Friday, November 6, 2009

Fresno Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is For Maintenance Hub

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

We've been following the growing contest among San Joaquin Valley cities for the main maintenance hub for the CHSRA system. Back in March CHSRA said Merced's Castle Airport was their first choice for the hub location, and Merced County officials have been strongly pursuing that. The contest has become more competitive, with Madera County proposing a site near Chowchilla, and Bakersfield proposing a site as well. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has been working to bring the hub to Fresno, an effort that may get a big boost from Fresno County:

Fresno County leaders may divert funds from Measure C, the county's half-cent transportation sales tax, to attract a high-speed rail maintenance yard that could employ 1,500 skilled workers....

But Fresno County is assuming it will need to line up a site to get serious consideration.

A task force of county officials and other local leaders has already chosen an undisclosed site along the system's route on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe corridor in rural southern Fresno County. The cost could be as much as $40 million....

But Anderson made clear that she thinks the most likely source is Measure C -- specifically a $37 million fund reserved for "new technologies such as personal rapid transit or similar system."

Although some in Fresno County raised cautions about redirecting Measure C money, I cannot imagine a better or more appropriate use for that $37 million than a maintenance hub. Personal rapid transit is a silly technology that shouldn't take priority over funding an HSR maintenance hub, should CHSRA decide Fresno is the best location for it.

Another possible funding pool is much less desirable for redirecting to the hub:

The council's staff also suggested that part of the measure's $106 million fund for moving the Fresno's BNSF tracks to the Union Pacific corridor could be diverted to the maintenance yard project. That drew fire from rail consolidation advocates.

"Make no mistake, folks: They're not talking about borrowing funds from rail consolidation," said Tom Bailey of Fresno Area Residents for Rail Consolidation. "They're talking about flat taking."

Fresno should move much more cautiously before diverting funds from consolidation to the hub. The Fresno rail consolidation project is a very good project that deserves to be supported, not defunded for a maintenance hub.

CHSRA has also evolved its own stance away from their March comments in favor of Castle Airport:

The authority's Central Valley regional director, Carrie Bowen, said the board is determined "to make this as competitive as possible."

Candidates will have to "identify what they can do" for the project, she said. In most cases, that will mean providing an estimated 154 acres in a shape appropriate for a train yard -- long and narrow.

A competitive process is desirable, but local governments shouldn't toss other worthy projects overboard to win the hub. Of course, PRT does not count as a "worthy project," so moving the $37 million in Measure C money is not only a wise policy move, it would seem to fit the letter and spirit of the voter-approved language, since HSR is after all a "new technology," at least as far as California is concerned.

74 comments:

jim said...

Fresno's first priority should probably be their rail corridor - where they want to move all rail traffic out of the way in an "alameda corridor" type of solution. Thats what I remember hearing anyway.

Jack said...

Yay Fresno! I know a lot of you Palo Alto anon's don't step outside your white picket fenced front yards but there is a large portion of the state that is economically depressed. This train will do much to reverse the course of poverty in the Central Valley. I know that doesn't matter to you folk who are so concerned about the remote possibility of less property value.

Nice to see my town compete for something instead of just assuming they have to put it here. It's how we lost Children's Hospital and the UC campus.

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

Fresno Area Residents for Rail Consolidation? FARRC? That's an unfortunate acronym.

(deleted previous comment due to rampant typos)

timote said...

"Personal rapid transit is a silly technology"

I don't think PRT is a "silly" technology and I don't think you should be so glib here. I'd love to see PRT take off (get me out of my car!) and I think it could be a good benefit to HSR as a feeder. Do I think it will happen? No. Do I mind grabbing some funding for a far more concrete and likely project like HSR? No. But let's not disparage for the sake of doing so.

Loren said...

PRT is a losing system - the worst of both worlds, cars and rail vehicles.

I think that Fresno's planners ought to consider a light-rail line or two instead.

Joseph said...

I would love to see Fresno get its shit together on this. They could really use some planning for the future and some TOD. Hopefully they use HSR as the means to get this done.

John said...

Hold up guys... Lets not do the PRT debate here. Find another blog for it. Move along, nothing to see here.

jim said...

light rail would work well in fresno.

