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craigs Aug 21, 2021 4:06 AM

CA High-Speed Rail Authority Approves Plan for Connection into L.A. County

Bakersfield to Palmdale EIR approved, readying the section to catch potential infrastructure funding

Joe Linton
Streetsblog California
Aug 20, 2021

Yesterday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority approved the final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the 82-mile $19.7 billion Bakersfield to Palmdale section. That segment would bring high-speed rail into northern Los Angeles County.

The CAHSRA currently has 119 miles of high-speed rail under construction through California’s Central Valley. That initial Central Valley segment will operate between Bakersfield and Merced, with conventional-speed rail connections to San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. HSR will reach San Francisco directly some years after that.

Video Link


https://i0.wp.com/cal.streetsblog.or...pg?w=580&h=795

From Bakersfield, building south requires crossing the Tehachapi Mountains, which isn’t easy or cheap. The plan calls for nine tunnels, totaling over ten miles, and fifteen miles of aerial structures. See SBCA’s 2020 interview for more Bakersfield to Palmdale rail details.
. . .

JManc Aug 21, 2021 6:09 AM

I'm surprised no stop closer to Mojave since that's where the space port is.

curt-pdx Sep 13, 2021 7:30 PM

it's time for our annual update from John at The Four Foot! (who should be on the CHSR PR payroll . . .). This one is an overview of the progress in the last 10 months and he also has a link to a google spreadsheet listing all the projects in CP 1-4 and giving a status update from last year.


Video Link

jmecklenborg Sep 13, 2021 8:29 PM

California's obnoxious governor recall provision is going to be an ongoing hurdle to the completion of this project. Assuming that Newsom keeps his office, he's going to have to lay low until his second term to back this project - as will all future governors.

k1052 Sep 13, 2021 9:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9395037)
California's obnoxious governor recall provision is going to be an ongoing hurdle to the completion of this project. Assuming that Newsom keeps his office, he's going to have to lay low until his second term to back this project - as will all future governors.

Depends on his margin. Sleepy Dems appear to have woken up in recent weeks and Elder is claiming the election is rigged already because his odds have soured. With the spending bills on the front burner in DC if Newsom pulls out a handy win I don't think that's a recipe for timidity.

edale Sep 13, 2021 9:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by curt-pdx (Post 9394995)
it's time for our annual update from John at The Four Foot! (who should be on the CHSR PR payroll . . .). This one is an overview of the progress in the last 10 months and he also has a link to a google spreadsheet listing all the projects in CP 1-4 and giving a status update from last year.


Video Link

This video is depressing, imo. There is still SO much to do to even get phase 1 open, which basically connects nowhere to nowhere. How do we have so little to show for this project that's been underway for so goddamn long?

I know the environmental clearance and subsequent BS lawsuits slowed it down considerably, but even still, it seems absurd to have such a little amount done. This in a flat, rural part of the line. Getting it to SF or LA seems to be a pipe dream given the current project progress and budget. Ridiculous.

Busy Bee Sep 13, 2021 11:21 PM

Whats with the blip towards the beginning of the video showing new rail and concrete ties?? Thats got to be for a bnsf shoefly or something right?

jmecklenborg Sep 14, 2021 3:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edale (Post 9395122)
There is still SO much to do to even get phase 1 open, which basically connects nowhere to nowhere. How do we have so little to show for this project that's been underway for so goddamn long?

They're looking at 21-22 years between the passage of Prop 1A and the opening of the IOS. I assume that it'll take 4 years to manufacture the first group of trains (I seem to recall that they plan to order 16 trains) and then likely 2 years to test and train the crews. So they'll have to place the orders for the trains by about 2023, so after that happens then they'll let the contracts to lay the track and build the electric system.

Busy Bee Sep 14, 2021 5:05 PM

HS2 will pretty much have a similar timeline from legal passage to completion. I dont know why so many people think CHSR is so unusual in this regard. Compared to China? Sure. But thats not how the western democratic world works. Cut them some slack... Things are just getting good.

jmecklenborg Sep 14, 2021 6:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9395837)
HS2 will pretty much have a similar timeline from legal passage to completion. I dont know why so many people think CHSR is so unusual in this regard. Compared to China? Sure. But thats not how the western democratic world works. Cut them some slack... Things are just getting good.


The part of the equation that couldn't be foreseen back in 2008, or even as recently as 2015, are the monstrous California budget surpluses that have occurred back-to-back-to-back since 2018. Prudently, the initial surpluses were used to shore up the state pension fund. Irrationally, Newsom wants to give the 2021 surpluses back to citizens in the form of no-strings-attached checks in a year when ordinary citizens have gotten one stimulus check after another.

