Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Open Thread

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

What's on your high speed rail mind this weekend? I'm writing this from an undisclosed location in the Puget Sound. I'm not exactly on top
of the HSR news right now, so I leave it to you intrepid commenters to keep California up to date on the high speed rail project.

Use this as an open thread. I'll have a topical post ready to
go tomorrow evening.

59 comments:

Ian said...

well, I'm thinking my trip to LA from Berkeley (transit, plane, transit) would have been much nicer on HSR, and much more direct. too bad it takes so long to build or I could ride it on my way back on Tuesday instead of the coast slowlight. though I am definitely looking forward to a long relaxing view...

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm wondering if you can talk about how building a HSR system, an inner-urban rail network (trams, light rail, rapid transit, etc.) and electrifying freight rail are not mutually exclusive. I am a huge supporter of high speed rail. However, I don't think it will work without major metro systems in the big cities they stop in. However, when I read articles like this:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-oped0727mccarronjul27,0,4748777.story

it makes me cringe! I don't see the logic in the argument that we have to choose between inner-city rail or city-to-city rail (and, for that matter, faster freight rail). We've multi-tasked as a nation before. Why can't we do it again?

Anonymous said...

Speaking about up to date, No one's talked about this yet?

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/news/CHSRAProgramSummaryReportJuly2009.pdf

looking on said...

Anonymous 1:10 AM has really caught an interesting link:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-oped0727mccarronjul27,0,4748777.story

Proponents here don't want to talk about the real problems in transportation that exist today; they only want their toy train.

The article titled:

Slow down those fast-train dreams

is right on.

And boy o boy, does this quote fit Robert to a T.


But skepticism about high-speed rail is not well received, especially in "progressive" circles. Here and around the nation it's the green, environmentally correct groups leading the charge. They may have opposed the Deep Tunnel, nuclear power and Star Wars, but when it comes to high-speed rail, bring on the billions.

BruceMcF said...

Anon#1, I talked about that a while back, over at Agent Orange: HSR: The Recruiters, and High Speed Rail and Local Rail, BFF.

One thing to bear in mind is that Federal funding has often imposed false choices in transit, where the public is forced to choose between investments that are, in reality, complementary, so that if both investments are made, the real economic returns to both are higher.

Now, we seem to be turning the corner on this ... not only in California where 2008-Prop1A included both $950m for complementary conventional rail funding as well as $9b in HSR funding, but also federally, where there is a growing tendency to expand funding across the board, with rail in service of different transport tasks competing for different tranches of funding.

But it will take not just time but also work by concerned citizens pushing for effective solutions across the board to get some of the longtime veterans of the funding mode-wars to unlearn their increasingly outmoded habits of thought.

BruceMcF said...

@looking on ... you mean, interesting in the sense of giving us an example of precisely the kind of confused thinking that anon#1 referred to ... the false intuition that there is some kind of choice between local rail and HSR, and that investing money into HSR now is somehow going to make the problems of maintaining sorely abused local rail systems worse?

Interesting because its the kind of argument presented not because it holds water when you look at it, but because it can fool some of the people who do not think it through?

BruceMcF said...

So its not lost in a long comment thread on federal rail funding ...

jim said something like, "this is a way crazy tube train (10:00 minute UTube, but the tube train is 0:00-4:00).

If I heard it right, the maximum speed is around 1500km/hr, or around 900mph.

Of course, nowhere near ready for prime time, and my Spanish is nowhere near good enough to tell whether they mentioned energy consumption per seat per unit distance.

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

the tube train idea, in various guises, has been around for a while. Achieving high speed typically depends on eliminating friction by hermetically sealing maglev trains and running them through a vacuum.

In this particular case, there is also some cotton involved. Not entirely sure what that's supposed to do.

Unfortunately, sucking all the air out of a tube hundreds of miles long - and keeping it out - would take a very long time and massive amounts of energy. It would be a lot cheaper to bring back the Concorde.

Morris Brown said...

As this is an open thread, why not talk about eh $9 Million that the Authority is proposing to spend on Public Relations (PR).

AB-3034 laid down some specific uses to which the bonds funds could be expended. PR is not one of those uses. It would seem that the Authority is proposing to spend money on a prohibited expenditure.

All of the funding for this fiscal year, as approved, is to come from sale of the bonds under Prop 1A. so if they spend money on PR from this budget, they are breaking the law. Of course, they have broken the law before. They didn't produce a business plan as mandated by AB-3034 either.

