Trump Administration Blocks Caltrain Grant

Feb 17th, 2017 | Posted by

I’ve been meaning to write in detail about the Republican attack on Caltrain electrification. But today the Trump Administration dropped the bomb: they’re delaying the grant decision, perhaps for a year:

The Federal Transit Administration delayed a decision Friday on whether to approve a $650 million federal grant for electrification of a San Francisco Bay Area train system that would also help California’s high-speed rail project.
Congressional Republicans had pushed the administration to reject the application from Caltrain. In a letter sent Friday, the same day a decision was due, the agency said it was deferring a ruling so the project could be considered as part of President Donald Trump’s budget. No timeline was given in the letter, and spokeswoman Angela Gates said the project would be reviewed along with the president’s other fiscal 2018 budget considerations.

While it’s possible this means Trump wants to take credit for it, or turn it into a public private partnership that can enrich his allies, it’s also likely that this is just a fuck you to California – siding with the Republicans who want to smash rail everywhere they see it. 

This is a bad sign for federal rail funding more broadly, at least in California. It will encourage more interventions by Congressional Republicans to block federal grants. 

Most importantly, it shows the urgent need for California to find its own sources of rail money. The federal government is now completely unreliable. If California is serious about climate change, infrastructure, and resisting Trump, they will find a way to replace the billions in lost federal funding for projects all over the state – including HSR. 

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  1. zorro
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 14:05
    #1

    California can replace this $647 Million grant(And Gov Brown might just do so), but then the State Legislature GOP/Republicans are powerless to stop this from happening, Twitler can stick it up His Nazi ass, where the UV rays of His tanning bed don’t shine.

    Aarond Reply:

    Yep this. I’ve already called Jerry Hill and asked him to pump the money.

    William Reply:

    $647 Million over 4~5 years shouldn’t be too hard for California. Perhaps some renegotiation with Stadler and/or Balfour Beatty to extend the payment schedule?

    zorro Reply:

    4 or 5 years for the $647 Million? I’d think that could be done as part of the State Budget, this year. A one time appropriation, now that the GOP collaborators are not able to gum up the works in CA…

  2. Robert Benson
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 14:59
    #2

    Money doesn’t grow on trees, and this is not a trivial expenditure. So, it is far easier said than done saying the state can find the money on its own. It can, to be sure, but something else gets not done.

    What is really sad are the California GOP fanatics who would rather hurt the state in the name of fighting HSR than helping deal with our problems. They know that Caltrain electrification would be a big boost to Peninsula commuters, but they just don’t care. Clearly, they don’t deserve to retain their seats.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    1. The money was already committed, so the feds have no excuses.

    2. The overall cost of Caltrain electrification is $2 billion, inc. rolling stock, and projected ridership is 100,000. On a pure cost per rider basis it’s justified.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    The net gain in Caltrain ridership is only 20k (per feir). And that is with the DTX, so add another $4++ billion for that. Even if you include future HSR usage, the per rider cost is pretty bad.

    Joe Reply:

    Awesome math slilzz. Now what?!

    We have the 101-880 interchange to redesign for ~1B.
    So many choices.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Hi Drunk,

    We are typically a grinch when it comes to rail projects and their overoptimistic forecasts. Caltrain is the bizarre exception who has dramatically underestimated ridership.

    Typically service levels are way better than they will actually be. Caltrain assumes limited additional service and assumes only 1/3 of trains will actually go to downtown San Francisco.

    It is actually a problem to be so conservative – cities are not adequately planning for dramatic surges in demand when Caltrain goes to downtown SF. They will have BART like ridership but must figure out how people can access the station without BART parking lot strategy.

    It is also a problem for financing. In any normal universe , electrification and new trains would allow Caltrain either to be profitable (yes, for real) or dramatically increase service levels. In Caltrain’s world, there is only a tiny bump in capacity and they are assuming huge increases in cost structure. This means they can’t finance trains.

    See pdf page 55-56
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/_Planning/Strategic+Plan/Strategic+Plan+FY2015+-+FY2024/Caltrain+Short+Range+Transit+Plan+-+FY2015-FY2024+-+Final.pdf

    Wells Reply:

    Elon Musk recently added highway tunnels to his wish list along with hyperloops and space ships.
    I wonder what the outwardly genuine German intellectual will suggest next?

    Lee M Reply:

    He is South African. He is a Canadian and U.S. citizen. He is an engineer with degrees in Physics and Economics. Not German.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Wells, maybe you thinking of Musk’s (and Trump’s) German pal, Peter Thiel?

    Wells Reply:

    No, Elon Musk’s accent, wherever he got it, seemed more Germanic than others,
    South African, Canadian. Whatever. Let’s just say I’m not a big Tesla fan.
    Leaf battery pack size and 100mile range seems to me most advantageous.
    I’ve tried to explain the perspective here many times.
    Faster is slower. Slower is faster.
    In order to go faster, one must go slower.
    If one does not wish to go slower, one must NOT go faster.
    I’m almost around to trump joke trumpisms.
    I predict he will devise a health problem
    that requires his surrender of office to VP Pense.
    Pense will not drive near as many people bonkers.
    You heard it here first. Health prob forces trump out by ’18.

    Roland Reply:

    Right again (100% perfect score): http://www.motortrend.com/cars/tesla/model-s/2017/2017-tesla-model-s-p100d-first-test-review/

  3. Alon Levy
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 15:01
    #3

    I think the explanation is more conventional: the state Republicans don’t want it because it’s a necessary component of HSR, and Trump is running a conventionally Republican transportation department. Chao is a conventional secretary of transportation, perhaps the only one in Trump’s cabinet.

    It’s not exactly a fuck you to California – Trump’s infrastructure wishlist has water and energy projects in California. It’s not exactly hostility to all rail; all reporting I’ve read on the subject says the Republicans have nothing against Caltrain, they’re just holding it hostage in order to get HSR canceled. In other states, Republicans have routinely supported rail provided it isn’t too flashy. Low-performing commuter lines like SunRail and South Coast Rail are fine; HSR is not, and neither are urban subway tunnels.

    This isn’t on Trump. It’s on the Republican Party in general.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Trump’s wishlist includes cutting taxes so deeply that everything except Defense and Social Security get cut. That is mutually exclusive with spending a trillion dollars on infrastructure.

    …..If the funding has been deferred they don’t have to have the umpteenth investigation.

    Clem Reply:

    That is mutually exclusive

    Nope. Two words for you: deficit spending

    Wells Reply:

    What are the economic barriers to ‘regional’ planning/development, transit-oriented localization of produce harvest and hard goods to the broader market? Seattlers struggling again
    (or struggling agayn uhGAIN uh). Bertha has undermined Seattle’s oh so vulnerable high hillside foundations, first above or directly adjacent historical or contemporary buildings, compiling estimates of structural integrity, ie, “FORCED DEMOLITION”. .. ha ha .. THEy still want and now will demolish their forefather’s legacy of stew-pit-dit-ee. Congratulations, Sealth low bros. How smart you ain’t.

    Domayv Reply:

    The Texas HSR line is listed on Trump’s transportation wishlist

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s privately-funded so far, so Abbott isn’t against it. (The wishlist is taken from gubernatorial wishlists.)

    Domayv Reply:

    Then it makes me wonder why you said “Republicans have routinely supported rail provided it isn’t too flashy” since HSR would normally be something “flashy”

    And who is this Abbott guy

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Costello’s partner? Though even the Keystone Kops could do a better job
    ….there are times when Kellyanne talks about first base and Scott talks about second base and the Donald changes his mind and says he really meant third base.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Abbott is the Governor of Texas. He doesn’t object to Texas HSR provided it’s entirely privately-funded… which is why Trump wants to fund it. It’s like the SNL sketch from the early Obama days, in which Obama divided companies into ones that could survive without government subsidies and therefore would get subsidies, and ones that could not and therefore would be cut off.

    Aarond Reply:

    That’s my view as well. Trump doesn’t care about either Caltrain or HSR, this is his party (in particular, the remaining CA branch of his party) being obstructive.

    However, we can avoid this completely thanks to the 2/3rds majority in Sacramento. In which case Caltrain might end up with $600 million extra it can use to finish CBOSS or cross Dumbarton.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    CBOSS is terrible and the Dumbarton crossing isn’t part of the plan.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    California is special and nothing no one uses nowhere is special enough.

    Roland Reply:

    Back in 2009: “The requirement for interoperability and the fact that CBOSS defines a number of capabilities that are not implemented in a current product challenges the supplier to develop something new and to do it in a way that involves minimal impact to the Class 1 freight railroads that are collectively working to develop their PTC solution.”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Documents/FRA+Waiver+2009/Ref03+-CBOSS+Technical+Description_DRAFT.pdf
    What could possibly go wrong?

  4. les
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 15:54
    #4

    First shot fired across the bow. I wonder what California can continue with independent of the 600+ million? This should embolden moderate dems to act in unison with the remaining Ca. dems and up the C&T ante for rail.

  5. Jerry
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 16:26
    #5

    Time WAS of the essence.
    But the three bureaucracies were asleep at the switch.
    They (the three different County Boards) dilly dallied and had to call emergency meetings to approve additional funds demanded by the FTA before approving the FFGA.
    But bureaucracies are used to taking their good old time and they thought Hillary would win.

    Jerry Reply:

    What did they know?
    And when did they know it?

    Jerry Reply:

    When did the FTA demand the additional funds??

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s infuriating to witness but hopefully this spurs Sacramento into fully funding CAHSR by raising the gas tax or similar. They have the votes for it and now they have a bonafide reason to do so to keep Prop1A rolling along.

    We’ll (hopefully) see a net gain but Sacramento needs to move on it within the next seven business days before March 1st.

  6. Jerry
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 16:28
    #6

    So will the money CAHSRA invested in CalTrain electrification now be used for the Central Valley to San Jose segments? ?

    Clem Reply:

    No. The Prop 1A HSR funds are a different slice of the pie than the FTA slice of the pie. The FTA doesn’t fund HSR, so if it withholds the funds there will be no advantage to HSR.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Clem:

    The $600 million of Prop1A funds that were allocated to partially fund Caltran’s project, are certainly part of the $9 billion from Prop 1A funds, that were to be used for HSR. They can certainly be moved somewhere else.

    This money being used for Caltrain electrification has major legal problems. As the funding plan consultant noted, only if AB-1889 (Mullin) is constitutional can these funds be used for this project.

    Caltrain was way out of line going ahead signing contracts before there was solid funding. Now they will pay the price.

    Joe Reply:

    This money being used for Caltrain electrification has major legal problems

    Retired Crackpots with lawyers aren’t legal problems.

    Clem Reply:

    The $647M FTA grant had nothing to do with your $600M Prop 1A contribution. That’s all I’m saying. Letting limited contracts to perform long-lead work in parallel with assembling the complete funding package is neither crazy nor illegal.

    What’s back in play now is the cost and schedule, neither of which will improve over the already dismal figures of $2 billion and late 2021.

    les Reply:

    There’s still enough funds for electrification and EMUs and hence a March 1 contract isn’t there? What took a hit, IMO, is:

    Contingency cost was about 1/2 the lost grant at 316 million.
    Separate Contracts & Support Costs was another 416 million

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Documents/PCEP+Cost+and+Funding.pdf

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Clem

    The $600 million Prop 1A contribution has everything to do with the FTA Grant. Without the HSR contribution, the FTA would have never approved the FFGA, as it didn’t have required funding. FTA certainly has made that clear, since they refused to approve until more funding was obtained from the other funding partners.

    I take issue with going ahead with signing contracts with the funding not really in hand. I also take issue with charging to the project over $90 million ,which seem to be 20 years of studies, support costs etc. In any case right now they are in “deep dodo”

    Clem Reply:

    We’re all in deep doodoo.

    Roland Reply:

    What happened to your electric bike???

    Jerry Reply:

    The Morris Brown 7:46 pm post is 100% accurate and correct.
    (Give the devil his due.)
    :-)
    (Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.)

    Jerry Reply:

    As Morris points out, the FTA “refused to approve until more funding was obtained from the other funding partners.”
    And the other “funding partners” only woke up and held “emergency meetings” after they realized that Hillary had lost.
    What a way to run a railroad.

    Roland Reply:

    When was the last time SamTrans knew anything about running a railroad?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    What is your expertise in running a railroad or determining how it should be run?

    What makes you think VTA will do any better than SamTrans?

    VTA is beholden to San Jose and BART to Silicon Valley. In the 1980’s -1990’s SamTrans/San Mateo County was fixated on BART to SFO, which has not lived up to the claims by its promoters, and cost was significantly higher than promised.

    You weren’t around when Caltrans was running Caltrain; it was pretty shitty, although much of that may have been due to an extremely poor contract with Southern Pacific and totally anti-rail Governor “Dukes-A-Hazard”. One thing in favor of Caltrans management was they were better at producing yearly planning documents.

    Roland Reply:

    “The BART extension into San Jose is ahead of schedule and under budget.”
    “I am delighted that the federal government has seen once again the quality of our grant application.”
    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/10/11/bart-silicon-valley-expansion-plan-roars-forward/

    Any questions?

    Eric Reply:

    “The BART extension into San Jose is ahead of schedule and under budget.”

    Under its vastly inflated budget…

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Roland: “The BART extension into San Jose is ahead of schedule and under budget.”

    “Fake news”??? Voodoo economics???

    No BART extension has ever been on time and under budget.

    Maybe they are using voodoo math such as they used to claim the SFO/Millbrae extension will “make” money… (Because Colma Station “made” money). In the past, BART spokes-droids have claimed that the extension is doing well and recovers nearly all fare revenue vs. operating cost. They have also claimed that Caltrain hurt BART ridership by implementing Baby Bullet service.

    Perhaps a similar statement was made back in the late 1990’s while the SFO/Millbrae extension was being built.

    Roland Reply:

    @Jeff, ever wondered why Santa Clara County refused to be a BART district?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    San Mateo County refused to be in the BART district also.

    San Mateo had to pay a $200 million “buy in fee” and another $75 million in cost overruns. San Mateo BART fares include a San Mateo County surcharge. All because San Mateo is not part of the BART district.

    How much did VTA pay as a “buy in fee”? If not, they why not?

    Roland Reply:

    1) The Berryessa extension is managed and constructed by the VTA and its contractors, not BART.
    2) Warm Springs is in Alameda County (a BART District). The Warm Springs extension is being constructed by BART with the same budget and schedule issues you had in San Mateo.

    Jerry Reply:

    CalTrain Railroad Executive Manager fails to have all ducks in order so as to obtain final approval of Federal Grant before Obama leaves office.

    Jerry Reply:

    “Emergency Meetings” were all too late.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Real question – was FTA’s request for additional backup funds before or after November 8th?

    If before, we have to ask what took Caltrain et al so long.

    If not, the good news/ bad news would be that there may be some objective (but not public) concerns with the project. The bad news is there are problems – the good news is the delay does not represent a new level of politicization of the funding process.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Just to be clear – the Obama team would have known that anything that pushed final approvals past inauguration would create real risks. They could have gotten the deal done without the extra hoops with quiet assurances that additional reserves would be added later.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Or they wanted the dirty job of turning it down because it’s overpriced to happen during a different administration. . .

    Jerry Reply:

    Expensive projects this size with multiple agencies cannot and should not be based upon “quiet assurances.”

    joe Reply:

    the good news is the delay does not represent a new level of politicization of the funding process.

    The “process” is politicized and it’s supposedly our fault. Using the language of an abuser, here’s McCarthy.

    A Trump Ally in Congress Warns His State, California, to Make Nice

    And in an interview here, Mr. McCarthy left no doubt that his loyalties in this fight were east of the Mississippi River. He assailed California’s Democratic leaders for provoking the president, and warned that it could prove damaging to the state, particularly as the Trump administration created an infrastructure program to pay for public works projects across the nation.

    “Look, I will represent my district, and I will represent my state,” Mr. McCarthy said in his first-floor suite of offices, between votes. “But what they are doing, they are playing with fire. Donald Trump is not going out in any way or form to attack California. They are the ones who are attacking California right now. They are the ones who are putting Californians at risk in every shape and form. And they are doing it to make a political point, which is wrong.”

    Roland Reply:

    There was no way the FTA could have approved this FFGA until the geniuses in charge of this project put another $1/2B on the table:
    – EMU increase to all 6-car trains: $210M
    – EMU increase to all 8-car trains: $230M
    – 8-Car EMU Platform Lengthening: $34M

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/_Planning/Strategic+Plan/Strategic+Plan+FY2015+-+FY2024/Caltrain+Short+Range+Transit+Plan+-+FY2015-FY2024+-+Final.pdf (page 56)

    Jerry Reply:

    “additional backup funds” ?
    Don’t believe it was “additional.”
    Disagreement seemed to be over “committed” funds and actual “approved” funds. The “emergency” meetings were held to “approve” the local funds.
    CalTrain knew in May, 2016 what the requirements were.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    No – these were additional funds to provide an extra reserve.

    Jerry Reply:

    The word “additional” was specifically struck out in the “Revised” minutes of the SMCTA January 5, 2017 meeting staff report.
    It is Agenda Item #13 (b), page 28, from April Chan, Chief Officer, Planning, Grants, and the Transportation Authority to the TV through Jim Hartnett.

    Jerry Reply:

    to the TA

    Roland Reply:

    As your correctly pointed out, $2B includes approximately $1B of pure undiluted SamTrans pork. This minor contretemp is a godsend opportunity to clean up house and put Caltrain back on track, including electrification AFTER everything else is done.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I’d call 1b in waste a price worth paying for electrification NOW.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Not if another favorite project is cancelled because there isn’t a billion left to pay for it, car free. Shame on you for such a statement. Roland makes a good point, but unfortunately it is unlikely to be taken up. There are very few things like like about our President, and while it is mostly theatre his challenge to some of the aerospace companies to reduce their prices ought surely to be echoed by Governor Brown and others. The price of Caltrain electrification is a scandal and we shouldn’t just let it pass as “the way it is”.

    Joe Reply:

    Find one.

    Let’s see transit advocates make some better investments.

    Time for everyone to bring out their pet rocks.