The state now has so much cash it doesn't know what to do with it, yet maintains the dog and pony show with regards to funding major capital improvements like public transportation and CAHSR. The state quite literally has the cash coming in to pay cash in real time to complete CAHSR Phase 1 in the next 10 years. I wouldn't suggest doing so - since the feds usually match state/local dollars, but the fact is that HSR's funding crisis isn't for a lack of available dollars.

edale Sep 14, 2021 6:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9395685)
They're looking at 21-22 years between the passage of Prop 1A and the opening of the IOS. I assume that it'll take 4 years to manufacture the first group of trains (I seem to recall that they plan to order 16 trains) and then likely 2 years to test and train the crews. So they'll have to place the orders for the trains by about 2023, so after that happens then they'll let the contracts to lay the track and build the electric system.

This is just to go from not-quite-Bakersfield to Merced, right? 20 years to build a train through farms and Fresno. Absurd.

It's pointless to compare the US timetables for projects to those of China, but it's also totally fair to note that 20 years to build 120 miles of high speed rail that goes essentially nowhere useful is patently ridiculous and unacceptable.

jmecklenborg Sep 14, 2021 8:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edale (Post 9395941)
This is just to go from not-quite-Bakersfield to Merced, right? 20 years to build a train through farms and Fresno. Absurd.

Correct, plus electrification of Caltrains between SF and San Jose. Also, many UP grade crossings have been eliminated.

Another issue that hasn't been given much attention is that the IOS doesn't include the Bakersfield-Palmdale link through the Tehachapi Pass. This prevents a high-frequency one-seat diesel service between the East Bay and LA Union.

A one-seat diesel service between the East Bay (ACE) and Bakersfield is possible. An idea to build one track on the new HSR line was introduced 1-2 years ago. This would enable a service similar to Brightline in Florida. There would be no electrical system cost, reduced rail cost, and no fencing.

The problem with doing that is that the service would probably have to be cut for 1-2 years to transition over to electric HSR since there would be a lengthy testing and training period. Alternatively, the line could be built out as an electric railway, and duel-mode locomotives could provide a one-seat ride between the East Bay and Bakersfield. This service could probably be retained if the Pacheco Pass Tunnel is built but not the LA approach tunnels, since there would be plenty of track capacity.

jbermingham123 Sep 14, 2021 10:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 9372180)
I'm surprised no stop closer to Mojave since that's where the space port is.

Building spaceports in the middle of nowhere is, and always has been, an incontrovertibly asinine idea. As of right now, the price of getting to and from an isolated spaceport is negligible in comparison to the price of spaceflight, but that will not always be the case. When the space economy really takes off, launches will be commonplace near major cities. No company will tolerate having to ship their materials and products to and from random locations in the desert, none of which are even directly served by rail lines. And when space mining and manufacturing companies can fly in and out of cities, the tourism industries wont tolerate random desert ports either.

electricron Sep 14, 2021 11:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9395837)
HS2 will pretty much have a similar timeline from legal passage to completion. I dont know why so many people think CHSR is so unusual in this regard. Compared to China? Sure. But thats not how the western democratic world works. Cut them some slack... Things are just getting good.

Really? HSR 2 Wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Speed_2
Timeline:
2009 Labour government proposes HSR2
2010 Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition opens public consultation
2012 Secretary of State for Transport HS2 would go ahead in two phases
2017 High Speed Rail (London–West Midlands) Act 2017 authorising the construction of Phase 1
2017 Phase 2a High Speed Rail (West Midlands–Crewe) bill, seeking the power to construct Phase 2 as far as Crewe and make decisions on the remainder of the Phase 2b route, was introduced in 2017.
2020
The main stages of construction officially began on 4 September 2020
2021 Phase 2a received royal assent in 2021.

Planned Completion Dates:
Phase 1 target date: 2029–2033
Phase 2a target date: 2029–2033
Phase 2b target date: 2035
2035 - 2929 = 15 years
2033 - 2020 = 13 years
2029 - 2020 = 9 years
2029 - 2009 = 20 years
Legal passage date was 2017, therefore 2029 - 2017 = 12 years

Whether or not Network Rail will complete the construction on time and on budget is unknown.

Meanwhile, here is the CHSR Wiki.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Califo...igh-Speed_Rail
Timeline:
1996 California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) was established
2008 Proposition 1A passes approving the issuance of $9 billion in bonds
2010 Federal government grants CHSR $6.25 Billion
2010 The Authority Board of Directors voted to begin construction on the first section of the system from Madera to Fresno.
2012 California legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown approved construction of the high-speed system
2015 Fresno hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the commencement of sustained construction activities.
2019 Parts of the project not already under construction were postponed for a number of reasons

Planned Completion Dates
2029 (Central Valley Segment) otherwise known as the initial operation segment.
No completion date listed in the Wiki article for the entire system.

