Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Open Thread

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

Have at it in the comments. Play nice. And anons, pick a username and stick with it. Rafael is working on some site upgrades. Once we nail down the site design, I think it will be time to explore different options for providing comments. Any thoughts on good services? (I can still remember when all you could do on Blogger for comments was use Haloscan. Those were the days...)

75 comments:

jim said...

Can you fix it so one must pick a username- no anon posts? Also more pics on the front page for color.

Matt said...

As I have stated before, most anon posts are trolls. It is worth the few good ones to cut out all anons. If someone has something important to say, they can take five minutes to register.

Jay said...

the only suggestion I have is to move this to your own hosting, that way(as far as I know, I have never used blogger) you will be in control of the database. Also this will allow you to choose which blogging soft to use and the mods, skins and what not.
I have a URL that I am willing to give you and help set everything up.

Eric M said...

I see State Sen. Alan Lowenthal is at it again!!

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/181/story/898438.html

I hope people see he is trying to cause mayhem to destroy the project

Alon Levy said...

Some anons are trolls, but many are not. Even some of the anons who are branded as trolls raise legitimate objections. The worst trolls here have names.

jim said...

That long beach guy is a pain. On my way to PA to ikea... will stop downtown to see what al the fuss is about. I'll expect to see rare and endangered species roaming around streets paved with silver and gold

traal said...

A good service should allow multiple comment threads. Having everything all in one thread makes it difficult to follow conversations.

I think Slashcode would be a good service. The self-moderation feature encourages people to post insightful comments, and trolls quickly get buried.

good for lowenthal said...

Senator Lowenthal and only a very few others, are tying to keep Kopp and company from just throwing money around to their cronies.

Galgiani is one of the very worst -- she managed to delay a planned audit of the authority until September on the basis, that "we wouldn't want the Feds to think that this audit might possibly mean that the Authority has done something improper" Belay the audit until the Fed funds are secured, than let the fur fly seems to be her message.

Just think about this --- still no business plan and yet they are throwing millions, soon to be billions around. The State is bankrupt and will be cutting off funding for really desparetly needed social programs for the needy and education, and this agency, is trowing money around to all their friends.

This article is just another example of how much the valley wants the money hand outs.

Anonymous said...

At least Lowenthal and Simitian managed to cut off the junkets that were planned by cutting out the international travel budget the Authority had proposed. You guys think the Authority is "lilly white" just don't understand. they need to reined in, the sooner the better.

It has become apparent that the central valley portion of the route, will be the last to be built; don't spend funds until needed. Merced go look for hand outs elsewhere.

Spokker said...

I support anonymous posting and hope it doesn't go away. I don't believe that there have been trolls on this blog, only people with differing opinions. Registering is an annoyance for people who only want to make a quick comment, whether it's positive or negative. I would not want to discourage anybody from posting here.

Anonymous said...

Spokker said...
"I support anonymous posting and hope it doesn't go away. I don't believe that there have been trolls on this blog, only people with differing opinions. Registering is an annoyance for people who only want to make a quick comment, whether it's positive or negative. I would not want to discourage anybody from posting here."

How long does it take to click "Name/URL" and enter a name? Heck, even the URL is optional.

If people cannot be bothered to type in a short nickname so people can tell when it is the same person saying something, how likely is it that the comment they are putting up has any substance? And if they do not WANT to put in a short nickname because they do not WANT people to be able to connect the dots on the different things they are saying, there's no reason to make that easier.

YESONHSR said...

Lowenthal is Dog that needs recalled...His actions shows that he is friends with all the nasayer Nimby types..He is a Mccain type brain

Alon Levy said...

how likely is it that the comment they are putting up has any substance?

In your case, there's no substance. But in general, anonymous commenters sometimes do make insightful comments. On the Urbanophile, there's a regular who keeps posting as anon, but just signs his name at the bottom of each comment.

Spokker said...

"If people cannot be bothered to type in a short nickname so people can tell when it is the same person saying something, how likely is it that the comment they are putting up has any substance?"

What is the litmus test for a post to be declared "substantive?" If an anon wants to post something as simple as, "Hey I think this project is good because I'm sick of driving or can't drive," or "I think this project is pretty bad because it'll cost too much money," I say bring it on.

If the post is truly abusive or simply spam, Robert and others have the ability to delete it.

Andrew said...

@Spokker:

"I don't believe that there have been trolls on this blog, only people with differing opinions."

Like that "We Need No F.ing Train" guy in the last entry? He was either a troll or a raging idiot.

Anyway, I don't see what the big deal about having everyone use a Google account is. They're easy to sign up for and are really useful for a lot of other things.

BruceMcF said...

Spokker said...
"What is the litmus test for a post to be declared "substantive?" If an anon wants to post something as simple as, "Hey I think this project is good because I'm sick of driving or can't drive," or "I think this project is pretty bad because it'll cost too much money," I say bring it on."

If they can type that much, they can type a nickname. Heck, if they can type the word verification, they can type a nickname. Its not like its necessary to register or go through some sign on rigamarole ... its just [click:Name/URL]nickname[click:publish]

Spokker said...

