Monday, May 4, 2009

HSR Phase One Yards

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

8 May 2009: In response to a complaint regarding slow downloads of the home page, I've modified this post such that previously embedded videos and maps are now hyperlinks. My apologies for any inconvenience this causes.



by Rafael

While there has been a lot of debate about the route CHSRA prefers and the throughput issues of San Francisco's new Transbay Terminal Center, the issue of maintenance and overnight storage of high speed trains has not received as much attention. However, given the distance between the end points of the starter line for the California network, the success of the service absolutely depends on having enough trains on hand to support operations in the first hours of each day, until the first trains from the other end arrive and are turned around.

Castle Airport: Primary Maintenance Hub

The starter line will be between San Francisco, Los Angeles and Anaheim. AB3034 doesn't explicitly mention San Jose, but the primary reason Pacheco Pass was selected was to ensure that all trains would pass through South City's Diridon station. In addition, phase I will include the wye at Chowchilla and spur up to Merced.

There's been talk of siting the primary maintenance hub at the nearby but underutilized Castle Airport (formerly Castle AFB), which is adjacent to the BNSF right of way. CHSRA wants to prioritize the construction of a test track in the Central Valley, both to help FRA draw up a "rule of special applicability" to enable operations of non-compliant equipment at 220mph and, to help narrow down the list of track and train technology vendors.

So far, CHSRA is holding out for UPRR to cede part of its ROW along CA-99 through Fresno and up to Sacramento to obtain a straight alignment and access to downtown areas, but it's an open secret that rival BNSF has been much more receptive to overtures from the Authority. If CHSRA ends up sticking with BNSF from Bakersfield all the way to Modesto, it would be possible to site the Merced county HSR station at Castle Airport and implement a bypass around the town.

HSR Phase One Yards: Castle Airport

Unfortunately, Merced county lacks a major population center. Without any commercial flights (high speed cargo and/or passenger), an HSR station at the airport would struggle to attract enough ridership to justify running more than a a small number of trains per day to SF or LA/Anaheim in phase 1. That means early construction of a spur up to Castle Airport would primarily be for testing and maintenance. A secondary objective would be a show of good faith that the planned extension to downtown Sacramento really will be built in phase 2.

Here are a couple of videos showing SNCF's and JR's maintenance yards in Villeneuve (near Paris) and Tokyo, respectively. The equipment required depends on the train technology selected. Note that JR has special "Dr. Yellow" trains that measure track geometry, the condition of the overhead catenary system and verify signaling performance while running at 270km/h (approx. 170mph).
Overnight Parking: Northern California

In addition, it's common for railroads to operate yards for overnight storage and at least minor maintenance (incl. thorough cleaning and provisioning) near both ends of major lines because that where trains naturally end up at the end of the day. In the specific case of the starter line for California's system, that means San Francisco and Anaheim, but throughput constraints on the Fullerton-Anaheim section mean that many trains will have to terminate in Los Angeles instead.

Considering that non-stop express runs between SF and LA are expected to take 2h38m, it seems reasonable to say that the first three hours of operation on weekdays have to be supported by trainsets that were parked overnight. Businessmen and tourists looking to make day trips between these cities will likely generate above-average demand for express service in the early morning (departure 6-9am) and afternoon (departure 3-6pm), with additional demand for red-eye service in the evening (departure 8-9pm). CHSRA's target is to build an infrastructure with sufficient capacity to last for 50, perhaps 100 years. Inevitably, that means planning for ridership levels well beyond anything that can be achieved in the first decade of operations.

In particular, CHSRA insisted that it needs capacity to run 12 trains per hour (tph) each way through the new Transbay Terminal (TBT) in San Francisco. The issue was discussed extensively on this blog, leading to these general conclusions:
  • SF wants to stick with the current, imperfect design to secure a slice of the HSR funds in the ARRA (aka H.R. 1-111th aka the stimulus bill).

  • HSR trains can be actually turned around in less than 10 minutes, provided the TBT is considered a terminal station on a route that nominally begins and ends in Southern California, rather than an old-fashioned "Grand Central of the West" terminus station. Unlike steam and diesel locomotives, EMU trains do not need to be reprovisioned with fuel and water, nor do they need to be brought up to operating temperature before departure.

  • the station throat and tunnel can be improved with relatively minor modifications, there is no need for a radically different solution. Given that Caltrain will also heavily use the TBT, headways inside the tunnel for both services combined could be as short as 3 minutes during peak periods such as morning rush hour. That implies a combined total of 20tph, though such a schedule would leave little room for recovering from a delay caused by an off-design condition.