AndyDuncan said...

@John: seconded. PRT has been rehashed plenty.

jim said...

fresno light rail

lyqwyd said...

@Robert

I don't want to get in to a debate about PRT, but if you are going to lambaste "HSR deniers" I suggest you don't take the same approach about other technologies. There was no need for it, and it does nothing to support your position supporting the maintenance yard (which I agree with).

Cost Control said...

PRT sucks. Vukan Vuchic summed it up best: it amazingly combines the negative features of automobiles and fixed guideway transit: the low capacity of automobiles with the high capital infrastructure costs of fixed guideway transit. It completely missed the positive elements: the flexibility of automobiles and the capacity of transit. FAILED CONCEPT. Robotic cars are far more realistic in comparison.

HSR does not need support from PRT dweebs!

Anonymous said...

From Jon Coupal's (www.hjta.org) latest newsletter: "Our star of the week though is the recent announcement that the mega-p.r. firm Ogilvy is slated to get the contract for the High Speed Rail Authority for -- brace yourself -- $9 million. We have to ask ourselves, why does a government agency which has no competition
needs a $9 million p.r. budget? Well, the real answer is that
Californians are coming around to the realization that when a bare
majority of them voted for the High Speed Rail Bond, they bought a
pig in a poke. Told that $10 billion would get us a top flight HSR system, it turns out the real price tag is at least $80 billion. Our suspicion is that the $9 million for public relations will be used for damage control once people understand the true cost of this boondoggle."

john said...

Hey! Seriously dudes, take it outside.

The PRT debate pisses everyone off and just goes round and round in circles. Niether side seeds and inch. Take it to streetsblog. We talk HSR talk 'round these parts

nothing to see here pilgrims.

francis said...

Nice anon 1:44pm, saw it yesterday... yawn. You gonna post that everyday?

Rafael said...

@ Jim -

or this.

jim said...

rafael not bad but you need line down through the olive/tower district.
your lines follow commute routes, my lines are more neighborhood oriented.

6 - 1/2 - 12 as far as which is the better philsophy

Rafael said...

Siting the heavy maintenance facility south of Fresno would put it on the HSR network core and create blue collar jobs in a region that will need to diversify away from agriculture in coming decades. Between the delta smelt, the thinning Sierra snowpack and aquifers running dry, there simply isn't going to be enough water to continue in the same vein.

A fraction of the maintenance yard could also be used for overnight stabling of trains providing NorCal service to SF and Sacramento, much like CHSRA is already considering limited stabling in Bakersfield for SoCal service down to Anaheim, perhaps San Diego.

These regional services will only make sense if Fresno and Bakersfield manage to turn themselves into either bedroom communities or else destinations that people from the Bay Area/LA basin want to go to in large numbers. HSR will enable such a transformation, but it won't make it happen. That's where local leadership in urban development comes in.

Merced's Castle airport is being considered partly because it's available and that area needs jobs as well, but mostly because Assemblywoman Kathleen Galgiani (D-Livingston) was instrumental in getting AB3034 passed. It's something of a consolation prize for the decision in favor of Pacheco, which effectively puts Merced on the spur to Sacramento.

Phase I will include the Chowchilla-Merced section as a sign of good faith. However, with neither a commercial airport nor a heavy maintenance yard, the rationale for that sign of good faith becomes almost completely political.

Anonymous said...

approx how many jobs are created by a maintenance hub and what types of jobs?

just wondering to what extent the maintenance hub fixes Fresno, or is HSR more beneficial to Fresno as a way to get out of Fresno?

Rafael said...

@ Jim -

I focused mostly on getting both UPRR and BNSF out of Fresno and re-using the freed-up rights of way for passenger rail. The light rail lines along the freeways and out to the airport are basically there just to indicate possible future expansion beyond a light rail starter line.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 2:10 PM -

below are some video clips of what goes on at HSR heavy maintenance yards. The majority of the work is scheduled preventive maintenance of wheels, axles, bearings, traction systems incl. pantographs, safety systems etc. In this sense, HSR trains are much more like aircraft than like standard-speed trains.

The "heavy" part refers primarily to the lifting systems used when a single car or an entire trainset needs to be separated from its bogies, e.g. to replace worn axles.

