Saturday, November 15, 2008

HSR Open Thread

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

Haven't done one of these for a little while. I'm going to be in Orange County over the weekend, so you're all on your own until Monday. It's a trip I frequently make (I was born and raised in Santa Ana/Tustin, where most of my family still resides) and a trip that will be made MUCH easier by our high speed train. Gilroy to Anaheim is going to be a trip I make frequently.

What will be the most frequent HSR journey you will make once the first phase is open? How will it help improve or change the way you travel within California?

NC3D posted a good overview of HSR around the world to YouTube a few weeks back, a good reminder of the big picture and why HSR is going to be so valuable to us in California:

54 comments:

yeson1a said...

I have wondered what kind of marketing name is going to dreamed up for our system. I cant see them just leaving it nameless..or worse yet selling it.."google express"?
but if it brings in alot of money
they might have to. Maby we call it CST

jcdavis said...

as long as they dont call it "fly california" like all the renders have right now...

Aaron said...

I've always wondered if they're going to take the acronym CHSR and call it the Chaser, although hopefully somebody can come up with a better name, because I'm no marketing guru. How about the Condor?

I'm probably emblematic of the reason that 1A was changed to mandate LA-SF - I expect that my primary use will be that route since I live near Downtown LA, and once HSR is in operation I really can't wait to go to San Francisco for weekend trips like I used to do New York from Boston via the Acela. I used to day trip down to NYC for the 4th of July - I'd take the 6AM train down to NYC, get there in time for breakfast, stay through the fireworks and take the overnight regional train back that night, usually getting a business class seat since those reclined to be nearly a bed.

I'm only 15 minutes from Union Station via transit but getting to Burbank or LAX is a PITA and because SFO has more expensive landing fees, I'd usually have to fly into Oakland, which is also a PITA to get into San Francisco due to that bus connection to Coliseum BART.

Anonymous said...

I know that the primary market and ares will be geared toward travellers, but I still think it will encourage commuters. So you'll see more families use Palmdale, Gilroy and Fresno as bedroom communities.

In the absense of the inevitable growth of these regions, I would have said encouraging sprawl in these areas would be a Bad Thing, but that sprawl is happening anyway. May as well make it transit-oriented sprawl (concentrating development within walking distances of transit hubs, including mixed-use development, apartments/condos above retail, etc.)

Fruitale Village isn't a great example -- it was urban infill/redevelopment rather than a well-planned 'new' development, and it's very small. But as an urban neigborhood oriented around transit, it works well.

http://www.unitycouncil.org/fruitvale/index.htm

Anonymous said...

Er.

"the primary market and fares will be geared toward travellers"

Spokker said...

I hope you enjoyed the fire that greeted you today!

Rafael said...

HSR will no doubt make California feel smaller. People will travel more frequently within the state because it will be so much less hassle than flying or driving. Catching a concert or sports event hundreds of miles away will be no big deal, especially if you can combine it with visiting friends or relatives.

Parents will be able to take their kids to more fun places throughout the state without the usual are-we-there-yet. Since they don't have to pay attention to driving, time on the train becomes quality time. The SNCF Corail Teoz trains - ultra comfy but not high speed - even have play areas for toddlers.

SNCF has also introduced a new service called idTGV featuring two classes. In one you have to be quiet as a church mouse, in the other you can make some noise. Kids love it. So do babies, moms and grandparents.

The biggest impact, however, will be on business travelers. Thanks to reliable wireless broadband internet access - preferably based on low-latency terrestrial relays - time spent in transit will no longer be wasted. That's a huge productivity gain for sales reps, on-site customer support & training staff etc. It actually helps that you spend a greater fraction of total travel time sitting down in one place rather than stuck in check-in and security queues.

The third group that will use HSR frequently are long-distance commuters. If you both live and work close to HSR stations, spending 45 minutes on a comfy train twice a day is a small price to pay for owning a house big enough for your family and cheap enough for your wallet.

Living in the Central Valley could also allow a person to take a job in Silicon Valley and let their spouse keep his or hers in LA or Sacramento. That makes it easier for both to pursue their career goals.

There is, however, one very big caveat in all this. For HSR to be successful, it has to be easy to get from door to door. SF and LA have fairly well developed public transit.

Elsewhere in the state, local transit is limited to a handful of regional/commuter/subway and light rail lines plus fairly infrequent bus service. Wait times for connecting service are the bane of transit systems the world over. Passengers with heavy or bulky baggage may find boarding and alighting a chore - it's a good idea to travel light.

