doors that would be considered “high” in this corner of the world, lots of standing room in the vestibules, and open gangways. No word on seat count or toilet count, although I estimate fewer than 500 of the former and zero of the latter. Clearly Paris is doing it all wrong to grow their capacity.

    Clem Reply:

    Oh and did I mention high acceleration and braking capability?

    Roland Reply:

    Oh and did you forget to mention that they don’t have to step down like the Krauts have to board a DB Regio off a 760mm s-bahn platform?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Platform heights in Germany are – as they like to say in German – Kraut und Rüben…

    Universal level boarding is still decades off if it will ever happen at all…

    Roland Reply:

    Nothing that can’t be fixed by tossing all passengers, wheelchairs, strollers, seats and toilets out of the window and replacing them with internal lifts and multiple doors at random heights just for fun.

    Clem Reply:

    Carefully engineered to provide an operationally, structurally, financially and temporally feasible path towards future system-wide ADA-compliant level boarding AND platform sharing with high-floor HSR, a technological breakthrough that exists nowhere on the East Coast or even anywhere in Europe, and that will avoid billions in civil infrastructure works. Stop fighting it.

    Roland Reply:

    You live in parallel universe that belonged in a prior century. Stop fighting progress.

    Roland Reply:

    Oh and did you forget to mention the missing internal lifts and the various sets of extra doors at random heights?

    Clem Reply:

    Not my fault if you don’t understand what level boarding is or what its benefits will be. Not my fault if you don’t know what platform sharing is or what its benefits will be. Level boarding + platform sharing = what you see.

    Joe Reply:

    I had similar conversation with my sixth grader about meeting his responsibilities promptly.

    Roland Reply:

    Not my fault if you don’t understand what 550mm level boarding is or what its benefits have been for the last 50 years. Not my fault if you don’t know what 550mm platform sharing is or what its benefits have been for the last 50 years. 50-inch Level boarding + platform sharing = what we will never see in California(or anywhere else on the West coast of the (currently) United States of America.

    Clem Reply:

    550 mm level boarding with HSR will not happen. 550 mm level boarding in the USA = no platform sharing with HSR. Platform sharing is far more important than the particular height of the shared platforms. Get HSR to commit to a 550 mm level boarding trainset and then we can all be happy at 550 mm. Until then, back here in reality where you may not like the available choices, it’s 50 inches all the way!

    Roland Reply:

    PB is gone as in “finished”, “kaput”, “auf wiedersehen”, “arrivederci” (http://www.enr.com/articles/41242-canada-based-wspparsons-brinckerhoff-will-be-just-wsp-in-may), so “getting HSR to commit to a 550 mm level boarding trainset and then we can all be happy at 550 mm” is a done deal, mon ami!

    Welcome to the 21st Century!

    Clem Reply:

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, I cannot share your hopeful dreams.

    Roland Reply:

    I’ll believe your toiletless and seatless multi-door CalFicKISSenTrain when I see it. Until then, I cannot share your hopeful dreams.

    Clem Reply:

    “my” train? Caltrain’s train, the one they actually ordered back here in reality.

    Roland Reply:

    1) http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-blue-doors-will-open.html.
    2) Kindly help me understand which part of “Limited Notice To Proceed” and “termination for convenience” it is that you do not understand back here in reality.

    Clem Reply:

    That will only happen if the FFGA falls through, in 3, 2, 1…

    Roland Reply:

    Putting the FFGA aside for a moment, where are the $600M in Prop1A Bonds and $135M in San Mateo County sales taxes coming from? Did you guys pass a sales tax measure last November without telling anyone else?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    FWIW, the core network of the Paris RER has platform heights of 920 mm…

    Clem Reply:

    And 1150 mm, which is the door threshold height of the new fleet.

    Clem Reply:

    Here is a photo of an MI2N EMU (floor height 1200 mm) docking at a 550 mm platform, with intermediate step at 900 mm. Super awkward.

    Roland Reply:

    S-U-P-E-R retarded.

    Clem Reply:

    Paris, Sydney, and now San Francisco, they’re all doing it wrong!

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly help me understand the nexus between BART, the Paris RER and a primarily 2-track blended system with double-deckers travelling at a maximum speed of 110 MPH.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    They all serve as inter-regional travel through a polycentric megalopolis. The latter two operate on historic, standard gauge railways that were once more for intercity or commuter travel and are now becoming more urban-metro-esque.

    Jerry Reply:

    Maybe we should get kneeling trains similar to ‘kneeling buses’.
    :-)

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Back to the religion church idea?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Actually instead of folding bicycles everyone should carry a folding step stool, compatible with every floor height.

    Roland Reply:

    The “plan” is for level boarding but folding step stools will be required to access the various internal levels once you are inside the train.

    Roland Reply:

    How about using https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_toilet#Portable_camping_toilets as step stools?

    Jerry Reply:

    You could call the kneeling trains the OMGees.

    Roland Reply:

    Or Porta Potties (PP) since passengers will have to bring their own.

    Jerry Reply:

    As Sam Morse used to say, “What hath God rot?”

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Dash dot?

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Another FWIW: In some ways, that’s already implemented in hunrdreds, if not thousands of cars worldwide. If the vehicles have airbags as secondary suspension, they come along with a control system keeping the floor level at the same height, no matter how full or empty the vehicle is.

    Because air secondary suspension is soft by design, the weight of the passengers can no longer be neglected, and therefore, such a system is a necessity. Within its limits, it is possible to adjust to “non-standard” platform heights.

    Roland Reply:

    I think that we may finally have got down to the bottom of the problem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9seau_Express_R%C3%A9gional#Lines

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Your point being?

    Roland Reply:

    Do you understand the subtle difference between a metro (average interstation 1,739 m) and a mainline?

    Eric Reply:

    1739m is not a typical metro stop spacing. 1000m is much more typical.

    Roland Reply:

    And typical spacing for a mainline would be?

    Clem Reply:

    Why did you cherry pick the RER Line B with the closest stop spacing? The average system-wide RER stop spacing is closer to 2500 m, and Caltrain SF – SJ is a bit over 3000 m, hardly a difference that puts Caltrain in a different category that requires different vehicle characteristics. Again, the choice of a high power-to-weight ratio is a sound one, especially given the need to blend with higher speed traffic.

    Roland Reply:

    Has it ever crossed your mind that there are more subtle ways to blend with higher speed traffic than sheer brute A-C-C-E-L-E-R-A-S-H-U-N? This is somewhat important if the intention is to remove all seats and carry standees only.

    Clem Reply:

    There are four ways to blend HSR and Caltrain, and none of them are subtle or mysterious:

    1) increase the time that a high-speed train is in motion, by slowing top speed
    2) increase the time that a high-speed train is stopped, by adding station stops
    3) decrease the time that Caltrain is in motion, by electrifying and using trains with high acceleration and braking performance, like the Paris RER or BART
    4) decrease the time that Caltrain is stopped, by providing gap-free level boarding system-wide

    None of this is subtle. None of it is rocket science. And yet you seem to be working consistently against 3) and 4), which is why we won’t ever agree. If you have more subtle ways up your sleeve, the time to describe them was back in 2009. Today you’ve been overcome by events.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Another approach to blend is to not do it at all.

    Roland Reply:

    Have you ever considered somewhat less retarded trackwork or did you get overcome by events?

