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nito Sep 24, 2021 1:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9401890)
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 $$$.

I think what I was trying to get at was that the level of engineering complexity for the IOS is lower than that for Phase I of HS2 (with extensive tunnelling, city centre interventions, etc…), yet the construction timeframe for the IOS is longer.

Things aren’t exactly done rapid in the UK compared to other countries either. In the UK it is a constant battle with the Treasury to get transit projects done. The other day the Public Accounts Committee produced their outlook on HS2 which was positive. They did have concerns over Euston where there is an ongoing debate/dithering as to whether the HS2 station is built in a cheaper ten platform single phase or more expensive eleven platform two phase project. Thankfully Old Oak Common can be a temporary terminus if Euston is delayed, but the project ploughs on.

Busy Bee Sep 24, 2021 3:22 PM

^It's so nice to see the political dithering about how a station is most economically constructed and not whether trains are a socialist plot to steal your freedoms.

jmecklenborg Sep 24, 2021 4:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nito (Post 9405887)
I think what I was trying to get at was that the level of engineering complexity for the IOS is lower than that for Phase I of HS2 (with extensive tunnelling, city centre interventions, etc…), yet the construction timeframe for the IOS is longer.

The timeframe is longer because even if the Pacheco Pass and Palmdale-Burbank tunnels are fully funded in 2022 (which there is no reason to believe that they will), it'll be 2032 before revenue trains are running through either of them. No, they aren't close to as big as the new and u/c base tunnels in Switzerland and Austria, but they're each still very large projects.

If, instead, CAHSR had built the LA and SF approaches first, plus the two major tunnels, then the IOS would be the missing link, and there would have been tremendous pressure to build it as quickly as possible.

electricron Sep 24, 2021 9:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9406213)
The timeframe is longer because even if the Pacheco Pass and Palmdale-Burbank tunnels are fully funded in 2022 (which there is no reason to believe that they will), it'll be 2032 before revenue trains are running through either of them. No, they aren't close to as big as the new and u/c base tunnels in Switzerland and Austria, but they're each still very large projects.

If, instead, CAHSR had built the LA and SF approaches first, plus the two major tunnels, then the IOS would be the missing link, and there would have been tremendous pressure to build it as quickly as possible.

I sort of agree, but no quite entirely.
HSR 1 starting building the tunnel under the Channel first because that is what takes the longest time to build.
Forget the politics behind the project and just look at it as an engineering/construction problem. The first things they should have built is the sections that take the longest to do, and that is the tunnels through the mountains. Apparently that will be the last things they will build for Phase 1. The IOS completely avoids the mountain passes and tunnels. Wrong!:shrug:

It is going to take them 10 years and more to build the IOS as is, it will take them longer to build the tunnels through the mountain passes, it does not require a genius to understand that. So if the IOS enters service as promised in 2029, when do you think the tunnels will enter service, 2049?

jmecklenborg Sep 24, 2021 11:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 9406623)
It is going to take them 10 years and more to build the IOS as is, it will take them longer to build the tunnels through the mountain passes, it does not require a genius to understand that. So if the IOS enters service as promised in 2029, when do you think the tunnels will enter service, 2049?

This isn't a good comparison because having two independent systems, one in northern california and the other in southern california, even for a few years, would mean there would need to be two entirely duplicative maintenance facilities. The rolling stock would be worn down to carry very few passenger and would be worn down unevenly given the different character of the two unconnected sections. Also, the cities situated on the "interior" side of either tunnel are very small - specifically, Palmdale (150,000) and Madera (65,000).

And the exact same forces that are acting to obstruct CAHSR's big tunnels would have acted to obstruct the Central Valley. Up in Seattle, the first streetcar segment opened in 2007 and the second, unconnected segment opened in 2016. Here we are in 2021 and various forces have acted to thwart construction of the critical center section. It's now hoped that it will open in 2025 - almost 20 years after the first section opened in South Lake Union.

The United States military equipment procurement process sees major programs yanked all of the time. For example, there are only three Sea Wolf class submarines and only three Zumwalt class destroyers. We aren't in a time of war so there are no sunk ships to replace and there is no specific date by which we absolutely, must have this railroad complete and running.

Also, part of the motivation for our big military programs is selling the equipment to allies. We have sold many fighter jets to Israel and others, and we are now under contract to allow Australia to build eight nuclear-powered attack submarines based on our Virginia class.

CAHSR is the very beginning of the United States reviving its once-huge passenger railroad equipment industry, but we need a lot more going on nationwide before we have enough domestic business for General Electric or another manufacturer to start designing U.S.-made equipment.

electricron Sep 25, 2021 1:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9406722)
This isn't a good comparison because having two independent systems, one in northern california and the other in southern california, even for a few years, would mean there would need to be two entirely duplicative maintenance facilities.
And the exact same forces that are acting to obstruct CAHSR's big tunnels would have acted to obstruct the Central Valley.

I thought I suggested removing politics from the scenario, take a look at it from an engineering and constructor point of view. So you immediately fire back with political arguments; DOD, Northern vs Southern California, Inner city vs rural, or in other words; political game-man-ship. Booooooooo!

