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-   -   California High Speed Rail Thread (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=180558)

TowerDude Mar 23, 2022 4:54 PM

I think the lead LA-Las Vegas connector should be given to Amtrak over Brightline ...

jmecklenborg Mar 23, 2022 6:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TowerDude (Post 9576454)
I think the lead LA-Las Vegas connector should be given to Amtrak over Brightline ...

...it should also have a station at the Las Vegas airport terminals and then continue to a terminal station in or near the downtown.

Pedestrian Mar 23, 2022 9:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 9576304)
No, there are a number of scenarios where the first phase can be completed, and the money isn't wasted, but the full buildout never happens. This is absolutely a possibility.

Once the CV portion is completed, existing rail infrastructure could easily incorporate it using dual-mode locomotives. So you could have a fast Amtrak between the Bay Area and SoCal, just not a real bullet train. There's already a train, you know.

This is the risk. No one is talking about the investment going to seed, but rather it not being fully completed. And the LA portion would be more difficult than the Bay Area portion. This is why I don't understand why they didn't start with LA or the Bay Area, since those are the only areas that matter.

There is not currently a passenger train connecting the Central Valley with DTLA. The existing AMTRAK San Joaquin trains take passengers BY BUS between Bakersfield and DTLA.

There is a coast route between SF and DTLA but that's also slow and would be near impossible to connect to the new HSR Central Valley tracks.

Finally, there is the Tehachapi Loop freight tracks by which the HSR Central Valley tracks could be extended to DTLA but it's agonizingly slow and problematic for passenger travel. Imagine going 200 MPH down the CV and then less than 10 MPH over the mountains into the LA basin. It's just a non-starter.

They didn't start with LA because they wanted the most track for the available dollars and because much of the opposition to the project comes from conservative CV counties. It was hoped having over 100 miles of track in place they could see and use would mute the opposition. The CV tracks do have a use, connecting residents of CV towns to the Bay Area and especially Bay Area airports. Unlike on the southern end, the Sacramento River Valley provides a flat(ish) connection between the CV and the coast so the HSR tracks could link up with existing rail lines being used by the existing AMTRAK San Joaquin trains.

I think at least on the northern end the HSR will eventually be completed (with a connection over Pacheco Pass between the CV and San Jose). Digging the tunnel to LA is the most complex and expensive part of the project and I don't know if that will get done or not. If HSR remains a viable, modern mode of transportation a couple of decades from now, I suspect it will.

Busy Bee Mar 23, 2022 9:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pedestrian (Post 9576874)
Digging the tunnel to LA is the most complex and expensive part of the project and I don't know if that will get done or not.


Of course it will. The only real question is how soon. Anyone who thinks full build of Phase One won't happen is seriously underestimating the abilities and tenacity of the CHSRA and the ungrasped commitment from California leaders. When armed with funding the tunnels will be built. Any belief they're just going to run out of steam and give up is incredibly cynical and contrary to the massive amount of evidence of construction already complete and underway. Big things are still possible. Don't let the dark scud of pessimism prevent you from seeing that.

William Van Alen Mar 24, 2022 1:09 AM

This may have already been posted before, so apologies if this is a double post, but RM Transit did a video on this a while back that spoke to a lot of the concerns Crawford voiced here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTt_mk86bAw

I'm admittedly not super familiar with this project, but I don't think it's immune to criticism and I don't think it's fair to say that non-Californians can't or shouldn't speak up about this. If CAHSR came in on budget and on time, that would have massive implications for the future of high speed rail in the rest of the country. At the moment, all it's doing (until it actually delivers service) is showing that Republicans are right and that the US is, in fact, incompetent at building large projects like this and that future funding shouldn't be given to HSR projects because they'll come in billions over budget and won't deliver results for decades. I don't think any of us want that to be the state of the national HSR debate.

Busy Bee Mar 24, 2022 1:30 AM

Reece Martin from that channel is mistaken. I agree with 90%+ of the videos he puts out but in the instance of his CaHSR explained opinion video I think he is totally incorrect. I got the distinct impression he doesnt have the depth of knowledge of the project as he purports to have.

jmecklenborg Mar 24, 2022 4:01 AM

^The guy is all over the place. In his anti-CAHSR video, he applauds Spain for not connecting its HSR lines beneath Madrid. But then in his "Longest Tram Line" video, he calls the underground LA Regional Connector "quite cool".

He's just another one of those the trains are too fast, the trains are too slow guys. They spent too much money but they didn't spend enough.

I take particular umbrage with his failure to mention how CAHSR was the thing that motivated Caltrain to finally electrify and upgrade its corridor into something resembling rapid transit service, and that plans for LA commuter rail upgrades are nearly identical. So he suggests that CAHSR money could have been better spent investing in local transit when in fact is is investing in local transit.

He also riffs on the LOSSAN corridor, as if CAHSR didn't consider it as a cheaper alternative. As if super-wealthy cities like Santa Barbara are eager to approve the demolition of areas of their city so that curves can be reduced. As if there isn't already a need for a very expensive tunnel in San Diego to get the line away from the collapsing coast.

