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

electricron Mar 31, 2012 2:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twoNeurons (Post 5648588)
And now the Japanese want to invest heavily in California's HSR.

Please post a link to any offer from any Japanese entity offering to invest even just one penny into California High Speed Rail. I haven't heard, read, or seen any such offer.
Earning money from California taxpayers by selling goods and services is not the same as investing money into a project.

Rail>Auto Mar 31, 2012 3:30 PM

http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/01/%E2...united-states/

JDRCRASH Mar 31, 2012 3:53 PM

^ I'm not buying it. Chinese banks said the same thing and we haven't heard a word back from them.

202_Cyclist Mar 31, 2012 4:34 PM

Price for Calif. high-speed rail drops to $68.4B (SJ Mercury)
 
Price for Calif. high-speed rail drops to $68.4B

By DON THOMPSON
Associated Press
Posted: 03/30/2012

"SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The price tag for California's ambitious high-speed rail project has dropped to $68.4 billion, a $30 billion decline over a highly criticized draft released last fall, a source familiar with the plan confirmed late Friday.

The first full section of track will now stretch from Merced to the San Fernando Valley, a significant expansion of the initial phase that eliminates the so-called "train to nowhere" between two small Central Valley cities.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority had scheduled a news conference for Monday to announce its updated business plan, but The Sacramento Bee reported some of the key details late Friday night..."

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-...il-drops-68-4b

DJM19 Mar 31, 2012 6:27 PM

The thing is, the 100 billion price tag was always in future dollars. In 2011 dollars it was more like 64 billion. Thats important because the price at the time of prop 1a was in 2009 dollars and did not account for inflation. So if this new number accounts for inflation, I imagine the price tag is more like 50-55 billion in 2012 dollars. (for the sake of comparison)

ocman Mar 31, 2012 11:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5648736)
^ I'm not buying it. Chinese banks said the same thing and we haven't heard a word back from them.

I'm sure they meant it until they thought about California's debt crisis and realized they're likely not going to get their money back.

DJM19 Apr 1, 2012 6:13 AM

California was well into its peak debt problem when these nations were pledging interest in the project. I think it has more to do with the republican takeover of the house and thus defacto withdrawal of federal support.

skyscraperfan23 Apr 1, 2012 3:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DJM19 (Post 5649539)
California was well into its peak debt problem when these nations were pledging interest in the project. I think it has more to do with the republican takeover of the house and thus defacto withdrawal of federal support.

and we need to stop wasteful spending.

DJM19 Apr 1, 2012 4:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skyscraperfan23 (Post 5649748)
and we need to stop wasteful spending.

What do you propose we cut?

fflint Apr 1, 2012 11:17 PM

The last paragraph below is a very interesting development--infrastructure and service on ACE and the San Joaquins will be improved to better connect with HSR in Merced.

High-speed rail plan slashes costs to calm critics
Michael Cabanatuan
Sunday, April 1, 2012
sfgate.com

http://imgs.sfgate.com/c/pictures/20...1333235625.jpg

State transportation officials have slashed the price tag for California's controversial high-speed rail project by $30 billion and expanded the first stretch of track to run from Merced in the Central Valley south to the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.
....
While the updated strategy still calls for construction to start in the Central Valley, it abandons plans to build only a 130-mile stretch from Chowchilla (Madera County) to Bakersfield. Instead, it extends the initial line north to Merced and south across the Tehachapi Mountains to Palmdale and the San Fernando Valley, probably Burbank, and calls for it to carry high-speed trains along the 300-mile stretch. It relies heavily on what officials have called a "blended approach" that uses existing commuter rail lines - including Caltrain - in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
....
the decision to head first to Los Angeles was based on that region's much-larger population and potential ridership.

"It was driven by the numbers," he said. "Financially, the only sensible answer is to go south."

Under the new plan, construction still will start with the 130-mile Central Valley stretch, then continue north to Merced and south to Palmdale, crossing the Tehachapis with a series of tunnels and viaducts. It could reach both destinations by 2020. Extending the line to Burbank will take two more years.

In addition to spending about $2 billion for regional commuter rail improvements at the urban ends of the system, the updated plan also calls for the authority to invest in improvements that include advanced signaling systems and elimination of street-level railroad crossings on the Altamont Commuter Express and Amtrak San Joaquin trains, which would allow them to increase speeds and haul passengers to Merced faster.
....

JDRCRASH Apr 2, 2012 2:59 AM

Its good, but truthfully, Palmdale-San Jose would've been better I think.

Illithid Dude Apr 2, 2012 4:10 AM

I'm confused. How will they connect Merced to San Fransisco, or are they just going to go to Sacremento instead? Also, how will sharing track with Commuter Rail affect the speed of HSR?

fflint Apr 2, 2012 7:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Illithid Dude (Post 5650438)
I'm confused. How will they connect Merced to San Fransisco, or are they just going to go to Sacremento instead? Also, how will sharing track with Commuter Rail affect the speed of HSR?