If it is going to take CHSR 15-25 years to build these tunnel sections, and just 10-15 years years to the sections in the Valley, let's get a 10 years head start building the tunnel sections first, then 10-15 years later start building in the Valley. The entire project could be completed in 20-25 years, not the 30-45 years as they are progressing presently. The tunnel sections completing about the same time as the Metros and Valley sections - or at least a few years of each other - not the decades apart.

From an engineering and constructor point of view, finishing all the sections at about the same time means you do not have to build two maintenance facilities you fear. But it does take commitment to actually build and finance all of it.

As for the political activities thwarting construction of the critical center section, they have not stopped one inch of it yet. Landowners expect fair and just compensation for the land being taken from them, and of course lawsuits have had to run their course seeking what is fair and just. But that happens on every transportation or utility project using eminent domain to buy the property. And I also disagree on what are the critical center sections, it is not the Valley sections but the mountain pass sections that are the most critical because they will take both the longest time and the most money to build.

Will O' Wisp Sep 25, 2021 2:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9406213)
If, instead, CAHSR had built the LA and SF approaches first, plus the two major tunnels, then the IOS would be the missing link, and there would have been tremendous pressure to build it as quickly as possible.

I would argue the exact opposite. Politically, the region most opposed to CAHSR is the central valley. Legally, the majority of the eminent domain issues are in the central valley. With the approaches done, LA and SF might start to feel like they'd done their part and stop pushing as hard (not to mention, there would only be enough money to do one approach, and the fight over which would be distracting). I feel like the most likely outcome would be the approaches would get done and the rest would easily fade into the ether (or really, only the SF approach would get done)

jmecklenborg Sep 25, 2021 3:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Will O' Wisp (Post 9406885)
I would argue the exact opposite. Politically, the region most opposed to CAHSR is the central valley. Legally, the majority of the eminent domain issues are in the central valley. With the approaches done, LA and SF might start to feel like they'd done their part and stop pushing as hard (not to mention, there would only be enough money to do one approach, and the fight over which would be distracting). I feel like the most likely outcome would be the approaches would get done and the rest would easily fade into the ether (or really, only the SF approach would get done)

Correct, Prop 1A provided enough money to build, in 2008 dollars, SF to Madera or LA (Anaheim) to Palmdale. It didn't provide enough to build both.

We'd be in a different situation if Clinton had won in late 2015 rather than Trump, since Elaine Chow harassed Caltrain and CAHSR from the moment she was appointed head of the FTA.

However, it needs to be pointed out that the Central Valley section is almost comically cheap to build as compared to every other section of the project, so it's tough to imagine that cost alone would keep it from being built.

jmecklenborg Sep 25, 2021 3:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 9406861)
I thought I suggested removing politics from the scenario, take a look at it from an engineering and constructor point of view. So you immediately fire back with political arguments; DOD, Northern vs Southern California, Inner city vs rural, or in other words; political game-man-ship. Booooooooo!

This project is a piece of cake from an engineering point of view, given that the United States has led the planet in military aviation, navy, space, computers - everything with the exception of high speed trains - for the past 70 years. Hell, we have the greatest freight railroad network on the planet and nearly 100% of its equipment is manufactured domestically.

The United States is, by far, the wealthiest country in the world. The S&P is worth 10X in 2021 as compared to 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. California alone has the cash on hand to build this thing, even without the help of the federal government.

So why aren't we farther along? Politics.

craigs Sep 25, 2021 4:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9406722)
This isn't a good comparison because having two independent systems, one in northern california and the other in southern california, even for a few years, would mean there would need to be two entirely duplicative maintenance facilities. The rolling stock would be worn down to carry very few passenger and would be worn down unevenly given the different character of the two unconnected sections. Also, the cities situated on the "interior" side of either tunnel are very small - specifically, Palmdale (150,000) and Madera (65,000).

A minor point, but there are over 400,000 people in the Antelope Valley area, where Palmdale is located.

Will O' Wisp Sep 25, 2021 5:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9406953)
This project is a piece of cake from an engineering point of view, given that the United States has led the planet in military aviation, navy, space, computers - everything with the exception of high speed trains - for the past 70 years. Hell, we have the greatest freight railroad network on the planet and nearly 100% of its equipment is manufactured domestically.

The United States is, by far, the wealthiest country in the world. The S&P is worth 10X in 2021 as compared to 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. California alone has the cash on hand to build this thing, even without the help of the federal government.

So why aren't we farther along? Politics.

Politics, priorities, and culture to be more precise.

Three days ago CA approved $15 billion in wildfire defense, drought protection, and other climate change funding. That's more than the entire cost of the IOS, spend in just one year. The money is there, the government prefers to spend it on other things.

But even in CA, HSR rolls against the culture. Americans always look at government in terms of taxes raised and money spent, not on societal benefit. Transportation infrastructure is money loosing. From that perspective, roads are a better investment, they cost much less to build and maintain than HSR. I wouldn't be surprised if HSR cost more than an equivalent road system even after you accounted for HSR's income from ticket fees. So you get a lower tax bill with freeways.

