Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tehachapi Residents Excited About HSR

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

Last week the California High Speed Rail Authority took its scoping meeting roadshow to Tehachapi, and judging by this report in the Tehachapi news the locals are excited and supportive - but they'd also like a stop:

“I believe in alternative transportation,” said architect Alex Kosich at the Sept. 16 meeting at the Stallion Springs Community Center. “I rode my bike six miles to this meeting.

“I think it's great. I think it's wonderful. It's a big engineering task. We have to start somewhere.”

Kosich said he and his wife Laila, who is French, are accustomed to riding the high-speed trains from Paris to Lyon.

“Why isn't there one here?” Kosich said. “What are we waiting for?”

The article includes some critical voices, including one guy who voted against the train out of financial concerns.

One of the main concerns raised was the possible impact of the train on a new hospital being built in Tehachapi, though project managers said that the tracks would be sited in such a way to avoid negative impacts. And this being Tehachapi, the article included a brief discussion of the famous Tehachapi Loop, one of the reasons there is currently no passenger rail service between Bakersfield and Los Angeles:

While the rail line in the Tehachapi Pass will follow the BNSF line, there will be no loop similar to the famous Tehachapi Loop at Keene that has been in use since it was built in 1876 and draws railfans from around the world.

With better technology, railroads do not need to adhere to the 2.2 percent grade restriction dictated by Abraham Lincoln's Pacific Railway Act of 1864.

“We can go steeper, to 3 and one-half percent,” said Roworth, the engineer.

In any case, he said after a moment of calculation, at 220 miles an hour, the train would need a circle 16 miles in diameter to make a loop.

Of course, whenever the Tehachapi Pass/Palmdale alignment comes up, we get commenters coming out of the woodwork to argue that this alignment is flawed, too costly, a sop to developers, etc. Never mind the fact that 500,000 people live in the area, a number projected to rise to 1 million by 2020 with or without HSR. The key factor in picking the Tehachapi alignment over I-5 is that, as anyone who has actually driven I-5 through the Grapevine knows, the I-5 route is very mountainous, whereas the Tehachapi Pass is much less so. The CHSRA reached that conclusion over 5 years ago when it eliminated the I-5 route as too challenging and costly for the significant amount of tunneling that would be required to serve that route - a route that wouldn't include any new riders.

62 comments:

Fred Martin said...

Keep in mind that you can have an I-5 Central Valley alignment that still went over Tehachapi Pass.

I still think the Grapevine route is preferable If anywhere an engineering challenge is justifiable, it is time-savings potential of the Grapevine.

Going SR99 instead of I-5 in the Central Valley is an example of choosing a more difficult construction route with very limited upside.

A station stop in Tehachapi is ludicrous.

Rafael said...

Tiny Tehachapi (pop ~12000) isn't going to get a station since CHSRA is limited to 24 for the whole network. Sorry.

Palmdale and Lancaster each have a population of 150,000. Both are currently served by Metrolink's Antelope Valley line. Bus services are limited. Lots of people will have to get to the Palmdale HSR station under their own steam, i.e. drive a car or ride a bike.

There will be no loop in the HSR line as it crosses the Tehachapis. Trains will be traveling at high speed but substantially less than 220mph at the crest.

Rafael said...

@ Fred Martin -

"Going SR99 instead of I-5 in the Central Valley is an example of choosing a more difficult construction route with very limited upside."

Limited for whom? I suspect residents of Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced and Modesto would beg to differ with your incredibly condescending attitude. The Central Valley needs HSR more than the Bay Area or SoCal do precisely because it is underserved by airlines and congestion in certain sections of CA-99 is high in certain sections.

The goal of HSR is not to get Silicon Valley and Hollywood types as quickly from one end to the other as possible. It is to avoid the construction of 5 new runways and 3300 new lane-miles of freeways in the state, in addition to making a dent in per-capita fossil fuel consumption related to in-state transportation.