I haven't seen details--the official news release is set for tomorrow--but it appears existing inter-urban/commuter rail service will be improved and sped up between Merced and the Bay Area. San Francisco-bound passengers will transfer to the San Joaquins at Merced and then transfer either to BART at Richmond Station or to a ferry boat at Jack London Square in Oakland. Also, Amtrak California runs buses over the Bay Bridge.

One of the articles above said electrified Caltrain tracks would allow trains to run at 110mph. I'm going to assume it will be much the same with Metrolink in Southern California. That's slower than the maximum speed CAHSR will hit out in the flat, open valleys, but it should be noted that trains were never, ever going to run at 200mph+ through places like the Penninsula or the San Fernando Valley anyway.

dimondpark Apr 2, 2012 4:48 PM

The new plan doesnt make any concrete timetable as far as expansion into the Bay Area. WHAT'S THE POINT THEN?

Bay Area officials have already taken $1.5 Billion that could be spent of more worthwhile local projects just to electrify caltrain tracks and now we learn that we've been demoted to the same status as Sacramento or San Diego, i.e someday.:rolleyes:

Quote:

New California bullet train plan a grand finale to years-long drama
By Mike Rosenberg
mrosenberg@mercurynews.com
Posted: 04/02/2012 02:09:52 AM PDT
April 2, 2012 12:46 PM GMT Updated: 04/02/2012 05:46:30 AM PDT

When California's high-speed rail leaders on Monday unveil their fourth and final business plan on the state's controversial quest to link the Bay Area and Los Angeles by bullet train, they'll be slashing $30 billion off the price tag and speeding up the first leg of construction beyond what's been dubbed a train to nowhere in the Central Valley.

They'll also be delivering a message to Bay Area travelers looking forward to boarding a bullet train from here to Southern California: You'll just have to wait.

Under the new plan, the first trains are now pegged to zip between a 300-mile leg between Merced and the San Fernando Valley, near Los Angeles. Though it's unclear how the extra tracks will be funded, previous plans had limited the first leg to a 130-mile path between two remote Central Valley towns, with high-speed trains not running until the route extended to either San Jose or Southern California.

But the longer route and the lower price estimate, which surfaced in news reports over the weekend, are all part of a desperate effort for high-speed rail leaders to save a project that has skyrocketed in both costs -- and critics -- since voters first approved a bullet train four years ago. The most expensive public works project in California history is now tabbed at $68 billion -- still twice what voters were told when they approved the project, but less than the near $100 billion estimates in the most recent plan.

"The numbers, frankly, are challenging to follow," said state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who has held oversight hearings on the project. He noted it's the fourth price change in recent years. "I think, frankly, that undermines public trust."

This week's crescendo in the bullet train saga is all the more dramatic when you consider the wild ride that got us here.

The original: Big idea gets its start: Led by local politicians Rod Diridon and Quentin Kopp, the California High-Speed Rail Authority proposed building a $33 billion railroad to whiz you from San Francisco to Los Angeles for $55. In 2008, voters narrowly passed a bond measure to fund one-third of the rail line, while envisioning private investors and the federal government would take care of the rest. The bountiful profits expected from 55 million annual riders would bankroll extensions to Sacramento and San Diego. Statewide, the plan was mostly ignored during an election dominated by Obama and Proposition 8.

The sequel: Rosy dreams turn realistic: That plan was then overhauled in late 2009 and 2010 as a new board chair, former Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle, and new CEO, international transit engineer Roelof van Ark, were brought in to bring the dream to fruition. Reality began to set in: The cost soared by $10 billion, ticket prices nearly doubled and expected rider counts dropped 25 percent. Funding sources dried up as local governments were tapped to contribute money and the Sacramento and San Diego extensions were essentially written off for the coming decades. Anger brewed in the Bay Area on the Peninsula, where residents feared elevated tracks bisecting their communities, and in pockets around the state, but it wasn't yet front-page news.

Part III: Fighting off the backlash: Last year, hostility bubbled across the state and country as a slew of nonpartisan critical reports slammed the project. Brown appointed Richard, a former PG&E executive, and ex-Bank of America Vice President Mike Rossi to overhaul the plan again in November. Hoping to win over critics with blunt honesty, they pushed the cost to the $99 billion-to-$117 billion range, delayed the start of full service from 2020 to 2034, lowered projected rider estimates and profits again, and conceded funding wasn't coming anytime soon. It backfired: Republicans singled out the project as a boondoggle and moved to ax it while a majority of polled voters agreed.

"We all start from the standpoint of wanting good mass transit. But the more we dug into this, we found that there's hardly a claim that's been made in all these four years that's been accurate," said Palo Alto Councilman Pat Burt, who chairs a group of concerned Peninsula cities.