  26. Roland
    Jan 13th, 2017 at 07:05
    #26

    “The 112 m long trains will have a capacity of 1 563 passengers and the 130 m units 1 861 passengers. There will be three types of air-conditioned onboard space: high-capacity standing areas for passengers making short journeys of around 5 min; mixed-use zones on the lower decks with standing space on one side and seats on the other intended for journeys up to 20 min; and ‘regional-style’ comfort on the upper decks with seating on both sides of the aisle for trips up to 50 min.”

    Clem Reply:

    One side of the lower deck without seats? Now that’s just crazy. How will everyone find a seat?

    Note : average trip length on Caltrain is 22.8 miles. Average speed is ~39 mph, so average trip duration is 35 minutes.

    JJJ Reply:

    By comparison, many NYC subway trips are in excess of an hour and no, you dont get a seat until after all the white people have gotten off.

    Roland Reply:

    Who cares about the average San Mateo County trip?

    Clem Reply:

    The statistics speak for themselves. Long trips from south of SJ to SF, that most need seating and toilets, are extreme outliers that do not represent the average Caltrain trip of 22.8 miles.

    Roland Reply:

    Sounds like you just eliminated the other half of Santa Clara County. Good luck paying for your light rail.

    Clem Reply:

    All I did was quote from the 2016 ridership statistics, with which all Caltrain nerds are intimately familiar.

  27. John Nachtigall
    Jan 13th, 2017 at 08:32
    #27

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-cost-overruns-20170106-story.html

    Shocked face!!

    I know the 1st response is going to be to attack Vartabedien, but he is just reporting a FRA report. And the authority is not denying the content of the report. And the FRA is a 100% cheerleader for this project from the beginning.

    And in the “I told you so” category, the 3 reasons listed are

    The federal document outlines far-reaching management problems: significant delays in environmental planning, lags in processing invoices for federal grants and continuing failures to acquire needed property.

    Hmm…failure to acquire property….seems like I have heard that before….

    oh and “far reaching management problems” Now they did not use the word “incompetent” but I dont think “far-reaching management problems” paints a picture of awesome.

    Not a good day for CAHSR

    Jerry Reply:

    A “confidential report”?? Wow.
    “Round up the usual suspects.”
    Nothing really new in all of it, which hasn’t been pointed out many times on this blog.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You don’t think a report by the federal experts on this specific project is “new”?

    Especially one that predicts 50% overbudget?

    You realize that denial does not solve problems

    Joe Reply:

    I didn’t get to read the report like you John but parsing the LATimes, clearly the cited report doesn’t predict a 50% overrun.

    Trolling doesn’t identify problems.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Actually that is exactly what trolling does. You meant trolling does not SOLVE problems. If you are trolling and not pointing out problems you are not doing it right.

    But keep up those personal attack joe, they make you look super credible.

    I will just fall back on the fact that exactly what I have been posting here for more than a year was just confirmed by the FRA, a federal agency that actually likes this project. So are they trolling also?

    Joe Reply:

    No trolling makes up problems like misrepresenting a risk analysis assessment as a prediction and then trolling the project.

    You need to decide if your troll status is “pointing out problems” or as I say, inventing problems.
    That you see it as a personal attack tells me it’s the latter.

    The report had absolutely no project management assessment.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Keep defending them joe, everyone is against the, you are the white knight. Keep jabbing those ghost trolls, that will solve the problem.

    Joe Reply:

    Dude who trolls HSR trolls again.
    Risk Report mischaracterized as a project cost estimate. Trolls gotta troll.

    The Usual suspects issue statements.

    LATimes refuses to post these important documents thus denying people access to the public documents they claim are on the public interest.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Does the LA Times have major sponsors who have an interest in derailing HSR? Or is this Just the personal vendetta of that one guy?

    zorro Reply:

    So far Bahnfreund, I think it’s both personal & financial, He hates HSR, He’s written nothing but trash, and it helps prop up the LA Times from eventual bankruptcy.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The times editorial page has supported HSR from the beginning. He is an awarded journalist and you have no evidence he is biased. He simply reported the contents of the report, a report by the way that the authority would not have acknowledged without his reporting.

    In what way is he doing anything wrong. He is under no obligation to cheerlead the project

    Joe Reply:

    Ralph’s biased reporting is evidence.
    He has not won any award for HSR reporting.

    Ralph misrepresented an unattributed internal ppt document as a report. Here he misrepresents the FRA so badly the FRA spokes person publicaly rebukes him and his persistent bias.

    Tim Sheenan at Fresno Bee is an example of quality reporting.

    Sad John can’t admit his junk food diet of Ralph spin is bad.

    Jerry Reply:

    “failure to acquire property”
    Certainly a damnable problem. About which I agree.
    But. What should be done about the problem?

    Joe Reply:

    I’m surprised at then lack of specificity and not surprised at the generous use of flamboyant language:” “far reaching.”

    No mention of any lawsuits. Nothing about the 67 million cost over run due to lawsuits or impact contributing to the property aquistion delay

    Pretty typical for Ralph.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    The report itself is concerning, on a lot of levels. It makes the Funding Plan read like fiction.

    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3288629/FRA-Risk-Analysis.pdf

    Did Morales and Dan Richard share this with the board?

    morris brown Reply:

    The LA Times article and hidden report referenced brought forth this news release from House Majority Kevin McCarthy:

    https://www.majorityleader.gov/2017/01/13/stop-ca-high-speed-rail-boondoggle-now/

    Jan 13, 2016

    Kevin McCarthy Majority Leader

    Stop the CA High-Speed Rail Boondoggle Now

    Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on reports that California’s high-speed rail would cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated, or an extra $3.6 billion:

    “This report makes one thing clear: California high-speed rail must be stopped immediately. There have been repeated concerns that this project was a designed failure since day one, and what’s worse, this report underscores a pattern of falsehoods that has misled taxpayers on what this project might actually cost and how much more taxpayers might be on the hook for. The California High-Speed Rail Authority was briefed about this estimate in December, yet decided to keep this report under wraps from California taxpayers and the public. My colleagues and I have been clear-eyed from the start. The train was sold on rosy predictions not grounded in reality, has disrupted the lives and communities of Californians, and remains a money-pit publicity project that we cannot afford. This needs to end now. I urge Governor Brown and his Administration to recognize that the only solution left is to pull the plug on this boondoggle.”

    Eric M Reply:

    could, not would

    StevieB Reply:

    I am certain Governor Brown will seriously consider cancelling California HSR because Rep. Kevin McCarthy urges him to. Perhaps after Kevin’s next press release urging a stop.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I hope McCarthy loses his next election. If I am not mistaken this one was close enough already…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You hoped he would lose his last election. Hope is not a strategy

    Jerry Reply:

    Sounds like the same thing McCarthy said about Obamacare.

    Jerry Reply:

    Oh, 55% of McCarthy’s constituents use Obamacare.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Not for long

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Maybe.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Oh I think they are real serious about repealing ACA. It’s happening, the only question is how much they leave

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Everything except the word Obama.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well if I were a cynic I would desire them to kill Obamacare and the shit to crash and burn, but I care about people and don’t want people to die of preventable causes. And Obamacare certainly has saved lives.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    even if Hilary had won it had to change. You can’t have a system where the insurance companies lose money. They lost 4.5 billon last year, they won’t sustain those losses forever.

    And the situation before The ACA was sustainable. People accepted those results for decades. I would not overestimate how “indispensable” it is. And they were elected specifically to repeal it, their voter base wants it gone

    Joe Reply:

    And the situation before The ACA was sustainable. People accepted those results for decades. I would not overestimate how “indispensable” it is. And they were elected specifically to repeal it, their voter base wants it gone.