    They want to rebuild a highway interchange for 1B.
    I say Caltrain instead.

    Roland Reply:

    No one in their right mind wants to blow $1B on rebuilding the 101/880 interchange either.

    joe Reply:

    No one in their right mind …balh blah blah.

    This interchange is in the santa clara co.’s list of infrastructure projects.

    it will be built and our purists transit hobbyists and attention seekers will help by undercutting public transit for being too costly — as usual.

    Roland Reply:

    balh blah blah.

    Joe Reply:

    BTW

    Do some reading about F35 cost per unit. My news feed tells me the price per unit was expected to drop.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The price was expected to drop last year. While that evil born in Kenya guy was in office.

    joe Reply:

    Paul didn’t know this fact. A Con-Man says he is negotiating a better deal. People get conned and argue for some “negotiation” to cut caltrain prices.

    This is how purist transit advocates work against people’s real needs for better transit with demands for fiscal and technical perfection.

    It’s not like buying car and no, they cannot get a better deal.
    Nop Gov brown should be on TV arguing he can get a better deal like it’s the apprentice season 3.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    joe, open your wallet and say after me: “Help yourself”.
    I don’t care if trump is a con man, my point is that someone in CA government, starting with the appropriate management board, should be asking the pertinent questions, like if ABC cost $X per mile then why are we being charged 2X. The Governor ought to have the heft to do this if the Boards don’t. And it goes back to what I have posted here many times, we do not have competent Boards with domain knowledge. They don’t know the questions to ask, let alone understand the answers. You want to give these jackasses a blank check joe, but this will be the first and last electrification if the cost is this high. Maybe you are too parochial to care. Some of us have a larger perspective.

    Jerry Reply:

    @Paul
    Agree.
    Perhaps the headline for this blog news should be :
    Hartnett Administration fails to obtain Federal Grant for CalTrain.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    8 years of a relatively pro California pro rail administration and Caltrain ran out of time to complete the appropriate forms…. Perhaps they could sue the companies that sold CBOSS.

    Roland Reply:

    The Board is certainly looking at that option.

    Joe Reply:

    My wallet is open.

    Not going to be conned by people promising imaginary stuff at half price that never happens over stuff that can happen now.

    The most damaging arguments to under fund public transit are made by self appointed advancers.

    Here we go with transit advocates justifying the GOP attacks on Bay Area transit.

    Attention seekers pay both sides – cheer transit and then backstab it for lacking perrection.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Joe, you are clearly one of these selfish people who wants their own project regardless of cost, and regardless of whether it deprives other regions of needed service. “trains for me but not for thee”. I see enough of this with supporters of the NEC, which sucks up all of Amtrak’s dollars to the detriment of the rest of the country. As others have pointed out, Caltrain is run by an ignorant rubber stamp Board that has allowed electrification and PTC to run out of control and way over any reasonable price in comparison to its peers. Not only that, they can’t even organize an effective begfest during 8 years of a favorable administration. And this is supposed to become an example of regional rail modernization for the rest of the State?

    Roland Reply:

    @Paul, not only is the so-called Caltrain “Modernization Program” a scandal but it is an impediment to Governor Brown and CalSTA’s efforts to facilitate additional electrification throughout California.

    Roland Reply:

    Correct: The FTA should not fund PBRRA-mandated multiple sets of doors and assorted internal lift and stair paraphernalia that cripple Caltrain’s ability to provide a viable alternative to the Valley’s transportation needs.

    Jerry Reply:

    These multiple agencies/bureaucracies (Fed/State/Local) do not share goals in which every body experiences the same reality.
    Is this chaos forever or just until 2020?

    Alan Reply:

    Probably just until the impeachment. Gen. Flynn was only the first of the Trumpettes to go down.

    Bdawe Reply:

    Yes, but removing Trump and replacing him with Pence does not actually solve this rather bog-standard republican anti-transit problem

    It would be a significant improvement in many other respects, though

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If Trump and Pence get impeached or resign simultaneously Speaker Ryan is next in line. .. if it doesn’t happen until 2019….. Speaker Pelosi….

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I like the sound of that. Reelect president pelosi 2020.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @adirondacker: wrong. The first female in the line of Presidential succession under Trump at #13 is none other than Caltrain electrification grant blocker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Elaine Chao isn’t a natural born citizen. Secretary of Transportation is in line but whoever holds the position has to be otherwise eligible.
    It’s Vice President, Speaker of the House, President pro tem of the Senate and then filters down into the cabinet. If Nancy Pelosi is speaker in 2019 she’s next.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Under what scenario would Pence and Trump exit simultaneously, without harming Pelosi’s 2020 chances?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    This administration is full of surprises – both of them seeking asylum in Russia for instance…. It would have to explode after there is a Democrat in the Speaker’s position which means the Democrats would have to retake the House in 2018.

    Edward Reply:

    The assumed tradition (if you can call something that has never happened a tradition) is that the Speaker would resign and the House would elect a Speaker who would become President. The previous Speaker would then be reelected by the House.

    Of course if the Speaker really, really wanted to be President…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They can’t dawdle around for days while they do that. When it’s announced in the dead of night that Trump’s private jet is over the Arctic on it’s way to Moscow someone wakes up the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and they go to the Speaker’s house and swear him or her in… or they all meet in the Rotunda of the Capitol. . . Calvin Coolidge gets the news and with news reporters as witnesses gets sworn in by his father whose only official title is notary public. The Speaker could invite the reporters in and do it right then and there. Or on the front porch…
    The Speaker could be sworn in. Then they have a few weeks to confirm a new Vice President. The former speaker then resigns. And a new Vice President is confirmed.

    Eric Reply:

    if somehow the election is determined to be void?

    agb5 Reply:

    Paul Ryan really, really wants to be President. At this rate, Trump is almost certain to be removed from office for one reason or another, whether impeached or committed to a mental institution. If Ryan can figure out how to get rid of Pence, Ryan will certainly try to become President.

    Roland Reply:

    Joe & Elizabeth will win in a landslide if the election is declared void.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We don’t have a method to have a Presidential election in off years. Something happens between the elections Congress picks a replacement. Trump leaves office, resigns, impeached, dies, Pence becomes President. If Pence leaves office, resigns gets impeached ….. never gets sworn in because he’s on a plane over Arctic fleeing to asylum in Russia…. before a new vice president is confirmed, the speaker of the House is next in line. Assuming there isn’t a Boehner like departure, it’s Paul Ryan. If it’s after January 3rd 2019 and the Democrats have retaken the house, it’s whoever they elected Speaker.
    … I was very impressed by the Representative from NY-12, a Democrat, who was making a statement and taking questions at JFK Airport shortly after the Not-A-Muslim Ban went into effect. Very articulate and very composed. …. very not-male, very not-WASP and very obvious that English is not her first language. She would make heads explode and very likely do a very good job….

  7. Roland
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 16:36
    #7

    Thank you President Trump and Secretary Chao for letting coming sense prevail.
    The 60,000 daily riders will never forget how close they came to the obliteration of Caltrain at the hands of the San Carlos mafia-funded lunatic fringe.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    You mean you don’t want electrification? Wif

    Joe Reply:

    He’s just attention seeking.

    What ever gets attention.

    Clem Reply:

    We had to burn the village down in order to save it.

    Roland Reply:

    Caltrain will soar like an eagle from the ashes of the San Carlos loony bin.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Only to be run by another dysfunctional Bay Area loony bin…

    Roland’s choice is VTA… One of the lowest farebox recoveries and one of the poorest performing light rail systems in the country, meetings in San Jose, good for Roland, bad for everyone else on the peninsula/San Francisco. Lower fares on Caltrain would be nice though.

    Then there is BART… Meetings in Oakland, no more monthly passes, no express service, neither is good for any Caltrain customers.

    Then there is MUNI…. Too political and meetings in San Francisco, not good for customers in lower peninsula/Santa Clara County.

    Or could be a new entity, to be added to the over two dozen dysfunctional transit empires here in the Bay Area?

    Roland Reply:

    You forgot ACE.

    Capitol Corridor is managed by BART and most of the Board meetings are held in the Suisun City Council Chambers: http://www.capitolcorridor.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2017-CCJPA-Board-Meeting-Schedule.pdf

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    I knew I forgot something… ACE…

    Reedman Reply:

    FYI, recent BART news:
    BART has people at the empty Warm Springs station every day ….

    http://abc7news.com/traffic/report-bart-staffing-empty-warm-springs-station-in-fremont/1753754/

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Anybody think Warm Springs BART will just open with Berryessa BART?

    joe Reply:

    BART is having problems with software integration between legacy and new SW. Nothing will open until all are resolved.

    Roland Reply:

    And that, ladies and gentlemen is precisely why the VTA should have stuck with standard (AKA “normal”) technology with cross-platform transfers at Warm Springs.

    joe Reply:

    “normal”

    Like your Omeno hybrid toilet train.

    Roland Reply:

    Do you even know what an Omneo looks like and, if so, how many do you count in this video?
    https://youtu.be/xUkm1u4JViY

    Joe Reply:

    I don’t care. The train you wanted Caltrain to buy doesn’t exist. Not normal or standard.

    You don’t follow your own advice and offer a mess of contradictions and inconsistencies.

    Roland Reply:

    Are you implying that all these commuters getting on/off these non-existent not normal or standard trains with a single set of level-boarding doors live in some kind of alternate reality?

    Joe Reply:

    O Omneo, Omneo!
    Wherefore art thou Omneo?

    You shall have KISSes from Stadler but no FLIRTs.

    Roland Reply:

    You will never guess where this nice young man is going to buy his hybrid trains (including bathrooms): https://youtu.be/3TNFWZrzUw4?t=5463

    Reality Check Reply:

    BART has plenty of staffers at station with no trains or riders

    BART has fully staffed its years-late and never-opened Warm Springs Station since August with five $73,609-a-year station agents and an $89,806-a-year train dispatch supervisor — even though no trains will be running there for at least another two months.

    Two janitors are also assigned to the empty station. But because it’s pretty clean — what with nobody using it — the custodians typically clock in, then commute in a BART sedan to other stations along the line to finish out their shifts.

    Joe Reply:

    Since September, there have been station agents and a “fore worker” who would manage the dispatching of trains, if there were any trains to dispatch. Someone is there every weekday from 4 a.m. to midnight, and only slightly shorter hours on weekends.

    As for what they all do, with no trains and no riders?

    “They are helping prep the station for opening, and they are keeping an eye on the station to prevent vandalism, theft and so on,” Trost said.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    How many ballot measures has VTA and SVMG put to voters with funding promised to Caltrain and bus service, yet once it passes, the funding is reprogrammed to BART?

    Roland Reply:

    Ain’t gonna happen this time.
    That’s why the measure passed two years late (it needed some minor tuning).

  8. morris brown
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 17:40
    #8
  9. morris brown
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 19:48
    #9

    Caltrain’s official news release on the event of the day.

    Caltrain News Release: Caltrain Electrification Grant Deferred

    joe Reply:

    Menlo Park’s General Plan for downtown.
    https://www.menlopark.org/149/El-Camino-Real-and-Downtown-Specific-Pla

    It is heavy depended on Caltrain trips.
    You’re just making it harder on yourself Morris.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Redwood City, home of Caltrain CEO and former mayor Jim Hartnett, with its 2nd-busiest Caltrain station in SMCo. and 6th-busiest overall, has been on a TOD building bender (~2,500 net new downtown housing units completed or approved) … all within easy walking distance of Caltrain on the assumption of modernization & capacity improvements.

    Already the local NIMBY anti-growth contingent is starting to scream about how (even more) screwed Redwood City will be now that the presumed Caltrain electrification / modernization is facing an indefinite delay.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Link got goofed up somehow … no edit function, so here’s another try:
    Redwood City’s current development projects

  10. Aarond
    Feb 17th, 2017 at 20:08
    #10

    I chalk this up to Trump being lazy rather than outright vindictive. If it was the latter, he would have openly threatened so on twatter. He doesn’t want to make the decision so he’s letting Congress do it, which eventually means Caltrain will get the money (if I remember right House Republicans tried removing HSR funding in the FY15-17 budget but Fienstien added it back in) although it’ll be another year.

    Anyway, Sacramento now has ample room to step in and provide the money. Dems have the 2/3rds majority needed to raise the gas tax and this is how we securely fund CAHSR.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You are assuming he has the time to care. Between yammering on about how it’s all made up and almost in then next breath complaining about all the leaks. Or beating the dead horse of how he got 306 Electoral College votes, the bestest everest. ( He got 304 and G.W. did much better in 2004 )

  11. JimInPollockPines
    Feb 18th, 2017 at 08:59
    #11

    California needs to cut the education and social services budgets and increase the transportation budgets so that all are equally funded.

    Eric Reply:

    Says the guy living in a suburb with no kids, who doesn’t have anything to gain from education or social services.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    he gonna get old someday. He’s going to want his care taker to be able to read the packaging on the diapers and liquid diet.

  12. les
    Feb 18th, 2017 at 11:25
    #12

    Isn’t there another C&T auction coming up soon? We could use some positive news to help wash away that awful taste of fox & hound I have in my mouth.

  13. Eric
    Feb 18th, 2017 at 14:02
    #13

    This is your periodic reminder that the main job of the federal government is to subsidize red states at the expense of blue states. If you want blue state tax money to actually be spent in blue states, you should work to decrease federal taxes and spending, and increase state taxes and spending accordingly.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    We should be thinking about tax reform and repatriated money coming to Silicon Valley firms. Billions.

    Jerry Reply:

    Trillions.

    Roland Reply:

    Headed straight to Washington to pay for the Great Wall of California.

    Donk Reply:

    Lets eliminate the federal gas tax. Keep the money in CA. Every state for themselves.

    Jerry Reply:

    Certainly something worth considering.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Hey, if it wasn’t for I-80 and I-90 through the middle of nowhere people in Chicago, New York, Toronto and Atlanta would have to pay ten cents more for salad and frozen fries.

    les Reply:

    so

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Can’t let them get beat into gravel, if they get beat into gravel there won’t be any salad or frozen French fries. If gas tax money doesn’t get sucked out of the coasts, where the salad and fries are being eaten, the tolls on the road have to be high. Not necessarily a bad thing but the price of salad and fries and apples and wine and … go up.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Eating local is always good.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Think about that the next time you put real sugar in your coffee.
    With reallly cheap electricity the supermarket can grow the salad on the roof. They can’t grow coffee.
    Can’t grow apples in San Diego, it doesn’t get cold enough and can’t grow oranges in Chicago it’s too cold. …. you don’t want to eat local.

    Danny Reply:

    AND to make the “takers” think they’re the “makers”–remember when Phil Robertson said north Louisiana was singlehandedly keeping both coasts afloat; or when Craig T. Nelson opposed government assistance because nobody from the government gave him any money back when he was on food stamps and welfare

    Suzanne Mettler calls it the “submerged state”: when the 90s Dems turned against the New Deal and Great Society that ironically let the GOP obscure how dependent its constituents were on Washington without the Dems being able to fight back (since that’d annoy the new donors)

    Jerry Reply:

    And in 2005 the Speaker of the House said — It makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild a city that’s 7 feet under sea level.
    And the President said (after, Hell of a job, Brownie!) we will rebuild NOLA after we rebuild Iraq.

    Jerry Reply:

    But first, we need another tax cut.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Saint Ronnie said everytime taxes get cut the Holy Laffer Curve will make revenue go up.

    Jerry Reply:

    Saint Sam of Kansas said the same thing.

    Danny Reply:

    that’s how Cruz operates–block flood aid for everywhere … except Texas

    that way 1. he can pose as “taking TX’s money back from DC,” 2. butter up Texans as “deserving” of aid (not welfare for corrupted urbanites), and 3. take full credit for the money–it’s not Federal aid (Mettler again), it’s your great Cuban Canuck hero pulling through for you

    and this is the state of Ann Richards and Ralph Yarborough

    Aarond Reply:

    In fairness, most of California is at (or will soon be) under sea level as well. In fifty years the levee system will be mostly useless as tides change and seawater starts rushing further and further into the valley, recreating the original lakes. When this happens we’ll be needing the Feds to build a new water management system, and perhaps help pay for inland desalination.

    Joe Reply:

    Aarond.

    Try showing us all a link to your fantastical sea level claims.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A dam across the Golden Gate solves the seawater flooding problem. Creates all sorts of other ones but solves the seawater problem.

    An entertaining account of the plan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i70wkxmumAw

    There were plans to dam Long Island sound, it turns into fresh water relatively fast. Land fill the East River. I’m sure other coastal cities have grandiose plans. New York City was slowly but surely filling in the swamps north of Newark Bay. …then there are the plans to dam the Mediterranean..

    Danny Reply:

    it’s a mini-Atlantropa

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Exaggerate much, Aarond.

    Take a look at this: http://earlywarn.blogspot.ca/2010/04/latest-sea-level-rise-projections.html

    Even with over 200 feet of sea level rise (which is NOT happening), most of CA is high and dry: http://spatialities.com/category/sea-level-rise-maps/

    It isn’t that bad.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The isles of San Francisco will be scenic and the fishing over the Stockton reef might be good. Maybe not as good as over the Sacramento reef but good..

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    You can’t beat the botoxed fish of the O Sea, though.

  14. agb5
    Feb 19th, 2017 at 05:47
    #14

    Caltrain should replace some of its diesel locomotives with steam locomotives to generate national publicity for the about-to-be-cancelled-by-Trump infrastructure project.

    Roland Reply:

    Wonderful… One of the overpaid SamTrans retards just read this and has already scheduled an all hands strategy meeting to do just that!

  15. morris brown
    Feb 19th, 2017 at 13:50
    #15

    LA Times: U.S. Transportation department executive approved grant days before taking job with rail contractor

    Joe Reply:

    Lying by omission.

    Official approved a grant to Caltrain, a public government chartered entity.

    Caltrain is run by board whose members are appointed by three CA counties.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Joe who wrote:

    Caltrain is run by board whose members are appointed by three CA counties.

    Caltrain is hardly run by the board. The board is composed of politicians, 3 each from the 3 counties and they do nothing but rubber stamp what is sent to them.

