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

fflint Mar 13, 2012 1:54 AM

CAHSR trains have never been planned to barrel down the Penninsula or through the San Fernando Valley at 220mph anyway. As noted, the high speeds will be attained outside the metropolitan 'bookend' corridors.

JDRCRASH Mar 13, 2012 4:34 AM

Recently i've occasionally come across sources that say the trains will actually be capable of 240 mph in the central valley rather than the original 220 mph speed. Perhaps they will be able to make up for time lost running at absurdly low speeds. BTW this is why I think stations at places like Norwalk, Industry, and Burbank are a complete waste of time and money because not only do they duplicate Metrolink service, but they are unable to reach their max speed allowed in urban areas.

ardecila Mar 13, 2012 6:26 AM

Does anybody understand what the interim alignment in the Bay is? Obviously there's no rail through Pacheco right now, so LA-SF trains will have to go over Altamont. But then how do they reach SF? Do they somehow go south to SJ then turn north up Caltrain? Or do they go up to Emeryville with bus connections to SF and a BART connection at Coliseum?

JDR, 240mph is faster than any revenue rail service in the world (the Shanghai Maglev is faster). Nobody has figured out how to run steel-wheel on steel-rail trains at 240mph regularly. SNCF has gotten trains to go faster, but only under very controlled circumstances.

fflint Mar 13, 2012 6:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5625167)
Does anybody understand what the interim alignment in the Bay is? Obviously there's no rail through Pacheco right now, so LA-SF trains will have to go over Altamont. But then how do they reach SF?

No. As noted dozens of times in this thread, CAHSR will be going through the Pacheco Pass and trains will reach San Francisco via the Penninsula.

ardecila Mar 13, 2012 8:58 AM

I said interim. There's no money to build a line over Pacheco right now, and presumably CHSRA will want to run some kind of service in the meantime over the billion-dollar line they're about to build in the Central Valley. Currently there is no rail line of any kind through the Pacheco Pass, so it's not even an option until CHSRA finds the mega-billions to build it from scratch.

electricron Mar 13, 2012 4:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5625250)
I said interim. There's no money to build a line over Pacheco right now, and presumably CHSRA will want to run some kind of service in the meantime over the billion-dollar line they're about to build in the Central Valley. Currently there is no rail line of any kind through the Pacheco Pass, so it's not even an option until CHSRA finds the mega-billions to build it from scratch.

True. But how many $Billions is it going to take to lay HSR tracks in the Pacheco Pass? California voters have approved $9 Billion of bonding capacity.
So far, they've allocated approximately $2.5 Billion for the bookends and $2.5 Billion for the central valley. The Feds have allocated approximately $2.5 Billion for the central valley too. That still leaves $4 Billion of California bonding capacity left.

DJM19 Mar 13, 2012 6:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5625049)
Recently i've occasionally come across sources that say the trains will actually be capable of 240 mph in the central valley rather than the original 220 mph speed. Perhaps they will be able to make up for time lost running at absurdly low speeds. BTW this is why I think stations at places like Norwalk, Industry, and Burbank are a complete waste of time and money because not only do they duplicate Metrolink service, but they are unable to reach their max speed allowed in urban areas.

I think they have always planned on them being capable of that, but operationally it will probably be more like 220...

fflint Mar 13, 2012 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5625250)
I said interim. There's no money to build a line over Pacheco right now, and presumably CHSRA will want to run some kind of service in the meantime over the billion-dollar line they're about to build in the Central Valley. Currently there is no rail line of any kind through the Pacheco Pass, so it's not even an option until CHSRA finds the mega-billions to build it from scratch.

The epic Altamont v. Pacheco battle was very hard-fought and drawn-out, but has been a settled issue for years now. When CAHSR comes to the Bay Area, it will enter the region via Pacheco, roll up through San Jose and along Caltrain's Penninsula corridor on the west side of the Bay.

Now, it's not that I don't see the merit in the Altamont alignment--that was my preferred path--but there's no good reason to believe anything will induce the CAHSR Authority to re-litigate every single hard-fought battle of the last several years. And you're mistaken in believing re-routing CAHSR into the East Bay, well north of San Jose and across many miles of water from the Caltrain corridor, would save any time or any money whatsoever. That's just not how things work here--any new alignment would require decades' of process, and total failure would be much more likely. There's a reason the NIMBYs' first big attempt to kill CAHSR came in the form of kicking HSR off the Caltrain corridor--because they knew any alternative was much, much less viable and would engender tremendous, perhaps fatal, delay.