The station locations CHSRA has chosen make sense but do not always coincide with those of slower legacy trains. For example, Amtrak San Joaquins use the BNSF track several miles east of hwy 99 and UPRR.

Similarly, HSR cannot leverage existing Metrolink stations in e.g. Ontario or Riverside. The latter case is an exception in that CHSRA has some flexibility in exactly where it puts the station.

Hint: put it at the intersection with the San Bernardino-Oceanside Metrolink line.

Even so, decades of low-density sprawl, encouraged by car ownership and seismic building codes, mean that CHSRA will have to get creative to increase the catchment area for its high speed intercity service. Car parks may be possible in some locations, but land in downtown areas is typically expensive. Rental cars, taxis, sharecabs etc. are relatively expensive, so anyone traveling light will try to avoid them.

One option would be to make it as easy and affordable as possible for passengers to take folding bicycles with electric assist motors along on the trains. It should also be possible to recharge battery packs while in transit. Some Li-ion battery packs already support fast charging and ranges of 20-40 miles at 15-20mph, depending on gradients.

All this means that CHSRA ought to hire someone to coordinate with bicycle and battery/charger manufacturers, high speed train vendors, other transit operators and passenger representatives to arrive at sensible technical standards and terms of use. Those will give manufacturers targets to design against. The longer the available lead time, the more viable the products will be when the first HSR trains enter commercial service.

In addition, cities would need to create networks of safe bicycle paths and routes, especially near the stations and in the downtown areas, exactly where it is often hardest for traffic planners to do. It's the usual chicken-and-egg problem: no bike lanes = few cyclists. The other issue is that bicycles are fair weather vehicles.

Ian said...

If it was now, I'd be riding from SF to LA, SD, and SB (Coast Daylight?) to visit friends in other UC's...

by the time it's actually built though? Probably use it for visiting friends / family in LA and taking some weekends down south where the beaches are a little warmer.

I'd say with the Vegas Extension we might as well go for a Tahoe/Reno one as well, to serve the ski traffic (someday)...

Anonymous said...

Due to where I live (although I doubt that I would staying for 47 years in the same town) for , I would love to take CHSR for DL's 100th, assuming the latter still exists then.

Andrew said...

From my hometown of Santa Barbara? Just the HSR line won't do anything. However, if Amtrak California could somehow half the travel time on the already-popular Pacific Surfliner (currently from SB to LA it's about 3 hours), then connecting to HSR at Union Station for points north would be trivial.

Robert has expressed enthusiasm for the relaunch of the Coast Daylight service, but anyone who's ridden the Coast Starlight through San Luis Obispo County, waiting on sidings for freight trains to pass and winding through mountain switchbacks, knows that those track need some serious upgrades before such a service could become a good alternative to car travel. Multi-tracking and probably a lot of tunneling would be necessary.

Dennis Lytton said...

I'm good with transit-oriented sprawl. HSR will make more people want to live near Downtowns and rail transit, true. But the suburban living choice can be made sustainable by HSR, too.

HSR between LA-SF and eventually SD will induce demand, i.e., people will travel there who don't currently make the trip at all. The spillover effects to the rest of the economy will be huge.

With regards to the Coast Route. I see that being upgraded with the new push to PTC to being a faster, 110mph or better corridor with tilt-trains like Talgo in Seattle-Portland for the curves.

Dennis Lytton

Anonymous said...

Rafael @ 1:43

Allowing bicycles on CA-HSR?

That's going AWESOMELY on Caltrain.

"Have you heard about the bicyclists who weren't allowed to board Caltrain? The train was *nearly* empty."

Spokker said...

"I would love to take CHSR for DL's 100th, assuming the latter still exists then."

Hah, my other passion.

Maybe in 50 years ARTIC might actually build a rail connection from Anaheim station to Disneyland.

The conceptual videos for HSR show monorails connecting to HSR, but I don't see it happening. Orange County is the last place you'll see anything other than Metrolink/Surfliners/HSR.

In fact I think getting light rail built anywhere here would be more difficult than HSR.

Spokker said...

I haven't looked at AmtrakDelays.com in a while and I was pleasantly surprised today. The Coast Starlight and Southwest Chief actually showed average delays of only 6 and 11 minutes respectively for the last 4 weeks. They're still long trips, and the occasional 4AM arrival is listed, but I remember when average delays weren't less than 60 minutes consistently.

