Don’t Misread Republicans: They Hate Rail, Not Just HSR

Feb 25th, 2017 | Posted by

There’s a belief some credulous sources have that when California Congressional Republicans got the Trump Administration to screw Caltrain electrification that this was really an attack on high speed rail, with Caltrain as some sort of collateral damage.

That’s not true, as we’ll see in a moment. But that is the story the anti-HSR folks at the East Bay Times would have you believe:

Congressional Republicans want a full-scale audit of California’s high-speed rail because the federal government has $3.5 billion invested in the project. Unfortunately, they’ve lumped in the Caltrain project because it receives money from state high-speed rail funds.

The editorialists support Caltrain electrification, and are trying to salvage something from this mess. The way they do it is to argue that HSR is bad, Caltrain electrification is good, that the California Congressional Republicans just want an audit of HSR, and will help Caltrain electrify once they get their simple, innocuous audit.

Unfortunately for them, one of the Republicans who went to Trump and asked him and his administration to block the FTA grant, made it very clear tonight that they hate Caltrain too:

I don’t know what else it’s going to take for people to accept that Congressional Republicans hate passenger rail in and of itself. This belief that somehow they’re just a bunch of well-meaning anti-waste crusaders who have a legitimate beef with HSR is a delusion that is now causing wider damage to other vital transportation projects in California.

Devin Nunes is spelling it out for us in very clear terms: if California wants more passenger rail, California is going to have to pay for it by itself. With a GDP of $2.5 trillion, that shouldn’t be difficult. But it does require finally undoing the damage done by the tax revolt, Prop 13, and beyond.

If California Democrats are serious about resisting Trump – and I believe they are – then they have to get on this immediately and take the steps necessary to fund these crucial passenger rail projects without relying on the federal government.

  1. Paul Dyson
    Feb 25th, 2017 at 22:40
    #1

    They hate Silicon Valley.

    joe Reply:

    They hate, period.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield loves Silicon Valley money.

    As he regularly does, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was mining for Silicon Valley campaign money at a fundraiser at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco this month…donors in blue California paid tribute to the Republican congressman from the Kern County oil patch with more than $100,000…

    In one of her first acts as transportation secretary, Chao halted funding to electrify the rail line and replace old diesel engines, even though the project would vastly increase rail travel and take thousands of cars off the choked freeways.

    McCarthy was displaying his clout in the era of Donald J. Trump, though he also was exposing Chao as a tool. So long as Republicans control the White House and Congress, few federal dollars will flow to California without McCarthy’s blessing

    Silicon Valley moguls make a show of their devotion to the environment. They build and drive electric cars, fund renewable energy projects and care deeply about mass transit. They do no evil and promise to make the world a better place. They also play politics.

    In the 2015-16 election cycle, the billionaire founder of Intuit, Scott Cook; billionaire William Fisher of the family that controls Gap; billionaire Sean Parker; and billionaire Google founder Eric Schmidt all contributed money to McCarthy’s campaigns. Bay Area employers Genentech, Charles Schwab and Bechtel used their political action committees to donate to McCarthy, too.

    Even if they don’t have to stew in traffic, surely it matters to the CEOs and billionaires that people who work for them must suck exhaust.

    Any one of them could and should pick up the phone and urge McCarthy to lift the embargo on funding for CalTrain. Or they could hit him where it hurts by skipping his next fundraiser. But they might lose the ability to consort with the second most powerful politician in California, and they couldn’t have that.

  2. adirondacker12800
    Feb 25th, 2017 at 23:14
    #2

    They hate the 20th Century., Except for the bits that brings them internet porn and cable or satelite TeeVee. And microwave popcurn, frost free refrigerators, central heating and air conditioning and AM/FM radio that can play MP3 in the pickup truck. … antibiotics….
    One part of me wants to give them what they wish for. less government spending. The can drive on the road that got beat back into gravel past the hospital that closed down because there wasn’t enough Medicare and Medicaid spending to keep it open as they go to the school that’s only open 120 days year because they don’t have the money to keep it open 160 or 180. Let them see what life becomes when they aren’t getting all thet money from the evil people who live in blue states.

    My Congresswoman loves to go to ribbon cuttings where the first half of the visit is all about how wonderful government spending is. And how it’s their tax dollars coming back to them. When money gets spent in those evil places that actually paid the taxes to send them money … it’s their money being wasted. Even though their tax money never leaves. It’s just a fraction of what the state and federal govenrment spends on them… the second half of the Congresswoman’s visit is ranting about how evil government spending is….

    Danny Reply:

    that’s the big “hat trick” of politics–it’s no accident that the “Red States” are also the “taker” states when it comes to Washington tax dollars (largely because of lack of infrastructure)

    the Medicare and Medicaid are all going to these sick and unemployable people (thanks to the bipartisan neoliberal “golden straitjacket,” I hasten to add) while the GOP flatters them as independent hard-working cowboys or whatever

    the GOP actually *loves* Amtrak, as long as it’s only in their state and the NEC’s paying for it, and they can flog it as a big-city waste while taking credit for the lines in their constituency

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Sometimes the lack of infrastructure comes from lack of population.
    One of the Republican primary candidates up here ranted a dozen different ways about waste fraud and abuse in government spending. One of the signature programs in his campaign was to spend 6 billion dollars building an Interstate grade highway between Watertown and Plattsurgh. I’m sure dozens and dozens of people in Potsdam were really enthusiastic about it and voted for him because of it. And many scores of them in Malone. If anybody proposing this actually asked anyone at NYSDOT for information or help, I’m sure they remained professional and didn’t giggle. ….Watertown…. Plattsburgh…. 6 billion dollars…. Potsdam and Malone are along the way! ! !

    Danny Reply:

    was it Ted Cruz? it’s always Ted Cruz

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Dear Adirondacker – are you not aware that we are now in the 21st Century?

    As for the Republicans’ hate of all things rail, it is long past time for someone to do an in-depth research study as to what truly is the basis for their hatred. Perhaps if such information could be unearthed and made public, we might actually make some progress with rail projects.

    Since such a study is unlikely to be initiated any time soon, I guess our only alternative is either to sit back and allow the Republican majority to destroy what little we have of our rail system, or mount an aggressive fight to save and expand it. Right now, our country is in deep trouble on many fronts, so rail issues are likely to be set aside until we can resolve our more immediately pressing problems (like, is there a sentient human being occupying the Oval Office, or is dementia now taking charge?).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m becoming convinced that what appears to be hate is just that the body language the speaker/leader is telling them it’s time for the two minute hate. … that they are actually, I’ve been giving them the benefit of the doubt about this in many different ways, too stupid to figure out hate. It’s the time in the ritual to do some hate and they do it.
    …. being polite and telling them that perhaps they are missing a detail or uniformed…. no they are too stupid to deal with three details at time…. that Jeff Sessions, who is so super competent he should be Attorney General, either thinks every body is too stupid realize that he cannot have never ever spoken to whoever and simultaneously never brought up certain subjects…. or more frighteningly he is too stupid. There is too much stupid being slung around … the easy, most likely answer is that they are that stupid. … it would be hard to be so exquisitely Machiavellian to come up with this much stupid. They are. . . and most of them think you can get Machiavellian at Olive Garden and can’t be convinced otherwise.

  3. Roland
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 00:40
    #3

    Back in 2008:

    “With a 21-station stop schedule: a diesel locomotive will take one hour and 21 minutes to go end-to-end; with an electric locomotive, one hour and 14 minutes; with an EMU one hour and 10 minutes.”

    “Year of expenditures for the 2015 program of new signal systems and other improvements cost is $231 million; rolling stock replacement is $422 million, but looking at the matching number of 80 percent.
    • By 2015 we could have an electrified railroad signaled to 12 trains per hour; grade crossings are three times safer or better; able to run mixed traffic on the railroad; and have the highest achievable safety rating.”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2008/9-4-08+JPB+Minutes.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    Meanwhile in La La Land: http://www.greencaltrain.com/2017/02/would-electric-locomotives-be-a-good-backup-plan-for-caltrain-electrification/

    Clem Reply:

    I thought it prudent to debunk Bob Doty’s ancient performance numbers. Right away his diesel 81-minute schedule is suspect after one look at the weekend timetable.

    Electric locos are great for high-speed long-distance runs with few stops (Amtrak NEC). They absolutely suck for commuter service.

    See Adina’s updated post for details.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Electric locomotives in commuter service suck less than diesel locomotives..

    Clem Reply:

    Only marginally less, especially with close stop spacing as on the peninsula corridor. Going from diesel to electric provides less than 1/3rd the trip time savings of going from diesel to EMU.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They aren’t as good as MUs. They aren’t as awful when the operator runs a local, an express and express and turns things around in the middle of the line instead of insisting that it’s local or every other stop and the fabric of the universe would rend if they did otherwise.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Well, all off-peak Caltrain service is local. And at the peak Caltrain should be running a mix of locals and expresses.

    You’d think electric locos are okay for express services, but they’re actually really bad for them. The reason is that it’s important to increase the speed difference on the overtake segment, so that the express can take over the local faster. An overtake with a timed transfer is at a stop, so an electric loco would accelerate out of it very slowly, needing a longer four-track segment to be clear of the local (or, alternatively, needing the local to stay stopped at the express station longer waiting for the express to be clear of it).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    All over the world accountants with very sharp pencils come to the conclusion that MUs are the way to go. And the commuters are happier because it save a few minutes versus a locomotive hauled train.
    …. that doesn’t change the electric locomotives suck less than diesel locomotive and it may be a reasonable compromise when NJTransit is trying to figure out how to stuff more people onto the same train and deal with all the legacy issues. California essentially doesn’t have any legacy issues.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    My analysis of electric locos for Caltrain was that they’d provide 1/3 of the benefit for about 75% of the upfront cost. Clem has actually run the numbers and concluded they’d provide far less than 1/3 of the benefit. It surprised me, but in retrospect, my assumption that a good electric loco could accelerate at 0.45 m/s^2 was based on high-speed power cars, which have a pretty high adhesion factor (the TGV’s is 35%) since there are two power cars per train.

    As you say, California essentially doesn’t have legacy issues. Caltrain’s unpowered cars are for the most part nearing the end of their life; Metrolink’s ridership relative to its size is a rounding error. This means that it should choose the most advanced technology available for mass production. Obviously in New York it’s different, which is why my fantasy schedules for the LIRR assume M7 performance characteristics and not FLIRT performance characteristics.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Welllll… widening a prototypical FLIRT so the gap is reasonable would change things a bit….
    …and push M7s to their limits at rush hour and circuit breakers at the substation start to pop… you’ll have that problem if you push the FLIRTS too…
    Anedotal which may actually have some documentation somewhere that I’m not going to try find. The manager, newly promoted to the position where has the authority to do this, is going to solve the overcrowding in Penn Station caused by problems in Jamaica by filling up trains and letting them sit in Richmond Hill and Woodside. The stodgy codgers in dispatching recommend against doing that and explain why but he’s gonna show ’em. On hot summer day. The last train comes to stop, sits in the sun for a few minutes. all of the air conditioning kicks in and the circuits breaker at the substation pop… Instead of problems in Jamaica, he’s got problems in Jamaica and a whole bunch of packed trains in western Queen sitting in the sun on a hot day without any air conditioning… there are a lot of considerations. ….The LIRR and what becomes Metro North move from 600 volts to 750 volts because the M1s have air conditioning… and they manage to convert lots and lots of stations to level boarding because the new trains don’t have stairs. Nah California is special and whatever happened in icky Long Island is irrelevant. Or exotic Pennsylvania when SEPTA manages to do it without drama or …..

    Clem Reply:

    The very sharp pencils at MARC bought Siemens Chargers, not ACS-64s. They can’t be that much worse.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Some people claim MARC’s accountants use blunt Crayolas. Ridership is increasing. When Amtrak tells them they can’t clog up the tracks with their slow diesel trains they can send them over to the diesel lines which need them because of the rising ridership and buy some of those multilevel MUs NJTransit and Bombardier cooked up

    Clem Reply:

    Where can I read about these new NJT MUs? As a former user of the Dinky I’m still interested in New Jersey rail…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The fleet strategy reports on NJTransit’s web site? There isn’t much there to read. NjTransit and Bombardier don’t have much to say. I imagine it’s because cramming all the stuff they would need around stairs and vestibules is a feat.

    The dinky may go away. The station moved away from Nassau street. Some people are agitating for it to be replaced with a bus that runs up and down Nassau Street and some people are agitating for a streetcar.

    Joey Reply:

    Clem: based on what I’ve seen it seems like mostly a fuzzy future plan at this point. Found this (yeah, it’s from 2014, but I also don’t see anything newer)

    Purchase of 58 Multilevel Electric Multiple Units (EMU) Power Cars – The Fleet Strategy provides for the purchase of 58 Multilevel EMU power units to replace Arrow III power units. The new units represent an efficiency improvement in that one unit will provide sufficient power to pull two non powered Multilevel units – effectively creating a three car sub-consist. This compares favorably with the two-car “married pair” Arrow III EMUs which have drive components in both units. This approach also allows NJ TRANSIT to use Multilevel coaches that were previously purchased to expand service, to instead serve as the second and third non-power unit in a new three car sub-consist with the added benefit of fewer cab cars. The propulsion technology to be utilized is similar to that contained in NJ TRANSIT’s ALP46-A and ALP45-DP locomotives.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    One of the saner speculations is that they will take the general layout of a car with a handicapped bathroom and use that space for the stuff they have to cram in. People at Bombardier with access to the CAD drawing with accurate dimensions on them will either say yes or no. If they say no they are stuck with locomotive hauled trains until Gateway opens because they can cram more people onto the locomotive hauled train than they can single level MUs. Gateway will have more generous clearances and they can check the CAD drawings again. Those trains would be restricted to using Gateway only.
    ….not problems that California will be facing because everything is essentially new.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    …they’re really going to design trains that can only use Gateway and not the older tunnels?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Who knows if they are going to be able to do or what they are gonna look like. The sane speculation is the cars with a handicapped bathroom but with the power electronics in that space. Which would fit in all the tunnels. . . if the system had been converted to 60Hz, which has been on Amtrak’s wish forever it would be easier to do. . .

    It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Metro North paints New Haven line trains red, partly because that is a traditional NYNH&H color and partly to remind everyone that the trains painted blue have a reallllly difficult time getting from Woodlawn to Pelham. The red trains can go to White Plains and Tarrytown and occasionally do. The blue trains cannot go to New Rochelle. You have a big fleet, it’s not awful.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Oh, it’s completely normal to have different fleets for different lines. But having a four-track line and then rolling stock that can only use two of its tracks isn’t a great practice, unless the two track pairs end up going off into different directions.

    In other words, 6th Avenue is technically a six-track lines with two separate fleets, but one of those fleets goes to Jersey and the other doesn’t, so it’s not a problem. Likewise, if there’s through-running, such that the Gateway trains and the old tunnel trains are consistently going to different destinations, then different loading gauges aren’t awful. But if it’s just four tracks terminating at Penn/Penn South, then ew.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    who knows, Bombardier may be able to shove it all into the space where the handicapped bathroom is. If they can It’s not a problem. Demand isn’t going to double overnight and if there are 100 cars out of big fleet that can only go to Penn South it’s not a major problem. When it’s pushing 40 trains an hour ….they will have converted to 60Hz and the power electronics will have gotten just a bit smaller, the next batch will fit. It wouldn’t be a terrible thing
    …. personally I think that as soon as they connect the lower level of Secaucus to the upper level to Seacaucus, maybe not on opening but soon after, it’s gonna be more than 40 trains an hour and they are sorry they didn’t start the study for diverting 20 trains an hour to Wall Street. It wouldn’t be awful if 100, 200 cars could only go to Penn South during their service life. They can paint them red.

    …the railfans love to go on and on about how wonderful it that all the tunnels will be able to connect to all the tracks and when something goes terribly terribly wrong during the afternoon rush they can send trains Queens through instead of turning them around and the unicorns will be prancing in the concourses.
    No they won’t. During rush hour every thing that can move is out on the road. There won’t be any trains basking in the sun Queens. And the NJTransit plan is to have them bask in Jersey City, there isn’t enough room in Sunnyside. And even if they were that pesky pesky LIRR has anything that can move out on the road and they along with Metro North are busy using ‘the tunnels to Queens.
    .. It wouldn’t be awful if a small part of the fleet could only leave the yard in Jersey City to go to Penn South. During the interim.

    FLTD Reply:

    The NJ Transit EMU’s had an engineering contract awarded in 2014 to LTK Engineering to develop the full specifications that’ll go out in the Request for Proposals to manufacturers: http://www.njtransit.com/pdf/2014_10_08_BoardItems.pdf#page=2. LTK’s work will flesh out that sketchy item in the fleet plan to the full 100+ pages of nitty-gritty specs detail for the RFP, and it should all be delivered back to NJT by now. However, the agency’s internal strife and procurement dept. managerial vacancies have left them late to the starting gates on multiple rolling stock orders (rail, light rail, and bus divisions), so wouldn’t expect that RFP to be published this year. Definitely next 1-2 years, but it’s not first on the bucket list.