  • given the long walk to the nearest BART station, there is considerable doubt that the TBT could attract enough HSR ridership to justify operating 12tph. For long-term capacity planning purposes, a target of 8-10 HSR trains per hour (each way) was suggested, especially in light of the fact that HSR trains are up to 1320 feet (400m) long and that bi-level rolling stock officially rated at 200mph has been in commercial operation in France since 1996. Each full-length TGV Duplex offers 1090 seats, about 8-9 times the number on the Boeing 737s operated by Southwest Airlines. It will be a while before duplex HSR trains are needed in California.

  • if need be, some northbound trains could terminate in Millbrae or else in San Jose and return south the next morning, without ever having reached the TBT.
The TBT itself will feature six full-length platforms, of which four are supposed to be reserved for HSR trains. This hard allocation relates primarily to differences in platform height, an issue the two operators ought to resolve by seeking the requisite waiver from CPUC. As things stand, this would imply the ability to store four full-length trains overnight at the downtown station.

Assuming a frequency of 10tph for the first 3 hours of each weekday and, that each train could one day be a full-length assembly of two trainsets, that implies a need for a yard near SF with space for at least 26 full-length trains - preferably 28 so one can be a spare while another undergoes maintenance. Caltrain's 4th & King station does not have enough capacity and anyhow none to spare.

There simply aren't that many locations where so many full-length trains could possibly be stored and secured near SF, so it makes sense to buy the land now to avoid a capacity bottleneck down the road. One obvious option is the huge old SP yard at Bayshore (h/t to Clem), which is undeveloped but part of a development project (h/t to DaveO) that does not yet account for HSR. The location is still being decontaminated but actually has space for at least 50 full-length trains. Part of the area could be used to store Caltrain equipment or, as a transshipment facility for High Speed Cargo. All this is assuming the City of Brisbane is interested in once again hosting a rail yard, perhaps with development of the airspace above.

A big issue is that CHSRA currently intends to switch from the inside tracks south of Bayshore to the outside tracks north of it because of the four Caltrain tunnels. However, accommodating UPRR may yet force CHSRA to switch to the two western tracks instead - the issue of track assignments along the Caltrain ROW is fundamental but not yet resolved.

HSR Phase One Yards: Bayshore yard

A second-best alternative to a Bayshore yard might be found in the relatively undeveloped southern part of Mission Bay.

Either way, HSR trains could make the short run from the yard to the TBT in the morning (and vice versa at night) or else, some trains could make Millbrae/SFO their first stop of the day. While CHSRA is pessimistic about boardings/alightings at that station, a number of commenters have pointed out that it would be cheaper to build and use multi-story car parks there than in downtown SF once the area around the TBT is converted into a transit-oriented district. In addition to customers hailing from the north peninsula and central East Bay, residents of western SF may well prefer to ride BART out to Millbrae rather than board at the TBT.

If San Jose Diridon is expanded to two levels, there should be space for an additional 4-6 full-length trains there. The Merced county maintenance facility could easily contribute another 12. All in all, Northern California would have more than enough overnight parking, maintenance and HSC capacity if CHSRA acquires the Bayshore yard. It should not matter that BART will usurp the entire Newhall yard in Santa Clara.

Overnight Parking: Southern California

The number of trains traveling north between 6 and 9am need not be the same as the number traveling south. Over the course of a staggered 15-hour day, any train can comfortably travel twice in each direction, such that it would always be parked overnight in the same yard. That means the division of trainsets between northern and southern California can be based on passenger demand during the peak periods. It also means crews can be operated in two shifts of 7.5 hours each. Depending on the contract, weekend and holiday service could be implemented via a scheduled 45-hour six-day work week and a total of six weeks paid vacation per year.

In the absence of directional ridership data, I will assume a requirement to operate 10 tph out of LA and Anaheim combined to SF during the morning peak period, which spans 3 hours in LA but 3h30m in Anaheim, incl. a 10 min layover at Union Station. LA Union Station will feature a second level with perhaps six full-length platform tracks for HSR plus run-through tracks on aerials. Anaheim ARTIC will have room for perhaps four full-length platform tracks. That means one or more yards for an additional 21+2 full-length parking spaces may be needed.

One option would be a new yard just west of ARTIC in a utility ROW between I-5 and South Claudina Way, sufficient for 13 tracks in addition to the electricity pylons and telephone poles already present. Normally, trains would only use the turnoff toward ARTIC. Note the brown line representing a potential extension of the Metrolink network in Orange County, linking LA US, Long Beach airport, Disneyland, ARTIC and John Wayne Airport (zoom out to see the route). Some tunnel sections would be involved, in those the locomotives should switch to third rail electric power (e.g. 1500VDC).

HSR Phase One Yards: Anaheim

However, note that the Fullerton-Anaheim section will be dual track and limited to about 3 HSR trains per hour. That means only 7+2=9 slots will actually be needed, leaving plenty of room for the utility poles and pylons plus two potential Metrolink tracks.