Michael said...

Palo Alto to La Jolla/University City will be awesome for a Stanford student!

Anonymous said...

The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes, everything else is pure theory.

After the game is before the game.

Joseph said...

I'll be using mostly for Bay Area to Fresno/Hanford. I have family in that area. Also, Bay Area to LA, LA to Fresno/Hanford and of course out to Vegas at some point.

Spokker said...

LOL, Florida is kicking themselves for letting Jeb Bush convince them that HSR was a bad idea.

I hope that doesn't happen here. Here comes 2006's mantra, SAY NO TO PROP 13. PRESERVE HIGH SPEED RAIL BOND FUNDS.

Rafael said...

@ ian -

Mojave to Las Vegas is mostly flat. Sacramento to Reno is extremely mountainous. The cost of all the tunneling involved would be huge.

Amtrak already runs its California Zephyr on the existing freight tracks. Leaves Emeryville at 8:55am and (supposedly) arrives in Truckee at 2:23pm. Tickets cost $42.

If there is enough demand and, nearby ski resorts offer shuttle buses, perhaps Amtrak California could add a sleeper train to Truckee to its Capitol Corridor service once a week. It would leave San Jose at say, 11pm on Friday evening, arriving around 6am on Saturday morning. Along the way, it would stop in Fremont, Coliseum, Emeryville, Martinez, Davis, Sacramento, Roseville, Auburn and Soda Springs (Donner Pass). The return trip would be early evening, say 6pm, on Sunday (Monday for three-day weekends), arriving in San Jose around 1am.

During the week, the sleeper cars would be available for use elsewhere in the state. That would mean cheap tickets to and from Truckee on Sunday mornings and Saturday evenings, respectively.

@ anon @ 8:21pm -

Caltrain has been very generous in its policy toward passengers with full-sized bicycles. It is already working on a bicycle access and parking plan to address capacity and terms of use issues that have cropped up recently.

FYI, here's an update on the status of the bike path linking Larkspur to SF.

This could really facilitate green commuting and HSR access via a combination of the SMART train and folding electric bicycles.

I keep harping on about this because it may take decades before everyone has access to useful HSR feeder services, if ever. Note, for example, how the Amtrak San Joaquin uses the BNSF track, whereas HSR will hew close to the UPRR line sveral miles to the west. It's much cheaper for cities to create networks of bike lanes and routes than to operate public transit. Plus, cyclists are not limited to fixed routes.

For that reason, folding (electric) bicycles ought to feature prominently in HSR implementation plans as they have the potential to substantially increase total ridership, especially during California's long dry season.

SNCF offers very limited capacity for full-sized bikes on its TGVs. The alternative to taking it along is to consign it for EUR 10, but SNCF only makes a "best effort" to put it on the same train. Worst case, it arrives a day later. This is fairly useless, which is why I believe CHSRA needs to think about how folding bicycles could be taken on board and, how their battery packs could be recharged in transit.

What dimensions is a folded bike allowed to have? Do such bikes need to be stowed inside sturdy carrier bags, even if they have dry belts rather than oily chains? Should customers be looking at suitcase bikes instead?

If not, should folding bikes be stored in overhead compartments, in-between back-to-back seats, in baggage racks or near the exits?

Will there be a sufficient number of courtesy electrical outlets rated at 110V/15amp each to support rapid recharge battery packs? Even better, could charger devices conforming to an appropriate industry standard be permanently installed in the trains? That would eliminate potential fire hazard and allow passengers to leave their bulky chargers at home.

Will foldable mopeds with assist systems based on compressed air or small internal combustion engines be permitted on board?

All these considerations need to be reflected in train design specs and the terms of use. Early attention to this nitty gritty could help launch a new cottage industry in California, because it would give designers a target to shoot for. Other train operators would likely follow any lead CHSRA provides in this regard.

Anonymous said...

"The conceptual videos for HSR show monorails connecting to HSR, but I don't see it happening. Orange County is the last place you'll see anything other than Metrolink/Surfliners/HSR."

There already is a monorail in Orange County, in Disneyland. I think the conceptual videos just intend to suggest that it might be extended to the Anaheim station. The required distance is about 2 miles, which is slightly shorter than the total length of the current monorail system, and the similar system at Disneyworld totals over 15 miles. It seems like something Disneyland might conceivably do if a large proportion of their visitors were arriving by HSR, and so represents a comparable level of wishful thinking to a lot of the other transit-oriented development shown in the promotional videos.

yeson1a said...

