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Inkoumori Apr 23, 2011 7:21 AM

Quote:

Does anybody have a rough estimate on how much speed (both average and top) would be lost as a result of sharing tracks with Metrolink/Caltrain?
All you have to do is look at Acela.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express

Quote:

Acela Express trains are the only true high-speed trainsets in North America; the highest speed they attain is 150 mph (240 km/h), though they average less than half of that.
because they share track with Amtrak.

djlx2 Apr 23, 2011 8:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5252355)
Does anybody have a rough estimate on how much speed (both average and top) would be lost as a result of sharing tracks with Metrolink/Caltrain?
And I want real answers, not biased ones from track-sharing booster forumers.

I just hope one day the whole corridor can be grade-seperated on it's own track. Hopefully it doesn't become one of those VERY ANNOYING "the route is too busy to build a new track, and construction would disrupt existing services" situations. I can easily see this happening.

I don't have a rough estimate of how much speed. I'm guessing at least a little speed would be lost. I mean, you want the train operators to be focused, so they'll want to slow down if there's two different carriers on the track. There are lives at stake.

electricron Apr 23, 2011 4:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammersklavier (Post 5252147)
This blog post suggests that there is a slight difference between the dynamic envelopes of Caltrain and CHSRA (namely, platform height) which would make it slightly more expensive to design island platforms which serve both services, though...

You have a valid point with existing CalTrain rolling stock. But isn't CalTrain wishing to buy new EMU trains, which can be built to use the same platforms as CHSR trains? Or the other way around, where CHSR trains are built to use the same platforms as CalTrain trains?
Besides, on the peninsula, the CHSR trains are only going to need platforms at just one or two stations between San Francisco and San Jose. At just those stations, dedicated platforms can be built for them.

Something like this instead:
Side Platform 1 CalTrain
Track 1
Track 2
Island Platform 2 CHSR
Track 3
Track 4
Side Platform 3 CalTrain

Or like this
Side Platform 1 CalTrain
Track 1
Island Platform 2 CHSR
Track 2
Track 3
Island Platform 3 CHSR
Track 4
Side Platform 4 CalTrain

hammersklavier Apr 23, 2011 9:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5252635)
You have a valid point with existing CalTrain rolling stock. But isn't CalTrain wishing to buy new EMU trains, which can be built to use the same platforms as CHSR trains? Or the other way around, where CHSR trains are built to use the same platforms as CalTrain trains?
Besides, on the peninsula, the CHSR trains are only going to need platforms at just one or two stations between San Francisco and San Jose. At just those stations, dedicated platforms can be built for them.

Even if they intend to buy new equipment, short of being ordered to, they should be loath to scrap current equipment--assuming it still runs--since the majority of Caltrain services will still run into King Street Sta. and ridership has been on an increasing trend nationwide since its national nadir 10-20 years ago, which means any new equipment orders will likely come up short. In any event, there is a transitional period during which both older and newer equipment will be used.
Quote:

Something like this instead:
Side Platform 1 CalTrain
Track 1
Track 2
Island Platform 2 CHSR
Track 3
Track 4
Side Platform 3 CalTrain
From an engineering standpoint, this one is superior. I think it has the least lead curve needed needed to platform all four tracks.

Gordo Apr 23, 2011 10:32 PM

When Caltrain switches to EMUs, the plan is eventually all new equipment (on a relatively quick schedule), because otherwise the point of buying the EMUs will go to waste (shorter headways allowing more service).

A large part of Caltrain's fiscal problems these days is that they can't add more service during the times when it's needed and trains are at capacity, because the tracks are at capacity at the chokepoints.

JDRCRASH Apr 23, 2011 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ivymike (Post 5252409)
All you have to do is look at Acela.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express

Wait, so average, it'll run at only 70 Mph while sharing with Metrolink/Caltrain? I mean, in an urban area, I guess that's kind of fast, but is that really gonna be a true alternative to Metrolink's 45 Mph average?

I think 90-100 Mph on average would be sweet.

hammersklavier Apr 24, 2011 12:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gordo (Post 5252981)
When Caltrain switches to EMUs, the plan is eventually all new equipment (on a relatively quick schedule), because otherwise the point of buying the EMUs will go to waste (shorter headways allowing more service).

A large part of Caltrain's fiscal problems these days is that they can't add more service during the times when it's needed and trains are at capacity, because the tracks are at capacity at the chokepoints.

Again: how old's the current equipment? I don't think it's that old...so retaining current equipment for peak overflow service for at least five years beyond the equipment replacement cycle will still be useful.