    Many want Obamacare repealed and ACA left alone.

    The old system skimmed healthy into low cost pools and aging with pre existing conditions kept in their current pool – if at all insured. Over time the policy costs increase and benefits rationed as you got squeezed.

    You see Ryan push a return to this model isolating about 8% of the population producing 50% of costs. These people are screwed. You will be one of them as you age and find your access to insurance managed to keep premiums lower for the healthy.

    Peter Reply:

    “Sustainable” is not the same as acceptable. Allowing insurance companies to screw people over when they get sick is not acceptable.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    you are right. Sustainable is not the same as acceptable.

    But since there are no where near enough votes to get single payer (recent vote in Colorado was 20%) you need insurance companies. And losing 4.5 billion is not going to do it. Even after the 25% average increase in premiums this year it is predicted to lose insurance companies 3 billion.

    It simply did not work as a sustainable policy. It did decrease the uninsured, although not anywhere close to 0. It did make the system more fair. It did help a lot of people. It is not sustainable.

    Jerry Reply:

    Trump wants to have state lines eliminated for health insurance companies. (Whoops. There goes ‘states rights’.) He said it will be cheaper for all.
    Similar to what is said about hurricane insurance. Hurricanes don’t recognize state lines.
    But after years and years the Republicans still do not have a ‘plan’ ready to go. Even after Nixon’s plan, Romneycare, and the Heritage Foundation’s input.
    Please make up my mind

    Jerry Reply:

    Insurance Districts?
    Similar to the Twelve Federal Reserve Bank’s district’s.

    Jerry Reply:

    districts?

    Jerry Reply:

    District map:
    https://www.federalreserve.gov/otherfrb.htm

    Jerry Reply:

    Or do you prefer the US Federal District Court map?
    http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/federal-courts-public/court-website-links

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Republicans have had six years to come up with something better than their darling of plan formerly called Romneycare. The only thing they are good at is slinging mud at Democrats and cutting rich people’s taxes.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Personally, I think single payer voucherized healthcare would be best, because it provides everyone with a basic need, but makes use of the competition and efficiency of the free market. Of course, it would only be fiscally responsible if US healthcare costs could be brought down to about $3500 per person.

    zorro Reply:

    @ car(e)-free LA: I think Medicare for all would be better, how to implement it? Reduce the age limit to 1 day old, as some in Congress said could be done.

    Vouchers is what Republicans in Congress want to do to Medicare(ever since the G.W. Bush Administration, courtesy of Rep Paul Ryan(R-WI-01), aka Speaker of the House, 3rd in line of succession to be POTUS), towards private insurance, especially for Seniors, Disabled People, the poor, etc, etc, etc…

    Also Medicare for all could eliminate the duplicate medical care at the VA, Medicaid(Medi-Cal in CA), Tricare, government health care of all types could be folded into Medicare for all, including all the funding streams and employees could be reduced, and a small tax on Wall Street Transactions could help make up any shortfall in current funding.

    Jerry Reply:

    Elizabeth
    Report states that, “More construction needs to start.”
    Most, but not all, would agree with that.

    Joe Reply:

    Right and they recommended HSR prioritize and build more structures!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    MONEY. They don’t have the MONEY

    Joe Reply:

    We have the money. Prop1a assures we have the money. leislsture and executive branches agree.
    Had they not, the project could not proceed.

    Trolls now disbelieve prop1a reporting and claim no money.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Really, they have the money?

    Is that why it is planned to end at a concrete pad in the middle of nowhere?
    Is that why they are running blended on the pennesula instead of the 100 billion dollar 4 track option?
    Is that why they asked the Feds for 15 billion?
    Is that why the FRA just told them they need 2-3 billion more for IOS north?

    They don’t have the money

    Joe Reply:

    They stated construction becise they have the money to being to build the system per prop1a which requires funds be identified. A tough standard was met.

    Your are mixing up work now with what is need to be funded in 2020+.
    The Dept of Denense don’t have money that far out guaranteed.

    Stop trolling.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Fine joe, tell me how I disagree without “trolling”?

    In your mind is there a way? Because no matter how much I support my statements with facts you continue to make personal accusations?

    Separate question, is the FRA trolling also by pointing out risks? Just like I did?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You are intellectually dishonest if you say that risks that may or may not have a chance of coming true are the same as actual and real cost overruns. And I tell you one thing: Even at 50% cost overrun CaHSR is better than spending the money on tax breaks for gazillionaires or more highways and airports.

    Joe Reply:

    We have the money to start the project. The standard is difficult – prop1a has hard requirements and they are meeting them and proceeding.

    No long term project meets your standard to identify all funds for all years. That’s you claim they don’t have all the money is trolling. Inconsistent with the facts today and long term impossible requqiest given how the USA and CA budget.

    Trolling is not disagreeing. It requires distortion and misdirection.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Well good news then because I never said risks were the same as overruns.

    What I said was that the current lack of execution will lead to overruns. What the FRA said was that the current risks on the project, including ROW acquisition and execution” could lead to overruns. Everyone is saying the same things.

    And if they had had a brain cell between them supporters would not have made identifying the money part of prop 1a but they did. So it is not my standard, it is the law.

    Keep up those personal attacks, it is getting the train built faster. Shocking that an academic would be the first to try and stop civil discourse

    Joe Reply:

    Shorter John, “I lie without shame”

    JJJ Reply:

    I think even the most ardent supporters of the project should be concerned about the delays. Every time I go around Fresno to document progress I am met with disappointment. It shouldnt take this long.

    I recently talked to a foreign engineer who is working at one of the building partners based in Fresno. He is incredibly disillusioned by the project because he says the American decision makers are extremely timid and rather than making a decision would rather wait a few months and hope the problem goes away (note: the problem does not).

    People look at China and say “they build fast because they ignore the environment, the locals, and any opposition”.

    True.

    But its time to look at these US projects and say “they build so slow because of incompetence, bureaucracy, and a failure to take the initiative or lead”.

    Engineers are known to be risk averse. The problem is when there is no strong leader ready to say “risks acknowledged, lets build”.

    synonymouse Reply:

    risks acknowledged, let’s tax and subsidize.

    Joe Reply:

    Design build contacts start with design work. Contractors need to see the area, survey and test the area and then propose design changes, alignment shifts and etc. that reduce cost and then finalize their design.
    Bids came in under estimate because the contractors saw cost savings from the initial, partial designs by the authority.

    I’d worry if they jumped to construction quickly.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Wasn’t there alot of discussion back in 2013 when Tutor Perini was awarded the $1B contract about their reputation for cost overruns and change orders? I’m an engineer and have worked on DB projects. Usually if the firm hired for the DB effort is behind schedule, he is penalized and takes a hit financially. Tutor Perini knew what they were getting into. They have done this type of work before – not HSR but working with government and the eminent domain process. Blaming the increased costs on lawsuits and NIMBYS is disingenuous as the authority and the firms hired should have known not all would he unicorns and rainbows! I call bullshit on this. Tutor Perini lowballed the bid and made unrealistic promises based on an unrealistic schedule placed on them by the authority. The CHSRA is in on it too as it should never have thought it’s ROW aquisition could ever proceed as fast as it scheduled. Instead, it wanted to shoehorn the initial segments in to meet the timeline requirements of the FRA/USDOT grants. It’s all smoke and mirrors it seems.

    But then again, the CHSRA is a brand new agency with zero experience in construction project management. What could possibly go wrong? Why does the USA insist on hiring amateurs to do projects never done before in this country? The decision to block SNCF from taking control of the project many years ago will haunt Gov Brown and the future of HSR in this country for decades.