I wonder if they will have service levels much like Eurostar where First/business includes a meal service and drinks or more like TGV sevice where first class means only more room bigger seat.
I think Americans would perfer the Eurostar mode.
And do you think the system will be "dog Friendly"?

Anonymous said...

Rafael @ 4:43 "Caltrain has been very generous in its policy toward passengers with full-sized bicycles"

Caltrain's bike policy is NOT generous. As one who commuted exclusively by Bike+Caltrain for about ten years, I can tell you that refrain repeated by Caltrain PR is false. Bike parking at popular stations has an endless waiting list (I was on 4th&King's bike parking waitlist for YEARS). For those who needed a bike at both ends, getting a locker at both ends was a hassle. The lockers were administrated by whatever locality, so they all had different logistics for signing up and cancelling. As someone who's job changes every year or two, this was a huge hindrance. For example, when I had a San Mateo station bike locker, I had to return the key IN PERSON at their remote city hall location. Also, the rattle-trap cars themselves are very inhospitable to riders of any shape or age -- steep, slippery steel steps that almost guarantee a fall in the least amount of rain. I remember when the train used to stop in the middle of a BANKED CURVE at Hayward Park - you may as well just throw your bike off than carry it down, I slipped and fell off the stairs almost every time in the rainy season. (Two dollars' worth of non-slip bathtub stickers would've helped, but no such effort was made)

Folding bikes are very expensive, only the extremely dedicated commuter owns them. Casual and occasional commuters can buy a brand-new fullsize bike from a full-service bike shop or only a ew hundred dollars, or a used one for less than a hundred.

Folding cycles even were REQUIRED by some conductors to be in sealed containers (the rules are vague, but conductors are quick to toss cyclists of the train whenever it suits them).

I agree with your point-of-view about what would be 'ideal', but dealing with real-world small-minded bureaucrats and on-train idiot Caltrain conductors, you eventually realize that providing a useful or convenient service for paying customers is about the last thing they're interested in. They are more interested in buidling parking spaces for $30k in capital costs for a single rider per parking space per day, than to provide for SEVERAL riders per day who can use a bicycle to make their connections.

Rafael said...

@ yeson1a -

keep in mind that business premier seats on Eurostar from London to Paris cost EUR 287 one way and EUR 574 return. However, they are "fully flexible" in that you can get a full refund or change your reservation at no additional cost for 60 days (cp. airline business class).

Standard class non-flexible seats cost EUR 67 one way and EUR 106 return, or as little as EUR 72 for a daytrip return.

Leisure select class is a standard class seat plus at seat meals and a power socket. Return fare is EUR 146.

These fares are still relatively high because (a) Eurotunnel charges significant fees, (b) driving requires paying for a ferry and (c) Eurostar still has a monopoly on running high speed trains on that route. Passenger rail service in the EU will be liberalized in 2010.

@ anon @ 10:01am -

Caltrain has had plans to improve its service for a long time, including elevated platforms etc. The problem is that Santa Clara county in particular has starved it of funding because it wants to spend $6.1 billion on extending BART. Afaik, BART does not permit full-size bicycles on board at all during rush hour, though they do welcome the folding variety.

I'd suggest you get involved with Caltrain's efforts to improve bicycle access and terms of use. I suspect that some conductors are perhaps unclear on exactly what the corporate policy is.

Btw, quality folding bikes with 8 speeds and full suspension are on the market for as little as $300-400 at the dealership next to Caltrain's SF terminus. IMHO, that's hardly a princely sum for something you use to commute to work.

Folding models with electric assist are still new and expensive. Prices will have come down considerably by 2018, especially if someone (e.g. CHSRA in co-operation with other California train operators) promotes some technical standards to drive up unit volume.

bgfa said...

Living and working in downtown Los Angeles, I would use HSR to go everywhere it goes (except perhaps for the Central Valley unless I develop some business contacts there). San Diego, San Francisco, Anaheim, Riverside, Sacramento.

Car-less in San Diego said...

Living in San Diego complicates my answer to the question of my primary purpose for using CHSR. When the initial leg is completed between Anaheim/LA LA/SF I will use the system to make trips to San Francisco. I would take the Amtrak Surfliner to Anaheim and transfer to CHSR to SF.