(a) SNCF
(b) JR (commentary in Japanese, but you'll get the idea)

Talgo has developed special inspection and lathe systems for the company's unique wheelset technology to avoid disassembly and re-assembly. Those steps would be more expensive than for designs with conventional bogies.

(c) Talgo -> Menu -> Products -> Maintenance Systems -> Wheel Lathes

Finally, HSR will indeed be a great way to travel between Fresno and the rest of California. However, that's separate from the issue of siting the maintenance yard.

Anonymous said...

This pretty well sums up the Fresno future.."

"a region that will need to diversify away from agriculture in coming decades. Between the delta smelt, the thinning Sierra snowpack and aquifers running dry, there simply isn't going to be enough water to continue in the same vein."

In any vein really (except as a maintence hub for HSR - employing maybe a few hundred blue collar workers?)

And the logic in Californian's investing ~anything~ in Fresno?:

"These regional services will only make sense if Fresno and Bakersfield manage to turn themselves into either bedroom communities or else destinations that people from the Bay Area/LA basin want to go to in large numbers."

The truth is that Fresno and Bakersfield are there because agriculture is there, and with drastic change in the water/agriculture in our future - why are we investing in Fresno, at all? Seems like the point of TOD and avoiding sprawl is to lure people to pack in to the denser areas of California - so why make it easier to travel into the (future) wastefully water sucking Fresno - but even more importantly, by locating maintenance out in these god forsaken middles of nowhere - isn't HSR acting as a catalyst to literally locking California in to what really should be ghost towns of the future?

And as for Fresno/Bakersfield as destination locations? Really?

Alon Levy said...

The truth is that Fresno and Bakersfield are there because agriculture is there, and with drastic change in the water/agriculture in our future - why are we investing in Fresno, at all?

Because people live there.

If you want to argue economic geography, then Los Angeles is there because the oil was there. In the early 20th century, 25% of the world's oil was produced in Southern California. The region just diversified away from oil, so it's worthy of investment in all kinds of industries. The same is true for San Francisco, which is there because the gold and the port were there.

Eric M said...

I think the SNCF should be hired on soon so that we can learn from their mistakes and get the correct system design right the first time (or pretty close too it). as much as I like and prefer the Seimems ICE trains, we should learn from the French operators for system development. Make sure you throw in a couple of Germans, like myself, to make do the fine details.

Alon Levy said...

I increasingly think the US should just sell its entire rail services to companies that can run them well, such as SNCF and JR-East. DB could join in on the action, too, if it can convincingly show why it won't ever again undermaintain trains so much that it will have to recall 75% of the rolling stock on a day's notice as it did in Berlin.

jim said...

per the future of fresno and bakersfield.

really one can not put limits on what can be.

There's no way to even guess at what role places such as fresno will play in the states future.

It wasn't that long ago, when what is now silicon valley, was nothing but a string of taco stand laced farming towns. San jose was a sleepy backwater, far from any significance. I remember it cuz we used to go there when I was a kid to visit frontier village - it was miles of back roads though acres of crops to get to and thought san jose to the park - a place that is now unrecognizable and surrounded by a couple million people. At the time no one had even heard of a "chip"

So who knows what role the central valley my be playing in 20 or 30 years.
What is important is to plan ahead for the mobility. Transportation and housing are KEY elements in economic viability. It all about access. You know the Santa clara valley had the foresight to build their overlay of expressways. No other part of california did or has done this and now, without that expresway system, the economic engine of silicon valley would not have been possible. take the expressway system out of santa clara county and imagine trying to move 2 million people around that valley quickly and efficiently. Cant be done. So hsr is good planning for the future. its an overlay, a core system, and will allow the valley to prosper in ways that havent even been thought of yet.

jim said...

There is a certain ilk of folks for whom the idea of "vision" is a joke. These are sad people. They have let themselves be fooled into believing that "conservatism" means being against social progress and taxes when true conservatism means using common sense to deal with realities, and to plan and invest in the future sustainability. its unfortunate that some folks are so gullible as to be duped by reactionary appeals to base emotion and fear so as to let themselves be used politically.