The Tehachapis route allows engineers to easily cross both the Garlock and the San Andreas faults at grade. The direct route between Bakersfield and Sylmar would indeed cut a whopping 12 minutes off non-stop line haul time between SF and LA. However, it would also involve more miles of tunnels and longer individual tunnels that require an third service/escape bore.

Palmdale did lobby hard for its station but the route decision was based primarily on the topography and geology of the Transverse range.

AndyDuncan said...

Going SR99 instead of I-5 in the Central Valley is an example of choosing a more difficult construction route with very limited upside.

If you're going over Tehachapi, there's no reason to skip Bakersfield.

The difference in line length going up the 99 versus going up the 5 is a whopping 15 miles.

For those 15 miles, you bring rail to over 1 million CA residents in the metro areas of Fresno and Merced alone. Residents who have no real flight or rail options to compete with HSR ridership.

You also get to run your trains along existing ROWs and even if UPRR won't share, putting a new ROW alongside the UPRR is still easier than a greenfield alignment along i5.

YesonHSR said...

The valley route could/may take a BNSF route almost the entire route thru the Central valley
all its needs to do is cut over above Fresno then take the planned BNSF south at that point..BNSF is supposed "open" for negotations unlike UP. I have seen this route
alternative somewhere on the CAHSR site

DBX said...

I don't know why anyone is still even nitpicking over the Tehachapi route. Clearing Tejon Pass would blow the 3.5 percent ruling grade right out of the water -- or else involve prohibitive tunneling in a particularly problematic area for earthquakes. The extra customers Tehachapi accesses at Palmdale are gravy, but the engineering costs are the key issue. Were this flat land that we were talking about, of course it would go up Tejon.

Once you are lined up with California-99, as you will be with Tehachapi, it makes sense to follow it as you hit all the population centers without any further detours. High speed rail lines that have to make several detours to reach population centers get into trouble through losing time -- that's not the case here. The Central Valley has the luxury of favorable geography for high speed rail, with the major towns and cities all in a line with one another up CA-99, and that should be used, as CAHSR proposes.

Reality Check said...

Anyone know what the noise levels and noise "footprint" would be of running 200+ mph express trains through Central Valley city centers? I have heard that at those speeds even well-engineered state-of-the-art HSTs running on state-of-the-art track beds are deafeningly loud.

Since I am told HSRA cannot make the 2:40 SF-LA express timings without running 200+ mph through city centers, it seems they'll need to think hard about how to contain/mitigate the noise or else face the wrath of local citizens and pols alike.

Is there anywhere in the world where HSTs run at top speed through city centers? Might be worth looking into for ideas on noise levels and mitigation.

Anonymous said...

AndyDuncan say:

"The difference in line length going up the 99 versus going up the 5 is a whopping 15 miles."

15 miles here 15 miles there, pretty soon you have a useless system.

How many miles is the detour out to Riverside, when the congestion is along I-5.

Its all about political power, who owns the land and where.

Oakland, Contra Costa county and Sacramento take the shaft; the thriving community of Gilroy gets a station and a route.

Now San Diego, which is to be funded from profits of the system, wants to jump ahead --- way ahead. give us the stimulus funds forget the central valley.

I hope everybody noticed that Diridon wants $75 million for his monument.

Its all out of control folks.

Anonymous said...

Robert:

Aren't you just a bit disappointed. No funds for San Jose to Gilroy?

Peter said...

@ Anon 4:05

Considering it in terms of miles is deceptive. Consider it in terms of time. At 220 mph, you would save only 4 minutes. Assuming the train isn't going 220 for the entire route, the time would be slightly longer. We are talking issues of degree here. Opening the system up to many more passengers (and saving money and risk in terms of engineering and construction) by adding a relatively small amount of time to the overall travel time seems to be a worthy tradeoff to me.

Alon Levy said...