The other advantage of electrifying the trunk from King Street to Didiron: it provides a service core. Didiron can be used as a commuter hub, with less-frequent trains from elsewhere in the Bay Area converting into a very-frequent service through the region's urban core from Didiron to King St. and Transbay Terminal.

Gordo Apr 24, 2011 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammersklavier (Post 5253059)
Again: how old's the current equipment? I don't think it's that old...so retaining current equipment for peak overflow service for at least five years beyond the equipment replacement cycle will still be useful.

The other advantage of electrifying the trunk from King Street to Didiron: it provides a service core. Didiron can be used as a commuter hub, with less-frequent trains from elsewhere in the Bay Area converting into a very-frequent service through the region's urban core from Didiron to King St. and Transbay Terminal.

It's not a matter of too old to keep - it's a matter of too slow to keep. The biggest reason for upgrading to EMUs on the corridor is to allow more trains per hour, and the only way to do that is to have trains with faster acceleration/deceleration. Throwing even one train in there without the same acceleration causes the whole schedule to not work, and would especially screw things up during peak times.

Don't worry though, the plan is to sell the current equipment to the Capitol Corridor (Amtrak California operates both Capitol Corridor and Caltrain, using cross-trained personnel) line, which already uses Caltrain equipment at times for overflow and plans to increase service (they're now at 32 trains a day and plan to go to ~60, assuming funding can be found and track upgrades around Richmond and north of San Jose proceed as planned) at around the same time that Caltrain goes all-EMU. I can't seem to find it online, but the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Authority entered into a MOU a little over a year ago with Amtrak California regarding this.

hammersklavier Apr 24, 2011 1:52 AM

Sounds good...in theory. The reason I'm so hard about this issue is because here in Philly SEPTA is replacing its half-century old Silverliner IIs and IIIs with new Silverliner Vs...the order replaces the equipment and then some, but it still is almost certainly too small to handle demand, given that many SEPTA trains system-wide are already SRO at peak hours. Also, this new equipment offers fewer seats per car and is still not double-decked...and we can't keep the older equipment because (a) it's breaking down and (b) the Gubmint told us we gotta toss it away.

Gordo Apr 24, 2011 2:26 AM

I totally understand what you're saying, it's just kind of a unique problem here - the capacity constraint is speed, not lack of equipment, and unfortunately it won't help to have some extra slow equipment on hand if we move to a fast equipment-based schedule.

The only way that peak capacity can be increased now is to add cars to trains, which does happen on special days - I've used Caltrain on days where some borrowed cars from Capitol Corridor have been used, but this makes the consist too long for many stations, so the extra cars can only be boarded internally from the other cars (and this tends to slow down everything and lead to delays systemwide).

electricron Apr 24, 2011 4:04 AM

Even if CalTrain didn't retire their old railcars, they could still use them with new electric locomotives that accelerate faster than their diesels.
Per Nippon Sharyo, the max speed for "Gallery" cars are 79 mph. Per Bombardier the maximum design speeds of their "BiLevel" cars are 95 mph, although I doubt anyone operates them that fast. Never-the-less they probably could go faster on faster tracks, and they should accelerate faster with a faster locomotive.

Gordo Apr 24, 2011 4:47 PM

^Caltrain is planning on EMUs, not electric locomotives.

The entire plan for electrifying Caltrain has always been about providing a service similar to what BART provides in other parts of the Bay Area for 1/10th the cost. Don't think of this being an upgrade to a commuter rail system, but rather an upgrade to a RER/BART-type system from a straight commuter rail setup.

Here's an older brochure on Caltrain's plans, which have changed somewhat since it was published:

http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Penin...ut_Jan2009.pdf

Since the brochure was published, the FRA granted Caltrain's waiver to operate EMUs and diesel-powered freight on the same tracks (time-separated). The talk of Caltrain diesel equipment being kept is referring to the SJ-Gilroy segment, but there is still discussion that it would make more sense to sell all diesel equipment and transfer operation of that segment to ACE or Capitol Corridor (both Amtrak California lines co-financed by the state and counties, rather than financed solely by the three Caltrain counties).

NYonward Apr 27, 2011 4:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ivymike (Post 5252409)
All you have to do is look at Acela.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express

because they share track with Amtrak.

The reason Acela has to slow down is because of speed restrictions due to older tracks and ties as well as at-grade crossings in the CT area especially.