"Like that "We Need No F.ing Train" guy in the last entry? He was either a troll or a raging idiot."

He is not a troll. His opinion is simply that we don't need no fucking train.

jim said...

So I took a trip to PA today to Ikea and on the way paid close attention to the ROW to find out just what the issues really are. Now it doesn't matter to me, how the train gets to sf, as long as it gets here so I tried to be as objective as possible.

Findings: From 4th to Silver Terrace, I'd like to see them use an aerial along side the 280 X rather than the surface ROW, only because this approach happens to be one of the best "Welcome to San Francisco" chamber of commerce type views you can ask for. Its a shame to have to stick the train underneath the freeway. Just a preference that's all.

2) I rode on one side on the way down and the other side on the way up to get a good look at everything. I have to tell you, I can see why they chose the caltrain row. It is ideal. For one thing 90% of it is industrial and another 9.9% of it is ugly commercial. There is ample row width, in fact there is brand new quad tracking in several areas already. The majority of the view was graffiti and razor wire. No lie. Most of that row could benefit from some attention.

3) The downtowns. Some of the stations seem to have 4 track space already, others will need to have platforms adjusted to allow for two additional center express tracks. Most are either already elevated to some extent or are adjacent to main streets that have already been underpassed.

4) Menlo, Atherton, and Palo Alto. Folks I have to tell you, with the exception of needing some noise mitigation near a handful of back yards, these folks are way over reacting. We are talking about a stretch of row that is insignificant compared to the vast majority of the rest of the row, which is ideal.

5) From what I saw, I really don't even see the need to raise this thing up much, if at all. The big streets are already underpassed and some of the litle streets can ben underpassed with a slight raise in the row and some depression in the road 50/50 in fact a couple of those streets could simply be closed to through traffic (which generally creates a much quieter traffic free street)

6) There is so much foliage along this row that, with careful construction techniques can remain in place, you wouldn't even see the trains at grade level. This is really much ado about not much.

7) PA specifically. I don't know that I’d bother putting a station there. It just didn’t grab me. The current station area is a mess though and needs work. My heart tells me Redwood City is the better choice (and there is ample perfect space their to incorporate a terrific design). My brain tells me Mt View is the better business choice. I was expecting to see something remarkable in PA but honestly, its just another bay area city. A cross between Berkeley, Alameda, and Sunnyvale. A very "uber-california" downtown area. I walked from Ikea back to caltrain. Not pedestrian friendly, Very noisy traffic, loud revving engines, lots of boom box beats, some nice older homes but the street is not some peaceful horse trail on the open prairie, nor does it hold a candle to Beverly Hills or many other cities around the state. But yes its a nice place, just nothing hsr will detract from.

So in conlusion, oh yeah also, I took a good look at the 101 as I walked over, this is an overpass typical of what's found all up and down the 101, and while it wouldn't matter to me which way they go - the 101 simply can't be done. It would be an engineering nightmare beyond belief. The way these older cali freeways are configured - You'd have to elevate this thing 100 feet in the air along the center divide to get over all those on/off ramps and overpasses- and the 101 is filthy with 'em.

So, yes I can se clearly now why the caltrain row was the choice. Like I said i think the best bet for the couple of sensitive spots is to stay at grade, hide good sound walls behind the foliage, line them with sound absorbing materials and land scape the hell out of them. You'll get a much quieter situation than you have now.

YESONHSR said...

There is NOTHING wrong with upgrading this ROW..its more than wide enough in 95 percent of the spots it needs to be.I have also taken the Caltrain many times and feel the same way.Nice planning and quality construction will not ruin anything along this 140year old railroad..Not that any of what we say means anything to the uber senstive types that are screaming about this project

Bart Simpson said...

Since it's an open thread day and everybody is in such a feisty mood.

What is stopping BART from connecting the Santa Clara and Millbrae stations? Frees up all the track between Millbrae/SF and between Santa Clara/SJ. Entire stretch will be grade separated anyway. Put HSR in the middle and BART on the outside tracks. Might make overhead wire less obtrusive with just one pair. BART provides the milk run and HSR takes the place of the duplicitous Baby Bullets. Brings BART all the way into the city, frees up room at the TTT. I'm sure this would cause massive reconstruction of stations, but maybe not with all the HSR changes coming anyway. Maybe they could go with really small stations as they have in SF.

I'm sure there are a ton of cons, are there any pros? Never seen this discussed before so bring it on.

jim said...

@bart- funny you mention that because I was thinking about bart on my way as well. The reason for the SFO millbrae configuration is because bart still imagines itself ringing the bay as originally planned some day. At one time I remember talk of getting rid of caltrain an using bart in its place. Ive also heard over the years that bart could serve a different route just as it enter the city via colma daly city, it would serve a differnt area of san mateo and santa clara counties - the 280 corridor for instance which would give the hills a rail option that only the flats have now. Also, i've heard tossed around the idea of the next tube actually running from under sfo- to under oak. thus the original train box that was built under sfo ( look at a bart map of sfo and the proposed oak ext and see how they line right up for a mid bay crossing)

Then today I though bart would be good as a subway under the el camino all the way downwhich would be be a great boon to travel up and down the el camino and would make a lot of sense from a public transit pov.

jim said...

remember this one

jim said...

thisthis one

Andrew said...