Whether this mode of transit between San Diego and San Francisco is mere novelty or a real viable alternative to air travel will remain to be seen. These trips are for pleasure not business so time is not as important but still a factor. Looks like one way from SD to SF with the Surfliner/CHSR would be 5 hours and cost $78. With the $950 mil approved for local transportation through prop 1A the Surfliner may feature better travel times between SD/Ana by that time. For now, from a pure time and cost perspective air travel wins but I'm such an enthusiast I will probably use rail anyway. Another point to make is that in 10 years air travel may be significantly more expensive vs. rail when compared to that relationship now.

When the segment from LA/SD is complete I may use the rail to go from my (future) residence in downtown to work in University City. That trip would be 10 minutes and cost $8. Whether using the CHSR for daily commuting is a viable option will also remain to be seen. $8 each way seems very steep but perhaps they will have monthly commuter pricing. By then we will also have the blue line extension of the trolley from Old Town to University City, the coaster may also have a stop for University City as well. Basically options will abound for travel between Downtown San Diego and University City.

I also make frequent trips from downtown San Diego to inland north San Diego County. So I would travel to Escondido and hook up with local transit connections to visit family there. Looks like that is $9 each way which seems reasonable.

Brandon in San Diego said...

If he CHSRA network were in place today, I would use it several times a year. From San Diego I would travel to LA, Sacramento and San Francisco.

I have family in Sacramento and there are a number of events in SF or LA I'd love to get to.

Because the SD to Sac or SF would be the length of the entire line, I would target express trains rather than regional express or local. Plus, each station is very accessible downtown rather than an airport needing much consideration in time and effort to get to and from.

I suspect CHSRA versus flying door to door travel time to be similar, or within 60 minutes of each other, but HSR will be much more hassle free and offer new views.

----
On another topic, it is my hope that the planned network is not set in stone for the next 20 years.

I think some alignments can be improved, such as SD to LA. I'd like to see the option of line splitting off from around Temecula/Murrieta and heading northwesterly to hookup with the Irvine segment. That would seem to be much quicker to LA and provide a no-transfer connection and timely travel to Orange County.

And/or, a line segment added from Riverside/San Bernardino area to go north (alongside the 395/Barstow Frwy?) and then northwest to Palmdale; which appears would be adjacent to the San Andreas (problematic?)

I would also like to see a more direct link from SF to Sacramento. Either Altamont or something more direct than that; like up the I-80 corridor.

To some degree, these augmentations could provide alternatives in the event a line becomes unusable for some reason.

I do not feel at this time extensions to Tahoe or points north of Sacramento offer enough demand to warrant consideration. On the other hand, links to Vegas or Phoenix appear to have merit.... assuming some interstate agreements, or what-not, could be worked out.

yeson1a said...

@rafael
I went on a day tour to Paris that included RT First class from
Waterloo..We got a much lower price than that thank God!
I would think here in California first class would sell quite well
and we also will have many tourist
on our trains.They may have weekend and off peak fares..I hope!

Spokker said...

"There already is a monorail in Orange County, in Disneyland. I think the conceptual videos just intend to suggest that it might be extended to the Anaheim station."

The monorail would most likely have to be a separate line. The current Disneyland monorail was a basically an experiment, a showcase to Americans what monorail technology is, built in 1959. It has neither the capacity or the efficiency to connect to an HSR station.

Technically the monorail is a part of Disneyland. You need a Disneyland ticket to ride it. It stops IN the park, and there are logistical problems with ticket taking in Tomorrowland and such. I would like it to stop at other destinations, the convention center, the Pond, Garden Walk, etc.

Also, Disney has no desire to operate a public transportation system. They do not build infrastructure. A lot of that Disneyland Resort stuff in Anaheim was not paid for by them. I don't even think Disney paid for the walkway in Downtown Disney, according to people in the know.

I think any monorail that connects to Disneyland will have to be paid for by the City of Anaheim. I think it would be great if it stopped in the Esplanade between the two parks, but an above ground solution would probably clash with the current monorail track.

I don't see why it can't be light rail and why they wouldn't go underground in that section. The Esplanade has plenty of room for a subway station if they have to go that route.

A Lynch said...

Being out of state and having relatives in the LA area I can see a future where HSR can expand my travel options. I could fly from Chicago to LA as usual or into SF, do a little sight-seeing and then travel down to LA. Basically it will force the airlines to compete not just among themselves for the best pricing but between HSR linked cities.

Anonymous said...

@spokker - another problem with the Esplanade are the bag checks.

Rafael said...

