Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Open Thread: Central Valley + Sunnyvale

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

UPDATE: The Fresno Bee reports that CHSRA is hosting additional scoping meetings for the project-level EIR/EIS process.

Tuesday, March 24, 3-7pm: Visalia Convention Center
Wednesday, March 25, 3-7pm: Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall

If you're planning to attend, the following questions need answers IMHO:
a) where is CHSRA at in ROW negotiations with BNSF for south Fresno - Bakersfield?
b) where is CHSRA at in ROW negotiations with UPRR for south Fresno - Merced (- Stockton)?
c) how fast does CHSRA intend to run HSR express trains (SF-SJ-LA-Anaheim stops only) in the Central Valley, specifically in the downtown areas of Fresno, Bakersfield and smaller towns along the way?
d) is CHSRA considering noise mitigation measures to support those speeds and, how effective are those at the speeds express trains will run at in the Central Valley?
e) if UPRR is not willing to share or part with its ROW through Fresno, has any thought been given to a western bypass - through farmland - for both HSR and BNSF/Amtrak San Joaquin?

As part of any such a grand bargain, the city/county of Fresno would need to commit to operating a new DMU-based light rail service ("Fresno Flyer", cp. NCTD Sprinter and SMART) on the current BNSF alignment through downtown. This Flyer would connect to both a North Fresno station near Gregg (also serving Madera via connecting regional buses) and a South Fresno station near Bowles (also serving Hanford-Visalia-Tulare, also via buses). Any HSR train that was due to stop in Fresno anyhow would then stop instead at one of these "beet field" stations - but not the other. BNSF's Calwa yard would be used for the new Flyer service and a new one built for BNSF's freight operations at a suitable location elsewhere - not a trivial decision for BNSF.

The trade-off would be between a downtown HSR station + speed/noise issues related to express trains vs. "beet field" stations serving a larger area + a starter line for regional rail transit.



We haven't had an open thread in a while. After yesterday's discussion of HSR in Merced county, I'd be interested in how folks in Bakersfield think about this project. The HSR station will be intermodal with Amtrak San Joaquin (the links off the Amtrak California web page are broken). The Bakersfield Amtrak station is currently at S St/16th St, even if Google Maps thinks it's further west. Given the city's population of around 250k, only a subset of HSR trains is expected to stop there. That probably means four tracks plus one island or two side platforms dedicated to HSR, in addition to whatever Amtrak's FRA-compliant trains need. Pedestrians/cyclists would use one or more over- or underpasses to cross the entire ROW or access any of the platforms.

What about HSR express trains that are supposed to run through there at close to 200mph? Is that correct and acceptable to Bakersfield residents?

For details of the route and the implementation options selected for cost estimation, please zoom in on CHSRA's Google Map of preferred HSR route. A combination of at-grade and aerial sections is indicated for Bakersfield. Note that noise mitigation measures were not included in the original cost estimates, sound walls typically cost on the order of $1-$1.5 million per mile.

Bakersfield rail yards and Kern river crossing (low quality):

View this video on YouTube

Near Wasco:

View this video on YouTube

Central Valley overview (High Definition):

View this video on YouTube

Originals of videos on CHSRA web site.



HEADS UP: the San Jose Mercury News has announced a CHSRA project-level EIR/EIS scoping meeting for SUNNYVALE, intended for city officials but open to the public.

Date: Tuesday, March 24 @ 6pm
Location: City Hall conference room, 456 W Olive, Sunnyvale

If you're planning to attend, you may want to prepare by looking at the following:
  • Google Map of preferred route showing the implementation options used for cost estimation, please zoom in. North Sunnyvale: embankment, south Sunnyvale: at grade

  • Cost estimation basis for HSR implementation in Caltrain corridor. Dated 5 Apr 2007 and marked as preliminary and subject to change. Sunnyvale section is on page 8.

    • North Sunnyvale: 3.7m (~12ft) retained fill embankment, i.e. solid walls with earth in-between, shallow underpasses for the cross-roads.

    • Transition: 3% grade, probably more than UPRR freight trains can handle. After the merger with SP, Union Pacific now has an easement for the Caltrain ROW and also a say if other railroads get to operate freight and intercity passenger services on it.

    • South sunnyvale: at-grade, no details yet on grade separation recommendation for Sunnyvale Ave. The other cross roads in south Sunnyvale already have over- or underpasses, double-check if they will present problems for expansion to four tracks.

    • Please ask if HSR will use the inside or the outside tracks. How will that decision impact the Caltrain stations, which may need longer platforms (e.g. 1000ft) to make full use of the two platforms at the new Transbay Terminal in San Francisco? What about anticipated noise levels and mitigation measures in Sunnyvale?

  • Selected cross-section drawings of the cost estimation basis.
For background information on the project, please refer to the other appendices of the Bay Area to Central Valley Final Program EIR/EIS.

Additional information regarding Caltrain ROW width in Sunnyvale is here, maps 37-TCCM-200-B.pdf through 41-TCCM-200-B.pdf. The minimum width for four tracks is 75 feet. At Caltrain-only stations, 95-100 feet are required to also accommodate two side or one island platform, as the case may be.

Note that full grade separation at stations implies one or more pedestrian over- or underpass(es) to cross the ROW and access the Caltrain platform(s), even if HSR trains will never stop there. The number of passages depends on platform length and expected boardings/alightings, forecast data that Caltrain would have to provide. Afaik, ramps or elevators for ADA access are required by law for new construction, this may entail the acquisition of some additional ROW width.

Btw, grooves for bicycles next to stairs are very useful features in pedestrian over-/underpasses at stations:



If you decide to attend and write up a short summary of the salient clarifications and yet-to-be-resolved issues for Sunnyvale, you may want to send a copy to Robert Cruickshank who owns this blog.

63 comments:

political_i said...

Calatrava's TGV station has the express tracks enclosed to reduce noise.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhgxdVehxRA&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcahsr.blogspot.com%2F&feature=player_embedded

Why not do something like that until the train is outside of the city limits perhaps?

Marine Layer said...

One of Sunnyvale's stimulus projects is a reconstruction of the Mathilda Ave overpass, just north of the existing Caltrain station. The bridge has two sharp-angle ramps that lead from it to Evelyn Ave. The whole thing is considered obsolete and not pedestrian friendly. A new design will have to be done with any new rail facilities in mind.

BruceMcF said...

It seems we've had several recent open threads, they just weren't labeled as such.

No idea if the engineering pans out, but an idea on reversing the HSR platform from the "outer" and middle island to the "inner" and middle island, so that HSR would have access to tail tracks from all platform tracks, which permits the separate arrival/departure platform system with trains moving between the two via the tail track ... something the present design does not allow for.

A Train Station Grows At Transbay ... (pt. 1) (European Tribune) ... including some aggro at the pile of red herring that the fellow from the TBT dished out at the hearing last week.

arcady said...

Note that there are only two grade crossings in all of Sunnyvale. One is Sunnyvale Ave, where the grade separation will have to be coordinated with the Mathilda Ave bridge and the Sunnyvale station, and the other is Mary Ave, which is a fairly major thoroughfare that is probably next in line after Rengstorff to be grade-separated, at least of the grade crossings in Santa Clara County.

Spokker said...

I love this comment I found equating HSR supporters to communists, dictators and fascists.