He also dismisses the Central Valley's population by using city population figures, not metro, or acknowledging that the combined population of metro Sacramento, Stockton, and Modesto is almost exactly the same as metro San Diego. Also, the "spurs from the I-5 mainline to Fresno" suggestion made by a consulting firm are terrible. Such a spur would be almost 40 miles long, or roughly the total length of track the current as-built Central Valley alignment added relative to the I-5 alignment.

He also makes no mention of the Palmdale alignment enabling a high-speed connection between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, because I don't think he's capable of thinking that far ahead.

craigs Mar 24, 2022 5:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 9576304)
So you could have a fast Amtrak between the Bay Area and SoCal, just not a real bullet train. There's already a train, you know.

WTF?

Yeah--we know. We know that your claim is false, as there is no train service between the Central Valley and Los Angeles, and if you weren't so completely and laughably ignorant about this state, you would know that, too.

Pathetic.

William Van Alen Mar 24, 2022 2:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9577255)
^The guy is all over the place. In his anti-CAHSR video, he applauds Spain for not connecting its HSR lines beneath Madrid. But then in his "Longest Tram Line" video, he calls the underground LA Regional Connector "quite cool".

He also dismisses the Central Valley's population by using city population figures, not metro, or acknowledging that the combined population of metro Sacramento, Stockton, and Modesto is almost exactly the same as metro San Diego. Also, the "spurs from the I-5 mainline to Fresno" suggestion made by a consulting firm are terrible. Such a spur would be almost 40 miles long, or roughly the total length of track the current as-built Central Valley alignment added relative to the I-5 alignment.

It's hard to equate the LA Regional Connector and the Madrid HSR connection. One will make daily commutes for thousands of riders significantly easier and simplify a system that is getting ready for huge expansions over the next several decades. The other (though I'm not familiar with it) is an HSR connection that I'd imagine is already connected via local rapid transit and probably doesn't need a direct connection. Doesn't seem like a fair comparison to me.

I also think that the point about the I-5 alignment was that this was not made by a consultant, it was made by the TGV, one of the best-run HSR authorities in the world. Again, I don't know enough about the particulars of this, but it seems like it would have been a lot easier, even if the total track amount was the same, because of the massive money and time savings during the land acquisition process. Not to mention that by avoiding the freight railroads, they probably could have avoided some of the huge pergolas and grade separations that are costing money and time.

I know folks have been debating this for a very long time, I'm no expert, but I gotta defend my boy Reece :yes:

slock Mar 24, 2022 3:18 PM

I don't think I've seen it mentioned, but starting in the Central Valley was a requirement of the federal ARRA funds. Both High Speed Rail Authority staff and Obama Administration officials have confirmed this.

In retrospect, it also might be what helps completion of the project. If work had only occurred in the Bay Area and Los Angeles metro to start, there might not have been the political will to link the two. I expect that for political reasons, investments will pivot to upgrading the stretch from SF to Gilroy and the Burbank to Anaheim alignment. This will help get the votes to push it through and will leave the complex and expensive tunnels as the final links.

Busy Bee Mar 24, 2022 3:30 PM

SNCF recommended the I-5 because they thought it was the most likely profitable "get in and get out" path of least resistance. I don't think they had a true interest in building a state system that served as many of the population centers as possible. They were also fishing for an operator concession which means whatever can be built fastest is in their financial interest.

jmecklenborg Mar 24, 2022 6:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by William Van Alen (Post 9577499)
It's hard to equate the LA Regional Connector and the Madrid HSR connection.

[...]

Doesn't seem like a fair comparison to me.

I was using obstructionist tactics against him, which I don't sense that he has any acquaintance with.

His emotional push (and the reason why his videos get a fair number of views) is to present himself as an armchair expert above and beyond professional experts. He pretty much just sits there and riffs for a few minutes, with little original research, be it academic or visual, and to my knowledge has not participated in a campaign.

As a veteran of several such campaigns, I can attest that at some point it's the last page of 1984, and you sit there all alone and concede that you love Big Brother. In short, he doesn't get his hands dirty, and as such is able to present his subjects as cute and his remarks as cute.

William Van Alen Mar 25, 2022 2:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9577856)
I was using obstructionist tactics against him, which I don't sense that he has any acquaintance with.

His emotional push (and the reason why his videos get a fair number of views) is to present himself as an armchair expert above and beyond professional experts. He pretty much just sits there and riffs for a few minutes, with little original research, be it academic or visual, and to my knowledge has not participated in a campaign.

As a veteran of several such campaigns, I can attest that at some point it's the last page of 1984, and you sit there all alone and concede that you love Big Brother. In short, he doesn't get his hands dirty, and as such is able to present his subjects as cute and his remarks as cute.

I hear your point, and it's fair enough I guess, but I do think there's value to having an outsider's perspective. Sometimes the most effective advocates are the ones who don't actually work in the industry because they're better at communicating their message and they're not afraid to say things that challenge the status quo.