    It has gotten so bad, that the Board approved the then not approved or not drafted FFGA, without even seeing any of its terms; they just said Mr. Hartnett sign what ever it contains.

    Why doesn’t Caltrain even have a video feed for its meetings? What other major agency up here does not video record its meetings?

    Since Hartnett himself is a politician with no rail background, just who is running Caltrain?

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain is a Public entity. Look at you complain about the public agency and rulz.

    The federal grant approval sent money to a public entity, Caltrain.

    The federal employee took a job with a contractor.

    There is nothing illegal. She didn’t send money to her future employer.

    Leave her alone.

    Roland Reply:

    “Unfortunately, some mistakenly believe this project is part of the High-Speed Rail project, which it is not”. Gee, I guess we can toss the other sets of doors with the newly sprouted bridge plates then? https://media.bizj.us/view/img/10334693/caltrainexteriorintegration01*1200xx7087-3986-0-369.jpg

    BTW, I just can’t wait for renderings of the seatless and toiletless interiors complete with on-board lifts and multiple flights of stairs descending into the lower deck abyss. Nothing that can’t possibly be fixed by another Billion (or two). Part-Tay!!! 960,000 jobs!!!

    Clem Reply:

    Spoken like someone who is baffled by the purpose of level boarding, bridge plates, or the need to run all Caltrain services into the downtown core of SF, and thinks all that stuff is just frivolous compared to serving the Valley with more seats. Study up!

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That’s a wonderful diagram!

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Yes, interesting diagram, makes sense.

    Level boarding yes, but at 25” for Caltrain and HSR.

    More trains per hour, longer trains. Better than the Caltrain limitation of 6 trains/hour and 6 (maybe 8) cars/train.

    What is the theoretical capacity of transbay? Can it handle more than 6 trains/hour? What is capacity of similar designed dead end station in the real non-USA world?

    5-abreast seating accomplished by? Wider train, narrower seats, narrower aisle?

    Does 110 mph make sense given station spacing on Caltrain?

    Will skip-stop express service be better than Baby Bullet service?

    How will local service integrate with skip-stop service?

    Roland Reply:

    Agreed at 25″ for both (just like in Europe).

    The issue with more trains is gate downtime. Creative grade sep approaches (MV) will win the day.

    The issue with Transbay capacity is the DTX design. A properly designed DTX can support 12 trains/hour/direction and 30 trains/hour/direction (each with up to a 4-minute dwell) when combined with a Transbay tunnel but half of the trains would have to be turned around in Bayshore.

    110 MPH makes sense but 125 MPH is better. The real issue is the excessive number of stations in San Mateo County.

    5-abreast seating is about right for the average stupid post on the blog primarily responsible for getting Caltrain into the present mess: http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/

    Skip-stop service was a necessary evil introduced by the CTX (Baby Bullet) project. It will disappear once every Baby Bullet station has passing tracks with outboard platforms at which point Lawrence and Bayshore will become Baby Bullet stations and the question will be how to integrate LOCAL service with the Baby Bullets (4 BBs/direction/hour during peak, 2 BBs/direction/hour off peak).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A somewhat differnt design, the LIRR is proposing to run 20 trains an hour, at peak to Grand Central when service starts. NJTransit’s ARC project, again a somewhat different design was projected to handle 26 an hour. Amtrak’s Gateway design, a bit more similar will be able to do 25.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    LIRR seriously needs to simplify its network. Its a mess, and I’m not convinced LIRR to Grand Central is even a good idea.

    Joey Reply:

    To be fair, ESA is on two levels which split before the station throat (so there are two throats each of which only have to handle half of the capacity). ARC might have been similar, I don’t remember the exact track layout.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    East Side Access is predicted to have 160,000 passengers a day. Roughly 80,000 round trips. They can’t go to Penn Station because 250,000 passengers want to go there every day. A lot to Grand Central. 80,000 of them go to Grand Central that means 80,000 other people can go to Penn Station. The plan right now is to send 6 train loads an hour of them from the New Haven line. Which also has too many passengers. Send six train loads of them an hour to Penn Station there can be six trains loads of other people going to Grand Central on Metro North. This all falls apart again in 2040.
    ESA splits into two levels with 4 tracks/platforms on each level, So did ARC but with three over three. Gateway has seven all on one level. It doesn’t have any 90 degree turns in it’s route.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Then just go full on RER with NY regional rail.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    New York already has an RER. It’s called an express subway

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    LIRR, NJ Transit, and Metro North should operate like an RER.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Build La Defense in Elizabeth and there might be a point.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …and New York didn’t ban building tall buildings with miles of the Brooklyn Bridge…

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    New York is ridiculously polycentric, but LIRR/NJT/Metro North could operate for intracity travel in NYC like an express express subway.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    From where to where?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I would have a 5 line core system with frequent service, with less frequent branches of it to father out destinations. The core system would look like this: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1z4vyORr_IUdlOb5sxyAF7OCKkjE&usp=sharing

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Mmm hhh. People in Cranford are going to trade going to Manhattan for going to St. George or Bay Ridge. Mmm hhh. And people in Yonkers have a burning desire to go to East New York. The people in West New Brighton, both of them, who get the urge to go to Roselle Park probably own cars. And where ever they are going in Roselle Park isn’t at the train station. How about instead of going from Tottenville to Somerville sending it to Matawan People can trade their rush hour express to Manhattan for a local that makes every stop in Staten Island!

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    I think most people would trade infrequent single seat rides to Manhattan for access to the entirety of the tri-state region every 10-15 minuites all day.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m in New Jersey. What’s in Queens that I want to go to fairly regularly?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Would you not like to get to Manhattan whenever you want with a quick transfer in either Metuchen, Elizabeth, St George, Bay Ridge, or Secaucus, bringing you from ANYWHERE in Jersey all day to th entirety of Manhattan? Would you not like convenient access to Downtown Brooklyn and Jamaica whenever you want? Is you making a 1 minuites transfer not with the sacrifice of having Triboro RX and rail access to Staten Island? Is easy access to all of Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, New Jersey, Westchester, Connecticut, etc. Not worth it? Is all day frequent service not worth it?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Furthermore, each line that doesn’t go to Penn opens up capacity for another line wanting to go to Penn, allowing both lines to run more frequently and have a shorter total travel time. Furthermore, the 6 new tracks into Manhattan this plan contains means far more trains can pass through, making intracity trips easier, along with increasing service to the suburbs. Finally, far more transfers to the Subway are possible, opening up easy access to the entirety of NYC.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t like this plan. Explanations:

    – Line 1 takes a really circuitous route to Manhattan. The interchange with Line 3 is not cross-platform, so transfer time eats any 1-to-3 savings.

    – Line 5 is radial in the north and circumferential in the south. Don’t do it. Lines that are designed like this tend to underperform. Examples include the pre-2001 G train in New York (radial in Queens, circumferential in most of Brooklyn), Paris Metro Line 10 (east-west on the Left Bank), and Shanghai Metro Lines 3 and 6 (north-south skirting the CBD to the west and west respectively).

    – Line 4 is bent. If you’re building that infra, connect the Erie lines with Brooklyn and the M&E lines with Grand Central, not the reverse.

    – Either you’re overserving Staten Island with 4 tunnel tracks or you’re making Line 1 share tracks with Line 5, which wrecks capacity on the ESA tunnel.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How many people want to get from Metuchen to West New Brighton? Or Perth Amboy to Sunset Park?
    How much slower is that than taking an express to Wall Street and changing to the Staten Island trains that run through the lower level of Wall Street for West New Brighton or taking an express to Brooklyn and changing to the R train to Bay Ridge?
    What’s the compelling destination in St. George besides the relatively small minor league baseball stadium? If for some reason I want to get to East New York why wouldn’t I take a downtown express train and change to an express train to East New York… if it doesn’t actually go to East New York?
    Triboro is really good for the people who want to get from Sunset Park to East New York or from East New York to Woodside. It’s not good for Metuchen to Yankee Stadium. People who want to get there fast will take an express train, express in the sense that it doesn’t stop every ten blocks for 30 stops and change to the express train at Penn Station or Grand Central.

    NjTransit and the LIRR fan out into multiple branches just outside of Manhattan. Metro North has three and some tendrils out into the far suburbs. It’s not one third Hudson line trains, one third Harlem line train and one third New Haven line trains. Call it one quarter Hudson, one quarter Harlem and half on the New Haven. It’s somewhat more than 40 but 40 trains an hour at peak into Grand Central to keep the math simple. Every 6 minutes through Yankee Stadium, every six minutes through Mount Vernon West and every three minutes through Mount Vernon East. Every 90 seconds through Mott Haven and 125th Street. Throw in 20 an hour to Wall Steet, when we figure out how to do that, it’s once every minute passing through Mott Haven. I’m seeing four islands and six tracks with the Wall Street trains on a Spanish Solution track between the islands. That clogs up the trains to Wall Street so probably something like Wall Street trains on an upper level with two islands and Grand Central trains on with four island on the lower level…. which is why it would be better to be doing the changing between trains in Woodlawn and Yankee Stadium. Wall Street trains on the lower level … in a tunnel…. the trains can do their bobbing and weaving just south of Mount Vernon West or just west of Mount Vernon East. … you want to be bobbing and weaving the 15 trains an hour on the Harlem line someplace different than the 30 trains an hour on the New Haven Line.
    It all falls apart again in the 2040s. Growth can’t go on forever. Induced demand may make that happen a few years after it opens in 2030.
    Sigh, want it to open in 2030 the Major Investment study would have to be complete…. Sigh.
    When East Side Access opens and they can run New Haven trains to Penn Station the thundering herds people that show up make a better case for projecting 60 trains an hour through Mott Haven at peak.
    Wanna run 6 New Haven trains, 6 Amtrak trains, Triboro and freight over the Hell Gate Bridge you need more bridge. Which is a case for not running all the intercity trains through North White Plains and instead running trains to Boston through Long Island and trains to Albany and beyond … somewhere else…. Frees up capacity for the local to Stamford or Rahway or Valley Stream.
    The Metro North and Staten Islanders can change in Brooklyn for East New York and the Long Islanders and New Jerseyans can change for St. George there.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Very interesting. Wrong blog.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    How do you all feel about this new system:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1z4vyORr_IUdlOb5sxyAF7OCKkjE&usp=sharing

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People in Plainfield, those two lines go to Plainfield don’t they? don’t need to two ways to get to St. George. If they even know where it is. And people in St. George don’t need two ways to get to Plainfield….. if they even know where it is.
    In some dystopian future where Staten Island is as densely populated as Queens two tracks of railroad is still enough to get them to and from Manhattan, I don’t think they will ever need two different routes. .
    What New Jerseyans will use is a local between Trenton and North Brunswick that then expresses to Rahway and Newark before going to Manhattan, A local that gets from the southbound platform on a sweeping loop track to the northbound platform, one that is grade separated from the other tracks, which is being built now, that runs local from North Brunswick to Rahway. And a local from Rahway to Newark that scoots under all the tracks and turns around on the branch to Avenel, Which already exists. If that gets really popular rebuilding the 5th and 6th track between Elizabeth and Rahway might be a good idea. It can be shared with the local between Rahway and Matawan.
    NJTransit and Amtrak did a study a few years ago about the ridership at Trenton and Hamilton. In nice round numbers half of the people using those two stations are Pennsylvanians going to Manhattan. Around 5,000 of them. Some day, one would hope, SEPTA will run a local from Philadelphia to Trenton that expresses to Newark and Manhattan. The people who are clogging the roads and parking lots can park in Pennsylvania. Almost none of them want to go to West New Brighton or Todt Hill. A few infill stations here and there might be nice. There used to be a stop at North Rahway. There’s a big Merck campus there. The Burry Biscuit plant in North Elizabeth is being redeveloped into mixed use. It would mean more trains stopping there. South Elizabeth is a vibrant multi-ethnic multi-cultural place. That might be good too. Being able to get from South Plainfield to Sunset Park on a train that is almost empty until it gets to eastern Staten Island, not so much.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The point is a simple operational network that provides good coverage while ensuring that every line gets frequent service is the point. And if it bothers you so much to have my proposed line 5 exist, note that it can be the last built, especially because it requires the most new infrastructure. Also, there isn’t anything stopping local and express service. I would assume that every line actually shown on my map would have local service, with it’s branches having express service once they hit the first local line.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Okay, Colleges and universities can be big employment centers especially if you count the students who commute instead of living on campus as traffic generators. Particularly good if they travel on the shoulders of the peak or off peak. You might find the station called Montclair State University intriguing. Where, currently, electrification ends and there’s a big garage for park-n-ride. The garage isn’t as successful as they were hoping for. Partly because it’s difficult to get to. Clever things can happen like the local from MSU goes to Wall Street and there is a cross platform transfer to the local from Maplewood that goes to Penn Station at Broad Street in Newark. Instead of 8 times an hour to Maplewood it’s twice an hour from Maplewood to Penn Station and twice an hour to Wall Street with the same alternation to MSU.
    … a lot of people drive up to Metropark from places near the North Jersey Coast Line. The Coast line passes under an extravaganza of Garden State Parkway ramps between local and express lanes and the interchange to Route 35. Plop a giant park-n-ride that has dedicated ramps to the highways. It’s not disrupting any body’s downtown or even suburbia. The bike trail on the northern end of that used to be for trains to Atlantic Highlands. Pity. What to call it? South Metropark? East Aberdeen? South Matawan? West Hazlet. Hmmm. The “You don’t have to get stuck in traffic on the Raritan River Bridges Park-n-Ride” is a bit unwieldy. When you are looking for something amusing to look at on Google Maps someday glance at the Garden State Parkway bridges – plural – there’s a bit of demand down there.
    You can almost spit at the Perth Amboy station from the Tottenville station. It looks like the ROW is four tracks wide. Staten Island will never have enough demand to absorb all the capacity in the very expensive tunnel to Brooklyn. Someday far far in the future when the NEC is very very crowded the expresses to Wall Street, from the Coast Line, can use it. If the tunnel under or the bridge over the Arthur Kill is too expensive the Wall Street trains can avoid the NEC by using what’s now know as the Chemical Coast, the former CNJ line to Elizabeth and the terminal in Jersey City.
    ….there’s nothing going to Suffern. The Morris and Essex lines used to have disappointing ridership because all the trains went to Hoboken. When trains can go from Suffern into Manhattan there is going to be a lot of demand.
    …. second set of tunnel to Manhattan cuts 15 minutes off the travel time from Newark Broad Street, the Morris and Essex line station in Newark, to New York. The schedule has a lot of padding in it to allow the merge on and off the NEC. The proposals for the second bridge over the Hackensack that needs to be built to go along with the second tunnel, grade separate the M&E from the NEC. In normal service those trains use the second tunnel.. It’s going to induce a lot of demand.
    …Secaucus is designed for more service. The more …conservative… speculation is that the the side platforms on the upper level become island platforms or that the trains from the lower level bypass the upper level behind the wall for the side platforms. And that someday far far in the future the center island becomes tracks. Four non-stopping tracks in the center and four stopping tracks on the outside. If there are 50 trains an hour going to Penn Station they don’t all have to stop and four non stopping tracks might be handy…. The express from Port Jervis to Penn Station stops on the lower level where there is a cross platform change to the local from the Bergen County line that is going to Wall Street…..
    Metropark looks like, from the satelitte images, has space reserved to convert the side platforms to island platforms some day. That presents intriguing possibilities.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @Roland: “The real issue is the excessive number of stations in San Mateo County.”

    So what do you propose? Closing several stations?

    The only station I suggest closing is Atherton and that’s out of spite. F**k you Atherton, take your illogical lawsuits and your stupid trees and stick them where the sun don’t shine. I am almost inclined to include Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and my own Burlingame for their ignorance and stupidity.

    The stations exist to serve the public, residents and businesses of the communities on the peninsula. The communities grew from around the railroad/stations.

    “Skip-stop service was a necessary evil introduced by the CTX (Baby Bullet) project.”

    Caltrain (Southern Pacific) has had skip-stop service forever, although not as spread out as it is today. In the years leading up to the CTX project (2002-2004), Caltrain had reduced the number of skip-stop trains due to budget cuts, etc.

    Roland Reply:

    These stations are what is clogging the line down to 5 train paths/hour/direction, so the obvious solution is to either 4-track them or repurpose them as ECR BRT bus stops.

    joe Reply:

    A better solution: Leave south San Jose and move closer to work.

    Demand large lumbering trains with Toilets, eliminate stops in San Mateo county and remove HSR — all to make your long commute more comfortable.

    Just move.

    Roland Reply:

    Here is an even better solution: How about terminating Caltrain “service” at Blossom Hill and turning Gilroy into another BRT bus stop?

    Roland Reply:

    Come to think of it, here is an even better idea: How about moving YOU to a better blog instead? http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/

    Roland Reply:

    How about doing some studying up of your own for a change? https://youtu.be/xUkm1u4JViY

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    1) NOT level boarding, people are stepping up/down to get on and off the trains.
    2) How sacrilegious, diesel freight trains under the wire!!! UP would have massive convulsions if they saw that.

    Roland Reply:

    Nobody ever said that level boarding was going to happen overnight (watch carefully before generalizing). As far as UP is concerned, here is some light reading: http://www.calsta.ca.gov/Newsroom/CalSTA-News/CalSTA-News-Items/2016-05-03-State-Issues-Draft-Plan-For-Freight-System-of-The-Future.aspx

    Domayv Reply:

    -ahem- http://testplant.blogspot.com/2013/09/electrification-clearance-for-double.html?m=1

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s videos. The enthusiasts love to video it. There’s videos of freight running under different wires in New Jersey. Next to high platforms. There’s videos of freight running over third rail on Metro North’s Hudson line and on Long island. And under wires in Connecticut. Even if you ferret out a picture or a video it doesn’t have anything to do with California. I stopped posting links to them, because California is special.

    Roland Reply:

    California will return to sanity shortly after the CHSRA Board fires the PB motherfuckers.