@Bart Simpson:

Money, by and large. BART tracks are wide gauge and require expensive, custom-built trainsets. Those trainsets also run on DC power, which requires expensive electrical substations along the routes. They're powered by a 3rd rail which requires complete grade-separation, but that should and will be done to the Caltrain ROW anyway.

BART was built with some rather daft design choices to begin with, and doesn't lend itself easily to expandability. It would be very elegant to have it as the unified rapid transit system encircling the entire bay, but it's far more economical to improve Caltrain with standard 25kV AC caternary wires.

Spokker said...

BART is great, but enough of BART. If I were King of All Transit I would pass a law banning all BART extensions and focus on standard gauge off-the-shelf solutions instead.

jim said...

Don't look now but barts 50 year plan also calls for completion of ( another part of the original plan) the 680 line from warm springs to martiniez via 680/dublin/walnut creek/martinez with a connection to cap corridor at martinez. is it BART of the BLOB? It can't be stopped.

jim said...

bart 680 and alameda-tbt plans

Anonymous said...

So was there really an old BART station built at SFO? I thought that was an urban myth. I always heard there was a BART shell station built underneath the core of the parking garage for equidistant access to the terminals. Is that accurate?

jim said...

I wonder how hard it would be to simply move the rails over a few inches and make them standard gauge throughout the system. Or add an extra inside rail to accommodate standard gauge and gradually phase in off the shelf rolling stock.

jim said...

To the best of my knowledge there was a train box deep under the terminal that eventually got used for starage and filled with wiring for upgrades to the airport. Kind of like that japanese undsea tunnel from the 70s that they used to grow mushroom in.

jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jim said...

http://laughingsquid.com/chase-scene-filmed-while-bart-was-under-construction/

Walter Sobchak said...

jim said "I wonder how hard it would be to simply move the rails over a few inches and make them standard gauge throughout the system."

I work for Metro-North in NYC, and can tell you moving the rail would be an expensive and time-consuming debacle that would probably ruin the system. Each crosstie would need to be replaced, or at least have the old holes plugged, because once water gets into the old holes the tie begins to degrade. I'm pretty sure BART uses concrete ties, which can be a real pain maintenance-wise. Also, sections of rail, probably 19ft, would need to be cut and then re-welded, adding to the cost and labor for this to happen. Basically, BART simply should have been built as standard gauge in the first place.

We already place rail inside of the gauge on bridges to prevent derailments, though mostly on wood ties; incorporating standard gauge would require every tie be replaced by ties with pandrol plates and fasteners for each rail, as drilling new holes in the old concrete ties is simply not practical.

NY Times Magazine has a good piece on California High Speed Rail, and also an interview with Roy LaHood. Apparently he drives a 1998 Buick Regal. No wonder he doesn't act like most Republicans.

Andrew said...

@Jim:

"I wonder how hard it would be to simply move the rails over a few inches and make them standard gauge throughout the system. Or add an extra inside rail to accommodate standard gauge and gradually phase in off the shelf rolling stock."

I've thought about that too, thing is they'd either have to move the third rail or build out the station platforms. I don't know if there would be space for another electrified rail in the case of a dual-gauge setup. And then again, there's the AC/DC issue I mentioned earlier.

BruceMcF said...

There's work on induction electric feed that is only live when the train is passing by ... getting rid of the third rail would be the bigger step toward dual-mode shared track, since dual gauge is doable.

On one point ... jim: "allow for two additional center express tracks" ... as discussed on the Caltrain HSR compatibility blog, center local tracks (FSSF) are better for operations.

That would make the normal Caltrain-only station a central island platform.

Adirondacker said...

since dual gauge is doable.

Dual gauge is doable. Besides being an ugly solution it's expensive. Whether or not it would work at a platform is another question. They might not have enough clearance in the tunnels for catenary - probably not from what I've read. Could probably design a special shoe that reaches to the third rail from the standard gauge rail(s) ... they might need four rails. The bottom of the rail is much wider than the top. Putting in one rail to come up with two gauges doesn't work out at all gauge combinations.

BART is all local all the time. With a four track system on the Peninsula they can do things like run expresses that stop at all the stops between San Jose and Sunnyvale and then express into San Francisco. While there is a Baby Bullet that only stops at the major stations. And an express that originates at Sunnyvale, stops at all the stops between there and Palo Alto then expresses into San Francisco. Put BART on the local tracks and they are locked into which station has express service and which doesn't. Anyone at a local-only stop has to change trains to use an express.

With two two-track systems using incompatible gauges any problem leaves either system with one track. It means they only have one track when they are doing maintenance.

The commuter railroads in the Northeast and around Chicago all merrily exchange equipment. All the commuter railroads in California are going to end up with equipment that is compatible with HSR. When Caltrain has an equipment shortage they can lease stuff from Metrolink. When Sacramento decides it's time to build a system they can lease stuff from Caltrain.