Anecdotally, I worked at a city government agency in my last job, one which seemed like they were interested in new ideas and wanted me to bring new things to the table since I had previously worked in the private sector. However, every time I brought up a new idea, I was met with the same resistance: "we don't do that here", "that's too complicated", "that's x agency's job, not ours". Some of my ideas were rejected simply because the people who ran my agency didn't personally get along with the people who ran other agencies that we would need to collaborate with. Most of the people I worked with there were too jaded to give a shit, so I left because I felt useless.

I get that the bureaucracy is complicated and that change doesn't happen overnight, but if that's the status quo, then something needs to give. The kind of attitude I encountered is poisonous to good government that can effectively and competently deliver the social environment that allows its people to thrive. If it takes a few armchair experts to push people to put pressure on their leaders to do better, then that's fine by me.

jmecklenborg Mar 28, 2022 1:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by William Van Alen (Post 9578842)

I get that the bureaucracy is complicated and that change doesn't happen overnight, but if that's the status quo, then something needs to give. The kind of attitude I encountered is poisonous to good government that can effectively and competently deliver the social environment that allows its people to thrive. If it takes a few armchair experts to push people to put pressure on their leaders to do better, then that's fine by me.

Actually they do happen overnight. An election is too obvious - sometimes someone who has held a seat for decades suddenly changes their tune, i.e. Henry Waxman.

The other thing I didn't like about the video was the guy's suggestion that upgrading the LOSSAN corridor should have been a priority, while ignoring the fact that the central 50 miles of the corridor, from Burbank to Anaheim, WILL be upgraded as part of CAHSR to electric operation and full grade separation. It then ignores the need for the new tunnel near San Diego or the need for a "base" tunnel outside San Louis Obisco to avoid the bottleneck that exists on the existing switchback:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sa...4d-120.6596156

That switchback seems to be what keeps the LOSSAN corridor at its current terminus, and prevents more passenger train usage of the line. There is also a circuitous routing between Salinas and Gilroy that adds at least 15 slow miles as opposed to a tunnel between the two places. There is also potential for the line to travel straight into Silicon Valley via a very long tunnel starting at Santa Cruz, but just imagine the environmentalist freak-out over such a proposal.

numble Apr 14, 2022 5:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 9573324)
CAHSR was approved 52-48%. In a state where it's quite easy to add referenda. Which will happen if the first phase disappoints, and elected officials don't push the brakes.

If Fresno-Bakersfield flops, the project is finished.

An April 2022 poll of California voters finds voters support the project at a higher rate than the 2008 ballot measure, even when the question explains the higher costs, timeline, and the initial segment only being from Bakersfield to Merced.

https://escholarship.org/content/qt9...qt903863nm.pdf

In 2008 California voters approved bonds to begin designing and building a high-speed rail system. The original plan called for service to run from San Diego through the Central Valley and up to Sacramento as soon as 2030. But cost estimates for the project have risen since 2008 and officials are now working under a longer timeline, with trains operating only from Bakersfield to Merced in the Central Valley by 2030, and then extending service to the San Francisco Bay Area by 2033. Do you favor or oppose the state continuing to build the high-speed rail project? (Statewide Registered Voters)

Favor strongly: 31%
Favor somewhat: 25%
Oppose somewhat: 10%
Oppose strongly: 25%
No opinion: 9%

Busy Bee Apr 14, 2022 7:06 PM

Quote:

Oppose somewhat: 10%
Oppose strongly: 25%
This 30-35% figure shows up repeatedly in political opinion polls. They're the same folks that seem to be okay with fascism.

MAC123 Apr 14, 2022 7:14 PM

Any actual updates anyone?

ardecila Apr 15, 2022 12:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MAC123 (Post 9599053)
Any actual updates anyone?

Most of the construction is in very remote areas, and this is a public works project, not a skyscraper. Progress will be slow and very repetitive - the same bridges and pergola structures repeated tens or hundreds of times, surrounded by endless farm fields.

The best source for updates is Youtube, if you feel like watching long drone flyover videos. There are several Youtubers posting content.

https://www.youtube.com/c/CAHighSpeedRail/videos
https://www.youtube.com/c/DRONEZONEFlyovers/videos
https://www.youtube.com/c/TheFourFoot/videos

As for other aspects of the project like funding or environmental reviews, well, you don't see news very often for those things because they are moving very slowly. Every 6 months or so, they 'clear' another section of the project from environmental review, but they won't start final design or put those sections out to bid until a lot more money is awarded from the Feds.

MAC123 Apr 15, 2022 1:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9599439)
Most of the construction is in very remote areas, and this is a public works project, not a skyscraper. Progress will be slow and very repetitive - the same bridges and pergola structures repeated tens or hundreds of times, surrounded by endless farm fields.