    Base spec is for the EMU to be fitted to the MultiLevel Coach form factor, meaning it’ll fully clear the North River Tunnels into Penn. They won’t order them at all if that can’t be done. Since NJT’s a loyal Bombardier shop, you can expect LTK’s specs sheet to be a grooved fastball for BBD to knock out of the park. BBD was the one who first pitched them the self-powered MLV concept…back when that was going to be a more radical hybrid setup where off-shelf MLV coaches would be sandwiched 2 at a time between special MLV power cars. NJT was justifiably squeamish about going that far out on a limb, so it’s been changed to a rote-conventional EMU setup with multiple unit trainlining in all cars (including any unpowered trailers) and no intermixing of conventional coaches.

    We won’t know until the detailed RFP gets published what base configurations it’ll be offered in (singlets, married-pairs, unpowered MU trailers, single-ended cabs, double-ended cabs, etc.); how many seats and/or bathrooms get displaced by transformers; propulsion ratings; target weight; etc. All we know for certain is that it’ll definitely fit into Penn; definitely be able to run on 25 Hz/12.5 kV, 60 Hz/12.5 kV, and 60 Hz/25 kV AC inputs; have similar-as-possible interior layout, seating and door configuration to an MLV coach; and match the MLV coaches’ seating capacity as close as technologically possible. Since the RFP is guaranteed to be a big wet kiss to Bombardier, speculate away on what the lovechild of a TALENT and an MLV tincan would look like. Design compromises to either parent are most likely going to center on balancing weight with a component distribution that maximizes seating capacity.

    BBD is still betting the farm on this, because if they succeed in the MLV packaging they’re going to port the self-propulsion to their ubiquitous BiLevel coach carbody for 8-inch platform territory and have a universal make for every North American application. Would give BBD de facto vendor lock-in in Canada for GO Transit’s electric rolling stock order (BLV size) and AMT’s replacement + expansion order for its MR-90’s EMU’s (MLV size). And give them a big leg up for SEPTA’s Silverliner IV replacement order. SEPTA can ill afford to dabble in another homegrown design after the Silverliner V debacle, would be well-advised to order something off-shelf that was tested and debugged on some other NEC neighbor’s dime, and would get a better unit price ordering the same thing as their neighbors in sequence while the factory is still hot. They’re also (dubiously) ordering MLV coaches for their push-pull replacement fleet, so it makes capacity management sense for SEPTA to look at the same seating configuration for the SL4 replacements. Scale from there to other agencies if BBD nets a couple big wins. The MBTA’s barrier for EMU entry gets a lot less steep if they can follow on to somebody else’s battle-tested MLV EMU order. And anyone out in 8-inch territory studying electrification is going to size up the BLV EMU as their capacity reference case because BLV coaches are already far and away the continent’s most dominant low-boarding commuter car.

    Roland Reply:

    “The propulsion technology to be utilized is similar to that contained in NJ TRANSIT’s ALP46-A and ALP45-DP locomotives.” The Horror!!!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Even worse is very very similar or almost the same as those Euro-weeny Traxx locomotives. Or even better it’s very very similar to those sleek fabulous Traxx locomotives. Depending on what kind of railfan you are.

    Roland Reply:

    “Purchase of 58 Multilevel Electric Multiple Units (EMU) Power Cars – The Fleet Strategy provides for the purchase of 58 Multilevel EMU power units to replace Arrow III power units.” The horror!!!

    Pundits perched upon their favorite soapboxes shalt decry this utmost sacrilege as yet another “Unicorn”!!! http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2012/03/hybrid-dmu-unicorn-of-rails.html

    Note the date: every Caltrain Gallery car could have been replaced by now and Caltrain ridership would be well on its way to 80K with over 100% farebox recovery but nooooooooooooooooooooooooo, the self-appointed “experts” decreed that the Very-Special-Just-For-The Peninsula-Train-Of-The-Future shalt be capable of diverging/merging @ 120 kph over 80 kph switches because of uh duh A-C-C-E-L-E-R-A-S-H-U-N!!!!!!!!!

    Clem Reply:

    It’s spelled acceleration, and not everyone seems interested in why it actually matters to the success of the blended system.

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly help me understand which part of “diverging/merging @ 120 kph over 80 kph switches” it is that you do not understand. How about “diverging/merging @ 80 MPH over 50 MPH turnouts”? Would that help?

    Clem Reply:

    The kindness would be all yours to explain why there would be lots of diverging / merging on a primarily two-track blended system. Don’t pull over, stay ahead using accelerashun.

    Roland Reply:

    Oh so we can forget about Lawrence and Bayshore then?
    And how exactly do you propose running 12 TPH scattered around the odd random 30-minute cannonball run with this kind of configuration, pray tell? How about peppering the Peninsula with 4-track baby bullet stations where people actually want to ride (Belmont-style island platforms need not apply)? Doesn’t the ability of running twin bullets stopping at alternate stations within the same virtual train path appeal to you?

    William Reply:

    It looks like Roland does not know the non-diverging path on a typical railroad switch does not have speed limit, nor he knows that trains typically diverge to slow down in order to stop at at a station, or accelerate from station stops and will not reach line speed during diverging or merging.

    Roland Reply:

    @William Again, you accidentally stumbled into the wrong sandbox.
    This one is more likely to be commensurate with your outstanding knowledge of rail matters:
    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2017/01/san-jose-done-right.html?showComment=1486118521143#c4903985000985008696

    William Reply:

    @Roland, I would welcome we discuss why that topic it is doable or not in Clem’s blog, but as usual, you are trying to steer discussion away when people are pointing out your misconceptions.

    Roland Reply:

    William, Again, you have no idea WTF it is that you are talking about.

    joe Reply:

    In poker your predictable behavior is called a “tell”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tell_(poker)

  4. Roland
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 01:13
    #4

    Delaying tactics (AKA reshuffling deck chairs on the Titanic):
    http://www.greencaltrain.com/2017/02/caltrain-negotiates-to-loosen-march-1-deadline-local-leaders-stand-up-for-blended-schedule

    Anandakos Reply:

    You’re tiring. Go play on the SP main somewhere in Kern County.

    California needs to be able to accommodate the 75 million Americans who will be fleeing from Red States in the next decade as their economies spiral down the craphole. HSR will help with that by supporting and even creating high density cities all along it.

    Roland Reply:

    And how might 573-seat CalFranKISSentrains be able to accomplish this feat, pray tell?
    http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2016/09/emu-brochure.html

    Clem Reply:

    By minimizing the average speed differential between local and express trains, which (in the absence of passing tracks) allows more trains per hour to operate. For the local trains, this means a high power-to-weight ratio (15 kW/ton) and a high adhesion factor (50%) providing the necessary acceleration performance. ONLY THEN, if you still don’t have enough seats, you make the trains longer.

    A slower train with more seats is self defeating: it will kill the throughput of the line (trains/hour) and ultimately hurt a metric that is cherished by a certain corner of the advocate community, namely seats/hour.

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly help me understand which part of last summer’s drop of 2,000 passengers/day it is that you do not understand.

    Clem Reply:

    It is caused by precisely the same factors that caused BART ridership to drop in similar proportion. If you think it was caused by anything Caltrain did or didn’t do, you need to widen your perspective.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: it was caused by massive overcrowding which was caused by SamTrans parking 11 of the 16 Metrolink Bombardiers. This was resolved by deploying a sixth 6-car Bombardier train set (763 seats) which replaced a 5-car Gallery set which was split to lengthen five Gallery sets to 6-car (closer to 800 seats each).

    Moving on, did you ever pause and wonder why Eurostar used to fire two trains (3-minute headway) every 30 minutes (one to Paris and one to Brussels) during peak instead of a single train every 15 minutes? If you did, I am sure you have figured out by now how to run two baby bullets back-to-back every 30 minutes with each train stopping at different stations and you have a clear understanding of the track and signalling infrastructure this would require prior to electrification.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[I]t was caused by massive overcrowding”. Source? Or its just something you pulled out of your ass.

    Roland Reply:

    Dear asshole, kindly help me understand which part of http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2016/2016-05-05+Annual+Counts.pdf slides 13 and 14 it is that you do not understand.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @Stupid Roland

    The slides document that capacity was running very high, but does not in and of itself support your conclusion that “massive overcrowding” led to a fall in ridership. That’s what you pulled out of your ass along with everything else you post on this blog.

    Roland Reply:

    @Stupid asshole. This survey was taken in the low season (February). By June, the northbound bullets had to leave dozens of passengers on the platform in Sunnyvale.
    Paging Jeff Carter to continue the conversation with this retard.

    joe Reply:

    Survey in February every year so it can be compared across years.

    IMHO crowding is a factor negatively impacting Caltrain and BART ridership.

    Anecdotes about Sunnyvale Bullets leaving passengers don’t explain a drop — that explains why growth will stop. People being fed up with Caltrain crowds is harder to track.

    Housing data shows a slump but I don’t see that as definitive proof.

    Caltrans traffic census for 2016, not out yet, will show us if there is an overall drop in traffic commuting.

    Clem Reply:

    Bunching trains together, that’s just brilliant!

    Roland Reply:

    Sure is once you discover that they are able to cram up to 4 Javelins during each 25-minute window each side of the HSR windows. Stupid Brits!!!

    Clem Reply:

    The concept of bunching trains was not invented by the Brits, far from it. Here is the 1957 peninsula commute timetable, courtesy of Adirondacker12800. 6 San Francisco departures in a 15-minute window.

    Roland Reply:

    Trains 126 & 128 are perfect examples but there was no way to pass and repass back in the days so you end up with a wider bullet window leaving shorter windows for the local traffic.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    This is grossly over simplified. You can run two locals to all the stations all the time or you can run an express that does local service at the end of the line, an express that runs local in the middle of the line and local that goes to the closest end of the line. Clumpy odd schedules come out of that. You can run more trains. The trains are fuller too, the local isn’t running half empty to the end of the line.You do need the extraordinary magic of turning trains around in the middle of the line.
    There can be other reasons for odd clumpy schedules. NJTransit and Amtrak late night and weekend schedules have a clump of trains and then nothing and a clump of trains and then nothing. The schedule is arranged so they can run on a single track so they can work on the other one. They manage to squeeze three trains an hour to Newark Airport… it’s not every 20 minutes. It’s a clump of trains and big gap…

    Roland Reply:

    Yep and the last guy who REALLY knew how to do this learned it through the track, signal and electrification contracts for High Speed One: http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/just-in-time-tracklaying-poised-to-set-records.html. In Caltrain’s case, the extraordinary magic comes from RWJ and there is nothing in the book that says that the trains have to be turned around on the spot.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If they don’t turn around on the spot you have to find someplace to park them. If it’s just two of them loitering around waiting to soak up some schedule untidness, a longer pocket track or two pocket tracks
    There is no freight on the HS1 track and there is in the Tunnel. They have to clump the passenger tracks so they have a clump for the freight. I’ve read two wads per freight train in a clump and one wad the passenger train clump. The freight goes slower. And is longer. If the capacity through the tunnel is constrained because shared with freight there will be excess capacity on the part that doesn’t share.

    Roland Reply:

    They can carry on until they run out of tracks before they have to turn around (http://www.projectmapping.co.uk/Reviews/Resources/SE%20HiSpeed%20tmtb%20cover%20map.jpg) and the possibilities will similarly be endless for Caltrain the day DBR reopens.

    There is some freight on HS1 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Speed_1#DB_Cargo_UK) and there needs to be a lot more of it for HS1 to be consistently profitable.
    Most of the freight in the Channel tunnel is carried by the Eurotunnel shuttles (one train every 20 minutes) or Eurotunnel shuttle freight (up to one train every 6 minutes): http://www.eurotunnelfreight.com/uk/timetable/)

    The only reason for “clumping” is that a one of the trains has to rescue the other if it fails. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurotunnel_Shuttle#Safety. Max speed is the same (160 kph) for Eurostar and the Eurotunnel shuttles which are twice as long as the Eurostars (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurotunnel_Class_9#Background_and_design).

    The channel tunnel currently operates at 40% capacity, so there is no constraint in the tunnel. Most of the freight gets off the line before it gets to Ashford but some of it carries on on HS1 as far as Dagenham Docks (start of the London tunnels).

    HS1 is nearly at capacity (12 TPH) during peak between St Pancras and Ebbsfleet (equivalent of RWJ). The remaining Javelin traffic peels on/off HS1 at Ashford and some continue to Dover and places further north.

    Clem Reply:

    The drop in ridership was caused by a cooling of the Bay Area economy that also caused a drop in BART ridership. If you think the great Metrolink-behind-CEMOF conspiracy also depressed BART ridership, your grasp of cause and effect is slipping.

    J. Wong Reply:

    +1

    Roland Reply:

    As Drunk pointed out, bridge crossings were going up at the same time, so maybe people just moved to the East Bay? As far as Caltrain is concerned, we finally managed to turn the numbers around last December but we are not quite out of the woods. Some people just gave up and you and I are perfect examples. I did take Caltrain to SF last Thursday and then got stuck in San Carlos for 2 hours after the LPMG because the 190 does not go to Tamien, so I’ll just drive to SF and save some serious money like everybody else next time.

    With regards to the great Metrolink-behind-CEMOF conspiracy, there is a fairly good rumor that SamTrans were experiencing difficulties agreeing with the FTA on how the CalFranKISSentrains could possibly meet the 10% increase in seating capacity requirement and that the easiest solution was simply to reduce the existing capacity by parking the Metrolink cars (nice one!). The FTA did not buy this (they attend Caltrain Board meetings) and this is where the last minute “show me the money to buy the extra railcars” request came from.

    Roland Reply:

    Breaking News: The Bay Area economy has collapsed: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2017/02/28/bart-ridership-and-revenue-falls.html

    Clem Reply:

    It all started behind CEMOF and radiated outwards across the Bay Area.

    Roland Reply:

    If you think the great Metrolink-behind-CEMOF conspiracy also depressed BART ridership, your grasp of cause and effect is slipping.

    Roland Reply:

    “Recent ridership declines amid a regional boom constitute a damning assessment of BART’s service. The slump could also force the agency to seek more funding from lawmakers and the public, who won’t be eager to comply if BART appears to be misspending the resources it has.”
    http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Legislators-seek-to-assist-weary-BART-riders-10963904.php

    Roland Reply:

    With regards to “HSR will help with that by supporting and even creating high density cities all along it”, how about checking out http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2017/brdmtg_021417_TLU_Board_Meeting_SFO_pres.pdf slide 8?

    EJ Reply:

    God, why did I click on that thinking there would be some sort of intelligible point?

    Roland Reply:

    If your vision of “suitable for High Speed Rail” is 125 MPH, stop reading here.

    If not, here is the second attempt at explaining how to “support and create high density cities” in the VICINITY of HSR: http://www.lavienne86.fr/uploads/Image/7e/WEB_CHEMIN_2454_1309786648.gif
    Overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGV_Sud_Europe_Atlantique#Details
    Aerial view: https://www.google.com/maps/place/86000+Poitiers,+France/@46.5637479,0.260592

    Roland Reply:

    Raccordement to downtown Poitiers: https://youtu.be/zzVkEuRRqHI?t=224
    Contournement de Poitiers: https://youtu.be/zzVkEuRRqHI?t=246
    Raccordement back to LGV SEA: https://youtu.be/zzVkEuRRqHI?t=264

    Technical: http://www.lgvpoitierslimoges.com/upload/documentation/fichiers/etape1/lgvpla4caractyristiquestechniquesdesraccordements.pdf

    Aarond Reply:

    Contract renegotiation buys them enough time to get a dedicated HSR funding bill through Sacramento. Given this mess, it’s coming sooner rather than later. Democrats have the necessary 2/3rds majority to raise the gas tax, now is the perfect time to do so.

    Roland Reply:

    The last time a new gas tax was discussed at MTC, it was declared “political suicide”. Do you really want to turn California into a red state?

    zorro Reply:

    The majority of Californians don’t mind a little extra tax(Prop30 as an example), as long as it’s going for certain things, like infrastructure or paying down bonds, which includes: roads, dams, rail, etc, etc, etc…

    Red state? LOL

    Good luck on CA going Red anytime soon…

    Aarond Reply:

    Gas taxes aren’t a thing people think about, unlike property taxes. If taxes have to be raised (and based on that certain “accounting error” vis-a-vis medi-cal we can bet Brown wants to do so) then Sacramento will opt for the former long before the latter.

    My delusions about CA going purple only happen if the state takes on Prop 13, which I don’t see happening.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Governor Villaraigosa will be a proponent of split tax rolls to eliminate the worst aspect of Prop 13.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That is a very pleasant thought.