When it becomes obvious that the 2 hr. 42 min. trip time from SF to LA., is no where nearly realistic on a routine basis, they will have broken the intent, if not the legal requirement of AB-3034.

Real trip times of 3 hr. 15 minutes will be what is to be expected. That may be ok, but the airlines will continue to be the chief method of getting from the Bay Area to LA. Say what you want, 1 hour in the air is better than 3 hr 15 min. on a train.

(delays at airport terminals will be drastically cut down by carriers like SouthWest --- remember the Eastern Airlines shuttle on the east coast years ago)

Awaiting the blast from the usual posters...

BruceMcF said...

There is no physical tube in that tube train. On further investigation, its the proposed system with very stiff, passive vehicles being pushed along by the stanchions ... and, it appears, being stabilized on the sides and top magnetically rather than by physical contact,

Of course, a big disadvantage would be the need to run the stanchions across the landscape in a fairly straight line, since the turn radius would be quite large ... without a lot of lateral stability, the whole virtual tube thing runs into trouble at the first gust of cross wind.

And I'm not so sure about the trains running at 900mph through city centers as shown in the animation without some form of screening ... a brick falling from a balcony ledge hitting a train at high speed, and its easy to imagine an explosion of debris raining down onto the road below.

I presume that the DC discussion over-states how ready the thing is and sets it out as a silver-bullet solution to an unrealistically wide range of transport tasks ... but since I don't follow Spanish spoken at a natural pace, I was spared all of that.

BruceMcF said...

Morris Brown asserted, without support: " When it becomes obvious that the 2 hr. 42 min. trip time from SF to LA., is no where nearly realistic on a routine basis ... Real trip times of 3 hr. 15 minutes will be what is to be expected."

You neglected to include the link to your supporting information. After your history of comment, I assume that is either because your "supporting information" is itself just a string of unsubstantiated claims, or because the claim that can be supported falls short of the evidence required for your conclusion.

NONIMBYS said...

DID you read the comment about the need for more all grade seperations for his Metra Rail?
WELL thats what your going to get Looking Nimby there in beautiful Paloalto/Menlo..And there needs to be a HUGE investment not only in HSR but all transit..NO you would scream about the high gas taxes

YesonHSR said...

The limited express is the only trains that will have 2HR40min running.The more locals will be 3hours5mins and the trains will be full..look at Aclea
You talk as if this system is just to last 10 years, NO its for the very long term.There will be no more runways built at SFO.nor LAX and certainly not SanJose so where is the airport growth going to come from if we dont have HSR to replace the large amount of intrastate flights? And we are still going to need airlines for long haul flights forever

jim said...

@Ian
I was thinking the same thing. I have a friend in Fresno with a shop and she does great haircuts and keeps asking me when areyou gona let me cut your hair. With HSR I could have popped right over there in 80 minutes.

you should upgrade to first on train 14. You'll get a private room, three meals, the first class parlour car, the wind and cheese tasting, and movies downstairs.

Morris Brown said...

@BruceMcF

As for local evidence that 2 hr. and 42 min. will not be met, I suggest you look back in the archives of this blog, where Rafael stated, the 2 hr. 42 minutes was calculated only for a non-stop trip --- no non stop trips are proposed by the Authority. Its a propaganda advertising gimmick.

Therefore, 2 hr. 42 min. in not going to be a routine time for travel between SF and LA.

Three hr. and 15 min. was the number that Joe Vranich, who none of the proponents seem to have any respect, but whom gains the respect of many as being an expert on HSR.

That my basis --- take it or leave it --- I'm sure you are leaving it.

amazon said...

I love open thread, I have so many questions. I just bought what looked like a great book on amazon. "High Speed Trains, the need for speed". Big disappointment, don't buy it. I would like to buy something that talks about the various systems around the world, how they work, etc. but all i can find are extremely expensive technical manuals. With all this money about the be spend and an enormous public relations burden, you would think there would be a tidal wave of new books on what high speed rail is. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Morris Brown is correct in saying the majority of travelers will still go by plane because the hsr will take considerably longer. Some on this site have even made what I consider the fatal admission that the SF-LA trip is what planes are for.

Of course the ballot measure propaganda painted a completely different picture - that this would be in direct competition with the airline for SF-LA business. Obviously a bait-and-switch. The propaganda even depicted a trench, which we know now to be a total crock.