The best source for updates is Youtube, if you feel like watching long drone flyover videos. There are several Youtubers posting content.

https://www.youtube.com/c/CAHighSpeedRail/videos
https://www.youtube.com/c/DRONEZONEFlyovers/videos
https://www.youtube.com/c/TheFourFoot/videos

As for other aspects of the project like funding or environmental reviews, well, you don't see news very often for those things because they are moving very slowly. Every 6 months or so, they 'clear' another section of the project from environmental review, but they won't start final design or put those sections out to bid until a lot more money is awarded from the Feds.

Thank you. I'll make sure to check some of those out.

202_Cyclist Apr 29, 2022 11:40 AM

The opponents of this are going to continue to spread misinformation. Meanwhile, progress is being made building this modern, efficient, infrastructure investment.

Bullet-train route OK’d from San Joaquin Valley to Bay Area. How are wildlife, farms affected?


By Tim Sheehan
April 28, 2022
Fresno Bee

"A proposed route between the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area for California’s bullet-train system received final approval Thursday from the California High Speed Rail Authority.

The agency’s board of directors, meeting in Sacramento, voted to certify a massive four-volume report of environmental and social impacts that the route would have on communities, farms, parks and wildlife habitats along the 89-mile stretch of the line from San Jose through Gilroy into Merced County.

That vote set the stage for a second action that formally approved the preferred route, filtered out over a years-long process from among four options involving crossing the Diablo Range via Pacheco Pass west of Los Banos."

https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local...#storylink=cpy

homebucket Apr 29, 2022 5:46 PM

Quote:

https://s.hdnux.com/photos/01/25/41/...7/3/1200x0.jpg

Among key features of the route are plans for a 13.5-mile tunnel through the mountains north and east of the San Luis Reservoir, and about 15 miles of elevated tracks to carry the high-speed trains above highways on the San Francisco Peninsula and over canals and environmentally sensitive wetlands in the San Joaquin Valley.

Between Gilroy and San Jose, the trains will largely operate on tracks shared with the existing Caltrain commuter rail system.

One unique feature proposed for the route in western Merced County is a 3-mile stretch of low-profile viaduct as the tracks cross through the Grasslands Ecological Area north of Los Banos. That segment would also include some form of enclosure to not only reduce the prospect of noise from trains startling birds and other wildlife as they pass, but also to protect birds from electrocution by alighting on the overhead electrical lines that power the trains.

Among four major alternatives identified by planners since 2009, the chosen option involves the fewest displacements of homes, businesses and farm structures, and would permanently take about 1,033 acres of “important farmland” out of production, mostly in the San Joaquin Valley.
https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/...y-17135152.php

202_Cyclist Apr 29, 2022 6:09 PM

Will a Cal Train extension from Gilroy to Salinas be feasible once the Central Valley - San Jose high-speed rail segment is built? This would help people commute from Monterey County to jobs in Santa Clara, as well as tie Monterey and Salinas into the high-speed rail system.

TWAK Apr 29, 2022 6:15 PM

Will Cal Train be going the same speed as the HSR trains?

202_Cyclist Apr 29, 2022 6:25 PM

High speed rail to provide $423 million for LA Union Station project
Plan will create through tracks at currently stub-ended terminal

Apr. 28, 2022

https://www.trains.com/wp-content/up...on_Station.jpg
Image courtesy of Trains magazine.

"LOS ANGELES — The California High-Speed Rail Authority will provide more than $400 million for the project to improve Los Angeles Union Station, a project which will see through tracks for commuter and intercity rail operations created at the current stub-ended station in downtown L.A.

The authority’s board on Wednesday approved the agreement with LA Metro to provide $423.3 million for Phase A of the “Link Union Station” project, with the money coming from Proposition 1A funds approved by voters for the high speed rail system. In a press release, Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins called the agreement “a key funding milestone for the [high speed rail] bookend project here in Southern California.”

The project will include construction of a two-track viaduct over U.S. Highway 101 adjacent to the station, providing a mainline link to allow through north-south operations [see “Metrolink set to begin work on LA Union Station project,” Trains News Wire, May 1, 2020]. The initial work, modernizing the five-track throat into the station, is targeted for completion in 2023..."

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-revi...ation-project/

homebucket Apr 29, 2022 6:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 9612091)
Will a Cal Train extension from Gilroy to Salinas be feasible once the Central Valley - San Jose high-speed rail segment is built? This would help people commute from Monterey County to jobs in Santa Clara, as well as tie Monterey and Salinas into the high-speed rail system.

I think so. It looks like this is already being planned.

Quote:

Construction is currently underway to prepare for an extension of Caltrain into Monterey County. The route will follow existing freight rail tracks from Gilroy south to Salinas, where the historic train station is being modernized for passenger service. However, a number of hurdles remain in terms of coordinating service with Caltrain and Union Pacific, the freight rail company that owns the tracks. The earliest the four-train-per-day service could begin is 2024, according to Christina Watson, a planner with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC).