"The USSR was very proud of its railways they were the only choice for long distance travel, the subway stations in Moscow where spotless and like cathedrals, they also served as fallout and bomb shelters.

The Italian fascists were very proud that they could make the trains run on time.

We all know about the German fascists preoccupation with trains as a form of mass transit in the Shoah.

Why is it that fascists and dictators all share this love of trains?

Goes with central command economies, control of freedoms and the cult of the masses.

And denial of reality"

Ooo-kay. Let's not say anything about the United State's Transcontinental Railroad and how it transformed the country. This person is complaining about the spotless subway stations in Moscow. I'm sure New York commuters would love spotless subway stations that didn't look like rape chambers.

Rafael said...

@ political_i -

the Satolas station is ~400m (~1320ft) long. Bakersfield is several miles long and high-value properties are not built nearly as close to the railroad ROW as in the mid-peninsula. The difference in sound level between 20 feet and 100 feet away is roughly a factor 25.

Btw, at 2:08 in the video, you can see that the central "tunnel" at Satolas is really a pair of sound walls and columns that support the concourse level and roof. The commentary talks of protecting the station from "shock waves" generated by trains moving at 300km/h. I think she means "bow waves", since there are no supersonic phenomena involved. Architectural critics and physics terminology obviously don't mix.

Even that interpretation is questionable, since there is a platform track in-between each through track and the nearest island platform. Basically, the lower half of the sides of the tunnel muffle the rail-wheel and aerodynamic noise for the benefit of pedestrians on the island platforms. Of course, they choose to be there at that time and can therefore reasonably be expected to tolerate a residual noise level that is still significant.

In e.g. Palo Alto, there would be high-value real estate that close (or closer) to up to ~3 express HSR trains per hour running past at 125mph in ~2030. That's each way, so figure one noise event every ten minutes for the six peak hours of each weekday. That situation arguably justifies far more aggressive noise mitigation measures, e.g. elevating or burying the tracks or else, fully enclosing them at grade. Additionally, soundproofing the windows of the residences may be worth considering.

@ BruceMcF -

interesting that you would publish a detailed analysis of the SFTT situation on the European Tribune site...

Anyhow, on pp8 of the PDF version of Source Document 5 of the 2008 Business Plan, CHSRA's ridership forecasters are estimating 5-6 trains per hour each way in and out of SF during the six busiest hours of each weekday. This is based on a complex mix of 8 (!) service classes, probably more than any sane railroad operator would actually want to offer.

In any case, it indeed exposes the 12tph issue as a trumped-up red herring. I strongly suspect that CHSRA is simply trying to get out from under the implicit agreement to help pay for the DTX + SFTT train box because the costs have escalated.

Wrt the design of the DTX tunnel, the train box and the tail tracks:

a) my understanding is that there will be three island platforms supporting six platform tracks.

b) both the throat and the tail tracks will now be centered on the middle platform. This is different from the 2003 design.

c) if you number the tracks 1 through 6 from the Market Street end, then 1 and 6 will be the most severely curved. They will be used by Caltrain because its trains will be shorter (perhaps 1000ft instead of 1320ft). Caltrain will have no access to the tail tracks.

d) tracks 2 through 5 will be fairly straight and used by HSR.

e) access to tail track A (closer to the Bay) will be limited to platform tracks 2 and 3. Likewise, tail track B will only be accessible from platform tracks 4 and 5. The tail tracks are to be used for overnight parking and for light cleaning/housekeeping.

f) for six HSR trains per hour each way, trains would have to be turned around in 40 minutes. The easiest way to accomplish this is to allow trains to dwell at a platform track for 38 minutes, during which time passengers alight, others board and staff take care of cleaning/housekeeping at the platform track. The final two minutes would be used to traverse the throat back into the tunnel.

g) for ten HSR trains per hour hour each way, a new train would have to pull onto platform track 2 every 12 minutes. Let it dwell there for 11, spend 2 minutes to proceed to tail track A where staff will work their magic. 11 minutes later, it would spend two minutes to proceed to platform track 3. Passengers already assembled on the platform would have 11 minutes to board before the train spends two minutes disappearing into the DTX tunnel. Same deal for platform tracks 4,5 and tail track B.

h) Meanwhile, Caltrain will run perhaps 6 tph each way into the SFTT and 4 to its existing station at 4th & King. That means Caltrain will need to turn its trains around in 20 minutes, with any light cleaning/housekeeping performed on the platform tracks while passengers alight and board.

j) all of this could be pushed a little harder to get up to 12tph for each service at the SFTT but it's highly unlikely that will be necessary. All this also means that two tracks ought to be sufficient for the DTX tunnel. The third track may be intended for off-design use, e.g. in case a train breaks down or, if schedules don't mesh quite as cleanly as outlined above.

k) per Clem Tillier, a CPUC rule dating back to 1948 prevents it from raising platforms more than 8 inches above the tracks lest there's a freight railroad employee hanging off a car. Unless the rule is waived Caltrain equipment may have to support multiple platform heights (yuck!) or else its half of the outer island platforms at the SFTT will have to be lower than those used by HSR (double yuck!)

Rafael said...

@ arcady -

the CHSRA documents show a 12' embankment is planned at Mary, which would imply a low underpass for that street.

Their proposal for Sunnyvale Ave is unclear, perhaps they're waiting to see what the city itself is planning for Mathilda, which is less than 1500ft further north.

A deep under- or tall overpass at Sunnyvale Ave would have non-trivial impacts on Evelyn and Handy Avenues to either side of the tracks, plus vehicular access to the buildings on the first block beyond that.

Fortunately, the road has 4-5 lanes. Depending on traffic volume, it might be possible to construct a deep underpass for just two lanes in the center, leaving the two outer ones at grade and severed at the tracks.

That would mean motorists northbound on Evelyn could use Mathilda to cross, while those southbound would need to make a detour involving Washington Ave. to reach either the Mathilda overpass or the Sunnyvale Ave underpass lanes. On the other side of the tracks, motorists already on Hendy Ave would need to detour via W California to cross via Mathilda.


In addition, there's the reconfiguration of the Sunnyvale Caltrain station to consider. The ROW map shows 100ft width between Mathilda and Sunnyvale Ave, plus a lobe next to the station building. The additional tracks would end up east of the existing ones.

That ought to be enough, given that only Caltrain will need (a) platform(s) there, depending on the SFFS vs. FSSF decision. Long Caltrain consists (1000ft) could be supported fairly easily at that location.

Pedestrians/cyclists will need safe passage(s) across the ROW and access to the platform(s) from either side, but that should be a relatively simple issue to deal with. The biggest headache is always ADA access, which means long ramps or else, elevators that need to be maintained.

BruceMcF said...

"c) if you number the tracks 1 through 6 from the Market Street end, then 1 and 6 will be the most severely curved. They will be used by Caltrain because its trains will be shorter (perhaps 1000ft instead of 1320ft). Caltrain will have no access to the tail tracks."

No, the Caltrain platforms and HSR platforms are different heights ... two islands are HSR islands, and one island is a Caltrain island. The TBT guy was very explicit about that in the hearing.

The "outermost" platform track has the least curvature ... it has the broadest sweep in its access track and runs straight to the back of the back with no connection to the tail track.