2029 - 2015 = 14 years
2029 - 1996 - 33 years

What even should be used for the legal passage date, when the CHSR Authority was formed, when Proposition 1A passed, or when the Legislature approved construction?
2029 - 1996 = 33 years (CHSR Authority established)
2029 - 2008 = 21 years (Proposition 1A passed)
2029 - 2012 = 17 years (Legislature approves construction of IOS)



Please do not suggest that HSR2 is advancing as slowly as CHSR.

Busy Bee Sep 15, 2021 12:35 AM

1996? Are you seriously suggesting that is the starting year? Get outta here with that. Thats bad faith and you know it.

electricron Sep 15, 2021 2:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9396363)
1996? Are you seriously suggesting that is the starting year? Get outta here with that. Thats bad faith and you know it.

I included other dates as well. You can choose the one you prefer best. :)
Never-the-less, the CHSR Authority was established in 1996 with the purpose to study, design, build, and operate CHSR trains....
Per the Wiki article linked earlier,
"The CAHSRA was established by an act of the California State Legislature and tasked with presenting a high-speed rail plan to the voters. This plan, Proposition 1A, was approved by voters in 2008 after the presentation and was assigned a $9 billion bond to begin construction on the initial leg of the network."

Note, the CAHSRA was not tasked with presenting higher frequency intercity passenger rail plan. They were tasked with presenting a HSR plan that voters would approve. The results of all their studies were predetermined to be in favor of HSR. They have been blind political activists ever since.

ardecila Sep 15, 2021 2:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9396035)
Alternatively, the line could be built out as an electric railway, and duel-mode locomotives could provide a one-seat ride between the East Bay and Bakersfield. This service could probably be retained if the Pacheco Pass Tunnel is built but not the LA approach tunnels, since there would be plenty of track capacity.

I know I argued otherwise in an earlier post, but I'm not sure this works. The new mountain crossings are designed with relatively steep grades to minimize tunneling or open cuts, but the grades require the light/distributed weight and high adhesion/braking power of EMU trainsets. I don't think a loco-hauled train, even with electric power, will cut it.

There's also the issue that the lightweight trains optimized for the new HSL won't be FRA-compliant to mix with freight on the legacy tracks into the Bay Area or LA basin. However, it's possible that they could run heavyweight trains on the HSL and simply avoid the new mountain crossings. That allows Bakersfield-Oakland or Bakersfield-SJ via the existing Altamont Pass line that ACE uses.

jmecklenborg Sep 15, 2021 3:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 9396444)
Note, the CAHSRA was not tasked with presenting higher frequency intercity passenger rail plan.

So you're suggesting more diesel passenger trains traveling at a max 79mph on the existing Union Pacific mainline's Class 4 tracks? On new tracks paralleling the UP? On an all-new rail corridor paralleling I-5 (possibly Class 6, enabling 125mph)? You need to be specific.

We see tons of classic concern trolling with CAHSR. It's too big. It's too small. There was too much planning. There wasn't enough. Why does it go to this small city and not that small city?

jmecklenborg Sep 15, 2021 3:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9396793)
I know I argued otherwise in an earlier post, but I'm not sure this works. The new mountain crossings are designed with relatively steep grades to minimize tunneling or open cuts, but the grades require the light/distributed weight and high adhesion/braking power of EMU trainsets. I don't think a loco-hauled train, even with electric power, will cut it.

I imagine that they could safely operate locomotive-powered trains of either type at a lower speed on the climbs/descents, but that would defeat some of the time advantage of the new line as compared to the existing lines.

I'm not advocating for any of this. I think that they need to go all-in from the get-go with high speed trains. If they screw around with compromises then opponents will be able to start all sorts of rumors. They'll make up stuff like the curves are too sharp for high speed trains.

nito Sep 16, 2021 9:38 AM

Not to add fuel to the fire, but the longer construction time for CHSR relative to HS2 (Phase 1) is curious when you consider that HS2 involves 51km of dual-bore tunnel and significant station works in the centre of London and Birmingham.

jmecklenborg Sep 17, 2021 1:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nito (Post 9397771)
Not to add fuel to the fire, but the longer construction time for CHSR relative to HS2 (Phase 1) is curious when you consider that HS2 involves 51km of dual-bore tunnel and significant station works in the centre of London and Birmingham.