    Roland Reply:

    The problem with high-reach pantographs is that they peter out at around 160 MPH. This is not a problem on the NEC but it will be a problem in California if/when we ever build a REAL high speed line. The solution is identical to the TGV: dual pantographs with (preferably automatic) switching back and forth as trains get on/off high speed lines.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Roland, I recall posting that here years ago. The changeover will be at the same place as the changeover between train control systems, thanks to our lack of standards. Should be fun. Bets on the train going into reverse??

    Roland Reply:

    @Paul, sorry I do not recall and this has more to do with having to deal with legacy infrastructure than “lack of standards” per se.

    As an example, here is what the Eurostar had to go through in the Waterloo International days:
    – The CAB sign indicates transition from UK AWS/TPWS to TVM430 cab signaling: https://youtu.be/Vh2NlsvdKZA?t=56
    – The 25000 HSL sign indicates the transition from UK 750V DC 3rd rail to HS1 25KV OCS: https://youtu.be/Vh2NlsvdKZA?t=78 (you can see the front car raising its pantograph 10 seconds later)

    Then comes the fun with the Channel Tunnel: “The class uses five different standards of overhead: domestic catenary in each of Belgium, France and the United Kingdom; fixed-height catenary on LGV lines; and taller catenary in the Channel Tunnel, designed to accommodate double-deck car-carrying trains and roll-on roll-off heavy goods vehicle trains. The driver must lower and then raise the pantograph during the transition between catenary systems.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_373

    Last but not least, the reason for the dual pantographs is that they have to switch to DC OCS when they transition to the legacy lines in Paris (1.5KV) & Brussels (3KV), each with their own signaling systems.

    Bottom line is that this has been done before in many parts of the world and there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Of course it can be done but we had the chance to avoid a lot of the incompatibility but our consultants blew it. Deliberately I expect.

    Roland Reply:

    Things are really much simpler in California (until some blogger starts making everything incredibly complicated and the “consultants” jump on it):

    1) Everything is standard gauge (except BART)
    2) There is no electrification (yet)
    3) We are stuck with I-ETMS for legacy lines (no biggy)
    4) We don’t have any high-speed lines (yet)
    5) We don’t have any high platforms (thank God!)
    6) Bi-levels are pretty universal

    All in all we are in a reasonable shape and I personally believe that the FRA deserves most of the credit for maintaining sanity in the kindergarten.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    @Clem
    Brightline/AAF is building 3 stations in S Florida that have 50″ platforms that will be shared with TriRail. Yet TriRail has existing Hyundai Rotem Bilevels that will use these platforms. Parsons Transportation has a contract to come up with a solution to this problem. SFRTA (TriRail) has mentioned using a bridge plate from the train car floor to the platform. So how can TriRail solve this issue by the end of 2017 yet CalTrain seems to spend tens of millions on consultants and studies? I don’t get how it can be done here in Florida yet seems to be a huge issue in California?

    Roland Reply:

    “Parsons Transportation has a contract to come up with a solution to this problem.”
    What could possibly go wrong?

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Lol I know… I had the same thought when I read that on the latest SFRTA board meeting agenda!

    Roland Reply:

    It depends on what you mean by “shared platforms with TriRail”. If you mean opposite sides of the same island platform, this can be easily done by raising the TriRail tracks by 25″ or whatever. If you mean the same side of the platform and you want level boarding with either one, you have a problem…

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Same side. That’s why I am curious how trirail can do this. They aren’t buying new equipment for the DTML (downtown Miami link service to begin in 2017). The new MiamiCentral station will have platforms on the outside of the tracks while FTL and WPB will be center island platforms as far as I can tell. Although service to FTL will require a new bridge over the New River about 3000 ft south of the station. But that’s a whole different story.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Or maybe not. Just noticed the difference in platform height in this cross sectional view. Not sure how the FTL and WPB stations will be configured to handle TriRail. It appears the TriRail platforms are about half the height of the Brightline platforms at the Miami station. Which confirms the 25″ height I heard about.

    http://www.tri-raildowntownmiamilink.com/images/miami-platform.jpg

    Clem Reply:

    Reminds me of this classic cross sectional view of a disaster that Roland is actively if unknowingly promoting.

    Roland Reply:

    Every platform will be level boarding at 25 inches (just like Rennes).

    Clem Reply:

    Rennes does not have level boarding in the narrow ADA sense that legally applies here in California. Look no further than Utah’s FrontRunner: “level boarding” at 25 inches, but if you happen to use a wheelchair you will still need a conductor to manually deploy a bridge plate because the platform gap is not compliant with ADA specs. Why does this matter? Someone made a diagram about why it matters.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Look no further than Caltrain’s proposed EMU. “Level boarding” at 50 inches, but if you happen to use a wheelchair you will still need a conductor to manually operate the internal wheelchair lift.

    Just to think all the fucking time they wasted on this bullshit design. They could have gone out to bids years earlier, but nooooo….

    Clem Reply:

    Operating the internal lift can be done without delay to the train.

    Roland Reply:

    What is it going to take for you to understand that WE DO NOT WANT YOUR FUCKING ON-BOARD LIFTS.

    Roland Reply:

    “Rennes does not have level boarding in the narrow ADA sense that legally applies here in California” BULLSHIT: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/–LtWMyoPVzQ/VGuWb1wqDII/AAAAAAAACrY/6_rxeouhS1I/s1600/IMG_2179.JPG

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ADA doesn’t require wheelchair passengers to be able to get to every seat. They bring one along with them.

    zorro Reply:

    So Roland, you don’t like Disabled People? What’s wrong with helping vulnerable people who need help? Being ADA compliant would be nice, if it means a LIFT, so be it…

    Roland Reply:

    Kindly help me understand which part of “platforms detectors automatically deploying bridge plates” it is that you do not understand.

    Joe Reply:

    Heh

    could someone familiar with the situation kindly help me understand what it is that I do not understand?

    Clem Reply:

    Does that Omneo at Rennes also board passengers from 8″ legacy platforms, and is it compatible with the California high-speed rail platform interface? It needs both of those capabilities in addition to the ability to do unassisted level boarding with automatic bridge plates.

    Roland Reply:

    Third attempt…

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

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

    Roland Reply:
    January 8th, 2017 at 9:58 pm

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

    Clem Reply:
    January 8th, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Is the trainset RFP no longer imminent?

    Roland Reply:
    January 9th, 2017 at 3:40 am

    Which one? Caltrain or HSR?

    Clem Reply:
    January 9th, 2017 at 7:23 am

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

    Roland Reply:
    January 10th, 2017 at 9:27 am

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

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

    Clem Reply:

    I get it: you’ve developed a fervent belief that California HSR will use low-floor trainsets. So strong is your belief that you construe it as fact. That sort of religion gets in the way of rational discussion, especially when there are no credible indications that your belief will be realized.

    Meanwhile, the Caltrain EMU that is under contract can:
    (1) board at raised platforms with unassisted level boarding
    (2) board at 8-inch platforms
    (3) board at HSR platforms

    Roland Reply:

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

    joe Reply:

    That quote is from Roland
    January 10th, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Why?

    His follow up.

    “The 2016 Business Plan called for the engagement of an early train operator to ensure that their perspective is considered in the planning and design of the civil works, infrastructure, high-speed trains (rolling stock), and facilities”

    Fervent belief.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    @Clem
    Found out today from AAF that TriRail will have separate platforms at the shared stations in WPB and FTL. They will be built next to the west station track and north of the center high level platform. I suppose this is the easiest solution requiring the least amount of money to make it happen. Otherwise, TriRail would have had to replace their fleet of bilevels and build bypass tracks for CSX freight trains at all 18 stations on their original line. Not going to happen here in Florida.

    Roland Reply:

    Florida needs to get on with the program:
    1) Toss all passengers and toilets out of the window.
    2) Install multiple sets of doors at random heights armed with bridge plates and passenger launch pads.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They didn’t call anyone at SEPTA? That has freight on it tracks under high voltage wires. Low platforms and high platforms. And actually manages to convert suburban stations from low platforms to high platforms without much drama. …. SEPTA

    William Reply:

    Roland had proposed so many things in conflict with each other that I came to believe his real goal is to be able to buy French (Alstrom) trains.

    Roland Reply:

    How about substantiating your utterances with actual facts starting with how to spell Alstom?
    BTW, are you the individual who proposed relocating the HSR maintenance facility to the viaduct above Diridon station? If so, may I suggest a more appropriate blog? http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/

  16. William
    Feb 20th, 2017 at 01:59
    #16

    Without the $647 Million commitment from the Federal Government by March 1, Caltrain still has enough funds to give Notice-to-Proceed to one of the project, instead of both as originally planned. If this is what going to happen, then the Electrification should be the one that receives the NTP, as the system wide loading gauge and capacity have already been determined.

    This may be of mix-blessing for the EMU design, as the delay in funding can open the door to widen the EMU to 3.2m+ to allow for more usable spaces inside the train.

    agb5 Reply:

    The Prop1A contribution can be used only to construct an HSR compatible power system and nothing else.

    zorro Reply:

    Prop1a has been used for Grade Separation in Southern California where HSR going to run at one day, so I call that BS. Since I’ve seen no such limitation in the legislation.

    agb5 Reply:

    What I mean is they can’t use Prop1A funds to purchase Stadler low speed local trains, which is the second project that was referred to.

    Roland Reply:

    79 MPH and HSR-compatible is an oxymoron.

    Roland Reply:

    Caltrain had enough money for the EMUs until SamTrans “borrowed” $125M in FTA funds dedicated to railcar replacement “for essential SOGR” (San Carlos parking lot?) on the assumption that the $647M FFGA would be approved.

    Roland Reply:

    “WHEREAS, $125 million in FTA funds identified in the 2012 Early Investment Strategy funding plan included in the 2012 Nine-Party MOU is needed by the PCJPB to advance critical state of good repair improvements necessary to maintain existing Caltrain operations, and the PCJPB has requested to remove these funds from the early investment funding strategy, which would create a $125 million funding gap”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Documents/7-Party+MOU.pdf (SEVEN PARTY SUPPLEMENT TO 2012 MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU) Page 2)

  17. Roland
    Feb 20th, 2017 at 15:09
    #17

    Breaking News: the SamTrans geniuses are seriously considering value-engineering the project by buying second-hand electric locos capable of lugging 40-year-old Gallery cars (and no, I am am not making that one up either): http://www.greencaltrain.com/2017/02/infrastructure-and-jobs-administration-defers-shovel-ready-high-ranked-caltrain-electrification-what-to-do-next/

    Here is a better idea: how about returning the $125M you stole from Caltrain instead?

  18. Roland
    Feb 20th, 2017 at 15:26
    #18

    Going back to the Great Fresno Disaster, could someone familiar with the situation kindly help me understand what it is that I do not understand?

    1) “The station will be located in Downtown Fresno at H Street between Fresno Street and Tulare Street, and is about 7 blocks south from the existing Fresno Amtrak station. The high-speed rail line runs along the right-of-way of the Union Pacific Railroad at this location. Several existing industrial and office buildings in the vicinity had to be demolished to make way for the station and tracks. The station itself will replace a Greyhound bus terminal dating from the 1950s.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresno_station_(California_High-Speed_Rail)

    2) “Amtrak gets a neighbor in downtown Fresno station: Greyhound moving in”
    http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article49936355.html

    Joe Reply:

    Great Fresno Disaster = Bowling Green KY massacre and unmentionable atrocity this week in Sweden.

    Joe Reply:

    Clip and save:

    could someone familiar with the situation kindly help me understand what it is that I do not understand?

    Roland Reply:

    Clip and save:
    “I’m systems scientist and look at system level properties”

    Joe Reply:

    Elephants never forget.

    agb5 Reply:

    Wikipedia is certainly misleading, the “station itself” will not be on the site of Greyhound.
    The “station itself” will be on the other side of the block and the other side of the tracks.
    The Grayhound site will just be a remote entrance portal leading to an elevated walkway that connects to the “station itself”.

    In the short term the contractor will use the greyhound site as a working space to turn H street into a bridge that crosses Tulare street. Tulare street will be sunk into a trench that passed under the “station itself”

    Roland Reply:

    Thank you for clarifying that but can you please confirm that they are moving the Greyhound station next to the Amtrak station but the HSR station will be 7 blocks away? If so, am I the only one thinking that this is somewhat strange, specifically how will HSR passengers transfer to/from Amtrak/Greyhound???

    agb5 Reply:

    The Venn diagram of “people who travel by HSR” and “people who travel by Greyhound” could be an empty set.

    JJJ Reply:

    Greyhound moved into the Amtrak station last year. They plan on moving back to the new “multimodal” HSR station when it is done.

    http://stopandmove.blogspot.com/2016/03/a-look-at-greyhounds-new-downtown.html

    There will never be a transfer opportunity in Fresno between Amtrak and HSR.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Wrong. Amtrak can and should move to the UP route through downtown Madera, Fresno HSR, Visalia, Tulare, Bakersfield F Street, etc.

    JJJ Reply:

    Wrong. Amtrak never will move to a UP route.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    [citation needed]

    JJJ Reply:

    1. Its UP. It would cost $1 bn
    2. That would inbolve building multiple new stations

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    If that’s the case, and everybody along the line took 2 round trips per year, accounting for population growth, the cost per rider over the next 30 years would be about 5 dollars, which I don’t think is too bad.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    UP wanted a billion for upgrades to make the Sunset daily instead of thrice weekly. What you need is a strip of RoW to build a dedicated passenger track. Unfortunately the industries are on both sides so you’ll have to have long sections elevated. Even if they only wanted a billion for the RoW that’s just a fraction of the cost for a very marginal line with no big population anchor.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    This line serves 1 million people not served by HSR, linking them to the anchor cities of Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield, which all are served by HSR and have a total population of over 2 million. A line serving very rapidly growing cities with a combined population of greater than 3 million is not marginal.

    Aarond Reply:

    On the topic of UP: this is the same problem UTA ran into hence why their Frontrunner tracks are actually their own and not UP’s.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There aren’t a million people south of Sacramento in the places that have an Amtrak station now that won’t have an HSR station in the future.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When HSR gets to Madera there won’t be any Amtrak south of there. When it gets to Sacramento there won’t be any Amtrak except for the Capitol Corridor and the once a day land cruises. The land cruises are iffy.
    …The StarLate gets to Sacramento and I can spend 20 minutes waiting to change to HSR for Los Angeles or I can wander around the coast for most of a day. Wandering around for most of a day will be attractive for some people.
    ….. There’s not going to be any Amtrak in Fresno or Bakersfield

    JJJ Reply:

    There is no reason for the San Joaquin to stop running.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The San Joaquin is very valuable if moved to the UP line, by serving these cities not served by HSR:
    Elk Grove, population 167K
    Lodi, population 65K
    Manteca, 75K
    Ripon/Salida, population 30K
    Livingston/Atwater, population 43K
    Chowchilla, population 19K
    Madera, population 65K
    Selma, population 25K
    Visalia, population 130K
    Tulare, population 62K
    Delano/McFarland, population 72K.

    This is a total of 716,000 people along the UP route in cities not served by HSR. Including surrounding towns and farms, that number is more like 1 million people. In 20 years, it may be closer to 2 million. That makes San Joaquin service from (Redding? to) Sacramento to Modesto HSR to Merced HSR to Fresno HSR to Bakersfield F Street HSR VERY valuable.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    No matter how you cut it UP will not entertain passenger trains on the “99” former SP route. Next topic.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    [citation needed]

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In other states when the railroad begins to protest that the route is far far too valuable as a freight line ……. the tax assessors all up and down the line sharpen their pencils…. in other states when they protest that they need yards and yards and yards of no-mans land between the freight trains and the passenger trains, tax assessors all up and down the line squint from under their green eyeshades and start talking about how that weedy strip of land that used to have tracks on it, that the railroad has been claiming is nearly worthless, may not be so worthless after all….. The joys of Prop 13!

    Michael Reply:

    You’d be throwing away decades of investment in the BNSF line by the state, including station renovations and lots of double tracking. And people drive to the stations from a wide area, so many of the cities you say would gain service by a move to the UP already have a station near on the BNSF, especially north of Fresno. And UP doesn’t want passengers on its line, whose tracks are in worse shape than the BNSF.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Then further improve BNSF with full double tracking and grade separations and make it like the Alameda Corridor–freight only, used by both UP and BNSF, making make UP passenger only. All you’d really be throwing away is a couple of platforms.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Once HSR reaches Sacramento there won’t be any conventional Amtrak service along either line.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    In which case you would miss out on serving 1 million people. It doesn’t have to be Amtrak, but some sort of hourly regional DMU should run along UP from Sacramento to Bakersfield F Street.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    In which case people with cars drive to the HSR station in Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Madera, Fresno, King/Tulare or Bakersfield and take an HSR train. if they don’t want to drive they call a cab or a shared van. If there are a lot of them, places like Wasco may, if there is realllllly realllly a lot of demand, there can be a scheduled, 12 passenger bus every hour from where the train station used to be.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Wasco has 26K people, Tulare has 65K. Corcoran has 23K people, Delano/McFarland has 72K. etc. etc. etc. UP serves more people than the BNSF route–so many that it deserves a train route. What could possibly be the downside of providing 1 million people with an alternative to cars? The eastern equivalent would be cutting the Northeast Regional in favor of only having the Acela, and I doubt you’d like that.

    Roland Reply:

    Excellent discussion by all parties concerned.
    Would something like this work
    http://www.lavienne86.fr/uploads/Image/7e/WEB_CHEMIN_2454_1309786648.gif and, if so, would it be possible to start a fresh thread and see what we can come up with?

    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

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    There is no downside except for the expense. Just buy UP. They won’t entertain it otherwise. Want a citation? Paul Dyson. That’s good enough after 37 years.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Okay. Can you provide an estimate of what that cost would be? I’m not opposed to it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, these would not be equivalent. The Regional does each of NY-Boston and NY-DC in half an hour more than the Acela. NY-Boston is 4:15 on the Regional and 3:45 on the Acela, NY-DC is 3:20 on the Regional and 2:50 on the Acela. The difference between the trains is price discrimination more than anything.