Beta_Magellan Apr 27, 2011 5:19 PM

It’s also not a good reference for track-sharing with Metrolink, which has a lot of single-track segments, freight conflicts, and a curvy right of way. It would cost so much to do a stopgap upgrade to Metrolink to accommodate HSR (or even HSR trains being pulled by a diesel locomotive, as sometimes happens with the TGV) that they’re probably better off just waiting until they have the funds for full build-out in LA.

To me, this is one of the strongest arguments why CAHSR should have started as a Los Angeles-Bakersfield line and then gone north, rather than starting in the middle and extending the ends. Although starting in the middle makes political sense (in some ways it’s the hardest sell of the whole system, it avoids the NorCal-SoCal conflict, and having a “nowhere-to-nowhere” line theoretically is an incentive to complete the system), a Los Angeles-Bakersfield line would have gotten rid of one of the greatest engineering barriers to CAHSR (the pass—couldn’t remember how to spell it) and would have provided a usable demonstration segment connecting a mid-sized city to LA.

glowrock Apr 27, 2011 6:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5257264)
It’s also not a good reference for track-sharing with Metrolink, which has a lot of single-track segments, freight conflicts, and a curvy right of way. It would cost so much to do a stopgap upgrade to Metrolink to accommodate HSR (or even HSR trains being pulled by a diesel locomotive, as sometimes happens with the TGV) that they’re probably better off just waiting until they have the funds for full build-out in LA.

To me, this is one of the strongest arguments why CAHSR should have started as a Los Angeles-Bakersfield line and then gone north, rather than starting in the middle and extending the ends. Although starting in the middle makes political sense (in some ways it’s the hardest sell of the whole system, it avoids the NorCal-SoCal conflict, and having a “nowhere-to-nowhere” line theoretically is an incentive to complete the system), a Los Angeles-Bakersfield line would have gotten rid of one of the greatest engineering barriers to CAHSR (the pass—couldn’t remember how to spell it) and would have provided a usable demonstration segment connecting a mid-sized city to LA.

Take your pick, either the Grapevine/Tejon pass (I-5), Cajon Pass (I-15), or Soledad Pass (CA-14)... ;) Possibly also Tehachapi Summit along CA-58 as well! Haha

Aaron (Glowrock)

Beta_Magellan Apr 30, 2011 9:37 PM

Tehachapi was the one I had in mind—it was, until recently, the preferred alternative to access Palmdale.

However, now Grapevine is back in the picture, due to cost escalation of the Palmdale route. Instead of heading out to Palmdale before going to Bakersfield, Grapevine would provide a straighter shot with a possible station at Santa Clarita. From the latest CAHSR minutes (pdf):

Quote:

Conceptual Review of the I-5 (Grapevine) Alignment
There are several reasons to consider undertaking a conceptual study of the I-5 (Grapevine) alignment between Bakersfield and Sylmar, including reevaluation of the main reasons the alignment was not selected for further study at Program level. If a feasible Grapevine alignment alternative can be identified for investigation in the Project IR/EIS processes, such an alternative could have several benefits, including:
 Could be about 25 miles shorter than an alignment via Palmdale, allowing at least a 7-9 minute travel time saving.
 May result in a significant cost saving ($ Billions) over an alignment via Palmdale.
 Could allow a HST station location at Santa Clarita, resulting in direct access into the existing San Fernando Valley ROW corridor at the north.
 Might provide a greater opportunity for phased implementation to Southern California, providing faster access to potential HSR users in the Los Angeles (LA) Basin.
Phased implementation seems to be a key word here—there was almost no way for an interim HSR solution along the Palmdale route due to curviness and track capacity, but it might be possible via the Grapevine.

This looks like a good move overall—saving travel time, construction time, operating expenses, and capital costs. The only real downsides are that the Grapevine’s by no means immune to overruns (due some big seismic issues—a big reason it wasn’t originally chosen, along with a bubbly market in Palmdale IIRC) and that this kind of screws over DesertXpress, which will probably now have to wait for CAHSR’s Inland Empire segment and find some way through Cajon. Overall, though, this seems like a good move—after all LA-SF is far more important than LA-LV.

glowrock May 1, 2011 12:46 AM

It really isn't a huge issue getting HSR north from Santa Clarita to the Grapevine/Tejon Summit, as the grades are relatively low, at least along I-5 itself. However, and it's a BIG however. The grade from Tejon Pass into the Central Valley is VERY steep, and I don't see a good way of getting around this. There is something like a 3000+ foot drop in elevation in only a 7-8 mile route on I-5, no way can HSR handle those kinds of grades. I'm sure something can be done in terms of having a bunch of switchback-style tracking, but this will add substantial length and cost to any connection. Hmm...