    Aarond Reply:

    People will tolerate increases in gas taxes, just not property taxes. Sacramento has a lot of room to work with here.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You’ve never seen a property tax bill from New Jersey, a state with notoriously low gas taxes until recently., I moved to the wilds of Upstate New York from New Jersey. When I saw the property tax bill for the first time I wanted to know if it was monthly or quarterly. It was the annual bill. I then wondered if the assessment was bizarrely low. Nope it’s not. …. it vaguely market rate…
    Not everywhere is California.

    Roland Reply:

    You will never guess SPUR/SAMCEDA’s solution to fund Caltrain “electrification”.

  5. Roland
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 02:06
    #5
  6. agb5
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 07:10
    #6

    Absent the federal grant, California can re-negotiate with suppliers to build the trains for less in Switzerland. That would get Trumps attention.

    Roland Reply:

    Absent the Federal grant, the Board have the option to cancel the SamTrans and electrification contracts on Thursday and start negotiating with Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier, Hitachi and any other manufacturer with plants in the United States. That would definitely get Trump’s attention and he might even sign off on an FFGA.

    zorro Reply:

    Cancel electrification? Never, over a lot of dead bodies Roland…

    Roland Reply:

    I said cancel electrification CONTRACTS, not electrification. It was made very clear at the last CAC meeting that LTK/Dave Couch electrification “specifications” are about to cripple Caltrain for the next 5 years (assuming that Caltrain will ever recover from this mess).

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Cancel the contracts and eliminate the JPA. Electrolink North!

    Roland Reply:

    I did not say anything about eliminating the JPB either and it is a crying shame that we can’t listen in on the closed session with Jim Hartnett in the hot seat on Thursday :-(

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Roland, you wrote “LTK/Dave Couch electrification “specifications” are about to cripple Caltrain for the next 5 years.”

    Are you referring to the hobbled train schedule that Caltrain says is required to allow for electrification construction work to occur … or what?

    Roland Reply:

    The actual contract which includes the modified schedule specifies how the contractor is supposed to go about electrifying the system. The FTA had the same questions.

  7. Wells
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 08:47
    #7

    /^:
    What’s the big story today? “California high speed rail hits bump”
    Mass transit is a necessary fundamental travel mode, but the republicans are right about mismanagement, mostly republican leaning business deal-making while building exclusivity into route selections. California’s HSR is routed to serve Silicon Valley scions and their exurban estates call them Gilroyville manors. I’ll keep saying Stockton -to- Fremont via Altamont is the by far better route. Corruption in big business, thy name is Parsons Brinkerhoff.

    zorro Reply:

    That route is not gonna happen Wells, not ever, and you can’t make it happen either…

    Roland Reply:

    Happening as we speak, mon ami, including a direct connection to Silicon Valley once DBR is rebuilt: http://www.ci.tracy.ca.us/documents/?d=AceForward_Presentation.pdf.

    zorro Reply:

    ACE is not HSR and you know that Roland…

    Roland Reply:

    ACE know that you have to build ridership to make HSR happen (eventually) and that is exactly what they are working on. In the meantime, enjoy your Amtrak bus.

    zorro Reply:

    Stockton to Oakland(ACE) is not even Phase 2, let alone Phase 1 of HSR, and the ACE corridor is not part of Prop1a, Pacheco Pass is where CA HSR is going Roland.

    Roland Reply:

    And that is precisely why Altamont will happen first (no need to deal with pesky Prop1A bonds).

    zorro Reply:

    Pacheco will happen, there is no money for HSR on ACE from Prop1a’s bonds, which the dept of finance can sell anytime they want, since the lawsuit does not name them. It would be illegal to spend bond money on ACE, since Stockton to Oakland(ACE) is not mentioned once. The CHSRA is not touching Altamont, just Pacheco.

    joe Reply:

    Zorro

    It is now far less likely for Dumbarton rail given VTA BART extensions.

    Santa Clara’s VTA is pushing commuters to BART. VTA is cutting express bus service connecting places like FREMONT to Sunnyvale/Mountain View and asking riders to use BART and transfer to light rail or other south county bus service.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/27/roadshow-tech-employees-criticize-cuts-in-vta-buses-from-fremont-to-silicon-valley/

    Santa Clara/San Jose is hell bent on getting people on BART and eventually to the HSR station in San Jose.

    Dumbarton rail isn’t in sync with that multi-billion investment.

    zorro Reply:

    If you want HSR on ACE, ya better start saving your pennies. Cause the CHSRA ain’t spending or doing any HSR there.

    Edward Reply:

    I don’t know why people keep going on about this. It has been in the plans for a very long time that this will eventually be a 125 mph electrified line. It will be the fastest way to get to Sacramento from the Bay Area with HSR trains using it at 125 and then up to full speed when they get on the high speed line into Sacto.

    Now as to how far in the future… There you can argue.

    And if you want to look at the FAR future you can speculate on a direct line for the Capitol Corridor service. But my kids (should I have had any) won’t live to see THAT.

    Roland Reply:

    The point being that it has to gradually evolve into a 125 MPH line BEFORE it gets electrified, a point that seems completely lost on “Caltrain”.

    Clem Reply:

    The point that seems completely lost on you is that 125 mph tracks are next to useless before electrification, since no diesel train will have the performance to reach those speeds. Even after electrification, 125 mph tracks are still next to useless because

    (a) Caltrain with frequent stops has no need for such a high speed — there are rapidly diminishing returns of reduced trip times in exchange for higher speed limits, because the train doesn’t spend much time at high speed

    (b) HSR will need to slow down to mesh with Caltrain traffic. While a 125 mph peninsula express might be something to dream about in the off-peak, during the rush, the average speed of a high-speed train can be no higher than about 60 mph between SF and SJ or very bad things will happen to Caltrain capacity.

    110 mph, maybe, but 125 mph is useless in a blended scenario.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Build 4 tracks, build 4 tracks, make the peninsula great again!

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Paul Dyson who writes:

    Build 4 tracks, build 4 tracks, make the peninsula great again!

    If you are serious Paul, than carry on and spread you message far and wide.

    I can assure you that every city on the Peninsula, certainly every City from Burlingame south, will rise up and kill off any form of Caltrain modernization.

    Maybe you are just jesting; I don’t know, but if your not, then please go ahead, full force with your program. That is fine with me and others who oppose HSR and electrification of the Caltrain corridor.

    joe Reply:

    I can assure you that every city on the Peninsula, certainly every City from Burlingame south, will rise up and kill off any form of Caltrain modernization.

    You said the same thing about the Caltrain EIR – only Atherton objected.

    Added track to add capacity and increase ridership. All cities rely on Caltrain for tax generating commercial and mandated housing growth. It’s baked into every City General Plan and EIR.

    No one in Menlo Park cares about protecting your ROW back yard but your neighbors.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You don’t have to commute anymore so you may feel that way. People who get stuck in awful traffic or stuff themselves onto crowded trains twice a day may disagree.

    morris brown Reply:

    So Joe, as is so often is the case, he doesn’t know SH– writes:

    No one in Menlo Park cares about protecting your ROW back yard but your neighbors.

    And this is why Palo Alto, MP and others cities got State Senator Jerry Hill to pass a law keeping any Prop 1A funds from being used on the corridor for anything other than a 2 track system.

    Stick this where the sun doesn’t shine Joe

    joe Reply:

    Ha.

    Remember when you insisted HSR was never-ever going to run along the peninsula — until *your* local Pols came up with Blended HSR?

    Jerry Hill’s Bill then guaranteed HSR along the Peninsula. He locked the system into the ROW.

    Here’s how the 4 track will be implemented — Peninsula Cities will need the system for growth and $$$$

    http://www.almanacnews.com/news/2012/05/17/menlo-park-settles-housing-lawsuit

    Menlo Park settles housing lawsuit
    City commits to updating plan, finding affordable housing sites

    “We’re about 10 years behind,” said Menlo Park City Manager Alex McIntyre. “We should have taken care of the Housing Element Update before now but fell behind due to other priority planning projects. These planning projects could achieve a substantial portion of what is required to meet Housing Element law.”

    Mr. McIntyre explained that, in the absence of the negotiated settlement, the court could force the City to complete the update within 120 days. “The benefit of the settlement agreement is to allow the City additional time to incorporate a public outreach and participation process that would otherwise not be possible under a shorter court-ordered timeline.”

    Possible sanctions for not complying with the state housing laws include a moratorium on all non-residential building permits and the withholding of grant funding to maintain the local roadway network.

    4 track & HSR this will give Menlo Park full grade separations at all intersections and limit impacts localised to the ROW and crossings.

    Residents will throw you under the bus for the ROW improvements.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ten years from now when your neighbors are so disgusted the awful automobile traffic caused by the gates being down so much they are at the rallies carrying pitchforks and torches, when the rally disperses, they can toss the unlit charred remains of the torches at your grave.

    Alan Reply:

    Explain, Morris, if you can, how the Hill bill does not amend Prop 1A while AB1889 does. You can’t. If the Hill bill–your Holy Grail–is constitutional, then so is AB1889.

    Your hypocrisy never ceases to amaze.

    You also refuse to acknowledge that that the Hill bill can be repealed at any time the Legislature chooses to do so.

    Stick that where it don’t shine, Morris.

    Roland Reply:

    The first point that seems to be completely lost on you is that the tracks need to be in the right place for the appropriate target DESIGN speed before the location of the poles can be determined.

    The second point is that a line with a 110MPH target OPERATING speed needs to be DESIGNED for 125 MPH (10% safety factor).

    The third point is that you are assuming that Caltrain will always be an antediluvian piece of garbage dating back to the 19th Century, so if your plan is 79 MPH at perpetuity, we should be all set.

    The fourth point is that 125 MPH speed restrictions will gradually disappear as the Peninsula gets grade-separated, starting with the PAMPA tunnels.

    The last and final point is that you are apparently clueless about blended systems in general and seated capacity in particular so very bad things will happen to your credibility if you venture outside the safety of your favorite soapbox.

    EJ Reply:

    Once again, failing to give us the tiniest clue that you have any idea what you’re talking about.

    Roland Reply:

    Dear clueless, kindly help me understand which part of “Ensure track is in its final design position so as to avoid later adjustment” (http://www.theref.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/2008-10-Making-Electrification-Happen-Rail-Engineer-article.doc) it is that you do not understand.

    joe Reply:

    Hulk smash.

    Big heavy trains, better!
    Faster speed limit, better!

    Neanderthal know more.

    NO use stupid math to build system. Use neanderthal brain and big club to smash Clem and his stuipd math.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They can put in the poles, take them down to move the tracks, put then back up, take them down to put in the grade separation and put them back up. People who pause for a moment agree that, that is kind of silly but they can do it. .. . instead of realigning the tracks when they do the grade and separation and then putting up the poles once. But they can do it.

    Michael Reply:

    I’ve photographed locations in Germany where the OCS poles are set temporarily in large concrete blocks along the tracks. Cubic meter/yard, or larger.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    they would still have to be put and taken down. and swapped from temporary to permanent arrangements.

    agb5 Reply:

    In places where track alignments a susceptible to change, they can install a gantry that spans the entire right-of-way and is supported by poles at the edge of the right-of-way.

    http://s-steel.com/files/Light-Rail-CatenarySupport-Trusses-Denver.jpg

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They can do all manner of odd peculiar things. The cheapest way to do it to move the tracks and put in the poles once.

    J. Wong Reply:

    This requires both too much coordination and too many dependencies between the various requirements (electrification, grade separation, track realignment, etc.) to ever fly in the real world.

    Unless you can get an open-ended $100 billion commitment from a funder, your desired path forward is a non-starter.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I actually have come to prefer the way that Altamont serves the Bay Area (I’ve been converted), but I really think it is important to serve Gilroy. It serves over 500,000 people, a ton of tourists, and a good chunk of San Jose, but to me the real problem to me is not having a single rail route from the coast to inland CA anywhere between Fremont and Burbank.

  8. agb5
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 15:20
    #8

    Even if the federal grant is approved, will they actually pay up?

    On March 15 the federal debt-ceiling holiday will expire, freezing the Treasury’s ability to borrow.
    Last year the Treasury had to borrow about $800bn to make ends meet.

    The Treasury will have about $200bn in the bank, and a burn rate of $75bn a month.

    Clem Reply:

    The debt ceiling is always raised to accommodate the federal budget. Name one time when it wasn’t.

    morris brown Reply:

    I believe it was the Newt Gringrich era, when the government was actually shut down on this issue.
    So yes eventually raised but not without very serious consequences.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The shutdown was about the budget and not the debt ceiling.

    morris brown Reply:

    They were related issues:

    https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2013/10/11/the-history-of-raising-the-debt-ceiling-from-ronald-reagan-to-bill-clinton-and-newt-gingrich

    joe Reply:

    Still wrong.

    The government wasn’t shut down over the debt ceiling — it’s passed every time it was necessary and without fanfare because it directly affects our banking system and national credit.

    Aarond Reply:

    Sure, the GOP will simply begin cutting up the DHHS, which is where most tax money goes. They can afford to dump everything except Medicare. They’ve waited a long time to do this, and now they have the votes to do it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Defense Dept. is biggest if you aren’t going to touch Medicare and Social Security. They want to increase defense spending. … because they piss in their pants every time someone says BOO!. And the magic of the holy Laffer Curve is going to increase revenues even though they cut taxes. Even though it didn’t happen every time they do it.

  9. Faber Castell
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 17:25
    #9

    Unbelieva… I mean Believable.

  10. Jerry
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 19:06
    #10

    Way way off track.
    Took UAL’s new Dreamliner flight non-stop from SFO to Hangzhou, China.  Kudos to Boeing. Their Dreamliner is a great new plane.
    Took China’s HSR from Hangzhou to Shanghai. Over 100 miles. One stop. Time – 57 minutes.  Cost 11 US dollars.  Great fast comfortable ride. 
    Still don’t know why the rest of the world has thousands of miles of HSR and we don’t have any.

    Jerry Reply:

    It is 11:09 am, Monday in Shanghai. Sixteen hours ahead of CA.  On my cheap cell phone I can pick up this blog. But Google is blocked.  I get Huffington Post, but not NY Times.

    Latest headline – President’s new budget outline calls for a surge in military spending and sharp cuts to non-defense agencies.

    Could that somehow be connected to the USA not having HSR?????

  11. ZzipLetsgoXxpress
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 22:28
    #11

    We all know quite well why we don’t have HSR. I lived in Japan seven years and know quite well why the Japanese have HSR: they needed it; they wanted it; they took a 1964 chance on a new, freaky design that worked beyond their wildest dreams and since has come to connect the country, safely, fast and in a new, wonderful way. People can move around, children, elderly, business and college students…politicians love it. And its on time, reliable schedule gives confidence and trust, whereas here in the US there is doubt and political superstition (not only the music). I’m 77 now…I’ll never see HSR in these confused States of America. Unless, of course, Robert Cruickshank is correct and Jerry Brown, our illustrious Governor can move things along positively in a very special California sort of manner. Thank you, Supporters!

  12. Alon Levy
    Feb 27th, 2017 at 02:19
    #12

    I don’t agree with your premise. The evidence you’re providing that the state Republicans hate all rail is Nunes’s statement that he doesn’t feel too bad. Against that, there is a fair bit of evidence they don’t care about Caltrain either way:

    1. They explicitly demanded an audit (and then cancellation) of HSR.
    2. They notably avoid attacking Caltrain electrification for being wasteful by itself, even though there exist talking points in that direction. $2 billion is a scary number.
    3. In other states, Republicans have canceled anything that was called HSR (Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin) and urban rail serving minorities (Baltimore Red Line) but not ordinary commuter and intercity rail projects that were not branded as transformative (e.g. SunRail in Florida, or Amtrak in Michigan).
    4. Several Republican governors forwarded Trump a wishlist of rail projects, for example the Cotton Belt Line in Texas.

    Together, it tells me the state Republicans genuinely don’t care about Caltrain either way, but really don’t want HSR, which is a visible, high-impact project. Caltrain electrification is visible too, but not in their districts.

    Aarond Reply:

    Less than 48 hours remain. What will Caltrain (and Sacramento) do?

    On that note, SB-1 (Beall) will be heard in the state senate on March 1st.

    Alan Reply:

    KPIX just reported that Caltrain arranged for 4 months of “breathing space” with their contractors, to buy some time to get the grant funding released without having to re-bid all of the contracts.

    Good news for now…

    agb5 Reply:

    Trump could take credit for Caltrain electrification, demonstrating to the people how efficient he is at getting things done like he promised.

    headlines hit from Reuters and Bloomberg in which Trump previewed what he would say, saying he would have a “big statement” on infrastructure in his Tuesday speech, adding that “we’re going to start spending on infrastructure big.”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If he wants to implement just some parts of his tax plan he doesn’t have the money. Republicans are really good at promising everyone free unicorns and never following up. Their supporters then blame the evil Democrats for putting a hex on the holy Laffer Curve.