But that math doesn't take into account the cost of a car, gasoline, heath effects from an auto based society, and lowered productivity from time spent in traffic. All that doesn't go on a tax bill, even though it can add up to far more per person than the cost of HSR and public transit. So even if they have a lower taxes, your average American probably spends more in total for the ability to get from place to place than people do Japan or western Europe.

electricron Sep 25, 2021 8:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Will O' Wisp (Post 9406980)
Politics, priorities, and culture to be more precise.

But that math doesn't take into account the cost of a car, gasoline, heath effects from an auto based society, and lowered productivity from time spent in traffic. All that doesn't go on a tax bill, even though it can add up to far more per person than the cost of HSR and public transit. So even if they have a lower tax bill, your average American probably spends more in total for the ability to get from place to place than people do Japan or western Europe.

Probably? That is an all inclusive verb. What is the reality?
% of Americans owning cars? 75.5%
% of Europeans owning cars?
Portugal 77.8%
Luxembourg 72.7%
Iceland 71.9%
Italy 66.6%
Slovenia 59.8%
France 59.5%
% of Japanese owning cars? 61.2%
https://www.forbes.com/2008/07/30/en...h=12433a92185a

https://www.travelmath.com/cost-of-driving/
USA $127.97 for 100 miles
Europe E119.01 for 1609 kilometers (100 miles)
E119.01 = $139.45
https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=11...&ei=UTF-8&fp=1

Hmmm. Almost as many Europeans owns cars as Americans, and they have to pay to license and insure their cars as well, and pay more in fuel to drive 100 miles. How can their cost of transport be cheaper? Environmental affects will be more dependent upon miles traveled than anything else. There is nothing keeping Americans from buying their homes closer their place of work if they so choose. But I will admit most American cities are spread out less dense than European cities so Americans travel further.

13,476 miles by the averaged American
https://www.google.com/search?q=amer...hrome&ie=UTF-8
12,000 km/year by the averaged European
https://www.google.com/search?
q=europeans+distance+travel+in+cars+per+year&rlz=1C1ASUM_enUS903US903&ei=_t1OYc7zOYP1-gST8IeAAQ&oq=europeans+distance+travel+in+cars+per+year&gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EANKBAhBGABQ9ZAGWOSpBmCEsgZoAHACeACAAVyIAZQFkgECMTCYAQCgAQHAAQE&sclient=gws-wiz&ved=0ahUKEwjO6o3X2pnzAhWDup4KHRP4ARAQ4dUDCA8&uact=5
FYI, 12,000 km = 7456.4 miles
Looks like I thought correctly about miles driven.

London Underground fares are based on zones traveled.
New York Subway fares are not based on zones, you can ride anywhere on a single trip for $2.75. Make a transfer, add another $2.75. Most buy fares by the month (30-Day) $121.00 or by the week (7 days) $32.00.
How the math works for commuters, 2 trips x 5 days a week = 10 trips.
$32 / 10 trips = $3.20 per trip. Make 4 trips every day, 28 trips in a week, your cost per trip is now just $1.14 per trip. The more you ride the subway, the cheaper it gets.
Hence, transit is cheaper in New York than in London.

So, is it really cheaper to travel in Europe than in America? Not probable.

It is so easy to express a wrong opinion without backing it up with data.

jmecklenborg Sep 25, 2021 2:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Will O' Wisp (Post 9406980)

But that math doesn't take into account the cost of a car

This goes for rail transit projects along with intercity rail. The trains themselves are very expensive and need to be staffed. But the trains last much longer - often 30+ years - and travel many more miles than any private vehicle or city or charter bus.

The counter-argument is that owning a car carries a fixed daily cost, and so it only costs incrementally more for someone to drive the car to Point B as opposed to take a bus or ride a train. But that argument - always coming from the Tea Party types - disappears when the matter of air travel comes up. Oddly, they don't disband the argument when the matter of high speed rail comes up, even though the Northeast Corridor and CAHSR are time-competitive door-to-door with jet flight.

Busy Bee Sep 25, 2021 3:04 PM

The cars per household number is more striking. Go fetch that for us Electricron.

electricron Sep 25, 2021 5:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9407162)
The cars per household number is more striking. Go fetch that for us Electricron.

That can be done. You could have done it but decided not to.
Per https://www.cars.com/articles/how-ma...1420694459157/
1.927 cars per USA household

Per https://www.researchgate.net/figure/...fig2_341399861

That graph is about the best I could find, it seems the European Union likes to list everything separately by country and avoids a general European average.
Booooooo!

Never-the-less, not as high as America. Considering almost half the homes in Europe are townhouses without garages, there's not a lot of parking spots by most homes.

Busy Bee Sep 25, 2021 6:21 PM

It's also becuase they don't NEED two or more cars per household since compact living and sensible urban planning with alternative transportation abounding is the norm. Also teenagers/Y.A.s don't view having their own car as a "right of passage" far far less than N.A. culture does, and even that is diminishing here.