    In contrast, HSR is planned to do Bako-Sac in around 1:30, where the San Joaquins so it in 5:15. Travel time on the SJ from Fresno to Sac is about the same as driving from Fresno down to Bako and taking HSR back up to Sac. Of course, Fresno is going to have an HSR station of its own, but points in between aren’t – and there, the logic of driving even an hour down to Bako or up to Fresno is even better.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That’s more the fault of the Acela for not being faster rather than the regional for being slower. The point is that intermediate towns should have regional rail access conveniently linked to HSR to minimize driving.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are no more Amtrak trains that shuttle between New York and Philadelphia. Regionals don’t originate and terminate in New Haven any more. Back in the day trains to Boston used to originate and terminate in New Haven in addition to the ones to Washington.
    Take the current ridership at Wasco and multiply it by ten. Divide it by 365, which wouldn’t happen but divide by 365 for a rough approximation of daily ridership. Then divide again by 12 for “once an hour during the day”. It’s a 12 passenger bus. A bus once an hour is a lot better than a three car DMU once a day. A three car train is what you get when you add up all the ridership at the stations that won’t be an HSR stop, multiply by 10 and divide by 365. I’m not gonna do the arithmetic again, it may be TWO! three car trains a day.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    UP market cap is available on Yahoo finance

    JJJ Reply:

    Alon, you are comparing Regional to Acela, but a better comparison is local transit to Acela. Acela does NYC to Philly in a bit over an hour. On transit its over 2 hours. The point is the extra stops.

    San Joaquin can flourish with the addition of more stops, ie, 3 in Fresno, to act as a transit route. People commute from all over the valley to Fresno and Bakersfield. HSR will not attract those commuters, but a re-oriented SJ might.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Are you referring to buying out all of UP, or just one line. I assumed we were talking about the latter.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    “One line” is not for sale. The Coast line maybe, but not the Valley.
    One purpose of HSR is to get off these freight lines so that the trains can run and speed at on time. UP is simply not interested in working around a passenger schedule in order to serve its many freight customers on that line. Advocates need to focus on the projects in hand and not dream up impractical services and routes for which there is no money.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Making stops takes time. Getting to the platforms sucks up time too. The platforms at some stations are side platforms next to the local tracks. . . the local tracks aren’t maintained for 135 MPH. I think but I’m not sure, the local tracks in New Jersey are maintained for a maximum speed of 110. It’s how those videos of smartphones running a speedometer apps flipping back and forth between 102 and 103 get taken. On a NJTransit train. Again I think so, the local tracks in Pennsylvania are maintained for a maximum speed of 90. You want to stop at Cromwells Heights there are miles and miles of 90 MPH tracks between the switches to the express tracks and the station and miles and miles of 90 mph track to the next set of switches.

    …the long distance trains, up until recently, took longer because there were cars that should have gone to musuem, in the consist. Those cars had a max speed of 100.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    @JJJ: the main source of ridership on New Jersey Transit and SEPTA is commuters. Trenton is a pretty big draw (as are through-passengers using NJT/SEPTA as a cheap alternative), but most of the ridership is in New York suburbs like Princeton Junction or Metropark. The reason those lines used to run through as the Clockers and still have semi-coordinated schedules is that there are a fair number of through-passengers, plus intermediate trips like New Brunswick-Philly. This in turn is the result of the New York and Philly metro areas sprawling until they touch each other.

    Fresno and Bako are not touching. Not even close. You can run a regional rail service between Fresno and Madera, and it’s not going to get anywhere near Bako.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Alon, they have no concept of the scale, that the urban area starts out in Springfield Mass. and doesn’t peter out until you get to the Maryland suburbs of Philadelphia. In very round numbers, if Delaware is Fresno, Bakersfield is Newark NJ., if metro Newark was Essex and Hudson county ( kind of tidy, Newark to Newark )

    JJJ Reply:

    @Alon and @adirondacker12800 Im well aware of both the NYC metro area and the Fresno metro area. While Fresno and Bakersfield obviously don’t touch, that does NOT stop people from commuting to and between the cities. Remember, unemployment is still around 10% in the area, and was near 20% a few years ago. When you get a job, you take it, even if it means a 2 hour daily drive from Bakersfield to Fresno – I know, I have met many people that do that commute.

    The towns along the way also lack any significant job base. You need to commute to Fresno….unless you work at the air force base or one of the federal prisons, or a minimum wage service job.

    A SJ that is scheduled like a commuter service is the correct answer for the future.

    Domayv Reply:

    UPRR’s not gonna let trains use its tracks, so best bet is that new tracks be built.

    Speaking of servicing the Sacramento Valley up to Redding, Sacramento should get a new station so that trains running from Bakersfield to Redding don’t have to backtrack at Sacramento. Once a new dedicated HSR line running on CA-99 from Bakersfield to Fresno gets built in the future, there can be a new regional rail service servicing the BNSF corridor from Bakersfield to Fresno

    https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1_QZyLovj8baNeScigsUd51bjg3g&ll=38.58389202389554%2C-121.51335005346584&z=14

  19. Jeff Carter
    Feb 20th, 2017 at 15:55
    #19

    @ Roland: “Skip-stop service was a necessary evil introduced by the CTX (Baby Bullet) project. It will disappear once every Baby Bullet station has passing tracks with outboard platforms…”

    As long as we are on the subject… What is the objective in creating a schedule/timetable? Should there be an objective?

    This issue came up during the February 15, 2017 JPB/Caltrain Citizens Advisory Meeting during the discussion of the proposed weekend timetable.

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/CAC/Agendas/2017/2017-02-15+JPB+CAC+Agenda+Packet.pdf

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/CAC/Presentations/2017/2017-02-15+Weekend+Service+Changes.pdf

    It started going off the agenda topic and into weekday service. It was asked why does Caltrain run express service in the peak hours and only local service in the off-peak.

    Caltrain exists to provide a transportation alternative to the automobile for people living and working on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose and Gilroy.

    So what is the “ideal” schedule?

    The Same CAC member also asked what is the objective of Caltrain fare policy when fares/tariff changes/Clipper 2.0 has been discussed at past CAC meetings.

    So what would be the goals/ideals of Caltrain fare policies?

    Clem Reply:

    The objective should be to get as many people from point A to point B in as little time as possible. Bleeding obvious.

    The way you measure timetable quality is with metrics. Metrics are a quantifiable set of measures that everyone agrees to after a public debate, that can be plugged & chugged through a public formula to get a public timetable score.

    Once you’ve chosen some metrics, you can then come up with your own candidate service patterns and run them through an automated tool to quickly calculate the score for any proposed timetable and understand the sensitivities to this or that tweak.

    If you don’t like the answers, then you can tweak the formula in public. No dark cabal of rail operations needed; all service planning conducted under the bright cleansing sunshine of public review.

    Then, instead of funneling ever larger streams of public funding to dig holes and fill holes under the guise of “SOGR”, you can align your capital investment strategy towards increasing your timetable quality score, which you can think of as the quantified “bang” for your “buck”. Riders and taxpayers will thank you.

    Joe Reply:

    Metrics are rigorous and rigor conflicts with legacy ridership preferences.
    Explicitly stating objectives can lead to examination and reprioritization of legacy policy.

    Moving “People from A to B” conflicts with the arbitrary 8:1 bike to seat ratio and improving bike cargo capacity at peak commute.

    This is why critics focus on Caltrain management and HSR using ROW capacity.

    Fare box recovery and capacity can be improved by revisiting the 8:1 bike to passenger ratio.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    So all of Caltrains problems are due to bikes on board???

    Higher farebox recovery? Are you serious? Can you provide any evidence to support this claim?

    So the overcrowding has everything to do with bikes and absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Caltrain doesn’t run adequate service? Overcrowding has been relieved somewhat by the addition of a sixth car to the Bombardier trains and some gallery trains now have a sixth car.

    Allowing bikes on trains reduces the need for parking spaces and the need for large bike facilities at stations and for more local shuttle/transit service at stations. These services definitely need to expand/improve, but bikes help to reduce that need.

    You sound like either a Caltrain conductor that hates bikes or a Caltrain staffer that needs to defend the six cars/train, six trains/hour ideology.

    Joe Reply:

    Here, let me get you a nice soft pile of straw to fight.

    You asked how to set policy and service schedule.
    Metrics.
    Moving more people from a to b.
    Now use them.

    I also correctly predicted critics would avoid metics because they don’t like the outcome and would rather blame Caltrain management.

    Roland Reply:

    “I’m systems scientist and look at system level properties”

    Joe Reply:

    Apparently I struck a nerve.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A train that runs all local all the time can be “fast” in the sense that it’s better than standing still in automobile traffic.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    I have been fighting piles of straw for many years ;-)

    Yes I did ask how to set schedule policy and Clem provided a reasonable description of metrics that can be used to construct a good timetable. I provided additional metrics in a later posting and Clem said they are all valid points:

    “Clem Reply:
    February 22nd, 2017 at 8:59 pm
    Everything you described can be quantified and written into an equation. The trick is to have the open public discussion to decide what the formula ought to be… not everybody will agree on what’s more important, or how to weigh various factors in relation to each other. But even for that there are decision support tools.

    Of course, none of that matters when agency staff considers the timetable as a center of power.”

    You (Joe) are making unsubstantiated claims about bikes/cargo conflicting with metrics of moving people from point A to point B, and that bikes somehow are responsible for overcrowding and prevent non-bike customers from getting on the (crowded) trains. Your most astonishing claim is that removing bike capacity will somehow improve farebox recovery.

    Trains would still be overcrowded even if Caltrain did away with bike capacity. Caltrain is popular and people choose it as an alternative to driving. It’s not their fault that Caltrain was/is not providing adequate capacity. Caltrain has added limited capacity to some trains, but has not increased the frequency of trains in the peak hour.

    You seen to be determined to defend Caltrains’ actions of inadequate capacity even though the demand for a good deal more capacity persists. You seem to consider the timetable as a “center of power.” Adding one car to a train increases capacity by about 130 seats, adding one 6-car train adds about 760 seats.

    Metrics can be applied to bike capacity too. As I have said numerous times, each bike on the trains means an open parking space at the home station and an open connecting transit seat at the work station, (for those that don’t walk).

    If the bikes were not taken on board, perhaps some customers would be deterred from using Caltrain because there is no parking at the home station. This can indirectly constrain capacity and farebox recovery.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I thought the bike riders were all new age-y tree huggers who bike because they don’t own cars.
    The other story is that they have to take their bikes to use at the other end. Parking their car at the origin station does help at their destination.

    Roland Reply:

    “The objective should be to get as many people from point A to point B in as little time as possible.”
    100% correct and we will never get anywhere with the current Mafiosi who are about to raid Caltrain for another $286M on Wednesday on top of the $125M they “borrowed” (AKA flat out stole) last year.

    “Programming to the Caltrain electric railcar procurement project over the four-year program totals approximately $286 million and will nearly complete the regional commitment of $315 million” (what is left after they “borrowed” $125M out of the $440M for the railcars).

    “There are several issues related to this project:
     Completion of the funding plan for this project is dependent on FTA executing a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) of $647 million in FTA Section 5309 Core Capacity Program Funds, which is currently subject to a 30-day Congressional review period; and
     As part of Caltrain’s application for an FFGA, FTA determined that the railcar procurement was not eligible to receive Section 5337 State of Good Repair formula funds. To meet the regional commitment to the project without relying on Section 5337 funds, staff is proposing to use a combination of financing against future Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Funds and a local funding exchange. The local funding exchange involves MTC programming Section 5337 funds to Caltrain’s South San Francisco Station Rehabilitation project in exchange for the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) programming an equal amount of local funds to the railcar procurement project.”
    What could possibly go wrong with this neat little fund swap?

    http://mtc.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=26bfaee0-f7b3-49d1-93fb-377fbdbee27a.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    MTC update: http://mtc.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=b4fa13e8-e8d2-4b03-bf48-d49530a94733.pdf

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Clem….

    What about the metrics of customer convenience?

    By this I mean does the schedule metrics mesh with the customers (work/school/etc.) schedule and customer convenience?

    For example, a customer works a shift from 7:00am to 4:00pm, so that customer will choose the train based on their shift and time it takes to access the origin/destination station. Then there is the fudge factor of what if the customer needs to leave early or stay late, outside of peak hours? What about convenience? Granted your discussion focuses on the AM/PM peak hours, but these are all metrics that matter in the mind of the customer. Perhaps this is considered as part of the (waiting/gap between trains) metrics? While time spent on the train is important, most transit experts articulate that people don’t like to wait, and perceive the time waiting as significantly longer than it actually is. People tend to believe that BART is “fast” yet BART makes all stops, everything is local. BART runs very frequently and customers don’t have to plan their lives around the schedule like they do with Caltrain. I am not advocating that Caltrain should run only locals; it should be a good mix of express and locals. In my opinion, express trains allow the locals to be more efficient, since those that can use the express reduce the size of crowds that need the local, therefore reducing dwell time at each stop. Of course level boarding and more doors per car/train will help significantly.

    Some will say that frequency wins out over anything else.

    How would BART score using the metrics you describe?

    Some allude to the timetable being a clock-face or memory schedule. I have never really understood the claim that memory schedule will attract lots of ridership, which is what Caltrans said back in 1981 when they changed the schedule to a regular “clocker” or “memory” schedule. The ridership did not materialize, and was relatively flat for a number of years… Caltrans didn’t consider the convenience factor the old SP schedule gave the customers at the time.

    Over the years, I would have arguments with a few fellow Caltrain advocates that the first northbound train should leave San Jose at 5:00am instead of 4:40am (or whatever time) because a “memory” schedule will produce more ridership. They completely ignored the fact that this would make the train useless for those of us that start work in San Francisco at 6:30-7:00am, which are the customers the first train was geared for. Another recent example is changing the 3:07pm departure from San Francisco to leaving at 3:00, now making this train pretty much useless for people that get off work at 3:00pm. It might look nice on paper but not practical for the working poor. It would have been better to move the train to 3:10 or 3:15pm. Some will say that a memory schedule means you don’t need a copy of a timetable. They said that about BART and for a number of years BART did not publish a timetable, until customers requested BART to put out schedules for people to see so they could better plan their BART trips. Some transit agencies put out a condensed schedule that would show the stops and time-points for one to two hours and then a note saying: “Then at the same times each hour until.” People don’t really like this type of schedule, I know that SamTrans bus agency would get complaints about that type of schedule and they eventually put out the full schedule for the entire day.

    Clem Reply:

    Everything you described can be quantified and written into an equation. The trick is to have the open public discussion to decide what the formula ought to be… not everybody will agree on what’s more important, or how to weigh various factors in relation to each other. But even for that there are decision support tools.

    Of course, none of that matters when agency staff considers the timetable as a center of power.

    joe Reply:

    What about the metrics of customer convenience?

    By this I mean does the schedule metrics mesh with the customers (work/school/etc.) schedule and customer convenience?
    ….
    Some will say that frequency wins out over anything else.

    What I read above focuses on personal preferences and unvalidated assumptions about human behavior.

    Decompose “convenience” into its observable and measurable constituents as it pertains to a schedule.

    You seem to want a schedule that has trains leaving stations at odd times past the hour so workers can clock out can reach the train — use Clem’s schedule sheet and figure out how you achive that departure time across the board at most or all stations.

    Then check you assumption – figure the catchment size you create by delaying that 3pm train by 10 minutes to 3:10. How many people (radius) can make it there if they get off at 3 sharp and have 10 minutes? Assume they walk 3 mies/hour. That’s less than a 1/2 mile radius.

    Compare that to a schedule that maximize capacity at peak commute times — peak commute estimated by traffic on the HW collected by caltrans.

    All this is doable without a survey.

    Roland Reply:

    “I’m systems scientist and look at system level properties”

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    So customer convenience doesn’t matter?

    The metric of waiting less than 10 minutes has been increased to waiting up to 37 minutes. How is that beneficial to the customers that used the former 3:07PM SF departure?

    At 22nd, it’s even worse; the next train is not for almost 90 minutes.

    In your world, customer convenience is apparently: “personal preferences and unvalidated assumptions about human behavior.” Why is it an un-validated assumption? What evidence is there to support your claim?

    “You seem to want a schedule that has trains leaving stations at odd times past the hour so workers can clock out can reach the train”

    Odd times? The train used to leave at 3:07PM, before Caltrain arbitrarily decided to have it leave earlier at 3:00PM. It is highly doubtful that 3:00PM will maximize capacity over 3:07, 3:10 or 3:15PM. If Caltrain wanted to maximize capacity in the early/shoulder peak, they could add a train between 3:00 and 3:37PM.

    joe Reply:

    “customer convenience” means … Define it. Break it down into components which can be measured and weighted.

    Measure and model. Sometimes you see counter intuitive outcomes.

    It is highly doubtful that 3:00PM will maximize capacity over 3:07, 3:10 or 3:15PM.

    and sometimes you put into formal representation what you believe.

    A list of complaints and ‘what about this and what about that’ doesn’t converge or lead to good solutions.

    peak commute =
    maximum wait time at a station =
    are all stations equal or weighted by ridership or population + jobs within a radius?

    You complain about the departure time being moved 7 minutes on customer convenience and now say you doubt departure time will has an effect on capacity.

    In a mathematical representation you have to choose.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @Clem….

    What about the metrics of customer convenience?

    By this I mean does the schedule metrics mesh with the customers (work/school/etc.) schedule and customer convenience?

    For example, a customer works a shift from 7:00am to 4:00pm, so that customer will choose the train based on their shift and time it takes to access the origin/destination station. Then there is the fudge factor of what if the customer needs to leave early or stay late, outside of peak hours? What about convenience? Granted your discussion focuses on the AM/PM peak hours, but these are all metrics that matter in the mind of the customer. Perhaps this is considered as part of the (waiting/gap between trains) metrics? While time spent on the train is important, most transit experts articulate that people don’t like to wait, and perceive the time waiting as significantly longer than it actually is. People tend to believe that BART is “fast” yet BART makes all stops, everything is local. BART runs very frequently and customers don’t have to plan their lives around the schedule like they do with Caltrain. I am not advocating that Caltrain should run only locals; it should be a good mix of express and locals. In my opinion, express trains allow the locals to be more efficient, since those that can use the express reduce the size of crowds that need the local, therefore reducing dwell time at each stop. Of course level boarding and more doors per car/train will help significantly.