@ brandon -

the whole point of the EIR/EIS process is to set plans in stone before breaking ground. It's possible that some part of the current plan will not be implemented because its project-level EIR/EIS gets stuck or, operations unexpectedly do not prove profitable enough to fund phase 2. For the moment, though, it's all hands on deck for phase 1. The following is therefore just hypothetical.

---

There are mountains between Irvine and Temecula, which would mean expensive tunneling. It's far more likely that the existing line along the coast would be upgraded to support diesel trains at 110mph someday. For starters, that would mean dual track all the way through, possibly hopping onto the I-5 median between San Onofre and San Juan Capistrano.

---

There might be value in extending Metrolink service beyond San Bernardino to Barstow, especially if Sen. Reid (D-Nev) decides to abandon maglev and the IVP airport in favor of a steel wheels HSR spur from Las Vegas to Mojave via Barstow. One third of all flights into and out of overburdened McCurran are to cities served by California HSR. In addition, Palmdale airport would be 1h10min from Las Vegas.

A new HSR alignment through Cajon Pass would be problematic for two reasons: the corridor is badly needed for rail freight and, a second crossing of the San Andreas fault would be quite expensive.

---

Wrt Altamont Pass, please see the To BART Or Not To BART a few days ago.

The Capitol Corridor supports 36 Amtrak trains each weekday but is also a major freight route. The dual track rail bridge between Martinez and Benicia dates from 1930. If it were to become unavailable for any reason, trains would have to be routed through Antioch and Stockton instead. However, the most direct line is at risk of flooding and currently has no turnoff toward Sacramento in south Stockton.

Spokker said...

Oh yeah, the bag checks. I forgot for a second that Disneyland was indulging in security theater like everyone else.

Maybe you can put an underground light rail stop where the Timon & Pumba tram stop is now. It won't be necessary once those lots are paved over for the DCA expansion.

Rafael said...

@ spokker -

fwiw, there is a short section of single track ROW connecting hwy 57/Katella Ave (site of future Anaheim ARTIC) via the median of S. Olive St. and W. Santa Ana St. to W. Broadway Street, where it connects to the single track freight line serving the still-active Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station.

That line runs one block west of Disneyland. There are old spur ROWs off it to Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos and across to Paramount. The latter crosses another line between LA and Long Beach Harbor, with a spur/ROW to the north side of Long Beach Airport.

The Navy is busy cleaning up SBNWS. If it is ever decommissioned, the spur to Los Alamitos could be used as the basis for a light rail line linking Anaheim ARTIC with Long Beach Airport and perhaps even the existing Metro Blue Line in Long Beach itself.

Spokker said...

I'm familiar with Olive St. My family used to own some apartments there. When they would take me along I loved it when short freights would run right through the street.

But I don't know if using existing ROW is going to cut it for a good Anaheim Station-Disneyland connection. ARTIC needs to commit to building new right of way, and it will most likely have to be aerial.

Though I generally don't like monorails as public transit solutions, I believe a monorail could work for this area. But it would have to close to destinations, not in back alleys, or it will just be another Las Vegas Monorail failure.

Brandon in San Diego said...

rafael,
I don't want to argue with you, but give me a break and give me more credit. Go back and look at transportation plans adopted 15, 20, 25 years ago and tell me that they never changed or evolved into something else.

I am very familiar with the cost of these projects, the planning process, and the role of CEQA/NEPA and EIR/EIS's. Don't tell me that documents cast things into stone. Don't tell me that additional planning and environmental work, or legislative work, could not alter or amend plans.

If you're to tell me that the adopted plan is all we'll ever have in California, from here to enternity, I'll call bs.

I appreciate your input on CHSRA and knowledge of the current state of rail affairs in California, particularly northern California. You certainly seem knowledgable.

Spokker said...

This is what I would like to see as Anaheim Resort Transit. If they really want to do it right, they won't build street-running light rail or a rinky dink monorail like the one in the park.

If you really want HSR->Disneyland to work, it needs to have the capacity to handle crowds and be completely grade separated. Anything less is setting ART to fail.

Anonymous said...

@spokker - Here's an Idea: have a monorail line using the above systems in that link, or any other rail sytem ART chooses, with a station at (built into) the Anaheim Convention Center with a WEDway connection from the convention center to the resort, preferably the Downtown Disney District.

Spokker said...

That would be great, but my only concern is creating too many transfers for the people coming from HSR.