Busy Bee Oct 8, 2021 1:28 AM

Streetsblog Visits Under Construction CHSR Structures

SFBruin Oct 10, 2021 9:20 PM

It seems to me that good transit in many mid-sized cities prevents people from needing to own a second car.

You might be able to get around without a car at all in these types of places, but the second car definitely is an easy sacrifice.

curt-pdx Oct 28, 2021 4:20 PM

NEXT BIT has dropped: Drone footage of CP2-3 from John at The Four Foot:

Video Link


Quote:

Originally Posted by curt-pdx (Post 9402836)
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 Oct 28, 2021 5:03 PM

It bothers me tremendously that essentially top-notch marketing materials like these fan videos are not being produced by the Authority to maintain and further sell the public on a political commitment to the project, but instead produced by a random enthusiast doing it for no other reason but their passion and interest for little to no money outside of peripheral Patreon contributions. Why the CHSRA hasn't hired John is beyond me.

Furthermore, the CHSR project isn't like a HS2 or a new TGV line scheme where you produce a video showing how pre-existing rail service will be drastically improved by a HSR bypass. Essenitally for all intents and purposes the California project doesn't have a pre-existing service its improving upon. The existing Amtrak services are not only subpar in most ways, it's not a reality that most citizens can relate to as something they are familiar with and therefore something they can see will be dramatically improved by HSR implementation. In the case of California, this isn't "an improvement" this is a paradigm shift or at least has the potential to be. From day one the Authority should have been producing marketing materials that didn't just show 2.5 seconds of a scene with a train and a tunnel in the desert or speeding through the Fresno trench, thats fine an all, but what they should be doing is showing the average Californian how the system can be used. Show the transition between sitting in freeway traffic or hours behind the wheel through the central valley, fighting parking in cities, etc etc. Show instead a rider leaving their front door, catching a short bus ride or having a friend drop them at the front door of an ultramodern HSR station. Show them using a laptop or playing cards or talking with friends/family or even snoozing while the suckers over on the highway are falling asleep at the wheel LOL. Show them arrival in the center of town, in several cities, walking just a few hundred feet to their destination or catching public transportation or an easy pre-coordinated rideshare to a more suburban destination. There's so many things the CHSRA shoudl and could be doing to keep the public engaged and "on board" with the promise of this project. Instead most of their videos, other than the animations 10+ years old and un-updated, seem to be random flyovers of routes no longer in contention or about ironworkers and how many jobs have been created. That's fine, I'm just not sure if that's enough to keep the public excited about the big picture potential of the project and how it could transform how Californians travel.

electricron Oct 28, 2021 5:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9436552)
It bothers me tremendously that essentially top-notch marketing materials like these fan videos are not being produced by the Authority to maintain and further sell the public on a political commitment to the project, but instead produced by a random enthusiast doing it for no other reason but their passion and interest for little to no money outside of peripheral Patreon contributions. Why the CHSRA hasn't hired John is beyond me.

Furthermore, the CHSR project isn't like a HS2 or a new TGV line scheme where you produce a video showing how pre-existing rail service will be drastically improved by a HSR bypass. Essenitally for all intents and purposes the California project doesn't have a pre-existing service its improving upon. The existing Amtrak services are not only subpar in most ways, it's not a reality that most citizens can relate to as something they are familiar with and therefore something they can see will be dramatically improved by HSR implementation. In the case of California, this isn't "an improvement" this is a paradigm shift or at least has the potential to be. From day one the Authority should have been producing marketing materials that didn't just show 2.5 seconds of a scene with a train and a tunnel in the desert or speeding through the Fresno trench, thats fine an all, but what they should be doing is showing the average Californian how the system can be used. Show the transition between sitting in freeway traffic or hours behind the wheel through the central valley, fighting parking in cities, etc etc. Show instead a rider leaving their front door, catching a short bus ride or having a friend drop them at the front door of an ultramodern HSR station. Show them using a laptop or playing cards or talking with friends/family or even snoozing while the suckers over on the highway are falling asleep at the wheel LOL. Show them arrival in the center of town, in several cities, walking just a few hundred feet to their destination or catching public transportation or an easy pre-coordinated rideshare to a more suburban destination. There's so many things the CHSRA shoudl and could be doing to keep the public engaged and "on board" with the promise of this project. Instead most of their videos, other than the animations 10+ years old and un-updated, seem to be random flyovers of routes no longer in contention or about ironworkers and how many jobs have been created. That's fine, I'm just not sure if that's enough to keep the public excited about the big picture potential of the project and how it could transform how Californians travel.

All great points. But if you really need more publicity on their web site advocating CHSR, I suggest starting a petition to have a new referendum to raise more money or kill it - your choice! For some reasons, the only encouragement for CHSR Authority to do spend a lot of money for outreaches to the public is to have a referendum! They need a political challenge to spend that money.

jmecklenborg Oct 28, 2021 5:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 9436602)
outreaches to the public

CAHSR and fan videos are no match for that carnival barker Elon Musk and his hyperloop/boring company scams. He has single-handedly done more to muddy the conversation than anyone else, and no amount of money will get him to shut up and go back to rescuing soccer teams from caves.

tech12 Oct 28, 2021 7:37 PM

Yeah, we could definitely use some better HSR marketing.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9436626)
and no amount of money will get him to shut up and go back to rescuing soccer teams from caves.