Find anger and you find fear and find fear and you find anger. they lurk in the same place. They are the same thing and its a shame that so many are unable to rise above base instinct.

Fact is,California will continue to grow.
Fact is, freeways and airports are busting at the seems
Fact is, we need new options and more options to keep the people of california as mobile or more mobile while using less resources.
Fact is, sooner or later we have to ween ourselves from fossil fuels.
And the fact is that HSR is a basic and successful system of transport in countries all over the world.

There is no honest justification for being against high speed rail in california and any one who looks at the proposed system can see its usefulness and if they say otherwise they are flat out lying.

Its no different than saying gay marriage will undermine straight marriage. Its an impossibility.

The idea that so many people can be so disconnected from living in reality is very disturbing.

HSR is not rocket science. A third grader can see the obvious advantage and these folks who whos answer to everything is "no" and you know who you are, are the real danger to society.

jim said...

using this -very rough- map, i figured that we need about 100 train sets for a typical peak period, full build out at 10 minute headways. each black line represents a trainset in each directions spaced about 10 minutes apart. That would mean keeping about 20 trains at sac 20 at sf 20 at San diego and 20 in the central valley. and 20 spread amongst key stations prior to the start of the day. ( overnight at the platforms(

無名 - wu ming said...

@aaron -

if you thing FAARC is an unfortunate acronym, just think of a light rail-based Fresno Area Rapid Transit.

jim said...

did everyoe already see this jus posted to the cahsr site- says here they are gonna have a yard in LA as well storage and maintenance facilities

Morris Brown said...

I copy below the text from Diridon as spoken at yesterday's (Nov 5th) Authority board meeting.

Here he is telling the new PR firm what he wants them to do. Here he tells them he wants this group, which is being funded with $1.5 million per year to use the media to squash down public dissent (which he labels miss-information)

Here he tells the PR firm, the rotten apples from Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto need to be dealt with, and this is a task they must take on early.

This is thoroughly disgusting and I note not one board member said anything about his statement, so one should conclude they all agree with his position and dictates to the just hired PR firm.

you can listen to the clip at:

http://rapidshare.com/files/303513307/DIRIDON2-NOV-5-2009.mp3.html

===========
Diridon addressing the new PR firm at the Nov 5th board meeting.
----

Second is, and I’ll use as an example again one area, but I have an idea that its occurring in other areas too, miss-information is causing serious media relations problems in the mid-peninsula – Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto area especially. That miss information coming sometimes from in-advertently our own staff, but then again its being presented by opponents, blatantly providing false information to the media and then having no correction. No information being provided that would counter that miss-information and I think you related to that earlier.

So would you relate to those two examples, not those two specific cases but those examples as kind of in the weeds detail, that you really need to be on immediately, so that it doesn’t , the kind of thing are like a sore that festers, or the rotten apple in the barrel , if you would like to use another example. And you got to get that apple out of the barrel immediately and please figure out a way and let us know at some time in the future and call us individually or give us a report on how you would be creating kind of flying squads of emergency response to nip those problems in the bud. You want to avoid them if you can but if you can’t avoid them you need to have a way of countering them immediately so that , miss-information isn’t allow to float around, its corrected . So please consider that as early tasks.

Anonymous said...

Diridon is the rotten apple.

I think he confuses his "flying squads of emergency response" for "flying pickets".

Anonymous said...

Morris, most of us would take you seriously if you simply wanted to root out the bad apples and make the project a good one. However, you've stated many times that you simply want to kill the project, no matter what. Killing does not equal fixing.

jim said...

@morris Here he tells the PR firm, the rotten apples from Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto need to be dealt with, and this is a task they must take on early.

yes, clearly this is what must be done. Misinformation has to be nipped.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

thx for the link regarding CHSRA's request for expressions of interest on the train yards.

The acreages indicated seem extremely high to me. With a 14' loading gauge, a single eight-car trainset (200m = 660' long) has a footprint of 0.21 acres. Why do they need 90-108 acres in San Francisco or 79-93 acres in San Diego?

I realize there are maintenance components, employee parking etc. to consider but this still seems way out of whack. I'd like to know how they came up with those requirements.

Rafael said...

CHSRA has published the following Technical Memoranda on Terminal and Heavy Maintenance Facilities:

- 5.1 detailing acreage required.