    Aarond Reply:

    Honestly I’d write that off completely but Trump is also the type of idiot who would actually pull this sort of stupid stunt. We’ll have to wait and see.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    for someone who is supposed to be such a spectacular business man I’m shocked that he has such difficulty grasping the concept of balancing the books. On the other hand after multiple bankruptcies including that allowed him to take almost a billion dollar loss, maybe he’s not so good.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Oh, and now it turns out the Republican governor of Massachusetts, who threatened to kill a light rail extension if it didn’t reduce costs, wants a commuter rail extension that’s projected to get 110 riders per day (link).

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Who voted for him again?

    EJ Reply:

    The people in the burbs that he’s pandering to. That said, this is just running service to a station that already exists, and the Kraft Group has offered to pay the difference in subsidy between this line and the average subsidy per passenger on the MBTA, so the economics aren’t completely terrible.

  13. morris brown
    Feb 27th, 2017 at 09:02
    #13

    Caltrain nixes PTC contract with Parsons

    And so the “pissing matches” start

    keithsaggers Reply:

    In response the announcement, Parsons told Railway Gazette it had been working closely with the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board to agree a revised completion schedule which had been proposed by the board in December. ‘Unfortunately, despite Parsons’ willingness to commit to the schedule proposed by the JPB, the JPB has elected to terminate Parsons’ contract’, a spokesperson said.

    Roland Reply:

    What happened here is clearly all Parsons fault: https://www.parsons.com/projects/pages/metrolink-ptc.aspx

  14. JJJ
    Feb 27th, 2017 at 10:02
    #14

    Devin Nunes ran unopposed in 2010 and has had token opposition in 2012, 14 and 16.

    Its another failure of the democrat party.

  15. aubrey
    Feb 27th, 2017 at 10:44
    #15

    As a Republican, I don’t hate rail at all. I support the line in Texas and caltrain electrification. CAHSR is just a clusterfuck

    J. Wong Reply:

    Headline abbreviation: “Republican” == “Republican lawmakers” not Republicans in general.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Republican lawmaker = deeply afraid that if I don’t toe the Tea Party line I’ll be primaried like Senator-for-Life Lugar was. . . that worked out really well…

    Faber Castell Reply:

    Texas lawmakers move to stymie high-speed rail project

    The 18 bills, nine each in the Texas Senate and Texas House, aim to limit Texas Central Partners’ ability to develop a Houston-to-Dallas line supported by both metro areas, but strongly opposed by many rural landowners and elected officials.

    The bills complicate the private company’s right to acquire property via eminent domain, strengthen landowner protections, compel state agencies to assess the feasibility of the planned rail line and prohibit the state from ever maintaining or operating a high-speed rail line.

    “I still have doubts about whether a high-speed rail project makes sense for Texas” said Senator Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe. “Taxpayers should not be expected to pay the bill if the project fails.”

  16. Roland
    Feb 27th, 2017 at 16:14
    #16

    Breaking News: http://www.caltrain.com/Page4864.aspx

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/With-Trump-hitting-brakes-on-Caltrain-upgrade-10958273.php

    morris brown Reply:

    So how many others of the alliance putting up funds will decide to abandon a sinking ship?

    Aarond Reply:

    The (SF) city government wants an excuse to nix the DTX (which itself can function as a standalone project) because they let Millenium Partners fuck up the giant tower adjacent TJPA’s train box. Also BART’s supposed financial problems, as evidenced by their request to the MTC to raise tolls, might have played into the decision (the $7 million in question can go to fix SF BART elevators). Which is to say, they aren’t a very good ally.

    That said, there’s no way to kill peninsula electrification unless Sacramento opts to amend Prop 1A to allow trains to terminate outside of SF.

    agb5 Reply:

    Sacramento opts to amend Prop 1A to allow trains to terminate outside of SF

    Morris and his team of crack lawyers insist that Sacramento are forbidden from makeing even non-material changes to Prop1A

    morris brown Reply:

    @ agb5:

    The Cal Legislature will suck gas on this. The voters are protected by the courts from the Legislature tampering with a voter approved bond act.

    “non-material changes”. AB-1889 is a non-material change? If so why did Caltrain bother to sponsor such a non-material law? Give me a break!

    zorro Reply:

    Actually Morris the State Legislature can add to the Bond Act, as they did with AB1889, anytime they want to, saying they can’t is a Damned LIE…

    joe Reply:

    Ahem…

    Mills v. S.F. Bay Area Rapid Transit Dist. (1968) 261 Cal.App.2d 666, 668 (Mills).

    Favorable HSR Appellate court ruling:

    Similarly, the court broadly construed the purpose of the proposition approving the Bay Area Rapid Transit District and sanctioned the relocation of one of the terminal stations.

    The court wrote, “Obviously, the statutes, the notice of election and the ballot 29 proposition itself contemplate a broad authority for construction of a three – county rapid transit system.

    In the wide scope of this substantial transit project, the deviation of 1 1/2 miles in location of a single station is but a minor change in the tentative plan which was relied upon only to forecast feasibility of the project as a whole.” (Mills, supra, 261 Cal.A pp.2d at p. 669.)

    http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/C075668.PDF

    CA can build HSR to SF 4th and King. HSR is far more complex than BART.

    Roland Reply:

    Ahem…

    JOHN TOS, AARON FUKUDA, and COUNTY OF KINGS, V. CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY et al., Case No. 34-2011-00113919-CU-WM-GDS RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER

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

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

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

    CA can build whatever they like as long as they don’t use Prop1A Bonds

    joe Reply:

    Recall prop1a money is all accounted for and will be spent building blended HSR to 4th and King.

    If CA chooses, a HSR station can be moved just as they did with a BART station in 1968.

    When over ruling Kenney, the Appellate Court cited BART’s station lawsuit to illustrate the broad latitude allowed under law.

    Case law allows the state to modify the proposition or move a terminus.

    Bond acts are not designs.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The intent of Prop 1A was to jump start building HSR that in phase 1 (although it doesn’t define any temporal constraints on what that constitutes) would ultimately extend from SF TBT to LA Union Station (and Anaheim!) However, it also defines a segment on which monies can be spent as any 2 stations not specifically TBT.

    No one is proposing that SF TBT be “officially” no longer part of phase 1, but nothing says that they need to connect there in any timeframe.

    Roland Reply:

    This ruling has not been contested by any party.
    Nobody will be able to overrule this ruling until someone appeals it.

    joe Reply:

    Kenny made no ruling about the station and travel time. He noted evidence was not presented to support the assertion the station can be moved but they have an opportunity to provide evidence — he made no ruling given the preliminary state of the system.

    Still the HSR system described in the 2016 business plan will end at 4th & King for Phase 1 and with it all Prop1a money is spent.

    Roland Reply:

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

    joe Reply:

    Consequently, it appears that the intent of the Bond Act was for the system to extend,

    Not definitive Roland. Even a narrow reading shows the fact it’s not definitive.

    But read the all and try to be self aware enough to recognize you have a great capacity to fool yourself

    Alan Reply:

    Nice job of cherry-picking quotes to try to support your argument. But on page 16 of the Kenny ruling, we read:

    There is no evidence currently before the Court that the blended system will not comply with the Bond Act system requirements. Although Plaintiffs have raised compelling questions about potential future compliance, the Authority has not yet submitted a funding plan pursuant to section 2704.08, subdivisions (c) and (d), seeking to expend Bond Act funds. Thus, the issue of the project’s compliance with the Bond Act is not ripe for review. Currently, all that is before the Court is conjecture as to what system the Authority will present in its request for Bond Act funds.

    This is insufficient for the requested relief.

    In language that Roland and Morris can understand, Judge Kenny did not actually rule on the question, because the issue is not yet ripe. Because there was no ruling, there is nothing to appeal. What the judge said was, “When the Authority submits actual plans, we can look at them. Not before.”

    Context is important–something that Roland doesn’t seem to understand.

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly help me understand which part of what happened the day the Authority approved a funding plan for a project that ended @ 4th & King it is that you do not understand.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The legislation and the court decisions aren’t that all of the stations, tracks, signals, trains and passenger appear all at once. It’s that each piece has two stations. And if they are connecting an existing station to a new one that is “two stations”. Going to 4th and King is an interim step. And it might take a long time to complete the last step but it is an interim step.

    The alternative is spend all of the bond money south of San Jose, that would be quite easy to do, and when it’s all disbursed you don’t get to beat whoever is spending other money over the head with the bond act. I’m sorry you were suckered into thinking there was something you could do besides threaten to hold your breath until you are blue and stamp your feet, after all the money is spent

    Alan Reply:

    Kindly help me understand

    Redirection. Roland’s classic way of signalling that he’s lost the argument. Notice the fact that he is refusing to address Judge Kenny’s clear message that there was no evidence before the Court that the Authority would not comply with the requirements of the Bond Act.

    Notice also that Roland refuses to accept the clear reality–that projects like this do not simply spring forth from the earth fully constructed, along their entire length. Roland also refuses to understand that nothing in Prop 1A prohibits the Authority from using temporary terminals while construction continues.

    But let’s also remember–Roland and Morris created the realm of “alternative facts” before anyone ever heard of Kellyanne Conway…

    Roland Reply:

    Correction: Roland’s classic way of signalling that he’s WON the argument.
    Case closed, mon ami.

    Roland Reply:

    @adirondacker12800 I never said that the Authority did not approve a funding plan for a project that ended @ 4th & King. That is precisely what they did and that’s all the Flasman mousetrap needed to take them right back to court, making impossible for the Secretary of Finance to approve the bond sale.

    Secretary Chao subsequently provided them with a very convenient way to blame the Republicans for giving them an opportunity to reject the funding plan: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMQWxEOV9UVWVycDg. Are we having fun yet?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s an interim step that will be useful when there are no more interim steps.

    …. Alan he doesn’t want it to spring forth. He wants to erupt vigorously, upright and glistening proudly in the sun. As a long sleek train with it’s pantographs poised in anticipation swoops down gracefully from the sky laden, almost bursting, with fare paying passengers. When they meet deftly meet after eager yearning, waves of satisfaction crash over the world.

    Roland Reply:

    You are misquoting me again…
    “Long sleek train” Check
    “With it’s pantographs poised” not for a few years
    “With fare paying passengers” Check
    “Waves of satisfaction crash over the world” Check
    https://youtu.be/w5ZURybrACM (notice the drop dead gorgeous wireless gantries)

    Alan Reply:

    Roland, you haven’t won anything. You’re wrong, and you’re not enough of a man to admit it.

    Roland Reply:

    Says who?

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Aarond

    see 2 min video with Chair Peskin on this issue at today’s (2-28-2017) SF CTA meeting.

    https://youtu.be/t-SMg_Yy_7U

    Roland Reply:

    “San Francisco will have to electrify the Transbay Terminal train station and the DTX itself regardless. So if DTX ends up finished before Caltrain electrifies, San Francisco can, at the very least, run an electric train shuttle between Transbay and 4th and King. Or Caltrain can use dual-mode locomotives (which can run on diesel or electrification) to run Caltrain trains directly into Transbay without electrifying its mainline–New York City has used dual-mode commuter trains for over seventy years to bring diesel-powered trains into Grand Central and Penn Station. Either way, it would make no sense to use problems with Caltrain electrification as a reason to jam up the DTX project.”
    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2017/02/27/is-the-caltrain-downtown-extension-in-jeopardy-too/

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ya can’t do that. The New Haven Railroad is anathema, the New York Central is a heretic and the Pennsylvania’s subsidiary the LIRR is apostate,

    keithsaggers Reply:

    Fortunately, initial reactions are that the Chron‘s story is misleading. Apparently, Peskin asked for the delay so that the CTA board could hear a presentation about the Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Feasibility Study (RAB), which is directly related, before approving $6.7 million in city funding for preliminary engineering work on the DTX

    Alan Reply:

    “over seventy years”? As I recall, the first group of FL-9’s entered service around 1958-1959, which isn’t close to being 70 years ago. Unless one counts AC/DC capable electric motors as being “dual mode”, the FL-9’s were, I believe, the first dual mode units in regular passenger service. I know that David V. will correct me if I’m mistaken.

    Roland Reply:

    Caltrain will start soaring like an eagle as soon as the Board drops the SamTrans boat anchor in the Bay.

  17. morris brown
    Feb 27th, 2017 at 16:49
    #17

    Will Caltrain Electrification Win Out Despite the California GOP?

    Here is Streetblog, essentially an arm of the Caltrain and CAHSR PR machines, sending out its latest.

    Everyone please note, nothing noted here on the firing of Parsons Transportation the CBOSS vendor. Streetblog certainly wants as few as possible knowing Caltrain has dumped $231 million (at least ) down the drain.

    StevieB Reply:

    You are sounding akin to Trump when the news does not report what he likes. “I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake, phony, fake,” Trump said at CPAC.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Three breaths later he starts to rant about all the leaks that the news is using. Either it’s fake or it’s leaks, it can’t be both.

    morris brown Reply:

    Will somebody here please show me the math, that shows Caltrain will have a 100,000 person capacity once it is electrified? Is this nothing more then changing a definition from seated to standing capacity? Maybe just fake news?

    Roland Reply:

    Today’s article in the San Mateo Daily has been withdrawn:

    “Negative news for positive train control

    The glimmer from this week’s good news was welcomed after Caltrain announced Friday it terminated its contract with the firm responsible for implementing a new federally-mandated safety system designed to prevent collisions.

    Parsons Transportation Group, responsible for designing and implementing Communication Based Overlay Signal System, filed a lawsuit against Caltrain Wednesday, Feb. 22, citing wrongful termination of its $231 million contract.

    Also known as Positive Train Control, or PTC, the system is designed to reduce the possibility of human error while allowing more trains to run faster and in closer proximity to one another.

    PTC was mandated by the federal government following a 2008 Metrolink crash in Southern California that killed 25.

    Parsons was hired in 2012 and initially expected to complete the project in 2015. But various deadlines were pushed back and, despite undergoing a third-party review, the project struggled. Although the equipment has been installed, there are interoperability challenges and the system is not functional, according to Caltrain.

    PTC is also a crucial safety component for electrification and it wasn’t immediately clear how much of the $231 million cost has been spent. Parsons is seeking a range of unspecified damages and did not return a request for comment. Caltrain officials said they could not comment on pending litigation.

    But in a press release Friday, Caltrain Chief Operating Officer Michelle Bouchard said the project is imperative to safety and reliability. She noted due to Parsons’ “continued failure to perform, combined with their potential to cause program delay, the decision to terminate was necessary to keep the program on schedule while also exercising cost control over its delivery.”

    But Caltrain’s efforts to modernize the backbone of Silicon Valley’s transit system and operate electrified trains by 2020 may still depend on the federal grant that accounts for 32 percent of the project’s costs.

    “We believe that the merits of this project in terms of job creation and enhancing economic productivity will carry the day,” Murphy said.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2017-02-28/caltrain-buys-time-for-electrification/1776425176564.html#sthash.kDhxccNY.dpuf

    Roland Reply:

    Current official estimate: over $250M, with $205,757,289 spent as of December 2016 (Bob is my uncle)

    – Owners Costs (AKA Perma-temp RSMFRs) have risen from $49,726,798 to $81,685,508
    – Design Build Contract has gone up from $138,135,673 to $161,792,932

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/_Finance/Quarterly+Capital+Program+Status+Report/JPB/FY17+Q2+JPB+Quarterly+Report.pdf (page 11).

    Clem Reply:

    Bob Doty’s your uncle?!? I had no idea.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/bobs-your-uncle.html

  18. Joe
    Feb 27th, 2017 at 17:27
    #18

    StreetsBlog doesn’t own property along the Caltrain ROW, ergo they do not oppose rail and are puppets.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    mhmmmm

  19. Aarond
    Feb 27th, 2017 at 20:01
    #19
  20. Roland
    Feb 28th, 2017 at 05:17
    #20
  21. Roland
    Feb 28th, 2017 at 05:36
    #21

    Live tweeting by Adina Levin from the LPMG but the audio will confirm that the last comment was misreported: https://storify.com/alevin/caltrain-local-policy-maker-working-group-feb-23.
    Still no sign of the audio: http://www.caltrain.com/projectsplans/CaltrainModernization/Meetings.html
    Only this: https://youtu.be/K8E_zMLCRNg

  22. morris brown
    Feb 28th, 2017 at 06:54
    #22

    Caltrain extends electrification construction start date as federal funding status remains unknown

    Here we have Hartnett showing the world what a genius he is; after all he has just magnificently negotiated with vendors a 4 month extension of the deadline to end of June.

    How wonderful! And the extension only cost $20 million! What a genius he is.