That implies a further 14 spaces would be needed in Los Angeles. One option would be a second level above the Metrolink yard at South Santa Fe, just south of Union Station. This could actually accommodate up to 16 full-length trains.

HSR Phase One Yards: South Santa Fe

The snag is that an elevated yard would be very expensive to construct. A better option may be an at-grade yard north of LA Union Station, next to North San Fernando Rd. It may be possible to park 14 full-length trains in that triangular patch of land.

HSR Phase One Yards: North San Fernando

An additional issue is that there will be local HSR trains within Southern California once the phase 2 spur to San Diego is built, so additional yard space will be needed. Palmdale airport would be a good candidate, especially if a new passenger terminal with an integrated HSR station is constructed approximately half-way in-between Palmdale and Lancaster. It should be easy enough to design platform + storage tracks for e.g. 20 full-length trains at this new transportation hub. In practice, fewer may be needed, this depends in part on if and how CHSRA and DesertXPress choose to integrate their services.

HSR Phase One Yards: Palmdale

Conclusions

Finding adequate yard space for Phase 1 looks feasible, though there are constraints in both Los Angeles and Anaheim. However, CHSRA doesn't have a whole lot of viable options if it wants to keep the total number of yards manageable. That means it should purchase the Bayshore yard near San Francisco plus land for a new North San Fernando yard and a third near South Claudina Way in Anaheim sooner rather than later.

Yard space at Castle and Palmdale airports should be cheap and plentiful, but its unclear how useful that would be early on. There are currently no firm plans to build a new passenger terminal with integrated HSR station at either one, though LAWA is on the hook to some extent because it used its influence to ensure the route would run past Palmdale rather than across the geologically more challenging Grapevine. Developing the currently-defunct Palmdale airport into a facility that attracts large numbers of passengers and airlines depends critically on a sound development plan. Right now, LAWA is looking at using part of the land for a solar thermal power plant, which could potentially cause glare problems. There are also plans to develop the Antelope Valley, i.e. north-east LA county, via conventional low-rise sprawl rather than transit-oriented high rise towers that are more easily cooled and supplied with non-potable recycled water in addition to a constrained supply of potable water.

38 comments:

jwb said...

Why can't they overnight trainsets south of San Jose, perhaps near Gilroy? Their first run of the day can be a short early-bird commuter service to SF, then they can get turned around and make the first run to LA. There doesn't seem to be any convincing reason why these trains have to stay overnight in or even near SF. If stored south of San Jose, their first run could be a revenue run (albeit a short one) rather than a useless Bayshort-to-Transbay run.

Robert said...

I sincerely hope the nice folks at CHSRA are reading this blog!

Rafael said...

@ jwb -

a yard in Gilroy or Hollister would indeed be a possibility and serve northbound commuters during morning rush hour. It's something I advocate a few days ago in the context of a Caltrain-branded regional HiSpeed service. CHSRA is planning to run a few early morning trains out of Merced to SF to provide service for long-distance commuters.

In the context of long-distance HSR, the morning trains southbound would need to run as express trains to SoCal, i.e. stop only in San Jose, Los Angeles and optionally, in Anaheim. There is limited space for overnight parking in both LA and Anaheim, so it's important that the first train out of SF can be turned around once the yards there are empty.

The Bayshore yard is relatively convenient in that trains arriving in SF in the late evening don't need to be run nearly empty all the way out to Gilroy or Merced. There are a few miles of non-revenue service, but in the context of the system as a whole that's peanuts.

Note that not all trains out of the SF area would need to depart from the TBT. Some could run south from the Bayshore yard and make their first stop at Millbrae, then SJ, LA and optionally, Anaheim. Likewise, some late evening trains could terminate revenue service at Millbrae before parking at the yard. This arrangement would allow for slightly longer headways through the TBT tunnel.

Rafael said...

@ Robert -

both Robert Cruickshank and I have on occasion been in touch with CHSRA and some of their consultants.

My objective here was simply to point out that overnight parking needs to be part and parcel of ROW acquisition and operations planning.

DaveO said...

The Bayshore land is the focus of the Brisbane Baylands development project. I doubt Brisbane will allow their use as a rail yard.

TomW said...

There is a general point that it is only desriable to have storage near the termini, but essential. The trains could be are tored 50 or even 100 miles away (still less than 30 mins, remember) - it would just mean there would be empty stock movements at the start and end of the day.

lyqwyd said...

Great post Rafael, definitely food for thought!

Robert said...

@ Rafael -

Glad to know you are talking to CHSRA. My point (as I'm sure you got) is that you are raising issues thoughtfully, and proposing solutions comprehensively. They're getting free consulting and they should be taking it into account!

Rafael said...

@ DaveO -

well, all the more reason for CHSRA to give real estate acquisition for rail yards higher priority!

Fwiw, it might be possible to develop the air rights above a yard at Bayshore.