He didn't even rescue anyone lol

But he did call the actual rescuer a pedophile, after the guy declined to use Elon's untested child-sized submersible to rescue the kids.

TWAK Oct 28, 2021 8:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9436626)
CAHSR and fan videos are no match for that carnival barker Elon Musk and his hyperloop/boring company scams. He has single-handedly done more to muddy the conversation than anyone else, and no amount of money will get him to shut up and go back to rescuing soccer teams from caves.

Well that and people from other states telling CA that it won't get built or it's too much money. PR would cost more money for them though, and people from outside the state are complaining about the costs as well.
I think it's just because it's a project in California, if it was in Texas everybody would just say "that's really cool".
I suspect some salt is from the feds giving CA money. Electricon wants it for his state.

jmecklenborg Oct 28, 2021 8:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TWAK (Post 9436842)
if it was in Texas

Everyone here knows that the Texas project is small-time compared to CAHSR. 20~ fewer stations and 20~ fewer tunnels. No integration with other rail activities (Caltrains, Metrorail, Las Vegas rail). The Texas stations won't be in downtown Dallas or Houston or integrated with their respective existing public transportation systems.

Everything's bigger in Texas, except high speed rail.

TWAK Oct 28, 2021 8:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9436868)
Everyone here knows that the Texas project is small-time compared to CAHSR. 20~ fewer stations and 20~ fewer tunnels. No integration with other rail activities (Caltrains, Metrorail, Las Vegas rail). The Texas stations won't be in downtown Dallas or Houston or integrated with their respective existing public transportation systems.

Everything's bigger in Texas, except high speed rail.

Wont get built!!
Sorry, just had to try. That's cool Texas is getting a HSR project though, which is the proper response for transportation fans!

electricron Oct 28, 2021 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TWAK (Post 9436885)
Wont get built!!
Sorry, just had to try. That's cool Texas is getting a HSR project though, which is the proper response for transportation fans!

I'm not sure anyone in the USA will ever raise enough money to build a HSR line. But let's take a bird's eye view on how California and Texas HSR projects have proceeded to date.
1) Both California and Texas projects were initiated as HSR projects, no other means of transportation were seriously considered as alternatives.
2) The California Legislature established a government Commission or Authority to finance, study, design, build, and run a HSR system.
3) Texas Central established a private company to do the same things.
4) The California Authority broke the planned HSR line into many parts or sections. California is studying, designing, building, and financing its project one section at a time.
5) Texas Central has not, keeping the whole Dallas to Houston into one project, it's an all or nothing project.
6) California started construction before finishing all the IOS environmental reviews, and without the money in hand to finish the IOS.
7) Texas Central has completed all its environmental reviews, but has not started construction yet, getting all its ducks in a row before actually moving dirt.
8) Both have had difficulties in the court systems over eminent domain property purchases.

IMHO, one project has proceeded in a sound economic and engineering way, and the other has not. Guess which one I think has been more responsible.

Again I repeat, I have no idea whether either project will ever be completed.

TWAK Oct 28, 2021 10:16 PM

^So you're angry at another HSR system located a thousand miles away? I'm not mad at Texas at all for having HSR. That's cool, like I said, it's neat. Say the same for CAHSR or I will claim it's hypocritical.
This is how people used to respond to projects, back in my day!

electricron Oct 28, 2021 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TWAK (Post 9437007)
^So you're angry at another HSR system located a thousand miles away? I'm not mad at Texas at all for having HSR. That's cool, like I said, it's neat. Say the same for CAHSR or I will claim it's hypocritical.
This is how people used to respond to projects, back in my day!

I'm not mad that California wants a HSR system. I just think they are doing it wrong!:???:

The number one thing they are doing wrong is starting construction of it in the Valley vs in the mountain passes. Mountain passes take the longest time to build because tunnels take longer to dig, the tunnels should have been where they started building first!
If you were not aware, the existing gap in intercity Amtrak passenger train services in California is between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. Today, Amtrak runs buses along this gap. Yes, the US national and State subsidized passenger train service provider is running buses. And they will be far into the future because CHSR has not even finished the environment studies for the Palmdale to Los Angeles sector.

CHSR is presently scheduled to complete the IOS between Merced and Bakersfield until 2029, another 7 to 8 years into the future. It will be at least another 10 years, at a minimum, to dig the tunnels in the mountain passes assuming they immediately start digging after completing the environmental studies and receiving the FRA Record of Decision. At a minimum another 10 years, more probably another 20 years, hence CHSR present projection of competing Phase I (SF to LA) in 2049.

Good luck!

TWAK Oct 29, 2021 12:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 9437096)
I'm not mad that California wants a HSR system. I just think they are doing it wrong!:???:

The number one thing they are doing wrong is starting construction of it in the Valley vs in the mountain passes. Mountain passes take the longest time to build because tunnels take longer to dig, the tunnels should have been where they started building first!