202_Cyclist Mar 14, 2012 3:31 PM

High speed rail chief: Bullet train won't cost $100 billion (SJ Mercury)
 
High speed rail chief: Bullet train won't cost $100 billion

Agency leader says train will cost less and launch sooner under revision

By Mike Rosenberg
San Jose Mercury
03/13/2012

http://mercphotos.slideshowpro.com/a...jpg?1331722009
Neil Struthers, on left, of Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building and Constructions Trades Council, speaks during rally held out-side before the Senate select committee on high-speed rail hearing hosted by legislative Democrats at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in Mountain View, Calif., on , Saturday, March 10, 2012. (Josie Lepe/Staff)

"Promising "improvements" to the state's controversial bullet train plan, the new head of the project told a Senate hearing in Silicon Valley on Tuesday he now believes building high-speed rail would cost less than the alarming estimate of nearly $100 billion.

"I believe the number's coming down," Dan Richard told a packed auditorium Tuesday night. "Obviously the $98 billion was sticker shock for a lot of people."

Using existing tracks like Caltrain and speeding up the construction schedule would bring down the costs of the project, Richard said in defending the much-criticized plan that Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed him to revive. He also promised quicker upgrades to Bay Area and Los Angeles commuter lines that would share the track and upgrading the initial leg of track in the Central Valley..."

http://www.mercurynews.com/californi...ost?source=rss

Misterfreeman87 Mar 14, 2012 5:35 PM

I ve just stumbled across this thread. Is there any decision made yet about which system will be used ? French TGV, Japanese Shinkansen, German ICE or another system ?

skyscraperfan23 Mar 14, 2012 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5627237)
High speed rail chief: Bullet train won't cost $100 billion

Agency leader says train will cost less and launch sooner under revision

By Mike Rosenberg
San Jose Mercury
03/13/2012

http://mercphotos.slideshowpro.com/a...jpg?1331722009
Neil Struthers, on left, of Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building and Constructions Trades Council, speaks during rally held out-side before the Senate select committee on high-speed rail hearing hosted by legislative Democrats at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in Mountain View, Calif., on , Saturday, March 10, 2012. (Josie Lepe/Staff)

"Promising "improvements" to the state's controversial bullet train plan, the new head of the project told a Senate hearing in Silicon Valley on Tuesday he now believes building high-speed rail would cost less than the alarming estimate of nearly $100 billion.

"I believe the number's coming down," Dan Richard told a packed auditorium Tuesday night. "Obviously the $98 billion was sticker shock for a lot of people."

Using existing tracks like Caltrain and speeding up the construction schedule would bring down the costs of the project, Richard said in defending the much-criticized plan that Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed him to revive. He also promised quicker upgrades to Bay Area and Los Angeles commuter lines that would share the track and upgrading the initial leg of track in the Central Valley..."

http://www.mercurynews.com/californi...ost?source=rss

Jerry Brown is wrong, California HSR is expensive.

fflint Mar 15, 2012 12:08 AM

Of course it's expensive to build HSR--but it's half the cost of building enough freeway lanes and airport runways to carry several million more residents.

skyscraperfan23 Mar 15, 2012 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5628115)
Of course it's expensive to build HSR--but it's half the cost of building enough freeway lanes and airport runways to carry several million more residents.

Thankfully I Don't live in califorina, at least as corrupt as that s.o.b. rick scott is, did a favor to kill HSR in florida, because we are not gonna take it anymore, stop spending money that we don't have.

mr1138 Mar 15, 2012 11:36 PM

When did Americans become so scared of spending money to accomplish big things? We're talking about the country that spent ENORMOUS amounts of money to build things like the Panama Canal and the Hoover Dam. We used to pride ourselves on our ability to outdo the rest of the world. For that matter we used to pride ourselves on outdoing the generations that came before us. We even still today marvel and speak with great pride at accomplishments of American history like the Transcontinental Railroad and the Interstate Highway system. Yet it seems today like most Americans have lost confidence in our own ability to push that bar even higher, and are scared of doing ANYTHING that will "cost a lot"... and that's really really sad.

Ragnar Mar 15, 2012 11:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5628115)
Of course it's expensive to build HSR--but it's half the cost of building enough freeway lanes and airport runways to carry several million more residents.

Airport runway capacity is not an issue in either Southern or Northern California.

fflint Mar 16, 2012 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ragnar (Post 5629082)
Airport runway capacity is not an issue in either Southern or Northern California.

Eh, things aren't so rosy on the LA-SF air corridor:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Washington Post article
"The skies between San Francisco and Los Angeles — the country’s busiest route — are so packed that 25 percent of the flights between the two cities are at least one hour late, according to state officials. And with the state’s population projected to soar by 50 percent over the next four decades, the congestion is expected only to grow more dire."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...ory.html?wprss

In any case, we are planning CAHSR for future needs. It is the consensus of local transportation planners that, absent CAHSR, existing airport runway (and freeway) capacity is insufficient to adequately move larger numbers of Californians in coming decades. The difference between "is" and "will be" is why we plan things out in advance.

pesto Mar 16, 2012 6:37 PM

It's not really surprisig that a consensus of local transit planners think that more money is needed for transit. Similarly, it's the consensus of hospital administrators that more money is needed for hospitals; welfare agencies that more money is needed for welfare, etc. Guess what college adminsitrators think more money should be spent on.