    How can anybody with any business experience swallow this as being a wonderful outcome! The last thing the vendors want is cancellation of their contracts, worth over $1 billion. The profits lost if the contracts were cancelled, overwhelm any extra payment, in this case $20 million. They would be huge net losers.

    There should have been no premium for a deadline extension. There should have never been any preliminary start for work in the first place!

    The empty hats sitting on the PCJPB board really should start exercising some control!

    My final observation. Why should anyone have any confidence with Caltrain being able to execute the $2 billion electrification project, when they shown their complete incompetence on CBOSS and just thrown $231 million and more down the drain on that fiasco.

    Roland Reply:

    Breaking News!!! Latest emissions from the San Carlos joke factory (AKA a place where the sun never shines).

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2017/2017-03-02+SRTP+Update.pdf
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2017/2017-03-02+Caltrain+Business+Plan.pdf

    I just can’t wait for the Board to find out that each partner’s contribution is expected to nearly DOUBLE AFTER electrification.

    PS. There will be no time left to give either presentation before closed session so, “In the interest of time”, “Presentations are in your reading folders.” “Any questions?” “Thank You and we look forward to your unanimous approval next month, next Item.”

    Clem Reply:

    tl;dr – “How can we become MBTA with pantographs on top”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But the MBTA has multiple lines going to two different terminals. They are diesel all the time. if they ever gets around to it they don’t have to cope with people who would whine about catenary ruining their view of the utility poles with six crossarms.. Boston has the NEC ….and trolley cars running all over the place, in the street on the suburban end. On the downtown end..In tunnels. Under the street. Since the 1890s.

    … one of the mitigations for doing the Big Dig was reserving space for the “North-South Connector”. They have reserved space for when they get around to fulfilling their mitigation obligations for the Big Dig. Connecting North Station with South Station. When they do they are going to have to go all electric. Todays commuters don’t want to put with diesel fumes in tunnels. Silly commuters. The MBTA even puts in level boarding at reasonable costs without much drama.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Well, if you want to totally rethink the north-south connector, you could build something like this, particularly if you want to avoid electrifying a few lines: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VgKW_oGmy6aZi1yRf5LgaGH9BoM&usp=sharing

    Or if you’re really feeling ambitious, you could convert the tunnel itself to a rail line, rerouting traffic like this: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ovW9c7M008XUsO7BRANC6Zya5Sc&usp=sharing

    Max Wyss Reply:

    I don’t know about the electrification contract (although Balfour Beatty has quite a good reputation in the industry), but the rolling stock contract should not be such an issue. The company fulfilling the contract knows what they are doing (building rolling stock is their business), and, being a privately owned company, and knowing the integrity of its owner, there will not be much (if any) attempts to screw the customer. That company has a pretty good reputation to deliver in time and at budget (unless the customer makes excessive and late changes).

    Roland Reply:

    Max, as you correctly pointed out, there are no immediately apparent issues with either company any more than there are any apparent issues with PTG.

    The real issues are with the SamTrans perma-temps (AKA San Carlos Mafia) conspiring to draft just about the craziest and most constipated RFPs and specifications that pure pork can buy.

  23. Alan
    Feb 28th, 2017 at 07:51
    #23

    Incompetence is in the eye of the beholder. Hartnett and his staff could find a way to walk across the Bay, and Morris would pathetically whine that they didn’t dot an i and therefore violated CEQA in the process.

    Of course, intelligent people understand that there is a considerable difference between developing a new technology like CBOSS, and constructing electrification, which is pretty much off-the-shelf, at least in comparison. But as we all know, facts are irrelevant to Morris’ pitiful crying.

    Roland Reply:

    “Ms. Antion said risk was shared and there was a turnkey solution different then what other agencies did, in particular Metrolink. There is a big communications component and data communications component to the system. Caltrain decided to use an off-the-shelf technology that is being integrated in a way that’s being used on railroads for the first time.”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2011/10-6-11+Final+JPB+Minutes.pdf

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Roland Reply:

    AUTHORIZE AWARD OF CONTRACTS TO LTK ENGINEERING SERVICES FOR $3,995,607 FOR SUBSYSTEM SUPPORT SERVICES AND KAREN ANTION CONSULTING FOR $894,536 FOR PROJECT MANAGEMENT OVERSIGHT (PMO) FOR THE CBOSS PTC FOR A 15-MONTH TERM

    Ms. Harrington said this is the owner’s team for PTC. Staff did not do a competitive procurement because staff felt it was not wise to change the owner’s team six to seven months away from revenue service demonstration. These contracts will get the JPB through revenue service, warranty and contract close out, and then the project will be turned over to the JPB.

    PUBLIC COMMENT
    Roland Lebrun, San Jose, asked why staff is extending the PMO contracts to the end of 2016 if it will be in revenue service at the end of 2015. He asked where the $5 million is coming from. He said it isn’t from the original budget because this project is already over budget.

    Elizabeth Alexis, Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design, said the previous contract was awarded to Karen Antion, Consultant, under the guise of an Information Technology, On-Call Consulting contract that was not advertised as a CBOSS contract.
    She said her organization will be filing ethics charges regarding filing of the Statement of Economic Interests, and will be filing charges under the Conflict of Interest because the previous contract was never for a CBOSS contract. This is a serial contract of mass proportion. She asked the Board to defer this item for one month so she can bring information to the Board. Protection of public money is paramount.

    Motion/Second: Nolan/Woodward
    Ayes: Gee, Guilbault, Kalra, Nolan, Woodward, Yeager, Tissier
    Noes: Cohen
    Absent: Cisneros

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2015/2015-06-04+JPB+BOD+Minutes.pdf

  24. Wells
    Feb 28th, 2017 at 09:15
    #24

    My bet’s on mister trump infrastructure spending includes lexus lanes.

    zorro Reply:

    Congress holds the purse strings, so I wouldn’t bet on it, Republicans in Congress don’t like spending, cause then they’d have to pay for it(an appropriation), in a sane Congress that would mean having enough taxable income from the rich and from Corporations, but then who said Republicans in Congress are sane?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I have a lot more respect for Paul Ryan than Trump.

    zorro Reply:

    Paul Ryan still wants to cuts SS, SSDI, SSI, Medicare, and Medicaid(Medi-Cal in CA)…
    Paul-Ryan-Trump-staff-say-Trump-didn-t-mean-it-when-he-said-no-Social-Security-Medicare-cuts

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    But at least he isn’t an inexperienced, crude, protectionist, nationalist bigot.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You forgot ignorant. An example that is relatively objective and relatively neutral when considering political viewpoint. He thinks exporters pay U.S. import duties. They don’t, the people importing stuff to the U.S. do. Either he’s too stupid to understand that or he does and is happy to manipulate his supporters with it…… because he’s assuming his supporters are too stupid to figure it out. Or have an explanation sink in. That he keeps saying, after people on the news have explained why it doesn’t work that way could be that he’s too stubborn and his supporters are too stupid.

    The thought crosses my mind that causes a bit of horror, that he’s a Manchurian Candidate. It’s not an original thought. I don’t remember who I heard or read, bringing it up. The main problem with it is that Manchurian Candidates, the plot works well and the pieces hold together well in novels. In real life there would have been an inconsistency here, a snafu there, and something else some place that makes a few people connect the dots and then another. He’s been pulling it off really well for 18 months. He’s not that clever. The only people who are are characters in novels. . . and he keeps demonstrating that he’s too stooopid to pull it off. Not ignorant or inexperienced plain old too stupid.

    Danny Reply:

    pied piper, technically

    Wells Reply:

    I thought the Manchurian Candidate took a low-profile post…
    His opening statement showed to me its depth, “and the American people,
    Tonight,” seemed ‘dismissive’ after the generous time spent greeting congress.
    Pacifica reports say demos there left early in a huff, good for them.
    Amy Goodman continues to uncover the truth.
    =Impeachment by 2018 if not sooner=

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    As much as I despise Trump, you should first prove beyond reasonable doubt that he has committed a crime (subpoena his taxes?) before impeaching.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He commits stupidity twice a day and once on Sunday. He’s gonna be stupid enough to do something impeachable. . . you can lead idiots to water but you can’t stop them from drowning themselves..

  25. Roland
    Feb 28th, 2017 at 18:38
    #25

    Back in SamTrans land: http://www.samtrans.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/SamTrans/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2017/2017-03-01+San+Carlos+Transit+Center+and+Transit+Village+Project.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    SamTrans faces unprecedented financial, service, organizational challenges
    – Core budgets move from surplus to deficits
    – Deplete financial reserves by FY2023
    – 54% of workforce transitions out in 5 years
    http://www.samtrans.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/SamTrans/Board+of+Directors/Presentations/2017/2017-03-01+SamTrans+Business+Plan.pdf

  26. Jos Callinet
    Feb 28th, 2017 at 20:30
    #26

    Let Trump and his Republicans have their way: Ditch the Caltrain electrification – might as well deep-six the antiquated, antediluvian and life-expired diesel-hauled Caltrain fleet altogether – pave over the ROW between San Jose and San Francisco and run an LAMTA-style Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit service instead?

    Everyone would get a few crumbs of the single-slice transit pie, and would at least get SOME change over the status-quo. I think we need to lower our expectations to where they’re more in line with present-day reality. This is MY take on how to do it, given present circumstances in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento.

    Roland Reply:

    I second the last part of your motion but I also believe that necessity is the mother of invention so the eventual solution will most probably not be quite as bleak as what you are envisioning.

    Aarond Reply:

    I’m more optimistic. Sacramento now has a bonafide reason to increase taxes to fully fund Prop 1A sooner rather than later. DC can’t kill Prop 1A at this point.

    My main concern isn’t funding, it’s that the MTC will use this opportunity to try and push Peninsula BART and kill downtown SF HSR. That may sound insane, but if this is the last opening they have to pitch such a notion before peninsula HSR happens.

    Wells Reply:

    BART manager Crunican left behind a sorry record.
    Seattle merely nodded but Portland fumed for her removal,
    there, here and prevented her return to Clackamas, later to win her BART position.
    My own view and perspective on this forum suspects Ms Crunican abhorantly.
    She ruined the Ross Island Bridge for pedestrians.
    She left Seattle disorganized and relatively little of worth behind.
    That’s who she is to this old Portlander.
    ==BART==SHOULD==FIRE==CRUNICAN==
    That’s a Bart boy talkin’.

  27. Roger Christensen
    Feb 28th, 2017 at 22:33
    #27

    I am not him, but hi!

    MTC does not want BRT on the Caltrain ROW – it’s BART.

  28. Danny
    Mar 1st, 2017 at 12:13
    #28

    in “point and laugh” news the circus is coming to India
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/28/hyperloop-one-is-in-early-talks-with-the-indian-government/

  29. morris brown
    Mar 1st, 2017 at 13:15
    #29

    Mercury News::Caltrain fires contractor before testing of new safety system is completed

    The Mercury does a real article on the CBOSS fiasco. As Clem wrote long ago….” a steaming pile…”

    Still the majority of those reading and writing here want to give Caltrain $2 billion to “modernize”

    So $231 million initially plus $35 million Parsons says is still owed them equals $266 millions down the drain.

    Joe Reply:

    Old retired man sits at home professing no knowledge as to why any working adult would want an improved Caltrain system.

    Roland Reply:

    Talking about thyself, I presume?

    joe Reply:

    No. I’m supporter of Caltrain, electrification and the KISS trains and, along with my wife, commute.

    What about you?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It says a lot that the people who were against CBOSS from the beginning also support Caltrain electrification, no?

  30. Danny
    Mar 1st, 2017 at 13:37
    #30

    in other “point-and-laugh” news, the circus is coming to India
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-28/hyperloop-one-pitches-elon-musk-s-dream-carrier-to-crowded-india

    Neville Snark Reply:

    ..

  31. Reality Check
    Mar 1st, 2017 at 14:16
    #31

    Caltrain fires PTG before testing of new CBOSS PTC safety system is completed

    Caltrain approved a $138 million contract with Parsons Transportation Group in 2011 and issued an order to proceed with construction in 2012 for the $231 million project. Initially, the contract called for the testing to be completed by May 2016, but Caltrain officials said “continued delays” and an “utter lack of progress” pushed the actual end date further and further out. As of July, Parsons had installed the requisite equipment on the trains, at Caltrain’s dispatch facilities and along the tracks, as well as the fiber optic cables needed to operate the new communications system, and was supposed to start testing in October.

    Caltrain won’t comment on what went wrong from there, citing pending litigation. But, according to a lawsuit Parsons filed Feb. 22 against the transit agency, factors beyond the company’s control contributed to the delays. Caltrain’s governing board changed some requirements in the contract, the agency provided inaccurate data to Parsons about its systems and didn’t approve the design documents in a timely manner, lawyers for Parsons said in the suit. There was also interference from the Federal Railroad Administration and third parties that were supposed to provide information to Parsons, the suit said.

    The company and Caltrain agreed to a revised work plan in May 2016, but Parsons said more changes to the contract, new federal standards and problems with Caltrain’s preexisting communications systems caused yet more delays. Parsons claims Caltrain actually owes it $35 million.

    For its part, Caltrain is working to secure another contractor to complete the testing work while it works to recoup what it says are damages it sustained through Parsons’ inability to perform.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Superior Court Of California, County Of San Mateo
    PARSONS TRANSPORTATION GROUP vs. PENINSULA CORRIDOR JOINT POWERS BOARD, et al
    Case number: 17-CIV-00786
    File Date: 02/22/2017
    Case Type: (06) Unlimited Breach of Contract/Warranty
    17-CIV-00786 PTG v Caltrain CBOSS (32mb 864-page PDF)

  32. morris brown
    Mar 1st, 2017 at 15:38
    #32

    Sac Bee: Dan Walters:: California’s cap and trade auction another washout

    California’s cap and trade auction another washout
    By Dan Waltersdwalters@sacbee.com

    February’s quarterly auction of carbon dioxide emission allowances under California’s cap and trade program was another financial washout for the state.

    Results for last week’s auction were posted Wednesday morning, revealing that just 16.5 percent of the 74.8 million metric tons of emission allowances were sold at the floor price of $13.57 per ton.

    The state auctions emission allowances to polluters and speculators as part of its program to reduce greenhouse gases. The proceeds are supposed to be spent on public programs to slow climate change.

    February’s auction is being closely watched by market analysts because the last three quarterly auctions in 2016 posted sub-par results.

    Almost all of February’s proceeds went either to California’s utilities, who sell allowances they receive free from the Air Resources Board, or the Canadian province of Quebec, which offers emission allowances through California. Both are first in line when auction proceeds are apportioned.

    The ARB was offering 43.7 million tons of state-owned emission allowances, but sold just 602,340 tons of advance 2020 allowances, which means the state will see only $8.2 million, rather than the nearly $600 million it could have received from a sellout.

    The paltry auction revenues will likely stall Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2017-18 budget plan to spend $2.2 billion on a variety of climate-related programs and projects, including $800 million on his bullet train project.

    Analysts have cited a glut of emission allowances on the market, and political and legal uncertainty over the cap and trade program for weak auction interest. The current program’s legality is being challenged in a lawsuit and expires in 2020. Brown wants it to be reauthorized by a two-thirds legislative vote to remove the legal cloud.

    “Today’s anemic auction results demonstrate that the state’s landmark cap and trade program is in need of reform and the kind of market certainty that only the Legislature and governor can provide via statute,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said in a statement. “We need a program that both reduces pollution and provides stable funding to clean up climate emissions.”

    About $2 million to HSR from this auction! Authority “Show us the Money”. Still trying to understand where the $20 million for the IOS will be secured.

    les Reply:

    Electric trains! Electric trains! Electric trains!

    https://cleantechnica.com/2017/03/01/proposed-california-legislation-double-renewable-energy-goal/

    4 tracks! 4 tracks! 4 tracks!

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The Democrats do have super-majorities in both houses (barely). If cap-and-trade can be extended beyond 2020 with HSR getting their 25% cut of the proceeds from the GGRF, we will go a long way toward securing that $20 billion. Admittedly that is a big “if”. I would not want to make a prediction, but without the Democrat super-majorities, the chances of an extension of cap-and-trade beyond 2020 would be zero.

    Joe Reply:

    The Trump admin’s attack on the environment will make opposition to cap and trade difficult for any wavering Dems in CA.

    It’s a pro environment revenue source.

    Roland Reply:

    It’a a tax and, as such, requires a 2/3rd majority by the legislature.

    Joe Reply:

    It’s a fee.

    Pay attention to things that are not YouTube videos.

    Aarond Reply:

    Forget about cap-and-trade. CA Dems can straight up raise the gas tax.

    Roland Reply:

    Good luck pulling that one off as gas prices are about to hit the roof.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Ummm…I didn’t post that. Someone else must have logged in as me.

    Roland Reply:

    I had a similar problem when I attempted to post the link to the Caltrain Board video this morning.
    The post was under “shaw’s jird” and ended up stuck in the moderation queue.