The Valley route is best because it can be built quicker and it's the cheapest to build. People from outside of state want us to spend less of our own money and want construction. So far you are getting what you wanted.
Quote:

If you were not aware, the existing gap in intercity Amtrak passenger train services in California is between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. Today, Amtrak runs buses along this gap. Yes, the US national and State subsidized passenger train service provider running buses.
You might not be aware that there's a train you can take down to LA but it takes about 13 hours. It goes along the coast and is a great ride. In addition to HSR, local services like metrolink would be enhanced. If there are no plans to increase DART or something, I'll get very angry at the Texas plan. Is there?

Quote:

CHSR is presently scheduled to complete the IOS between Merced and Bakersfield until 2029, another 7 to 8 years into the future.
Good luck!
Interesting, because they are going to be testing trains in 2023.
You don't mean good luck, you want us to change the whole plan!

SFBruin Oct 29, 2021 12:03 AM

To me, the tunnels are the system.

They're what make this project transformative.

electricron Oct 29, 2021 12:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TWAK (Post 9437119)
The Valley route is best because it can be built quicker and it's the cheapest to build. People from outside of state want us to spend less of our own money and want construction. So far you are getting what you wanted.

You might not be aware that there's a train you can take down to LA but it takes about 13 hours. It goes along the coast and is a great ride. In addition to HSR, local services like metrolink would be enhanced. If there are no plans to increase DART or something, I'll get very angry at the Texas plan. Is there?


Interesting, because they are going to be testing trains in 2023.
You don't mean good luck, you want us to change the whole plan!

Sure, the Valley is the cheapest and easiest sections to build. Never-the-less, I still maintain they should have built the more difficult sections first. The French and American engineers and contractors did not start building the Panama Canal at the Caribbean and Pacific portals, they started digging in the Culebra Cut because that was going to take the longest to do. It was also the most expensive and hardest to do as well.
The British and French started building the Chunnel sections long before building the rest of HSR1 in Britain, also because it took the longest time to do. If your goal is actually finishing an entire project as quickly as possible, you start with the pieces of the projects that take the longest to do.
Construction 101!

As for testing CHSR trainsets in 2023, which will more likely take 2 years to build, they should have bought them last year, by the end of this year at the latest, yet I am sad to report to everyone reading this thread that no new 200+ mph trainsets have been ordered to date. Shucks, they have not even ordered the catenaries for the sections Merced to Bakersfield yet. Good luck seeing any HSR trainsets being tested in 2023.

TWAK Oct 29, 2021 12:17 AM

^Well I guess California broke the construction rules in order to satisfy people demanding construction (from outside the state mostly). I'm sorry that we broke the rules but there's nothing to be done, except more building in the valley. Is Texas electrifying local rail? If not they are doing it the wrong way! Texas should also be building the cheapest sections first, because I demand to see you guys constructing your system now.

jmecklenborg Oct 29, 2021 1:40 AM

If CAHSR had started with the big tunnels, the critics would have booed them for that.

Build a high-speed system and they say build it slower. Build a slower-speed system and they say it should be faster. Build super-long platforms for double-set HSR trains and they say it'll never get that many passengers. Build single-set platforms and they'll say you're dooming passenger capacity.

jmecklenborg Oct 29, 2021 1:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TWAK (Post 9437119)
The Valley route is best because it can be built quicker and it's the cheapest to build.

The I-5 route would have been roughly 40 miles shorter and so would have been cheaper for that reason alone. But it also would have not served the Central Valley where the valley's population is centered, which is the string of cities and towns along the UP mainline.

Quote:

Texas
The Dallas>Houston line is roughly 1/3 the track length of CAHSR Phases 1 & 2.

Texas is making a big mistake by not planning for an integrated system that would link Dallas/FW, San Antonio, and Houston in a big triangle, with intermediate stations for Austin, College Station, Waco, etc. Such a system would comprise roughly 650 miles of track, so still not as big as CAHSR, and with no major tunnels.

Will O' Wisp Oct 29, 2021 4:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9437219)
The Dallas>Houston line is roughly 1/3 the track length of CAHSR Phases 1 & 2.

Texas is making a big mistake by not planning for an integrated system that would link Dallas/FW, San Antonio, and Houston in a big triangle, with intermediate stations for Austin, College Station, Waco, etc. Such a system would comprise roughly 650 miles of track, so still not as big as CAHSR, and with no major tunnels.

Aka the famous "Texas triangle" that Southwest Airlines was built on.

But Texas HSR doesn't have the money for that. Private development is turning out to not quite be as affordable as advertised. Last year the Board Chairman of Texas Central admitted this was a "$30 billion dollar project", which puts it at about the same cost as CAHSR mile for mile. The CEO is now saying the project needs a $12 billion dollar loan from the federal government to be feasible. Two Republican house representatives recently wrote a letter to the Biden admin stating their opposition to Texas HSR receiving federal funds.

For all of CAHSR's flaws, I'm not sure Texas HSR is being run much better.

jmecklenborg Oct 29, 2021 4:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Will O' Wisp (Post 9437312)

For all of CAHSR's flaws, I'm not sure Texas HSR is being run much better.