In any case, he said after a moment of calculation, at 220 miles an hour, the train would need a circle 16 miles in diameter to make a loop.

Have those people heard of superelevation? You only need a curve radius of 12.8 km if you have zero superelevation and a low cant deficiency of 11.3 cm.

AndyDuncan said...

In 50+ years when the line becomes saturated and they need to add more tracks, then they could drag a "super express" down the 5 and over the grapevine. Similar to how the Chuo Shinkansen is slated to shorten the trip time and reduce stops, the line would be very expensive, involve lots of tunneling, and offer relief for an over-capacity trunk line.

Until then, connecting the large, transit-option-poor populations of Fresno, Modesto and Merced is a good business decision. 1-2 million people with no other inter-regional transit options? That's very attractive.

Anonymous said...

Turn loose the engineers on Tejon Pass.

Besides who needs more population in California, especially in the high desert? I'd like to see less population.

Peter said...

Well, it's not that we WANT more population in CA, but it's going to happen. We might as well therefore plan for it.

Peter said...

You can only pay for so much. The engineers have already made the determination which is better. Why would they, at this point, reconsider and spend more money on an alignment that they do not believe will be inferior in many ways to the Grapevine? Especially when all they have to gain is slightly over 4 minutes and all they have to lose is all the service to the cities in the Valley and a lot more engineering headaches.

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

Sorry, "that they believe". Drop the 'do not'.

Anonymous said...

Let's be very clear. The politicians made a decision. The engineers, paid by those same politicians, justified the decision.

It may be the right one, it may not be.

Anonymous said...

Let's be very clear. The politicians made a decision. The engineers, paid by those same politicians, justified the decision.

It may be the right one, it may not be.

Samsonian said...

Peter said, "Considering it in terms of miles is deceptive. Consider it in terms of time. At 220 mph, you would save only 4 minutes. Assuming the train isn't going 220 for the entire route, the time would be slightly longer. We are talking issues of degree here. Opening the system up to many more passengers (and saving money and risk in terms of engineering and construction) by adding a relatively small amount of time to the overall travel time seems to be a worthy tradeoff to me."

And yet that same argument didn't work for the Altamont Pass option. It would have added ~8 mins tops, probably ~5 or so, to the SF-LA route. Yet it would have served millions more, and required less tunneling than Pacheco.

I'm not actually against the Tehachapi Pass/Palmdale station though, given the difficulties of the Grapevine.

@ AndyDuncan

If 50+ years from now, the core line is saturated, it makes sense to build a Central Coast line parallel to US-101. It's already designated a HSR corridor, and it makes sense for express HSTs to use that alignment. The original core line could then just be a super regional line.

AndyDuncan said...

The beeb has a quick video on the AVE.

AndyDuncan said...

And yet that same argument didn't work for the Altamont Pass option. It would have added ~8 mins tops, probably ~5 or so, to the SF-LA route. Yet it would have served millions more, and required less tunneling than Pacheco.

Fresno/Modesto/Merced have a higher population in their catchment area than the tri-valley, and the time penalty is half as much. Plus, there's a huge difference in connecting Fresno, Modesto and Merced to SF and LA than there is connecting Livermore to SF and LA, Especially since Livermore/Dublin/Pleasanton are already served by two commuter lines.

If 50+ years from now, the core line is saturated, it makes sense to build a Central Coast line parallel to US-101. It's already designated a HSR corridor, and it makes sense for express HSTs to use that alignment. The original core line could then just be a super regional line.

Maybe, but that would be even more circuitous than the 99 route. A super-express would need to be faster and more direct than the regular express. Plus you'd need a crazy amount of tunneling to get 220mph speeds.

101 makes more sense as a 125-150mph electrified line, if even that. Most of the benefit could be had by improving Surfliner service from SLO to LA and putting in a line from Monterey/Salinas to SJ.

Something like a tilting pendolino train running at 150mph up the coast is probably going to be considered decadent for quite a while.