    Some will say that frequency wins out over anything else.

    How would BART score using the metrics you describe?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Not sure why this posted twice and second one was partial???

  20. morris brown
    Feb 21st, 2017 at 08:57
    #20

    The Carolyn Flowers, revolving door from FTA to AECCM, is being investigated.

    The non-profit “Cause of Action Institute” group has sent off an FOIA request to the FTA regarding what has taken place.

    This FOIA can be viewed at:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMV1FNLXNKVVFkWTg

  21. Jos Callinet
    Feb 21st, 2017 at 09:25
    #21

    With this decision to delay the funding for Caltrain electrification having been handed down by Elaine Chow, I fully expect she will likewise endorse Republicans’ decision to entirely de-fund Amtrak, another pet goal the Republicans will surely press forward on.

    Killing Amtrak is now entirely within reach of the Republicans, now that they’re fully in charge in Washington. It’s only a matter of time before this issue rises to the surface, and THIS TIME AROUND, there’s no one who can stop them.

    So, not only is it “bye-bye” Caltrain Electrification, it’s “bye-bye” to Amtrak as well. This has been a long time coming.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    No. Every Democrat plus >2 Republicans will vote no.

    les Reply:

    You will be surprised how much local resistance will materialize. 2 years ago when Amtrak tried to move a stretch of the SouthWest Chief from northern New Mexico to central New Mexico the north’s resistance was amazing. And it wasn’t just the “liberals” who fought it. And rural New Mexico is far from being considered “liberal”.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    But the Southern Transcon skips Albuquerque… or did the plan involve a multi-hour detour to Albuquerque on the way?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    les’s point is that there is a big rural constituency supporting Amtrak service even in the Republican states. While there are very conservative Republicans that still want to eliminate Amtrak the majority GOP would rather not pick that particular fight going into mid term elections. They can claim that Amtrak is doing better and convince themselves that it is not too great a burden on the budget. Who knows? Someone might even bid on privatizing one of the routes. That would buy enough time to get the subject off the agenda.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s a tiny little constituency with two Senators. Who probably shot themselves in their no new taxes glee when they made routes of 750 miles or less be state supported. Senators from Illinois and North Cariolina etc. are going to be less supportive of Amtrak running long distance routes.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    My point is that the Southern Transcon reroute would’ve screwed the state’s biggest city and not just rural areas, so opposition might not have been mainly rural.

    les Reply:

    “A group of small, sleepy towns in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico banded together in the past three years after Amtrak warned it might be forced to end the Chief’s iconic service through their communities.”
    http://www.denverpost.com/2015/11/07/rural-colorado-kansas-and-n-m-have-saved-amtraks-southwest-chief/

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They want 200 million dollars to serve a few hundred thousand people I want 200 billion to serve the 100 million people in the Northeast and Midwest. Especially since the 200 million to do this came from rich taxpayers in the Northeast and Midwest.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ..and,from reading the article, if they love the service, the ridership numbers show that there aren’t many people out there. If there are more people out there, the ridership numbers show that they don’t love it.

    agb5 Reply:

    The reroute would have detoured to serve Albuquerque.

    The campaign power of the depopulated rural areas of northern NM and western Kansas was very powerful, though they did have inertia on their side. Yes, the opposition to the reroute was pretty much entirely rural and mostly Republican.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When the Federal government pisses away money on yokels in the hinterlands whose main hobby is bitching about how much the government spends it is supporting the stalwart yeomanry of Real American ™ . Spend it in places like California or the Northeast it is wasting it on the people who send them money.

    Danny Reply:

    that’s actually my usual go-to explaining the GOP’s “hat trick” (I used Cruz and flood repair above): the GOP Senators 1. want new and better Amtrak service in their constituencies, 2. want to take all the credit and flatter their voters as rootin-tootin independents on whose shoulders the nation rests, 3. get the NEC to subsidize the service to their states, 4. so they can keep bashing Amtrak (except when it’s in their states, where it’s a rightful reward for their deserving constituents) and “subsidies” which are for the degenerate cities

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    My Congresswoman loves to show up at ribbon cuttings. The first half of the visit boils down to how wonderful it is that the government is spending money. The second half boils down to that government spending money is evil.

  22. Reality Check
    Feb 21st, 2017 at 18:15
    #22

    Republican Texas lawmakers introduce 18 bills to stymie Texas Central HSR

    Nearly a dozen Republican state lawmakers, mostly from rural and suburban districts, filed a flurry of bills Tuesday aiming to “derail” plans for a privately-funded high-speed rail line in Texas.

    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.

    Aarond Reply:

    Puts the more suburban Republicans in the hot seat. Regardless if this passes or not this tests the mettle of N-S (TxC’s biggest backer, given that they’d obviously be their supplier as they are already JRE’s supplier) moreso than local politicians.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    It is as plain as day that there are powerful anti-rail forces ready to bare their venomous fangs whenever anyone anywhere seriously proposes to build high speed rail, whether it be in Florida, Texas, California or anywhere else, for that matter.
    Let’s face it: the USA prides itself on being a “drive-and-fly” nation, where high-speed rail in any form whatsoever is viewed as an alien intruder which must be stamped out like a destructive weed which threatens to invade and destroy the status-quo before it has been given the slightest chance to take root.
    I am convinced more than ever that passenger rail is UNWANTED by a sufficiently large percentage of the population of this country to where it is politically a non-starter and will never be allowed to gain a foothold anywhere.
    All the delaying tactics, lawsuits and other measures such as the ones now being introduced in Texas reveal that the United States, Mexico and Canada are the three major exceptions to the rule that fast trains are desirable, and can win converts once they’re up and running.
    NOT HERE.
    High speed rail will very likely continue to expand elsewhere in the world, but will NEVER gain a foothold in these three countries. Not quite sure why – perhaps a deep anti-rail sentiment is ingrained into the North American psyche and consciousness which demands and insists that we are to be the exception, not the rule, regarding high speed rail.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    To be polite, the mediocre, Amtrak service between New York and Washington D.C. captures 75 percent of the rail/air market. It’s a pity that NY-DC isn’t a part of Real American ™ .

    agb5 Reply:

    Passenger rail service is incredibly popular, even among right-wingers, whenever it’s introduced anywhere in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsyvlania, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, California, Oregon, and Washington. Oh, and Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

    Some other states have very powerful psychotic anti-rail forces, it is true.

    Eric Reply:

    Mexico would have a HSR line under construction now if not for the fall in oil prices.
    Canada has repeatedly discussed HSR, and several provinces have conducted in-depth studies. There doesn’t seem to be knee-jerk opposition like in the US.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_Mexico
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_Canada

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So has the U.S. There’s the HIgh Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965. Whatever it was called in 1977. There was something smaller in the 80s. The 90s saw money run out on Acela. They are improving Trenton to New Brunswick. Not much help in the short term. A lot of it needed to be done anyway. to replace the stuff installed in the 30s… yes there is stuff in New Jersey that is 80 years old. There is stuff in metro Philadelphia that is over 100. New York State had the Tubrboliners which were going to make things faster which would increase demand which made it easier to do more improvements.. they did. I’m sure there is a bookcase full of studies on rail transport in Upstate New York at the NYSDOT. Vermont did a study on Boston-Montreal. It’s why Boston-Montreal is on the maps of high speed rail corridors but not Albany-Montreal which would also be New York to Montreal. NY had yet to do a study on New York City to Montreal. They did one. Improving New York City to Albany was outside of the scope of the study. . . .

  23. Roland
    Feb 21st, 2017 at 22:56
    #23
  24. morris brown
    Feb 22nd, 2017 at 04:57
    #24

    Cap and Trade Auction takes place today (2-22-2017). In about 1 week we will know if it will be a success or not.

  25. Aarond
    Feb 22nd, 2017 at 11:04
    #25

    SB-1 was introduced into the state senate environmental quality committee today.

    It sets aside $200 million/yr for road rehab projects, 20% of which goes directly to the “Intercity Rail Capital program”, Sec. 24-2-230 includes more funding for “safety projects” and “Railroad grade separations”, and Sec. 27-2192 amends the Streets and Highways Code to allow for $70 mil/yr more for grade seps and $580 mil/yr in state grants to regional transportation projects:

    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520161SB1

    Not all of this money could or should go to Caltrain, but there’s at least a buffer here until a more secure funding source for the full $650 mil they need is found. But, the legislature only has 96 more business hours to act before March 1st.

    zorro Reply:

    “Bill Status” says the Bill died,

    Inactive Bill – Died , 11/30/16 From committee without further action

    .

    zorro Reply:

    Ok I tried your link, it goes to a bill from 2016. Here’s the correct link, nothing like a search.
    SB-1 Transportation funding. (2017-2018)

    Date / Result / Location / Ayes / Noes / NVR / Motion
    02/14/17 / (PASS) / Sen Transportation and Housing / 8 / 3 / 2 / Do pass, but first be re-referred to the Committee on [Environmental Quality]

    The bill says it’s set for a hearing on Feb 22nd, which is today, ok, We’ll just have to stay tuned, and see where this goes.

    Roland Reply:

    “Freight rail system improvements to enhance the ability to move goods from seaports, land ports of entry, and airports to warehousing and distribution centers throughout California, including projects that separate rail lines from highway or local road traffic, improve freight rail mobility through mountainous regions, relocate rail switching yards, and other projects that improve the efficiency and capacity of the rail freight system.”

  26. William
    Feb 22nd, 2017 at 17:01
    #26

    OT: It looks like only Paris and Los Angeles are the remaining candidate cities for 2024 Olympic, after Budapest drops out today. Will Trump be more friendly to California if LA wins the right to host 2024 Olympic?

    Aarond Reply:

    It’d be in the final stretch of his second term, so I reckon no. 2024 has another important thing though: it’s when the ISS will be deorbited.

    Trump’s final big act will be the purposeful demolition of the most successful international cooperative efforts in human history, which in fairness will be at the end of it’s service life. Whatever comes next (another ISS, moonbases, space privatization, or even just nothing) will define Trump’s legacy more than anything else. That’s what he is probably focusing on, moreso than a yearly sporting event that isn’t the Superbowl.

    This impacts California because of NASA JPL in Pasadena. And, if conspiracy theories are to be believed, the AF might declassify whatever special thruster they have in the X-37 (which is a product of California, also launched out of Lompoc).

    Roland Reply:

    LA’s distinctive advantages over Paris:
    – A Great Wall
    – A travel ban
    – One-way trips out of the country
    How could the USA possibly lose the nomination?

    David Reply:

    Le Pen could top that.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Of course, if LA loses and reapplies for 2028, a new administration will hopefully be in place during the selection.

  27. Reality Check
    Feb 22nd, 2017 at 23:06
    #27

    Why Trains Crash.
    Can new crash prevention technology help us avoid deadly train accidents?

    Well worth watching: this excellent and highly informative new documentary premiered tonight on KQED TV. It will air again in the next few days on other PBS stations … check your local listings or stream it. Highly applicable to Caltrain and CBOSS (Caltrain’s ill-fated and ill-advised attempt to invent its own PTC solution), CEM (crash energy management) railcar design and HSR.

    Faber Castell Reply:

    …was surprisingly better than what I had expected. And the whole program wasn’t about safety, a large component was sort of a big picture question of the future of passenger trains in the USA. Not as esoteric and specific as I and most here would like but it wasn’t some watered down thrown together garbage like I’ve seen on Science or other channels. I’d give it a 4/5 star recommendation.

    Reality Check Reply:

    It’s NOVA / PBS documentary … they generally do an excellent job as compared to typical docs produced by or for commercial TV channels (e.g Discovery Channel, etc.).

    If you’re into TBM and subway construction porn, I also recommend the following “good watch”:

    Super Tunnel
    Join engineers as they build a massive new railway deep beneath the streets of London.

    Program Description: Underneath the streets of London, a team of more than ten thousand construction workers race to build a brand new metro line — Crossrail. Costing almost $23 billion, it’s the biggest engineering project in Europe and must link into the existing metro system. As they burrow the 26 miles of tunnels, engineers battle to make sure historic buildings don’t crack, London Underground trains keep running, and an ambitious station roof made up of 2500 pieces comes together on time. Crucially, they must drive one of their gigantic 1000-ton tunnel boring machines through the earth, passing within inches of escalators and an active subway tunnel, without the passengers on the tube platforms below ever knowing they are there. Join NOVA to plunge into the tunnels of the London Underground and follow this high-stakes, action-packed engineering endeavor, and discover just how engineers are performing this delicate surgery through the heart of the historic city.

    Roland Reply:

    I think that Sarah Feinberg’s remarks about using PTC to improve safety at railroad crossings were right on point. Unfortunately, she was one of the many victims of the incoming administration’s brutal purge: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P1009

    Roland Reply:

    It looks like CNN know about the Federal Reserve(2) and FTC(3) vacancies but they don’t know about the FRA (?) http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/25/politics/donald-trump-cabinet-vacancies/index.html

  28. Jos Callinet
    Feb 23rd, 2017 at 13:30
    #28

    With a stroke of le pen!

  29. William
    Feb 23rd, 2017 at 14:55
    #29

    Remember to sign this petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/support-9600-american-jobs-tell-fta-approve-funding-caltrain-electrification

    Reality Check Reply:

    Remember your “signature” on such Whitehouse petitions does not count until you click on the confirmation link you’ll receive in an email. (This is how they ensure there can only be one signature per unique email address … I wonder if they’re wise to this: “2 hidden ways to generate infinite valid permutations of your Gmail address“?).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …..I suspect that the Whitehouse knows about that too and ignore signthepetitionlotsoftimes+anythingelse@example.com

  30. David
    Feb 23rd, 2017 at 18:20
    #30

    LPMG meeting this evening in San Carlos: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Presentations/HSR+LPMG+Presentation+02.23.17.pdf
    Jeff Morales and Ben Tripousis are presenting. No video but audio will be available later.

    David Reply:

    Breaking News: Caltrain announced that they are about to announce their plan for keeping the electrification project alive. Jody Meecham is here interviewing Jeff Morales and Ben Tripousis, so expect an article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal later tonight or early tomorrow morning.

    agb5 Reply:

    HSRA can be more comfortable adding an extra $650 of Prop1A funds to the project now that every newspaper has explained how the electrified line will make it suitable and ready for high speed rail.

    Roland Reply:

    How can an antediluvian 79 MPH track possibly be “suitable and ready for high speed rail”?

    joe Reply:

    Someone familiar with the situation will kindly help you understand what it is that you do not understand.

    From http://www.cahsrprg.com/files/PRG-letter-of-7-Feb-2017-Reduced.pdf

    San Jose to San Francisco Electrification

    The ” blended system” for joint operations by Caltrain and HSRA between San Jose and San Francisco would not be possible without Caltrain electrification. The Funding Plan and the PFAL report generally indicate that the necessary work is now underway and that Caltrain should be able to deliver the system for HSRA operation by the time that it is needed, assuming that the planned Federal funding agreement is completed and implemented.

    Roland Reply:

    How can an antediluvian 79 MPH track possibly be “suitable and ready for high speed rail”?

    zorro Reply:

    The track is suitable, it just has no electrification at the moment, and it’s been said the track is ok for up to 125mph. 79mph is mainly for freight and older passenger equipment that is not made for 0-125mph.

    Roland Reply:

    Citation needed.

    agb5 Reply:

    When a high speed train operates on it (at any speed) it is ipso facto suitable and ready.

    Roland Reply:

    Citation needed.

    joe Reply:

    http://cahsrprg.com/files/PRG-letter-of-7-Feb-2017-Reduced.pdf

    San Jose to San Francisco Electrification
    The “blended system” for joint operations by Cal train and HSRA between San Jose and San
    Francisco: would not be possible without Caltrain electrification. The Funding Plan and the
    PF AL repOJ1 generally indicate that the necessary work is now underway and that Caltrain
    should be able to deliver the system for HSRA operation by the time that it is needed , assuming
    that the planned Federal funding agreement is completed and implemented.

    I have kindly helped you understand that which you do not understand.

    Roland Reply:

    Apparently I struck a nerve.

    Roland Reply:

    “When a high speed train operates on it (at any speed) it is ipso facto suitable and ready.”
    Citation needed.

    agb5 Reply:

    No citation needed, it’s ipso facto

    There is no other defining moment when the system flips from not-suitable to suitable.

    It can always become even more suitable with further improvements.

  31. agb5
    Feb 24th, 2017 at 00:57
    #31

    Only another 94,250 signatures needed by March 20, 2017 to get a response from the White House

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/support-9600-american-jobs-tell-fta-approve-funding-caltrain-electrification

  32. J. Wong
    Feb 24th, 2017 at 07:10
    #32

    Trump isn’t ever going to get more money for infrastructure no matter what he says: White House Infrastructure Bill Plan Bad

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The analysis of his tax plan, even from conservative think tanks, was that if it gets enacted everything gets cut except Defense and Social Security. There wouldn’t be any money for current transportation funding levels much less an additional trillion over ten years. . . but then his supporters use alternate arithmetic. The Holy Laffer Curve is going to make everything peachy. If we only could cut taxes to zero the government would be awash in revenue.

  33. Reality Check
    Feb 24th, 2017 at 09:21
    #33

    On the air (KQED radio 88.5 FM) … listen live now (or stream later):
    Transit Advocates Imagine Caltrain’s Future as Trump Administration Delays Funding

    Episode airs February 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM
    Arguing that the South Bay’s transportation system is breaking down, the urban planning think tank SPUR released an ambitious proposal for the region Thursday. In its Caltrain Corridor Vision Plan, SPUR proposes improvements to Highway 101 and calls for Caltrain to quintuple its ridership, expand service into downtown San Francisco and upgrade infrastructure. The SPUR report follows the Trump Administration’s decision last week to suspend $647 million in funds for Caltrain’s electrification, a move the rail agency says will hinder its ability to make needed improvements. We discuss the future of Caltrain.