Who can predict the future - but my guess is that this project is gong to run into some serious trouble. It will be interesting to see if the "die is cast" mentality prevails. I hope those Tehachapis tunnels are large enough to handle freight.

In particular the CHSRA is going to butt heads with BART, which loathes the idea of being booted out of its position of top dog in Bay Area transit. It has always had dibs on the lions share of Bay Area transit money.

jim said...

@anon


Hsr will be in competition with plane travel. I don't know why people insist on thinking only in the simplest blck and white terms.

Obviously some people will fly. For some people who have quick easy airport access in may in fact be faster to fly. But what you have to take into account are the large populations of people for whom the nearest HSR station will be closer than the nearest airport. SF to LA will be a significant portion of the HSR traffic. But you have to consider how many people along the intermediate stops will board HSR nearby rather then trek out to the nearest large airport. For those passengers, boarding at intermediate stops, means their trip will be much less than three hours.

Consider, Fresno is less than 90 minutes to most of the entire route. South San Jose folks can board at Gilroy with less traffic and plenty of parking rather than drive through the southbay tangle of freeways to the airport. Silicon Valley folks won't have to get to SJ airport or SFO because they will have an HS station in right down the road. And with an express, will have comparable travel times and even with a local or semi, will choose the longer travel time in order to gain the convenience of local boarding.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration. But at the very best, a plane trip from SFO to LAX is an hour flight and hour check in, the security routine and the schlepp to and from the airport via the traffic massive parking structures and so on.

I live in downtown SF. If I go to A Ill have two choices. If I fly, its 45 minutes from front door to sfo via bart, another 30 minutes through check in /securty, another 30 minutes sitting around waiting to board, an hour in the air on the most uncomfortable contraption every invented for conveyance. Then I land in LAX and then what? LAX is 30 miles from anything or anyplace I want to be.

With HSR I walk 6 blocks, board the express and arrive with the option of Burbank if Im going to the hollywood area to party, union station if I have downtown business, Anahiem if im visiting friends in long beach or going to a vacation spot.

No fuss no muss. AND I do in a level of comfort and safety in coach, that even first class on the airlines can't match.

jim said...

So anon no matter how you slice it,

HSR can't be beat, the LAX-SFO ari market can't beat and HSR express experience. and the AIrlines can't offer anywhere near the point to point city pair service that HSR can offer.
And the airlines can't touch, for any amount of money, the level of comfort and ammenities that the HSR experience can offer.

YESonHSR said...

Door to Door The plane is no faster than the HST will be..the last time I went to LA it was a 4 hour ordeal, starting with shuttle to SFO 30min line for check in/taking off shoes ect..15 min flight delay..shuttle in LA to Hollywood area ect. HSR will be downtown to downtown in 2hs45min then 15 min subway to Hollwood and Highland and of course of much nicer trip.If YOU want to fly go ahead but stop projecting your choice on everyone else..ie no choice but cars/plane

Sam said...

no non stop trips are proposed by the Authority.

We probably should worry about building the thing first before determining exactly which trips will be used. The authority has always stated that schedules will be adjusted based on demand. If there is demand for lots of SF-LA express trains, they will be used, especially if some of the private money used in the system ends up meaning some private contractors running trains (Virgin, for example).

It would be nice to know how everything would work and cost before it's built, but that doesn't work for trains, airplanes (note the many changes to the new Boeing and Airbus models that altered expected performance), roads, cars, computers, anything really.

jim said...

Planes can never match the flexibility of HSR.
Flexibility of being able to modify schedules. being able to offer more city pairs to get you closer to where you actually want to be, flexibility in the amenities offered, even the food and beverage choices avail, in classes of service, train have conference rooms, business cars, trains offer you the option of saying, my friends just called and they want me to get off at Burbank instead of LA --try doing that on a plane - HA parachute anyone?. The ability to, if you are meeting family for a trip to Disneyland and you are in SF and they are in the Valley, they can board your train at Fresno and you can make the trip together. try doing that on plane. The ability to show up without a reservation or to miss your train and take the next one in 15 minutes.

the list goes on and on. I want any anti hsr person here to prove to me that flying is a better option. go ahead I dare you.

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"Morris Brown is correct in saying the majority of travelers will still go by plane because the hsr will take considerably longer.

Note that Morris Brown can be correct in making that statement while at the same time being completely dishonest about the implications.