Alon Levy said...

It would have added ~8 mins tops, probably ~5 or so, to the SF-LA route.

How much would it add to SJ-LA?

BruceMcF said...

@Alon: in Stage One or Stage Two-Four? In Stage One it would not have added any time to SJ/LA, since SJ/LA would not have be on the network. For Stage Two to Four somewhere, it seems like it would add about as many North/South route miles as the SJ/SF alignment, but the backtracking route miles when it got to the Valley would be at around 220mph, so say 20-25 minutes.

Samsonian said...

@ AndyDuncan

Re Altamont:

Serving cities like Livermore, Pleasanton, etc. is part of what Altamont alignment is about. But you're missing the elephant in front of you. It's also about Bay Area - Sacramento HSR. That route can't be served well by Pacheco, and existing Capitol Corridor and ACE are held back by UP, not to mention the existing Altamont alignment is crap for passenger service.

It'd actually take less time to go from SJ-LA via HSR, than SJ-Sac via Capitol Corridor or ACE+HSR (even if they have intermodal, which they don't). Hell it'd be faster to take a very sub-optimal HSR trip from SJ-Sac.

That's a sad state of affairs. Bay Area, N. San Joaquin, and Sacramento communities shouldn't stand for that.

CHSRA said they'd study the Altamont alignment independent of the HSR system proper, to serve both regional and HSR needs. They've started that, but they haven't committed to funding and building it. Rafael apparently thinks it was a bait-and-switch from the get go, and they had no intention of building it.

I hope he's wrong about that, but Diridon/Kopp don't inspire confidence, and they leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

Re Central Coast HSR:

Look at a map. It's actually the shortest alignment between SJ and LA. Of course it would need lots of tunneling, etc. It was even considered for the core line, but serving the Central Valley is an important goal for the project.

I only brought it up because you said if 50+ years out, if the core line is saturated, we should build an I-5 alignment.

That makes little sense compared to a Central Coast alignment, which could actually serve some people, and a different part of the state which is very disconnected from the rest of the state. The FRA probably concluded the same thing, which is why they designated the Central Coast a HSR corridor.

Hell, 50+ years out, it might make sense to extend north to Redding and beyond to connect with a Pacific Northwest HSR network.

Regardless, a second core HSR line is pretty fanciful idea right now, irrespective of alignment.

Samsonian said...

@ BruceMcF

I don't follow how that could be.

CHSRA admitted the Altamont wouldn't add more than ~8 mins to the entire SF-LA route.

How would SJ-LA via Altamont take much more time? Assuming they built a proper SJ - Tri-Valley segment.

The alignment didn't have to do with time, it had to do with shoving every train through SJ and protecting BART to SJ. In the process, they've damaged rail for all of NorCal.

Alon Levy said...

How would SJ-LA via Altamont take much more time? Assuming they built a proper SJ - Tri-Valley segment.

Using Pacheco, the line comes into SJ from the south, so LA-SJ is 30 minutes shorter than LA-SF. Using Altamont it comes from the north, so while it's still shorter, the difference is smaller.

AndyDuncan said...

Look at a map. It's actually the shortest alignment between SJ and LA. Of course it would need lots of tunneling, etc. It was even considered for the core line, but serving the Central Valley is an important goal for the project.

I am looking at a map. It's not shorter, it's 50 miles longer to SF (via 580) and 45 miles longer to SJ (via pacheco).

That's driving distance of course, rail might be slightly shorter or longer for each.

BruceMcF said...

@ Samsonian: "CHSRA admitted the Altamont wouldn't add more than ~8 mins to the entire SF-LA route.

How would SJ-LA via Altamont take much more time? Assuming they built a proper SJ - Tri-Valley segment.
"

Because the SJ-LA route would be going north to go south, and would have farther to go before reaching the 220mph corridor.

AndyDuncan said...