The finale: Now or never: Since Richard has been through this before, some lawmakers are for the first time optimistic that bullet train leaders are responding to their concerns. In addition to the lower price tag, the federal government relaxed this fall's funding deadline for California to start laying track, and high-speed rail leaders are aggressively lobbying the state's urban communities with promises of quicker upgrades to local rail lines.

"The good news is (they) appear to be working hard to pull together a more practicable plan," Simitian said recently. "The bad news is: Time is short."

http://www.mercurynews.com/californi...d-finale-years

Why now or NEVER? That's ridiculous. I'm sorry, why are we in a rush?

Quote:

Dan Richard, the architect of the new plan, did not return calls or emails
Im not surprised.

:haha:

Gordo Apr 2, 2012 4:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dimondpark (Post 5650939)
Bay Area officials have already taken $1.5 Billion that could be spent of more worthwhile local projects just to electrify caltrain tracks and now we learn that we've been demoted to the same status as Sacramento or San Diego, i.e someday.:rolleyes:

I'm curious about this statement - if I were going to spend $1.5 billion on transit in the Bay Area, I honestly can't think of a better use than "just to electrify Caltrain tracks". That basically gets us to BART-equivalent infrastructure down the entire peninsula at like 1/40th the cost! That's certainly a better use of money than the Central Subway pig or other gigantic wastes of money like Livermore BART.

dimondpark Apr 2, 2012 5:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gordo (Post 5650946)
I'm curious about this statement - if I were going to spend $1.5 billion on transit in the Bay Area, I honestly can't think of a better use than "just to electrify Caltrain tracks". That basically gets us to BART-equivalent infrastructure down the entire peninsula at like 1/40th the cost!

To address the 1/40th thing, It would not cost $40 Billion to expand BART down the peninsula from Millbrae(not that I am advocating that, but your cost comparison doesnt make sense).

Furthermore, Caltrain carries less than a tenth the riders that BART does, we are not talking about 2 systems that are at parity with respect to the dent they make in alleviating traffic in the Bay Area.

Gordo Apr 2, 2012 5:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dimondpark (Post 5650967)
To address the 1/40th thing, It would not cost $40 Billion to expand BART down the peninsula from Millbrae(not that I am advocating that, but your cost comparison doesnt make sense).

We're up to what, $8 billion for the full Santa Clara extension (with a lot fewer stations per mile than would be needed on the peninsula)? $40-60 billion for Millbrae to downtown SJ doesn't seem that outlandish, especially considering that peninsula towns would insist on burying BART (not that I would blame them - BART is obscenely loud due to the horrible wheel squeal - much louder than Caltrain is currently, and certainly much, much louder than an electrified Caltrain).

Quote:

Furthermore, Caltrain carries less than a tenth the riders that BART does, we are not talking about 2 systems that are at parity with respect to the dent they make in alleviating traffic in the Bay Area.
Um, that's kind of my point. Upgrading Caltrain with electrification essentially makes BART-level service available for Caltrain (every 10-15 minutes, etc)...meaning that it would be able to handle similar numbers (per track-mile) to BART. BART doesn't have some kind of special sauce - you electrify Caltrain and you have the capability of metro-like service on the peninsula immediately.

dimondpark Apr 2, 2012 5:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gordo (Post 5650984)
We're up to what, $8 billion for the full Santa Clara extension (with a lot fewer stations per mile than would be needed on the peninsula)? $40-60 billion for Millbrae to downtown SJ doesn't seem that outlandish, especially considering that peninsula towns would insist on burying BART.

I guess your right on this point.

But then, to me I would rather spend that money to expand BART and be able to travel from Pittsburg to Palo Alto or San Francisco to Milpitas without having to transfer to another system.

Such an expense to me would be worth it in the long run and we would see returns on investment almost immediately by way of traffic being alleviated at critical choke points leading into and out of Silicon Valley(880 especially).

Obviously this all a pipe dream but we are just supposing.

Quote:

Um, that's kind of my point. Upgrading Caltrain with electrification essentially makes BART-level service available for Caltrain (every 10-15 minutes, etc)...meaning that it would be able to handle similar numbers (per track-mile) to BART. BART doesn't have some kind of special sauce - you electrify Caltrain and you have the capability of metro-like service on the peninsula immediately.
I dont think Caltrain service is necessary every 10-15 minutes all day long. Demand is just not there.

Gordo Apr 2, 2012 5:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dimondpark (Post 5651029)
I dont think Caltrain service is necessary every 10-15 minutes all day long. Demand is just not there.

So you would build BART down the peninsula and run it every hour? What's the point then?

dimondpark Apr 2, 2012 6:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gordo (Post 5651032)
So you would build BART down the peninsula and run it every hour? What's the point then?

BART wouldnt be every hour, and a peninsula line would be no exception as more people would probably use BART as its more convenient to downtown SF, SFO, soon to be OAK and points east, not to mention thousands of East Bay commuters who work on Peninsula---that would be a huge actually.