In principle, the south side of Mission Bay might be an alternate location for an HSR yard.

Alon Levy said...

Rafael, I don't see any need for huge yards here. The Tokaido Shinkansen, I believe, makes do with just 6 tracks in Tokyo and 8 in Osaka.

The idea of storing trains in various stations along the route looks sound to me. CAHSR will likely need way more than 26 trains - at 8 tph, and a 6-hour roundtrip, 48 is the bare minimum. Local trains, redundancy, shorter headways, and longer lines will likely push this to beyond 100. There's no single yard anywhere that can store this many trains. It's perfectly legit to have a train or two whose home is Gilroy, a few trains whose home is Bakersfield, and so on. The Merced spur will essentially act as an extra yard, too.

The main problem will not be where to store trains, but how to crew them. For trains that run from Anaheim to LA the total run-time is going to be between 3:15 and 3:50, depending on the number of stops. Double it and add a few minutes' turnaround time, and you get a reasonable shift length. However, for other patterns you start getting problems - for example, what to do with trains that go from Gilroy to SF in the morning, then only go back to Gilroy in the afternoon or at night? With SF-LA there will be similar problems, especially on express runs. I'm sure JR has had to deal with the same problems, though - does anyone here know what they do about them?

Anonymous said...

Building the HSR over the existing LA Metro Red Line yard would be extremely difficult.

Adirondacker said...

A big issue is that CHSRA currently intends to switch from the inside tracks south of Bayshore to the outside tracks north of it because of the four Caltrain tunnels.

Why do they need more than two tracks north of Bayshore?

Some tunnel sections would be involved, in those the locomotives should switch to third rail electric power .

Why?

I'm sure JR has had to deal with the same problems, though - does anyone here know what they do about them?

Staffing a railroad is difficult but it's not something new. Dealing with where to base the crews and the trains won't be an excessively difficult problem. . . something that was figured out in 1850 or so.

arcady said...

The yard south of LA Union Station that Rafael identified is actually not the Red Line yard, but rather a BNSF freight yard located between the Red Line yard and Metrolink tracks. It doesn't seem like the BNSF uses it all that much, it's mostly what it looks like on the satellite map: empty container cars. The location would be very convenient to Union Station, already has 5 tracks, and the tracks are very long (at least 7000 feet), although they might be shortened when the run-through tracks are built. It seems like a reasonable enough location on the LA end, although there are plenty of other possibilities, including sharing Metrolink's Taylor Yard, which is practically empty at night (since all the trains are on the outer ends of the lines). On the SF end, Bayshore and 4th/King seem like reasonable options. And if they ever really do get to the point of running 12 tph north from LA, keep in mind that some of that will be going to Sacramento, some might terminate in San Jose (while SF-bound trains skip SJ), and the line will be so wildly successful that they'll have an extension to the East Bay too.

Alon Levy said...

Arcady: so far there's no plan for bypass tracks at SJ. So it's unlikely any train headed for the Bay will skip SJ, even if some trains do terminate there (on what special terminal track?) or head to the East Bay.

Eric said...

The yard south of LA Union Station that Rafael identified is actually not the Red Line yard, but rather a BNSF freight yard located between the Red Line yard and Metrolink tracks. It doesn't seem like the BNSF uses it all that much, it's mostly what it looks like on the satellite map: empty container cars.BNSF uses it to stash empty container trains needed for surges in traffic from the port of LA - as such it's surprisingly crowded at times. I doubt they'd be particularly willing to give it up, although it's so long that even one track could store several high-speed trains.

Clem said...

Have you looked at Caltrain's grand plans for the San Jose area? I wonder how all that would fit together with HSR. Somebody should do a blog post ;-)

Brandon in San Diego said...

Don't let the tail wag the dog.

Location of maintenance and storage yards should not influence intended service levels. Their location should compliment and follow planned services and service levels.

That said, it is not really necessary to have a maintenance yard in the immediate vicinity of a hub or terminal station. Short out-service trips are minor in their occurrence and should not consume great resources... or substantial track time.

Like my thoughts on serving airports, if a yard location is conveniently located near a terminal station... certainly place a yard there. If not, a location within 20-50 miles does not seem unreasonable. If it's far... turn non-service trips between the two into service for and maybe create some ridership.

As for Los Angeles, it seems any area of sufficient size and near the tracks between Anaheim and Union Station should suffice. Or, something in the San Fernando Valley. If the SD leg were on the table... I'd suggest a location near Ontario.

For San Diego, I believe a maintenance and storage yard was identified in CHSRA documents somewhere near Miramar Road or Escondido. The nearest to downtown San Diego, which is the southernmost terminus, was 20-40 miles away.

As for San Francisco, it seems the Bayshore location would be within an area capable of being submerged due to rising sea levels. I'd avoid that location... Jerry Brown is certain to point that one out!