Amtrak has also identified this corridor, from San Jose to Los Angeles — which is currently served by the three-trip-per-week Coast Starlight — for increased train service in the near future.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/kF...IYCNKu_RqnHQXX

In the future, TAMC hopes to build passenger stations on the existing tracks at Pajaro, near Watsonville, and Castroville. The Pajaro station would connect to a state-owned rail right of way that could provide service to Santa Cruz, and the Castroville station would connect to a proposed bus rapid transit line connecting to Seaside and Monterey. These destinations would be linked to the statewide high speed rail system via the Gilroy station.
https://www.sfweekly.com/news/a-norc...nsit-wishlist/

H-man Apr 29, 2022 6:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by homebucket (Post 9612058)

uck, alternative 4 looks to be the worst possible of the four

homebucket Apr 29, 2022 6:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TWAK (Post 9612096)
Will Cal Train be going the same speed as the HSR trains?

Quote:

The railroad also has 96 electric trains on order and under construction by Stadler US, based in Salt Lake City. The new rail cars, based on an off-the-shelf, European design, are self-propelled “electric multiple units.” That means each car has its own motive power–just like a BART train. That will make the trains far more reliable, since multiple motors can fail before the train has to be taken out of service. They also will have a much better power-to-weight ratio, which will enable the trains to go from a dead stop to full speed in a fraction of the time it takes Caltrain’s current fleet of diesel-hauled trains. To put that in perspective, a Baby Bullet express train from San Jose to San Francisco that currently takes 60 minutes, will take 45 minutes with the new trains. The extra acceleration will also enable more trains per hour and higher capacity.

...

Acceleration will be better, but the top speed of the new electric trains will be limited to 79 mph, which is the same as the current fleet. In addition to electrifying from Gilroy to Tamien, the California High-speed rail project will do additional trackwork–including widening some of the curves, to allow faster speeds. Caltrain will then be able to increase its top speed to over 100 mph.
https://sf.streetsblog.org/2018/08/2...arges-forward/

green_man Apr 30, 2022 1:15 AM

California bullet train planners take critical next step to plan Fresno, Valley stations

The Fresno Bee
Tim Sheehan
April 28, 2022

https://www.fresnobee.com/latest-new...pt%20image.JPG

Preliminary planning and designs for four future high-speed train stations in Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley are expected to start later this year under a process approved Wednesday by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The agency’s board of directors, meeting in Sacramento, agreed to seek proposals from engineering firms to take on the first layers of work on stations in Merced, Fresno, Hanford and Bakersfield.

Read more at: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local...#storylink=cpy

green_man Apr 30, 2022 1:26 AM

The above article might be paywalled, but this Fresno-focused article should work for everyone:


New images of proposed high-speed rail station in Fresno released

ABC 30
April 27, 2022

We're getting a possible look into the future of Fresno tonight.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority released new images Wednesday of what the proposed Central Valley Station could look like by the end of the decade.

https://abc30.com/high-speed-rail-st...esno/11799294/

homebucket Apr 30, 2022 3:41 AM

Very nice design!

TWAK Apr 30, 2022 7:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by green_man (Post 9612481)
California bullet train planners take critical next step to plan Fresno, Valley stations

The Fresno Bee
Tim Sheehan
April 28, 2022

https://www.fresnobee.com/latest-new...pt%20image.JPG

Preliminary planning and designs for four future high-speed train stations in Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley are expected to start later this year under a process approved Wednesday by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The agency’s board of directors, meeting in Sacramento, agreed to seek proposals from engineering firms to take on the first layers of work on stations in Merced, Fresno, Hanford and Bakersfield.

Read more at: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local...#storylink=cpy

Straight out of Sim City 4/Cities Skylines!

Pedestrian May 1, 2022 8:29 AM

Quote:

California approves bullet train link from Central Valley to Bay Area
Lauren Hernández, Ricardo Cano, Dustin Gardiner
April 28, 2022
Updated: April 29, 2022 6:13 p.m.

Plans for a bullet-train line that could zip commuters between the Central Valley and Silicon Valley — linking the low-income region and its affordable housing with higher-paying tech jobs on the coast — took a major step forward this week as rail officials signed off on the 90-mile extension.

The High Speed Rail Authority Board unanimously approved plans and environmental clearance for the segment between San Jose and Merced on Thursday. Now, the agency estimates the line will open for service in 2031, though the project has faced repeated delays and cost overruns.

Construction has been under way in the Central Valley for about seven years, but the rail board’s vote is novel in the sense that it’s the first time plans to extend train tracks to a coastal region have been approved.

The train system could take riders between Fresno and San Jose in about an hour, a roughly three-hour drive by car today. Dan Richard, a former chairman of the Rail Authority Board who resigned in 2019, said the extension will help California address a jobs-housing mismatch between the disparate regions.

“Really, this state is divided between the coastal and the inland areas,” he said. “A key element of high-speed rail, apart from being a fast choo-choo train, is the ability to meld the entire state together and to balance our more under-developed areas with the more prosperous ones.”