Furthermore, BART down the peninsula is just a dream---spending $1.5 Billion to electrify CalTrain without any real need(except to try and get support for the bullet train) appears to be a very expensive nightmare come true, even worse now that the updated business plan doesnt even include funding for the Bay Area leg of the system.

Gordo Apr 2, 2012 6:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dimondpark (Post 5651076)
BART wouldnt be every hour, and a peninsula line would be no exception as more people would probably use BART as its more convenient to downtown SF, SFO, soon to be OAK and points east.

You can't say that Caltrain shouldn't be more often because demand doesn't exist and then turn around and say that only BART would generate more demand. More frequent service would generate more demand, regardless of the agency that provides it. Re-badge Caltrain as BART if you think that branding is the big deal. "BART peninsula" with connections to other lines at Millbrae.

Also, BART will not be more convenient in many ways, since you'll still have to take the round-the-mountain approach into SF that adds 20 minutes to get to downtown. How many people transfer to BART from Caltrain now to reach downtown SF? Approximately none?

Quote:

Furthermore, BART down the peninsula is just a dream---spending $1.5 Billion to electrify CalTrain without any real need(except to try and get support for the bullet train) appears to be a very expensive nightmare come true, even worse now that the updated business plan doesnt even include funding for the Bay Area leg of the system.
The need is for more frequent transit up and down the peninsula and especially connecting SF to Silicon Valley. I don't know about you, but I travel to the South Bay from SF an average of once a week, and the trains are packed. Having them be even faster and more frequent would be a gigantic economic plus for the region, especially as SF and Palo Alto continue to be the two centers of the current tech boom.

ozone Apr 2, 2012 6:33 PM

I don't support the HSR plan. It doesn't do anything for the economies of the 3rd and 4th largest metro areas in the state. That's ridiculous. The whole thing is about linking LA with SFBA, which is fine but it's way too costly and i doubt there's even going to be enough riders to justify the cost. It's not going to be cheap to ride the HSR. A lot of the N-S back and forth is made by moderate income earners. Also since LA is still such a car-orientated city I just don't believe the projected ridership numbers. People are going rightly reason that when they get to LA they are going to have to have a car to get around... which is another added cost/concern.

We should focus first on connecting the major cities of Northern California together and the major cities of Southern California together with a HSR and then tackle the big N-S link after that.

I think we need to grip on reality. Why should we pay for this boondoggle? LA is still way too car-dependent and San Francisco is still too isolated from it's own region. Sorry if that "demotes" you somehow, but that's reality.

mfastx Apr 2, 2012 6:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ozone (Post 5651122)
I don't support the HSR plan. It doesn't do anything for the economies of the 3rd and 4th largest metro areas in the state. That's ridiculous. The whole thing is about linking LA with SFBA, which is fine but it's way too costly and i doubt there's even going to be enough riders to justify the cost. It's not going to be cheap to ride the HSR. A lot of the N-S back and forth is made by moderate income earners. Also since LA is still such a automobile-orientated town I just don't believe the projected ridership numbers. People are going rightly reason that once they get to LA they are going to have to have a car to get around... which is another added cost.

We should focus on connecting the major cities of Northern California together and the major cities of Southern California together with HSR first and then tackle the big N-S link after that.

I think we need to grip on reality. Why should we pay for this boondoggle? LA is still way too car-dependent and San Francisco is still too isolated from it's own region. Sorry if that "demotes" you somehow, but that's reality.

You should learn about HSR systems around the world, before you make statements like "bondoggle" and such.

JDRCRASH Apr 2, 2012 6:36 PM

@dimondpark: Huh, "what's the rush?"

Dude the project HAS to break ground IN the central valley THIS year to qualify for Fed. funds. Not to mention state Republicans are going to present an anti-hsr prop to voters this fall asking for the $9 Billion back.

And in case you haven't noticed, their House Congressional counterparts aren't cooperating...

202_Cyclist Apr 2, 2012 6:54 PM

ozone:
Quote:

I don't support the HSR plan. It doesn't do anything for the economies of the 3rd and 4th largest metro areas in the state.
The second phase of the project will contect to both San Diego and Sacramento. Most people would like to see those connections sooner, but as noted above, when you're dealing with a Congress that sees any investment in infrastructure as socialist, these connections will have to wait.

At the very least, in the first phase, better integrating the Central Valley cities with the more prosperous coastal mega-regions should indirectly benefit Sacramento. Commuting to jobs in San Jose will be feasible for workers in Fresno. Fresno is also planning billions of dollars of redevelopment downtown around the planned stations. If this encourages significant infill development in Central Valley cities of Merced and Fresno and helps preserve important farmland, this will beneift the entire Valley. As I've said, this is indirect for Sacramento, but as the largest city in the Central Valley, it is only likely to help it.