Rafael,
The alignment you placed south of LA Union Station and getting back to the area near the river... that seems like an advancement relative to a post you made 1-2 months ago. This one is more palatable.

Although, I understand the bridges are a sensative issue to Los Angeles. I don't understand it, but even though they are in an incredibly ugly area (note the massive power lines), they are supposedly historic and valued for views. Those bridges are additionally in a lot of hollywood shows and movies. Preservation of the views atop those bridges will likely want to be preserved... and I should think that getting HSR over the 1 street bridge would not be permitted. I suspect going under the bridge is. Or, keeping the HSR alignment away from the river until it is south of the 4th and 7th Street bridges if possible.

The yard south of LA Union Station is actually both the MTA Red Line yard and BNSF tracks. Regardless of either, I cannot imagine sufficient length for 1,400-foot trains is possible assuming an approach and departure needs to originate from beneath the bridges on each end due to vertical curves.

Also, look at MTA website... they have a project looking at using those tracks; the Harbor Subdivision. Metrolink/Amtrak is also in the ROW.

BruceMcF said...

OK, suppose trains hit tracks at 0600.

According to the rough estimates of times on the CHSRA Hypothetical, Gilroy/SF is app. 45 minutes.

Merced/Gilroy is app. 35 minutes, Merced/Fresno/Gilroy is 60 minutes, Palmdale/Fresno/Gilroy is 95 minutes. LA-US Gilroy is 120 minutes. So if there is "ample stabling" at Merced and Palmdale, there is no real constraint on bringing trains northbound through Gilroy from 0635 on. Bakersfield/Fresno/Gilroy is 70 minutes, so even easier if the "ample stabling" is at Merced and Bakersfield.

Capacity near Gilroy for 4-5 trains would cover from 0600 to 0630, if the first northbound train comes through at 0635.

If 4 trains are stabled at the TBT, that would mean stabling for 4-6 trains is required somewhere nearby, to cover the time between the departure of the overnight trains and the arrival of the first trains from Gilroy.

Peter said...

Sorry, but off topic here.

NYTimes has an interesting piece on Ray LaHood, and how he was basically picked for political reasons. However it does have these 2 bits:

But one of the astonishing things about Mr. LaHood, 63, is how limited his transportation résumé is, how little excitement he exudes on the subject (other than about high-speed rail) and how little he seems to care who knows it.

Mr. LaHood describes himself as highly interested about issues relating to high-speed rail, and he has been a cheerleader for the administration’s “green” transportation initiatives, like bicycle paths and streetcars.

jim said...

Its not a long walk from the transbay terminal to the bart station.

jim said...

Can they keep two trains at the tbt platform and a coulple more on the tail tracks. and a couple at the existing 4th street yards. That makes 6 to start with... 6a 630a 7a 730a 8a 830a by 830a the trains from LA are arriving and can be turned. Then add two departures that originate at SJC to go south and maybe one or two from SJC to TBT 6a 7a to adds turns. and then by the time we need more AM departures than every 30 minutes, the SAC-MCD phase will be complete and we'll have additional arrivals to turn south. SAC-MCD-SJC-SFC-LAX-ANA- on antoher note - does anyone here read the Cali Rail News, I just read a copy at work today and I was shocked and dismayed by one article in particular that described a meeting in which bad behavior by members of the authority was so bad that if the general ( non train buff ) public got wind of it they'd repeal prop 1a. People are sick kof this kind of political horseshit. They need to get it together or be fired. They are operating without any impunity and the behavior is unacceptable, What I read was appalling.

jim said...

It was an article by a mr richard tolmach title-" kopp in firestorm with sf.." if its online somewhere it should be posted here.

Rafael said...

@ Adirondacker -

Why do they need more than two tracks north of Bayshore?In terms of throughput, the two serviced could share track since trains won't run at more than 100mph. Between tunnel 4 just north of the Caltrain Bayshore station and the Sierra Point curve south of the lagoon, the alignment is already quad-tracked to support baby bullet service.

The reasons the HSR planners are looking at quad tracking north of Bayshore are:

a) lack of an FRA ruling on mixed traffic. Caltrain doesn't have its waiver yet and CHSRA doesn't have its "rule of special applicability". Note that UPRR's South City Switcher do run through tunnel #4 before turning off to serve customers in the port of SF (in streetcar mode!)

b) Caltrain is contractually obliged to offer UPRR several 30-minute windows during which freight can be switched.

CHSRA's plans to switch from inside to outside tracks does essentially nothing to get it out of UPRR's hair: some freight trains would still need to somehow cross HSR tracks, which normally can't handle the high axle loads of US-style freight locomotives. UPRR has even asked for full grade separation of tracks it uses and those HSR trains run on - totally unnecessary with modern signaling and automatic train control, but UPRR is a super-crufty old railroad.