My vision is a "loop", either monorail or aerial (with underground sections) light rail that serves stations in this order: Anaheim Station/ARTIC complex, Disneyland Park, Anaheim Convention Center, Garden Walk, and back to Anaheim Station, then the Pond (during times where there are no events at the pond, Anaheim Station could serve as a stub-end station), then back to Anaheim station.

The idea is that when you arrive at Anaheim Station on HSR (or Metrolink/Surfliner), the majority of people will go west for Disneyland/Convention Center and when there are events on the Pond, service will go east to serve the arena).

This is the minimum effort it takes to make HSR connections to Anaheim work in my opinion. Otherwise people will just take taxis. HSR riders will not ride the OCTA public bus, rapid or otherwise, nor will they bother with the shuttles/trolleys that ART currently runs.

Anonymous said...

Somebody above asked whether the system will be pet friendly. Can anyone answer this question?

For many pet owners this would be the differnece between driving or training it. Anyone know if other high speed rail systems worldwide allow pets?

Spokker said...

Amtrak does not allow non-service animals on trains. Based on what limited info I could find, I do not believe the Shinkansen in Japan allows it either.

Pet owners will have to drive to transport their pets I guess.

Ryan said...

Yeah I am tired of having to put so many miles on my car driving to Northern California and back all the time. Although it will come down to cost. If it is cheaper to drive by car, people still will to have the convenience of their car.

The route I will use most will be San Diego (or Irvine I guess until its completed) to San Jose.

Anonymous said...

Since I travel with my family, it will almost certainly be cheaper to drive. If gas prices rise to the point that it's cheaper to take the HSR, well, that would be economic armageddon anyway.

Spokker said...

I would waste all my money on HSR trips. It would be my 200 dollar a day habit. I would fall into debt, unable to constrain my love of high speed train travel. My parents would disown me. My wife would leave me. My only friend; the conductor that feeds my habit.

I will die alone, unable to afford the mode of transit I love. Eventually I will throw myself in front of the first bullet train to be built in the U.S., so that we become one.

I will be buried in an unmarked grave grave, forgotten if not for the legend of the man who couldn't stay away from the bullet train.

Rafael said...

@ brandon -

let me rephrase: the EIR/EIS process is supposed to set things in stone because changes are very expensive once ground is broken. That won't be the case for the San Diego segment for a while, so there may be more wiggle room there than for SF-Anaheim.

@ anon Nov 16, 6:24pm -

CHSRA hasn't addressed the issue of pets on board yet. Here are some examples of the rules enforced by railway operators in Europe. None of them differentiate between HSR and regular long distance trains when it comes to pets.

SNCF does allow dogs onto all of its trains, provided other passengers don't complain about it. Basically, that means you have to ask passengers sitting nearby if they're ok with the dog. If not, you need to ask the conductor to help you find another seat.

Small dogs up to 6kg may be transported in a carrying case (max. 45x30x25cm) for a EUR 5 surcharge. Larger dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and require a ticket priced at 50% of a second class seat. Owners are also required to have a muzzle on hand and apply it to the dog if another passenger requests it.

Guide dogs for the blind travel free of charge.

The policy for other small pets, e.g. cats, is the same as for small dogs. It is recommended that pets not be fed in the 12 hours preceding the train trip if they are prone to motion sickness.

There is a limit of two animals per person.

Deutsche Bahn has a similar policy. However, there is no surcharge for small dogs and all dogs must be muzzled at all times (except guide dogs). Special rules apply for night trains and auto trains. Tickets for dogs cannot be purchased online.

RENFE permits one small pet (dog, cat or bird only) per person provided it does not inconvenience other passengers. It must be kept in a carrying case no larger than 60x35x35cm. On long distance trains, the owner must obtain a regular ticket priced at 50% of a seat of the class he or she is traveling in.

Guide dogs of any size travel free of charge but the owner must keep a leash and muzzle on hand and apply them if another passenger requests it.

Rules in Italy.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 7:48pm -

Japan and Europe have been living with high taxes on gasoline and diesel for decades. It hasn't been an armageddon. On the contrary, since those taxes are fixed amounts per unit volume, they actually damp down the effect of gyrating oil prices. While gas prices in the US tripled between 2000 and the summer of 2008, those in Europe only rose by 50% or so.

That means consumers never bought gas-guzzling mega-SUVs and pick-up trucks to begin with. They also did not buy McMansions they could no longer afford once oil prices unexpectedly went through the roof.