    Jerry Reply:

    A number of years ago there was a reference to the CAHSR Authority using employees from the California Department of Transportation for Eminent Domain purposes because the DOT employees had more knowledge and experience.
    Does anyone have any knowledge as to how that worked out??
    And since Eminent Domain is a government function and activity why is it left up to individual agencies?
    By now it should be a walk in the park
    PS Texas HSR is having a similar type problem with Eminent Domain.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Yes TX Central is embroiled in a major challenge based on eminent domain given to private companies. That’s the key difference, they are private but CHSRA is public. Again, why did CA government think it could do this better than a foreign organization (SNCF) with a history and experience in building HSR?

    I am curious as how the construction schedule was developed back in 2012 or so. On what basis was the aquisition schedule decided? Was it realistic for a project of this magnitude? A 600 mile long linear HSR project is not the same as road widening or interchange construction or pipeline construction.

    Jerry Reply:

    Pipeline construction?
    Sure happy that the CAHSR ROW avoided sacred burial grounds.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    I was thinking of the natural gas pipelines built in the southeast in the past decade. They were built on schedule and most likely within budget by their owners. The ND pioeline fiasco is politically motivated at this point both by cultural and environmental issues. Most all pipeline construction goes pretty smooth as far as property aquisition and eminent domain proceedings.

    Jerry Reply:

    Road construction. Pipeline construction. Rail construction.
    I’m seeing references to construction projects that seem to involve Eminent domain.
    How, or why, will it seem to go smoothly in one type of construction and not another?
    Are there comparisons? For example. A mile of Eminent Domain in road construction versus a mile of pipe line construction versus a mile of rail construction.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    For example… pipelines are buried, and present no obstacle to above ground movement. Road construction is typically managed by state DOT’s that have decades of experience (and laws written for them) handling eminent domain cases. Most road projects are not being built on new ROWs like TX HSR or CA HSR are. HSR requires many, many miles of ROW that is 100 feet across with elevated structures or earthwork. In CA, the authority had no prior experience with negotiating the buying of property or determining the appropriate timeline for obtaining the necessary ROW. Look at the proposed railroad in MN and SD to move Powder River basin coal 15 years ago. Only a few miles of proposed new ROW killed the whole project. It is harder for new railroads to get built in this country than for pipelines or roads. Not saying it’s right. It’s just how it is.

    Should I go on?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    They are using the CDOT process, but they are using consultants to actually execute. In fact about 8 months ago the upped the budget a bunch to double down on this losing consultant strategy

    les Reply:

    Competency is far from the issue.

    The only American comp of this magnitude I could think of is ST3. It will cost 54 billion and be 62 miles of Light Rail, a few Sounder stations and some BRT. Its timeline is 2018 to 2040 or 22 years. Funding is 95%+ local taxes with a few Fed grants. There will be no tunneling required and is entirely in an urban environment, and will utilize design build contracts which were successful for ST2.

    HSR’s problem is it’s construction to date is primarily in rural-esque settings where it has got politicized (anything Obama must fail and crops and water over trains), met up against ill-defined federal HSR regulations, had no American precedence and hence lack of a tangible entity, and, to date, has had to rely on the feds for a significant part of funding. And with all this the timeline is still in sync with the American way of doing things, that is with what EIRs and property laws permit.

    JJJJ Reply:

    The massive expansion of CA-180 has chugged along with no delays, while it plows over rural settings.

    les Reply:

    But it has rural tangible utility and it is done in very short increments. SR East 180 is only a 3.4 mile project. West was only 1.8. Both over about 5 years and less than 45 million. Not quite a comp.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The laws are written for cars.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That’s ridiculous. They never had the money and that is the issue. Even now, they don’t have the money.

    The issue is they thought if they passed the law, the fed money would flow in. They would get it half built before the major overruns hit and then it would be too late to stop so they would get the rest of the money. See bay bridge, see Chunnel, see big dig, see transbay, etc.

    When that assumption proved untrue, the whole plan fell apart because they have not reached critical mass of construction. It could stop now and no one would give a care and they cant argue they are 1/2 way there so we need to just push on.

    They never had a credible plan to build the blended system because they didn’t think they needed one. They though 20 billon in fed money would get them to “indispensable” status then they could throw money at it until done.

    The incompetence is not just running the project, the incompetence is starting a project with no credible funding plan

    Joe Reply:

    Dear troll

    If they are incompetent why are you trolling so hard against the project’s progress and making up stuff about budget overruns.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It is the authorities numbers, I made up nothing. And neither did the FRA.

    Keep getting personal joe, I will just stick with facts

    Joe Reply:

    The issue is they thought if they passed the law, the fed money would flow in. They would get it half built before the major overruns hit and then it would be too late to stop so they would get the rest of the money. See bay bridge, see Chunnel, see big dig, see transbay, etc.
    When that assumption proved untrue, the whole plan fell apart because they have not reached critical mass of construction. It could stop now and no one would give a care and they cant argue they are 1/2 way there so we need to just push on.
    They never had a credible plan to build the blended system because they didn’t think they needed one. They though 20 billon in fed money would get them to “indispensable” status then they could throw money at it until done.

    This is John’s opinion. It’s an accusation of fraud at a massive level.
    If it were true the project could be sued for fraud and halted.
    The current litigants are either incompetent – John’s favorite word –
    or this accusation is just more hyperbole.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    And willie brown did not quote this exact strategy for transbay right?

    It’s nit fraud, it’s piss poor politics that is all too common on infrastructure projects all throughout the US

    And they are getting sued

    Joe Reply:

    Who cares about willie brown? For goodness sake stop.

    you have a unprovable accusation. A boogie man too! What you claim as fact would be grounds to sue and halt the project. No one is litigating. You’re making up bullshit.

    This is Arnold and Jerry Brown’s project and Jerry is a responsible, budget surplus generating, governor.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    King’s county at it again

    http://kvpr.org/post/kings-county-renews-legal-fight-against-high-speed-rail

    zorro Reply:

    John Nachtigall, this is old news, like at least a month old, they just don’t want the Prop1a Bonds used, so that California will owe the DOT, $2.553 Billion, it’s a frivolous lawsuit.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Just replying to joes point that no Ken is litigating

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Should read “no one is litigating”

    Joe Reply:

    Bait and switch

    Bait: Argue the project lacks funds for total competition.
    When confrontes with the fact HSR doesn’t need to have funds for total completion and there is no such lawsuit.
    The Troll will…
    Switch to prop1a lawsuit.