Some tunnel sections would be involved, in those the locomotives should switch to third rail electric power.

Why?
Air quality is a big issue in California, lots of people would avoid underground stations served by diesel trains.

It might be good enough to deploy EPA Tier 4 locomotive diesel engines that run on readily available ULSD and, to ventilate tunnels aggressively, but electrification would be the more elegant solution.

Rafael said...

@ Jim -

Richard Tolmach heads up a tiny non-profit called the California Rail Foundation. He teamed up with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Association and the Reason Foundation to lobby against prop 1A in November. Robert Cruickshank addressed Tolmach's position here and hereback in October.

For the most part, the beef these groups have is they're not the ones in charge of the California HSR project. They also oppose the Authority's decision in favor of Pacheco.

The article you refer to is
here. Consider the source, hardly a dispassionate neutral observer.

It's no secret that Kopp and Morshed are trying to get out from under the very expensive Transbay Terminal project, whose tunnel and throat layout are suboptimal. It's also no secret that Kopp wants all federal dollars for California HSR to go through him and him alone.

Indeed, their clumsy handling of relations with UPRR, with the TJPA and with communities in Silicon Valley has needlessly given succor to the opposition and, some of Rod Diridon's statements haven't exactly helped. The other members of the Authority appear to be a supporting cast at best, rarely speaking publicly on behalf of the planning body.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Robert at 5/4 1:57p
Your post appears at the top and I see it each time I reload this page.

To your comment, I suspect some involved do visit... at least for entertainment purposes. However, I also think they are weeks, if not months, ahead of the curve on topics discussed here and there is minor function or utility for them as the advance the project.... for the most part. Maybe tehy do gleam some insight here and there; howwever, I suspect it would be minor.

This site is probably a small double edged sword for them...on one side difusing a nimby or two, and on the other educating the opposition.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

the California Rail News web site offers the April 2009 issue in PDF format.

Topics:

- TRANSDEF lawsuit agianst MTC and SMCTA regarding Dumbarton rail vs. BART extension to Fremont Warm Springs (and ultimately, Santa Clara). Note that DRC has not yet obtained trackage rights from UPRR for the section between Newark and Union City.

- UPRR vs. CHSRA

- Congress vs. freight rail

- the Tolmach hit piece on Kopp's shortlist of shovel-ready projects

- stimulus-related projects incl. an HSR-related op-ed by Robert Cruickshank

- LA Metro plans incl. a new Rose (Crenshaw) and Harbor section for light rail, bypassing south central LA. One claim is a one-seat ride from LAX to downtown, leveraging the Expo aka Aqua alignment. This would imply LRT all the way to the terminals instead of a people mover cloodge to Century/Aviation. A direct single-seat connection between LAX and LA Union Station is not yet on the map.

- definition of "on-time performance"

- plug for CalRail2020 rail advocacy conference in Ventura, Nov 6-8.

BruceMcF said...

Rafael said...
"UPRR has even asked for full grade separation of tracks it uses and those HSR trains run on - totally unnecessary with modern signaling and automatic train control, but UPRR is a super-crufty old railroad."

This kind of inflated rhetoric is unlikely to help with knitting together a coalition in support of the California HSR projects.

UPRR has, of course, every right to insist that it can continue using the freight paths it has been using with the equipment it has been using to service the freight paths.

Indeed, when diesel hits $7.50/gallon, UPRR may be wanting to use additional freight paths into San Francisco, though it may be that the paths can be scheduled for late night hours.

BruceMcF said...

rafeal: "given the long walk to the nearest BART station, there is considerable doubt that the TBT could attract enough HSR ridership to justify operating 12tph. For long-term capacity planning purposes, a target of 8-10 HSR trains per hour (each way) was suggested ..."

My suggestion was 6tph with a contingency of 2tph, for a planned capacity of 8tph. I don't recall seeing the 8-10tph suggestion.

If 0600 to 0900 are seen as a peak, it seems as if 0600 to 0700 would be the shoulder and 0700 to 0900 would be the peak itself. That is, if the first train to leave, at 0600 on the dot, is the Express LA and San Diego, the driving market there is a pre-0900 arrival at LA-US. Even if the ordinary service pattern in peak is 2 express tph, it seems likely that 2tph would be 0700 to 0900. Similarly the Limited to Anaheim, which would follow. The all-stations to Anaheim would follow to open the network for the local-HSR stations in the Central Valley, but that would seem likely to only be selling tickets for some of its cars for the departure from San Francisco.

A Fresno special would originate in Fresno for a pre-0900 arrival, so that is in the 0800 to 0900 slot ... even if there is a symmetric "morning return" service out of the Bay, that'd be an 0700 to 0800 departure.