The combined length of the two major CAHSR tunnels will total roughly 30 miles, so a similar length.

The approach tunnel to Transbay Terminal will be about 2 miles long but will a project of similar complexity to any in London.

Newsom kept his job so my thought is that he and the legislature could easily fund this project without bringing out the HSR boo-birds. Same with construction of HSR between San Jose and Gilroy - it could be used by electrified Caltrains right away.

Busy Bee Sep 17, 2021 1:45 PM

Not to mention COMPLETELY different geology and challenges, but hey "details shmetails".

jmecklenborg Sep 17, 2021 3:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9398966)
Not to mention COMPLETELY different geology and challenges, but hey "details shmetails".

Also, my guess is that there is no state/federal funding relationship in English railroading as exists here in the United States. There are EU grants to local transit projects in Europe but I'm not sure about intercity high speed rail.

As I have mentioned previously, California has enjoyed gigantic budget surpluses for several years but the state can't shower the high speed rail project with cash because any California governor is vulnerable to recall efforts triggered by obstructionists. Further, any state dollar goes much further with a federal match, so no state can really go at it alone without attracting a ton of criticism for not applying for federal grants and federal matching.

Meanwhile - I've seen this where I live - obstructionists sometimes apply for preposterous low-scoring federal matches as favors to donors. These projects have no chance at winning federal dollars but a politician gets to illustrate to potential future donors that he does favors. These stunts also deflect free federal money from the pet (and possibly meritorious) projects of opponents.

Pedestrian Sep 17, 2021 7:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9399046)
California has enjoyed gigantic budget surpluses for several years but the state can't shower the high speed rail project with cash because any California governor is vulnerable to recall efforts triggered by obstructionists.

Jerry Brown was probably the strongest proponent of HSR who will ever occupy the Governor's office--he boosted it in spite of all objections and obstacles--and nobody tried to recall him. I don't think any governor needs to worry about a recall on that basis alone.

jbermingham123 Sep 18, 2021 1:57 AM

It is curious that the English-speaking world sucks at high speed rail.

Among the UK, US, Canada, Australia, and NZ, the UK's rail sucks the least. However, when one considers that England has the same population density as the Japanese Island of Honshu, and –were it an independent state– would be the second densest country in Europe (nearly tied with the Netherlands, twice as dense as Germany and Italy, 3 times as dense as France, and 5 fucking times as dense as Spain), and fifth-densest in the world, then its lack of high speed rail is glaring.

If i had to guess an explanation, i think English common law must have something to do with it

Pedestrian Sep 18, 2021 7:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jbermingham123 (Post 9399677)
It is curious that the English-speaking world sucks at high speed rail.

Among the UK, US, Canada, Australia, and NZ, the UK's rail sucks the least. However, when one considers that England has the same population density as the Japanese Island of Honshu, and –were it an independent state– would be the second densest country in Europe (nearly tied with the Netherlands, twice as dense as Germany and Italy, 3 times as dense as France, and 5 fucking times as dense as Spain), and fifth-densest in the world, then its lack of high speed rail is glaring.

If i had to guess an explanation, i think English common law must have something to do with it

DISTANCE has something to do with it. The US, Canada and Australia are countries where distances are measured in thousands of miles and people are just accustomed to flying. Even where high speed rail trips might take only a few hours, most people think of intercity travel in terms of flying time, not rail travel time. And the fact that rail gets you city center to city center, which seems like one of its greatest advantages (or does if you'v ever driven to LAX or SFO at rush hour), for people most of whom live in far-flung suburbs that doesn't seem much of an advantage either.

I think the best argument in California to convince the mostly unconvinced residents of the vast Central Valley is that HSR would make getting to and from a major airport so much easier for them.

electricron Sep 18, 2021 9:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pedestrian (Post 9399835)
DISTANCE has something to do with it. The US, Canada and Australia are countries where distances are measured in thousands of miles and people are just accustomed to flying. Even where high speed rail trips might take only a few hours, most people think of intercity travel in terms of flying time, not rail travel time. And the fact that rail gets you city center to city center, which seems like one of its greatest advantages (or does if you'v ever driven to LAX or SFO at rush hour), for people most of whom live in far-flung suburbs that doesn't seem much of an advantage either.

I think the best argument in California to convince the mostly unconvinced residents of the vast Central Valley is that HSR would make getting to and from a major airport so much easier for them.