The Texas line won't be transformative. It's going to be an alternative to flying or driving between Point A and Point B and nothing more. Its one midpoint station won't be in a town center.

The failed Ohio HSR plan from the early 1980s was a bigger project than what Texas Central is planning right now. The Ohio line was going to serve the downtowns of each of the 3C's cities, and use extensive viaducts and at least one major tunnel to do so. Hard to believe, but in 1980, Dallas and Houston had only recently surpassed Cleveland and Cincinnati in size.

craigs Oct 29, 2021 5:46 AM

Someone mentioned the Palmdale to Los Angeles corridor, and I just traveled most of that today by car. It is challenging terrain, to say the least, and unlike anything that engineers of a HSR railroad between Dallas and Houston will ever need to worry about. The relevant differences in terrain should have been one of those numerated items, because it is certainly salient to the discussion.

Will O' Wisp Oct 29, 2021 6:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9437335)
The Texas line won't be transformative. It's going to be an alternative to flying or driving between Point A and Point B and nothing more. Its one midpoint station won't be in a town center.

The failed Ohio HSR plan from the early 1980s was a bigger project than what Texas Central is planning right now. The Ohio line was going to serve the downtowns of each of the 3C's cities, and use extensive viaducts and at least one major tunnel to do so. Hard to believe, but in 1980, Dallas and Houston had only recently surpassed Cleveland and Cincinnati in size.

The "transformative" part of Texas HSR has nothing to do with the physical construction or design of the HSR line. The idea is to show that the private sector could construct transportation infrastructure if that evil government would just get out of the way, and build it faster, cheaper, and without taxpayer funds.

What we've ended up with is a project that is:

-moving slower than CAHSR (Texas Central founded 2008 with zero track laid vs CAHSR started in 2008 with 119 miles under construction)

-just as expensive per mile (~$30B for 240 miles vs ~69-99B for 520 miles)

-requires taxpayer funds to get started (~$12B, although Texas Central says it will pay this back eventually. Interestingly this is almost the same as CAHSR's current funding minus cap and trade*)

*~$12.4B: $9B from Prop 1A, $2.5B from ARRA, and ~0.9B from HUD.

SFBruin Oct 29, 2021 7:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Will O' Wisp (Post 9437312)
the project needs a $12 billion dollar loan from the federal government

That does, indeed, make Texas Central not privately financed.

SFBruin Oct 29, 2021 7:51 AM

To me, the Texas and CA projects have each done the opposite things well.

CA has done a good job of securing funding and beginning construction. Texas has done a good job of hiring outside expertise.

I feel like the outcome of this is that there is going to be a lot of whining in CA, but it will get done (in 2040), and the Texas project won't get finished, but not much money will have been spent.

arkitect13 Oct 29, 2021 2:23 PM

Ultimately i think brightline has the best chances of really setting the standards for hsr in the U.S. They have the most success, but we have yet to see there L.A to vegas line, if its anything like there Florida lines it should turn out pretty well.

jmecklenborg Oct 29, 2021 2:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arkitect13 (Post 9437535)
Ultimately i think brightline has the best chances of really setting the standards for hsr in the U.S. They have the most success, but we have yet to see there L.A to vegas line, if its anything like there Florida lines it should turn out pretty well.

^Brightline Florida involves no major bridges or tunnels, has single-track sections, and isn't electrified. Presently, its max speed is 79mph. It has killed over 40 people.

The Las Vegas line will have no entrance into Los Angeles until the mid-2030s at the earliest, and possibly the 2040s.

Busy Bee Oct 29, 2021 2:51 PM

I'm extremely hopeful for the Brightline West project though I'm less than pleased that they have apparently downgraded the level of infrastructure since the EIS was completed when it was still called DesertXpress. Time will tell if they build it right, let alone build it at all. As for Brightline Florida, it shouldn't be part of this discussion... people talk about it like hyperloop, like the free market gift from god, like that obnoxious railclub youtube guy... but its apples and oranges. Don't get me wrong, for what it is I think theyre doing a good job and I like watching those update videos on the nitty gritty details, but it's not high speed rail. It's not even clear if they are building it to the specifications required for electrification and top speeds higher than 120mph. The curve radii alone says no. Whether the segment between Tampa and Orlando along I-4 is built with HSR conversion in mind I do not know.

jmecklenborg Oct 29, 2021 5:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9437573)
they have apparently downgraded the level of infrastructure since the EIS was completed when it was still called DesertXpress.