The great thing about "a majority" is that it does not pin down whether 51% will fly, 60%, 80%, or 99%. The international experience is that a train service of under 3 hours will capture about 40% of the combined rail/air transport market.

Now, obviously the HSR system will not fail if Brown is correct and the fastest Express trip between SF and LA is 3:15 instead of 2:55 ... if it "only" takes 25%-30% of the combined air/rail transport market under current crude oil prices, that still represents a success ... simply not the same degree of success that 2:55 will deliver.

And of course, it would be wildly optimistic to assume that crude oil prices remain stable ... yet that is the assumption made in the ridership modeling.

"Some on this site have even made what I consider the fatal admission that the SF-LA trip is what planes are for."

Its one of the major transport tasks that it is for, and given the distance between the Bay and the LA Basin, its the transport task that requires the strategy of starting up front with an Express HSR system up front -- so its a crucial transport task.

But of course, its not the only transport task, and there are substantial network economies in serving the CV-Bay, CV-LA, CV-SD, Sacramento-LA, CV-SD tasks with the same corridor network.

Clem said...

If I heard it right, the maximum speed is around 1500km/hr, or around 900mph.

You do NOT run objects at supersonic speeds near ground level. It is loud, wasteful and a generally ridiculous notion.

In particular the CHSRA is going to butt heads with BART, which loathes the idea of being booted out of its position of top dog in Bay Area transit.

If you follow the money, and you should always follow the money, BART and HSR are one and the same. How could there be a clash?

YesonHSR said...

And the unknow cost of fuel in the future..oil at 150 dollars a barrel and you wont have many cheapo airlines for very long.The only way SWA is cheap is the have locked in fuel prices that I read somewhere that will be expiring in the next few years.and then you will see 300-400 buck fares LA_SFO
as the lowest price

BruceMcF said...

@looking on ... thanks for drawing our attention to that shoddy piece of work from the Chicago Tribune op-ed pages, I was able to get a Daily Kos Diary out of it: A False Contest between Local Rail and HSR to kill off both

jim said...

@yesonhsr The only way SWA is cheap is the have locked in fuel prices that I read somewhere that will be expiring in the next few years

and who on god's green earth wants to fly on southwest anyway. bleh.

BruceMcF said...

Clem: "
"If I heard it right, the maximum speed is around 1500km/hr, or around 900mph."

You do NOT run objects at supersonic speeds near ground level. It is loud, wasteful and a generally ridiculous notion.
"

Excellent point. At the same time, I could well have heard it wrong ... it might be 500km/hr, which would only be ~300mph.

Brandon in San Diego said...

BART and HSR are not at odds. Nor will they clash.

They are in the same family of public transport... and are complimentary to each other.

If there is a challenge... it comes with competition for limited resources... i.e. funding.

Outside of that, each will feed each other riders and add to the versitility or utility of the other.

By and large, transit agencies do not clash with each other... and work together on many more items versus where tehy might have a difference.

jim said...

CAn any of the anti hsr folks please explain how flying is more convenient than, and the better experience than the HSR trip?

Brandon in San Diego said...

I am not anti rail; however, planes have better views.

jim said...

well, yes, but how many times have we all seen the valley and coast flight path from the air. You can see it home now on google.

jim said...

and I never want to sit that close to another person. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Over the years BART has been at odds with SF Muni on a number of issues. Even now there is contention over the Central Subway.

BART is in direct conflict with the har over ROW's. The CHSRA is already closed out of the Fremont to San Jose route by BART.

It is curious how many attacks appear on this site against Palo Alto area so-called Nimbys. Believe me it is that same assertive, tony crowd that fought off BART broad gauge and saved the SP ROW. But you Bechtel groupies won't concede that were it not for the nimbys you loathe so much the CHSRA would be left with the 101 route. Admit it. BART would have already foreclosed the SP ROW just as it has Warm Springs, etc.

Brandon in San Diego said...

So, it goes to your point... what conveinence is there to fly over HSR trains. No?

Anonymous said...

BART would benefit enormously if the Altamont Pass route were chosen and the hsr terminated at a BART station in the East Bay

NONIMBYS said...