In any event, the issue seems to be resolving itself here. As Ragnar notes, there is plenty of excess capacity at most California airports (seriously, SJ, Oakland, Ontario, Burbank are half empty) and LAX and SF are not going to get uncongested by decreasing intra-state flights). And, state money is hopefully now being diverted into local transit improvements, which will hopefully delays the CV building for a decade or two. At that point, a reassessment of the need for a connector through the CV can be undertaken.

202_Cyclist Mar 16, 2012 7:16 PM

pesto:
Quote:

In any event, the issue seems to be resolving itself here. As Ragnar notes, there is plenty of excess capacity at most California airports (seriously, SJ, Oakland, Ontario, Burbank are half empty) and LAX and SF are not going to get uncongested by decreasing intra-state flights).
I attended a California Airports Council event here in DC this week, pretty good event with directors of several large airports. I asked a question about whether CA airports see high speed rail as a competitor or a partner. Bill Sherry from San Jose International Airport said the group hasn't taken a position on this and the views of airports towards high speed rail is based on the specific airports.

At this week's hearing in Mountain View, John Martin, director of San Francisco International Airport was outright enthusiastic about high speed rail.

"“San Francisco International Airport is a strong supporter of high speed rail in California. Passenger traffic at SFO is expected to grow to 50 million passengers by 2025. Currently, the Los Angeles Basin is the destination for 15% of the flights from SFO and 36% of flights from Oakland and San Jose. High speed rail will reduce the need for short-haul commuter flights and provide greater ability for SFO to accommodate international and long-haul domestic flights.”

202_Cyclist Mar 16, 2012 7:37 PM

High-speed rail panel promises changes (SF Chronicle)
 
High-speed rail panel promises changes


Michael Cabanatuan
San Francisco Chronicle
March 15, 2012

"When the California High-Speed Rail Authority finishes tweaking its business plan in a few weeks, expect the cost to drop, the construction time to be shortened and improvements along the Peninsula and in Southern California to be added.

Speaking before a state Senate committee and hundreds of observers in Mountain View on Tuesday night, Dan Richard, chairman of the rail authority board, offered a preview of the changes likely to be made when the final version of the business plan, released in November, is completed late this month. But he and fellow board member Jim Hartnett provided few specifics of the version that will be considered by the board at its April 5 meeting, even when questioned by senators.

The authority's draft business plan raised eyebrows when it said that it could cost at least $98.5 billion - nearly triple original estimates - to build the Bay Area-Los Angeles line, take 20 years to complete, and had secured only $13 billion in funding, with no firm plan for finding the rest..."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...BAK31NKQ2L.DTL

fflint Mar 16, 2012 8:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5629969)
It's not really surprisig that a consensus of local transit planners think that more money is needed for transit.

First of all, a consensus of transportation planners--the experts in the field--back CAHSR. Not merely 'transit,' but high-speed trains between Northern and Southern California. Where there is a consensus among experts in the field, it is unwise to simply assume the opposite.

Second, clearly you're letting your anti-HSR feelings lead you into fallacious thinking yet again. Here, you attempt the fallacy "poisoning the well," in which you attempt to divert attention from the merits of an argument by attacking the character and trustworthiness of those making the argument--"Don't listen to what professional transportation planners have to say about CAHSR--they are so compromised they cannot possibly tell the truth!" Yeah--no. You can and do oppose CAHSR, in accordance with your right-wing impulses, but it's totally invalid to attack experts only because they make good arguments based on facts that, well, you just don't want to feel are true.

pesto Mar 17, 2012 6:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5630121)
First of all, a consensus of transportation planners--the experts in the field--back CAHSR. Not merely 'transit,' but high-speed trains between Northern and Southern California. Where there is a consensus among experts in the field, it is unwise to simply assume the opposite.

Second, clearly you're letting your anti-HSR feelings lead you into fallacious thinking yet again. Here, you attempt the fallacy "poisoning the well," in which you attempt to divert attention from the merits of an argument by attacking the character and trustworthiness of those making the argument--"Don't listen to what professional transportation planners have to say about CAHSR--they are so compromised they cannot possibly tell the truth!" Yeah--no. You can and do oppose CAHSR, in accordance with your right-wing impulses, but it's totally invalid to attack experts only because they make good arguments based on facts that, well, you just don't want to feel are true.

Well I have to agree with you. At base this is an "ad hominem" argument, which in itself is not very valuable. But on the other hand, in the real world you can't walk up to your boss and say "I know this is a great insurance policy I got for the company because the salesman told me so".

Maybe this is closer to a "cui bono" analysis: whenever someone gives an argument, always analyze it to determine who benefits from it. Among other things, this gets you to focus on why their aguments or "statistics" are so at far at odds with reality as you perceive it.