Richard's design for the 4th and Townsend underground station had stabling for four full trains to one side. That plus stabling on the four platforms would seem to be sufficient for the morning services in the time period before trains can arrive from short morning milk runs fed by Merced and Palmdale or, preferable, Bakersfield.

jim: "Can they keep two trains at the tbt platform and a couple more on the tail tracks. and a couple at the existing 4th street yards. That makes 6 to start with... 6a 630a 7a 730a 8a 830a by 830a the trains from LA are arriving and can be turned."

Note that the point of the post is making sure that the system is not boxed in with respect to building toward its full service schedule.

That is, land that is acquired for San Francisco stabling may not be required until Stage 2 or Stage 3 ... but the land and rail access should be nailed down early.

There are no tail tracks in the most recent TJPA plan, but OTOH, four platforms can stable four trains. And if there is a service center at Merced-Castle, four is ample for the start ... trains fed from Merced plus one at the northbound local platform at Gilroy.

As suggested above, eight might be sufficient for the long term, if there is a large pool capacity at Merced and Bakersfield, and capacity for a small number at Gilroy.

Adirondacker said...

lack of an FRA ruling on mixed traffic.

Get one.

In the dead of night when UP moves the one freight train through the tunnel they won't be running HSR service on the single track the freight train is on. Temporal separation works as well as physical separation.

Caltrain is contractually obliged to offer UPRR several 30-minute windows during which freight can be switched.

Which leaves the other track free for other trains. Or the other three tracks free for other trains south of Bayshore.

Air quality is a big issue in California, lots of people would avoid underground stations served by diesel trains.

Why would they build a tunnel for trains that are so infrequent it doesn't make sense to electrify them?
It hadn't even occurred to me that they would attempt diesel service.

but electrification would be the more elegant solution.


Lets see they are building hundreds of miles of electrification using catenary. Why would they use third rail on NEW part of the system.

jim said...

@rafael - well that puts into some perspective. I know that Rail News has its own opinions and biases too ( ive heard amtrak managers/marketing refer to them as trouble makers lol) So it appears that no onei s happy and none of can get the real story. I do wish someone besides Kopp was running this thing. He left a bad taste in mouth way back in the early hsr video when he said " this isn't the clunky old slow amtrak trains you used to seeing" Kopp is the only clunky old thing I see around here. get rid of him he's causing too many problems and that lette he wrote to feinsein behind everyone's back was out of line. he's got to go becuase he's going to jeopardize the integrety of the project.

Anonymous said...

I find the premise of the original post here odd. Does anyone else? We need to be pushing land acquisition first? Really? No business plan, no realistic understanding of ridership or required service levels, no understanding of legal rights to operate in the ROW we're choosing, or even the real final EIR'd ROW, no design, no decisions on equipment, no full and correct cost, no budget, no funding, no investors - not even an org chart to our name... But we need to hurry and go acquire land! This is fishy, and ought to raise some eyebrows - even for the MOST HSR loving SOBs out there. PARTICULARLY for them - do they know who, where why and how THEIR HSR funding is being spent - wisely? or squandered? Talk about precious resource - do they really believe in this Authority to do this right?

Based on the repeated drum beat to hurry up and use HSR funds to buy property - I venture to guess its NOT railroad industry consultants and engineering firms that are main beneficiaries and driving force behind the CHSRA.

jim said...

Well it makes sense to sevure land for ROW and Yards early while it's available and affordable and before the market goes back up and people find out they can gouge hsr later. I say buy it now. just what's needed. i would however like to hsr answer quesitons regarding specifics of the project and make some tangible decisions.

Rafael said...

@ Adirondacker -

Lets see they are building hundreds of miles of electrification using catenary. Why would they use third rail on NEW part of the system.I think you missed a crucial point here: these particular tunnels - under Disneyland, Long Beach airport and John Wayne airport - would be used for a new standard-speed regional Metrolink service, not HSR. Note that Metrolink currently has no such plans, I was just articulating a future possibility because it would affect the number of parking slots available in a new yard in Anaheim.

Like most California railroads, Metrolink currently uses dirty Tier 2 diesel locomotives running on fuel with a relatively high sulfur content. EPA requires that any locomotive diesel engines manufactured from 2015 on must meet Tier 4 emissions limits, which are 80-95% below those of Tier 2 (varies by controlled component).

For Metrolink, partial electrification via third rail would make sense because the relatively low voltage (1500VDC instead of 25kV AC) does not require a big honking transformer. It can be fed directly into the already present power electronics. Grade separation in tunnels is a non-issue, nor is restricting Metrolink trains to 79mph when they pass through them.

BruceMcF said...

Rafael said...
"For Metrolink, partial electrification via third rail would make sense because the relatively low voltage (1500VDC instead of 25kV AC) does not require a big honking transformer."