I only brought it up because you said if 50+ years out, if the core line is saturated, we should build an I-5 alignment.

That makes little sense compared to a Central Coast alignment, which could actually serve some people, and a different part of the state which is very disconnected from the rest of the state. The FRA probably concluded the same thing, which is why they designated the Central Coast a HSR corridor.


If the line is saturated you could either build something faster and charge more for it, or you could build something slower and charge less for that.

The point of a new super-express line would be to serve less stations. If the line is already at capacity, adding a SJ-SLO-LA line is only going to make the SF-SJ problem worse anyway.

you're right though, all speculation, long time off, probably not even worth commenting about.

I would like to be able to take a nice quick train to Santa Barbara or SLO for the weekend though.

Andrew said...

I'd like to point out that we Santa Barbarians voted up Prop 1A, knowing full well it would skip our county. It would be nice to at least get tilting DMU Surfliner service every hour.

Anonymous said...

Yes, California's population is likely to grow. So let's keep our own property values in the nice areas nice and high, and force people to live in hellholes like the High Desert. That place is actively hostile to human habitation: you need massive amounts of power to keep your house at a livable temperature and all the water needs to be piped in from somewhere far away. And of course there aren't really any jobs there either, most people commute a hundred miles or more a day to get to LA. Nobody wants to live there, the only reason most of the people there actually do is because that's the only place where they could afford to buy a house, because the people sitting on the nicer land in California don't want any more neighbors. And the only other people who benefit from this arrangement is of course the land speculators, who make a tidy profit off selling this somewhat nightmarish parody of the American Dream to people who don't know, or can't afford, any better.

James said...

@Anon 9:03

Oh those poor people who have to live in tehachapi

Spokker said...

"Nobody wants to live there, the only reason most of the people there actually do is because that's the only place where they could afford to buy a house, because the people sitting on the nicer land in California don't want any more neighbors."

They also move far away from the city because they don't want to live near black people. Unfortunately for them, you're going to have to move back into the city with black people once cheap oil runs out. I'm personally thinking of moving to South LA because I'm ultra-liberal.

Anonymous said...

Spokker: have you been paying attention to the actual demographics of those moving out to the High Desert (and Inland Empire) these days? Lots of blacks and hispanics too looking to move out of the ghetto, but priced out of anything better in LA. Of course this creates some friction with the earlier generation of people who had moved out there for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Makes for a nice high crime rate!

jim said...

hey lets argue about altamont and tehachapi. We never get enough of that.... and it's always so productive. Just wait, once the trin is running you'll be able to walk through and tell by the looks on the faces, which passengers are still disgruntled about the route choice. They'll be grumbling into their blueberry muffin. #@&*%^ pacheco route... $#%&#*@# 8 minutes... grumble grumble....

Travis ND said...

"The alignment didn't have to do with time, it had to do with shoving every train through SJ and protecting BART to SJ."

No, actually it was all about a little concept called "Cost Vs Reward." Maybe, at some point, you might have heard about it.

Altamont
___________
Cost: Transbay tunnel, decreased service to south bay, opposition from city of Pleasanton, lack of east bay ROW

Reward: Save 8 minutes, serve east bay cities with core line rather than with later add on leg


I-5 through valley
___________
Cost: loss of service to 2+ million residents, inability to open line in segments

Reward: save 4 minutes, slightly cheaper construction


Grapevine
___________
Cost: increased construction costs, increased risk to catastrophic earthquake damage, loss of 1+ million riders

Reward: save 8-14 minutes, potential episode of "Build It Bigger"

BruceMcF said...

Samsonian said...
"@ AndyDuncan

Serving cities like Livermore, Pleasanton, etc. is part of what Altamont alignment is about. But you're missing the elephant in front of you. It's also about Bay Area - Sacramento HSR. That route can't be served well by Pacheco, and existing Capitol Corridor and ACE are held back by UP, not to mention the existing Altamont alignment is crap for passenger service.
"

But upgrading the existing Capital Corridor to 125mph is less disruption to UP than building the Express HSR Altamont alignment partially along UP right of way, and indeed provides something of direct value to UP in return.