"interesting that you would publish a detailed analysis of the SFTT situation on the European Tribune site..." ... in community blogs, one publishes where there seems to be a reception ... and I am of course always angling for people with operational rail expertise - in this case, if DoDo says its no good, I won't have to worry about whether its just someone making mischief. It is of course also up on my blog, Docudharma, and ProgressiveBlue.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Bruce, I think that's an excellent post. I sent an email to the email address you listed at EuroTrib about it.

Spokker, the hardcore HSR deniers are adamant that mass transit is a communist plot to make them sit next to smelly homeless people. It's pretty absurd, especially when you consider that the interstate freeways were built along what might be described as a socialist model (government pays the construction and maintenance costs through taxes and does not charge the public to use them).

And Rafael, thanks for posting this. Weekends are always good times for open threads.

Spokker said...

"especially when you consider that the interstate freeways were built along what might be described as a socialist model"

Which leads me to this great comment by a guy named Barry Bebart left in response to an anti-HSR article from the Heritage Foundation.

"How on earth is high speed rail a “left issue”?

...

Look at it another way: What if an American president came up with some crazy idea to build a national transportation network and it would require that the federal government spend TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars on it. And what if this idea originated from a European idea. Even worse a European socialist idea. Heck a National Socialist idea. It was still a good idea mind you, but dang those socialists and their ideas. But what if we called this system a military highway system? What if we called it the Eisenhower Highway System? Would you be OK with it then? (You’ve got to admit, those National Socialists, despite their flaws, sure knew how to run an Army.)

Have you been to Europe and ridden on the High Speed Rail system? It is incredible and cost effective and efficient and shameful that the US does not have an equivalent system and it is all of things that any clear headed right wing thinker should have been railing about for the past 20 years. If you believe in America you want America to be the most advanced nation on the planet and an America lacking a high speed rail system is like America being without electricity.

How about a little example: I have rode the French TGV from Paris to Marseille many times. Google says it is 480 miles and driving will take exactly 7 hours. The TGV takes 3 hours. Center city to center city. Imagine traveling from Chicago to Pittsburgh (463 miles, 7 hours 33 minutes, Google says) in that same 3 hours; from the Loop to the PPG Building. Can you imagine that? The evil Chinese are imagining it. The same people that were crappping in the field next to their mud hut a few years ago are building a system to allow them to crap in a city 500 miles away within a few hours.

Economists define transportation as a fixed cost that adds no value to a transaction. The lower the transportation cost the lower the overall cost of any associated transaction. In order for America to compete in the global market and to beat the Evil Chinese we need to improve our basic transportation system. High Speed rail is one way to do that.

So instead of skewering it as a “left wing issue” you should be asking how can we make it an even better system than the government subsidized European and Chinese systems. One way, and you are partially on the right track, so to speak, in picking on Amtrak is to say that the American High Speed Rail System should be a Federally built road bed with private industry running the trains. The rail system and it’s operation should be eventually paid for by the private industry train operators and the US taxpayers will eventually recover their initial costs. That is exactly how the US interstate highway system works and currently how the FAA subsidized air transportation industry works.

...

In this instance, I have to applaud the democrat as much as it pans me to do so. And with US High Speed Rail you should be agreeing with the democrats and pushing that be as cost effective and as efficiently run as America deserves instead of throwing it in the trash as another dunderheaded socialist democrat idea."

Good for Barry.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

so the throat and tail tracks would be centered between tracks 4 and 5, while Caltrain would get platform tracks 1 and 2, which are the least curved? Weird setup, though it doesn't really change my tph calculations.

The Caltrain island platform will no doubt be the busiest of the three during rush hour. They had better make it as wide as possible and be generous with pedestrian flow capacity to and from the concourse level.

If Caltrain ends up running more than 6tph into the SFTT and/or 1000ft consists, the fire marshal's going want a word in edgewise. It may become necessary to restrict passengers waiting to board from descending until those alighting from a recent arrival have (mostly) cleared the platform. That implies creating and enforcing multiple formal assembly areas at the concourse level. An imposition on Caltrain passengers, but possibly one that will become necessary one day.

The curved HSR platforms would need retractable elements at either end to bridge the gap between doors and curb required to accommodate the fact that train cars have finite length and are straight. Great, more mechanical marvels that can (and inevitably will) break down. If I were TJPA/CHSRA, I'd try everything else first, including running the tunnel down 3rd Street instead.

Btw, regarding platform height. That CPUC regulation from 1948 (General Order 26-D) does itemize three different platform heights in section 3.

Those that would enable level boarding of passenger trains require ludicrous side clearances - you'd have to extend drawbridges just so passengers wouldn't fall in the chasm reserved for railwaymen hanging off the sides of freight cars! Hello, this is the 21st century...

If I were Caltrain, I'd ask UPRR if they still run their trains that old-fashioned way. If not or UPRR is willing to operate the handful of freight trains still plying the peninsula differently, I'd petition the CPUC for a waiver. It's not like these crufty regulations were handed down to Moses by the Almighty.

Level boarding is extremely useful for the disabled, the elderly, small children, cyclists and also for the railroad - it reduces dwell times. Especially handy at the SFTT but elsewhere, too.

Moreover, if Caltrain and HSR harmonize their platform heights to level boarding everywhere, it becomes much easier to handle off-design conditions such as technical problems or track work by sharing track and platforms - with guaranteed time separation, if FRA wants to be a pain in the backside about it.

Rafael said...

@ Spokker -

you could also make the inverse argument:

One hallmark of totalitarian systems is their willingness to invest a disproportionate share of wealth creation on their military, police and secret service organizations.

Sound familiar? Well, there are lots of ways to hide the salami. However, if you're honest and actually tally up all of the spending related to military activity alone - including interest on bonds for weapons systems, veterans' benefits and "off-budget" items like waging two wars - you end up with a whopping 54% share of the federal budget.

That's pre-bailout but then again, the rapid run-up in military spending was only possible because what little financial regulation the Clintonistas had left in place was nixed altogether to placate big political campaign finance donors on Wall Street.

A year ago, the GAO lambasted Congress and the Bush administration for asking defense contractors to perform feats so close to impossible that delays and failure to meet the original specifications represented an aggregate loss of $295 billion since approx. year 2000. And sadly, that wasn't an April Fool's joke. It was a lot of loose change to lose between the cushions, easily enough to pay for a nationwide high speed rail system.

Funny, the Nazis and the Communists had "elections" too. They made just as little difference to the national spending priorities as those in the US. The only real difference is that Americans have always been allowed to complain, except those arbitrarily labeled "enemy combatants". No totalitarian activities here, move right along...

Robert Cruickshank said...

If anyone's interested in my take on high speed rail's place in a broader agenda for economic recovery in California, head on over to Calitics for a first crack at a state economic recovery plan.

I am as convinced as ever that unless we build an oil-independent infrastructure, California will never have broadly shared economic prosperity again. High speed rail is not the only way to achieve that, not by any means, but it is a big part of it, both practically and politically.

Spokker said...

I do not support 100% free-market capitalism. I also do not support 100% full-blown socialism or communism. I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle, probably closer to capitalism than solicialism, but I sure as hell don't know.

Right now I'm studying the East Asian "miracle" in which government-led industrialization, outward orientated trade policies, and high savings precipitated an era of rapid growth the likes of which nobody expected from the region.