From the outset, supporters of the project pitched the bullet train as a way to connect the state’s low-income interior with its prosperous coast. State and regional leaders said the Merced-San Jose extension moving forward will help California realize that vision . . . .
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/...d-17135587.php

Pedestrian May 1, 2022 8:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TWAK (Post 9612096)
Will Cal Train be going the same speed as the HSR trains?

No. That's why there are bypasses on the line.

urban_encounter May 2, 2022 3:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by homebucket (Post 9612542)
Very nice design!


It looks ghastly and out of place imo. It would be nice if they could blend the designs into the characters of the communities which will have stations. When I think of the San Joaquin Valley, I think agricultural, canning, warm and dry weather. Other railroad stations in California have Mission Revival, Queen Anne and Renaissance Revival styles. The design shown here might trap heat like a green house for potential passengers or day users of onsite public amenities.

We would hope that HSR rail stations can be more than just passenger terminals. It would be nice to create transport hubs that draw in people with amenities such as newsstands, books, casual sit down dining establishments maybe small farmers markets. Anyway, hopefully the final designs are more thoughtfully planned that what is pictured in order to blend with the character of the communities.

Anyway, just my two cents.

homebucket May 2, 2022 4:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by urban_encounter (Post 9613728)
It looks ghastly and out of place imo. It would be nice if they could blend the designs into the characters of the communities which will have stations. When I think of the San Joaquin Valley, I think agricultural, canning, warm and dry weather. Other railroad stations in California have Mission Revival, Queen Anne and Renaissance Revival styles. The design shown here might trap heat like a green house for potential passengers or day users of onsite public amenities.

We would hope that HSR rail stations can be more than just passenger terminals. It would be nice to create transport hubs that draw in people with amenities such as newsstands, books, casual sit down dining establishments maybe small farmers markets. Anyway, hopefully the final designs are more thoughtfully planned that what is pictured in order to blend with the character of the communities.

Anyway, just my two cents.

Actually, if it's like a greenhouse, that would be in line with Fresno's agricultural roots. In fact, they even have a building at the Fresno Fairgrounds called The Greenhouse. The font of the word "FRESNO" on top of the station matches the font that's used on the main grandstands at the Fairgrounds as well. Some of the other renderings also show part of the structure that resembles corrugated drain piping, which also pays homage to the agricultural roots. And if you look at some of the other images, it looks like there are some areas that look like newsstands or fast casual walk up food and retail stands, and wide enough open plazas to support farmers markets.

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/latest...rendering.jpeg

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/l...260831312.html

jmecklenborg May 2, 2022 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pedestrian (Post 9613232)
No. That's why there are bypasses on the line.

Both types of trains will travel at the same top speed in between San Francisco and San Jose, however HSR will only have one intermediate stop at SFO.

It appears that CAHSR will travel on dedicated electrified tracks between San Jose and Gilroy while Caltrain will continue to use the existing conventional tracks. I imagine that the diesel Caltrain trains will terminate at San Jose.

k1052 May 2, 2022 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9613782)
Both types of trains will travel at the same top speed in between San Francisco and San Jose, however HSR will only have one intermediate stop at SFO.

It appears that CAHSR will travel on dedicated electrified tracks between San Jose and Gilroy while Caltrain will continue to use the existing conventional tracks. I imagine that the diesel Caltrain trains will terminate at San Jose.

Yes, diesel service from Gilroy will terminate at Diridon. IIRC, UP was adamant that electrification not extend past Tamien (though for no particularly good reason I know of).

Busy Bee May 2, 2022 1:37 PM

If you watched the board meeting it's made crystal clear that a central part of the deal for Alt 4 is full electrification for Caltrain all the way to Gilroy.

ardecila May 2, 2022 3:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9613831)
If you watched the board meeting it's made crystal clear that a central part of the deal for Alt 4 is full electrification for Caltrain all the way to Gilroy.

Well, they'd be stupid to build dedicated HSR tracks and not electrify the adjacent Caltrain tracks.

Hopefully the full electrification to Gilroy will open up higher speeds and the ability for a Caltrain service extension to Santa Cruz and/or Salinas using dual-modes.

Busy Bee May 2, 2022 6:04 PM

Alternative 4
 
It's part of the deal, and honestly I'm okay with it. Here's the big picture: The plans have already changed from the quad-tracked fully grade separated elevated or trenched Peninsula raceway envisioned 15 years ago. The claim is the pushback to those plans is why the Authority settled on the blended system approach. I have my own theories about this, but what's done is done. I do think there was a chance the Authority pitched the highly ambitious Peninsula (and Gilroy-SJ approach) because they knew they'd likely not get it anyway and were fine with the "compromise" that runs HSR over Caltrain tracks with surgically planned overtakes and bypasses even though it would result in slower top speeds and complicated cooperation with Caltrain because they knew it would save a big chunk of change and any future grade separation through Peninsula communities would be done on the municipalities dime, at least mostly.