- 5.3 detailing ancillary aspects such as roadway access.

The space requirements were defined after studying the layout of similar facilities in France, Japan and South Korea. Note that e.g. the already-inflated internal request for 84 acres in SF was inflated yet again to 90-108 acres in the RFEI.

The required width specified is 1081ft. A rectangular patch of land of that width with an area of 84 acres would need to be 3384ft = 0.64 miles long. And oh by the way, it's supposed to be no more than 3 miles from the station. Where are they going to find that much land in SF? Hunters Point?

Comparing California to those other countries is misleading in that those countries never all but abandoned their rail infrastructure. The yards they have they acquired decades ago, if not in the 19th century.

The footprint of employee parking, parts warehouses and certain other functions can be sharply reduced via multi-story buildings.

Bianca said...

Morris Brown said: Here he tells the PR firm, the rotten apples from Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto need to be dealt with, and this is a task they must take on early.

This is thoroughly disgusting and I note not one board member said anything about his statement, so one should conclude they all agree with his position and dictates to the just hired PR firm.


Morris, I've encountered people here who who have told me "they heard" that

1) High Speed Rail will build a wall 75 feet high;

2) High Speed Rail will be six tracks wide through Menlo Park; and/or

3) That not only is High Speed Rail Authority planning to seize all the houses that abut the ROW, I've heard rumors that people are claiming to have received eminent domain notices from the Authority.


I'm not carrying a torch for Didiron at all, but if he is saying there is "misinformation" coming out of Menlo Park/Palo Alto/Atherton, he's not wrong.

Morris Brown said...

Bianca:

You never heard any of the three items you mentioned come from me, or Martin or so far as I know any representative on the PCC or city councils on the peninsula.

However, ask any Palo alto council person, about what they think about the presentation Diridon gave to them before the election, after which they voted unanimously to support HSR. Now you are talking miss-information.

He and the board seek to use the PR firm to squash dissent -- dissent to Diridon equals miss-information. they seek to use the media to their advantage.

jim said...

rafael there are only two places within 3 miles of tbt and thats 4th and king where caltrain is already using most of the space or under the 280x where this is 200 feet of width and 800 ft of length.

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

rafael- the only they might be able to do - since the main station will be at tbt and the 4th st caltrain will be moved underground.. is to reconfigure the existing yard to accommodate the hsr requirements. you can add storage capacity by removing the platforms for one thing and making better use of the entire property. all the existing buildings woudl be removed and a state of the art facility would be built from scratch. Ill bet thats what they;; do. otherwise there is also addtional storage space under the 280x

jim said...

ah yes here it is, written right into the mission bay plan. The parcels under and along side the 280x bordered by 6th street, owens and 16th street are to remain zoned industrial with specific mention of rail facilities use. this area here in this plan here scroll down to the mission bay "south" section.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

p93 PDF of the REDEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR THE MISSION BAY NORTH REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT lists the area that is blue on your map as "Commercial Industrial (Mixed use including neighborhood serving retail)". That doesn't sound like a rail yard to me.

The at-grade space under 280 may not even be accessible if the main tracks cross the Hayes Creek outfall at grade before descending underground. Besides, there are several cross roads that trains must not block at night.

Caltrain has asked for a 4th&Townsend station that would be served by its trains in and out of the Transbay Terminal, in order to connect to the Central Subway. However, creating an entire second deck of tracks under 4th & King would be extremely expensive and fraught with problems related to a high water table.

The solution to the SF yard may not be as trivial as you suggest. Perhaps a yard next to Cargo Way might be more feasible. The one south of Bayshore Caltrain is apparently contaminated.

Rafael said...

@ Morris Brown -

(a) who is this Miss Information you keep talking about? Did she win a beauty pageant?

(b) Rod Diridon's comments were not directed at you personally but at those in your neck of the woods who have indeed spread lies. That doesn't excuse Diridon's ill-advised choice of words in describing them. The first thing Ogilvy should do is muzzle him as he's the one who has caused the greatest PR damage to CHSRA.

Morris Brown said...

Rafael:

Quoting you (on which I agree)


"The first thing Ogilvy should do is muzzle him as he's the one who has caused the greatest PR damage to CHSRA."