Conversely, I suppose you noted that your use of "experts" to validate an argument is equally invalid (like citing the Pope to prove Catholicism is correct)? This is even more true when the experts' personal best interests are in line with the advice he is giving.

fflint Mar 17, 2012 11:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5631122)
Conversely, I suppose you noted that your use of "experts" to validate an argument is equally invalid (like citing the Pope to prove Catholicism is correct)?

Looks like you're not very good at logical reasoning, either, mistaking what's happening in this thread for a fallacious argument in which a proponent ignores the merits of the argument itself, instead attempting to prove a conclusion only by resorting to an appeal to the authority of one who is not, in fact, an authority on the issue at hand. Yet we've been over the merits of the arguments, ad nauseum, and professional transportation planners are in fact experts on transportation planning.

We're not in this thread haggling over unverifiable, relativistic matters of taste like which supernatural claims are most super-duper--we're talking about moving more and more people up and down the state either on fast trains or on freeways and airplanes. In addition to engaging the arguments on their own merits, I have correctly noted that when there is a consensus among experts in the field, it is not reasonable for a lay person to simply assume the opposite. That is because not everybody's opinion about something complicated like transportation planning is equally good. On an issue like CAHSR, opinions rooted only in impulses and feelings, like yours, are just not as good as the more grounded consensus opinion among professional transportation planners.

Quote:

This is even more true when the experts' personal best interests are in line with the advice he is giving.
It's clear you feel this way, but again, your feelings amount to a fallacious approach to evaluating an argument. You're simply poisoning the well--"those people are so ill-motivated that we should reject whatever they say without even looking at the merits." Even if it were somehow true that transportation planners are all deceitful scammers on the take, saying whatever they think it will take to get their hands on filthy lucre, that doesn't mean they must necessarily be wrong about CAHSR.

ardecila Mar 18, 2012 2:58 AM

It's a choice California has to make, not a matter of whether HSR will work or won't work. It will work - but so would a continuation of the current strategy focusing on highways and airports.

However, HSR has the ability to focus redevelopment on rural cities and, within large metro areas, to focus redevelopment around centrally-located station sites. Highways and airports can't do this effectively because the massive amounts of land they require relative to their transportation capacity are at odds with the efficient land usage of dense cities. They're also noxious land uses, so they decrease the desirability of adjacent parcels for everything except a small set of land uses (hotels, fast-food, gas).

HSR also has the potential to operate completely free of oil, because of its electrification. The electricity can come from whatever power source is most convenient, or a mixture of different sources, and is not tied to petroleum whose availability and price are becoming increasingly volatile and risky. Switching highways or airports to run free of oil requires a massive investment in infrastructure and a huge sacrifice by every Californian.

From my perspective, choosing to invest in HSR instead of highways or airports is logically consistent with California's other policies for land use, energy, and environmental protection. The transportation status quo is not consistent with California's other policies.

jg6544 Mar 18, 2012 4:03 AM

People who think California's transportation needs through the middle of this century can be met by building airports ought to take a look at the history of attempts to enlarge LAX or build a parallel runway in the bay at SFO. And with respect to LAX, even enlarging it doesn't solve its real problems which are (1) getting there and (2) parking your car when you do.

As for doubling or tripling the number of lanes in the 5, with gasoline prices going where they're headed, do you really believe people are going to get in their cars and drive, even if the freeway could handle the increased traffic?

202_Cyclist Mar 18, 2012 3:06 PM

High-speed rail planners focus on running trains to L.A. before Bay Area
 
High-speed rail planners focus on running trains to L.A. before Bay Area

By John Cox
Bakersfield Californian
3/17/2012

"No final decision has been made, but high-speed rail planners are increasingly focused on Southern California as the most financially promising place to build the project's first operational segment.

In what could become a political win for the southern portion of the state, project officials say ridership and revenue projections clearly favor connecting the Los Angeles Basin's larger population base to initial construction proposed in the Central Valley. Tracks to the Bay Area would follow at least several years later under that scenario.

Recent discussions with transit agencies in the north and south could soften the impact of any decision on where the system would operate first. Project officials say they are looking at connecting as soon as possible with L.A.'s Metrolink and the Bay Area's Caltrain. Observers say these improvements could be made simultaneously..."

http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.co...efore-Bay-Area

jg6544 Mar 18, 2012 5:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5631845)
High-speed rail planners focus on running trains to L.A. before Bay Area

By John Cox
Bakersfield Californian
3/17/2012

"No final decision has been made, but high-speed rail planners are increasingly focused on Southern California as the most financially promising place to build the project's first operational segment.

In what could become a political win for the southern portion of the state, project officials say ridership and revenue projections clearly favor connecting the Los Angeles Basin's larger population base to initial construction proposed in the Central Valley. Tracks to the Bay Area would follow at least several years later under that scenario.