But if going for 1.5kVDC, when a later electrification would certainly be 25kVAC catenary ... why third rail? Why not 1.5kVDC catenary? Surely if you are boxing future EMU's on the line in wrt requiring dual voltage, there's no rationale for also boxing them in wrt requiring both third rail and catenary.

BruceMcF said...

Anony-mouse: "I find the premise of the original post here odd. Does anyone else? We need to be pushing land acquisition first? Really?"

Fishy to argue that its necessary to think through where space will be required for stabling, and when it is identified, the authority should acquire the land?

There're plenty of rail operators who wish someone had thought through acquiring stabling property in advance. In the Central Coast of NSW, all the stabling was at Gosford, at the southern end of the Central Coast, while many of the Central Coast services originate at Wyong, at the northern end, so early every morning and again in the afternoon there were empty trains running up the Coast to originate, and after the morning peak and evening and late night empty trains running back down to Gosford to stable.

When New South Wale's Cityrail decided to put in a new North Warnervale station with the northern Central Coast origin shifted to North Warnervale, they were sure to include stabling for Central Coast services originating in Wyong Shire, just beyond North Warnervale station.

Adirondacker said...

think you missed a crucial point here: these particular tunnels - under Disneyland, Long Beach airport and John Wayne airport - would be used for a new standard-speed regional Metrolink service, not HSR.

I understand it's a new service. I though I was being clear when I wrote "use third rail on NEW part of the system"
The lack of little station icons on the Google map gave that away. The weeds on the ROW, when I looked at it from the street view were a clue. The bits and pieces of missing track here and there too, through Disneyland for instance. And it sunk in when you wrote "extension of the Metrolink network". or the description when I clicked on the train icons along the brown line - "possible station for new Metrolink line"

I was just articulating a future possibility because it would affect the number of parking slots available in a new yard in Anaheim.

Where they will be installing catenary, a short distance away from the tunnel burrowed through Disneyland. I assumed they were going to install catenary in the yard. I suppose they could use diesels to haul them there and back to Union Station but a few miles of catenary draped over the storage yard seems reasonable.

There's plenty of power company ROW west of the proposed yard. Plenty of power company ROW east of the mainline for that matter.

Like most California railroads, Metrolink .... uses diesel locomotives...

All California railroads unless you count things like BART, Metro, Muni and all the other light rail lines. I didn't have any expectation that steam locomotives would come anywhere near any of this new stuff. Or cable cars or horsecars or pedicabs or cog locomotives... They would be spending lots and lots and lots of money to build new track and tunnels or open cuts or whatever. They wouldn't be doing this for two trains a day. The rest of the region is going to electrified at 25kV using catenary. Great big chunks of existing Metrolink service will be under catenary. At least I think that's a reasonable assumption, that they are going to electrify. At least through the yard that will be along the line. A short distance from the HSR station in Anaheim A short distance from the tunnel through Disneyland.

not require a big honking transformerThere's virtues to third rail and virtues to catenary systems. AC doesn't need big honking rectification plants every few miles. The region will be electrifying track using 25kV 60Hz catenary, why would they choose to install an incompatible power system?

It can be fed directly into the already present power electronics.

I assumed since they will be building tunnels and overpasses and all manner of very expensive architecture, moderately high ridership. In other words they are going to be adding services. Unless the all commuters on the line work odd shifts and or people get the urge to go to the airport in the dead of night that implies buying new ( or used ) equipment. . .. so they would be feeding power into to equipment they don't own yet. Equipment they haven't even specified yet.

They can spec out whatever they want. Since 25kV will be in use on other parts of the line, they could use something that is compatible with the rest of the system in the region.

But if going for 1.5kVDC, when a later electrification would certainly be 25kVAC catenary ... why third rail? Why not 1.5kVDC catenary?

Why not start out with 25kV? Anaheim will be electrified in phase I. There will be 25kV catenary just a few miles from the tunnel through Disneyland. To the west end of the yard he's proposing. Why would they bother to use anything but 25kV? It's not like they have 200 LIRR M7s laying around. Or Metra Electric has decided to dieselize.

I'd hazard a guess if Metrolink decided tomorrow that this plan should be built... there would be 25kV catenary to the west end of the HSR yard by the time they are turning dirt for the first tunnel. Then it'd only be a short stretch of new catenary to the tunnels through Disneyland.

Anonymous said...

The "Tokyo" video is actually from JR West's maintenance facility for the Sanyo Shinkansen in Fukuoka (Hakata), Kyushu. But JR Central's facility in Tokyo is similar.

neroden@gmail said...

"Some tunnel sections would be involved, in those the locomotives should switch to third rail electric power (e.g. 1500VDC)."

This sounds silly. Why not use overhead contact bar, like London's Crossrail is going to? Having to add an extra incompatible electrical supply system just for a few tunnels is really not a good idea, even though it's technically quite feasible; if you're building the system from scratch, there's no reason not to use 25kV AC overhead the entire way.