Aaron (Glowrock)

Gordo May 1, 2011 1:56 AM

^To keep grades and turn radii within HSR guidelines, it was proposed before that the Grapevine would have something like a 15 mile-long tunnel. At-grade is not possible, so it would have to be a tunnel or combo of at-grade and extremely long/complicated viaducts.

However, the primary reasons that the Grapevine was originally eliminated were:

1. Smaller population served, since it misses Palmdale and other assumed future high-growth areas.
2. No service to Palmdale airport, which was/is considered to eventually be an overflow airport for LAX and Ontario.
3. Most importantly, the tracks would cross multiple active faults while in a tunnel, which is extremely risky, potentially disastrous (both in terms of potential loss of life and potential years out of service for the whole line in the event of a major earthquake), and ridiculously expensive to build to try to mitigate these risks.

I can't imagine that the overall calculus has changed even with increased costs for Tehachapi, but maybe something that I'm not aware of has potentially reduced costs for the Grapevine.

electricron May 1, 2011 4:19 AM

Engineers are always wishing to take a second, third, even a fourth look at what they are engineering, especially if you are willing to pay for it. Often one will find another solution overlooked before. Never-the-less, the original engineering evaluations are just as true today as they were. What usually changes is new technology, and that would be the birth for the new solution.

I do not believe new technology has arisen that will make a change in the route possible.

Beta_Magellan May 1, 2011 4:15 PM

Yeah—the minutes only says they’re reexamining it, so Palmdale’s hardly dead yet. Hopefully they overlooked some ingenious way to mitigate the seismic risks or found a less tunnel-dependent route, but it’s just as possible they’ll end up confirming that Palmdale’s the way to go and there’s no way around spending a lot of money to get out of LA.

hammersklavier May 3, 2011 4:14 AM

By the sounds of it the engineering along Tejon is still more difficult than Tehachapi...even if it's a straighter shot.

M II A II R II K May 3, 2011 2:18 PM

Galgiani attacks Bay Area state senator's 'Great Train Robbery'


Apr. 29, 2011

Read More: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/04...#ixzz1LIatijwi

Quote:

Assembly member Cathleen Galgiani, author of California's voter-approved $10 billion high speed rail bond, today strongly condemned efforts to redirect the bond funds to non-voter-approved projects. She specifically criticized State Sen. Joe Simitian, who represents California's 11th Senate District in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties.

"This amounts to a bait-and-switch effort by certain interests to take money away from the high-speed rail system, and use it to cover shortfalls in funding the Caltrain commuter rail system on the San Francisco Peninsula." Galgiani said in a news release "It is highly suspect that the same few wealthy communities on the San Francisco Peninsula who want to stop the High Speed Rail project, would cynically work to divert the money to meet their existing obligations to the Caltrain system.

California was the first state in the nation to pass a high-speed rail bond, which authorizes the state to sell $9 billion dollars in bond funds to build a system that connects the major metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Sacramento, through the Central Valley, into Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire and San Diego. Unlike other states, California’s project is protected by the voter mandate of Proposition 1A, the news release said.

“Mr. Simitian is trying to syphon $1 billion of high-speed rail bond money for the Caltrain system in his district and proposes to make it legal under Proposition 1A by running one High Speed Train. This is the Great Train Robbery,” Galgiani said in the release. Californians voted for a high-speed rail system from Los Angeles to San Francisco, not a piggy bank for legislators.”

.....

202_Cyclist May 3, 2011 6:44 PM

High-speed rail could go over Grapevine after all (Fresno Business Journal)
 
High-speed rail could go over Grapevine after all

Written by John Lindt
Tuesday, 03 May 2011
Fresno Business Journal

"The California High Speed Rail Authority will reintroduce a study to route the proposed bullet trains over the Interstate 5-Grapevine corridor from Bakersfield to Sylmar if the board approves the study at its May 5 meeting.

The Grapevine alignment had previously been discarded in favor of a route through Soledad Canyon over the Tehachapi Mountains crossing further to the east. That route would pass through Antelope Valley to Palmdale and on to Los Angeles. In earlier studies, the Grapevine route was dropped from consideration due to seismic issues and perceived high costs along I-5.



http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/im...pevine-hsr.jpg
Photo courtesy of the Fresno Business Journal

But after further study, the Authority operations committee is suggesting a new look at the I-5 corridor that could cut costs of this leg of the statewide system by “billions,” according to a staff report..."

http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/tr...vine-after-all

202_Cyclist May 3, 2011 6:47 PM

High-speed rail: Two-track alternative picks up steam in the Bay Area (SJ Mercury)
 
High-speed rail: Two-track alternative picks up steam in the Bay Area

By Mike Rosenberg
San Jose Mercury
05/01/2011

"That sparkling new $6.1 billion high-speed rail line that California has been eyeing for the Bay Area might get traded in for a 150-year-old fixer-upper.