    We have funding identifed and are in construction.
    There is no requiremnt for total project funding and no lawsuit over that BS troll.

    les Reply:

    France never had the money 50 years ago either. But 2000 km later here they are.
    “The construction of the TGV did not proceed as smoothly as most later accounts of the
    project—Lamming’s included—imply. There was no widespread conviction in
    the 1970s that the TGV was in the best interests either of the population it was
    intended to serve or the nation as a whole; for much of the decade, attacks by
    the public, press, and government were commonplace, and as late as 1978 there
    was even talk of canceling the project. Critics called the TGV a “Maginot line.”
    This epithet had a double implication: not only would the TGV form a barrier
    in the countryside, but it would be a spectacular failure. The issues at stake in the mid- to late l970s were not the same as those at stake a decade earlier, however. The SNCF’s initial proposal to build a new line had invited a number of specific questions: Would a high speed train be
    profitable? Would it be able to compete against the airlines? What cities would be served? Would Dijon be left out? Would more “modern” alternatives to wheel-steel rail technology make the TGV obsolete? One by. one, these questions were answered. But even as the threat of the Aérotrain and of STOLs faded, a new set of concerns appeared: Could such a massive project, even one funded largely through private investment, be justified in the midst of resession. What impact would the TGV have on nearby and on the environment? Would property owners whose land was being seized by eminent domain be fairly compensated by the government? Would Lyon become a suburb of Paris? These new worries reflected changing economic and social priorities in the wake of the student and labor unrest of May 1968 and the onset of the deep recession of the postwar period.”

    https://books.google.com/books?id=gAUI2st-IIwC&pg=PA176&lpg=PA176&dq=does+sncf+use+eminent+domain&source=bl&ots=uml0C7ldz7&sig=VFDgNkNUHamoFw6-9NOcJPqDguc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZ6rTg0cDRAhWk7YMKHRhzCv4Q6AEIMTAD#v=onepage&q=does%20sncf%20use%20eminent%20domain&f=false

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    This isn’t France, and CA is not a country it is a state.

    If they instituted a specific tax then I would believe, it may go slow but they would have a money stream. But with cap and trade bombing they have no source of money

    You didn’t refute my argument at all you just said that France did it. They did, as did Japan, China and others. The question at hand is why CA is failing

    Jerry Reply:

    And why do you believe CA is failing.??
    And what should be done about it?
    And what are you going to do about fixing the problem?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Why?

    They have delayed the project finish
    They have compromised the design (blended)
    Cap and trade is not delivering the dollars
    Each of the 3 segments under construction are behind schedule per the authorities numbers
    The Feds just told them they are at risk of over budget
    They still have not decided the route
    They still don’t have the money identified

    What are they doing right is the real question

    It is not my job to fix the problem, I don’t build railroads for a living. They are the experts and they are failing. As a taxpayer I am not ok with that.

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks.
    Your answers say a lot.
    PS. You could at least join CA RRD and send them a donation.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So we agree they are failing? Because I didn’t see any counter arguments. Everything I said there is verifiably true.

    And I had a full Friday, CAHSR staff didn’t help me, and I don’t expect them to. Dan Richards doesn’t do my job and I don’t do his. But his is a public sector job which means he is subject to criticism from taxpayers and voters. thats the reality.

    Do you really think they are doing an ourptstanding job? Because the FRA doesn’t.

    Joe Reply:

    Are they “Failing” or “outstanding”.
    Trollbait.

    les Reply:

    And I’m saying critics said the same things 50 years ago in France as they’re saying now in California. Same sky is falling mentality. France originally didn’t have cash for 2000km of line but they built it piece by piece. Brown will shore up C&T and institute revenue to build the next segments, piece by piece. Not a difficult concept.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Concept easy…politics hard

    Brown is out in 2 years and the Feds are controlled by the GOP. Who is the state project champion after Brown? Who is going to stick their neck out and put through a tax to support this?

    les Reply:

    The further the line gets built out the more localized the support will become and less of a need for a fed or state impetus. Brown need only deliver to Bakersfield, Merced and SJ before leaving which he will. Then local urban jurisdictions can drive it from there. Sure Palmdale would be an added bonus but by then the merits of the system will be proven and others will follow Brown’s lead. No more rural obstructionism.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I agree that is the strategy…I said as much above. But we disagree on Brown’s ability to get that before he leaves

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Brown is nothing but not a shrewd politician. And he bet his political legacy and reputation on HSR. I am confident he will give the project enough momentum to carry it through the 2018 election. And there will likely be at least one explicitly pro-HSR candidate in the 2018 runoff

    Joe Reply:

    We the people of California champion high speed rail.

    les Reply:

    “Riding the latest high-tech boom and an overall statewide surge, California has leapfrogged France and Brazil to become the world’s sixth-largest economy, according to figures released Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.”

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article83780667.html

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    California is failing! Doom! Gloom! The song of the nightingale!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I didn’t say CA was failing, I said CAHSR was failing. Those are completely different things

    Do you think CAHSR is doing well? And if so why?

    joe Reply:

    Oh they now forget their finance lectures that we in CA were becoming the next Greece. No more bond rates and doom and gloom.

    HSR is on schedule to meet ARRA deadlines despite the lawsuit delay. No other large project like this has been attempted in the US on quite some time. Texas is a private system and under attack too and they and delayed — again.

    Considering the facts, the project is executing a worse, nominally.

    les Reply:

    “The issue is they thought if they passed the law”. Who passed the law, CAHSR? What came first the chicken or the egg?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Yes, a mandate (law) with inadequate money is not useful. They knew 30 billion was a lie when it passe,d they thought the Feds would give them “bid dig” level money. They didn’t think the 2010 midterms would be a bloodbath.

    les Reply:

    I didn’t know the authority had the power to make laws.

    les Reply:

    I thought they were a byproduct of voters and legislation.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Ok les, we will pretend the CAHSR is not full of supporters and drafters of the law. They were disinterested bystanders until it passed.

    Change the “they” is my statement to HSR supporters…there fixed

    les Reply:

    So it was HSR supporters that approved 10 billion for prop1A, bill 32 (C&T) and AB1889, defeats of prop 53 and put a 2/3 dem majority in congress. And over 1/2 the voters and legislatures “knew 30 billion was a lie when it passed they thought the Feds would give them “bid dig” level money. They didn’t think the 2010 midterms would be a bloodbath.” Well I guess CAHRS is off the hook now. But now the majority of Californians are deemed criminal incompetents.

    les Reply:

    And though I agree there are a lot of criminal incompetents in the world, personally I find most supporters of HSR to be of a less negative disposition.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Wow…that was a logic leap

    Fact: The voters passed prop 1a which included a lot of requirements and the assumption the system would cost less than 40 billon given by HSR supporters. Another implicit statement at the time of passing was that the Feds would provide 1/3 of the money also given by supporters.

    Both of those were not true and the total system cost was known not to be true at the time of the election. When the “no” vote posted that out they were told it was an accurate estimate which was flat out untrue.

    Supporters did not tell the truth to voters. They continue to not tell the truth with adherence to prop 1a resrictions and availablility of money. Call it a lie of omission or on purpose, regardless it is a lie.

    All that prop 52, 2/3rds etc is just a red herring.

    les Reply:

    Red herring in your universe. The point above is that the majority of voters are still behind the project regardless of your imagined transgressions or viewed incompetence by the authority (or should I say hsr supporters or however you want to put it). Believe it or not, but many voters weren’t sold on the “implicit promises” you mention but were actually tuned into the fact that “use-able segments” meant there was a significant amount of work left to do independent of what Prop1 would provide.

    I assure you if Brown puts up another Prop upon his exit voters will be behind it.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Bet accepted.

    There is no way they put HSR on the ballot because there is no way it passes. In 8 years they pushed a little dirt, their track record will defeat them

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Les
    There is definitely tunneling in ST3.

    les Reply:

    Yes, i should have said no tunneling in the tentacles. That Westlake-ID will need a tunnel due to capacity constraints of existing DT tunnel.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Plus the possible tunneling of Ballard and West Seattle.

    les Reply:

    OK, if it will make you happy: 60, 50 and 20. Nothing like getting lost in trees.

    Jerry Reply:

    At JJJ, “no strong leader”
    That is a problem. But we do have a lot of administators. And consultants to ‘help’ them.
    But no “strong” leaders like Robert Moses or Frederick L. Olmsted.