So why do you expect it will be a harder to upgrade the Capital Corridor than to build an all new corridor partly in UP right of way?

Rafael said...

@ BruceMcF -

UPRR isn't interested in selling any of its ROW anywhere in California for the purpose of building tracks dedicated to passenger traffic. That was true for eBART in Contra Costa county and, it is true for HSR in e.g. SJ-Gilroy and the Mojave-Palmdale sections. Fresno-Stockton won't be any different, nor will Stockton-Sacramento. UPRR also isn't looking to run its freight trains at 125mph or, to start keeping to timetables.

The very best anyone could hope for is additional tracks limited to 110mph that UPRR trains are also permitted to use for the purpose of overtaking other, slower freight trains. In the specific case of the Capitol Corridor route, someone would first have to check if 110mph is even feasible south of Benicia, even with active tilt rolling stock. Since active tilt and FRA compliance don't mix, that would require PTC functionality - a Good Idea (tm) in any case - and a waiver to operate mixed traffic.

Perhaps 90mph is as high as she'll go, even if everything is dual tracked and a subway tunnel built to eliminate the streetcar section in Oakland. Except for the section within Sacramento, the alignment is nice and straight between Benicia and Roseville, so 110mph should be possible.

Alon Levy said...

Since active tilt and FRA compliance don't mix, that would require PTC functionality

or removing the FRA regulations, which even in the current PTC-less setup don't increase safety.

jim said...

today's chron article on tbt

AndyDuncan said...

But upgrading the existing Capital Corridor to 125mph is less disruption to UP than building the Express HSR Altamont alignment partially along UP right of way, and indeed provides something of direct value to UP in return.

Agreed, if you're trying to connect Sacramento to SF, don't go through Livermore, upgrade the CCs. If there's enough demand to drag a new alignment + tunnels through Altamont and Sunol, then there should be enough demand to expand the UPRR ROW for the Capitals or buy new land next to it like they're going to do around the rest of the state.

If ACE has higher ridership than the Capitals, then maybe an Altamont alignment would make more sense (anyone know?).

Really, we should put high speed commuter service along both, but only if demand is there.

jim said...

The very best anyone could hope for is additional tracks limited to 110mph that UPRR trains are also permitted to use for the purpose of overtaking other, slower freight trains. In the specific case of the Capitol Corridor route, someone would first have to check if 110mph is even feasible south of Benicia

I always thought that CA should have bought cascade talgos for use on ccjpa and surfliner as they are better suited for 110 on our coastal/curved areas but caltrans wanted specifically designed trains ( the californian cars) rather than off the shelf rolling stock.

Alon Levy said...

ACE ridership is 3,700 per weekday.

CC ridership is 1.7 million per year, which translates to 4,700 per day (not per weekday).

jim said...

Once all double tracking/sidings/crossovers are done for the entire length, ccjpa could actually reduce trip times by running some express trains. A non stop train from SAC to EMY at 79mph would take one hour instead of two.

AndyDuncan said...

Thanks Alon.

Any CC upgrade that continues down to SJ and any spur through a new transbay tube could also be used by a connecting line over Altamont, of course, and vice versa. So it's not like doing one is going to prevent the other from happening.

Anonymous said...

Except for the scarce amount of funds, of course.

mike said...

The problem with speeding up the Capitol Corridor is that Martinez-Richmond will always take 25 minutes unless they invest in some tilting equipment (which they have given no indication of doing).

BruceMcF said...

mike said...
"The problem with speeding up the Capitol Corridor is that Martinez-Richmond will always take 25 minutes unless they invest in some tilting equipment (which they have given no indication of doing)."