Distance is a major factor why, I will agree.
But I do not agree selling Valley residents with easier access to major airports. The main reason being that CHSR trains will not stop at stations at or near major airports. In the San Francisco Bay area, the three HSR train stations will be located in downtown San Francisco, San Jose, and Millbrae.
In the LA area, the five HSR stations will be located at Burbank, Downtown LA, Norwalk, Fullerton, and Anaheim. Burbank being located near Bob Hope Airport, but it is not a major airport with just 14 gates.
To put that into perspective, here are the gate numbers at various large California airports:
LAX 146 gates
SFO 115 gates
SAN 51 gates
SJC 41 gates
OAK 32 gates
SMF 32 gates
ONT 26 gates
SNA 22 gates
BUR 14 gates
BFL 8 gates
FAT 6 gates

Busy Bee Sep 18, 2021 1:07 PM

Millbrae is directly adjacent to SFO. You know that right?

k1052 Sep 18, 2021 2:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9399897)
Millbrae is directly adjacent to SFO. You know that right?

Relatedly they really should extend the AirTrain to Millbrae and mothball the SFO BART station. HSR, BART, and Caltrain passengers would have optimal access to the airport though an automated free high frequency link.

jmecklenborg Sep 18, 2021 3:46 PM

Also, BART will be extended into DT San Jose by the time HSR is running. This means that travelers could reach Oakland's airport via BART. Nowhere close to as convenient as SFO, but still possible.

It also will be possible to travel from LAX to LA Union Station via rail public transportation by 2025 or so. It'll involve a transfer and it'll take about an hour but it's something that someone living in Palmdale or Bakersfield might do.

Extending HSR via an 11-12 mile tunnel from LA Union to LAX would be horrendously expensive. It would be a lot cheaper to build a limited stop (Inglewood stadium, future Vermont red line extension, and maybe 2-3 more) transit line in a bored tunnel between those points.

dubu Sep 18, 2021 4:03 PM

this thread is almost 12 years old, connecting two cities is harder then you would think. though the sea level is rising and the valley is sinking. also a earthquake could happen, i see why it isnt going anywhere.

SIGSEGV Sep 18, 2021 5:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 9399974)
Relatedly they really should extend the AirTrain to Millbrae and mothball the SFO BART station. HSR, BART, and Caltrain passengers would have optimal access to the airport though an automated free high frequency link.

Yes that probably makes the most sense, but then BART couldn't charge $$$ to SFO trips.

k1052 Sep 18, 2021 5:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SIGSEGV (Post 9400104)
Yes that probably makes the most sense, but then BART couldn't charge $$$ to SFO trips.

Yeah I wonder what their decision making would look like since not using the wye anymore has significant operational and frequency upsides but they'd lose some of the higher fare. From a mobility standpoint it really should be done though.

Pedestrian Sep 18, 2021 7:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 9399862)
Distance is a major factor why, I will agree.
But I do not agree selling Valley residents with easier access to major airports. The main reason being that CHSR trains will not stop at stations at or near major airports. In the San Francisco Bay area, the three HSR train stations will be located in downtown San Francisco, San Jose, and Millbrae.
In the LA area, the five HSR stations will be located at Burbank, Downtown LA, Norwalk, Fullerton, and Anaheim. Burbank being located near Bob Hope Airport, but it is not a major airport with just 14 gates.
To put that into perspective, here are the gate numbers at various large California airports:
LAX 146 gates
SFO 115 gates
SAN 51 gates
SJC 41 gates
OAK 32 gates
SMF 32 gates
ONT 26 gates
SNA 22 gates
BUR 14 gates
BFL 8 gates
FAT 6 gates

Wrong. The HSR up the Peninsula into San Francisco passes right by SFO. Not sure if Milbrae is a planned stop but it easily could be (you say it is). That’s one BART stop from the station inside SFO—not much different from an airport “people mover” ride and closer/shorter than the connection between BART and Oakland Airport ((although somebody comong from Bakersfield or Fresno could even get to OAK that way).

jmecklenborg Sep 19, 2021 4:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pedestrian (Post 9400226)
Not sure if Milbrae is a planned stop but it easily could be (you say it is).