    Danny Reply:

    CAHSRA’s counterblast https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaHighSpeedRail/photos/a.10150149074159859.335702.273053429858/10154906851589859/?type=3&theater

    Jerry Reply:

    Thank you Danny.

    Jerry Reply:

    You can access the US Treasury Department’s PDF summary of the top 40 Infrastructure projects and their economic impact here:
    https://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Importance-of-Infrastructure-Investment-for-Spurring-Growth-.aspx

    Jerry Reply:

    Likewise, the U.S. Department of Transportation report,
    Shovel Worthy: What the Recovery Act Taught Us About Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure,
    can be accessed here:
    https://www.transportation.gov/mission/budget/arra-final-report

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The story clearly said it was a prediction and in that “denial” I missed the denial part. They didn’t deny the prediction at all

    Joe Reply:

    CARRD posts the report.
    No “predictions”.

    It’s a risk analysis report. Jeff Morales have an accratue description. They

    HSR can’t deny what wasn’t reported.

    They are advising HSR prioritize structure building – my professional assessment btw.
    And secondly, steam line billing – decrees the lag between work billed and submitted to the Feds.

    Nothing about management which the article says was from a past audit.

    Boy you really got to watch Ralph.

    Jerry Reply:

    For those who missed it. The “report” is here:
    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3288629/FRA-Risk-Analysis.pdf
    As posted by CARRD.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Note: this is just the link from the LA Times website

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It specifically called management poor and moral low. you are delusional.

    Joe Reply:

    It refers to ? What?
    The leaked FRA risk report made no such assessment.
    Read it.
    Which page?

    Roland Reply:

    Boy, you have to watch Joece. Incoherence is one of the many early symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

  28. Jerry
    Jan 13th, 2017 at 16:49
    #28

    Robert.
    Time for a new subject regarding the LA Times “confidential” article.

  29. Jerry
    Jan 13th, 2017 at 17:54
    #29

    Surprised that no one has mentioned the two Tower of Power band members being hit by an Amtrak train while crossing the street in Oakland:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/members-b-group-tower-power-struck-train-article-1.2945532
    For those not acquainted with Oakland’s embarcadero there are photos of the train in the street.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Today I saw an article quoting someone on how they managed to get hit.

    They waited for a freight train to pass … gates, bells and lights were activated and working normally … but they crossed right behind the last car of the freight and stepped into the path of a 2nd train coming from the other direction on the other track behind the freight.

    Jerry Reply:

    ouch

    J. Wong Reply:

    Problem there is the tracks are in the middle of the street. I’ve been inside a restaurant there at lunch and watched a freight rumble past while I was eating.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Crossing immediately behind a passing train without thinking to check for another train coming the other way is probably the worst type of “gotcha” that gets non-suicidal people killed. It’s got nothing to do with the Broadway “street-running” tracks as it can and does happen at standard grade crossings too when rushing and/or impatient people cross behind trains without waiting for the crossing protection to deactivate (a clue there might be a 2nd train coming).

    While they’re uncommon, I’ve seen crossings equipped with separate “2nd train coming” warnings.

    I’ve since seen another report that others with the 2 Tower of Power guys that were hit noticed the 2nd train in time to get out of the way.

    Roland Reply:

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely why French trains “Horns must also be sounded when passing an oncoming train, and shortly before reaching the last car of the train”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Train_horn#France. Stupid frogs!!!

    Roland Reply:

    https://youtu.be/9mphv9I4nHI

    Roland Reply:

    https://youtu.be/q7zfviNNqE0

    Aarond Reply:

    Oakland ought to be embarrassed over it, since West Embarcadero has no place to exist and should be a sealed 4-5 track corridor. But then again, this is the same city that feels fine letting the Zephyr terminate in Emeryville (rather than something with a BART connection like Coliseum).

    On that note, hopefully when the Raiders move Oakland will remove their heads from their asses and redevelop the stadium area into a proper station surrounded by high density offices.

    Marc Reply:

    How does one “seal” a 4-5 track corridor that runs at grade level through an existing city, without resorting to tunnels and/or aerial structures? Are you pledging the funds to fix it? Or, just suggesting that the waterfront be severed from the rest of the city?

    Aarond Reply:

    A sealed corridor wouldn’t sever the area, at least for pedestrians who would still flow from the existing Amtrak station to the ferry dock. The only issue is automobile access, which can be fixed building a new street through the office complexes adjacent KTVU.

    Marc Reply:

    Sounds like you’ve never actually set foot in Jack London Square. The accident was 1/4 mile away from the Amtrak station and KTVU, involved pedestrians crossing Embarcadero West to get from an existing hotel to an existing concert venue. You can’t prevent pedestrian or car crossings there, without completely reconstructing the surrounding commercial district (which it needs, but there is no money to do it).

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Or completely rerouting the tracks (which needs to happen, but there is no money to do it.)

    Roland Reply:

    With another 4-6 track tunnel, right?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    https://urbanlifesigns.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-2035-rail-plan-for-oakland.html

    Roland Reply:

    O-M-G…

    Jerry Reply:

    “The idea for a Third Transbay Tube comes from
    (drum roll please)
    Roland Lebrun.”

    Roland Reply:

    This is 8th grade material. You have AT LEAST 5 years to go.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I didn’t write it, but it certainly seems good to me. And you helped influence it.

    Roland Reply:

    http://vta-sprinter.org/2016/09/13/transbay-blended-tunnel/

    Aarond Reply:

    The Port of Oakland and it’s many facilities are directly adjacent the area in question. There’s no space to reroute the tracks without a total overhaul of the area. For starters, this means moving the entire Amtrak maintence facility somewhere else, then turning the tiny abandoned spur adjacent that into the new mainline which would feed into 880 (which would have to be trenched, and have a 4+ track UPRR mainline put down the center median until San Leandro). 980 would have to be removed entirely.

    There’s just no interest in doing this. UP doesn’t want their tracks touched, Oakland doesn’t want to take on industrial companies, and Alameda County doesn’t want to have to redo everything just to get a waterfront district that is already cut off from Oakland through 880.

    On that note, this is where discussions about Alameda Island BART or light rail happen.

    Michael Reply:

    BART passes right under 880 at a shallow depth, so the trench would not work unless it went under BART. same problem pops up when one looks at trenching the UPRR through Jack London, but there it’s the Alameda tubes. Also, why put UPRR in the median of 880 all the way to San Leandro when it has a perfectly good right of way south from Oakland already?

    Aarond Reply:

    That’s my point, moving the tracks is essentially not feasible.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Full tear-out of I-880 (in sections overtime) and I-980 (complete removal at once) would be the prudent thing to do.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Ian Mitchell
    You could always do something that looks like this: https://s28.postimg.org/jsn8x32p9/Initial.png

    Which could someday become this: https://s28.postimg.org/f01l9ji25/Future.png

    Aarond Reply:

    Yes but it happened less than 500 feet from the ferry dock. I’ve walked through the exact area going from the ferry to the theater.

    Also I doubt it would cost much money to fix the area, it could easily become one giant open-air pedestrian mall. With the cars gone, pedestrian tunnels (and their 25-30′ access ramps) can be easily built. It’d work extremely well considering the ferry and Amtrak station within it.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Aarond
    Seriously. What is with Emeryville? I always have used Coliseum or Richmond, because I’d rather take BART than an Amtrak Bus, or even Jack London Square plus a ferry.