  33. les
    Mar 1st, 2017 at 21:00
    #33
  34. StevieB
    Mar 2nd, 2017 at 02:18
    #34

    Minimizing parking is the key tidbit from Tidbits from This Week’s U.S. High Speed Rail Association Conference

    The most popular high-speed rail stations are not strictly utilitarian spaces that travelers pass through, but include public space, retail, housing and office space. Geeti Silwal, of Perkins+Will Architects, emphasized that minimizing parking is one key feature. She emphasized that most European high-speed rail stations have no parking.

    Minimizing parking is part of creating a vibrant urban environment.

    What makes high-speed rail successful is that, unlike airports, rail delivers passengers to urban cores. High-speed rail is dependent on the design of those urban core stations, especially in the way that they connect with local mobility, including walking, transit, and bicycling. The station itself should draw locals who gather there for everyday uses.

    For these reasons and others a greenfield station is less than desirable.

    EJ Reply:

    Urban stations (the ones tourists see) have no parking. Suburban and rural stations typically do.

    Roland Reply:

    http://highspeed1.co.uk/our-stations/ashford-international (click on each station).

    StevieB Reply:

    St Pancras International has been voted best station in the UK Passenger Focus’ National Passenger Survey in every year since it reopened in 2007 after an £800m redevelopment.

    – 324 car parking spaces
    – 100,000 sq ft of retail space

    Of the million travelers who pass through the terminal each week, a quarter don’t step foot on a train; they are there to meet others and for the high-end retailers, the gourmet food shops, the literati bookshop, the farmers market or the bars and hotel.

    EJ Reply:

    Urban stations (the ones tourists see) have no parking. Suburban and rural stations typically have parking.

    EJ Reply:

    Like I said, the urban stations, which are the ones that foreign visitors are apt to see, usually have little to no parking. Suburban and rural stations have lots of parking. There’s more to Europe than the city centers of London and and Paris.

    Roland Reply:

    You forgot the restaurants and Europe’s longest champagne bar (http://searcysstpancras.co.uk/champagne-bar/)

    This is what Diridon, Transbay and LA Union SHOULD look like one day. Transbay is safe but there is nothing that megatons of concrete cannot possibly destroy for a couple of generations.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    St. Pancras is actually a great example for what Dirdon could be like.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When San Jose turns into London. It’s not going to be the Gare du Nord of the west or the Grand Central of California or even the Penn Station Newark of the Bay Area. Unless people of the future are living in some sort of dytopia, it’s not gonna happen.

    EJ Reply:

    One of the original “beet field TGV stations” View on google earth to see that its surrounded by parking: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gare+d'Avignon+TGV/@43.9227854,4.7855152,563m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x227895e4b376744d!8m2!3d43.92157!4d4.785946

    Roland Reply:

    And pretty much nothing else. Any idea why? Here is a clue: https://youtu.be/CT34kTytUmw.

    Question for the Oracle of Gilroy: do you now understand why high speed lines should never go through downtown anywhere?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Silly Japanese and Chinese. They shouldn’t have done it.

    EJ Reply:

    In many cases the Japanese didn’t. Look at a map of the Shinkansen network and notice all the city names with “Shin” in front of them. Those are “new towns” built outside the main city center of the namesake city. And there are speed restrictions as they get into central Tokyo.

    As for the Chinese, well, the Chinese government doesn’t care much about NIMBYs.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m aware that “shin” means new in Japanese. I also have a sneaking suspicion, for instance, that 3 kilometers away from Osaka Station, wasn’t rice paddies in 1964.

    Roland Reply:

    Thank you for pointing out that “there are speed restrictions as they get into central Tokyo”, a point that seems to have been completely lost on the “experts” who “designed” the alignment through downtown Fresno.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Frenso wasn’t even a general store/post office/saloon/courthouse before the railroad came. The nice straight ROW is through the middle of town is the railroad. Clever clever locomotive designers have made possible for the trains to slow down and speed up if they have to.

    Roland Reply:

    http://calhsr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/PMT-Memo-Ph1-Blended-Trip-Time-020713.pdf

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There is a plethora of interesting little tidbits in there. Which most of us have read about, either in original documents or comments on this blog and other and other places. Which ones should we find interesting and what is the intriguing interrelationship between them that you find fascinating.

    …. I have feeling that the follow up is “there are these called express trains that are not inexorably drawn to the irresistible attractions of a platform.Because they do that, they make fewer stops than other trains”
    and
    “nobody said all of the trains have to do it all of the time”

    mono Reply:

    It’s slow in Tokyo-Shinagawa-Shin Yokohama (25.5 km, 160 km/hr max) because it was built on top of the freight line with tighter curve radius. Also, Tokyo-Ueno-Omiya is slow (31.3 km, 160 km/hr max) because that stretch is shared by Tohoku/Hokkaido/Yamagata/Akita, Joetsu, and Hokuriku Shinkansen (congested during rush hour), in addition to the noise concerns (Although I heard that commuter line built on same alignment is noisier).

    Train stations with prefix “Shin” is also used frequently in the legacy/commuter lines, and I think developments around those stations more resemble the “new towns” than the Shinkansen stations with prefix “Shin.”

    EJ Reply:

    It’s also not the end of the world to build through downtown if it’s a terminal station or an important intermediate station where all trains stop.

    Roland Reply:

    Did someone forget to tell Frank Vacca that every train would be stopping in Fresno?

    mono Reply:

    Shizuoka and Hamamatsu stations that are built through downtown and skipped by 11/14 trains per hour is still not end of the world.

  35. Wells
    Mar 2nd, 2017 at 12:01
    #35

    Lost my priviledges again in Seattle.
    Wondering what’s next? MAX on Barbur?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    What privileges? And yes, let’s hope MAX on Barbur (preferably under Barbur) is next.

    Roland Reply:

    DUI?

  36. keithsaggers
    Mar 2nd, 2017 at 18:13
    #36

    San Francisco Planning-Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Feasibility Study

    The RAB study is divided in two phases:
    Phase I: Technical Feasibility Assessment; and
    Phase II: Alternatives Development

    Phase I of the RAB studies four distinct components. Each component will include a thorough analysis of existing conditions and prepare conceptual design alternatives within three study areas: the 16th Street grade separation, the 4th and King Railyard, and I-280. The study will also analyze the possibility of new transit-oriented development and public amenities in the overall area of the City to accommodate growth as the fifth component.

    1. Value Engineer the Proposed Downtown Rail Extension (DTX) alignment

    The DTX is a planned 1.3 mile tunnel connecting high-speed rail and Caltrain to the Transbay Transit Center. The Downtown Rail Extension project is currently estimated at $4 billion. The RAB analysis will review construction methods and rail alignment configurations and seek opportunities to fund and build the project more cost effectively.

    2. Create a Loop Track/Extension to the East Bay to Enhance Operational Capacity at the Transbay Transit Center
    Currently, the Transbay Transit Center (TTC) is a stub-end station, meaning trains use the same track to go in and out. This can reduce the station’s overall capacity. A loop track or extension to the East Bay will increase the station’s overall capacity.
    The feasibility study will update the existing loop track study according to an updated design of the Transit Center, as well as the financial and physical feasibility of such a loop, including constraints posed by existing and planned buildings.

    3. Reconfigure, Relocate, or Substantially Reduce the 4th and King Railyard
    Currently, the 4th and King Railyard provides train storage, maintenance and operations activities for Caltrain and will serve as the interim station for High Speed Rail (2025) until the DTX can be built and trains operate to the Transbay Transit Center (TTC). Modifying or relocating some of these activities would allow Caltrain to continue on a smaller footprint while potentially freeing up land for future development opportunities. The study will analyze potential locations to relocate railyard functions, as well as assess the train storage capacity and train operations associated with a consolidated railyard.

    4. Make I-280 a Boulevard
    Replace the end of I-280 north of Mariposa with an urban surface boulevard, similar to the Embarcadero or Octavia Boulevard. This boulevard could create new open space, improve circulation and allow connectivity throughout the area that is currently separated by 1.2 miles of I-280.

    5. Create Placemaking, Neighborhood Connectivity, Employment and Transit Oriented Development Opportunities
    Creating a new Boulevard and relocating a portion or all of the railyard at 4th and King makes new parcels of land available for a number of development or repurposing possibilities. The RAB will also study the possibility of new transit-oriented development, neighborhood connectivity, open space and public amenities to accommodate growth in this area of the City.

    Phase II of this study will combine options from each of the components from Phase I and conduct further analysis of up to three refined alternatives before a preferred alternative is determined

  37. Reality Check
    Mar 3rd, 2017 at 00:51
    #37

    Caltrain & PTG have now both sued each other over the CBOSS fiasco.

    Palo Alto’s Daily Post ran another front page story about it yesterday (Thu 3/2):

    Caltrain PTC contractor hits back

    I’ve downloaded and posted the lawsuits:

    PTG vs. Caltrain (filed February 22)
    Caltrain vs. PTG (filed March 1)

    The lawsuits — well, the complaint portions, anyway — make for a bit of interesting reading … particularly Exhibit B (PDF page 258 of the Caltrain suit). It’s a February 2016 letter from Jim Hartnett to PTG, which shows just how far things had gone off the rails by then already.

    Jerry Reply:

    Stop on red. Go on green. Stay within speed limits.
    Self driving cars are doing that and much more.
    What’s the problem with doing all of this with vehicles that are on rails??
    In the “heart” of Silicon Valley no less.

  38. morris brown
    Mar 3rd, 2017 at 12:37
    #38

    Dan Wlaters: Bullet train suffers two big setbacks that could be fatal

    Be sure to read the CHSRA report to the Legislature from the link in the article.

    (only 130 pages or so)

    joe Reply:

    Sacramento Columnist breaks Guinness record for resubmitting the same column for publication.

    LA Times vows to overtake this record.

  39. morris brown
    Mar 3rd, 2017 at 13:33
    #39

    Department of Finance does not approve Prop 1A funding for Caltrain modernization

    In a letter from Director Cohen of the State Department of Finance, we see denial of approval of funding plan for the CHSRA to Caltrain for their modernization. This might be temporary, but as of now, Prop 1A funds cannot be used for the project.

    see:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMQWxEOV9UVWVycDg

    Joey Reply:

    tl;dr the Prop 1A funds can’t be released unless the project has full funding

    Peter Reply:

    And approval was denied solely because of the FTA decision to hold off on approving the FFGA.

    I think it was obvious that the project wasn’t going to happen (at least not anytime soon) unless the FTA changes its mind.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t think it’s obvious; the project is popular among the stakeholders and the funding gap is small relative to projected benefits. It’s just a matter of state and local will to find the money.

    joe Reply:

    And will to fight for the money already approved. Walking away now validates the funding reversal.

    This is about holding people accountable and putting pressure on CA representatives who currently think it’s okay to oppose a popular project for their state.

    You don’t walk away after a “no” but instead fight and make a clear record of the negative impact and who is responsible.

    Fresno unemployment is down from 18% to 9%. If the state hoits a recession from these spending cuts, the record has to be clear who cut money and helped tank the economy for giggles and politics.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ joe:

    We we all know that the 1000 workers now on the project, reduced the Valley unemployment by 9%.

    Who are you trying to kid?

    Joe Reply:

    Old man ignores the economic Multiplier effect of the project.

    What really is astounding is how Morris can argue billions are wasted on the Project and then assert it’s economic foot print is just 1000 jobs.

    Sad.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In Real American ™ Economics if the government spends money on roads for the stalwart yeomanry of Real American it is a wonderful that will Make America Great Again. If the construction workers go out there do almost exactly the same thing except that the top layer is going to rails on ties instead of asphalt it doesn’t do any good at and is a waste.

    Joe Reply:

    And how does that wisdom apply to the Central Valley of California?
    They are not laying track in this workpackage.

    Materials will be sourced locally – even Steel for concrete structures comes from CV sources. Jooobs.

    Even Morris’ 1,000 workers is bullshit lowball number and conflicts with project reporting. He’s very comfortable making up bullshit data and then nitpicks.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Since Real America ™ is some ill defined Arcadian Utopia that is somewhat different for every Real American ™ …. not much, the Central Valley is on planet Earth.
    They don’t put the asphalt on top right away some of the time either. It’s usually a separate contract that is let after the DOT approves the grade. The paving contract is usually the one cited when they yammer on about how cheap roads are. Something along the lines of “it only cost three quarters of a million to build that new highway over yonder!!! ” What they are looking at is the paving contract. Putting a thin glaze of asphalt icing on the cake that goes down really far. That is almost exactly the same as a rail bed. Someone is gonna go out there and stick a pole in the gravel before they start laying track. Probably something more sophisticated but something is going to be done.
    …. there were all sorts of .. innovations.. when they started to build railroads.. the canal engineers had to build the towpath and some guy named MacAdam had perfected a system to make the top layer a lot cheaper than hand crafting rocks like the Romans did …. it’s a Roman road with steel rails on top… so is an Interstate highway or your driveway. Your driveway isn’t quite as brawny but it’s a Roman road with some goo on top to hold the gravel together.

    joe Reply:

    Open the windows when you paint your home’s interior and select a zero VOC emission paint.

    I can’t make out what you’re trying to convey. Maybe that this project’s price tag means it produces a large amount of work and economic activity — well that was the point of ARRA spending.

    Roland Reply:

    It is so popular that 80% of the people who signed Caltrain’s petition are somehow involved with the project: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/support-9600-american-jobs-tell-fta-approve-funding-caltrain-electrification

    Joe Reply:

    Proving that the project creates jobs and helps the economy.

    Awful that this project helps people.

    Roland Reply:

    I think that this was the easiest (and cleanest) way for the Authority to bail out of the situation they got themselves into by essentially misappropriating $1.1B in Prop 1A bonds to buy enough votes to pass SB1029.

    zorro Reply:

    The legislature appropriates, and the HSR money being used to electrify Caltrain, where HSR will go one day, is a Legal and Legitimate use of Prop1a funds, so I call your entire piece, BS…

    zorro Reply:

    Oh and the Bonds are not being sold by the CHSRA, they are being sold by the Department of Finance, which has a Court Verdict to do so, and is going to do that, since the DoF is not being sued.

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly help me understand which part of this letter from the Department of Finance it is that you do not understand https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMQWxEOV9UVWVycDg.

  40. Roland
    Mar 3rd, 2017 at 16:58
    #40

    Full March 3rd Caltrain Board meeting video: https://youtu.be/Yne6t4I0LPQ
    Enjoy!!!

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    “I move that we re-arrange the deck chairs.”
    “Is there a second?”
    “Seconded.”
    “All in favor of rearranging the deck chairs?”
    “Aye”
    “Aye”
    “Aye”
    ….

    Roland Reply:

    SamTrans Pravda in full damage control mode (those darn Republicans in Washington are costing us $20M): https://youtu.be/YYEvHmpRs8E

  41. Roland
    Mar 3rd, 2017 at 17:42
    #41

    Paging Clem:

    To be eligible for the 2016 Measure B Citizens’ Oversight Committee, members must be citizens of Santa Clara County and eligible to vote. The committee should include members with the following experience:

    A retired federal or state judge or administrative law judge or an individual with experience as a mediator or arbitrator.
    A professional from the field of municipal/public finance with a minimum of four years relevant experience.
    A professional with a minimum of four years of experience in management and administration of financial policies, performance measurement and reviews.
    A professional with demonstrated experience of four years or more in the management of large scale construction projects.
    A regional community organization representative with at least one year of decision making experience.
    A regional business organization representative with at least one year of decision making experience (can you spell my friend Carl’s last name?)
    A professional with four years of experience in organized labor.
    A professional with a minimum of four years of experience in educational administration at the high school or college level.
    http://www.vta.org/News-and-Media/Connect-with-VTA/VTA-Seeking-Applicants-for-its-2016-Measure-B-Citizens-Oversight-Committee#.WLoZ4jvaeMo

    Clem Reply:

    Paging me why? To draw my attention to the fact that Measure B funds can be redirected at VTA’s whim? I had already learned that from Measure A (2000).

    Roland Reply:

    Do you mean like the FTA formula funds dedicated to the Caltrain EMUs that Samtrans redirected to the San Carlos parking lot? https://youtu.be/zyVIfU33rXg

  42. morris brown
    Mar 3rd, 2017 at 17:49
    #42

    Another “bombshell” from Vartebedian and the LA Times

    Two construction firms seek an extra $300 million for bullet train work

    Full transparence from the Authority?? Note the letters undisclosed by the Authority are dated in August and Sept of last year. Oh yes we are being kept well informed.

    Jerry Reply:

    Might
    Could
    Maybe
    If
    And with lots of imagination Massive someday overrun!!!

    LA Times Exclusive!!!

    No claim was substantiated in the letter and Tutor is famous for trying to get additional compensation.
    This was all expected.

