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Old Posted Nov 24, 2019, 9:56 AM
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phoenixboi08 phoenixboi08 is offline
Transport Planner
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 570
Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
Great find!

I am surprised that they are going to build within the I-15 corridor. I knew that their route mainly paralleled the freeway but I did not know they would actually building within the state DOT land. Furthermore, in California he said they would be building in the median of the freeway, which... I have mixed feelings about. I dislike medians as corridors for rail expansion, but the median of I-15 is very wide and perhaps this can be an exception. In Nevada they will be on the east side of the freeway but still within NDOT ROW, and now the new station location in Las Vegas makes so much more sense.

1)Connect Victorville to San Bernardino and build a large terminal there, possibly on the empty land just east of the old depot where passengers could connect to Metrolink trains to LA. There are two Metrolink lines, one to Union Station and the other to Anaheim and Oceanside, so it would be easy to access via transit. Metrolink to LA from San Bernardino takes about 90 minutes. And of course, San Bernardino is well connected to the rest of LA Valley by freeway. The only two downsides would be that electrified tracks would need to be built through Cajon pass, which in a previous post I proved would not be too expensive, and it would also limit their ability to extend to Los Angeles, since there is a huge urban area between the two points.

2) Extend to Palmdale and wait for the HSR to materialize in the far future. This scenario seems more likely to me. The Metrolink connection at Palmdale takes longer than San Bernadino to reach LA (2 hours) and there is only one freeway connection to Palmdale from LA and it is far less central to the population center than San Bernardino... but this extension would be cheaper, and in the future would connect into the HSR system for a much faster trip to LA.

In my perfect future I want both options to be used - first a terminal in San Bernardino, then when HSR comes along build to Palmdale and run two separate services to LA. But we all know the future isn't perfect.

Anyway, thanks digitallagasse for bringing this information to my attention!

Well yes, provisions for this have been included in a Caltrans project, unless I'm confusing this with something else...

It's why I always found it strange how people were scratching their heads that Virgin would be pursuing this project between Las Vegas-Victorville; it's always been the case that it would very likely simply continue on to Palmdale as that is already entirely permitted (ie. the ROW is being preserved for expressly this purpose). The only reason I believe we haven't heard concrete confirmation about this is that, as you point out, they're still making up their minds whether to head to San Bernardino.

Even further, It would appear, to me at least, rather obvious Virgin thinks this can happen sooner rather than later, and I have some expectations they want to be in a position to, at the very least, bid to be the interim operator on CAHSR in the future - which is why I've long had a suspicion they may agitate for an extension of Metrolink from Lancaster to Bakersfield using the first-proposed but rejected SR-14 alignment that the CAHSRA wanted.

My assumption regarding this is their decision to go ahead and electrify the line, which they'd previously indicated would be done at some later point. I believe they're thinking quite strategically about this investment; they'd be getting a lot for very little.

As an ancillary, local project - with add-on improvements for Amtrak - this would likely be able to receive federal funds, which HSR seems unable to do for the foreseeable future, and immediately allows operation of the IOS on the HSR in the central valley to LAUS.

But as to your other points, they are in talks with Metro and I believe San Bernardino/LA Cos regarding their plans.

My best guess is that you last sentiment is the likeliest outcome: They will make provisions for both connections, and do whatever can be completed first. I would point out that they can simply piggy back off of improvements to Metrolink, which is planning significant upgrades in the future.

The good thing about CAHSR is that it has set off a lot of requisite planning that is making projects like this far simpler.
"I'm not an armchair urbanist; not yet a licensed planner"
MCRP '16
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