Once the SJ-SF raceway was DOA and "ceded", what real difference does it make if the blended system is extended even further to Gilroy along the existing row, thus trimming hundreds of millions in huge freeway crossing viaducts and bridges that we all saw in the early animations. They are now sticking along the Caltrain corridor the entire way, with most of the elaborate serpentine Diridon viaduct approaches eliminated except for the SJ led planning for an elevated Diridon station, which again the Authority can count as a savings since the station program will mostly be a municipal/Caltrain led project. Win-win in the Authorities eyes, and it will likely not make much more but a few minutes difference, a difference they are obviously trying to make up by altering plans like allowing higher speed station entry at Diridon and full 220 mph max design speed entry into the Pacheco tunnel portals. This has been the Authorities plan, accept the practicality of less ideal interoperation on the Peninsula in the meantime, live with the grade crossings and let their future removal be locally funded municipal projects and maximize the speeds between the mountain crossings.

But there is one more personal theory I have harbored for some time that explains CHSRA's willingness to except the inherent non-ideal operation dynamic on the Peninsula. And that thing is the second transbay tube. I highly suggest that the Authority has aspirations beyond just getting HSR trains to an Oakland terminal after a stop at Transbay, which is somewhat dubious in it's benefits, at least on paper outside of just [Salesforce] Transbay Terminal capacity constraints. I suspect that they actually want an eventual, either as part of Phase II or maybe something we might call Phase III, which we can safely say is decades away, trans-Diablo tunnel crossing from the some mid-East Bay point like Castro Valley or Hayward, daylighting in Pleasanton and then through a new shared Altamont Pass HSR/Regional Rail tunnel to Tracy and from Tracy a wye connection to the Phase II tracks between Stockton and Modesto. This would allow half the LA-SF trains to take the Madera-Oakland-SF route thus alleviating the operational pressures on the South Bay corridor. HSR trains bound for Phase II Sacramento could also depart SF without having the travel an additional ~120 miles over the dogleg and through the Chowchilla wye to Sacramento. The Diablo tunnel would cut the route miles in half. LA-Oakland/SF trains would also likely have a faster run time by bypassing SJ and the South Bay blended running, but by how much I haven't calculated.

Just a theory, and a worthy one in my own opinion.

jmecklenborg May 2, 2022 7:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9614102)
Just a theory, and a worthy one in my own opinion.


The 110 vs. 220mph average speed between San Jose and Gilroy will cost express trains about 5~ minutes on their run from one end of the state to the other. However, it's still unclear to me after doing some searching, if the approved plan is to do two tracks with passing sidings or three dedicated electrified tracks between SJ and Gilroy.

The interesting issue at play is that many northbound HSR trains will terminate at San Jose yet many southbound Caltrain trains will also terminate at the same spot. As has been stated on this thread earlier, the Transbay Terminal only has the capacity to turn 4 HSR trains per hour. That capacity will increase exponentially should Transbay be transformed into a thru station via a second tube, but the capacity of the peninsula tracks will remain the same. That's why limiting the capacity of the Peninsula is a way to force the issue of building the second Transbay tube and a second HSR entrance to San Francisco via Altamont.

Also, people easily forget that the circa-2008 Altamont alignment was going to a)serve San Jose via a spur b)still be constricted on the Peninsula and so have all of the current issues without c)motivation to electrify Caltrain to San Jose and southward to Gilroy.

What is being built is a really reasonable compromise, but people don't want to hear that.

ardecila May 2, 2022 10:48 PM

Yeah I don't see any of that happening. The problem is that the various mainlines in California are not well-suited to efficient passenger service. They're all using alignments from 1880 and track design standards meant for mile-long freight trains.

So it's not easy to just plug your gleaming HSR system into a legacy line the way they do in Europe. Caltrain is a bit of an exception, because it's really straight, runs across flat terrain and is publicly owned.

What that means, though, is that extensions and spurs to the initial HSR system will likely require the construction of new lines from scratch, at tremendous cost. They're not gonna build a 2nd mountain crossing for HSR to get in the Bay Area.

jmecklenborg May 3, 2022 3:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9614374)
So it's not easy to just plug your gleaming HSR system into a legacy line the way they do in Europe. Caltrain is a bit of an exception, because it's really straight, runs across flat terrain and is publicly owned.

Not sure where all of these high speed passenger railways that share intercity mainlines with freight are hiding out in Europe.

About the only new or u/c HSR construction that will share tracks with traditional freight are the base tunnels in Switzerland and Austria. The Alps represent a much more extreme physical barrier than anything on California's HSR route.

Pedestrian May 3, 2022 6:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9613782)
Both types of trains will travel at the same top speed in between San Francisco and San Jose, however HSR will only have one intermediate stop at SFO.

It appears that CAHSR will travel on dedicated electrified tracks between San Jose and Gilroy while Caltrain will continue to use the existing conventional tracks. I imagine that the diesel Caltrain trains will terminate at San Jose.

I read the other day they are talking about extending CalTrain into Monterey County so diesel Caltrains I suppose they could run between San Jose and Salinas. But it seems ridiculous not to electrify the entire CalTrain line and be done with diesel.