    The Caltrain Corridor Vision Plan (Spur.org)

    Guests:
    Ratna Amin, transportation policy director, SPUR
    Randy Rentschler, director of legislation and public affairs, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
    Seamus Murphy, chief communications officer, Caltrain

    Reality Check Reply:

    SPUR’s Caltrain Corridor Vision Plan

    morris brown Reply:

    The KQED program was an absolutely one sided affair. Claiming to have invited opposition to participate is a joke. It should have been advertised as a commercial program to gain approval of the Caltrain Modernization project, not as a discussion. Shame on KQED.

    Bizjournal announced that at the March 2sd Caltrain Board meeting, Caltrain will discuss its plans for going forward.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2017/02/24/caltrain-electrification-funding.html

    (there is a pay gate there)

    joe Reply:

    The KQED program was an absolutely one sided affair. Claiming to have invited opposition to participate is a joke. It should have been advertised as a commercial program to gain approval of the Caltrain Modernization project, not as a discussion.

    Balance requires the viewpoint of curmudgeons who live along the right of way..

    Not all stories have two sides — sometimes holding up *approved* Caltrain funding for a political vendetta isn’t balanced.

    Joe Reply:

    Caltrain twitter today

    We want to assure our riders & supporters that we have a strong bipartisan coalition advocating for this project. #StandWithCaltrain

    Roland Reply:

    Needs 93,938 signatures by March 20, 2017 to get a response from the White House

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    One of the will claim it’s been hacked. Another one will claim it’s a fat guy sitting on his bed with his laptop voting 92,872 times and the third will claim that 43,988 of the votes were illegal aliens bused in from Quebec so they could get U.S. IP addresses. …. as if any of them have a clue what an IP address is and why it’s useful in determining if something is faked. And why should be busy with that when it’s more important to be talking about how we can get Mexico to pay for the wall.

    Roland Reply:

    F-U-N-N-Y!!!

    zorro Reply:

    Republicans in Congress have said no to an appropriation, a viewer sent in a partial recording a of Republican Telephone Townhall of a Representative who is a member of the appropriations committee in Congress to the Rachel Maddow show, I heard it tonight on MSNBC, Rachel is asking viewers if they have a complete recording to send it in to the show.

    Aarond Reply:

    Same thing as last time. The House will remove the money, approve the budget, then Fienstien will add it back into the Senate version, the House Budget Committee will approve it, then the Senate, then Trump. The Senate GOP isn’t interested in fighting the #8 Senator over a trivial $647 million transit grant.

    The main issue ain’t the money, it’s the miles of red tape that is spawned if nothing happens by March 1st.

    Aarond Reply:

    Stadler USA is located in wonderful Salt Lake City, Utah. I wonder if Chris Stewart (R-UT 2) or Senator Hatch (current Senate Pro Tem) going to bat for them. It’s not as far fetched as it seems, remember that one in five Utah voters went for McMullin, denying Trump a clear majority in an otherwise hard red state.

    agb5 Reply:

    Without the straitjacket of buy-american federal funding, Stadler can manufacture the trains for less at their factory in Switzerland.

    Alan Reply:

    Aww…poor widdle Morris is all sad because nobody at big bad KQED cares what he thinks. Too bad, so sad. KQED wanted to talk to people who want to get things done, not losers.

    Aarond Reply:

    Don’t be so smug, he hasn’t lost just yet. Caltrain is on the edge and Atherton might just luck out if the MTC decides to announce a future Peninsula BART extension in their final Core Capacity Transit Study (which debuts next month). This would effectively freeze Caltrain investment for 1-2 decades until BART is built around it.

    Alan Reply:

    I think BART on the Peninsula is the MTC’s pipe dream. Where would it run? It’s not like there’s unused land just waiting for a BART ROW. Your comments imply that Caltrain would continue to operate, so putting BART on Caltrain ROW wouldn’t work. And there’s the little matter of UP’s freight rights.

    In any event, the Peninsula needs traffic relief sooner, not later. Caltrain electrification is ready to go, but as you suggest, BART on the Peninsula is a decade, maybe two in the future.

    So, Caltrain electrification is still more likely than not, IMHO. This delay is due to objections to HSR, not Caltrain. At some point, this will get done.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The only way I see BART ever going on the Peninsula is if HSR needs all the Caltrain tracks, so BART replaces Caltrain fro local service, but even in that scenario, building more standard gauge tracks makes the most sense.

    Aarond Reply:

    Don’t be so smug, he hasn’t lost just yet. Depending on how the next few days go he might get another 24 months. And MTC might just decide that the only solution to Caltrain is BART.

    Roland Reply:

    Paging John N: This is beyond H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S: SAMCEDA (SPUR sponsors) have come up with a plan to pay for all this good stuff with Santa Clara County parcel taxes!!!

    http://www.spur.org/sites/default/files/publications_pdfs/Appendix%20B_Vision_Plan_Cost_and_Revenue_Detail.pdf (Figure 25 on page 22).

    Roland Reply:

    Please meet the Chief Executive in charge of this masterful brainstorm: http://www.samceda.org/san-mateo-county-economic-development/samceda-board/rosanne-foust

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Roland:

    Don’t leave out for the uninformed — Foust is the wife of Jim Hartnett. The team rules Redwood City and has for years.

    SAMCEDA == Development at any cost and without any supervision if that can be accomplished.

    joe Reply:

    Oh noes!!

    To whom is the Department of Transportation Secretary married?
    https://www.transportation.gov/key-officials

    This guy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitch_McConnell

    It’s cool because her DOT blocked Caltrain $$$.

    Roland Reply:

    The next episode of this saga will unfold on March 1st in (yes, you guessed it), the San Mateo Public Library 55 W. 3rd Ave San Mateo, CA, conveniently located less than a mile away from the future pangalactic downtown San Mateo Multimodal Transit Center.

    http://www.greencaltrain.com/2017/02/wednesday-march-1/

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Roland – which galaxy do you most highly recommend we make reservations for, once the pangalactic San Mateo Transit Center becomes fully operational?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The bus stop at the end of the universe:
    https://bw-1651cf0d2f737d7adeab84d339dbabd3-gallery.s3.amazonaws.com/images/image_2725716/cb2c343afb6aa87205591834c88693e1_original.jpg

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Our own if it’s a pangalactic. If you could get to other galaxies it would be an intergalactic…..

  34. Roland
    Feb 24th, 2017 at 13:38
    #34

    This one is even better:

    “45-Minute Baby Bullet”:
    “Identical to the “Baby Bullet / SkipStop alternative, except that in order to attain a 45 minute end to end travel time between San Jose and San Francisco (Transbay Terminal), no more than one intermediate stop can be made on the Baby Bullet. This alternative features a completely four-track corridor between San Francisco and San Jose. In this scenario, specific train services are completely segregated between the pairs of tracks (i.e., the two pairs of tracks are operationally independent). On one set of tracks, a pair of “A-B Skip-Stop” Caltrain services together serve all of the stations on the corridor. On the second pair of tracks, “Baby Bullet” Caltrain trains make a limited set of station stops and share the tracks with HSR trains.”

    http://www.spur.org/sites/default/files/publications_pdfs/Appendix_A_Existing_Conditions_and_Methodology.pdf (page 25).
    The only stop is in San Mateo, the one and only Capital of Silicon Valley (figure 23 on page 32).
    Best part: a bargain cost of $900M – 1.6B and no, I am not making that one up either.

  35. Brian_FL
    Feb 24th, 2017 at 15:37
    #35

    More updates from Florida regarding Brightline in the past day or so. Their second trainset is expected soon. Engineers are being trained. Next month conductors will be trained. Stations are nearing completion in FTL and WPB. PTC (an overlay of the existing FECR cab signal system) is being tested and will be ready for summer 2017 launch of service. Everything looks good for the initial launch of Brightline.

    http://gobrightline.com/progress/bringing-train-travel-fort-lauderdale/

    http://gobrightline.com/progress/brightlines-new-railroad-operations-center/

    http://trn.trains.com/photos-videos/2017/02/behind-the-scenes-with-brightline

  36. morris brown
    Feb 24th, 2017 at 16:37
    #36

    If Caltrain really wants “modernization ” then Caltrain needs to reset. Caltrain could provide the better service by kicking HSR off their corridor, thereby gaining 40% more possible capacity, since only their trains would use the 2 tracks.

    Then Caltrain should embrace Tier-4 locomotives (diesel/electric), which will provide better, and clean power for train sets. This is the route that Metro Link chose to use.

    Caltrain continues to stick its head where the sun doesn’t shine and bitch about objections to the blended plan and Caltrain’s outrageous $2 billion project. For 0ne-Forth that cost they could achieve their objectives by going this route.

    There is an excellent presentation that was given by Atherton Resident Jack Ringham to the Atherton Rail Committee which can be viewed at:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMMjhxZVpycV9kb3c

    or

    https://www.scribd.com/document/340232715/Caltrain-Electrification-2-22-2017

    What are the chances of Caltrain taking this path? Probably ZERO. Sane chance as Caltrain now getting the $647 FTA Grant.

    joe Reply:

    If Caltrain really wants “modernization ” then Caltrain needs to reset.

    Then Caltrain should embrace Tier-4 locomotives (diesel/electric), which will provide better, and clean power for train sets. This is the route that Metro Link chose to use.

    The NIMBY EIR lawsuit demanded Caltrain study Tier IV Diesel.

    The Judge threw the case out of court. Check for bruises.

    What were the odds you’d admit to that legal setback?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Metrolink ‘S diesels still haven’t been delivered and when they come will provide acceleration similar to a stack of bricks. Modernization only in the sense that the 1970s are more modern than the fifties.

    Marc Reply:

    Morris Brown was not saying that Caltrain must use the exact same Tier 4 compliant diesel that Metrolink chose. The Siemens Charger is also Tier 4 and appears to be successful. I think what Morris is saying is don’t spend scarce public money foolishly. Get the most bang for the buck. IMO $2 BILLION for electrifying San Jose to SF is excessive. That money could be better spent. But since it is connected to CA HSR, it is blasphemy to think otherwise. Same reason why Florida’s Brightline is hated here by some. It represents an alternative option that is in direct opposition to what many think is the only correct (government funded and controlled) path forward. Maybe starting small and progressing forward incrementally is the proper approach to future passenger rail in the USA?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    we’ve been progressing incrementally since the High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965 and what we have to show for it is service that would embarrass Bulgarians

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Both those diesels work best cruising long distances between stops. They are entirely misspecified for commuter service. Horsepower does not automatically translate to performance.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Now that I am back (I hope), you are correct in horsepower alone is not indicative to speed. Yet with the right gear ratio you can obtain good acceleration. Brightline is using 2 Chargers for their trains of up to 7-9 cars. I would imagine that 8800hp with 8 passenger cars would match any electric trainset.

    But to get back to my point, is $2 BILLION better spent on this or on other additional services? With limited funds how can Caltrain justify this expenditure? In a perfect world, electrification is the only choice. We live in reality here in 2017. And is $2B the actual lowest possible cost?

    Brian_FL

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …. or you have virus that is doing funky things between your browser and the intertubes.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Brian, Brightline does not stop at every lamppost like Caltrain. Locomotive and car configuration for commuter service does not give enough powered axles to do the job. Fuel costs are high and so are engine rebuilds every 4 years. Caveat emptor. Let Amtrak have the tier 4s to cruise the prairie where they will do a grand job.
    As for the cost of Caltrain electrification, absolutely agree. Just as I think $7 million is too much for a passenger locomotive. Public sector procurement means we pay too much. That’s where you should be applying yourself, Morris.

    Roland Reply:

    Every Caltrain lamppost in San Mateo County should be turned into an ECR BRT stop.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    List the specific stations you want to become ECR BRT, please.

    Roland Reply:

    Brian, you are correct and we do need new trains but not electrification (yet).
    Do you know how long the AAF platforms are?

    morris brown Reply:

    @Paul Dyson
    @ Clem and others.

    Please examine a performance and financial analysis of Caltrain’s modernization, as presented in two slides

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMdzVWd2xhSTdSbTQ

    Clearly Tier-4 not quite as good as EMUs, but the cost advantage is huge as well as the
    other obnoxious attachments related to electrification.

    What is wrong with this approach?

    Clem Reply:

    It perpetuates the present.

    It doesn’t do anything for level boarding
    It doesn’t scale to longer trains
    It doesn’t work in DTX tunnels (Tier 4 exhaust is still toxic)
    It doesn’t reduce noise levels
    It keeps HSR out

    I realize this last point is quite attractive in some quarters.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Since they are quite cleaner, it is going to ruin the delightful ambiance created by the diesel exhaust wafting through his neighborhood. I wonder if he has thought about that?

    morris brown Reply:

    Replying to Clem’s comments on

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMdzVWd2xhSTdSbTQ

    perpetuates the present.

    Nothing wrong with this, since this simple modification

    delivers the goods.

    It doesn’t do anything for level boarding

    Surely this can be modifed to take level boarding. No longer need to

    also have HSR on the line.

    It doesn’t scale to longer trains

    Longer trains can’t be used on some existing platforms anyway.

    It doesn’t work in DTX tunnels (Tier 4 exhaust is still toxic)

    Will there ever be DTX? SF Mayor Ed Lee’s plan is decades off

    It doesn’t reduce noise levels

    Agreed… Can’t have everything

    It keeps HSR out

    Perhaps the best part of this plan. Keeps HSR from using up 40% of corridor capacity.

    Cost saving could funnel funds to the expensive needed grade separations.

    Avoids the coversion to 4 tracks along the corridor, which will be demanded, but as yet not admitted as being the long term plan.

    Clem Reply:

    Oh and I forgot: wastes massive amounts of energy (heavy, no regeneration) and uses 100% fossil fuel.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I thought grade separation were going to create a Berlin Wall dividing communities …. that have always been divided by the railroad tracks…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …. and how are the people getting off the high speed trains from Los Angeles, in San Jose, going to get someplace other than downtown San Jose? I suppose one day they could take a really long BART ride, making every stop along the way and using up capacity that Bay Area residents could be using. I know! A bus to the San Jose Airport and they can fly to SFO or OAK! Or are they going to mildly annoyed that they have to walk across the platform… or worse to another platform because Caltrain can’t be across the platform…. get on a Caltrain train and use up capacity on the Caltrain ROW in a train with a different logo on the side. Hmmm.

    morris brown Reply:

    Clem writes:

    Oh and I forgot: wastes massive amounts of energy (heavy, no regeneration) and uses 100% fossil fuel.

    Cuts thousands of trees which supposedly combat global warming. Project has doubled in cost in 5 years. Caltrain’s failed execution on CBOSS can only lead one to have little faith they can carry out this project.

    Not only is the FTA FFGA now gone, the contribution from HSR will also be gone, when the Funding Plan fails because AB-1889 (Mullin) is declared UN-constitutional.

    Clem Reply:

    You are counting two of your birds in the hand — the FFGA has not been denied (only delayed), and AB-1889 has yet to have its day in court. Both birds are still in the bush, and may remain so!

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Morris, there’s plenty more trees where those came from, go out and plant some yourself. It’s called renewable. What’s not renewable are your and your neighbors’ lungs.
    As for “funding” (whatever happened to money?) or the scarcity thereof it will force the Board and management to think. Better yet take the vendors behind the barn and beat them with two by fours.
    I don’t think Clem mentioned the revenue side. The “sparks effect” as it is known typically raises revenue 50% with new and faster trains. You don’t get that with noisy diesels which are perceived as old-fashioned.

    morris brown Reply:

    Clem writes:

    You are counting two of your birds in the hand — the FFGA has not been denied (only delayed), and AB-1889 has yet to have its day in court. Both birds are still in the bush, and may remain so!

    Clem, Yes, indeed I am counting on these outcomes.

    Clem Reply:

    Good for you. I’m not!

    Roland Reply:

    The FFGA requires a minimum of 10% increase in seating capacity and the CalFranKISSentrains do not comply. Please grow up and get over it.

    Roland Reply:

    Cuts thousands of trees which supposedly combat global warming.

    Whines the man who opposes cap and trade.

    HSR must and will plant trees to offset carbon emissions.

    Carbon emisisons from “thousands of trees” will be recovered by electric Caltrain.

    This deisel alternative was all litigated by Atherton in the Electrification EIR.

    One area for which Atherton originally sought further mitigations was the number of trees that would need to be cut down. Flashman noted Caltrain committed to, when possible, using center poles in between the tracks to support overhead electrical wires. That, he said, helps reduce the number of trees that might need to be cut down.

    http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2016-09-27/judge-gives-caltrain-electrification-green-light-atherton-loses-lawsuit-claims-local-project-was-too-closely-tied-to-high-speed-rail/1776425168923.html#sthash.htVr5ISn.dpuf

    Clem Reply:

    @Roland: For a single-digit percent of the $2 billion overall PCEP tab, the 16 new EMUs can and should be extended to 8 cars. The price has already been negotiated.

    Roland Reply:

    There was VERY interesting BART presentation about the Tri-Valley projects, specifically BART to Livermore and ACE forward: http://bart.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=17&clip_id=1001&meta_id=16264 (click on item 7.B) that covered EMU and DMU alternatives around the 30-minute mark. Later during Q&A, (45-minute mark), there was a question about DMU seating capacity from Director Blaylock and the answer was “somewhat more than BART”.

    Note to Clem: modern DMUs have regenerative breaking.

    Roland Reply:

    @Clem: the price for 8-car EMUs is $474M including $34M for platform lengthening and anybody going around suggesting that EVERY Caltrain platform should be lengthened beyond 700 feet is out of their mind!

    Clem Reply:

    @Roland: that is the price for another 96 cars. We only need another 32 for now, to turn all six-car trains in the current order into eight-car trains. Your figure includes another 8 eight-car consists.

    As to 700-foot platforms, they can easily dock an eight car EMU.

    I stand by my point: the solution to a seat-based capacity shortage is to exercise 1/3 of the Stadler option for a single-digit percent of the overall PCEP tab.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Cutting down the invasive weed species trees that are a fire hazard?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Clem: We only need another 32 for now, to turn all six-car trains in the current order into eight-car trains.

    Why do you keep repeating this total nonsense?