SO CALLED NIMBYS??!!! YUP what the hell else would you like to be called..oh thats right..heros or maby concerned people or how about
victims YES yes thats it WAAA .NO your nimbys period.

jim said...

bart is not a rival to hsr any more than capitol corridal is a rival. they will al benefit from each other and will get intermodal connections at downtown sf, sfo, and san jose thanks to the bart extensions.

jim said...

are people just making stuff up now?

jim said...

on the one hand deniers like to say hsr won't work due to a lack of local connections and on the other hand they want to point at the local agencies will be at odds with hsr. in their world, nothing will work, nothing can be done, and the whole world is a colossal failure.

Clem said...

The CHSRA is already closed out of the Fremont to San Jose route by BART.

Of course they are "closed out": to the Right People it's worth another $7.5 billion to build the BART extension to Santa Clara plus another $2.5 billion to build the southern half of peninsula high speed rail. While it may have the appearance of conflict, there is agreement all around on how to maximize profits.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Anon @ 1:35,
If if if...


And, if I had more energy to join a circular logic discussion... I'd respond with more than that.

Fred Martin said...

One must understand the intimate relationship between CHSRA, BART, and MTC. It's not a conflict at all; it's collusion to waste precious public rail transit funds and maximize private profits.

The Pacheco Pass decision is all about preserving BART-to-San Jose, which is unnecessary with the Altamont route.

Kopp's intent to end HSR at Fourth and Townsend, ditching the Transbay Terminal connection, is about preserving the already meager ridership of the BART-SFO Extension, a project Kopp and his MTC collaborators royally botched (MTC executive director Steve Heminger is a former staffer of Kopp). An improved Caltain/HSR connection between the SF Financial District and SFO airport would decimate the limited attraction of the BART-SFO extension. Improving Caltrain's connection to downtown and the airport was always a wiser use of transit funds, but MTC has always been a BART enabler.

Richard Mlynarik said...

Re anon "BART would benefit enormously if the Altamont Pass route were chosen and the hsr terminated at a BART station in the East Bay"

and Brandon in San Diego's "If if if..."

Actually, if you think about it, this would work extremely well for BART in terms of ridership and revenue ... albeit poorly for the agency's primary aim, which is maximizing construction costs.

The BART line to Dublin is a complete turkey, with empty 8 car trains running slower than car traffic down a freeway median to a wind-swept, ear-splittingly noisy, empty, desolate station in a freeway median every 15 minutes, 19 hours a day, seven days a week. There are some commuters at rush hours (eastbound AM, westbound PM; empty in the opposite direction), but outside that they could pull up the tracks and nobody would notice.

(BART Dublin:
* 85% of ridership is work commuting -- ie peaky, tidal, highly inefficient;
* 60% of riders drive alone to the station, which features over 4000 simply gorgeous parking spaces;
* total station boardings under 7000 per week day;
* over-the-top 162 trains/day, much of daily ridership occurring on just 10% (16) of those trains;
* = ~ 85% of seats are unoccupied. Simply scandalous!
)

It's an operational basket case -- though it was very expensive to build, so it succeeded in its main mission.

But it does have the advantages of:
* existing, regrettably existing;
* having nearly no passengers and lots and lots and lots of empty seats;
* having nearly no station stops, and very few riders where it does stop;
* operating at considerably below its design speed, with plenty of scope for faster times from Livermore to Oakland;
* having the very best possible connection to downtown Oakland;
* potentially having a very nice connection to Berkeley and other inner East Bay cities where there is real transit ridership -- far more potential in Berkeley than San Jose;
* and a so-so connection to San Francisco -- so-so because there are riders between Oakland and SF at all hours of the day and night, unlike between Dublin and Oakland.

A BART connection to a Livermore HSR station, with trains running through Oakland and terminating in the East Bay, perhaps skipping some station stops between Bayfair and downtown Oakland or perhaps not, wouldn't be an attractive service at all.

If we were serious about doing HSR at reasonable cost, that's where I'd start.

Then extend HSR to San Jose via Fremont (no need for another BART-HSR connection; though it could be built in the future if truly needed.)

Then extend HSR to SF from Fremont via Dumbarton to Redwood City and SF.

After all, Eurostar first reached London via a time-wasting low-speed journey and only later did they spend billions of pounds to speed up the trip time right into central London: there's no reason we shouldn't start HSR construction that way.

Yeah yeah: "transfers kill ridership". The people who bleat this over and over are people who've never even seen a remotely well-run system with good transfers, like BART DOES THOUSANDS OF TIMES EVERY WEEK WITHOUT FAIL at 12st Street and MacArthur, and which BART could do in Livermore with HSR, and which Dutch/German/Swiss trains do thousands of times every day.