As for the line between San Jose and SF, if HSR makes only one stop it may well be passing CalTrains stopped at intermediate stations and have a considerably faster average speed between San Jose and downtown SF. I'm fairly sure I have read they also added a siding or two allowing additional "passings" but regardless, the point is that the plodding CalTrain commuter line will not hold up HSR trains.

At a few places they may reach the same top speed but I don't think that's of great importance.

Quote:

A long-stalled commuter rail extension project from Gilroy to Salinas is making critical progress, and finally has an estimated arrival time.
David Schmalz
Oct 12, 2021 0

The idea for the Monterey County Rail Extension project – which would create a commuter train connection between Salinas and Gilroy – was hatched more than 20 years ago, and originally included a proposal to add stations in Castroville and Pajaro.

But as the prospect of obtaining federal funding for the project became too challenging, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County board pivoted in 2009, downsizing the project to remove the Castroville and Pajaro stations, and opting instead to pursue state funding.

That decision is starting to age well: On Sept. 22, the TAMC board approved transferring seven TAMC-owned properties to the city of Salinas at the Salinas Train Station, where TAMC has just completed constructing the first phase of the project.

At first glance, that first phase looks more like a parking project than a transportation one – where there were once buildings that obscured the view of the train station, there is now a large parking lot. But there is also a new road, an extension of Lincoln Avenue across West Market Street into the train station property, which for the first time allows buses and cars to enter and exit the train station with a signalized intersection on an often busy street. And between the parking lot and the station, there’s now a five-bay bus transfer facility.

Christina Watson, TAMC’s project manager for the rail extension, says this phase of the project was completed first because it doesn’t have any rail elements. For the two remaining phases, TAMC must coordinate with Union Pacific, which owns all the track between Salinas and Gilroy, as well as Caltrans, Caltrain and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

TAMC must also acquire property from Union Pacific, and on Sept. 22 the board approved a request for proposals for a real estate consultant to steer TAMC through that process.

“There’s a lot of different elements to this project,” Watson says. “We’re excited to make as much progress as we have.”

TAMC Executive Director Todd Muck says that, if everything goes smoothly, commuter trains between Salinas and Gilroy could become a reality in three or four years . . . .
https://www.montereycountyweekly.com...1e09f4d3b.html

TWAK May 3, 2022 10:25 PM

^There are plans to electrify Capitol Corridor and even shift freight to the old Sacramento Northern Railway.

202_Cyclist May 4, 2022 12:42 AM

If CalTrain is extended to Salinas, commuter rail will extend more than 200 miles from Salinas to Auburn via CalTrain and the Capitol Corridor and 130 miles from Salinas to Stockton via CalTrain and ACE.

Tying these commuter rail systems in with high-speed rail will provide exceptional mobility for much of Northern California.

https://images.capitolcorridor.org/w...Jan_2022-1.jpg
https://www.capitolcorridor.org/route-map/

https://acerail.com/wp-content/uploa...p-CC-Final.jpg
https://acerail.com/wp-content/uploa...p-CC-Final.jpg

TWAK May 4, 2022 12:55 AM

^there's a proposal for Napa and Solano county as well.
https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.town...=crop%2Cresize
Source (paywalled)
https://i2.wp.com/www.marinij.com/wp...2C9999px&ssl=1
source

202_Cyclist May 4, 2022 12:59 AM

As your map shows, there is the SMART commuter rail. There is also a proposal to enhance commuter rail between Sacramento and Stockton and then farther down the Central Valley to Fresno.

ardecila May 4, 2022 9:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pedestrian (Post 9615291)
I read the other day they are talking about extending CalTrain into Monterey County so diesel Caltrains I suppose they could run between San Jose and Salinas. But it seems ridiculous not to electrify the entire CalTrain line and be done with diesel.

Electrification is a serious expense, and it only pencils out financially if you're planning to run trains very frequently. Caltrain's current project will extend wires SF to Tamien, and a future round of HSR funds may extend wires to Gilroy so the HSR trainsets can operate on Caltrain.

Monterey/Santa Cruz Counties are likely to remain diesel territory for a long time since those tracks won't be used as part of the HSR project. The initial service plan to Salinas is just two trains a day in each direction on top of the Coast Starlight's 1 daily RT, and there is no service plan for Santa Cruz yet. I can't tell if those 2 trains would be Caltrain to SF or Capitol Corridor trains to Oakland or Sac (sources differ), but the end-to-end travel times will be more than twice what it takes to drive so I think the appeal will be limited at first.

Busy Bee May 4, 2022 10:52 PM

The UP territory south of Tamien will have a dedicated non-electrified track for UP freight with two Caltrain/HSR tracks fully electrified to Gilroy. It's an okay compromise, it isn't perfect but it will satisfy the notoriously bellyaching UPRR and facilitate the complete retirement of all Caltrain diesel ops...no ridiculous swapping locomotives business for the final mileage into Gilroy. Welcome to the 21st century.


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