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2017/01/has-caltrain-ridership-hit-a-ceiling/#comment-301247

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

    Under THE VERY MOST OPTIMISTIC POSSIBLE SCENARIO:

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

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

    Link to bare-bones barely-adequate timetable

    Caltrain’s (100% self-inflicted) problem is infrequency of service along with <iinefficiency of service.

    That’s fixed first by a customer oriented timetable and more efficient operations (more sacred seats in revenue service and in service where there is highest demand), and more seats per metre of train length (more efficient trains, ones where the interior isn’t specified by LTK Engineering Services to be unnecessarily narrow, ones where doors are efficiently located at quarter-points for fast loading, ones where a ridiculous percentage of interior space is lost to electrical equipment cabinets and to a poorly-configured toilet), and only then by longer trains … which should very likely be coupled 150m sets.

    Moreover your illogical obsession with creating uniformly over-length (for nearly all day-long Caltrain service, aside from a handful of peak-of-peak runs) trains at the expense of more trains means that Caltrain will and is going to defer diesel train retirement for decades, with all of the attendant operational and timetabling inefficiencies.

    At least with a 100% higher-performance (not high performance; we’re dealing with the outcome of rent-seeking LTK Engineering Services specifications) fleet, there’s at least a non-zero chance (vanisgingly small, but at least non-zero) that level boarding (at around 500-700mm, not insane 1200mm, suck it up!!!!) and an efficient timetable might be possible any time in the next 20 years. Without it, enjoy Olde Tyme Commuter Railroading for the rest of the lifetime.

    Clem: I stand by my point: the solution to a seat-based capacity shortage is to exercise 1/3 of the Stadler option for a single-digit percent of the overall PCEP tab.

    Stop standing in the wrong location.

    William Reply:

    @Richard, 96-cars is 16 sets, which fits your assessment. Clem talked about lengthening all 16 sets to 8 cars, so there would still be 16 sets, but 128 cars.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    William, lengthening 16 (too few!) 150m trains to 200m is stupid (operationally, financially) and counter-productive (operationally, and especially because it guarantees diesel “mixed fleet” operation for ages to come.)

    Widening from 3.0m (ridiculous!) to 3.4m (perfectly feasible, and even 100%-vapourware-CHSR-compatible) at zero cost makes sense. (Except for the little matter of LTK Engineering Services fucking up rolling stock nation-wide.)

    Reconfiguring the wasted non-revenue interior space of the trains makes immense sense.

    Reducing the cost (around a 80% premium!!!!) of these LTK-Engineering Services-specified Stadler-built trains to anywhere near the cost that the rest of the planet pays for Stadler-built trains would help quite a bit. Quite a bit, indeed.

    Increasing the number of 150m unit trains from 16 (only adequate to run any sort of desirable schedule only with poor compromises and totally non-Caltrain-real-world optimistic assumptions) to 21 sets (comparable number of “cars” to going 16x200m) or 24 sets (just about adequate for an OK timetable with uniform 15 minute peak headways except 30 minutes at some smaller closer north-of-Redwood stops) or 30 sets (to selective strengthen a subset of peak-of-peak trains to 300m, flexibly) makes more sense on every front than Clem’s obsession with 200m trains mixed up with diesel- or AEM7-hauled Bombardier trailer cars.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    A big chunk of the Stadler cost premium is Buy America, and not design requirements. Just exchange rates alone add around 20% to the cost (translation: the EU fucked up its economy so bad the euro is weak, and the US should take advantage and import), and the need for Stadler to set up a brand new factory in the US adds a lot of real costs, too.

    Fortunately, this will end soon as the new president supports free trade, right?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    SInce Denver decided that using perfect trains would be a lot of work, they went with pretty-good-compromises trains that will forever have multiple vendors with decent prices. That being SEPTA West wasn’t terrible. Though after the problems with Rotem, being the New Haven Line West may have been a better option,. One that they can take advantage of in 30 years when they are shopping for new trains. Maybe they will get some of those double decker electric MUs that NJTransit has been using for 20 years, from Bombardier. Well an upgraded version. Or an AC version of something Nippon Sharyo came up with for Metra Electric. Unless Metra Electric decides to go to 25kV/60Hz AC in which case there would be a few minor tweaks to be made.
    Everything east of the Rockies is going to be nominally 10’6″ wide, have nominally 48″ high floors and be 85 feet long. No matter how evil and nefarious the consultant is. I’m sorry if using old timey measurements offends. It’s the terms people in the U.S. use, who have electric trains with level boarding today. Unless “nation wide” means “west of the Sierra Nevada” and three quarters of the population that lives east of the Rockies doesn’t count.

    Clem Reply:

    @Richard: If your concern is to run more frequent off-peak service using shorter trains, add two cab cars to the six-car EMUs to make a sub-fleet of 4 + 4 EMUs that can be split into two shorter trains off-peak. As you well know fleet size is determined by the peak-hour timetable, and during the peak you need high-capacity trains. That’s what drives how many cars you buy. In the off-peak you either run a lot of empty seats or park a bunch of trains out of service. Pick your poison.

    As to your wishlist, this is the US and you can’t easily have things like:
    cheap trainset acquisition
    high availability
    high punctuality
    aggressive turnback times
    high utilization
    efficient operations
    customer-oriented timetables
    None of these things align with the financial interests of the relevant stakeholders, stakeholders that include neither riders nor taxpayers. Look, they just blew a quarter billion on “safety” with nothing to show for it except a new fiber optic cable, and actually got away with it.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Clem, you’re arguing with yourself here.

    I’m the one who says that a total of 16 less-than-40-years-obsolete “trains” simply isn’t sufficient, given below-shit-grade fuck-you-funding-public fuck-you-riding-public operating practices by Caltrain.

    You’re the one saying 16 longer trains will somehow solve something. It won’t.
    You’re just buying empty seats (or, more accurately in the case of LTK’s EMUs, empty feet of expensive trains) that will nearly always be of nearly no use to everybody. (Aside from the agency staff and consultants who take a huge percentage off the top of all procurement contracts. Ka-ching!)

    Alan Reply:

    Hey, no problem. Build some Tier-4-compliant FL-9’s. Run third-rail through the DTX. Problem solved.

    (BTW, I’m being facetious…)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Alon, an interesting theory, and one that might stand up to any sort of scrutiny if only Stadler’s USA-USA-USA FLIRTs for Texas cost 80% more than FLIRTs for the rest of the planet.

    Caltrain’s (ie LTK Engineering Service’s) EMU procurement RFP was a total, laughable, world-class clusterfuck. The only thing one can hope is that Stadler — the only bidder, world-wide, brave or stupid enough to attempt to wade into this cesspool — isn’t too badly harmed.

    After all, the continuing existence of an innovative and competitive rail rolling stock manufacturer is a good thing for the world as a whole, while the continued existence of Caltrain is a disaster for the Bay Area, for California, for the US, and, by extension, for the planet.

    Clem Reply:

    How do you suggest we solve these problems? (Without incendiary devices)

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    We should have a T party, mob meetings, demand agencies fire their Caltrain reps, use RICO to go after the consultants. New electrolink north organization. Grand jury.

    Roland Reply:

    I second the motion.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Unless Caltrain goes for nominal 10’6″ wide and nominal 48 inch platforms the rest of the country, east of the Rockies, won’t care what is happening in the Bay Area.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Robert!

    You need to fix your blog ASAP! I posted a comment above at 7:14pm and it appeared as “Marc”. I have proof that this happened as I took a screenshot. Please contact me. It shows someone else’s email address as well.

    Roland Reply:

    Ditto: Mine showed up as “David”.

    William Reply:

    Hit “refresh” usually fix the account issue.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Things have been weird. I hadn’t been able to view anything posted for the past 3 days until this morning–I thought the blog might have died.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    At the rate we in the USA are NOT getting anywhere to speak of in terms of either standard or high speed rail, it may not be long before we ALL become so wearied by the endless do-nothing-ism and stagnation in our country that no one will bother to post comments here on Robert’s blog. We will all have adopted a “post-rail mindset.” Perhaps Elon Musk will finally have his “golden opportunity” to put his hyperloop to the test. Maybe the Republicans will leap at the opportunity to fund Elon’s project.

    Alan Reply:

    Just Morris having another wet dream. Nothing to see here. The Caltrain grant isn’t dead, just delayed. HSR isn’t being kicked off the Caltrain line. Morris keeps deluding himself into thinking that he’s winning. The rest of us know better.

    zorro Reply:

    Diesels are always DIRTIER than pure Electric locomotives Morris Brown, no exception, but then people breathe in particulates from a Diesel exhaust, whereas Electrics have no exhaust on the locomotive.

  37. Roland
    Feb 24th, 2017 at 16:43
    #37

    Breaking News: How Samtrans crams a 4-hour Caltrain Board meeting into two hours (or less): http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2017/2017-03-02+JPB+BOD+Agenda+Packet.pdf.

    Everyone is invited to come and watch Caltrain “governance” at its best. Par-Tay. J-O-B-S
    Any questions?

    Roland Reply:

    And you will never guess what is right at the end (closed session 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.” and no, I am NOT making that one up either.

    joe Reply:

    Breaking News: How Samtrans crams a 4-hour Caltrain Board meeting into two hours (or less):

    My Guess: Limit you to one public comment per meeting.
    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2017/02/trump-administration-blocks-caltrain-grant/#comment-304222

    PUBLIC COMMENT
    Roland Lebrun, San Jose, thanked the crew of Train #233 …

    Public Comment
    Roland Lebrun, San Jose, said customer experience is seats …

    Public Comment
    Roland Lebrun, San Jose, said he is happy …

    Public Comment
    Roland Lebrun, San Jose, said the existing fencing …

    Roland Reply:

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/24/media/cnn-blocked-white-house-gaggle/index.html

    joe Reply:

    But CNN doesn’t attend to make public comments after every topic.

    Roland Reply:

    Schedule issues:
    Project is in the process of re-baseline effort and it will complete by the 3rd quarter of FY17.

    Progress: This Period: Oct – Dec 2016
    1) Continued Book 3 and 4 testing with the test train.
    2) Ran revenue service operations and PTC testing out of the CCF.
    3) Continued interoperability planning.
    4) Continued to work with PTC220 and TTCI to finalize Spectrum Slot Planning.
    5) Planned production testing of Federated Link to freight railroad production network (BNSF).
    6) Began second set of passenger car brake testing.
    7) Vehicle Upgrade Program over 75% complete.

    Future Activities: Jan – Mar 2017
    1) Review and plan to submit draft RSD application.
    2) Review safety case information to be provided in support of PTC Safety Plan.
    3) Continue interoperability planning and perform interoperability preparatory validation testing.
    4) Continue to work with PTC220 and TTCI and implement final slot plan.
    5) Complete punch list items on all base station related activities.
    6) Continue receipt and review of project as-built drawings.
    7) Monitor implementation of onboard translator version of software.
    8) Continue connection of Federated Link to freight railroad production network.

    Issues: : Onboard software development delays continue and will delay the October 2016 RSD date.

    Budget issues:
    Additional Budget of $14.3M for FY17 Capital Budget Call for Project approval was approved at the June 2016 Board meeting. The project is in the process of evaluating rebaseline schedule as well as commercial discussion with the prime contractor PTG. The Total Installed Cost (TIC) will be updated once subject effort is concluded in the future month.
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/_Finance/Quarterly+Capital+Program+Status+Report/JPB/FY17+Q2+JPB+Quarterly+Report.pdf (page 11)

    Clem Reply:

    FIRE IN THE HOLE!

    Roland Reply:

    JPB Responses to Issues raised by R. LeBrun on January 2, 2017

    “2. System Readiness for Electrification
    a. CBOSS System
     The report referenced by R. LeBrun states that “…the electrification contractor has Alstom as its subcontractor for signaling equipment and interfaces. Alstom is also the main contractor for the CBOSS Project. The PFAL team believes that this is an appropriate mitigation for the risks involved.” Caltrain agrees that the safety risks identified will be mitigated by a subcontractor that is familiar with Caltrain’s existing signaling system.
    Page 2 of 4
     The PCEP has been engaged with the UPRR even prior to the issuance of a contract to discuss work on the signal system to eliminate design approval related delays
    http://vtaorgcontent.s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/Site_Content/01_06.pdf (page 46).

    Roland Reply:

    October 6th 2011: Why Parsons Transportation Group?
    Highest Ranked Overall Score
    – Proposed Incremental Train Control System Solution is Well Suited for Caltrain Application
    – A Solid Understanding and Commitment to Meet Caltrain Requirements
    – Interoperable Train Control Standards and Architecture are Well Understood and Explained
    • Best Value
    – Full Turn- Key Solution
    – Local Presence
    – Commuter Rail PTC Implementation Experience
    – Caltrain Benefits from the Value of Lessons Learned
    – Strong Subcontractors
    – Favorable Contract Terms and Conditions
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Presentations/CBOSS+PTC+Presentation.pdf (slide 7)

    Roland Reply:

    “Director of Rail Operations Michelle Bouchard made the following points:
    • Caltrain initiated the development of a specification to upgrade its signal system in January 2008 to improve operating safety, efficiency and capacity.
    • The Rail Safety Improvement Act 2008 requires a Positive Train Control (PTC) System implemented by December 31, 2015. The safety requirements of the Rail Safety Improvement Act are to prevent train-to-train collisions, enforcement of civil speed limits, enforcement of safety zones in the track area and interoperability.
    • In August 2010 an RFP was issued for a PTC/Communications Based Overlay Signal System (CBOSS).
    • CBOSS functional requirements are enhanced crossing safety, improved headways and operational flexibility, enforcement of scheduled station stops, schedule management and employee in charge.
    • The scope of the RFP was to develop a turnkey solution that shares risk with the contractor.
    • Bids were received from Alstom Signaling, Inc., Parsons Transportation Group and Wabtec.
    • The evaluation criteria included technical, qualifications/commercial/work experience and pricing. Pricing is a small component. Staff was looking for a strong technical proposal that would be delivered by a team that is well qualified and had experience.
    • Parsons was ranked well above the other two bidders and offered the best value.
    Director Tissier left at 11:20 a.m.
    • Parsons offered a fiber optic network backbone that will offer a medium- to long-term benefit to the JPB with revenue generation opportunities for the JPB.
    • The original contract price was $160 million and the negotiated final price is $124 million and if the fiber option was included it would be an additional $14 million.
    • Parsons offered a schedule under which the work would be completed by October 2015.
    • The contract phasing has been developed due to funding. Base contract will take project through critical design, Option 1 will take through final design, factory acceptance test and installation and Option 2 is testing on site.”

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2011/10-6-11+Final+JPB+Minutes.pdf (page 8)

    If that does not get this moron and the cretin who brought her back from BART land and promptly appointed her to the position of COO both fired, what will?

    agb5 Reply:

    Is this a ploy to get HSRA to plug the federal funding gap in return for an HSR-compatible ERTMS system?

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Clem

    We all owe you great thanks for exposing CBOSS for what it is (a big pile). I wonder how Rep. Anna Eshoo will take this? She drank all of Caltrain’s lemonade and secured a $31 million earmark to partially fund the project.

    William Reply:

    Coupling with SF Peninsula freight right being transfer to a shortline operator, this does pave the way for ETCS + LTE only on Caltrain owned tracks, and therefore only one PTC system is needed for the new Caltrain EMU and HSR trains, with the new freight operator and Caltrain keep a few locomotives equipped with both ETCS and freight PTC to operate over UP owned lines.

    William Reply:

    And let the lawsuits begin, although it might be years before Caltrain gets back some, if any, money at all.

    Aarond Reply:

    A real hail mary. Caltrain only has 48 business hours left to know if they’re going to get the needed money.

  38. Domayv
    Feb 25th, 2017 at 07:55
    #38
  39. Roland
    Feb 25th, 2017 at 12:50
    #39

    Paging Robert:

    The Roland Reply:
    February 25th, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Was Posted by Joe impersonating me, not Joe.

    William Reply:

    Check what’s the name appear in “Logged in as” before you reply. If it is not your ID, just do a refresh after you login to get the correct account.

  40. StevieB
    Feb 25th, 2017 at 20:09
    #40

    Gov. Jerry Brown sent a list of 10 infrastructure projects to President Donald Trump on Friday requesting an expedited environmental review. The letter urges President Trump to designate the California High-Speed Rail Project as a “high priority” infrastructure project.

    In his announcement Brown spoke on California High-Speed Rail and Caltrain.

    Brown also reiterated his support for the California high-speed rail project, stressing that more people using trains instead of cars is always better. “In the valley, some of the people who are trying to find houses in San Jose, or Palo Alto, could take a ride 50, 90 miles into the Central Valley and find more affordable housing. So the high speed rail is part of the infrastructure,” he said.
    Brown briefly touched on the electrification of Caltrain in the Bay Area after a reporter asked him a question. “It’s ready to go, it’s an obvious project, if you’re not for that, you’re not for infrastructure. That’s a no brainer. It speeds it up, takes cars off the road, reduces the noise, it cleans up the air, it’s based on American renewable energy.”

  41. Jeff Carter
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 08:58
    #41

    Is there something wrong with this blog?

    It shows 299 comments for several days, if I refresh then shows 305 comments. My Android phone shows 318 comments, I checked on a different computer/browser it shows 348 comments. It seems like whatever device I check this blog is stopped at the number of comments I refer to above.

    I posted a comment on Feb 22, 2017 and it showed up twice on the blog?

    Anyone else seen these problems?

    agb5 Reply:

    I think the page is not expiring and so the browser just re-uses the cached version indefinitely.
    Try a forced refresh of the page ( Ctrl + F5 on a PC)

  42. Jeff Carter
    Feb 26th, 2017 at 10:36
    #42

    My last comment I made yesterday regarding blog problems has not posted???

    I tried clearing cache/browser history yesterday (Saturday) now it seems to be stuck at 448 comments?

    Also takes 60-120 seconds to refresh, and still 448 comments.

  43. JimInPollockPines
    Feb 27th, 2017 at 09:03
    #43

    OT The CAHSR site shows 152 north to 11 as the preferred wye alternative but the documents show 152 north 13 carried forward. anyone know the final decision?

Comments are closed.