Do "transfers kill ridership" so much that we shouldn't consider getting a good system up as quickly as possible and the building on success? The alternative, and the road we're heading down, is that start building random disconnected pieces where they cost most (eg San Francisco peninsula, not Central Valley), then, guaranteed!, run out of money.

Just think about it. It isn't a bad or a crazy plan at all. In fact, HSR to Livermore could be judged a great first phase of an achievable, cheaper, and altogether better plan.

IF you think about it.

matt said...

I don't know a lot about train scheduling and FRA requirement and such, but perhaps those who do can fill me in if I miss anything.

There has been some talk that the baby bullet could disappear and caltrain service become worse after HSR is implemented along the peninsula (see Clem's blog). But this does not make sense to me. The corridor will be upgraded to 4 tracks, all electrified with two tracks able to support 125 mph max speed.

Could not the HSR tracks be express tracks while the other tracks handle the locals since HSR will not be using 100% of the capacity of the tracks. During non-commute times or reverse commute directions the trains could all run the local routes.

During peak times the locals could still run between the Mid-Peninsula HSR station (I will call Palo Alto for now) and TBT making all stops. Trains originating at San Jose could make the local stops until Palo Alto, where it switches to the express tracks and runs at 125 mph to TBT stopping at Milbrae. (unless TBT capacity requires it to stop at 4th & King)

Another train route could make the Gilroy to San Jose Local run before switching to the HSR express tracks after San Jose and stopping at Milbrae and TBT or 4&K. This train may need to switch locomotives at San Jose from electric to diesel until San Jose to Gilroy local gets electrified. Or it could just use diesel locomotives all the way and stop at 4th&K or Caltrain could get a few hybrid sets.

As demand increases the routes could include even less stops and switch to express tracks sooner to give riders an even faster commute. But everyone's commute will be shorter except the odd commuter who goes from one mid-baby bullet stop to another. But the average commute will go way down.

Any input on the idea?

matt said...

@Richard Mlynarik

I have thought about it previously and I am in fully agreement with most of your points. Which is why I fully support the HST upgrade of the ACE route and extension of BART to Livermore where the two would meet up. It would be great if we could get funds for that as well and start work on it, but too many people keep saying that now is not the time to be spending money on infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

The MTC is a BART enabler, no doubt about it.

Altamont or Pacheco, I believe hsr should pass on the Penisula and let Caltrain do its own thing, as before. If hsr wants and needs to access SF it can always build an elevated on 101. Like the new line to London expensive but doable if the demand and support is there later.

The hsr should concentrate on the line in the Central Valley. I still say the Grapevine is a better alignment. It is time to try something new and different. If you do insist on mining the Tehachapis make sure it can accommodate freight. Like BART's Dublin line the Tehachapis detour is likely to have way extra capacity, plenty to slip in some paying freight trains.

Anonymous said...

News for some of you. Altamont was chosen! Albeit as a HSR commuter overlay.
Pacheco Pass HSR, Altamont overlay and BART to SJ: a win, win all around!

Anonymous said...

Nobody will stop this big bitch from running....like a mare...

calwatch said...

On another note, here is what appears to be the HSR route through the San Gabriel Valley, for the LA-SD via Inland Empire segment. Note that the UP right of way is completely eliminated as an option, and an elevated route along the SR-60, I-10, or the current Metrolink San Bernardino Line ROW is being considered.

jim said...

Anonymous said...
News for some of you. Altamont was chosen! Albeit as a HSR commuter overlay.
Pacheco Pass HSR, Altamont overlay and BART to SJ: a win, win all around!



I don't know why people keep over looking that.

BruceMcF said...

matt said...
"would be great if we could get funds for that as well and start work on it, but too many people keep saying that now is not the time to be spending money on infrastructure."

Of course, now is the very best time to be spending money on infrastructure ... but the bulk of the money needs to be coming from the same level of government as the monetary authority, and in the US, the Federal government been in the habit of ducking its responsibility to invest in infrastructure to address our massive structural dependency on energy imports.

After eight years of the Bush DoT, even the token amount of funding for "New Starts" advanced from "Few Starts" to "Almost No Starts". If we had required that roads meet the same cost-benefit ratios needed to get 40:60 federal:state funding, we would have spent next to nothing on highways during the Bush years.

Anonymous said...