In other words, there's no problem. That's not a bottleneck at present, because there are more serious bottlenecks along the line.

Fix those bottlenecks so that there is a reward available to raising the speed limit to 110mph, and then that work comes into the frame, which on most conventional rights of way sets up a situation where the investment in tilt-trains more than pays for itself.

Complete that work, and then electrification and/or raising the speed limit to 125mph comes into the frame.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Too much of these comments are people drawing lines on maps without taking a closer look at context.

The people claiming that a US 101 route would somehow be faster than I-5 through the Central Valley have probably never driven both routes. As we who actually live on the Central Coast know, I-5 is much quicker for getting to and from SoCal. Same is true for Bay Area residents. 101 is the route you take when you cannot stand driving through the hot, flat Valley any longer and are willing to spend an extra couple hours taking in the stunning beauty of the coastal route.

It is a VERY hilly route, I might add. Significant obstacles lie in much of SLO and SB counties - or you can try and follow the Coast Line route and deal with the US Air Force and the California Coastal Commission.

All in order to serve significantly fewer passengers than you'd serve going down the CA-99 corridor. Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield will have significantly more population than Salinas, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara in 2020 (and I believe they already have more people now).

Someone else mentioned the LA-SD route going inland via Riverside. Again, someone complaining about that choice is someone who has never actually taken the Surfliner between San Juan Capistrano and San Diego. The existing rail corridor is single-track in many places, and where it is double-track, it is vulnerable to unstable bluffs. The bluffs come down onto the tracks in Capistrano Beach and San Clemente almost every El NiƱo winter. Unless you're willing to take lanes from I-5 there's simply no possible way to route HSR along the coast there, and even then the grades and curvatures on the existing I-5 ROW would probably rule out HSR anyway.

So no, it's most certainly NOT the case that these are political decisions the engineers must accept. The existing HSR route is by far the most sensible from the perspective of ease of construction and maximizing ridership.

It's just not credible to ascribe a "political" motive to a routing decision you don't understand.

BruceMcF said...

Rafael said...

"@ BruceMcF

UPRR isn't interested in selling any of its ROW anywhere in California for the purpose of building tracks dedicated to passenger traffic. That was true for eBART in Contra Costa county and, it is true for HSR in e.g. SJ-Gilroy and the Mojave-Palmdale sections. Fresno-Stockton won't be any different, nor will Stockton-Sacramento.
"

Yes, that would be the cause of the 125mph maximum speed limit.

"UPRR also isn't looking to run its freight trains at 125mph or, to start keeping to timetables."

The significance of that is different from conventional rail and Regional HSR, because of the ability of Regional HSR on a good corridor to run without operating subsidy, so that the Regional HSR operator can work on the basis of negotiating an access fee that makes it worth UP's while.

"The very best anyone could hope for is additional tracks limited to 110mph that UPRR trains are also permitted to use for the purpose of overtaking other, slower freight trains."

"The very best anyone could hope for ...". From the same person who will hypothetically throw a piece of untested technology at any physical obstacle that might arise, any existing institutional constraint is taken as if it was a physical constraint.

In the US, the solvent for institutional constraints is cash. That's the real difference in speed between conventional rail and high speed rail - "fast enough" to generate an operating surplus, which changes the rules of the game. When someone offers UP the access fees and public subsidies on infrastructure to make it worth their while, they'll do it.

Indeed, if its worth the while of Union Pacific, Burlington Northern, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Kansas Southern, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, then the institutional hurdles at the FRA will miraculously dissolve. That's how industry capture of a bureaucracy works - when its a common interest of the industry, the captive bureaucracy implements what is in its power to implement.

That implies California working in coalition with other states to make it happen, but it also implies that the whole ball of wax is not hostage to the insanities of your state legislature.

AndyDuncan said...

All in order to serve significantly fewer passengers than you'd serve going down the CA-99 corridor.