Unfortunately, the era of rapid growth was followed by the 1997 Asian financial crisis were prompted economists to pause and reexamine just what the hell is going on in East Asia. And if you look at what happened, you'll find some parallels to what is going on right now in the United States.

There's no single answer to why anything ever happened or happens in a country's economy or development process. Those who stick blindly to one ideal do themselves a disservice in my opinion. I believe in cherry picking ideas that work and learning from yours and other country's mistakes.

Whether you are a socialist or a capitalist or a democrat or republican, high speed rail is an idea that has proven itself in most places around the world. Of course, the thing just might prove to fail in the United States, with California being the most spectacular failure of all. But I think that even if the initial phase doesn't reach the lofty expectations of supporters, it'll be a net benefit to California's transportation infrastructure and our economy as a whole. People will be impacted, mistakes will be made, but if you provide 220 MPH service between SF and LA, people will ride it.

Alon Levy said...

you end up with a whopping 54% share of the federal budget.

It's not 54% of the budget; it's 54% of the discretionary budget, which excludes Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The US spends about 5% of its GDP on the military, after adding in the money for Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe it's fifth in the developed world, after Israel, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. If you measure it per capita instead of per dollar of GDP, it's third in the world, after Israel and Singapore. That's pretty bad in itself; you don't need to trot out the 54% figure. That'd be like arguing for HSR by saying it can compete with air on the LA-NY route.

BruceMcF said...

"so the throat and tail tracks would be centered between tracks 4 and 5, while Caltrain would get platform tracks 1 and 2, which are the least curved? Weird setup, though it doesn't really change my tph calculations."

If tail tracks are being used to economize on platform dwell, to get throughput to 8 trains per hour, having the HSR dedicated to a platform that lacks a connection to the tail tracks is a bit of a problem.

"g) for ten HSR trains per hour hour each way, a new train would have to pull onto platform track 2 every 12 minutes. Let it dwell there for 11, spend 2 minutes to proceed to tail track A where staff will work their magic. 11 minutes later, it would spend two minutes to proceed to platform track 3. Passengers already assembled on the platform would have 11 minutes to board before the train spends two minutes disappearing into the DTX tunnel. Same deal for platform tracks 4,5 and tail track B."

When I worked through the operation table, I used 3 minute headways. AFAIR (its on another computer), 12 alight, 15 tail track, 15 board worked for 8tph. Getting more trains per hour might need shorter headways as well as shorter dwell times in each phase, to avoid scheduling conflicts with the Caltrain services.

How would 10tph be schedule in across the hour, with three minute headways, like ...

:00 H1 / :12 H3 / :24 H5 / :36 H7 / :48 H9
:06 H2 / :18 H4 / :30 H6 / :42 H8 / :52 H10

Giving six Caltrains slots
:03 C1 / :21 C3 / :39 C5
:09 C2 / :27 C4 / :45 C6

Anonymous said...

More on Transbay (from talk at Bayrail Alliance)

Tail tracks are just for Caltrain. HSR has asked for extra extra long tracks and they don't want any curvature. For some reason, this means they don't get access to the tail tracks.

jim said...

@spokker - I've decided to be socialist just for fun. It can't be any worse than what we've had to put up with for the past 30 years. My top priorities are a good pension and trains that run on time so I think it's a good fit for me.-- Bakersfield, hsr should use the bnsf, there is nothing along that route with impact worries, just desert and oil fields. You can't make it worse only better.

jim said...

TBT HSR is playing games with money. They want caltrain and sf not only to build it and pay for it, but to threaten not to use it unless caltrain and sf make it bigger. screw them. If they don't want to be in there as it is then they can go elsewhere. I f I were them, id' be figuring out how to get through Pa and MP and be grate full that at leas SF is letting them into town.

jim said...

AS for the trains per hour. EVeryone is on drugs. There is no way, NO way they need more than one train per hour in each direction for at least the first 2-5 years. Those train s can hold up to 1000 people depending on what equipment they use. I don't think that even if they took half of amtraks passengers half of greyounds passengers and half of all the la sf air passengers would they need more than one train per hour. How do they get these numbers... I mean Im a huge supporter of this but get real.

jim said...

I really like that calatrava place a lot. One thing these blogs prove, Not only are californians not very creative any more they aren't much fun anymore either. this state is becoming a big yawn.

Rafael said...

@ Alon Levy -

social security, Medicare and Medicaid are trust funds. You pay for them through your FICA contributions.

Your income taxes go to the federal budget, which pre-bailout was $2650 billion for 2009. Not all of that is discretionary, because e.g. veterans' benefits are entitlements. However, of that $2650, 54% are spent on items directly related to military activity, including the billions shoveled over to Israel each year btw.

Open your eyes please, that 5% number is completely bogus. The US spends more on its military the the rest of the world combined. That's why it keeps looking for new enemies to crush.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

we're not building a system for the first 2-5 years of operations here. It needs to have enough capacity to suffice for at least 50.

And please stop pretending that the number of people that will use HSR will be in any way related to the ridership snail-pace Amtrak can scrape together. The technologies involved are like night and day.

BruceMcF said...

jim said...
"They want caltrain and sf not only to build it and pay for it, but to threaten not to use it unless caltrain and sf make it bigger. screw them."

Its not just Prop 1A that indicates TBT as the main northern terminus of the HSR line ... as you brought to my attention, its also a SF 1999 Proposition. So the TBT people have a responsibility to design an adequate train-box for the main HSR terminus of any and all SF bound routes. Having fallen down on the job, they need to find a way to fix for their under-design.

Of course, the fact that CHSRA is making an excessive request in terms of platforms is complicating things. If they were making a reasonable request, it would be possible to just fall into "CHSRA right, TBT wrong" on this issue, as you have simplified things by adopting the opposite position ...

... but CHSRA is not right either. They are either making ambit claims, expecting to get some portion thought not all of what they request, or they are bargaining in bad faith, hoping for some reason for the negotiation to fail.

"There is no way, NO way they need more than one train per hour in each direction for at least the first 2-5 years. Those train s can hold up to 1000 people depending on what equipment they use."

This is the ultimate in red herrings, isn't it ... talking about, first, the ridership in the first 5 years as if it should determine the size of the train box ... the underground structure that holds the underground platforms and platform tracks, which is much cheaper in total cost to build to the needed size and grow into. It is because of the substantial cost of expanding a train box after the fact that its would be grossly irresponsible to build the train box for the capacity needed in the first 2 to 5 years.

The HSR system is a staged system ... of course the later stages will not be finished in the first two to five years ... but the train box should obviously be designed for built-out capacity, not for Stage 1 capacity.

And then ... using the capacity of trains that are unlikely to be running in the first two to five years to determine the tph in the first two to five years.

TBT is insisting that CHSRA shoot themselves in the foot and start up with bi-level full length trains. To build ridership, they should start with single-level, 400 seat trains, first grow frequency, then grow capacity.

And some services will never be full length, bi-level trains.


Its fine to only populate the train box for the capacity needed in the first decade, but you need a train box for the system you are going to grow into.

6tph is a bare minimum, and I guess that the TBT people could say that by offering the bare minimum, they are satisfying the statutory requirement placed on them by the 1999 SF prop, but building permanent infrastructure to the bare minimum is bad public policy.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF, Anon @ 9:21 -

If tail tracks are being used to economize on platform dwell, to get throughput to 8 trains per hour, having the HSR dedicated to a platform that lacks a connection to the tail tracks is a bit of a problem.