BART trains run on BART tracks.

Assuming it's technically possible... where are they going to put the passengers once they get to the stations in San Francisco? Some of them are already at capacity. Where are they going to schedule the trains? The Transbay tube is at capacity.

They're powered by a 3rd rail which requires complete grade-separation.

It doesn't require it. The L in Chicago has grade crossings. I think the LIRR still does in places. Whether or not you could get approval to build a new one is different question. Not a problem on the Peninsula since the corridor is going to be grade separated.

K.T. said...

@Adirondacker

Using a overhead conductor rail may provide enough clearance space at the tunnel. Although according to wiki, this type of overhead line may not be suitable with the trains running 60+ mph.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Overhead_conductor_rails.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/Deckenstromschiene.jpg

BruceMcF said...

Andrew said...
"@Jim: "I wonder how hard it would be to simply move the rails over a few inches and make them standard gauge throughout the system. Or add an extra inside rail to accommodate standard gauge and gradually phase in off the shelf rolling stock."

I've thought about that too, thing is they'd either have to move the third rail or build out the station platforms. I don't know if there would be space for another electrified rail in the case of a dual-gauge setup. And then again, there's the AC/DC issue I mentioned earlier.
"

I think there is a problem seen here that may not be a problem, because of the design of the system ... its seems quite possible to have a dual gauge system that allows broad gauge third rail and standard gauge catenary to operate on the same line to the same platforms.

A qualifier up front ... because BART is an all-locals system, the primary appeal of this approach would be in relatively short stretches, providing platform transfers between local BART lines and express standard gauge lines, and/or sharing high cost infrastructure like a second Bay tunnel.

The BART third rail is outside the broad gauge running track ... since BART is broad gauge, there is nothing in the way of the additional track required to dual-gauge with standard gauge. And then if the standard gauge relies on a catenary power supply, there's no need to move the existing track or third rail.

IOW, when you dual-gauge track, that is one common track on one side, and two gauge-specific tracks on the other. And to share platforms, the common track has to be platform side, to reduce/avoid gap bridging requirements.

BART's third rail, of course, is always on the opposing side of the track at BART platforms, which will be the side with the distinct standard and broad gauge track.

Putting up catenary and dual-gauging the line therefore seems feasible. The standard gauge EMU's would not have a third rail shoe, so they don't care what the power supply on the third rail is, and the BART trains don't have a pantograph, so they don't care what the catenary power supply is. Mind, there still might be a gap to bridge if the loading gauge from rail to platform is narrower on the existing standard gauge network, but if its not too big, that's something that an automatic bridge built under the doors of the EMU could handle.

However, if you were building such a system in a new right of way, you would make an effort to have all platforms on the same side of the train if possible, to minimize switchovers from using one side as the common rail to using the other.

Its nothing like what you would design from scratch, but it offers by far the most convenient BART / Express interchange option for passengers.

jim said...

@bruce
On one point ... jim: "allow for two additional center express tracks" ... as discussed on the Caltrain HSR compatibility blog, center local tracks (FSSF) are better for operations.That would make the normal Caltrain-only station a central island platform"

Well after touring the route though - the stations are already set up with outside platforms. - some of which are brand new and some of which are brand new with sapce to add non platform center expresss tracks. So using fssf would mean completely rebuilding every caltrain station. versus only have to iether make some platforms narrower or move some further out by ten feet. and give way the stations are situated, on over passes, elevated and other configurations, they just happen to lend themselves to modification that way with much less construction disruption than comepletey rebuilding the entrie caltrain station sotck with center platforms. In addtion to that, since caltrain stations have a very casual pedestian approach from their paring lots keeping clatrain on the outside would allow this while being able to comepletely fence off the express tracks in the middle. its safer. There is a brand new bayshore station, that considerable money was spent on for instance including aerial walkways. They are not going to tear down this brand new station in order to run fssf. They just finished it and here as you can see there isn't room for a center platform, the aerial walkway isn't designed that way and he entire thing would have to be rebuilt.

from caltrain "Track configuration

"The station contains four tracks, two bypass rails in the middle and two side tracks on the left and right for trains stopping at the station. The two bypass tracks are designed for Baby Bullet trains, which do not stop at Bayshore. During commute hours on weekdays, Local and Limited Stop trains are held at Bayshore on the side tracks until the Baby Bullet passes on the bypass track. This is done because Baby Bullets often stop at further stations along the route before Local and Limited Stop trains, even if they depart San Francisco after the Local and Limited Stop trains. A fence in the middle of the four tracks prevents passengers from running across the four rails"

jim said...

here andhere

and here andhere

jim said...

another example is the brand new Burlingame station where fssf would require a complete rebuild of a brand new station, sffs would only require narrowing the platforms by about five feet each without disrupting the rest of the new construction.

BruceMcF said...

Adirondacker said...
"Dual gauge is doable. Besides being an ugly solution it's expensive. Whether or not it would work at a platform is another question. They might not have enough clearance in the tunnels for catenary - probably not from what I've read."