The chances of that taking place ----zero.

The whole board sat there and did not utter a word of dissent to his remarks.

Alon Levy said...

Morris, I know that you and Martin are against the project for other reasons, but many people in PA and MP have spread NIMBY rumors about the Caltrain-HSR section. Even if they didn't say outright that there would be a 75' aerial, they implied it with hyperbolic Berlin Wall references and misleading photographs.

It's all very similar to the Saddam-9/11 link. Bush himself never said Saddam had anything to do with 9/11, and neither did his people. They just implied it with innuendo, so that by 2003, 70% of the nation believed that Saddam had not just been involved in 9/11, but was the person who orchestrated it.

jim said...

rafael the cargo way area is already spoken for as well, it falls into an area south of the eastern neighborhoods plan ( which includes the "central waterfront plan") and north of the Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan, in an area called the "southern waterfront plan"and that spot is reserved for maritime use, commercial and public open space. So that's out too. ( not to mention that area is the last place you want to store expensive trains unless you want them to look like the new york subway trains of the 70s)

Rafael said...

@ jim -

with only limited stabling yard capacity in SF, CHSRA would have to have to rethink it service concept.

Perhaps it would make sense to run strictly regional HSR trains south to San Jose late at night and back to SF again early in the morning. With an appropriate model for letting Caltrain customers use those trains, those trips would generate revenue.

There may be room for a stabling yard here. The size of that site is about 60 acres.

jim said...

well i don't kow what they're gonna do but the more I look the more there def isn't space in the city... that location I furst mentioned next to the 280 and mission creek, sfgtv planning commish was just holding a public comment session on that very space. Its in the middle of an "open space vs housing" debate or some such typical sf thing.
the hunters point place is out.
and the polluted yard at bayshore is Brisbane, not sf, and there is also a "visitacion valley" redevopment plan for that area. geez the city has been hard at work snapping up and zoning every last inch of whats left to develop in this town.

Caltrain is just gonna have to squeeze over and make some room at 4th. theyll have to go on a diet and get smaller trains!

Alon Levy said...

They could always cut the need for stabling by parking a few overnight trains at Gilroy, Fresno, Merced, Bakersfield, and Palmdale, in preparation for the morning commute. I think that's how the Tokaido Shinkansen works - the first trains of the day are always Kodama runs from somewhere just outside Greater Tokyo to Tokyo Station.

jim said...

...and Im sure some trains will originate in fresno for instance ( in fact amtrak is planning to add another san joaquin train that way - originate in fresno to head south)

With the tail tracks and platforms at tbt plus room for at least a few trainsets to sharespace at 4th st, you could probably have room for like 10 trainsets or so to start the day ( that covers the first two hours of departures and by then you have trains arriving.

jim said...

how bout this spot

jim said...

The information on the yards in Brisbane, which would be a good location can be found here under the "baylands" section. however so far the plan for that area is commercial with some public use options. sounds like they want it for a combination or houseing, retail and high tech and other more productive uses although Id bet they give it up for the right price.

Richard Mlynarik said...

Placing the major maintenance facility in the middle of the system is a great way of MAXIMIZING operating costs by requiring large numbers of non-revenue moves to and from the yard.

Yes, I know that smaller storage and light maintenance facilities will (or should) be placed elsewhere, and that majority of non-revenue moves will be to those, but we're still talking very large numbers of dead-head train-km to Fresno or wherever, and more importantly we're talking unnecessary duplication where, from a public policy, public interest, capital and operating cost point of view (but not a CHSRA rent-seeking consultant point of view) building a stand-alone and remotely located train heavy maintenance base is simply a recipe for over spending.

If this weren't simply a matter of maximizing pork, one would rather expect to see the major facility either
* somewhere in the LA basin (I don't know enough detail to suggest where, but modest amounts of industrial space along rail corridors are easy to find pretty much anywhere in our post-industrial world, and real estate costs are trivial, utterly negligable, given CHSRA engineering costs and overheads),
* just north of San Jose (the Newhall yard would be ideal ... except Quentin Kopp's very very VERY special friends at PBQD have assumed that for an completely unnecessary and cost plus-plus-plus-plus-plus BART pork-pile, or
* in Livermore or Tracy (except Quentin Kopp's very very special friends at PBQD fraudulently excluded the fastest, cheapest, highest-ridership route from the HSR system), or
* on the toxic waste site and former rail yards just south of San Francisco in Brisbane, or
* in Sacramento.