I went by the picture you published over at European Tribune. It shows the island platform closest to Market Street as straight and not connected to the tail tracks. Those would be platform tracks 1 and 2 respectively.

The other 4 are curved at the ends but have access to the tail tracks, so I presumed those would be for HSR.

Now the design has apparently changed yet again and it will be Caltrain that gets the tail tracks, presumably off platform tracks 5 and 6.

That would permit platform tracks 1-4 to become dead straight, which is good for full-length HSR trains. Not so good is that losing the tail tracks eliminates some overnight parking for and the option of increasing tph capacity by handling cleaning and housekeeping off-platform.

Caltrain can use 4th & King for additional overnight parking.

Where is HSR going to put its trains overnight? Is CHSRA buying the old Brisbane yard just south of Bayshore Caltrain?

Running one HSR train every 9 minutes between 6 and 9am by 2030 implies that ~25 HSR trains need to leave SF before the first arrival from LA/Anaheim has been turned around. That means ~25 trainsets need to be stored in or near SF overnight, more if any of the trains need to be full length. The four HSR platform tracks at SFTT will provide parking for 8 trainsets, no more. Where are the ~17 others going to go?

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

Let's assume anon @ 9:21pm is correct and CHSRA has given up on getting any tail tracks because it felt straight platforms were more important.

In that case, 4 platform tracks means a 40-minute dwell time if you're running 6 tph - roughly what their analysts are forecasting for 2030.

Figure out a way to cut that down to 30 minutes and CHSRA's tph into the SFTT goes up to 9tph.

Cut it to just 20 minutes and you're up to 12tph, at which point traffic through the throat - shared with Caltrain - becomes the bottleneck.

Instead of this constant whingeing about not having enough capacity in an underground situation that is incredibly expensive to implement as it is, perhaps CHSRA should focus on operations planning.

As Jim has pointed out, it simply isn't necessary to thoroughly clean and completely re-provision a long distance train at the end of each trip. Once every other trip is good enough, so if need be all of that can be taken care of in SoCal or Merced/Sacramento where there will be more platform tracks/a yard to deal with it.

That leaves alighting and boarding. With a 40 minute dwell time, passengers can be left to their own devices. Once it gets down to around 20 minutes, it might make sense to bar passengers waiting to board from descending until those alighting have cleared the platform. That means 4 assembly areas at the concourse level for each platform track, mandatory seat reservations and pre-sorted boarding queues. Big deal.

Managing pedestrian flow is a boatload cheaper than adding more platform tracks, but Morshed is a civil engineer so all he knows is how to add more concrete.

There is no capacity bottleneck for HSR in the TJPA design. Caltrain isn't complaining about getting just two tracks because it knows how to manage its operations such that it can make do with them - even though its passenger throughput per platform track will be much higher than CHSRA's ever will.

That reminds me: Caltrain will have two, perhaps four consists at the SFTT overnight. The first few trains of the day would leave from their and 4th & King, within an hour the first arrivals from SJ can be turned around.

If CHSRA has given up on access to tail tracks at SFTT, can't they just be jettisoned from the design altogether? That would save a chunk of change.

BruceMcF said...

"In that case, 4 platform tracks means a 40-minute dwell time if you're running 6 tph - roughly what their analysts are forecasting for 2030."

The ridership numbers for a full capacity use of Stage 1 is based on 8tph out of TBT ... as DoDo notes as the Eurotrib:

QUOTE
Let's look at CHSRA's figures in this projection (page 5/pdf page 9). It's only for Phase 1, but at full capacity, and foresees a more complex service pattern than you (one more comparable to SNCF's and JR East's service pattern than say RENFE's). The table for peak hours is formulated a bit confusing about frequency, so I re-calculated it for every two hours and every direction:

1. (express with multiple stops only in the megapolises): 1 train
2. (express with stops only in 4 main stations): 2 trains
3. (semi express, with more stops in the Central Valley): 1 train
4. (semi express only to LAUS, with evenly distributed stops that include Sylmar): 4 trains
5. (semi express only to LAUS, with evenly distributed stops that include Palmdale): 4 trains
6. (semi express, with more stops nearer to LA): 1 train
7. (all-stations SF-Merced): 3 trains
8. (all-stations LA-Merced): 3 trains

That's 16 trains from TBT every two peak hours, or 8 every hour.
UNQUOTE

Alon Levy said...

However, of that $2650, 54% are spent on items directly related to military activity, including the billions shoveled over to Israel each year btw.

Most of that $2,650 does actually go to mandatory entitlements, including Medicaid, which does not come from FICA the way Medicare does. It also includes Social Security outlays, even if they come from a different source of taxation. The real military budget is $583 billion. I think the figure includes Iraq and Afghanistan in "Global War on Terror outlays"; if it doesn't, add $120 billion to the figure. Either way, it's nowhere near half the budget. It's only half of some part of the budget, which excludes almost all social spending.

The US gives Israel $3 billion per year, of which $1.8 is military and $1.2 is non-military. That's huge relative to the Israeli military budget, but tiny compared to the US budget.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

I was using the 9 minute average headway over two three-hour periods to estimate roughly 6tph. DoDo is looking at two-hour windows, which may well yield a slightly higher estimate.

However, without an actual timetable, there's really no way to compute this exactly. Let's just say the ultimate capacity requirement for phase 1 is somewhere between 6 and 9 tph, implying a maximum turnaround time of 25-40 minutes. That should be entirely doable, so I don't see a capacity problem for HSR at SFTT.

That's pretty much the takeaway for me here: Morshed is blowing smoke.

BruceMcF said...

"That reminds me: Caltrain will have two, perhaps four consists at the SFTT overnight. The first few trains of the day would leave from their and 4th & King, within an hour the first arrivals from SJ can be turned around.

If CHSRA has given up on access to tail tracks at SFTT, can't they just be jettisoned from the design altogether? That would save a chunk of change.
"

Stabling trains between peaks was an original main use of the tail tracks ... the other is shuffling of trains in station.

Given that the original design, despite local statutory obligations to design it as the SF HSR terminus, was primarily focused on serving the needs of Caltrain with a reasonable degree of cost efficiency, and now Caltrain is to be limited to a mere two platforms at what is supposed to be the primary urban inter-model station, it would seem that the tail tracks would be of even greater priority for the Caltrain operations.

The allocation of tunnel track 2 as the access track, the tunnel track attached to the Caltrain plaform as the Caltrain egress track and the tunnel track attached to the HSR platform as the HSR egress track would still remain, in any event.

That is, there's no way for the two different dramatically different type of operations to share the box without stepping on each other's toes if they have to be synchronized on both access and egress. Given far less switchover capacity in the train box than at the other end of the tunnel, if access and egress capacity are not balanced, the extra capacity should be on the train-box egress.

With three minute headways, that means, of course, that a platform can be re-occupied by a train three minutes or more minutes after the prior train has left. Headways are not how much time it takes on average, but the maximum time that it can take to make the transition.

With only one access track, incoming trains can never get in each other's way. With slots allocated to Caltrain island slots and HSR island slots, in alternation, and with no crossing between a Caltrain egress and a HSR access, or an HSR access and a Caltrain egress, then as long as each service vacates its platform three or more minutes before the inbound train to that platform, there's no cross-over problem.