Quote:

Why should we pay for this boondoggle? LA is still way too car-dependent
This is not at all true. The 30/10 Plan promises significant improvements in transit for LA County. LA County already has the largest bus system in the US. The westside subway promises something like 60,000 daily passengers. Construction is suppose to begin on a new subway or light rail in LA County every year for most of the next decade. By the time all the Measure R projects are completed, LA County will have a more extensive light rail and subway system than DC and possibly Chicago. There is also something like 500 miles of Metrolink track in Southern California with something like seventy stations. The Surfliner is also either the second or third busiest passenger rail in the US.

The US Census also published data today noting that LA-Long Beach-Anaheim is the densest metropolitan region in the US, denser than the New York-NJ metropolitan region.

JDRCRASH Apr 2, 2012 6:57 PM

They should start with a segment that connects Metrolink and Caltrain and upgrade .

Surely ending Phase 1 in Palmdale instead of Sylmar (avoiding costly viaducts/tunnels) would save enough money to extend it to San Jose...

dimondpark Apr 2, 2012 7:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5651130)
@dimondpark: Huh, "what's the rush?"

Dude the project HAS to break ground IN the central valley THIS year to qualify for Fed. funds. Not to mention state Republicans are going to present an anti-hsr prop to voters this fall asking for the $9 Billion back.

And in case you haven't noticed, their House Congressional counterparts aren't cooperating...

This is why it should be criminal to plan infrastructure based on political expediency.

So they are ramming this through so Barack Obama(whom I plan on voting for again btw) can brag about it on the stump?:rolleyes:

Regardless to what this is all going to cost to Californians?:haha:

electricron Apr 2, 2012 9:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5651169)
They should start with a segment that connects Metrolink and Caltrain and upgrade .

Surely ending Phase 1 in Palmdale instead of Sylmar (avoiding costly viaducts/tunnels) would save enough money to extend it to San Jose...

I would like to agree with you. But Metrolink and Caltrain don't serve the central valley, Amtrak California does. Amtrak California already runs multiple trains from San Jose to Bakersfield and to Sacramento. Amtrak California already runs multiple trains from Los Angeles to San Diego. What's needed first is to connect these Amtrak California train corridors together, and that's the central valley (at least Bakersfield) into Los Angeles.
If the Metrolink, Caltrain, and ACE train tracks are electrified, these new HSR trains can reach downtown San Francisco and Sacramento over the existing rail lines Amtrak California runs over, just not up to the high speeds that will become available once the new tracks are built between Merced to San Jose or to Sacramento.
Building the Bakersfield to northern Los Angeles gap is needed earlier than the gap between San Jose and Merced because there are corridors Amtrak California already uses between San Jose and Merced. I assume once the Caltrain corridor is electrified that California HSR will be able to use them for San Francisco to Los Angeles HSR trains.
This is going to be a project built in phases, mainly because it's so expensive, don't expect everything to be built all at once.

mfastx Apr 2, 2012 10:00 PM

A lot of critics of the project are saying that LA is too "car dependent." So?? What does that have to do with anything? HSR is a way to get from one city to another, just like airports. If there is high air traffic, then there is demand for HSR.

Do people take their cars with them when they fly? No.
Can people get a rental car at/near a train station downtown? Yes.
Can people take a taxi from a train station? Yes.

So, can someone explain to me what public transportation has to do with HSR??

Altauria Apr 3, 2012 12:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mfastx (Post 5651459)
A lot of critics of the project are saying that LA is too "car dependent." So?? What does that have to do with anything? HSR is a way to get from one city to another, just like airports. If there is high air traffic, then there is demand for HSR.

Do people take their cars with them when they fly? No.
Can people get a rental car at/near a train station downtown? Yes.
Can people take a taxi from a train station? Yes.

So, can someone explain to me what public transportation has to do with HSR??

While your points are totally correct, to me it's more like a "cart before the horse" act. If the HSR project is simply the beginning (and intermingling) of a grand, visionary, public transit system then I'm for it. I believe inner-city networks need to be vastly improved, first.

As for flying, unless absolutely necessary, I would never fly from L.A. to San Francisco. Your perspective is very different in Boston. I lived in Boston and grew up in Chicago. Driving 'out East' is a completely different experience in California. I've flown from Boston to Philadelphia, which is a shorter distance, because driving it is absolutely miserable! Driving in general is miserable on the East Coast, but they have the best public transit! Inter/Intra-city travel is amazing in Boston, New York, etc.

I live pretty geographically centered in L.A. at the moment. To drive from here to San Francisco (Fisherman's Wharf to be exact) would take 6 1/2 hours, and $80 in gas. I drive a Corolla, and half of L.A. has already been suckered into the Prius. California's HSR website claims a trip from L.A. to S.F. "under 2 hours 40 minutes". I'd have to be a naive fool to believe a figure given about an unproven system, by an organization whose purpose is to desperately convince people of something.