And allow me to reiterate that I don't expect California to welcome the Las Vegas project on a red carpet because a big-time HSR connection between Las Vegas and LA Union Station will encourage more moves by LA companies to low-tax Nevada.

caligrad Oct 29, 2021 5:54 PM

^^^ Not necessarily if you're basing it off of the commute. The commute oddly will still be between 2-3 hours and that's not including giving yourself 30 mins each way to arrive early to the station. Throw in drunk/hungover tourists. No one will be excited about a commute to Vegas with rowdy and happy tourists and no one will be happy on the way home with drunk/hungover ones either, especially not at a 2-3 hour travel time.

electricron Oct 29, 2021 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 9437573)
I'm extremely hopeful for the Brightline West project though I'm less than pleased that they have apparently downgraded the level of infrastructure since the EIS was completed when it was still called DesertXpress. Time will tell if they build it right, let alone build it at all. As for Brightline Florida, it shouldn't be part of this discussion... people talk about it like hyperloop, like the free market gift from god, like that obnoxious railclub youtube guy... but its apples and oranges. Don't get me wrong, for what it is I think theyre doing a good job and I like watching those update videos on the nitty gritty details, but it's not high speed rail. It's not even clear if they are building it to the specifications required for electrification and top speeds higher than 120mph. The curve radii alone says no. Whether the segment between Tampa and Orlando along I-4 is built with HSR conversion in mind I do not know.

Brightline in Florida has bought 125 mph maximum speed trainsets that should last in service 25 to 30 years before needing replacement. I do not think they ever wish to run trains faster than that. They do not need to.
Tampa to Orlando by I-4 is 84 miles, here's the relative elapse times per average speeds....
84 miles / 60 mph average speeds = 84 minutes
84 miles / 80 mph average speeds = 63 minutes
84 miles / 100 mph average speeds = 50 minutes
84 miles / 120 mph average speeds = 42 minutes
And assuming HSR trains were bought and used on this segment
84 miles / 140 mph average speeds = 36 minutes
84 miles / 160 mph average speeds = 31.5 minutes
84 miles / 180 mph average speeds = 28 minutes
As the trains go faster, did you note how the difference in time savings per 20 mph increase speeds dropped. What is the sweet spot for elapse time for most passengers? Then consider the major destination on this extension will be Disney World, just 17 miles away from Orlando's Airport.
17 miles / 60 mph average speeds = 17 minutes
17 miles /120 mph average speeds = 8.5 minutes
17 miles / 180 mph average speeds = 5 minutes, 40 seconds

IMHO, I do not see the need for that market for trains going faster than 125 mph....

LA to LV is an entirely different matter because the distance between the major destinations is far greater than 84 or 17 miles. :shrug:

jmecklenborg Oct 29, 2021 8:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by caligrad (Post 9437852)
^^^ Not necessarily if you're basing it off of the commute. The commute oddly will still be between 2-3 hours and that's not including giving yourself 30 mins each way to arrive early to the station. Throw in drunk/hungover tourists. No one will be excited about a commute to Vegas with rowdy and happy tourists and no one will be happy on the way home with drunk/hungover ones either, especially not at a 2-3 hour travel time.

I didn't mean to suggest that people would commute daily. I am asserting that the appearance of a 90-minute train ride to Los Angeles leaving the strip every 20 minutes will make the decision to move to Las Vegas more likely for many people and many companies.

Changes to media technology and communications has already cost Hollywood some of its dominance. Cloud-based editing is now a thing, which has raised the potential of secondary production cities like tiny Knoxville, TN, which has been a post-production center since TNN/CNN started in Atlanta in the 1980s.

Atlanta, of course, has been a major film and TV production center for over 30 years, and a new studio complex was just announced this week in Nashville. These new studios are nearly immune to industry union labor rules. Not sure why one hasn't been built yet in Las Vegas but that day is coming.

numble Oct 29, 2021 8:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9437820)
And allow me to reiterate that I don't expect California to welcome the Las Vegas project on a red carpet because a big-time HSR connection between Las Vegas and LA Union Station will encourage more moves by LA companies to low-tax Nevada.

California already gave Brightline the ability to raise $4.2 billion in tax-exempt bonds to pay for the project, more than Nevada gave to the project.
https://hsrail.org/blog/xpresswest%E...ak-ground-soon

And most of the ROW is owned by California, which has already signed the lease agreement to lease it to Brightline. https://www.vvng.com/caltrans-and-xp...ce-along-i-15/

Busy Bee Oct 29, 2021 9:00 PM

In the back of my mind I keep reserving the possibility that the CHSRA understands that once Phase 1 of CHSR and Brightline West are both in operation, the LA-LV Brightline may very well be operated by and essentially part of CHSR. I'm not familiar with whether any interstate legaleez would prevent this or not. It's for this reason that I really don't want to see Brightline West build the LV line to a lesser spec that would limit the efficiencies of future operations. According to the petition or whatever they call this agreement they've made with the FRA and Caltrans allowing them to amend the original DesertXpress alignment agreements that could see shifting to the median in some sections as well as, if you can beleive it, single tracking. This should worry anyone following this project (as close as they can with the limited info coming out). There is a real risk that Brightline is trying to build this thing TOO cheap and they may very well be shooting themselves in the foot. This notion of median running without altering Caltrans interstate curve radii is a red flag that they may be entertaining running these trains much slower than advertised. They also are planning on even fewer tunnels and cuts then in the original EIS which means the grade %'s are going to get even more extreme. The last thing anyone should want to see is this thing built to a less-than global standard HSR spec.


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