Nobody said anything about going down 101 instead of 99, they said a future, second line to relieve capacity on the 99 should go down the 101 as it would be shorter than the 5 (they are wrong).

jim said...

There just isn't any need to speed up ccjpa but by a small amount.

Those who are gonna take the train already do and its one of the top 3 most successful routes in the nation at its current speed.. And again, few ride the entire length for their commute.

Incremental improvements are more than adequate. More important than speed is price, or I should say, the perfect balance between time and cost. And so far its working perfectly as customer satisfaction is in the 90's (out of 100)

if it aint broke don't fix it. We don't have to go 200 miles per hour everywhere.

Shaving a few minutes here and there can be done by the completion of double tracking, implementation of limiteds or express, and perhaps some 110 on certain stretches - mainly between Benicia and Sac.

Get the sac to emy time down to 90 minutes and its competitive with driving mid day, and exceeds rush hour drive times easily.

Keep the price point a couple bucks below the costs of gas, bridge tolls and parking and poof! you have a winner.

figure in discounts for groups, kids seniors, multi rides, and monlthies
and ta da, you can't beat it. Same goes for ACE. As for ACE, they'd be better to invest in more departures and weekend service than increased speeds.

Anonymous said...

The HSR routing is NOT political?!? That has to be the most fatuous thing I have heard in some time!

jim said...

ITs only political in the sense that the communities involved exercised their will to get hsr where they wanted it which is the essence of democracy. The routing is democratic, not political, actually and winds up serving the communities that wanted it most.

Morris Brown said...

Rafael writes:

"UPRR isn't interested in selling any of its ROW anywhere in California for the purpose of building tracks dedicated to passenger traffic."

That was amplified even more today (9/23/09) in the presentation that Daniels gave. He clearly showed and emphasized that they were seeking to buy ROW along but not on the UP corridor. That they were concerned about spost where they would fly over UP tracks, but no mention made of ever using their corridor.

I would think this would dispel a lot of earlier comments, that UPRR was just being a tough group to deal with, and that in the end they would take money for the use of their corridor.

Devil's Advocate said...

Zaragoza is quickly becoming the meeting point for businessmen coming from the two Spanish financial capitals: Madrid and Barcelona, since it's sits almost half way between the two. Maybe Tehachapi hopes to replicate the fortunes of Zaragoza. Can you imagine Tehachapi becoming the meeting capital for businessmen coming from LA and the CV? Fat chance! However it's not totally far fatched that Fresno might indeed become such hub, sitting btw Greater LA and the Bay Area.

Spokker said...

"Spokker: have you been paying attention to the actual demographics of those moving out to the High Desert (and Inland Empire) these days?"

Actually, you know what's happening now? The blacks and the Hispanics are following the white people into the suburbs, and the whites are moving right back into Downtown lofts, lol.

It's like we've come full circle. Lower middle class whites are fucked though, if they don't like black people and Hispanics. I like them though so I don't care where I live. I live with a bunch of Indians and Middle Eastern types and they are all very nice.

Alon Levy said...

I live with a bunch of Indians and Middle Eastern types and they are all very nice.

In the US, Indians and Middle Easterners are types of white people. Whites are much less likely to fear them, or to avoid sharing school districts with them.

Spokker said...

"In the US, Indians and Middle Easterners are types of white people."

I'm Hispanic so they probably wouldn't live near me if they could avoid it!

I wonder what they think of high speed rail.

Alon Levy said...

I'm Hispanic so they probably wouldn't live near me if they could avoid it!

Probably not.

I wonder what they think of high speed rail.

Were there any demographic tabs in the polls about support for 1A?

jim said...

"Our application is very competitive – the only true high-speed system in the country capable of travel up to 220-miles an hour," said Galgiani, who represents a Central Valley district. "It will bring badly needed jobs and economic activity to the state immediately."

The Authority Board also received dozens of letters of support for the application from local governments and agencies, business groups and other organizations around the state.