All HSR trains, including the expresses, will stop at Mibrae. This universal intermediate stop (the others being San Jose and Burbank) was needed so that the mixed HSR/Caltrains traffic can be cued into San Francisco in a civilized fashion rather than backing up in the future tunnel to Transbay Terminal. It made the most sense to position this cuing activity at Mibrae since it serves SFO.

urban_encounter Sep 19, 2021 6:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 9399862)
Distance is a major factor why, I will agree.
But I do not agree selling Valley residents with easier access to major airports. The main reason being that CHSR trains will not stop at stations at or near major airports. In the San Francisco Bay area, the three HSR train stations will be located in downtown San Francisco, San Jose, and Millbrae.
In the LA area, the five HSR stations will be located at Burbank, Downtown LA, Norwalk, Fullerton, and Anaheim. Burbank being located near Bob Hope Airport, but it is not a major airport with just 14 gates.
To put that into perspective, here are the gate numbers at various large California airports:
LAX 146 gates
SFO 115 gates
SAN 51 gates
SJC 41 gates
OAK 32 gates
SMF 32 gates
ONT 26 gates
SNA 22 gates
BUR 14 gates
BFL 8 gates
FAT 6 gates

Gates don’t tell the entire picture. As of July 2021 SMF was the fourth busiest airport in California and has been in a close race with SJC and Oak the past few years. Like many airports, SMF is talking expansion even as it emerges from Covid flight disruptions. SMF obviously draws passengers from much of the area North of Sacramento, West into the outer East Bay (Walnut Creek), Fairfield and Napa; as far South as Merced and as far East as Stateline.

FAT in Fresno has 6 gates now, but with Southwest Airlines initiating service expect it to be a game changer for air travel in the Southern Central Valley.

Domestic travelers in the Central Valley really won’t need to rely on Bay Area airports for domestic travel as was the case in years past.

However, SFO is the main International airport in Northern California. But the question will be, do travelers want to drive or take the train to SFO to catch a flight to Paris or do they want to fly from their local airports and connect in Chicago, or further East? By the time Cal HSR reaches SFO Fresno’s FAT will likely expand capacity exponentially.

That said, HSR is growing on me in the sense that when it came to the vote, I was dead set against it because it was a poorly conceived plan, clearly underestimated construction costs, overestimated funding sources and being overseen by people who would be hard pressed to assemble a Lionel train set, to say nothing of a “high speed rail” system. My predictions rarely come to pass. When I make predictions I’m usually wrong. But even my predictions all came to pass with the HSR system.

I still question whether the entire system will be grossly obsolete by the time it’s complete. Maybe we should have considered maglev or hyper loop. (I’m not qualified in any case to speculate on the alternatives and I have no problem admitting that). But with climate change posing an existential threat to our one planet, we are going to have to invest heavily in transportation infrastructure and better urban planning in order to help reduce the impact of climate change. Maybe that includes new fuel sources or aviation advances for the airline industry as well? But we would be wise to not put all of our eggs in one basket and try to complete HSR to include the Sacramento and San Diego extensions (sadly not in my lifetime).

TWAK Sep 19, 2021 7:35 PM

Sacramento should at least be cheaper since the conditions are the same as most of the central valley route.

jmecklenborg Sep 19, 2021 7:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by urban_encounter (Post 9400868)
I still question whether the entire system will be grossly obsolete by the time it’s complete.

This system is big-time and is going to restructure life throughout the state. Was the Northeast Corridor rendered obsolete by Trump's shuttle?


Quote:

Maybe we should have considered maglev or hyper loop.
Maglev barely exists. What is being built in Japan right now is orders of magnitude more ambitious than CAHSR.

The hyper loop is a scam.


Quote:

But we would be wise to not put all of our eggs in one basket and try to complete HSR to include the Sacramento and San Diego extensions (sadly not in my lifetime).
This is an incomplete sentence, so your specific intent is unclear, but I will attempt to address it. Many people advocate for upgrades to ACE and the Capitol Corridor on par with what is going on with Caltrains on the peninsula right now. Many people envision a unified, electric system that connects all three systems through a second Transbay Tube. This unified system would compliment and be integrated with CAHSR on the Peninsula and possibly in the East Bay, including the planned branch from the wye up to Sacramento.

jmecklenborg Sep 19, 2021 7:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TWAK (Post 9400920)
Sacramento should at least be cheaper since the conditions are the same as most of the central valley route.

And it'll likely be designed for a slightly lower top speed, which will save a lot of money. I don't know if Prop 1A requires LA>SF to be completely up and running or not before the Sacramento branch (Phase 2) can begin construction. I hope not, since it seems like an Easy Win.

Busy Bee Sep 19, 2021 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9400933)
And it'll likely be designed for a slightly lower top speed, which will save a lot of money. I don't know if Prop 1A requires LA>SF to be completely up and running or not before the Sacramento branch (Phase 2) can begin construction. I hope not, since it seems like an Easy Win.

Jmeck, I usually find myself agreeing with everything you say, but I have to disagree with you on this. I see no hint and no reason to suggest they will suddenly pursue a lower speed spec for the Sac and SD legs, especially after the public and media undoubtedly become mesmerized by the speed and "futureness" of the IOS. I have 100% confidence the system will be completed as planned with the phase 2 not being treated as a less-than afterthought in any way.

electricron Sep 19, 2021 11:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9399897)
Millbrae is directly adjacent to SFO. You know that right?