    The rail authority put in place binding arbitration to resolve these claims. Tutor is squealing to the Times. Note they have not gotten another bid after the first lowest bid victory.

    So far the contractors have not justifi

    Roland Reply:

    Tutor won the Central Subway contract and are ahead of schedule. There are no cost overruns that I am aware of (yet?)

    Joe Reply:

    Try Teh Google.

    http://www.dailynews.com/opinion/20170202/will-la-county-transit-agency-be-taken-for-a-ride-again

    And past comments on this log about their bid

    Note the work was estimated 1.3-1.8 B yet was bid at just under 1B.

    Roland Reply:

    http://sf.curbed.com/2017/2/27/14755272/central-subway-photos-chinatown-sf

    joe Reply:

    Fantastic

    You do a good job carrying water for Tutor. Keep it up.

    joe Reply:

    More fanboy info for your club meeting.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/tunnel-partner-known-to-fight-tough-with-public-agencies/
    Ron Tutor says he doesn’t want Seattle’s troubled tunnel project to end up in litigation, but he certainly won’t give an inch if it does.

    The CEO of the construction company who helped bring Bertha, the world’s largest boring machine, to Seattle is already fighting large legal battles around the country — from the Big Dig in Boston to an MGM complex in Las Vegas. One of his court cases in California has gone on for nearly two decades.

    …..

    One of Tutor’s many current court claims began in 1995, when his firm pressed officials in Los Angeles County for $16 million in additional change-order payments for work on a subway project. Change orders are a notorious part of large construction projects, as firms seek compensation for unanticipated costs.

    L.A. County leaders balked at the demand and eventually concluded the company had submitted “false claims” for reimbursement. The dispute escalated.

    Nearly two decades later, the two sides are still fighting. What was once a $16 million disagreement related to extra work, delays and interest on late payments has now cost the county twice that in legal fees.

    Casselman, who worked on the case, said much of Tutor’s business strategy appears to involve spending a lot of time working with attorneys before submitting a project bid, identifying areas where project documents could be considered ambiguous. That way Tutor can bid low and later get change orders to raise the price of the project.

    “He’s a master at it,” Casselman said.

    Tutor’s response? “That’s the biggest [b.s.].”

    Note that the High Speed Rail Authority requires binding arbitration.

    In another of his legal disputes, a subsidiary that Tutor’s company acquired in 2011 was recently involved in lawsuits with King County over construction delays and cost overruns for tunneling work tied to the $1.8 billion Brightwater sewage-treatment project.

    County officials sued a consortium of contractors in 2010, alleging they failed to meet deadlines after two boring machines broke down. The contractors filed a counterclaim, seeking reimbursement because of site conditions, boring-machine damage and the cost of hyperbaric interventions — all issues that could be in play during the Bertha project. King County prevailed in December 2012.

    zorro Reply:

    Central subway, LA subway, both were derided by critics at their start. And I think for the same reasons.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    yes…stupid reasons

    joe Reply:

    Central Subway merits are more debatable —
    “In particular, they note that Muni’s own estimates show that the project would increase Muni ridership by less than 1% and yet by 2030 be adding $15.2 million a year to Muni’s annual operating deficit.”

    Here’s map of the Muni T extension showing a connection at 4th and king and more direct route into SF from HSR/Caltrain at 4th and King. The lines goes underground just north of the 4th and King station (Bryant) and will continue at some later date along Columbus.

    http://www.sfartscommission.org/pubartcollection/uncategorized/2012/04/17/proposals-for-a-new-public-artwork-at-the-central-subway-4th-and-brannan-street-platform/

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I know the route, and it seems really smart. Also, it switches passengers from slow busses to fast subways. Finally, it has a lot of future potential by adding stops in North Beach, Lombard/Van Ness, Lombard/Fillmore, Lombard/Divisadero, Palace of Fine Arts, possibly the Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge. This would allow the removal of several bus routes, like the 30-Stockton, making those riders significantly happier and attracting lots of new ridership.

    EJ Reply:

    As a non-San Franciscan, it looks good to me too, on paper. But a lot of SF transit activists don’t like it, for reasons I don’t totally understand – but I trust them since they’re local.

    Joey Reply:

    I think it makes some sense but from a $/rider perspective it should be way down SF’s list of priorities. Also the cost is quite high for a rather short extension.

    Roland Reply:

    The cost is EXTREMELY reasonable compared to DTX once you consider that the CS provides 3 additional stations (and a 1/4 mile longer tunnel) for approximately $3B less. I also agree with the planners who estimated that it will be the most heavily used MUNI line.

    Roland Reply:

    They are not ahead of schedule. They are more than a year behind.

    Roland Reply:

    Citation required and the above is consistent with the Clairon du Garlique using my email address to spread inaccurate information.

    les Reply:

    Killing the project with an audit is there last option, and facts need not apply. Using fabricated facts is a republican favorite, just ask Hillary.

  43. Roland
    Mar 3rd, 2017 at 22:23
    #43
  44. Reality Check
    Mar 4th, 2017 at 12:41
    #44

    California high-speed rail ready to lay some track

    After years of prep work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s finance department decided Friday that California’s $64 billion high-speed rail project is ready to lay some track.

    The administration approved the rail authority’s request to spend $2.6 billion on work in the Central Valley. The decision lets the authority ask the state treasurer’s office to sell a portion of the nearly $10 billion in bonds voters approved in 2008 for a bullet train.

    […]

    The treasurer previously issued $1.15 billion of the bonds that went for administration and on work to connect the new system to existing tracks, leaving the bulk of the money unspent.

    Finance Director Michael Cohen approved the Central Valley plan while downplaying a Federal Railroad Administration risk analysis that included a worst-case scenario for the costs of the project. He instead cited the authority’s more optimistic analysis and an independent consultant’s review that he said found that “the cost estimates and contingencies in this plan are reasonable.”

    Brown is a vocal advocate of the rail project, and his administration includes the finance department, so Friday’s decision is not surprising.

    The authority will ask the state treasurer to sell a portion of the bonds this spring to help pay for construction of 119 miles of rail in the Central Valley from Madera to Shafter, authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley said.

    Cohen delayed a decision on the authority’s related request for $600 million for Caltrain in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bullet trains travel on electrified rails, and the California authority’s business plan calls for the two systems to share lines along the Peninsula Corridor in the Bay Area.

    Cohen said in a separate letter that he is waiting because the Federal Transit Administration last month delayed a decision on whether to approve a $650 million federal grant for electrification.

    “The state’s substantial investment in this critical infrastructure improvement project is ready to move forward, the only remaining piece is action by the federal government on their contribution,” Alley said in a statement referring to the Federal Transit Administration’s delay.

    […]

    joe Reply:

    The authority will ask the state treasurer to sell a portion of the bonds this spring to help pay for construction of 119 miles of rail in the Central Valley from Madera to Shafter, authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley said.

    CA need to either cough up our 1/2 of the ARRA award or pay all the Federal money back.

    No doubt the vendetta-goofballs in DC will want CA to pay the ARRA award back in full unless CA matches the billions in ARRA money.

    We’re on the hook regardless of Prop1a or not and GOP Administration’s hardball politics will assure we more HSR forward.

    Roland Reply:

    Here is what happened to the $440M FTA Formula Funds which had been earmarked for the replacement of the Gallery cars: https://youtu.be/zyVIfU33rXg

    Roland Reply:

    What is even more disconcerting is what happened with item 22.b
    CONSIDER DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO AGREEMENTS WITHIN THE PROJECT BUDGET TO CONTINUE WORK TO COMPLETE THE COMMUNICATIONS-BASED OVERLAY SIGNAL SYSTEM PROJECT

    “The staff report and resolution will be provided under separate cover prior to the March 2 Board meeting.” http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2017/2017-03-02+JPB+BOD+Agenda+Packet.pdf (click on 22.b)

    First of all, nothing was ever provided at the meeting until AFTER they came out of closed session: https://youtu.be/Yne6t4I0LPQ?t=7697 (does this constitute a Brown Act violation?)
    Second, this is a clear and final warning to Jim Hartnett and his herd of minions that they have $3M and 120 days left to make CBOSS work (or else).

  45. Roland
    Mar 4th, 2017 at 13:29
    #45

    Latest update on the Hillsdale fustercluck: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2017-03-03/caltrain-eyes-eminent-domain-transit-agency-unable-to-negotiate-land-deal-for-san-mateo-grade-separation/1776425176738.html

    trentbridge Reply:

    Why is this a “fustercluck”? Caltrain and the property owner don’t agree on the value of the land to be acquired. This is a routine matter of eminent domain. A “fustercluck” is the House GOP being unable to agree amongst themselves on the wording of an Obamacare replacement bill.

    Roland Reply:

    There would be no need to eminent domain anything if the SamTrans RSMFRs knew how to design 4-track stations with outboard platforms.

    Roland Reply:

    Full grade separations require property. That is why grade separations haven’t happened along the Pennisula – NIMBY opposition.

    Roland Reply:

    Paging Robert: it looks like someone has been a naughty boy (again).

    Roland Reply:

    This Blog has technical problems with attribution.

    It was god who decided to troll you. I am just the messenger.

    Love,

    “Joe”

    Roland Reply:

    There is a subtle difference between caching errors and someone deliberately impersonating someone else.

    Joey Reply:

    My last comment auto-filled Drunk Engineer’s info. Fortunately I noticed before posting. I think there might be issues here…

    Jerry Reply:

    Paging Robert –
    Another Jerry showed up and posted a comment above on March 3, 2017 at 7:37 pm.
    It was not me.

    Clem Reply:

    Pennsylvania Railroad of the West. Thank goodness for island platforms.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The ones in Newark with turnstiles in the middle of them are quite handy, step off the mainline train whether it’s a local from Rahway or something from Chicago, go through fare control, and onto a train that is going to Wall Street. Just awful. Absolutely terrible that the local train from Rahway and the train from Chicago can use the same platform track. Without passing cooties back and forth! What is now a PATH track is a Spanish solution track so you can easily do it from mainline trains on track 1 or mainline trains on track 2. Awful. If you want to pay a fare you could step off a train on tracks 1 walk across the platform, walk through the PATH, exit the turnstiles and walk onto a train on track 2. And thos silly silly people in Rahway got on the electric train using level boarding. Terrible. Pick the right moment and three trains can have cross platform transfers. I’m surprised the fabric of the universe doesn’t rend. It’s horrible! The other direction it’s much better. None of this creossing paltforms. You go down stairs or ramps to the mainline trains, stairs or ramps to the longer distance buses and the subway – Imagine that Newark put streetcars in a subway ! – or to the main concourse and waiting room or other stairs to the street and local buses. Terrible. It is missing “up” and “over” Unless you are doing something strange like going back to Manhattan. I suppose you could use the bus to Manhattan, there is one hiding in the flocks of buses down on street level. It’s awful.

    The bane of the Long Island Railroad is “change in Jamaica”. It’s all mainline trains in Jamaica. There are no turnstiles. You can do it in both directions. And at peak lots of people do. AWFUL! They obviously didn’t know what they were doing and the city bound intercity trains should be in a deep tunnel and the subway like trains should be isolated from everything else and anyone who want’s to change trains should be going up and down lots of stairs or getting on two or more elevators. …or is it the intercity trains leaving the city. Or all of them. They obviously didn’t know how to give everyone the delight of going up and down or over and under back and forth. They just walk across a platform. How disappointing.

    and silly me the difference and significance of “local from ” is a difficult concept for Californians. Aren’t all trains inexorably drawn to any platform and must stop ?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …and shouldn’t it be the New York Central of the West since the main terminal, isn’t going to be station, but a terminal, is going to the Grand Central Terminal of the West? Nah can’t be the NYC. They do silly things like run short segments of “locals” that turn into expresses and manage to run more trains per hour. They really should have a wide variety of skip-stop and locals the constrain capacity. Silly people. And use low platforms that increase dwell time. And diesels that have lousy acceleration. All this foderol with electric trains and level boarding. Geesh. Well maybe not because the main terminal in San Francisco is going to be all on one level, Grand Central Terminal is on two. And has a balloon loop. And it doesn’t have a whole bunch of sharp curves just outside the station. Nah, maybe not the NYC.
    Not like in Los Angeles where one of the proposals was for two levels. With the diesel trains on the lower one. Grand Central Terminal, just over a century old, was going to be all electric. They would sneak a diesel in now and then a few decades ago. It’s back to being all electric. They miss out on all the fumes!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …and it’s just awful what they did to Philadelphia. They decided that the joys and pleasures of having trains come into a stub terminal and back out would be wrested from passengers just passing through Philadelphia and they’d make them sit on a train 15 blocks away for less than two minutes. All the time they used coming in and backing out wouldn’t be spent anymore! And just over a century ago they started to take away those magnificent steam trains from the suburban lines and replaced them with electric trains that didn’t have locomotives all. It made much less scenic. Much smaller clouds of steam – on the trains that had steam heat instead of electric heat – and no coal exhaust from the boiler. Making it easier to breath. Terrible. And quieter. Horrendous. Awful. And they didn’t call that station 15 blocks away Union Station. It’s really really confusing that there is a Penn Station Baltimore, Penn Station Newark and Penn Station New York. Multiple stations with the same name. Why didn’t they do like the rest of the country where there are different names, Union Station Los Angeles or Union Station Chicago or Union Station Saint Louis or Union Station the place where two obscure short lines cross each other and instead of patch of gravel by the side of one track and another patch of gravel by the other set of tracks they realigned things a bit and there is one patch of concrete Union Station? Very very confusing that there is more than one Penn Station.
    At least they have come to their senses and closed off the passageway from the station to the underground trolley car lines and the heavy rail line, that was there so people didn’t have to cross the street and now people do. Like they will have to in San Francisco. Someone has come to their senses. Why did they go and use the U-Bahn-y of tunnels that weren’t going be used to send S-bahn-y things to the other side of the river. Why doesn’t that S-bahn-y thing go to all the way out to Atlantic City. Why aren’t they encouraging development out in the scrubby pine forests between Atlantic City and Philadelphia, ….that are preserving trillion and trillions of liters of some of the freshest water on the planet that’s close to big cities if need ever arises? Yes Trillions with a T like in Thomas and an S on the end because there a lot trillions. Silly people.
    Why after the steam railroads that were dieselizing went bankrupt did they get it all cheap, looked around realized that if they redevelop the stubby end terminal that has excessive amounts of stubby thing they can put in two island platforms and connect it to the other stubby ended thing and have two downtown stations with trains that run through at fairly high frequencies to the station at the western edge of downtown and one on the north edge of the far reaches of downtown and one on the sorta kinda south edge where there are universities which are destinations in their own right. Why did they do that. There aren’t any really sharp curves in it. And they didn’t put a bus terminal over either of them with a park on top. Or smoosh everything together into one system that is sorta S-bahny-y on the suburban ends and U-bahn-y in the center and that runs all local all the time. What were they thinking And they got rid of all the diesel trains and the fumes. Well except for the low frequency short train that expresses through the close in suburbs in New Jersey and goes to Atlantic City. That goes through scrubby pine forests that will never be significantly developed.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …. Awful, that if Amtrak got the urge Acela could go to Suburban. Which really is very confusing because Suburban is sorta kinda the center of the S-Bahn-y sytem that serves the far suburbs, that has a few express trains during rush hour, where the even the local trains skip over a lot, through the inner suburbs where they have separate S-bahn-y things or U-bahn-y things.
    …what’s up with the intercity trains having the same loading gauge, track gauge, platform height and signal system as the suburban trains? Really, what’s up with that? Terrible that on really really busy days for intercity travel Amtrak rents a few of the nicer suburban trains, because the suburban systems have a lot less demand on those days, to run extra trains that make a lot of stops on the intercity routes. Just awful. It’s really really bad. And very very confusing, on Thanksgiving weekend, trains with NJTransit logos on the side show up in Washington DC carrying people from New York and Philadelphia. And sometimes trains with MARC logos on the side carrying people from Washington and Philadephia show up in New York realllllllly reallllllly confusing.
    ….. and it’s reallllly odd that on Sunday afternoons when the Giants or the Jets are playing a home game, a train with NJTransit logos on the side leaves New Haven and people in Connecticut get a one side ride to Secausus where – express only stopping at a few select stations – they can catch a shuttle train to the stadium. Where at Penn Station, Penn Station New York and not Penn Station Newark or Penn Station Baltimore because the train is in Manhattan, unbeknownst to them the Metro North crew turns the train over to NJTransit crew and the train magically becomes the train to Trenton. All realllly reallly bad that everthing, is compatible and good enough and not absolutely positively perfection. Terrible I tell you.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Perhaps the Delaware Lackawanna and Western? That had so much suburban traffic they built a straighter less hilly freight bypass early on? Where the suburban parts have branches and the busier parts were getting grade separated by the beginning of the 20th Century. Some that they had to re-do when they grade separated everything on the busy part. That was busy enough to get electrified so early on that Thomas A. Edison himself operated the train that ran for the official grand opening?
    The DL&W and the Erie weren’t big on level boarding. NJTransit understands and there are stations on the former DL&W where people from one branch on train destined for Manhattan can change to a train on a different branch that is destined for Hoboken across the platform that is level with floor, on trains that are using electricity at that point most of the time, Nah, Caltrain isn’t going to have two big urban destinations on one end anytime soon if ever and may some day have a branch. Nah it’s not like the DL&W
    …. except in the study Menlo Park commissioned, the aesthetics of it all, that could have been drawn by a draftsman working for the DL&W in 1915. That was shelfed, quashed really hard and that was going to divide a community that has always been divided by the railroad with a Berlin Wall and have catenary someday that would block the view of telephone poles with six crossarms. Nope not like the DL&W at all.
    ….and if there ever is a branch off Caltrain, in the eternal search for perfection, it won’t be the same track gauge, it won’t be the same loading gauge, it won’t have the same platform height, electrification scheme if it’s electrified at all and an incompatible signal system. That’s incompatible with BART. in a few ways too. It will be more perfect.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Adirondacker

    What exactly is your point?