Facing a financial reality check, project leaders Thursday will consider an alternative to run the bullet trains through the Bay Area on two tracks instead of four -- a major shift that could speed up the start of the project but actually slow down the trains.

Under the plan, the state would spend most of the $1.5 billion to electrify the two Caltrain tracks between San Francisco and San Jose, putting on hold its plan to spend four times as much to wipe out the historic rail line and build four new tracks along the corridor. Instead, the Golden State bullet trains would initially share the two souped-up tracks with Caltrain at the start of their three-hour journey to Anaheim..."

http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula...nclick_check=1

fflint May 5, 2011 9:13 PM

Rail Authority Pursuing Four-Track System
 
Rail authority pursuing four track system
May 04, 2011
Bill Silverfarb
San Mateo Daily Journal

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is sticking to its plan to pursue a “full buildout” of the system between San Francisco to San Jose despite the objections of three heavyweight local lawmakers.

A full buildout means high-speed trains will ultimately run on a four-track system it will share with Caltrain, possibly on an elevated viaduct, a plan staunchly opposed by U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto and Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park.

In the meantime, however, the authority’s board will consider Thursday whether to include a phased implementation approach to be incorporated into an environmental impact report for the full buildout on the Peninsula. Phased implementation will allow for major upgrades to the Caltrain corridor while accommodating high-speed trains on an “interim” two-track system.

“The goal is to get trains into San Francisco as soon as possible,” Jeff Barker, deputy director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority told the Daily Journal yesterday. “San Francisco is where the riders and revenue are.”

...
http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articl...track%20system

ElDuderino May 6, 2011 4:07 PM

Quote:

High-speed rail panel rejects Caltrain route plan

Michael Cabanatuan, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, May 6, 2011

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has put the brakes on a plan that could stop high-speed trains short of San Francisco's new Transbay Terminal.

The authority board told engineers and planners Thursday not to study a phased-implementation plan, which would electrify the Caltrain tracks and use them as a quicker, lower-cost way to bring high-speed rail up the Peninsula to the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets in San Francisco...
full article http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...CGBA.DTL&tsp=1

SD_Phil May 6, 2011 4:59 PM

^Both really good pieces of news. Thanks for sharing them with us!

pesto May 6, 2011 7:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5264791)
High-speed rail could go over Grapevine after all

Written by John Lindt
Tuesday, 03 May 2011
Fresno Business Journal

"The California High Speed Rail Authority will reintroduce a study to route the proposed bullet trains over the Interstate 5-Grapevine corridor from Bakersfield to Sylmar if the board approves the study at its May 5 meeting.

The Grapevine alignment had previously been discarded in favor of a route through Soledad Canyon over the Tehachapi Mountains crossing further to the east. That route would pass through Antelope Valley to Palmdale and on to Los Angeles. In earlier studies, the Grapevine route was dropped from consideration due to seismic issues and perceived high costs along I-5.



http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/im...pevine-hsr.jpg
Photo courtesy of the Fresno Business Journal

But after further study, the Authority operations committee is suggesting a new look at the I-5 corridor that could cut costs of this leg of the statewide system by “billions,” according to a staff report..."

http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/tr...vine-after-all

I'm confused. Is the reason that the Grapevine is being reconsidered that new and unexpected tunnelling expenses have cropped up in the High Desert route? In that case, costs are actually going up, just not as much as if they stuck with the High Desert route. Is this right?

The routing is also prolematic since there are many more people in Lancaster and Palmdale (and with much greater room to grow) than in Santa Clarita.

electricron May 6, 2011 7:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5268869)
I'm confused. Is the reason that the Grapevine is being reconsidered that new and unexpected tunnelling expenses have cropped up in the High Desert route? In that case, costs are actually going up, just not as much as if they stuck with the High Desert route. Is this right?

The routing is also prolematic since there are many more people in Lancaster and Palmdale (and with much greater room to grow) than in Santa Clarita.

I believe what has happen is that the lower cost alternate routes to Palmdale have not been selected for further study, that the lower cost Grapevine alternate routes might now be cheaper than the higher cost Palmdale alternate routes.
Of course, they will soon eliminate the lower cost Grapevine alternate routes soon too. Then we will really be in-between a rock and a hard place politically.