How many existing tunnels have slack capacity anyway? When the existing system is at capacity, there's no point in finding ways to bring new kinds of services through.

So dual gauge in tunnels would be in tunnels that haven't been built yet, designed from the ground up to support both regional EMU's and BART.

And while it would be insane to try to build a dual gauge system where both gauges used external third rail ... it would be insane in any event to try to build a standard gauge path into a new or existing BART ROW that used external third rail ... since there's no reason to pursue that option, the technical obstacles facing that option are not a problem.

jim said...

also hayward park station was just rebuilt with outside platforms and tracks and space specifically left for inside double express tracking

jim said...

If BART continues to expand around the bay, and east and up the 680 corridor, which they seem to be hell bent on doing. Perhaps they will build and new lines with standard specs. the equip won't be interchangeable but they can certainly operate a line independently. If they pursue the ebart options for the east counties they could also use it for the 680 line. That would make sense since in addition to east county upgrades that are planned to bring people into the core, these areas will eventually need service upgrade for traveling with themselves. ( martinez-dublin-fremont. Antioch- Livermore etc) and bart seems to be the one who wants to provide that service ( going way back to the original plan decades ago)

flowmotion said...

@jim - do you have a link for the abandoned SFO BART station?

All of the old BART to San Mateo plans I've seen had the station @ Millbrae, outside of the airport.

jim said...

I have been searching for some info on that original train box under the airport and haven't found it yet. This was something Ive always heard as a kid in the bay area, and over the years, whenever an airport ext was brought up, it was always reported that the original, never used space under the airport had since been filled up with both storage and eventually wiring and utilities for subsequent airport upgrades. I guess an airport employee might know. ill keep looking.

Keep Kopp away from station design decisions said...

Jim, you can go looking under the airport or even dig under it, but you aren't going to find any hidden, secret BART station. It's a myth, but even top officials have been duped by it.

When SFO was building the multi-level parking garage at the center of the airport several decades again, they knew that BART hoped to one day build a station under the airport. When laying the foundational pylons for the large parking garage, the engineers allowed for a 'trace' of enough spacing between the pylons to allow for a future underground station to be excavated in the future. Removing foundational pylons is expensive and difficult, but that's the extent of the "station": some extra spacing between pylons. No trainbox or formal station structure exists under SFO. You would still have to do a lot of digging and excavating to start a station. The only benefit is that you may not have to move any pre-existing foundational pylons.

This didn't stop Quentin Kopp from using this as one of his key reasons why BART had to go directly into the airport, even though the off-airport intermodal station for BART, Caltrain, and the AirTrain was a much cheaper and more efficient design. Out of a mixture of ignorance and political cunning, Kopp argued that it would be wasting money by not making use of this underground BART "station", so BART had to go into the airport. Going underground through the airport proved to be far too expensive anyway, and we have ended up with the horrible, expensive design of BART entering the airport today. Thanks to Kopp, BART, Samtrans, and MTC! Don't ever just leave this stuff up to the officials, because their track record is atrocious.

The lesson should not be lost when just after Prop. 1A passed Kopp started calling for the Transbay extension to be dropped from plans. Kopp and his cronies made up the excuse that the Transbay Terminal doesn't have the capacity for all the trains that were wildly imagined. The Transbay Terminal has many severe design problems, but train capacity is not one of them.

Adirondacker said...

How many existing tunnels have slack capacity anyway? When the existing system is at capacity, there's no point in finding ways to bring new kinds of services through.

You understand that, I understand that - after all I did say "Assuming it's technically possible... where are they going to put the passengers once they get to the stations in San Francisco? ...."

Everybody seems to be drooling at the thought of dragging BART someplace new and exciting. Places that could be served by standard guage trains running "off the shelf" cars. Ones that are compatible with Caltrain and Metrolink and HSR. That will be compatible with ACE and Capitol Corridor trains when those routes are electrified. Ones, that after the connection between San Raphel and Richmond is built, could run from Santa Rosa to the Oakland Coliseum on game days. On the same track that the four times a day HSR train from Santa Rosa to San Diego uses.

primary appeal of this approach would be in relatively short stretches, providing platform transfers between local BART lines and express standard gauge lines.....it offers by far the most convenient BART / Express interchange option for passengers

They don't need to run on the same tracks to do that. Standard guage on one side of the island platform and BART on the other.


IOW, when you dual-gauge track, that is one common track on one side.

Assuming the guages are far enough apart to do that. BART and standard apparently are, the green and red rails in this diagram...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dual_Gauge_Afghanistan.gif


Putting up catenary and dual-gauging the line therefore seems feasible.

I can't find a reference right now. There are electrical reasons why you don't want to run DC third rail and AC catenary in the same place if you can avoid it. So to do this you are creating track that's even more special than BART's, introducing electrical problems and running very extra special EMUs that can use the platforms BART can use.

something that an automatic bridge built under the doors of the EMU could handle

Assuming the BART cars and the EMUs are the same width the BART cars need the bridge ,they will be almost 5 inches farther away from the platform. They share the rail closest to the platform. That puts the center of the BART car farther away from the platform than the EMU. Or you build EMUs that are 9 and 1/2 inches narrower than BART. ... which then probably means they won't meet the platform at Caltrain or HSR stations... Much easier and much much cheaper to just admit BART is a mistake and not build more of it.