Recent discussions with transit agencies in the north and south could soften the impact of any decision on where the system would operate first. Project officials say they are looking at connecting as soon as possible with L.A.'s Metrolink and the Bay Area's Caltrain. Observers say these improvements could be made simultaneously..."

http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.co...efore-Bay-Area

I live in L. A. so on that level, I would be happy to see the first serious construction begin here, but where would the trains run to? Basically, the only places I could see are the beach communities between San Diego and Santa Barbara and the communities around Palm Springs. Even upgrading existing rail lines to eliminate grade crossings and freight traffic would be staggeringly expensive and very time-consuming. And, people who travel to those destinations usually want to have their cars available when they get there. I think what you'd get is a bunch of "rail lines to nowhere" and then the critics would be all over the project to kill it before it ever produced anything that made sense. California needs HSR like that in Japan or France. Anything less than that is a waste of time and money.

aquablue Mar 18, 2012 5:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jg6544 (Post 5631943)
I live in L. A. so on that level, I would be happy to see the first serious construction begin here, but where would the trains run to? Basically, the only places I could see are the beach communities between San Diego and Santa Barbara and the communities around Palm Springs. Even upgrading existing rail lines to eliminate grade crossings and freight traffic would be staggeringly expensive and very time-consuming. And, people who travel to those destinations usually want to have their cars available when they get there. I think what you'd get is a bunch of "rail lines to nowhere" and then the critics would be all over the project to kill it before it ever produced anything that made sense. California needs HSR like that in Japan or France. Anything less than that is a waste of time and money.

Wouldn't they run somewhere near/in the Central Valley to central LA? Isn't that the obvious option? I don't know how you could mention Santa Barbara, that isn't a good place to continue the line to the main HSR spine of the system. Wouldn't LA to Bakersfield, or something similar bea good option. The article specifically mentions Central Valley connection to LA basin. Nowhere did it talk about SB, Palm Springs, San Diego, etc..

Altauria Mar 18, 2012 7:50 PM

So after an embarrassing twenty years of construction on a silly little railroad, an already-outdated-before-opened (and probably needing to be repaired from natural deterioration) rail system will eagerly await its commuters that had to sit in traffic to get to the station longer than their trip will take, because the local transit systems are still as bad, or worse, than they are today?

The cost/time of this project seems so unbelievably foolish, I feel like I'm missing something big in the details.

LosAngelesSportsFan Mar 18, 2012 8:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Altauria (Post 5632075)
So after an embarrassing twenty years of construction on a silly little railroad, an already-outdated-before-opened (and probably needing to be repaired from natural deterioration) rail system will eagerly await its commuters that had to sit in traffic to get to the station longer than their trip will take, because the local transit systems are still as bad, or worse, than they are today?

The cost/time of this project seems so unbelievably foolish, I feel like I'm missing something big in the details.

your statement is simply not true, especially about the local transit systems

202_Cyclist Mar 18, 2012 8:25 PM

jg6544:
Quote:

I live in L. A. so on that level, I would be happy to see the first serious construction begin here, but where would the trains run to? Basically, the only places I could see are the beach communities between San Diego and Santa Barbara and the communities around Palm Springs. Even upgrading existing rail lines to eliminate grade crossings and freight traffic would be staggeringly expensive and very time-consuming. And, people who travel to those destinations usually want to have their cars available when they get there. I think what you'd get is a bunch of "rail lines to nowhere" and then the critics would be all over the project to kill it before it ever produced anything that made sense. California needs HSR like that in Japan or France. Anything less than that is a waste of time and money.
This isn't that difficult to figure out. The article explains it pretty straight-forwardly. The first phase would build high speed rail from LA/Irvine to Merced and then the second phase would extend this from Merced to San Jose-San Francisco, instead of building LA - SF all at once.

Altaruia:
Quote:

So after an embarrassing twenty years of construction on a silly little railroad, an already-outdated-before-opened (and probably needing to be repaired from natural deterioration) rail system will eagerly await its commuters that had to sit in traffic to get to the station longer than their trip will take, because the local transit systems are still as bad, or worse, than they are today?
This is not at all true. High speed rail won't be built in isolation of continuous investment in local rail and subways. LA's 30/10 Plan promises to dramatically expand the reach of transit over the next two decades throughout LA County. The Expo Line will open within the next few months and construction on the Crenshaw line to LAX (or at least in the proximity of LAX) will begin this summer. As someone has noted on the LA Transportation thread, there will be a new rail line constructed in LA County every year for at least the next five years. There is already talk of extending and expanding Measure R.

Let's review driving on the other hand. Every month sees ridership records for Amtrak, while vehicle miles traveled declined by nearly two percent last year-- and that was before $4 per gallon gas. Any guess how much gas will be in 2030? How bad will traffic be when Southern California has another 5M residents?

jg6544 Mar 18, 2012 10:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aquablue (Post 5631965)
Wouldn't they run somewhere near/in the Central Valley to central LA? Isn't that the obvious option? I don't know how you could mention Santa Barbara, that isn't a good place to continue the line to the main HSR spine of the system. Wouldn't LA to Bakersfield, or something similar bea good option. The article specifically mentions Central Valley connection to LA basin. Nowhere did it talk about SB, Palm Springs, San Diego, etc..