    Also, there was the wonderful Coliseum City project that never got off the ground. :-(
    http://www.socketsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Coliseum-City-Plan-Rendering-20141.jpg

    Michael Reply:

    Amtrak carries a lot of people on those buses into San Francisco and the Emeryville station is the one closest to the Bay Bridge. The rental car agencies have locations there, too, so they must know something. Coliseum and Richmond are both unstaffed stations.

    Aarond Reply:

    It was built following 16th Street’s closure. Oakland never bothered to do anything better since that would require effort. They only added an Amtrak Coliseum station because the A’s and Raiders realized the Capitol Corridor would be sticking around.

    Michael Reply:

    Oakland (Port of Oakland, I think) built the Jack London Station after the closure of 16th. There’s also the whole maintenance facility, which was originally going to be a joint facility in San Jose with Caltrain at the Lick Quarry, but San Jose killed that idea and we got CEMOF and all its constraints for Caltrain and an Amtrak base in Oakland. So Oakland did bother to do something.

  30. morris brown
    Jan 13th, 2017 at 19:52
    #30

    Denham Statement on Latest Report of California High-Speed Rail Overruns

    Denham Statement on Latest Report of California High-Speed Rail Overruns

    Jan 13, 2017
    Press Release
    Issues:
    Transportation

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) issued the following statement in response to a new report that the initial construction package for California’s high-speed rail project could now cost taxpayers 50 percent more than originally projected.

    “Despite past issues with funding this boondoggle, we were repeatedly assured in an August field hearing that construction costs were under control. They continue to reaffirm my belief that this is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. I will continue to fight against any further federal funding of this project. They can expect an audit and oversight hearing in the near future.”

    Jerry Reply:

    Didn’t he and McCarthy support that big Iraq War boondoggle? ??
    Any audit or oversight hearing coming up on that fiasco? ??
    As I have said before : CA HSR is chump change compared to the Trillions wasted in Iraq.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. That is sunk money.
    2. Are you agreeing it is a waste by comparing to Iraq?
    3. Syria proved that the alternate strategy is a worse outcome. Hundreds of thousands dead and the dictator still in charge.

    Jerry Reply:

    Sunk money?? No way. It was put on our Chinese credit card. We are in debt and still owe money for the war.

    Sunk money?? What about “sunk” lives?? The dead and maimed? ??
    So far, no one has died from CA HSR.

    Iraq was a complete and total waste. (Even Donald says that.)
    HSR is not a waste. People can ride it for years to come.

    The Iraq War was a “Boondoggle”. Terms used by both McCarthy
    and Denham in their “statements” regarding HSR. How would THEY describe the Iraq War?? Any “AUDITS” or “HEARINGS” coming up on the Iraq War?? At least England had an investigation and report on the War.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Well if Trump says it it must be true…

    Its gone, the money is gone, the lives are lost, the history is past. You can be as outraged as you like but saying “We can pay for X because we spent a trillon on Iraq has no logic to it. It is more likely we CANT pay for X BECAUSE we paid a trillion for Iraq

    And I noticed you just completly ignored Syria. So that was the alternative option, do not get involved, no matter what. Are you happy with that outcome. Because there are still hundreds of thousand dead, it is destabilizing Europe from the refugee crisis, and the dictator is still in charge.

    Iraq was a lot of money, a lot of lives, and a lot of time, but the dictator is dead and a fledgling democracy is in place.

    Jerry Reply:

    The money is NOT gone. The creditors are still holding the IOUs on the “costs” of the Iraq War/Boondoggle. Check with your local CPA and GAAP rules to see how such money is accounted for.
    Check the Veterans Affairs budget to see how we are still paying the “costs”.
    It is NOT “sunk money” as you allege.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    it is entirely sunk money, we cant get it back.

    You cant take that Trillon and spend it somewhere else, that is what “sunk” means.

    Your moral outrage at the war will not pay a single cent towards HSR, regardless of it is justified or not. Its just not a logical argument.

    that money is gone and spent and part of the debt. Now, how would you like to pay for HSR?

    Jerry Reply:

    Pay for HSR a number of ways.
    One is, stop the next Trillion dollars from being spent on the wasteful military. Every month the drumbeat for updating the nuclear arsenal takes place. At a cost of over a Trillion dollars.

    Jerry Reply:

    Your definition of “sunk” is YOUR definition of “sunk”.

    Jerry Reply:

    “that money is gone and spent and part of the debt”
    If it is part of the debt, it is NOT gone.
    If it is part of the debt, it will be carried on the books for many years.

    Jerry Reply:

    It is up to McCarthy and Denham to conduct the inquiries and investigations into Iraq wastefulness.
    You can not be a schill for them.

    Jerry Reply:

    shill

    Jerry Reply:

    Have you joined CARRD yet?
    Have you sent them a donation yet?

    Roland Reply:

    Have you joined CARRD yet?
    Have you sent them a donation yet?

    Jerry Reply:

    I like how you take the cavalier approach and say, “the lives are lost”.
    For what? For nothing.
    Try telling that to Gold Star mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    There is nothing cavalier about stating a fact. Unless you know a way of raising the dead then it is just a simple fact.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The reason we invaded was to capture the weapons of mass destruction. We were going to be greeted with chocolate and roses, it was going to cost 150 billion, to be repaid out of oil revenues and be over in 6 months.

    Jerry Reply:

    You constantly ask where the money is coming from for HSR.
    We have as a country. We have it as a state.
    What is the greatest ROI??
    War? The Military / Industrial complex?
    Or money for our own infrastructure?

    Jerry Reply:

    False reference. I never brought up Syria.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    of course you didnt, because you would not want to look at what the alternative looks like.

    If you dont intervene. That is Syria.

    Not such a simple choice.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We invaded Iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction. Without a plan to do anything after we found them.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    We invaded Iraq because he was a dictator who was destabilizing the region and we had had enough of his bullshit. The WMD was just a pretense. We needed to punch the biggest bully in the neighborhood in the face…and we did.

    Danny Reply:

    our first Iraq truther! I thought they’d died off, outside of the Chris Hitchens cult

    Jerry Reply:

    What’s our oil doing under their sand?

    Jerry Reply:

    A $3 Trillion Dollar punch in the face. A great ROI.

    Jerry Reply:

    “WMD was just a pretense.”
    Most agree.

    Jerry Reply:

    Even Donald tells the truth and asks, ‘what did we get out of it?’
    Not even the oil, he says.

    Jerry Reply:

    We could have used the money for our own infrastructure.
    Too late now. It’s already put on our charge card.

    Jerry Reply:

    Oh wait. Maybe we could make a deal. We won’t pay our debt of the war on the Chinese credit card unless they agree to build HSR for us at a deep discount rate.

    Jerry Reply:

    We’ll make Mexico pay for the wall, and China pay for HSR.
    May you live in interesting times.

    Jerry Reply:

    Kim Jong un?
    Look out little Kim. Or we’ll “punch you in the face.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So you are okay with Dear Leader lying to you as long as it advances goals you support?

    Jerry Reply:

    I look at all alternatives. So you cannot say what I would want to look at or I would not want to look at.

    Jerry Reply:

    How many times do you want me to say, write it?

    Jerry Reply:

    You cannot say what I would look at or not look at.

    Jerry Reply:

    Don’t try to pull that garbage with ME.

    Jerry Reply:

    We created the costly problems with Iraq. The Neo-cons wanted war.
    They created the mess. They created all the waste and destruction.
    We (the USA) did not put boots on the ground in Syria.
    None of our soldiers died in Syria.
    Dictators are dictators. Some we support and some we don’t.
    We wasted American MONEY in Iraq. Money which could pay for HSR 10 times over.