No, the Millbrae Station is not located directly at the SFO terminals. You have to transfer using BART to get to the airport. The transfer has not always been using BART trains, just in the recent past the transfer involved buses.
Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millbrae_station
On February 11, 2019, SFO–Millbrae line service resumed on weekdays and Sundays. The station continues to be served by the Richmond line on weekdays, with the Antioch line (formerly the Pittsburg/Bay Point line) serving both SFIA and Millbrae on weeknights and Saturdays. On February 10, 2020, the SFO–Millbrae line began running during all operating hours, with the Antioch line operating only to SFIA. SFO–Millbrae service ended on August 2, 2021; it was replaced by an extension of the Richmond line to SFIA weekdays and Saturdays, and an extension of the Antioch line to Millbrae evenings and Sundays.

The services have been changing so much lately, it is difficult to suggest how BART plans to run the BART trains year by year.

Never-the-less, Caltrain trains do not and have never directly service the airport.

Busy Bee Sep 20, 2021 12:49 AM

Man, are you familiar with the expression splitting hairs ?

The station where high speed trains will stop is literally right next door to the second most important airport in California. Now you're moving the goalpost to whether or not they will stop feet from a terminal gate.

I should remind you this was your original comment:

Quote:

The main reason being that CHSR trains will not stop at stations at or near major airports.

urban_encounter Sep 20, 2021 2:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9400931)
This is an incomplete sentence, so your specific intent is unclear, but I will attempt to address it.

:haha:

Yes, you got me there, I clearly didn’t finish my thought. You did a good job addressing it though.

By not ‘putting all of our eggs in one basket’, I meant HSR can be one element of a much larger transportation network to link the State. For instance the electrification of existing rail corridors as you mentioned as well as improvements to bay ferries. Solano Transit has run shuttle busses between Downtown Sacramento and the ferry terminal in Vallejo for years.

Even beyond those things, I would like to see the State invest heavily in local transit. But I’ll leave that for another thread.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TWAK (Post 9400920)
Sacramento should at least be cheaper since the conditions are the same as most of the central valley route.

Personally I would be happy with improved travel times on the Capital Corridor. I’m not sure whether that will include eventual electrification and some sort of tilt technology that might be able to increase speeds from Benicia to Emeryville. To be honest, I’m not certain that the tilt technology has ever ironed out the issues of motion sickness..? But that can be a very relaxing and scenic trip between Sacramento and the Bay, especially during the Spring and Autumn.

jmecklenborg Sep 20, 2021 5:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9401036)
Jmeck, I usually find myself agreeing with everything you say, but I have to disagree with you on this. I see no hint and no reason to suggest they will suddenly pursue a lower speed spec for the Sac and SD legs, especially after the public and media undoubtedly become mesmerized by the speed and "futureness" of the IOS. I have 100% confidence the system will be completed as planned with the phase 2 not being treated as a less-than afterthought in any way.

That's true - I could see Modesto/Stockton/Sacramento people getting upset if they're told that they're getting HSR in name only. That said, TGV trains in France regularly run at relatively low speeds on local branches.

Per the official conceptual map [https://hsr.ca.gov/wp-content/upload...acramento.pdf], CAHSR plans downtown stations in Modesto and Sacramento, but the line will deviate from the UP mainline for much of the route between those points, with Stockton's station on the eastern periphery of that city.

I think a big dilemma in nocal is the competing push to electrify ACE between several of the same cities where CAHSR is planned, but it won't be possible to opearte CAHSR full-blast at 220mph unless the ACE trains themselves have HSR specs, or the new rail corridor is built with 3 or 4 tracks throughout to allow the HSR trains to pass the commuter trains.

Also, my guess is that after a full build-out, they'll want to run any LA-bound train that originates in Sacramento as an express south of Merced. This creates a tough situation because getting through the wye without tapping the brakes will require a perfect sync with southbound trains leaving San Jose.

nito Sep 20, 2021 4:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9398962)
The combined length of the two major CAHSR tunnels will total roughly 30 miles, so a similar length.

The approach tunnel to Transbay Terminal will be about 2 miles long but will a project of similar complexity to any in London.

Newsom kept his job so my thought is that he and the legislature could easily fund this project without bringing out the HSR boo-birds. Same with construction of HSR between San Jose and Gilroy - it could be used by electrified Caltrains right away.