They probably will run it to the Central Valley. Do you know anyone who wants to go to the Central Valley? For any reason? Ever?

I don't.

I mentioned those other locations because those are destinations people might actually want to go to. I said a few weeks back, if it weren't hideously expensive, the smartest initial route might be LA-San Diego. Unfortunately, much of it is through populated areas and therefore, grade separations alone would be staggeringly expensive.

jg6544 Mar 18, 2012 10:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Altauria (Post 5632075)
So after an embarrassing twenty years of construction on a silly little railroad, an already-outdated-before-opened (and probably needing to be repaired from natural deterioration) rail system will eagerly await its commuters that had to sit in traffic to get to the station longer than their trip will take, because the local transit systems are still as bad, or worse, than they are today?

The cost/time of this project seems so unbelievably foolish, I feel like I'm missing something big in the details.

You're right. We should have invested heavily in HSR when the Japanese were starting to, but we didn't. Doesn't mean we shouldn't start now.

jg6544 Mar 18, 2012 10:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5632105)
jg6544:


This isn't that difficult to figure out. The article explains it pretty straight-forwardly. The first phase would build high speed rail from LA/Irvine to Merced and then the second phase would extend this from Merced to San Jose-San Francisco, instead of building LA - SF all at once.

Well, some of us think it would be nice to complete the entire thing within the lifetimes of at least half of Californians now living.

aquablue Mar 19, 2012 12:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jg6544 (Post 5632182)
Well, some of us think it would be nice to complete the entire thing within the lifetimes of at least half of Californians now living.

I'm sorry, but you mentioning Santa Barbara to LA just seemed very odd. How did you expect them to continue the line up to SF from SB? I think you should think before your write.

It HAS to go to the valley, otherwise there is no true HSR, no place to lay straight flat 220mph tracks, no connection to the North. So, no, going to SB or SD would be a terrible mistake for phase 1.

JDRCRASH Mar 19, 2012 2:13 AM

Trying to run HSR down the California coast is political suicide, and all you conservative forumers KNOW IT. The only way to make it happen and gain the NIMBYs approval would be for it to be a subway, and that in turn makes running HSR along the coast more expensive than the Central Valley route. Heck, just running from Los Angeles to San Diego ALONE would probably cost as much as the whole system currently planned.

202_Cyclist Mar 19, 2012 2:45 AM

Can we get over the idea that the Central Valley is nowhere? Admittedly, it isn't Paris or New York but there are 4M residents in the sections of the Valley that will be served by high speed rail (http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/jtf...lValleyJTF.pdf) -- excluding the Sacramento region. There are already six daily Amtrak trips between Fresno and Bakersfield.

Altauria Mar 19, 2012 3:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5632105)
jg6544:

This is not at all true. High speed rail won't be built in isolation of continuous investment in local rail and subways. LA's 30/10 Plan promises to dramatically expand the reach of transit over the next two decades throughout LA County. The Expo Line will open within the next few months and construction on the Crenshaw line to LAX (or at least in the proximity of LAX) will begin this summer. As someone has noted on the LA Transportation thread, there will be a new rail line constructed in LA County every year for at least the next five years. There is already talk of extending and expanding Measure R.

Let's review driving on the other hand. Every month sees ridership records for Amtrak, while vehicle miles traveled declined by nearly two percent last year-- and that was before $4 per gallon gas. Any guess how much gas will be in 2030? How bad will traffic be when Southern California has another 5M residents?

Great points in the first paragraph. That's good that they're integrating the transit expansion. I hope to see a huge influx of riders.

I do, however, find the second filled with logical fallacies. 'Nearly two percent' is smaller than a margin-for-error. That shouldn't even be considered. Everyone I know has consciously driven less ever since it broke $2 a gallon, 8 years ago, back in 2004! There really is no solid correlation.

High ridership with Amtrak doesn't tell us a thing. It doesn't say anything about volume/frequency/need ratios. A living example would be an Apple Store. Most of them appear swamped busy - yes, 25 people in the square footage of a 1 bedroom apartment is going to appear very busy. Driving 50mph down a one lane residential road will also feel very fast, where as all the knuckleheads driving 45mph in the middle of the 10 freeway, causing all the traffic and pollution, appear very slow.

What's the percentage of Amtrak commuters (not special-occasioners) versus drivers? Why are they commuting via Amtrak? This becomes a 'chicken or the egg' question. Are we creating an infrastructure so spread out, that we need to accommodate it by creating spread out transit, thus merely perpetuating the overall problem instead of fixing it?

I certainly don't claim to have a practical answer. Personally, at least for L.A., I would like to see a Haussmann-ian overhaul.

jg6544 Mar 19, 2012 8:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aquablue (Post 5632286)
I'm sorry, but you mentioning Santa Barbara to LA just seemed very odd. How did you expect them to continue the line up to SF from SB? I think you should think before your write.