    Jerry Reply:

    I said it before Trump.
    The Iraq War was a complete waste.
    But he is the only unorthodox politician to say it. In the heart of Bush country – South Carolina.
    Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.
    And he did pick up votes for his anti-Iraq War stance.

    Jerry Reply:

    “a fledgling democracy is in place.”
    We (the CIA) overthrew the Democracy in Iran.
    And have suffered the consequences (blowback) ever since.
    Democracy has nothing to do with War.
    We support dictators. Especially when they are “our” dictators.
    Donald Rumsfeld supported Sadam Hussein as long as he went along with us. And we built HIS infrastructure.
    But you are very happy to slough it off as so called “sunk money “.
    And YOU complain that YOU do not like to see your tax dollars wasted as a hard working taxpayer.

    Jerry Reply:

    Oh. But you only complain about the chump change being spent on HSR.
    If you read the US Treasury Department’s PDF report on the benefits of HSR you will see that it is NOT a waste of money.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The US has done a lot of things, both good and bad. Iraq is better off for what we did. They don’t live under a dictator who gassed his own people.

    Your moral outrage is still not paying for HSR

    But I promised myself I would try and keep discussion on HSR out of respect for the board so you can have the last word, I’m letting this thread drop. I don’t agree with you but I am not responding

    Jerry Reply:

    “his people” ??????
    The Kurds never ever thought that they were “his people”.
    The USA set up the “no fly zone” But the USA forgot to include helicopters as part of the “no fly zone.” Thus enabling the dictator to kill people who were not “his people”.

    Jerry Reply:

    Again, I’m sure you don’t agree. But as you say. Don’t respond.

    Jerry Reply:

    You can access the US Treasury Department’s PDF summary of the top 40 Infrastructure projects and their economic impact here:
    https://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Importance-of-Infrastructure-Investment-for-Spurring-Growth-.aspx
    Clearly. Clearly. The Treasury Department’s report shows the POSITIVE impact of improving OUR infrastructure (not Iraq’s).
    Clearly, it shows the POSITIVE impact that CA HSR is having and will CONTINUE to have on the California economy for years to come.

    Jerry Reply:

    Hopefully, Denham and McCarthy would be smart enough to recognize the many positive ways CA HSR will improve not only their districts,but all of California.

    les Reply:

    “Syria proved that the alternate strategy is a worse outcome.” I’m not sure what you mean by this?
    Are you suggesting we should have bombed Syria like we bombed Iraq? I think we should bomb North Korea and Iran while were at it, don’t you? Hell, lets go after Putin while were at it.

    Iraq and Syria are two totally different situations and I see nothing in common except that they’re both in the mideast.

    Jerry Reply:

    John ALWAYS raises FALSE arguments.

    Jerry Reply:

    But he is pedantic.

    les Reply:

    Didn’t Megyn Kelly quit Fox News recently? Maybe he can get a gig there. He would fit right in.

    les Reply:

    Did you expect anything different from Denham? Putin could have made the remarks and Denham would have went along with them.

    Aarond Reply:

    Who cares what Denham says, he talked shit about Trump before the election. Clearly, that is all that matters to the incoming President.

    Also I’ll point out that Brown will attempt to reform calPERS in his final term which will probably have some tepid Republican support. There’s enough room to maneuver here as long as everyone keeps their head down and doesn’t get Trump’s attention.

  31. Eric M
    Jan 14th, 2017 at 13:49
    #31

    “Once again, sadly, the LA Times reporting on this project is misleading at best,” FRA spokesman Matthew Lehner told the Silicon Valley Business Journal in an interview. “Is California on track to spend down the Recovery Act funds at this moment? Yes. Will it? With continued focus and hard work, likely so.”

    les Reply:

    I wonder if Ralph gets a kickback every time he does one blind eye reporting.

    Joe Reply:

    Ralph’s a senior employee with latitude and an ax to grind. This will continue until the next round of layoffs at TRONC.

    The FRA made a disparaging comment about the misleading interpretation of a report they authored. It’s not investigative journalism. The FRA was not the target. They object to mischaracterizations.

    Roland Reply:

    Right again (100% score) https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0817

  32. Roland
    Jan 14th, 2017 at 18:14
    #32

    Leo Express routes temporarily sidelined (allegedly) pending expansion into Poland & Slovakia: http://www.rynek-kolejowy.pl/wiadomosci/leo-express-polonizuje-pierwsze-pociagi-79784.html

  33. Roland
    Jan 15th, 2017 at 10:30
    #33
  34. Roland
    Jan 16th, 2017 at 00:04
    #34

    Breaking news: http://laborissuessolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/California-High-Speed-Rail-Authority-Letter-to-Legislature-on-Los-Angeles-Times-Article-of-January-13-2017.pdf

    Jerry Reply:

    And the CAHSRA explains to Chicken Little:
    No, the sky is not falling.

    Jerry Reply:

    Interesting also to note from the letter:
    “Second, the U.S. Department of the Treasury evaluated
    40 major projects nationwide for their economic benefits and independently concluded they would generate an estimated $800 billion of net economic benefits to the nation of which California high-speed rail contributed $195 billion. Again, leaving out these critical federal reports denies readers an accurate portrayal of this project’s status.”

    Could such an OMISSION by the LA Times writer amount to BIAS??????

    Jerry Reply:

    What? Wait a minute. Could such an amazing omission by the LA Times writer be just a mistake? ????
    Or could such an OMISSION really just amount to BIAS??????

    joe Reply:

    LATimes is worse than omission:

    Third, the article also references audit reports, implying that issues identified in those audits persist. In fact, in 2012, the Bureau of State Audits made a number of findings – some 23 recommendations – that concerned the Authority and its management. We have worked hard to
    address those, and interestingly, the California State Auditor just yesterday released its annual report on statewide issues and reported that the outstanding issues have been resolved and/or fully implemented.

    All of John’s trolling FUD about HSR management problems was based on an old audit Ralph cited in 2017 to confuse people thinking these were findings in the current Risk Report.

    The HSR Board says all these old actionable issues were, according to the same auditors that found them, resolved or fully implemented!

    Jerry Reply:

    Gee, what will the HSR haters say about the report that CAHSR has already generated $195 Billion Dollars to the economy.

    Trentbridge Reply:

    The sentence is about the $800 of economic benefits that WILL be generated – and of that total amount, $195 billion would have been contributed by the CA HSR project -in the final reckoning…

    joe Reply:

    Right.

    Will generate … and knowing the multiplier effect for construction is ~3 this figure probably refers to the economic benefit of the construction — not the system’s utility.

    Krugman from 2009:

    Bang for the buck (wonkish)
    January 13, 2009 1:04 pm January 13, 2009 1:04 pm

    But if $100 billion in spending raises GDP by $150 billion, and the marginal tax rate is 1/3, $50 billion of the spending comes back in additional revenue. So bang for the buck — increase in GDP per dollar of added debt — is 3, not 1.5. Since the main concern about stimulus is that it will add to government debt, it’s this bang for the buck measure, rather than the multiplier, that’s relevant. And 3 sounds a lot better than 1.5.

    $195 B /3 = $65B. Not surprisingly 65B is the approximate cost of the project in year of expenditure dollars.

    Jerry Reply:

    Gee, CAHSR has already generated $195 BILLION DOLLARS.
    Wow.

    Eric Reply:

    I think $195 billion is when it’s finished, not “already”.

    joe Reply:

    ~195B total when finished.

    Construction is already generating returns due to economic activity — about 3 dollars of activity per dollar spent.

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