After creeping through the suburbs and odd mountain turns, and unexpected cow-dung on the tracks, I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being well over 3 hours. But, just like them, I can't prove a damned thing and shouldn't make up my own conjecture, so I'll give them an extra 10 minutes and say 2 1/2 hours! Or maybe I just suck at math, haha.

Anyway, I will give AT LEAST 1 1/2 hours travel time just to get to the station (traffic, bag checks, ticket checks, shuttle/walk from parking lot, etc.). We're already up to 4 hours when we arrive a station in S.F. The worst part about transportation that is not rapid-transit (subways, city buses, etc.) is that on regular trains and plains, people take their sweet-ass time getting off. If you don't need a car, great, you saved a couple of hours versus driving - and then figure the added cost of a Taxi. If you need to rent a car, that takes time. You may have shaved an hour off when everything is done. And this is if everything goes smoothly.

Also, how much are the ticks for HSR going to cost. Likely more than the $80 in gas for my car. Perhaps a little more with passengers.

That being said, I hate driving. I miss having the transit systems like Boston and New York, but I just find this to be a cart before the horse silliness for a time savings of 1 - 2 hours (maybe). Bring the 'T' to L.A., then we'll be ready for the rest.

electricron Apr 3, 2012 12:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mfastx (Post 5651459)
So, can someone explain to me what public transportation has to do with HSR??

Buses also count as public transportation of which Los Angeles has many.
I think many believe far more people would use the HSR line if more could get to the station. There are few parking garages around downtown train stations as large as you'll find at the various airports. But I agree with you, taxis are used world wide to get to and from train stations and airports. And there certainly isn't a lack of taxis in either San Francisco or Los Angeles.

ardecila Apr 3, 2012 1:07 AM

-dp-

ardecila Apr 3, 2012 1:17 AM

Why not just buy dual-mode locomotives for the San Joaquin's Oakland trains and run them on the high speed line through to Santa Clarita/LA? There's no need for a transfer at Merced. Amtrak can continue to run a set of normal San Joaquin trains that run Bakersfield-Sacramento on the legacy line.

I do like the idea of building to Merced, though. It punts on the issue of Pacheco vs. Altamont, which is another potential source of cost savings.

electricron Apr 3, 2012 1:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5651756)
Why not just buy dual-mode locomotives for the San Joaquin's Oakland trains and run them on the high speed line through to Santa Clarita/LA? There's no need for a transfer at Merced.

I do like the idea of building to Merced, though. It punts on the issue of Pacheco vs. Altamont, which is another potential source of cost savings.

Excellent idea for maximum speeds up to 100 mph, or whatever the existing Amtrak California dual level coaches are rated at. But you'll need HSR train sets to ride at 200 mph on the brand new HSR corridor in the central valley. That's why I suggested electrifying the existing lines for the blended system.

ardecila Apr 3, 2012 1:30 AM

At least in the Initial Operating Segment, the time savings will not come from running at 200mph. If you can average 100mph, you're already traveling lightning-quick. On the high-speed line, there will be no grade crossings and no signal interference with other trains, so there should be no obstacles to sustained 110mph travel between stations. With station stops factored in, the average speed is reduced to 100mph. The bilevel coaches are rated at 110mph, so that shouldn't be a problem.

The only problem is getting the trains up to sustained speeds of 110mph, which the F59PHIs cannot do easily. That's why Amtrak would need new locos.

Busy Bee Apr 10, 2012 7:28 PM

More GOP shenanigans
 
From CHSR Blog.

Darrell Issa To Use HSR to Bash Obama Administration

Apr 10th, 2012 | Posted by Robert Cruickshank


Darrell Issa, a Republican Congressman from San Diego County, has decided to launch a politically-motivated investigation into the high speed rail project:

Rep. Darrell Issa has launched a probe into the California high-speed rail project, asking for the preservation of documents that relate to federal funding for the project.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman outlined a range of concerns in a letter Monday addressed to newly installed California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard. Those questions include whether the $3.9 billion in federal money the project has received has prevented work on other important transportation projects. Issa requested a specific accounting of that money.


Issa’s letter makes it obvious what’s behind this:

“CHSRA has earned high-profile support from the Obama Administration,” Issa wrote to Richard. “But this praise has yet to be matched with tangible results.”


Ever since Solyndra, a Bay Area solar power company that received federal loans, went bankrupt and became the subject of a right-wing manufactured scandal, Republicans have been searching for a “new Solyndra” that can make President Obama’s green energy push again look like wasteful spending. Issa is clearly hoping that California’s high speed rail project will fit that bill.

Continue reading...

JDRCRASH Apr 10, 2012 10:22 PM

Shenanigans or not, it'll work if CHSR doesn't break ground soon.

Ragnar Apr 11, 2012 2:43 AM

Why don't they connect Bakersfield to L.A. with Amtrak today? I'm assuming Amtrak could do it. Does BNSF not let them? Or is there no demand on that circuitous route via Tehachapi/Palmdale?

ardecila Apr 11, 2012 3:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ragnar (Post 5661863)
I'm assuming Amtrak could do it. Does BNSF not let them? Or is there no demand on that circuitous route via Tehachapi/Palmdale?