It HAS to go to the valley, otherwise there is no true HSR, no place to lay straight flat 220mph tracks, no connection to the North. So, no, going to SB or SD would be a terrible mistake for phase 1.

I agree. I'm simply saying that until it's completed to the Bay Area, not many people are going to ride it. Could give ammo to the people who are against HSR because (they claim) there isn't a market for it.

Maybe they should do it the way they did the first transcontinental railroad - start at both ends and build to the middle.

jg6544 Mar 19, 2012 8:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5632452)
Can we get over the idea that the Central Valley is nowhere?

You don't live in CA, do you.

jg6544 Mar 19, 2012 8:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5632425)
Trying to run HSR down the California coast is political suicide, and all you conservative forumers KNOW IT.

You've sure misread me. I think we should have NATIONALIZED the railroads at the beginning of WWII and that they should still be NATIONALIZED.

My comments about the coast were directed mainly at the argument that HSR should concentrate in southern California and my point was, that's too damned expensive because this part of the state is too densely populated to run dedicated HSR rights-of-way between the two major cities (San Diego and L.A.) and nobody would want to go anywhere else other than the coast and Palm Springs.

I am all for building HSR, just the way France built the TGV system and just the way the Japanese built their HSR lines (which have been in operation for going-on 50 years now and quite successfully) - completely separate, dedicated right-of-way; no grade crossings.

Busy Bee Mar 19, 2012 9:41 PM

^ I don't agree with full nationalization. Such a dramatic socialist gesture (made even more by how exponentially more operating private railroads there were in the US verses Europe at the time) would have never been acceptable by that political climate nor this one. In theory what I DO think should have been done was the "nationalization" of the corridors and ROW of private railroads. As we know, the railroads in many cases were essentially given the land to build corridors, facilitated through eminent domain and land grants by the federal goverment - see the Pacific Railroad Acts for instance. This ribbon of privatized right of way traverses the country and the very fact that it has remained private property, IMO has prevented an abundance of critical rail transport projects coast to coast because of the "sovereign in tone" objections of the railroads over interoperability concerns. It makes much more since for the ownership of the infrastructure to be nationalized or socialized, whatever word works for you, and leased to a potential mix of privatized freight railroads and private or public passenger services. Since you mentioned SNCF as a model, this scenario is very similiar to how RFF operates - especially now with its current and future agreements with German DB and Spanish Renfe, etc. Nationalization would put an end to the constant objections of the private freight railroads to sharing tracks (Amtrak being the only exception, and that took an act of congress and a 40 year long contentious relationship continues) and looking into the future building new parallel dedicated passenger tracks in existing ROW's, something the private railroads currently absolutely reject. BTW, the excellent book Waiting on a Train by James McCommons has a chapter on nationalization. The whole book is required reading for anyone that seeks to understand the current embarrasment that is the US passenger rail system.

The way I see it this is the only way to really speed the development of a truly European grade system through the US outside of massive from-the-ground-up ventures like CAHSR that require huge ROW land acquisition. Will it happen? Probably not. It would take a major shift in political ideology in Washington, or even the state level, to be inclined to put forth quasi socialist European style policy proposals like this, even if only in the focused field of rail transportation. But they already have an excellent example of such a "nationalized" experiment to look to for bold inspiration - the interstate highway program.

dimondpark Mar 27, 2012 8:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5632425)
Trying to run HSR down the California coast is political suicide, and all you conservative forumers KNOW IT. The only way to make it happen and gain the NIMBYs approval would be for it to be a subway, and that in turn makes running HSR along the coast more expensive than the Central Valley route. Heck, just running from Los Angeles to San Diego ALONE would probably cost as much as the whole system currently planned.

Id rather be above ground for a 400 mile trip than below ground(ugh).

Anyhow,
Quote:

Bid to appease bullet train critics may violate law

By Ralph Vartabedian and Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times

March 26, 2012


...Quentin Kopp, an architect of the project when he was a state senator and chairman of the rail authority, believes the design changes do not meet the law and is not what was envisioned by the Legislature.

"These guys at the rail authority have been pretty clever," said Kopp, who is also a former state judge. "I saw it coming."

The mandates in the law are considerable. They require that any initial segment has to use high-speed trains. Money for each operating segment needs to be in hand before construction starts. Passengers must be able to board in Los Angeles and arrive in San Francisco without changing trains. As many as 12 trains per hour are supposed to run in each direction and the system has to operate without taxpayer subsidies.

Instead, the rail authority has agreed to run fewer trains at slower speeds on tracks shared with commuter rail systems, Amtrak and freight trains. In the early years, passengers will probably have to transfer trains to get from one end of the system to the other. The concept, known as the blended approach, was pushed last year by Bay Area politicians, who fought the original plan to run high-speed trains through the region on 60-foot high viaducts over local neighborhoods. The idea has attracted support in Southern California as well.