But its important that headways are not the average required possession of the infrastructure, but the maximum. If we think in averages, it is easy to overload capacities, because there has to be a buffer capable of coping with contingencies.

This is a basic of queuing and scheduling problems ... small delays are higher frequency than large delays, so small buffers in individual activities soak up the majority of delays and exception management is only required for the rarer long delays.

Because of that, maximum throughput in reality, with stochastic time requirements for each activity is less than maximum throughput when each average time is assumed to be the same as the maximum time.

That is the fundamental constraint on capacity ... with 1 access and 2 egress tracks, there is ample egress capacity, and access capacity is the binding constraint for throughput. 3 minute headways gives 20 slots on the access track. Designing to use all 20 slots is guaranteeing constant rippling of one delay on one service to all services throughout the peak capacity period.

So when I set up a rudimentary operations scheduling table, I put in 4 slots in use, 1 slot for contingencies, in four 15 minute blocks.

To avoid the cost of extra tunneling, access crosses over egress. Consecutive access of trains of the same type therefore means that two platforms must be vacated before ... which introduces 6 minute gaps between outbound and inbound trains, wasting expensive underground platform capacity.

But there is no crossover between an inbound HSR and an outbound Caltrain, or visa versa (this is another reason why the island=service works much, much better operationally than the "Caltrain on extreme inner and outer platform tracks), so if the Caltrain and HSR services alternate, there is always an open egress slot before each access slot.

There is no need for each slot to be occupied by each service ... this is a maximum capacity, not an average usage pattern.

So:

:00 H1 / :03 C1 / :06 H2 / :09 C2 / :12 open
:15 H3 / :18 C3 / :21 H4 / :24 C4 / :27 open
:30 H5 / :33 C1 / :36 H6 / :39 C2 / :42 open
:45 H7 / :48 C3 / :51 H8 / :54 C4 / :57 open

So 8tph for HSR means that each of the four platforms must be vacant thirty minutes after it is occupies, which means that the service departs 27 minutes after it arrives.

40 minute allowed maximum platform dwell (not average dwell) means 43 minutes dwell plus headway, means 45 minutes platform track possession, since you can't round down.

That means, with hour of peak : HSR access slot ...
1:H1, 1:H2, 1:H3, 1:H4, (skip 1:H5, 1:H6), 1:H7, 1:H8
2:H1, 2:H2, (skip 2:H3, 2:H4), 2:H5, 2:H6, 2:H7, 2:H8
(skip 3:H1, 3:H2), 3:H3, 3:H4, 3:H5, 3:H6, (skip 3:H7, 3:H8)

16/3 = 5 1/3 trains per hour with assured 40 minute platform dwells.

Those skipped slots is the bottleneck that the tail track shuttle breaks, since it streamlines the platform dwell to 27 minutes while allowing additional station dwell as the tail track service platform.

Get average platform dwell down to 22 minutes, which makes maximum platform dwell of 27 minutes reasonable, and the capacity jumps to 8tph.

Now, reduce the contingency slots to 2 per hour, and its half hour blocks of 9 slots each:
H1/C1/H2/C2/H3/C3/H4/C4/H5
C5/H6/C6/H7/C7/H8/C8/H9/C9

Get average platform dwell down to 16 min, which makes a maximum allowed dwell of 21 min reasonable, and then that fits the binding constraint in that one ...

:00 H1 => :24 H5

... if a 400 seat train can be reliably slotted into that position (Anaheim all-stations, say), then 9tph would become feasible.

10tph HSR is silly ... its a guarantee of persistent and repeated delays throughout the system for each and every unusual event at TBT. That's the train system I used when I rode down from Newcastle to Sydney, precisely because of fully built out underground train boxes, being stretched to maximum operating capacity with no contingencies, in their highest demand commuter destinations.

The delays ripple throughout the entire system, and those delays undermine ridership. Undermine ridership, you cut operating revenues. Cut operating revenues, you slow the build out of the whole system.

If the TBT authority is designing the minimum train-box they can to meet what they see as their local statutory obligations to have the SF HSR terminus at TBT, they have to spin the whole thing as hard and fast as they can to make it seem like they are offering a perfectly reasonable design and its CHSRA that is being unreasonable.

Clem said...

it would seem that the tail tracks would be of even greater priority for the Caltrain operations.

Since both Caltrain tracks are connected to the same single turnout in the station throat, shuffling trains from one platform track to the other (via the tail tracks) does nothing to increase train throughput.

Those tail tracks have no other function than parking trains during off-peak periods-- an awful expensive way to park trains when dead-head moves from the yard at 4th & King, using the oversized 3-track DTX tunnel, would do just fine.

The track layout of this station is a massive clusterfudge.

Anonymous said...

More on tail tracks.

My understanding was that a majorpurpose of the tail tracks was to have a place to put a train that wasn't working - with only 2 tracks, a train stuck in the station would be a major operational issue for Caltrain.

I'd suggest that someone get on the phone with Caltrain - get some details.

jim said...

The tail tracks need to loop back around all the way to the yard and station at 4th. If they did that then two would be fine. Trains can dwell for 10 minutes or even less, then move on for the next train to arrive be it hsr or caltrain. the simplest solution. why they did design it that way I don't know. all storage, lengthy dwells, any cleaning etc should all be done at 4th and the tbt should be there for trains to pass thru quickly- and continue through the loop to 4th where there is more capacity. this would solve the need for extra tracks or platforms.

jim said...

A deep bore from the yard at 4th under king then diagonally to main would be a better solution to keep trains moving thru and forward rathe than tail track and reversing operation which, no matter what, will create a a cluster*& no matter how advanced the operation are its just asking for trouble. how much would the longer bore cost versus the larger but still dead end train box? who designed this piece of crap anyway?

BruceMcF said...

Clem said...
"Since both Caltrain tracks are connected to the same single turnout in the station throat, shuffling trains from one platform track to the other (via the tail tracks) does nothing to increase train throughput."

No, what it allows is shuffling arrival/departure order of the physical trains themselves. For instance, its not uncommon for Express and Local trains to be different lengths, especially if they are running at the frequency where a local is passed at an Express station two or more times through the route, so that the local does substantial service as an Express collector and distributer.

Using a local as a collector for an express station down the line and a distributer from that station, it will arrive after the express it is collecting for and should leave before the express it is collecting for. If that is the same Express, it can go to the tail track while the local possesses the platform.

And of course, if there is a very strong directional peak, the tail tracks permit up to four consecutive arrivals or departures, without having to turn each around.

I don't know why they abandoned the loop-back option, but it is plausible that the eminent domain costs of the two additional turns looked too scary.

BruceMcF said...

jim said...
"A deep bore from the yard at 4th under king then diagonally to main would be a better solution to keep trains moving thru and forward rathe than tail track and reversing operation which, no matter what, will create a a cluster*& no matter how advanced the operation are its just asking for trouble."

Yes, but the TBT people obviously did not ask for a design to best keep trains moving, they asked for a design that would make the train-box cost numbers look prettier when giving powerpoint presentations.

And given the pile of red herring from what I believe was the TBT engineer, there's no indication that their thinking has shifted from that.