Cheap gas is not a boon but a bane. It is what made the US asset bubble possible in the first place. And now, thanks to the follies of US consumers and lenders, paired with greedy bankers and lax regulation, we actually do have economic armageddon.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Rafael,
I can see where the miscommunication was. My original intent was to imply extensions or additions to the planned network and not alternative/replacement of approved alignments.

Spokker said...

The Transbay Terminal is going to mean the difference between good ridership and great ridership. These aren't the transit dependent riding the high speed rail. They won't tolerate multiple transfers at the end of their trip. They aren't transferring to Muni.

Same with HSR in Anaheim. There needs to be a quick rail connection to Disneyland/convention center/the pond/etc. Most HSR passengers aren't going to hop on the OCTA bus with ugly Mexicans like me to get to their final destination.

Ben said...

I can almost guarantee that when the HSR terminal in anaheim is constructed, there will be shuttle buses from the station to the hotels like there are at the airport. If the goal in adding light rail or monorail to the Anaheim station is for tourists, the hotel (or resort transit) buses will be a viable compared to a build alternative.

I believe that it is safe to assume that tourists will be taken care of when it comes to getting them to the resort

Anonymous said...

Disneyland is currently running a shuttle to the Anaheim station to meet the Pacific Surfliner.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/rail/go/amtrak/stations/a_e/anaheim/index.cfm

Metrolink also uses that station. It's in the back of the Angels Stadium parking lot... so you're not all that much farther from Disneyland than if you parked in regular Disneyland parking. :-)

Elaine

Anonymous said...

As far as the drive v. fly price point:

With gas at $4 a gallon, it was cheaper to use Amtrak California to travel from Santa Rosa to Fullerton for me and my child than it was to drive in our 28 MPG vehicle, and it was only about an hour more of travel time. That was for gas alone, not counting wear and tear on the car.

I had a free ticket on Southwest that I allowed to expire because if I am traveling alone, I can take Amtrak to Southern California for $60, which is less than it costs me to park my car and take a shuttle bus to the airport.

There are some times that having the car along would be worth the hassle of driving, but I'm still enjoying the fun of riding the train instead.

Elaine

mrampton said...

If it was around now, I'd use it to commute from SF to PA with the occasional trip to LA and the Central Valley to explore or get some training rides in. I have no idea where I'll be in 10 years, but I'd love the opportunity to make frequent use of it.

Jim said...

As Far as naming it. californians tend to not get all that creative with naming stuff, like in SAC were the call the light rail system" "the light rail" and our freeways - we never call the 405, the San Diego Freeway, and even though our main freeway carries our state nickname - the golden state freeway, we all just call it I-5 or "the" I-5 if you're from socal. So anyway, traditionally trains have names, the city of new orleans, the California Zephyr, and so forth, so id say call the SF LA train "golden state" the SAC LA leg the 'Valley Limited" etc and the SD LA leg the "Balboa" or you know, the "Avacodo", or whatever (kidding) you get my point but as nice as it would be to give them classic romantic names, they are not classic once a day trains, so instead the trains get no names, only the system gets a name and that will end up being an acronym and if we we let them they will end up using CHSR. and californians will add the word "the" to it like they do to everything, and call it "the high speed rail" as in "the light rail" and "the BART" and "the amtrak" (which i hear all the time as an amtrak employee) and that is what will happen. So i propose we use the alstom trainsets and just call it the TGV, sure no one from Merced or West Covina will know what it means but it won't matter. as long as you put "the" in front of it they'll accept it.

Jim said...

PS I like how they anti rail folks are called "deniers" around here! I've always called them "nay sayers" but after thinking about it, "nay sayers" sounds so 19th century but "deniers" is very new millennium! almost subversive.. I like it.

Jim said...

AARON SAID...
I've always wondered if they're going to take the acronym CHSR and call it the Chaser, although hopefully somebody can come up with a better name, because I'm no marketing guru. How about the Condor?

I'm probably emblematic of the reason that 1A was changed to mandate LA-SF - I expect that my primary use will be that route since I live near Downtown LA, and once HSR is in operation I really can't wait to go to San Francisco for weekend trips....."


Aaron - I like the "condor" name that's pretty good actually. and I know what you mean about the quick day trips. I live 6 blocks from the transbay terminal in SF and can't wait to be able to zip down to hollywood or ANA for a concert or lucnh or just hang out with friends. As it is now, some poor soul always have to schlepp up the 405 to LAX and pick my ass up. I think that may be why all my friends voted for 1a.