Brown has thrown his weight behind the blended plan, but also recognizes the potential legal problem...


http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,6325897.story



1 They wanted the train to run on 60-ft high viaducts over Palo Alto and Atherton?:haha::haha::haha:

2 All of these proposed changes make it less convenient than flying imo.

M II A II R II K Mar 27, 2012 1:41 PM

Lawmakers ready to green-light California high-speed rail


Mar. 23, 2012

By Dan Walters

Read More: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/23/435...-ready-to.html

Quote:

Its popularity has declined sharply, many of its details have yet to emerge, and independent authorities have questioned its financial and operational viability, but California's bullet train project is very likely to get the green light from the Legislature soon.

That's the consensus of those who have been counting votes among the Legislature's dominant Democrats, who can give the California High-Speed Rail Authority authorization to sell bonds and begin construction of an initial segment in the San Joaquin Valley. And that's true even though lawmakers still don't know, in any detail, what linking the northern and southern halves of the state via rail would entail. They don't know how much the system would cost, who, if anyone, would put up its money, or whether it could draw enough passengers to cover costs without subsidies.

.....

202_Cyclist Mar 27, 2012 2:52 PM

Bid to appease bullet train critics may violate law (LA Times)
 
Bid to appease bullet train critics may violate law
Revisions are in conflict with the ballot measure approved by voters and may go against the Obama administration's plans. Gov. Jerry Brown backs the changes but admits potential legal problems.

By Ralph Vartabedian and Dan Weikel
Los Angeles Times
March 26, 2012

“A series of concessions over the last year to quiet opposition to the California bullet train has created a potentially lethal problem: the revised blueprint for the system may violate requirements locked into state law when voters approved funding for the project in 2008.

The Legislature packed the law with an unusual number of conditions intended to reassure voters, protect the project from later political compromises and ensure that it would not end up a bankrupted white elephant.

But many of those requirements may be at odds with the plan to integrate bullet trains with existing commuter rail lines in Los Angeles and San Francisco. They may also conflict with the Obama administration's insistence to start construction in the Central Valley without any near-term prospect that high-speed trains would operate there…”

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,6325897.story

DJM19 Mar 27, 2012 8:24 PM

This seems to be latest tactic against the project. However I dont think the proposition said the project could not be built in phases (which is really the argument here). The blended plan is only the first phase of the project. After electrification, a second phase can include additional tracks along the metrolink and caltrain row devoted to HSR.

mwadswor Mar 27, 2012 10:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DJM19 (Post 5643634)
This seems to be latest tactic against the project. However I dont think the proposition said the project could not be built in phases (which is really the argument here). The blended plan is only the first phase of the project. After electrification, a second phase can include additional tracks along the metrolink and caltrain row devoted to HSR.

In fact, I believe the proposition implicitly contemplated phases. Doesn't the language require that each operating segment be fully funded before construction begins? No need for language on each operating segment if the proposition requires the whole thing to be built at once.

peanut gallery Mar 27, 2012 11:39 PM

Besides, what large, statewide public works project is ever built all at once? They didn't build the 700 mile State Water Project (and 5 or so major associated dams) all at one time. I believe there were at least two major stages to that project, not to mention all the various smaller projects, like say building the Oroville Dam (which is taller than Hoover and more than 5 times wider, just to point out how big it actually is).

202_Cyclist Mar 29, 2012 5:12 PM

Brown administration, bullet train board seek to ease environmental reviews...
 
Brown administration, bullet train board seek to ease environmental reviews of the project
Environmental groups that have joined discussions on relaxing reviews say they'll support small-scale concessions but not wholesale exemptions.

By Ralph Vartabedian and Dan Weikel
Los Angeles Times
March 29, 2012

"California's bullet train authority and representatives of the Brown administration are exploring ways to relax environmental review procedures on the massive project to help meet a tight construction schedule, The Times has learned.

Major environmental groups confirm they have been in discussions with state officials about some type of relief from possible environmental challenges to the project, which is falling behind schedule and risks losing federal funding if it must conduct new reviews of construction and operational effects.

The environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Planning and Conservation League Foundation, say they are willing to consider small-scale concessions but will oppose a wholesale exemption of the environmental process..."

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...0,882981.story

twoNeurons Mar 31, 2012 8:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jg6544 (Post 5632180)
You're right. We should have invested heavily in HSR when the Japanese were starting to, but we didn't. Doesn't mean we shouldn't start now.

And now the Japanese want to invest heavily in California's HSR.

Population in the 1960s wasn't as dense as it is now. Lots of people moved to California in the past 50 years. What SHOULD have been done was secure the ROWs. I'm not sure HSR would've been successful in 1960s and 1970s America.

Busy Bee Mar 31, 2012 2:25 PM

^ I don't know about that. There were many progressive and ambitious projects coming out of USDOT in the 70s. Who knows were some of them would have led us had the Reagan "revolution" not derailed (sorry pun) some of them...


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