C.Lan May 6, 2011 9:30 PM

:previous: they've already "really" been deeper between that rock and a hard place than it probably looks to anyone on the internet for a long time. Basically they haven't had any motivation, backing, or anything but bureaucratic difficulties. They've given up on tunneling. I don't know that they necessarily want to bother with improvements at all anymore. And yeah, they'll probably eliminate grapevine soon. It's really too bad. I think they just finally realized how unsustainable it was and are finally moving to another focus.

northbay May 6, 2011 10:38 PM

i'm pretty sure they only 'revived' the grapevine alternative to see the cost differences between the two (and actually, all the differences including ridership). they felt they needed to see the numbers - at which point they will (i predict) continue with the high desert alternatives given the higher ridership potential (though higher initial cost).

Reminiscence May 7, 2011 6:08 AM

I'm really pleased to hear the board has rejected sharing with Caltrain. Nothing against Caltrain, but it just seems like it's some sort of shortcut to save money. Unless it's a humongous amount of money, I don't think it's worth it if it means slower trains. The way I see it, we get one shot at this. Don't just make it good, make it great.

Beta_Magellan May 7, 2011 5:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by northbay (Post 5269155)
i'm pretty sure they only 'revived' the grapevine alternative to see the cost differences between the two (and actually, all the differences including ridership). they felt they needed to see the numbers - at which point they will (i predict) continue with the high desert alternatives given the higher ridership potential (though higher initial cost).

One complicating issue is that higher ridership does not necessarily correspond proportionally to higher revenues. Palmdale was expected to garner high ridership, but it was largely for short trips to Los Angeles, so in terms of revenue-miles it’s probably not a big contributor to the system as a whole. Combined with all the extra infrastructure they’d have to maintain for a spur that generates few long-distance trips, if there’s a feasible Grapevine route it might make sense to forgo Palmdale, despite its ridership potential.

JDRCRASH May 7, 2011 9:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Reminiscence (Post 5269443)
I'm really pleased to hear the board has rejected sharing with Caltrain. Nothing against Caltrain, but it just seems like it's some sort of shortcut to save money. Unless it's a humongous amount of money, I don't think it's worth it if it means slower trains. The way I see it, we get one shot at this. Don't just make it good, make it great.

I feel the same way about sharing with Metrolink.

NYonward May 9, 2011 2:46 PM

Cardoza: CA high-speed rail gets $300 million in federal funds
Sun-Star Staff


WASHINGTON, D.C .– Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA-18) said the California High-Speed Rail Administration (CHSRA) has been awarded an additional $300 million in federal funding, enabling the state to expand the first phase of the high-speed rail project north toward Merced. The work funded in this round will extend the track and civil work from Fresno to the “Wye” junction, which will provide a connection to San Jose to the West and Merced to the north, according to a news release.

The additional funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and include the high-speed rail moneyrejected by the state of Florida. Since the additional funding became available, Cardoza said he has been urging the federal government to dedicate the unused monies to California’s high speed rail project. In March, he wrote the Secretary of Transportation a letter, signed by five other members of the California delegation, urging approval for California’s application for the additional funding to support extending the first phase of the state’s high-speed rail system north toward Merced and south toward Bakersfield.

“This additional $300 million in federal funding is a step forward in connecting our Valley with the opportunities of the future by ultimately extending the high-speed rail system to Merced,” Cardoza said in the news release. “While this award is not as much as we requested, it will nonetheless move us in the right direction.

“The northern part of the Valley has not reaped the economic benefits offered by mass transportation and a stronger link to our state’s major urban centers. High-speed rail will be a bridge to those opportunities, creating jobs and boosting businesses in one of the most economically distressed regions of the state. I fully support this federal funding for extending the backbone north toward Merced, and will hold the CHSRA accountable for using it efficiently and transparently.”

In his March letter to the U.S. Transportation Secretary and the Federal Railroad Administration Administrator, Cardoza and his colleagues noted that a station in Merced would provide a crucial connection between the high-speed rail system and the forthcoming “Super ACE” express commuter rail line to the Bay Area, the news release said.

Cardoza noted in the news release that extending the initial phase to Merced would create thousands of jobs and provide economic relief to the region. He wrote in the letter, “At this stage of the economic recovery, it is critical that we not overlook opportunities to invest in the hardest-hit areas, where federal funding will not only produce enormous stimulus, but will also prove to be the most effective use of taxpayer dollars.”