And, yes, they keep saying that they want to be the Grand Central Station of the West, but since they can't see their way clear to budgeting for the loop-backs which would be required for that, its just TradeMarkTalk, like "Fair and Balanced", or "ReducedSodium".

On the reversing at the tail tracks, the station is designed primarily as reversing terminal platforms for bi-directional trains. The tail tracks just shift the location of the reverse away from the passenger platform.

And with two tail tracks connected to two platform tracks, and the long HSR trains ruled off the tail tracks ... a crossover halfway down the tail track would give one direct slot to one platform track and two direct slots to the other ... either way ... with no crossing movements.

If Caltrain is being forced by the politics of it into supporting a two platform terminus, I can see the tail tracks being useful in coping with the mess.

jim said...

Statewide Project Overview PowerPoint 2009 Presentation.

there are some new extended videos here in this zip file from the hsr site.

jim said...

here http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/images/chsr/20090320124916_StatewidePresentation.pdf

jim said...

Shouldn't the state step in and force tbt caltrain and hsr to cooperate and coordinate on the entire project instead of having three different agencies using different sausage recipes? This is exactly why europe, especially france, is so far ahead of us in high speed rail, nuclear power, and infrastructure in general. they have centralized state control which translates into, getting the job done rather than fcking around. I'm sick to death of it.

jim said...

I hope they politicians involved read this blog because I'd love to say them, "pull your heads out of your asses and do your job"

Anonymous said...

Jim-

If you followed the actual CHSRA, you'd find that they've signed the MOU with the TJPA and a MOU with the Caltrain JPB has approval of an MOU with CHSRA on the agenda for their next meeting. Both MOUs are on the CHSRA site, in the file for the March Board meeting.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF, Clem, jim -

who designed this piece of crap anyway?

Probably a committee :^)

Let's go through the scenario of a loop track:

a) trains enter a two-track DTX tunnel at 4th & King, right next to Townsend. This tunnel continues under Townsend and hooks a left at 3rd (not 2nd!). This is a big deal because of MOMA, but it should be possible to skirt that building.

b) the single inbound track hooks a right at 3rd and Folsom and loops around to enter the trainbox from the east.

c) a sequence of points is used to direct each train to the desired platform track. All six are full-length and straight thanks to the move over to 3rd St.

d) a second sequence of points merges all traffic into a single outbound track under Natoma St, hooking a left onto 3rd Street.

e) the outbound track runs out to 4th & King next to the inbound one south of 3rd and Folsom.

Consequence: six run-through tracks. With proper signaling, 2.5 minute headways should be possible (i.e. 24tph total). In practice, no more than 18-20tph capacity would ever be used, on account of the brittle logistics that Bruce elaborated on.

Overflow parking for both services ought to be at grade in the Brisbane yard, but someone would have to buy that first.

Future expansion option: additional platform tracks could be added at a later date between Folsom and Clementina, avoiding the supports for the freeway on- and off-ramps. The underground concourse level of this "auxiliary terminal" would be connected to the main one via underground pedestrian passage(s) featuring moving walkways.

Final note: a loop track would also be possible if the approach to SFTT would be under Embarcadero and Main instead of Townsend and 3rd. Some tracks would be curved, though. Also, Embarcadero was eliminated from consideration because of disruption to Muni Subway, the ball park, resident NIMBYs and especially, the proximity to the water.

See this historical map of creeks and landfill to get an idea of why the geology south of Market is such a nightmare for tunnel construction. The map also shows the historical railroad rights of way, two of which are in use for Caltrain and BART today.

Of course, none of this discussion would be necessary if SF had started with the least flexible parts of the transit infrastructure (the five rail-based services) and connected them in a Central Station at Market and 7th. Instead, it started with a seismically dodgy bus terminal currently served by exactly zero rail services.

BruceMcF said...

jim said...
"Shouldn't the state step in and force tbt caltrain and hsr to cooperate and coordinate on the entire project instead of having three different agencies using different sausage recipes?"

That hits the nail on the head.

That's why Ohio merged its different state rail authorities into the Ohio Rail Development Commission ... High Speed Rail and freight improvements and train crossing improvements are three strongly inter-dependent problems, and having one authority with an incentive to get workable solutions hammered out is vital, given that our state pollies are no better than your state pollies.

But I guess standing on the sidelines and being able to say, "I called for more accountability, see what happens when I am ignored" is safer for a state pollie than getting in there and hammering heads together.

And when there does not seem to be any main institutional participant whose motivation to hammer out a workable design is stronger than their motivation to play "hot potato" with the funding responsibility ...

... a failure of your state pollies to do their job intelligently is an even more serious problem.

jim said...

California is too large to be run the way it is being run. We are pushing 40 million in population and our economy is larger than many nations'.

"California's Global Economy
In 2007, California's total GSP was $1.8 trillion as compared to the United States with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of $13.7 trillion.
California's GSP ranks it as the 8th largest economy in the world, following the United States ($13.8 trillion), Japan ($4.3 trillion), Germany ($3.3 trillion), China ($3.28 trillion), United Kingdom ($2.7 trillion), France ($2.6 trillion), and Italy ($2.1 trillion).
Major industrial economies smaller than California's include Spain ($1.4 trillion), Canada ($1.33 trillion), and Brazil ($1.31 trillion)." ANd we have a movie star for a governor and a bunch of dumbasses are representatives.

jim said...

what is an MOU?

jim said...

well could shoulda woulda--- concerning 7th street... you know recently the entrie block of 7th/8th/market/ has three huge projects, the soma brand, the fed building, and the new 2000 unit trinity plaza mixed use currently under construction. HAd there been some vision they could have built a large underground terminus on the block, sold the air rights for these three projects, had the fed building and two major mixed use residential towers on top and I would have had hsr in my basement. but of course they didn't ask me.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF, jim -

at the state level, California is totally dysfunctional because of the 2/3 rule on the budget. No-one trusts state pols to do much of anything, that's why cities and counties are so powerful in the state. This isn't Ohio, let along France.

Ironically, the reason California even has ballot propositions that tie down 80% of discretionary spending at the state level is that Southern Pacific was so powerful until the constitution was amended in 1911. Union Pacific merged with SP in the 1990s.

BruceMcF said...

@ Rafeal, on this ... "The curved HSR platforms would need retractable elements at either end to bridge the gap between doors and curb required to accommodate the fact that train cars have finite length and are straight."

I've caught and alighted from trains at curved platforms, and there weren't any retractable elements. However, the tighter the curve radius, the bigger the gap, and these were all much milder curves than the kind required to make those hard right turns and keep as much of the cut and cover demolition to property that the TBT authority wants to demolish anyway ...

... it seems to me that the TBT authority might be understood as a redevelopment agency that's using a multi-model transit center as their "hook", both to attract private developers and to attract public funds. From that perspective, the lowest cost design to meet minimal requirements would at first glance make all the sense in the world right now. It obviously won't in a decade, when non-petroleum powered transport access will zoom up in developer priorities, but its in the here and now that they are chasing up funds.

jim said...

project at 7th/8th http://picasaweb.google.com/jtatarazuk/UntitledAlbum#

Rafael said...

@ jim -

MOU = memorandum of understanding, a prequel to a formal contract

As for 7th & Market, you're still making the mistake of arguing about real estate values first. Buildings come and go. Rails are (almost) forever, just like roads.