The hsr should follow freeway alignments wherever possible and stay away from the freight railroads.

It would be a different story if our railroads were nationalized as in many other couhtries with hsr up and running.

Alon Levy said...

Yeah yeah: "transfers kill ridership". The people who bleat this over and over are people who've never even seen a remotely well-run system with good transfers, like BART DOES THOUSANDS OF TIMES EVERY WEEK WITHOUT FAIL at 12st Street and MacArthur, and which BART could do in Livermore with HSR, and which Dutch/German/Swiss trains do thousands of times every day.

Those well-run systems would be, what, the TGV? The TGV is built to minimize transfers - on one route, serving a city whose ligne classique is not yet electrified, they stick a diesel locomotive in front of the train rather than have people transfers. The same is true for the KTX. The Shinkansen and AVE employ gauge change trains to serve more destinations.

I know you like the German-speaking world's practice. But on HSR its operations are one atrocity after another. I've read that ICE ridership is still in the single digits - lower than on the friggin' Northeast Corridor. It gets away with it because like Britain Germany has a good legacy rail network, but compared to France and Japan and Korea and even Spain, Germany is a joke here.

Brandon in San Diego said...

Concerning the relationship with ridership when forcing a transfer... true, ridership declines.

Whenever a forced transfer is created, there is a negative relationship with ridership. People respond to direct, time-effecient, no-hassle, one-seat rides.

That said, the negative impact to ridership is reduced, but never eliminated, when frequent service is provided... and whereas the transfer connection requires nominal effort to make.

Eliminating or reducing transfer penalties are so important for transit to be successful that some regaional transportation planning agencies plan to spend millions to improve or eliminate them.

Two examples:

San Diego has plans to extend the Green Line along existing track and ROW from Old Town into downtown to eliminate teh Green to Blue transfer for Mission Valley rriders, and will do so after retrofitting several stations to accomodate a new low-floor light-rail vehicles at a cost of about $1 million per station.

Los Angles has plans to construct a tunnel through downtown and connect the Gold Line to the Blue Line in a project called a Regional Connector. And, at a cost of about $1 billion. This project would eliminate transfers into downtown and/or to Union Station.

The above projects do not necessarily add capacity.

Anonymous said...

Any large, sophisticated transit system worth its salt is going to have transfers, lots of them if it is a real mobility system, so a growing system had better get used to implementing them well. The idea of a "transfer-less" transit system is stupid and profoundly wasteful. If your idea of a transit system is to drive to a rail station, park your car, take a transfer-less train directly to work, take a train back, drive your car home, you're missing the point of a real transit system. If these are the conditions you require to use transit, then just use your car and leave transit to those who can make use of it.

Brandon in San Diego said...

You're correct.

Never-the-less, in order to provide quality and effective services, reducing or eliminating forced transfers where they affect large numbers of riders... should be the goal of any responsible transportation organization.

Having trains terminate short of a destination for a large number of riders at places like San Jose or Livermore.... and forcing transfers to a different system... is a step toward being a piss poor system.

Fortunately, we don't have that to seriously worry about. CHSRA is designing a system that goes all the way to San Francisco and not pulling up short at places NIMBY's would rather have teh system avoid.

Alon Levy said...

The idea of a "transfer-less" transit system is stupid and profoundly wasteful.

Could you name the HSR system that requires people to transfer to take common trips?

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"Any large, sophisticated transit system worth its salt is going to have transfers, lots of them if it is a real mobility system, so a growing system had better get used to implementing them well. The idea of a "transfer-less" transit system is stupid and profoundly wasteful."

Thinking of it as a yes/no question is, of course, not appropriate for a system. Each transfer erodes ridership, so given a choice between two alternatives that offer the same average travel times to the same population, and offer equally attractive rides otherwise, the alternative with fewer total transfers will have better patronage.

However, it would be insane to try to create a transfer-free HSR system ... it is normal for the large numbers of HSR trips to be two-transfer trips, with a local trip to the origin station and a local trip from the destination station. Indeed, a big part of the point of the HSR is to offer sufficient advantage for regional travel to warrant the local trips on either end.

Its a common design target to design strong trunk local transport routes with a substantial foundation of no-transfer trips, and then connecting to and between those routes in a well designed system gives a much broader range of one-transfer trips as well. But in the context of the system, that is not targetting "zero transfers" as much as increasing the transport opportunities gained per transfer required.