I was under the impression, and I’m happy to be corrected on this, that the major tunnelling projects for CAHSR don’t form part of the IOS, and that these will form part of future phases. Looking at the IOS section, there is minimal tunnelling and that perhaps 90-95% of the route from Merced to Bakersfield runs at surface with a few elevated sections and a scattering of short tunnels. The comparison of HS2 Phase I with its extensive tunnelling and intensive city interventions was with the IOS.


Quote:

Originally Posted by jbermingham123 (Post 9399677)
It is curious that the English-speaking world sucks at high speed rail.

Among the UK, US, Canada, Australia, and NZ, the UK's rail sucks the least. However, when one considers that England has the same population density as the Japanese Island of Honshu, and –were it an independent state– would be the second densest country in Europe (nearly tied with the Netherlands, twice as dense as Germany and Italy, 3 times as dense as France, and 5 fucking times as dense as Spain), and fifth-densest in the world, then its lack of high speed rail is glaring.

If i had to guess an explanation, i think English common law must have something to do with it

I don’t think it has anything to do with the legal code, various countries simply developed in different ways. England/the UK doesn’t have an extensive HSR network, but speed is one variable in providing a competent intercity service; frequency and accessibility are other variables, especially in compact countries with dispersed population centres. British intercity networks relative to international networks operate at far higher frequencies which erodes the speed advantage going someway to explaining why the British intercity rail network moves more people than the HSR and non-HSR networks of either France or Germany.

HS2 exists as a project because the existing main lines are literally full. Building a new line to 21st century high-speed standards obviously made sense. I think that the allure of high-speed trains however does obscure the actual goals of improving intercity travel, or travel in general. Spain is a classic example of this in the intercity context.

TWAK Sep 20, 2021 5:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by urban_encounter (Post 9401186)
Personally I would be happy with improved travel times on the Capital Corridor. I’m not sure whether that will include eventual electrification and some sort of tilt technology that might be able to increase speeds from Benicia to Emeryville. To be honest, I’m not certain that the tilt technology has ever ironed out the issues of motion sickness..? But that can be a very relaxing and scenic trip between Sacramento and the Bay, especially during the Spring and Autumn.

There are plans now for electrification and separating freight from the line and I-80 would be the perfect HSR route. I think regional authorities might settle with electrification instead of HSR, though, since the current route to SF is the same as driving. As for slower speeds with the route to Sac...maybe when it goes through Elk Grove? Seems to me like residents would do lawsuits :haha:

SFBruin Sep 20, 2021 5:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by urban_encounter (Post 9401186)
I would be happy with improved travel times on the Capital Corridor. I’m not sure whether that will include eventual electrification and some sort of tilt technology that might be able to increase speeds from Benicia to Emeryville. To be honest, I’m not certain that the tilt technology has ever ironed out the issues of motion sickness..? But that can be a very relaxing and scenic trip between Sacramento and the Bay, especially during the Spring and Autumn.

I feel like they need to build tunnels between Richmond and Fairfield/Vacaville (always get them mixed up).

jmecklenborg Sep 20, 2021 8:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nito (Post 9401630)
The comparison of HS2 Phase I with its extensive tunnelling and intensive city interventions was with the IOS.

There are no tunnels of any kind on the IOS. This project - like any undertaken by any of the 50 states - exists in a political/administrative environment that doesn't exist in England or anywhere else. The existence or absence of tunnels is an incidental detail.

It's basically impossible for a state or any individual U.S. city to do anything unusual, even if they have the cash on hand, because everything is dependent upon the federal matches. To go at it alone - without the free federal money - is just plain bad business.

Before the federal government started its grants and matching after WWII, states and cities did embark on ambitious infrastructure projects - the cross-state canals in New York and Ohio are obvious examples from the 1800s and several states built toll expressways in the years before the Interstate Highway Act - the first being the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Several states/cities coordinated to build tollways that linked to form a continuous roadway - the Chicago Skyway linked directly to the Indiana Turnpike which linked directly to the Ohio Turnpike which linked to the Pennsylvania.

It was actually easier to do this stuff in the past because various DOT's weren't sitting around waiting for the federal grant cycle. CAHSR is stuck waiting and waiting on Federal $$$.

curt-pdx Sep 21, 2021 5:19 PM

More goodness from John at The Four Foot - a drone flyover of CP1:

Video Link


My thanks to him for his impressive commitment of time to keep us informed. There will be two more drone flyover videos of the other construction packages coming soon.

Busy Bee Sep 21, 2021 5:30 PM

He does amazing work and should be on the payroll of CHSRA. My only gripe is that he doesn't release them all at once, the waiting is agony.


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