    EJ Reply:

    They’ve added a Markov chain text generator to his programming.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just agreeing with Clem that it would be awful, terrible and horrendous if it looked a little bit like one of those old timey railroads back east that have running those new fangled electric trains for decades and decades and in some places a little bit over a century. Awful.
    He’d probably like what the Illinois Central got up to back in the 20s better. But that’s not much like California either. The IC, even what’s left of it, has those weird and wonderful express tracks and local tracks and everything more or less got grade separated all at once and electrified all at once. THey did all more or less all at once and things have done a whole lot of going up, coming down, being put back up just to come down again. Pity. They missed all the expense and multiple construction periods.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Seems like outside platforms would require more space for the station and thus more property takings.

    Roland Reply:

    Nope and RWC is a perfect example of how to squeeze 4 tracks in a tight space and watch some seriously fast trains blow by in the middle two tracks while enjoying your latte.

    Please visit Diridon one day to see how much of the island platform is left after accounting for the ramps and you will learn that Diridon cannot possibly handle the same peak boardings as 4th & King without some MAJOR reconfiguration.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Huh? Do you mean Lawrence perhaps? RWC is still a two-track station.

    Roland Reply:

    RWC but the station needs to slide south (the northbound platform edge needs to line up roughly with the northern wall of the box.com building).

    Clem Reply:

    If you’re not trying to reproduce the 1930s Pennsylvania Railroad, here’s how Redwood City should be configured:

    1) download this KML file
    2) open it in Google Earth
    3) observe how a fast-slow-slow-fast station with two expansive 10 x 400 m island platforms (much much wider than San Jose’s island platforms) will fit smack in the middle of Broadway.

    The superior FSSF track layout even has two pocket tracks to turn the San Mateo local back north, and Dumbarton service back south to the bridge, all without gumming up the main tracks on the outside. In the retrograde 1930s scenario of putting fast tracks down the middle, good luck turning trains without fouling the main tracks. More in this blog post.

    Roland Reply:

    1) Kindly help me understand which part of slide 8 of this presentation it is that you do not understand: http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2017/brdmtg_021417_TLU_Board_Meeting_SFO_pres.pdf.

    2) With regards to “turn San Mateo local back north”, may I suggest a study of Ebbsfleet International as educational and potentially enlightening entertainment?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Ebbsfleet international is a massive, overbuilt park and ride.

    Roland Reply:

    And your take on Stratford International is?

    Roland Reply:

    Right again (100% perfect score): http://ebbsfleetdc.org.uk/the-vision/

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I like Stratford International. I’ve used it a few times. It’s a shame it isn’t served by Eurostar.

    Roland Reply:

    Having looked at your KML monstrosity, I now understand why RWC does not want a HSR stop. Good job!!!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Clem
    I always thought your San Mateo local should be the Dumbarton service.

    Roland Reply:

    Clem is currently on an Ebbsfleet International study assignment which will (hopefully) result in a DBR update in the not-too-distant future.

  46. Michael
    Mar 4th, 2017 at 20:07
    #46

    Hey everyone. For whatever reason, the page/site doesn’t automatically refresh on each visit. To avoid the attribution issue, make sure to specifically reload the page each time you visit. Telling someone who does this because they care that they need to do a better job for the nothing they’re getting paid is a good way to get them to say “f it” and kill the site.

    StevieB Reply:

    Do what is called a Hard Refresh on the page. In Chrome you hold down the Ctrl key and click the Reload button. Search for Hard Refresh with other browsers.

  47. Reality Check
    Mar 5th, 2017 at 09:00
    #47

    Trapped BART riders forced into floor-shitting and pissing after Walnut Creek station fire

    A passenger on the train told ABC7 that some passengers were missing flights out of SFO due to the delay. He also said that children needing to use the restroom were ushered into an empty car that was turned into a makeshift bathroom.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Good thing Caltrain riders and advocates prevailed over board member Joél Ramos who fought against the new EMUs having any bathrooms at all. While one bathroom per EMU will sometimes prove inadequate, at least it’s better than none.

    Roland Reply:

    There will be plenty of room for bathrooms once we get rid of the other set of doors.

    Clem Reply:

    Getting rid of the high doors (and the 60 seats located in front thereof) will not save $200 million and will not create additional space for bathrooms or anything else… other than 60 seats. What it will indeed get rid of is Caltrain’s only realistic chance to convert to level boarding in the next three decades. There is no better way to achieve mediocrity for another generation than to “get rid of the other set of doors.”

    It’s the same idea as “repeal and replace”: before you “repeal” the other set of doors you need to “replace” with a technically workable solution to provide future unassisted level boarding–that means a solution that involves neither hand waving nor pixie dust nor billions of dollars. You remind me of the crazy types who’d rather “repeal” and be done with it, leaving us with a third-world system; your way of thinking is just as destructive and reprehensible.

    Level boarding is the most important improvement that Caltrain can make after electrification, and foreclosing on it for another 30 years is the worst kind of “advocacy” I have ever observed.

    Roland Reply:

    1) Au contraire, mon ami. Nobody ever said anything about abandoning level boarding at the 22-25 inch level (https://youtu.be/8skXT5NQzCg?t=29).

    2) As noted earlier by others, 60 seats is sufficient space for 20 bathrooms.

    3) By the time we are done opening the upstairs doors each train will be 450 seats (150 bathrooms) SHORT of the 2012 capacity study.

    4) We should end up with approximately $300M in change by the time we are done hybridizing the ENTIRE fleet (the result of ROBUST competition among multiple manufacturers).

    5) Your way of thinking is destructive and reprehensible (https://youtu.be/KG1hv_0NgXM).

    6) Your soapbox belongs in another playpen.

    Clem Reply:

    That’s not a level boarding solution, it posting a YouTube video and hoping it changes the institutional, regulatory and commercial reality of HSR trainset design for California.

    You have no evidence for HSR ever going with 22-25 inches.
    You have no vehicle solution for 22-25 inches (other than the Dave Couch “we’ll just weld some plates over the step wells” non-solution).
    You have no transition plan to get from here and now to system-wide level boarding.

    All you’ve got is a YouTube link. The agency boards will surely heed it and rescind all the contracts any moment now, I can just read it in their body language during public comments.

    Roland Reply:

    Exhibit 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_platform_height#/media/File:Map_Europe_railway_platform_height.svg

    Exhibit 2: “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).

    Exhibit 3: The CalFranKISSentrains do not qualify for an FTA grant (insufficient seated capacity).

    Case closed.

    Clem Reply:

    Your exhibit 1 is irrelevant, since ADA law does not apply in Europe, allowing all manner of non-level boarding solutions. Very, very little of European HSR can boast of level boarding.

    Your exhibit 2 states technical requirements on slide 6: “Provide level boarding with a platform height above top of rail of 1219 mm – 1295 mm (48 inches – 51 inches)”

    Your exhibit 3 is resolved by 8-car trains, option pricing of which is already in the contract.

    Case dismissed!

    Roland Reply:

    Exhibit 1: You won’t believe how quickly all these minor technical details will get resolved as soon as you keep your nose out of it.

    Exhibit 2 Predates last years RSAC ETF NPRM

    Exhibit 3 is indeed the only way to (legally) qualify for an FFGA. The only problem with that approach is that it increases the cost of the CalFranKISSentrains by another $474M (total $1.2B) or approximately $400M more than a complete fleet with 100 seats + 3 additional bathrooms per train at which point the additional funding becomes an issue.

    Clem Reply:

    “Minor technical details”… what a revealing turn of phrase.

    You will surely have noted that last year’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making on HSR safety was silent on low-floor trains or level boarding. The NPRM changed exactly nothing when it comes to California HSR; it just brought federal regulations into alignment with what the CHSRA has been planning all along.

    The notion that this NPRM would somehow signify a move away from high-floor HSR is wishful tea-leaf reading of the most delusional order.

    Roland Reply:

    My mistake. Ben Tripousis and his PB minions fooled me into believing that the high floors were mandated by all the underfloor equipment.

    With regards to the NPRM, none of your favorite Chinese or Japanese trains meet the proposed Tier III safety standards: “Modifying advanced Japanese high-speed trainsets to comply with the proposed Tier III requirements and be interoperable in the U.S. rail system would likely be cost prohibitive; FRA estimates $4.7 million per trainset. European trains generally would not need carbody, truck, suspension, or brake modifications to comply with the proposed Tier III requirements.” which takes us right back to square one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_platform_height#/media/File:Map_Europe_railway_platform_height.svg

    Are we having fun yet?

    Joe Reply:

    All you’ve got is a YouTube link. The agency boards will surely heed it and rescind all the contracts any moment now, I can just read it in their body language during public comments.

    Ha

    Roland Reply:

    Ha

    Roland Reply:

    On a related note, I had no idea that an FRA NPRM and Wikipedia were YouTube links.

    Joe Reply:

    “I had no idea”

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Clem

    Clem writes:

    Level boarding is the most important improvement that Caltrain can make after electrification, and foreclosing on it for another 30 years is the worst kind of “advocacy” I have ever observed.

    So Clem what is your plan B when the FFGA is rejected and / or HSR funding is not available because of legal problems?

    Are you willing to accept a different solution, that does not include electrification or just continue with present equipment?

    Clem Reply:

    This corridor suffers from significant under-investment. The premise that it will continue to be starved of funds, in one of the richest regions of the world and at a time of strong economic growth, is one I reject outright. If you take two steps back to contemplate the big picture, economic forces will produce a funding mechanism even if the FFGA is denied and Prop 1A funds are withheld.

    Roland Reply:

    This will never happen as long as the San Carlos cuckoo-house is in charge.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Clem who writes:

    …economic forces will produce a funding mechanism even if the FFGA is denied and Prop 1A funds are withheld.

    Well you can take that optimistic on funding view. It should be mentioned, that Caltrain still fails to have its own funding source for operating deficits. They are always begging for funds. Why is there no permanent funding to subsidize operations of the line? That is really a small amount of funding relative to these capital expenses.

    I don’t see this happening and fiascos like CBOSS certainly won’t make that anymore probable.

    The best thing that can happen to change the picture, would be for a full audit of Caltrain at the State level, such as proposed last year for HSR which was defeated by the Governor and the Demo caucus. (being proposed again this year)

    As long as the “blended system” is the pathway, there will be no Federal support, and with Trump in the White House, unlikely under any circumstance.

    At the very least, those supporting Caltrain should insist HSR be removed from the corridor.

    Clem Reply:

    Look at it this way: do you have any doubt that if HSR went down in flames and Caltrain went belly-up, a BART extension from Millbrae to Santa Clara would be anything else than a simple formality?

    Roland Reply:

    FUD = desperation.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Clem

    I keep reading in this blog about BART being extended down the peninsula. I find ZERO support for this ever happening, under any conditions.

    J. Wong Reply:

    @morris brown

    @Clem ‘s statement is based on the supposition that Caltrain no longer exists. With Caltrain operating there is no support for BART on the Peninsula. Without Caltrain do you somehow believe that the gridlock that would result from 50,000 extra commuters being dumped onto 101 and 280 would just be accepted w/o complaint?

    Roland Reply:

    @Morris:

    Caltrain will soar like an eagle as soon as the Board drops the SamTrans boat anchor in the Bay (117 days and counting). With regards to a full audit, that is precisely what Director Gee asked for last month except that he asked for an internal audit. Finally, look at item 7.c on this month’s consent calendar and you will learn that the auditors found SamTrans fingerprints all over the Caltrain cookie jar.

  48. Reality Check
    Mar 5th, 2017 at 09:16
    #48

    BART Bolts Swinging Doors To Stump 7,000 Daily Fare Evaders, But Fire Inspector Says Stop

    By BART’s estimate, fare dodgers cost the agency millions in revenue every year. To arrive at that figure, the agency compares the number of entrants to its system with the number of those who exit. That comes up short by about 7,000 per day. But with the bolted exits, BART says data showed 5,000 more people exited at Embarcadero than had the day before, leading the agency to try to expand the measure to Montgomery Station — where the Fire Marshal soon fielded numerous complaints.

    Reality Check Reply:

    More coverage: BART’s scheme to stop fare cheats thwarted by fire marshal

    BART is trying to find a way to shut the [swinging exit doors] and still comply with the city fire marshal, while it continues working to stymie fare evaders, who probably cost the agency millions in revenue every year.

    […]

    So as BART re-evaluates its plan to close the downtown gates, members of its fare-evasion-prevention task force are devising other ways to crack down on railcar stowaways.

    Engineers are improving fare gates by making them higher — and harder to vault over, raising barriers between stations’ free and pay areas, and stepping up enforcement with more cops writing tickets.

    “We want to prevent fare evasion,” Trost said. “The idea is to recover costs we’re missing and show riders we understand and we’re not going to put up with it.”

    Roland Reply:

    Talking of which I tried to switch from Caltrain to BART at Millbrae last week but there was some kind of grille in front of the ticket gates that prevented access to the BART platform. There was a BART train at the platform and dozens of passengers standing on the platform, presumably waiting for someone to open the doors(?). Does anybody knows what’s up with that and how to walk across the platform from a northbound Caltrain to a northbound BART?

    J. Wong Reply:

    The north gate gets shutdown at a certain point in the evening. The central gate where the agent booth is remains open at all times.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Also, passengers can either board immediately after those terminating at Millbrae exit the train, or after the operator shuts the doors and walks to the other end of the train to start service back in the San Francisco direction, and reopens the doors to allow further boarding before departure.

    Roland Reply:

    Why does the operator have to shut the door while he walks to the other end of the train to start service back in the San Francisco direction? Maybe they need help from the VTA learning how to turn trains around?

    Reality Check Reply:

    Good question. Maybe another stupid union work rule that says train doors cannot be open unless there’s an operator aboard?

    Roland Reply:

    Who knows? Fremont is even more bizarre because they open a single door at the back of the train so you have to walk all the way down the platform and then all the way back through the train to find a seat where you wanted to get on in the first place. The operator opens all the doors for about 20 seconds when the train is ready to leave by which time most of the seats are gone. Hopefully the VTA will resolve these issues if/when BART ever gets to Berryessa(?)

    Roland Reply:

    It was around 10.00 AM.

  49. les
    Mar 5th, 2017 at 09:25
    #49

    Nice to see X still alive and could beat Texas to the punch.

    “told the Daily Press the Victorville-to-Vegas leg was projected to be operational by 2022.”

    http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20170302/high-speed-rail-station-in-victorville-could-be-5-years-away

  50. Scramjett
    Mar 14th, 2017 at 14:08
    #50

    “If California Democrats are serious about resisting Trump – and I believe they are…”

    Maybe I’m just cynical, but I really don’t believe that Cal Dems are half as serious about resisting Trump as they claim to be. 1) None of them have flat out said or done anything openly hostile to Trump because most of their language has been the typical self censored, carefully worded, “talk a lot without saying anything” approach that politicians practice all of the time. 2) They are still, by and large, neoliberal and more concerned with their billionaire and corporate handlers. Trump is actively wooing them (including Silicon Valley) which means their anti-Trump rhetoric is dying down and thus the Cal Dems anti-Trum rhetoric will die down. 3) WSPA and the Oil Industry are still a powerful force in this state.* They are also very chummy with Trump AND Cal Dems.

    Face it. Unless we replace the current crop of neoliberal Cal Dems, there will be no resistance to Trump and we will suffer along with the rest of the country. Perhaps worse since Trump has made us his very special deconstruction project.

    *https://www.thenation.com/article/big-oils-grip-on-california/

    I realize that I’m coming in late and Robert is unlikely to see this, but I just couldn’t let this pass.

    Scramjett Reply:

    Sorry for the all bold guys, I forgot the “” XD

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