...dual gauging and dual electrification is not something you set out to do deliberately...

BruceMcF said...

"Everybody seems to be drooling at the thought of dragging BART someplace new and exciting."

Unless there is some dramatically denser clusters of infill developments coming down the pike, it looks like BART is already located everywhere metro style mass transit makes sense in the Bay, and some places it doesn't, on top.

I was more speculating on how to efficiently interchange between genuine express intra-urban rail services and BART. The next best thing to a direct through route is a platform transfer. And sharing the same ROW at the same grade can cut ROW acquisition and cost of elevating/digging for a grade separated interchange by quite a bit.

"Putting up catenary and dual-gauging the line therefore seems feasible.

I can't find a reference right now. There are electrical reasons why you don't want to run DC third rail and AC catenary in the same place if you can avoid it.
"

I'll see if I can track down the electrical engineer in Newcastle, Oz, and ask about that. It shoeless inductance I was looking at before with catenary. If its the arc separation, then it'd require the third rail be on the split rail side for the whole section, if its grounding, that'd put the kabosh on the whole thing.

"IOW, when you dual-gauge track, that is one common track on one side.

Assuming the gauges are far enough apart to do that. BART and standard apparently are, the green and red rails in this diagram...
"

9.5" is ample.

"Assuming the BART cars and the EMUs are the same width the BART cars need the bridge, they will be almost 5 inches farther away from the platform."

You mean, they built broad gauge stock, with third rail shows to the side of that, on a custom built corridor, and the BART trains have the same width as normal EMU's?

I would have thought if you are building a custom corridor on a broader gauge with a third rail to the side of that, you'd make the railcars roughly 9.5" wider.

Then again, given the "designed by committee" character of that basic spec, maybe not.

OTOH, as far as I understand, the BART platform height is 42 inches, which is at any rate a quite reasonable target for a platform height ... much better than those tram-height platforms y'all use for Caltrain.

BruceMcF said...

@ Adirondacker: "dual gauging and dual electrification is not something you set out to do deliberately"

Yes, AFAIU the original idea for BART was BART Uber Alles for the entire Bay region, but since its a metro all-stations style mass transit line, that's silly.

I'm still curious about the DC/AC interference, though, since the Sydney system has a mix of DC and AC traction power by DC overhead wires. I hadn't heard anything along the line of the new AC traction trains using a different ground return rail than the rest of the system, but they were infamous when first introduced for a variety of electrical problems, which took a while to sort out. That's why the Millenium sets came to be called the "M-bugs".

Andrew said...

@BruceMcF:

"Unless there is some dramatically denser clusters of infill developments coming down the pike, it looks like BART is already located everywhere metro style mass transit makes sense in the Bay, and some places it doesn't, on top."

With the glaring exception of the Geary corridor, but due to the expense of expanding BART I'd suggest that be a Muni project. It wouldn't have to use the existing Breda cars either, if it were all subway they could get new heavy-rail rolling stock.

As for dual-guaging or re-gauging BART, one would have to compare the cost of expansion and acquisition of new trains (the latter of which BART has to do eventually regardless of expansion) with the cost of changing the gauge around. Either way it's expensive, which is the sad thing about the way BART was built.

flowmotion said...

@Keep Kopp Away - thanks for the explanation of the SFO 'station'.

I should say as a SFO patron, I appreciate the convenience of the in-terminal BART station, no matter how braindead it is from the regional transit perspective.

Adirondacker said...

I'll see if I can track down the electrical engineer in Newcastle, Oz

It has something to do with both of them sharing the same neutral. One one side you have nice AC currents, on the other you have nice DC currents. It gets difficult after a power failure. All from what I remember from a short blurb in a Wikipedia entry that I followed out to another reference that had a very short opaque explanation. It's not something you go out and do deliberately.

The only place it's done on a large scale is through Penn Station, roughly Portal Bridge to Sunnyside. I have no idea if the third rail through the North River tunnels is normally energized.


So lets go through this again. Existing BART doesn't have capacity to carry more trains. Even if it did there are problems with moving passengers through the existing stations in San Francisco. So there will be new ROW. They can decide that the new trains running on the new ROW are compatible with HSR or they can:

1) Build dual gauge track, three rails instead of two sitting on custom ties.

2) Possible problems with the power supply beyond the expense of maintaining third rail and catenary

3) Loading gauge issues - will standard BART cars meet the platform that standard HSR compatible cars reach.

4) Platform height issues. Existing BART uses 42 inches, which isn't one of the "off the shelf" options for HSR

5) Fare colletion. BART uses turnstiles. Conventional and HSR uses "conductor punches ticket"

A regular everyday "off the shelf" commuter car does the same thing a BART car can. It uses the gauge as HSR. It uses the same power supply. It's the same width, which means it's the same distance from the platforms. The platform height is the same. They share the same fare collection system. How about they paint BART on the side of the cars Caltrain will be using?