The route through the Tehachapis is one of the most congested freight segments in the country. It's only one track, has steep grades, and it even loops back over itself.

Since freight trains pass over the Tehachapis at an absurdly slow speed, and there are 40 trains/day, there is literally no room in the schedule for a passenger train.

The San Joaquins cannot be extended south without a new rail line over the Tehachapis. Fortunately it sounds like there will be a new line, going as far as Palmdale where it will tie into the existing Metrolink Antelope Valley Line.

pesto Apr 12, 2012 6:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 5661278)
From CHSR Blog.

Darrell Issa To Use HSR to Bash Obama Administration

Apr 10th, 2012 | Posted by Robert Cruickshank


Darrell Issa, a Republican Congressman from San Diego County, has decided to launch a politically-motivated investigation into the high speed rail project:

Rep. Darrell Issa has launched a probe into the California high-speed rail project, asking for the preservation of documents that relate to federal funding for the project.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman outlined a range of concerns in a letter Monday addressed to newly installed California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard. Those questions include whether the $3.9 billion in federal money the project has received has prevented work on other important transportation projects. Issa requested a specific accounting of that money.


Issa’s letter makes it obvious what’s behind this:

“CHSRA has earned high-profile support from the Obama Administration,” Issa wrote to Richard. “But this praise has yet to be matched with tangible results.”


Ever since Solyndra, a Bay Area solar power company that received federal loans, went bankrupt and became the subject of a right-wing manufactured scandal, Republicans have been searching for a “new Solyndra” that can make President Obama’s green energy push again look like wasteful spending. Issa is clearly hoping that California’s high speed rail project will fit that bill.

Continue reading...

Solyndra was a "manufactured" scandal? Better read the lengthy stories in the NY Times, WSJ, SJ Mercury, etc. You may be interested that the federal report on it basically criticized every part of the decision process and the administration has implemented new regs. to keep this sort of decision process from ever happening again.

It would be very interesting to see if Transportation has similar criteria for approving projects as Energy did. If so, it will be quite a show.

202_Cyclist Apr 13, 2012 5:17 PM

Nope, nobody rides rail in California.

Amid trans-Hudson fuss, Amtrak touts ridership

Railway Age
April 11, 2012
Written by Douglas John Bowen

"...In the West, ridership rose 11.5% on the San Joaquin service (Sacramento-Oakland-Bakersfield), and up 6.7% on the Capitol Corridor (San Jose- Oakland-Sacramento- Auburn). Amtrak Cascades (Vancouver, B.C- Seattle- Portland-Eugene, Ore.) saw a more modest 0.5% increase."

http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/....html?channel=

Remember, the San Joaquin, Capital Corridor, and Surfliner routes are already some of the busiest, most successful routes in the US.

pesto Apr 13, 2012 6:12 PM

I see HSR has added back the Anaheim link, although it's unclear what they plan to spend the money on in this corridor. It looks like it may be relatively minor improvements that allow them to "include" Anaheim without raising the overall price much.

electricron Apr 13, 2012 6:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5665330)
I see HSR has added back the Anaheim link, although it's unclear what they plan to spend the money on in this corridor. It looks like it may be relatively minor improvements that allow them to "include" Anaheim without raising the overall price much.

With the new "Bookends" approach, the Anaheim corridor will probably just get electrification and other improvements to the existing "shared" tracks to increase the maximum speed up to 110 mph. CHSR was never planning on 200 mph max speeds on that short corridor anyways - but they were thinking about using separate, dedicated tracks in that corridor.

They should only build dedicated HSR tracks imho where they plan and need to go faster than 125 mph. At that speed and higher, FRA compliant standards for railcars change. Commuter trains will just get in the way because they'll be limited to a max speed to 125 mph. I believe the need for separate, dedicated tracks for lighter weight HSR train sets at the slower speeds will disappear in the future, with the FRA being more friendly to trains with collision management systems (more engineered crush zones).

Using much more shared tracks with reduce construction costs considerably. Think CalTrain operations on both ends of the "Bookends".

pesto Apr 14, 2012 6:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5665360)
With the new "Bookends" approach, the Anaheim corridor will probably just get electrification and other improvements to the existing "shared" tracks to increase the maximum speed up to 110 mph. CHSR was never planning on 200 mph max speeds on that short corridor anyways - but they were thinking about using separate, dedicated tracks in that corridor.

I believe the need for separate, dedicated tracks for lighter weight HSR train sets will disappear in the future, with the FRA being more friendly to trains with collision management systems (more engineered crush zones).

Using much more shared tracks with reduce construction costs considerably. Think CalTrain operations on both ends of the "Bookends".

Thanks for the info and comments. That thinking does make some sense and seems to alleviate some local issues. But the safety one is going to be a hard sell I would think.