Look around the world, and you'll find maintenance hubs are generally located near major line terminals, to and from which is is comparatively easy and cheap to schedule short non-revenue service moves as trains leave and enter normal revenue service at major terminal points.

In contrast, getting to and from a low-ridership mid-point of the system, literally hundreds of miles from where most trains will start and end their days, is a good recipe for operating cost maximization.

Quelle surprise!

jim said...

@Richard. at the san francisco end, the simply isn't room as the city has already designated every square inch of land for other uses.
As for the yards in Brisbane, read through the link and see that they also have their own ideas for the baylands location.

The reason for choosing the central valley, is 1) theres room, and more importantly those are the kinds of jobs that are needed most desperately in those area and this is a stimulus project.

Having the bulk of trains start in merced for instance does not mean lots of non revenue service.

Southbound trains departing merced would start picking up south bound pax at merced, then fresno and so one. so revenue would start right away. storage for the first two hours of service out of sF could be found at platforms and nearby and by then the first few trainsets from LA would have arrived as well as northbound ( merced-sj-sf train which would also start revenue service at merced upon departing the yard. Its not as if they are going to run empty trains all the way from merced to LA before starting revenue service everyday.

jim said...

isn't it time to let go of the "i didn't get altamont/I hate BART" bitterness?

Rafael said...

@ jim -

"how about this spot?"

That's the Newhall yard in Santa Clara, purchased by VTA for the purpose of constructing a maintenance yard for the BART to Silicon Valley extension. In other words, it's not available for HSR.

Rafael said...

@ Richard Mlynarik -

unless the operator is as boneheaded as Deutsche Bahn, any given trainset will only see the inside of the heavy maintenance facility once a year for preventive maintenance, every 7 years or so for an overhaul of safety-critical components and every 20 years or so for major refurbishment.

Your fears of large numbers of dead-head trips due to siting the heavy maintenance facility in the Central Valley are misplaced. Basically, it could be just about anywhere on the network.

Light maintenance, i.e. interior and exterior plus visual inspection of safety-critical components, needs to happen roughly every 1-7 days depending on the level of thoroughness we're talking about. Those facilities therefore need to be near major stations, preferably those at the end points of the network, to minimize dead-head travel.

Requiring operators to add a first-thing-in-the-morning revenue run from e.g. San Jose to SF or from Palmdale to LA (and back again for the last trip of the day) would be possible, but only if there are enough commuters and only if existing commuter rail services get a bite of the cherry. It would definitely be a second-best solution but not as wasteful as you imply.

Adirondacker12800 said...

There may be room for a stabling yard here. The size of that site is about 60 acres

Click on the box for "satellite" and there should be an option titled "show labels". The satellite image is old. The labels show a Best Buy, Petsmart, Applebee's, Chevy's, International Gourmet Buffet. I suspect there's a lot of other little stores filling the spaces between the chains. It could be used but it' would get lots of people upset if you tore down the newly built, context sensitive strip mall.

Its not as if they are going to run empty trains all the way from merced to LA before starting revenue service everyday.

A 8 car train with half a car full might as well be empty since it will have to be staffed. Means it has to run almost empty at the end of the day back to Merced too.

That's the Newhall yard in Santa Clara, purchased by VTA for the purpose of constructing a maintenance yard for the BART to Silicon Valley extension. In other words, it's not available for HSR.

It would be if Californians got over their all BART all the time to everywhere obsession and built Caltrain East instead. And Caltrain West to Sacramento and Stockton. Maybe even Caltrain North to Santa Rosa/Cloverdale and Calistoga. . . but then you'd need a terminal in San Francisco. There's a bunch of parking lots across the street from the Transbay site but apparently the historic and cultural significance of parking lots it too great to consider that....

jim said...

oh god not the broken german trains!

Rafael said...

@ Adirondacker12800 -

(a) Like there is a desperate need for an Applebee's sandwiched between industrial warehouses and a cemetary.