BruceMcF said...

"4) Platform height issues. Existing BART uses 42 inches, which isn't one of the "off the shelf" options for HSR"

The four European "off the shelf" options being 21.5", 30", 33" and 36", with the first two more common. Only the UK height would really allow permit tramline style "bulbs" for mixed height level boarding, the others would entail bi-level platforms.

"5) Fare colletion. BART uses turnstiles. Conventional and HSR uses "conductor punches ticket""

Ah well, the technical limitations can be overcome, for short stretches, but I completely forgot that BART has access-antagonistic ticketing, so direct platform transfers are not an option.

jim said...

@keep Kopp - funny you had that info because just after I posted I got to thinking and I thought I remembered that the whole thing had someting to do with the parking garage that was constructed about oh, 3 decades ago - and - that it was under this garage that a "space" ( not a station) was made for a future bart presence. Low and behold, my memory isn't failing me. yet!

As for the bart going into the airpot. I can't speak for others but for me as a san franciscan, getting to my city's airport is a breeze. i happen to use it all the time - and will book SFO over OAK anytime I possibly can just for that reason 9 and the fact that my city has a much nicer and for more interesting and spectacular airport than that other city over there in the east bay... whatever its called.

I literally get" front door to boarding gate"
service and back.

jim said...

AS for BART -

Geary Corridor is the next project after central subway for MUNI. It will not be a subway it will be rapid bus separated guide way, traffic signal priority. It may be built to future light rail specs but so far they haven't confirmed that.

As for bart's capacity issues, they are getting new cars with 3 doors on each side, and limited seating - room for more standees to meet capacity without increasing trains.

barts ever ambitious extension plans - the east counties will get standard rail and a 680 corridor line- decades away - would likely be a separate line and could use standard equip.

Bart still plans to build a second tube some time in the next 50 years and that will be a four bore tube with two bores for existing bart and 2 bores for high speed and conventional rail to share. The tube will go from alameda to TBT.

Clem said...

@jim, couple of notes on FSSF:

(1) keep a sense of perspective. Bayshore station cost what, maybe $25 million to build. That is chump change compared to the billions about to be spent. And regardless, if you don't tear out Bayshore you WILL have to tear out the island platform in Belmont. Bottom line: existing stations do not matter. Either way, they're GONE.

(2) you can't "move a platform" or "cut it back". You have to demolish and rebuild something at least 15 feet wide. Bottom line: nearly all the existing platforms are GONE.

(3) Hayward Park was configured to allow a future third track, but not a fourth. It's GONE.

What we have here is a clean sheet of paper.

jim said...

Don' be surprised either to see bart try to fill in the irresistible and glaring gap that will be created between bart milbrae and bart santa clara like this

jim said...

So all these brand new stations that the taxpayers spent money on are being removed? that will make everyone happy no doubt. As for fssf it still doesn't make sense. Caltrain is more readily accessible - especially the smaller stations, directly from the adjoining stations and lots, it just doesn't make sense or safety to put caltrain on the inside with hsr cutting all the platforms off from the riders. Keeping hsr in the middle and furthest away and fenced off mkaes more sense. what would be the point of going against convention anyway? just so the public will have yet one more reason to say " who designed this, and why did they do it backwards" cuz lemme tell you- they are gonna say it. they love to say it. just wait. you'll see.

jim said...

and that chump change of 25 million - ask san francisco taxpayers what they think about that. whos going to pay to rebuild all these stations? Its ALL going to have to come out of the HSR budget because I can tell you that these local budgets sure are not going to shell out money twice. I mean for real.

jim said...

No wonder the peninsula is having a fit lol- they are gonna shit a brick when they here this. I do wonder though how they are gonna build hsr and tear out all these stations without disrupting caltrain service which is mandatory - that they don't disrupt caltrain service....? I'm closing my eyes - I just can't bear to watch... wake me when its done.

Adirondacker said...

so direct platform transfers are not an option.

They are if the platform is wide enough.

PATH in Newark has cross platform transfers from NJ Transit and Amtrak from Track 1 and Track 2. The PATH track uses the Spanish Solution in between Track 1 and Track 2. Waiting rooms for Track 1 or 2 forms part of the fare control, turnstiles and fences do the rest. You step off the conventional train, fish out your buck seventy five or your card, feed the turnstile and walk onto a PATH train. No stairs, no ramps nothing but the crowd and the turnstiles between you and the PATH train.

IRT and the BMT share platforms at Queensboro Plaza. IRT trains on one side of the platform and BMT on the other. Different loading gauges so you could run an IRT train onto the BMT side but the gap would be too big. If you tried to run a BMT train on the IRT side the platform would be in the way.

.... makes me wonder why they didn't do it at Millbrae but when I think about Millbrae I wonder why they built it at all....

jim said...

pardon my chattiness but speaking of menlo park and the peninsula throwing a fit - do you know that actually a while back - menlo park make overtures that it wanted a BART station. -- a spot directly between milbrae and santa clara bart stations - for bart to get its tentacles into.

jim said...