Read more: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/05...#ixzz1LrnVAWhE

M II A II R II K May 26, 2011 4:59 PM

U.S. rejects proposed changes to bullet-train project


http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,2238562.story

Quote:

Rejecting the recommendations of a recent state report, federal officials said Wednesday they cannot postpone the deadline to start construction of California's $43-billion bullet train project or allow the state to move the first leg of the proposed system out of the Central Valley. U.S. Department of Transportation officials said the 2012 deadline is required by federal legislation that provided about $3.1 billion in funding for the project's initial leg, which, they added, was placed in the state's agricultural heartland after considerable study.

"This shows that we are on the same page as the feds," said Jeffrey Barker, a spokesman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. "They are saying no to these huge recommendations. This takes them off the table." Earlier this month, the California Legislative Analyst's Office concluded in a detailed critique that the project was poorly managed, faced potential long-term funding problems and had a governing structure in need of sweeping reform.

Until those issues could be addressed, analysts called on the rail authority to push back its federally required construction deadline and consider relocating the initial segment to a major urban area where there was more potential for trains to run sooner. Analysts further recommended that the Legislature not spend any more money on the project if the federal government did not allow the changes in the route and construction schedule.

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M II A II R II K May 26, 2011 6:06 PM

California’s High-Speed Rail Won’t Go Nowhere


http://www.miller-mccune.com/politic...nowhere-31528/

Quote:

Since California announced it had funding for a short, Central Valley leg of its planned high-speed rail system, critics have made a point of (disingenuously) scratching their heads. Ed Morissey at Hot Air argues that rail officials in California have “managed to break ground in an effort to connect two central-state communities so small that one of them is unincorporated, for service that will connect fewer people than live in Anaheim.”

- Population numbers aren’t the point, though, because the short rural section is just a slow start to something large and complicated — which is the right way to build high-speed rail, if you look at the systems in Europe.

- The idea behind starting in the Central Valley is to bring jobs to a hardscrabble part of California. It will also accomplish some work on an uncomplicated stretch before the lines have to run through dense neighborhoods like Palo Alto or Anaheim. That makes sense on the surface, but resistance even at this early stage is intense. A few writers and politicians have damned the Central Valley line as a “train to nowhere.”

- Now one of the best-used lines runs from Berlin to Cologne. It passes over the Hamm-Gütersloh stretch, which is no longer the most modern leg of the German system. It veers through a few medium-sized cities, just as the California train might veer to Palmdale; it has to slow near the cities for local traffic. But at regular intervals the Deutsche Bahn system can let its fast trains sprint, and several times per day, an InterCity-Express runs from Berlin to Cologne — about 260 miles — in a cool 4.5 hours.

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http://www.miller-mccune.com/wp-cont...ornia-rail.jpg

pesto May 26, 2011 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 5292879)
U.S. rejects proposed changes to bullet-train project


http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,2238562.story

So the feds and HSR agree that we should build first, then address issues from analysts, auditors, the Times, etc., regarding the route and where to build? Again, this is why no one trusts government; if a private company did this, it's shareholders would file criminal complaints against the board and officers. Or, more likely, to have them committed as insane.

fflint May 26, 2011 11:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5293057)
Again, this is why no one trusts government; if a private company did this, it's shareholders would file criminal complaints against the board and officers. Or, more likely, to have them committed as insane.

More pronouncements of pure political ideology from you, disguised as if you had something to say about transportation or trains. Enough already.

electricron May 27, 2011 4:05 AM

Let's get real with some basic facts. CHSR trains will only be going 200+ mph in the valley anyways. On the "peninsular" to San Francisco and on the "grapevine to Los Angeles, the trains were never planned to go 200+ mph, they were planned for 150 mph or less. While I'll admit 80 mph on existing commuter rail tracks isn't 150 mph, it's still only losing time for a relatively short distance on both ends. It'll still be able to reach maximum speeds in the valley as things are now.
I'm more worried about actually tying both ends to the 200 mph tracks in the valley with any tracks at any speed, so trains can run the entire distance. Money can be spent later to increase maximum speeds on the ends as it becomes available.

Political_R May 27, 2011 7:27 AM

I am glad some people here have a brain on why to start in the Valley :cheers: I want this project to get started and hopefully, more federal funds will come to continue extending the legs. Once Sylmar and San Jose are reached, service could begin since Metrolink and Caltrain own those respective ROWs. The opposition has run out of new additions to their side and I think it is time to get this construction going. Now will Lowenthal step aside and get out of the way, along with Union Pacific?

fieldsofdreams May 28, 2011 5:00 AM

Quote:

Once Sylmar and San Jose are reached, service could begin since Metrolink and Caltrain own those respective ROWs. The opposition has run out of new additions to their side and I think it is time to get this construction going. Now will Lowenthal step aside and get out of the way, along with Union Pacific?
Exactly. When the HSR finally reaches the Bay Area, it will mean a quicker, more efficient commuter alternative to the current Caltrain services since it is expected to stop even less than Caltrain's Baby Bullet services now. However, I'm wondering: who will be the primary operator of the trains: Amtrak California, Amtrak national, or other agency? I've only heard of the HSR project, not who will eventually be the lead agency for the service.