Therefore, it ought not to matter one whit what buildings happen to be in the way of constructing a Central Station - the money saved on tunneling buys a lot of eminent domain. In practice, it does because all politics is local. You argue that the state should take charge of integrated planning yet get squeamish when that could impact your personal neighborhood.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

got it in one. The whole thing is a real estate deal first and transportation hub second. That's why the design is so compromised for all five rail services (HSR, Caltrain, BART, Muni Subway, Muni streetcars). The multimodal hub is a great idea in the wrong place.

@ jim -

yes, there's a big new shiny building at 7th & 8th. Tearing it down would be too bad, but it's not as if the DTX tunnel into the Transbay Terminal as planned now will not require any eminent domain and demolition of building, e.g. near 2nd and Townsend. You can't make an omelet without breaking any eggs.

Rail first, buildings second.

jim said...

1) california should secede.
2) counties should be eliminated.
3) ALL currently operating local,and statewide agencies should be abolished.
4) Only five departments should exist.
a) Department Of Schools (lower and higher education)
b) Department Of Energy (one statewide public power entity)
c) Department of Health ( single payer health care and services)
d) Department of Highways ( roads bridges registration and license)
e) Department of Transit ( one operator for all public transit in the state.

Everything else, commerce, tourism, etc, the private sector can establish and pay for.
No local representation except within cities.
One governor and his appointees to the above agencies.

then we could get on with it.

jim said...

@rafael I was arguing that they should ahve used 7th - and I would love to have it here. the problem is they just built BRAND new huge projects here and had they thought ahead they could have INTEGRATED with these projects to benefit everyone. I don't have a problem with eminent domain, but now its too late. you can't tear down 3 multi million dollar projects that were just constructed a few minutes ago.

jim said...

I would have loved to hsr in my basement.

jim said...

Even France isn't going to tear down a brand new federal building as soon as its finished.

jim said...

http://www.alternet.org/story/14531 --how we could get things done

Jack said...

I'm a homeowner in Sunnyvale near the Mary crossing, so I'll definitely go to tomorrow's scoping meeting to ask for clarification on the crossings for Sunnyvale. If there are any other questions people want to ask I can bring those questions to the meeting.

I firmly believe that Sunnyvale will be a big supporter of HSR, since the ROW is very wide here, and Evelyn separates the residential area on the south side. I think north side is mostly trailer parks and commercial buildings.

Bay Area Resident said...

political_i, those enclosed tracks won't work on the peninsula because the ROW is too narrow. There is no room for a huge tunnel and besides you run up against the same argument as the above ground embankment- this huge overhead structure looming over the area of single family homes and schools. The noise factor would be improved though so if there is a way to ram these in, if its a question of ugly enclosure vs ugly embankment, I'd go for the enclosure- if it fits.

jim- regarding TBT HSR volume, you are correct, this game playing by HSR has to stop. This 12 trains per hour is affecting other issues such as the community groups. Had they come out and said ONE TRAIN PER HOUR, which is probably about right- Palo Alto would seem much more unreasonable. But 12 high speed trains per hour through residential neighborhoods and schools? Not going to happen. Poor management at HSR.

Bay Area Resident said...

MOU = memorandum of understanding (between 2 parties)

Rafael said...

@ BAR -

75' should be enough to fit four tracks and an enclosure, though it would be tight. That's why I suggested using encased I-beams instead for regular rebar and keeping the roof light by vaulting it.

It's possible that interior columns might be needed to stay within the permitted width. Note that at Satolas, that central tunnel supports something like 80% of the weight of the roof, which spans 6 tracks plus two wide island platforms.

In the peninsula, the walls and columns could be a good deal less massive. The open spaces in the latticework of the sides would have to be filled up for noise mitigation, glass panes with flexible connections to the concrete would do the trick.

Concrete can be given maintenance-free color by mixing in some dye, the cost is very low and yellow or brown looks nicer than grey. In addition, trellises attached to the latticework would give climbing plants a chance to soften the look over time.

But I agree with you that an enclosure would still be a structure two stories high at the sides and three in the middle. However, it would at least be see-through. Tunnel construction would require the sale of air rights above the ROW to developers, so you'd end up with more solid structures of the same or greater height instead.

---

With regard to trains per hour (always each way): HSR might only run one or two at first, but that would ramp up to six or more during two three-hour peak periods on weekdays by 2030. The calculation is complicated by the assumption of as many as 8 service levels, which seems unrealistic. In any case, blogger DoDo over at the European Tribune analyzed the numbers and came up with a peak of 8tph in a two-hour window. In the absence of an actual timetable, 6-8tph is probably a fair indication of the uncertainty.

Of those 6-8, about half would be express trains without a mid-peninsula stop. In addition, there would be up to 10tph from Caltrain, but those will be slower and much quieter than today.

Morshed's gambit of insisting on 12tph for HSR alone into the SFTT makes no sense and appears to have backfired. If/when HSR becomes that popular, it will make sense to terminate some trains in San Jose or even to construct a spur up to Oakland.

However, assuming that HSR will only ever run one train per hour down the peninsula is also unrealistic. Traffic volume will ramp up in the first five years or so.

At some point, both HSR and Caltrain operators will start to run really long trains and/or switch to bi-level rolling stock rather than push the number of trains per hour ever higher, because extremely short headways make it hard to recover from off-design events such as unexpected delays.

BruceMcF said...

Rafeal: "Consequence: six run-through tracks. With proper signaling, 2.5 minute headways should be possible"

There is a substantial step forward in this in system flexibility ... any open platform can be filled from any slot in the access track, any platform can be used to feed any slot in the egress track.

I just wonder, if San Francisco is pressing ahead with trying to grab HSR money for the TBT to build the train box, whether there is the time to break the envelope of the design to that extent.

"With regard to trains per hour (always each way): HSR might only run one or two at first, but that would ramp up to six or more during two three-hour peak periods on weekdays by 2030. The calculation is complicated by the assumption of as many as 8 service levels, which seems unrealistic. In any case, blogger DoDo over at the European Tribune analyzed the numbers and came up with a peak of 8tph in a two-hour window. In the absence of an actual timetable, 6-8tph is probably a fair indication of the uncertainty."

DoDo also noted that the HSR schedule is more like the scheduling of the French TGV, while the type of schedule I sketched out is more like the scheduling of the Spanish AVE.

A design that can build out to 8tph HSR would be a narrower two-deck train box, with two side platforms and an island per level. That would nestle in between the outer support columns of the main TBT building, and so ought to be substantially cheaper than a six island two deck train-box.

Alon Levy said...

Bruce: what schedules are you talking about? I'm not even sure how TGV and AVE schedules look - I've only been able to find Shinkansen schedules.

BruceMcF said...

I'm reporting what DoDo said ... he works in rail in Hungary, so he's ridden on the AVE and TGV and ICE.

I don't know where a printed timetable is for the AVE, but here is a search on their online site for Madrid/Barcelona Monday 6 April. As you can see (from the arrival time), during the peak morning (7:30am to 9:30am) and evening (3:30pm to 7:30pm) intercity travel periods, there is an Express and a Local ... and they have a memory timetable on departures from Madrid to Barcelona.

Interesting that the last AVE arrives at 11:30pm, and the next service is the regular rail overnight sleeper, with a bunk on the sleeper substantially cheaper than a tourist class seat on the AVE.