M II A II R II K Apr 16, 2012 4:01 PM

High-speed rail board approves final plan for California bullet train


04/13/2012

By Mike Rosenberg

Read More: http://www.mercurynews.com/californi...ifornia-bullet

Quote:

Even as the California High-Speed Rail Authority unanimously approved the massive project's final blueprint Thursday, supporters led by Gov. Jerry Brown began a fast-and-furious sales campaign to convince skeptical lawmakers to jump on board. And the clock is ticking. Only two months remain before the Legislature votes on whether to start building the railroad, a decision that will seal the train's destiny after 16 years of preparation. The hearing in San Francisco, a rare Bay Area board meeting for the project, carried little drama, since the rail authority produced the plan. But it provided the agency its only opportunity to defend the latest plan before it begins a gauntlet of what promises to be a grueling series of legislative hearings starting next week.

- But the most recent business plan is seen as a significant improvement over last year's strategy, which envisioned a larger, $100 billion railroad that would open in 2034. Some swing-vote lawmakers, particularly, have been at least somewhat impressed, yet it remains to be seen if they can be swayed to support the vision. In June, the Legislature will vote on whether to start building the $6 billion first leg of construction in the Central Valley this winter, knowing the overall project still has a $55 billion shortfall. The Democratic leaders of both legislative chambers, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez, and many rank-and-file Democrats support the project as a jobs creator and the transportation option of the future, while most Republicans consider it a waste of money. Also on Thursday, the board unanimously approved a deal to split with the Bay Area the $1.5 billion cost to electrify the Caltrain line after local agencies endorsed the partnership weeks ago. If the Legislature signs on, construction would begin soon, with electric Caltrains barreling between San Francisco and San Jose by the end of the decade and state bullet trains joining the line some 10 years later.

.....

pesto Apr 16, 2012 9:59 PM

Start building with a 55B shorfall? This sounds reminiscent of the last HSR deal or the latest deal out of Sacto: the Kings arena. You sell your parking revenues for 30 years (itself a financially horrible act) to build an arena but still need AEG, the NBA and the tenants to kick in a couple of 100M in building costs. The most objective economists to look at it called it a disaster for both the city and the team.

So who funds the 55B for HSR? Well, obviously the taxpayers. And who funds the over-runs? Same folks. And who funds the operating losses. Yep. That's 55B that would otherwise have gone to schools, social programs, law enforcement, road repairs, etc.

mfastx Apr 16, 2012 10:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5668619)
So who funds the 55B for HSR? Well, obviously the taxpayers. And who funds the over-runs? Same folks. And who funds the operating losses. Yep. That's 55B that would otherwise have gone to schools, social programs, law enforcement, road repairs, etc.

And? I don't understand how this is any different than highways. And how do you know there will be operating losses?

Busy Bee Apr 16, 2012 11:10 PM

^I think the answer to that is obvious. Unlike the rest of us, pesto can see into the future. I sure wish I had powers like his.

pesto Apr 17, 2012 9:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mfastx (Post 5668677)
And? I don't understand how this is any different than highways. And how do you know there will be operating losses?

I didn't say it was different from highways; but this is immaterial because the ones that perform the functions of HSR (connecting LA to Bay) are aleady built. I would vigorously object to a 55B additional road building project connecting areas already well served.

I hate to remind you again, but HSR passed on the claim it would take peanuts to build and would run a profit. And not one auditor (seriously, NOT ONE) has believed that there is the slightest chance this will happen.

dimondpark Apr 18, 2012 12:11 AM

Please listen to reason Governor Brown.

Quote:

Stop California bullet train, state's top analyst urges
By Mike Rosenberg
mrosenberg@mercurynews.com

Posted: 04/17/2012 04:11:57 PM PDT
April 17, 2012 11:25 PM GMTUpdated: 04/17/2012 04:25:27 PM PDT

The state's top analyst has urged lawmakers to pull the emergency brake on California's $68 billion bullet train, saying the recently revised plan carries way too much risk of failure.

The Legislative Analyst's Office report released late Tuesday may give the Legislature political cover if it decides to ax the polarizing rail line as it begins debating whether to approve high-speed rail Wednesday.

"Specifically, funding for the project remains highly speculative and important details have not been sorted out," the report concludes, noting there is a $55 billion shortfall.

The report follows the California High-Speed Rail Authority's approval last week of a final business plan to build the project connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2029. The Legislature faces a decision in June on whether to approve Gov. Jerry Brown's request for $2.7 billion in bond funds to match $3.3 billion in federal grants to start building in the Central Valley. Otherwise, the state risks losing the federal grants, which officials say would essentially spell the end to the bullet train.

The LAO does, however, recommend the Legislature fund a small amount to continue planning operations in a hope to revive the project in future years.

The rail authority planned to comment later in the evening.

http://www.mercurynews.com/californi...-analyst-urges



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