Beta_Magellan May 28, 2011 4:26 PM

:previous: I believe the idea is to contract operation out to a group with actual experience running high-speed trains like SNCF or SJ (although I wouldn’t be surprised if Amtrak put in a bid to operate them as well—IIRC they were going to bid as the operator in Florida).

fieldsofdreams May 28, 2011 4:38 PM

Quote:

I believe the idea is to contract operation out to a group with actual experience running high-speed trains like SNCF or SJ (although I wouldn’t be surprised if Amtrak put in a bid to operate them as well—IIRC they were going to bid as the operator in Florida).
Nah, I think Amtrak California will operate the service, although the contracted operation will be in cooperation with Amtrak California since the state has its own network in collaboration with Caltrans. But I'm interested to see who will actually operate the train services, maintenance, daily operations, and other essential services for the whole HSR project. If Deutsche Bahn (DB) is to be hired as a contractor of the service, the it would be great since they have a lot of experience operating high-speed intercity trains in Germany...

Beta_Magellan May 28, 2011 5:00 PM

CAHSR is separate from Caltrans (although there’s been talk of merging them), and Amtrak California currently has no role in the project., so I think that’s pretty unlikely.

Gordo May 28, 2011 5:24 PM

The CHSRA is just the agency responsible for building the system, and currently has no connection with Caltrans or Amtrak California. Amtrak California is welcome to bid on operations and maintenance, but unless there's some kind of backroom deal I don't see them getting it. They're at a huge disadvantage compared to the other folks that have shown interest (SNCF, JR, Virgin, Alstom, Bombardier) because they have no current involvement with a system similar to that being planned for California.

My hope is still that we have multiple operators on the system (similar to the British setup or the American air travel setup), which is still alive and well as an idea. My hope is that we'll also have multiple maintenance contractors, perhaps maintaining different geographic portions of the system, just to keep some competition alive. Without that, we really risk falling into the situation that we have now with BART, where there is a very entrenched transit-industrial complex and unsurprisingly, costs continue to skyrocket.

fflint May 28, 2011 8:59 PM

A quick aside: BART is profitable--it's the only local transit agency with a budget surplus.

I doubt Amtrak will play a role in CAHSR--the foreign operators already know how to run a true high speed railroad. Amtrak does not.

Gordo May 28, 2011 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5295869)
A quick aside: BART is profitable--it's the only local transit agency with a budget surplus.

Budget surplus does not equal profitable. BART has a dedicated sales tax for operations, something the CHSRA does not and will not have the luxury of having.

California's high speed rail system is expected to turn an actual operating profit (as most HSR systems do), something BART has never done nor intended to do. The one extension that was originally projected to turn an operating profit was the Millbrae extension, and we all know how that turned out. I don't have an issue with BART's operating cost structure as much as the fact that many decisions over the years have created a contractor lock-in, which has driven up the cost of extensions and capital expenditures considerably (both new and replacement capital expenditures), when you compare against similar projects elsewhere. I'd prefer that be avoided for CHSRA by either a very competitive setup with multiple firms for all types of work OR an entirely in-house government owned/operated setup - I don't want a setup where there is really only one contractor, with a lapdog agency doling out the funds.

fieldsofdreams May 28, 2011 10:45 PM

I think then that CA's HSR network will be operated by a foreign entity contracted by the State of California, Amtrak California, or Caltrans, is that what I'm looking at? I mean, having a foreign entity with a lot of HSR experience that will run the system will be a great idea since they've got the technical know-how of running the high-speed rail line that will pass by the Central Valley. But, my concern is, what will be the ownership be like since I really have no idea of the ownership split in this process?

It seems to me that the HSR will have a California-based maintenance crew, but it will have a foreign company contracted by the State (somehow) to oversee many important operations for the service to run properly. I think, though, that Amtrak should not operate this new service because of historical issues with the train company; rather, it shall be a foreign company in conjunction with the State (akin to a private-public partnership) that would allow the HSR to succeed.

Roadcruiser1 May 29, 2011 1:09 AM

The only other companies that I can think of is Union Pacific, and BNSF I don't know if they want to do it though.


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