Milbrae has cross platform from bart to caltrain. I was just therre - its very nice. the station itself though is kinda ugly I think they could have made it look better on the outside. but its functional.

jim said...

and yelp users give it high marks lol for what its worth.

Andrew said...

@Jim:

"Geary Corridor is the next project after central subway for MUNI. It will not be a subway it will be rapid bus separated guide way, traffic signal priority. It may be built to future light rail specs but so far they haven't confirmed that."

Oh, I'm well aware of Muni's BRT plans, and I think they're crap. I'm pretty nonplussed about light rail, too. If any corridor in SF deserved a subway, it's Geary.

BruceMcF said...

Adirondacker said...
"
"so direct platform transfers are not an option."

They are if the platform is wide enough.

PATH in Newark has cross platform transfers from NJ Transit and Amtrak from Track 1 and Track 2. The PATH track uses the Spanish Solution in between Track 1 and Track 2. Waiting rooms for Track 1 or 2 forms part of the fare control, turnstiles and fences do the rest. You step off the conventional train, fish out your buck seventy five or your card, feed the turnstile and walk onto a PATH train. No stairs, no ramps nothing but the crowd and the turnstiles between you and the PATH train.
"

That goes with the two-level platform, since the BART turnstiles can be at the base of the shallow ramp up to the BART platform. 30" (if using the higher of the two most common off the shelf EU heights) to 42" is, after all, only a foot, so a 10:1 ramp is only 10' long.

E{-]BB[-}E
E{-]BB[-}E
E{-]BB[-}E
E[\]BB[\]E
E[-}BB{-]E
E[-}BB{-]E
E[-}BB{-]E
E[-}BB{-]E

... would still put the DC and AC in parallel, requiring some care with EMI, but would not put them on the same running rails used as return. And with the third rails between the BART gauge tracks, there's maximum feasible separation between the third rail and the catenary.

And loading gauge is not a worry for that layout.

Clem said...

@Jim plans change, and some waste is unavoidable. Avoiding waste at all costs is penny wise and pound foolish.

As for island platform access, just what's the problem?

It's six of one, or half a dozen of the other. With outside platforms, invariably, you have to cross under all four tracks on at least one leg of your commute. Outside platforms are no easier to access than island platforms, no matter what your impression may be.

FSSF has clear operational advantages.

Adirondacker said...

...ramps.....

You don't even need ramps. The trains are never going to use the other's track. There's a nice level platform. On the BART side top-of-rail to the platform is 42 inches. On the other side, whatever is there, top-of-rail to the platform is whatever that needs. Lets say HSR, Caltrain Metrolink and Amtrak decide on 550mm. Top-of-rail to the platform on the standard gauge side of the platform would be 550mm. The platform has to be wide so they can put in fare control but it would be flat and level.

Anonymous said...

After the certain abysmal failure of the ill-conceived SF Muni central subway I doubt SF will have the energy to attempt any capital projects for years to come.

jim said...

@Andrew, I realize you're not thrilled about MUNI's plans for Geary but I'm jus here to tell it like it is. I don't know if you live here or not, but I follow local politics a lot, and watch hours of debate from city hall. Muni is going to do it with rapid bus and may or may not build it to light rail specs. There isn't going to be a subway. there's no money for a subway -one and two- the greay neighborhood will not allow it. The richmond district -and geary merchants continue to be firmly against it. and if they don't want it, its just not going to happen. I ride the 38 fairly often, it overcrowded, but the 38L is fast enough. They just need more buses.

jim said...

@anon how is the cetnral subway and abysmal failure? do you even live here? or did you just jump on the bandwagon with all the other people who are critical of everything san francisco does even though they live in a cave in oklahoma? If you don't live here and you don't ride muni don't worry about. San franciscans will use it the way it is just fine thank you.

@clem well they can knock themselves out but HSR is gonna pay for it all not us.

flowmotion said...

Jim, I live here and the Central Subway is going to connect infrequently visited tourist locations (Chinatown, Union Square, Ballpark).

It will be an underused service because it doesn't cater to downtown commuters, nor does it solve any existing transit problems (including the infamous Stockton bus).

BruceMcF said...

Clem said...
"As for island platform access, just what's the problem?

It's six of one, or half a dozen of the other. With outside platforms, invariably, you have to cross under all four tracks on at least one leg of your commute. Outside platforms are no easier to access than island platforms, no matter what your impression may be.
"

And with island platforms, when the inevitable happens and a local is running "the wrong way" ... there's none of that "run to the other platform" drama for those who are out of the "service changes" announcement loop. The central platform is always the right platform for the local service, even if its going "the wrong way".

The cost of building it for smoother operations and less crossing interference is a one-off cost, while the costs of building in operational problems and crossing interference keep on giving forever.

BruceMcF said...

Adirondacker said...
""...ramps...."

You don't even need ramps.
"

Yes, that's a question of the length of the footprint versus the width. Either works.