Death to strip malls!

(b) Overnight parking in Merced = braindead. Fortunately, the only thing CHSRA ever talked about was that Castle Airport is a candidate site for the heavy maintenance facility, which is something different altogether.

Overnight parking in San Jose? Might make some sort of sense.

(c) Don't shoot the messenger, I think the BART extension is a really bad idea compared to electrified Caltrain Metro East. But, the voters have decided they want platinum-plated BART and you've got to respect democratic decisions.

Rafael said...

@ Jim -

"oh God, not the broken German trains"

To be fair, it's only Deutsche Bahn's extra-special ICE3 and ICE-T versions, combined with skimping on safety-critical maintenance on those plus the Berlin S-Bahn, that caused the problems.

The versions Siemens exported to Spain, China and Russia aren't the product of an international consortium, are less aggressively engineered and are subject to realistic maintenance regimes. It's important not to paint with too broad a brush.

jim said...

yes rafael I know. but still, I can't resist the opportunity to remind everyone....
I think we all know who who the hsr leader is now don't we... ( hint:joan of arc)

Adirondacker12800 said...

Like there is a desperate need for an Applebee's sandwiched between industrial warehouses and a cemetary.

Somebody thought so. . . Yet the parking garage and multiplex in San Mateo is sacrosanct. And the parking lots between Main and Beale are too. Hmmm.

Alternatively the people using Applebee's and Toy-R-Us are, for the the most part, living. Want a nice big piece of land just move the cemetery. It's been done before, look at old maps of San Franciso and current maps of Colma. There's a plan! move all the Peninsula cemetaries out to the west side of the Peninsula and then rum BART out to them.....

But, the voters have decided they want platinum-plated BART and you've got to respect democratic decisions.

Doesn't mean I have to pay for them. The FTA is going to be throwing in some cash, so will the state, that comes from someplace other than Santa Clara county.

Anonymous said...

And the parking lots between Main and Beale are too.

Those parking lots are set aside for 500+ ft tall buildings. I wouldn't have a problem with them being used for something else, but there's no comparison between a suburban Applebees and buildings tall enough to feel at home in Manhattan.

Adirondacker12800 said...

Those parking lots are set aside for 500+ ft tall buildings. I wouldn't have a problem with them being used for something else, but there's no comparison between a suburban Applebees and buildings tall enough to feel at home in Manhattan

And you can build 500 foot buildings over train stations. Grand Central spreads out for blocks under the skyscrapers clustered around it. Same thing with Penn Station. I don't remember the name of the buildings but there's at least two office buildings over the tracks near 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and then all the buildings over the tracks between 30th Street and Market East. There's tall buildings over train stations in Japan. Tall buildings over trains stations in France. Tall buildings over....

Anonymous said...

Again, I'm fine with that. Let's build buildings over stations, that's cool. I was just pointing out that the parking lots are not "set aside." The development rights are (and those rights are largely what is funding the TBT).

Alon Levy said...

Rafael: where do you get your numbers for maintenance regimes from? I'm asking because, at least in Japan, after 20 years HSR trains are scrapped, not renovated.

jim said...

I think too many people are making problems where none really exist. Its just a railroad. Itll run just fine. dont worry about it. all this where to park the trains and which tracks will they use inside or outside blah blah blah. the railroad people will operate the railroad and they probably don't even need our advice. Youll see. relax.

Alon Levy said...

The railroad people can operate the railroad, but can they operate it well?

jim said...

Well, they can operate it better than the armchair quarterbacks for whom ideologies and personal preferences are more important.

Rafael said...

@ Alon Levy -

I get them from CHSRA's Technical Memorandum 5.3 (p3 PDF). The lone level 4 maintenance facility will, among other tasks, perform "mid-life overhauls" after "15-20 years".

Btw, the original series 0 shinkansen trains were in service until just a few years ago, albeit on secondary lines. In France, some of the original orange TGV Sud-Est trainsets (series 23000 and 33000) are still in service, as are the original ICE1 trainsets in Germany.

Alon Levy said...

The 0 series Shinkansen trains were only retired a few years ago, but they were also manufactured until the 1980s.