Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tight Squeeze At Transbay Terminal?

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

The San Francisco chronicle reports that CHSRA is now publicly complaining that the train box and tail tracks planned for the new Transbay Terminal Center in San Francisco (SFTT) may run out of capacity as early as 2030. For those who have followed the development of that project and its relationship with both HSR and Caltrain, this latest issue is in fact old news. To recap:

The design of the SFTT train box calls for six underground platform tracks, of which four will be reserved for HSR and two for Caltrain. Two tail tracks plus evacuation route will run down Main St. as far as the freeway supports. The tail tracks will enable offline cleaning/provisioning of HSR trains during the day and, provide additional overnight parking capacity for four trainsets. Caltrain would perform its cleaning in San Jose/Gilroy and use its existing station at 4th & King as an overflow overnight parking lot.

CHSRA is planning ahead for the possibility of one day running as many as 12 trains per hour (tph) in each direction during peak periods. That corresponds to headways of 5 minutes, i.e. de facto maximum line throughput capacity. Whether this volume of HSR traffic will materialize on peak traffic days in 2030 is of course uncertain. Indeed, it may take far longer or, never happen at all. The point is that CHSRA does not want to build a very expensive network only to have throughput capacity limited by one of its anchor stations.

Most likely, there have been behind-the-scenes discussions on this for a while, but adding platforms would be far from trivial. However, now that TJPA intends to apply for a slice of the $8 billion reserved for HSR in the recent stimulus bill, CHSRA has decided to pull the rip cord by going public.

So, does Quentin Kopp have a valid point regarding capacity limitations at SFTT?

The math suggests that he does: 12tph each way means using two platform tracks for alighting and two for boarding. Just 9 minutes would be available for each operation, with one additional minute reserved for moving away from the platform. Cleaning/provisioning time would likewise be limited to just 9 minutes plus one minute for moving the train back out. Total turnaround time would therefore have to be limited to just 30 minutes, which is very aggressive.

A single single-level HSR trainset (8 EMU cars including 2 conductor cabins) can support around 400 seats, comparable to a Boeing 747. A bi-level trainset is more akin to an Airbus A380. Full-length trains consist of two trainsets - SNCF regularly operates 16-car TGV Duplex consists offering a total of 1090 seats on the busy Paris-Lyon-Marseille route. JR's largest shinkansen trainsets, the E4 Max, feature five seats abreast to support 817 passengers each, yielding a maximum of 1634 passengers per train - fully three Airbus A380s! Ideally, operators would like at least an hour of turnaround time for such monsters, but at full line capacity the SFTT design would require cutting that in half. Is that even remotely feasible?

Theoretically it is, but only just. Here's how:

  1. A train, with up to 1200 passengers on board, pulls into an empty track at SFTT. The side of the wide platform is empty. Within 9 minutes, passengers alight through two doors per car and proceed to the building's concourse level. By the time the train is empty, a separate one will emerge clean and provisioned from the tail tracks and quickly proceed to the empty departure platform.

    Meanwhile, the first passengers booked on the outbound train 30 minutes later are already passing through security (if required) and sitting down in a waiting area that is sectioned by car number and row groups. Each passenger already holds an e-ticket with a mandatory seat reservation (cp. TGV in France) that specifies the departure time, train car, row number and seat identifier.

  2. The now empty train quickly proceeds to an empty tail track, where a cleaning/provisioning crew of 4 (6 for bi-level trainsets) per car gets cracking for 9 minutes. For a full-length, bi-level train that comes to a brigade of 96 persons. Up to two trains must be cleaned in parallel and, there are two shifts per day. Accounting for 5% break time, staff out sick/on vacation/absent, this adds up to roughly 225 workers per shift or 450 personnel on the payroll. A few specialists would always be held in reserve to deal with unusual issues such as severely soiled seats or mechanical problems in the cafe car.

    Such a large operation will require a staff-only section at the east end of the SFTT concourse level. A walkway would get them to the north end of the tail tracks, where they would descend to a narrow, full-length island platform. A separate walkway at the south end of the tail tracks would serve as a secondary exit. Drivers of arriving trains would use it to reach grade level, where they would walk back the 1/4 mile to SFTT (or use a folding bike or shuttle service of some type). Walking the length of the narrow platform would be possible as well. Fresh drivers would board trains via the north access to the tail tracks.

    Meanwhile, departing passengers are permitted to descend to the boarding platform. One side of that is empty, as an earlier train has just completed its boarding process and proceeded into the DTX tunnel. After approximate sorting upstairs (cp. Southwest Airlines), passengers are now expected to queue up at their exact row number as marked on the floor and signposted. Note that staff would only enforce this procedure whenever HSR actually does operate at 12tph and, that 10 minutes are available to execute it.

  3. When the clean, empty trains pulls up, passengers rapidly board through their designated doors. For bi-level cars, a maximum of 80 passengers would have to file through each door within 9 minutes. Because of all the queuing discipline, there should be minimal traffic jams inside the car - ideally, all passengers on the entire train would arrive at their reserved seat at almost the same time. As a matter of etiquette, passengers would be asked to avoid blocking the aisle. Large suitcases, folding bicycles etc. need to be stowed, but small items such as carry-on bags etc. can wait until everyone is on board.

Note that this schedule contains absolutely no slack. If any part of the turnaround procedure takes extra time for any reason or, if trains fail to arrive on time, there are knock-on effects on at least several - perhaps many - subsequent trains. Such "brittle logistics" are highly undesirable, cp. the constrained pedestrian flow capacity at BART stations in downtown SF during rush hour.

Also note that doubling the number of tail tracks gives the cleaning/provisioning staff twice as much time per train. However, unless their numbers were also doubled to 900, each brigade would consist of half as many workers scrubbing just a s furiously as before - not much would be gained. Besides, decades of experience in assembly-line work have shown that workers quickly figure out how to get their tasks done as efficiently as possible.

On the other hand, additional tail tracks would increase the number of trainsets that could be parked right at the SFTT overnight. The question is if the additional expense for tunneling is worthwhile, compared to the overheads of an at-grade overflow yard for both Caltrain and HSR in Brisbane, the site of an old SP rail yard. This might double as a high speed cargo transshipment center, conveniently located for piggy-backing on single trainset non-express passenger trains during off-peak hours.

At SFTT, a far more serious bottleneck might be the very short interval available for boarding, mostly because orderly queuing is not nearly as common in American culture as it is in Japan or the UK. However, when things get crowded, it's human nature submit to sensible flow management procedures if they are properly explained on the ticket, supported by signs and helpful staff. Infrequent travelers, children traveling alone, the disabled and tourists (except tour groups) may need additional help, possibly even in foreign languages.

However, it's not all doom and gloom: CHSRA's scenario of 12tph is really quite extreme. First, as general ridership goes up, there will come a point at which it makes more sense operationally to switch to full-length and then to full-length bi-level trains to keep tph count from escalating. As discussed earlier, a full-length bi-level train with 16 cars and 4 seats abreast can offer ~1100 seats today. With distributed traction, the next generation AGV Duplex should support ~1200 passengers as well as top speeds of ~220mph. Alstom and SNCF are reportedly already collaborating on the design.

Taking that as a basis, consider the numbers: 2 x 12 x 1,200 = 28,800 passengers either boarding or alighting in a single hour. If the pace were maintained for a single 16-hour day of operations, there would be ultimate capacity for 460,800 passenger trips (assuming each seat is only occupied by one passenger for part or all of the route). Considering California's projected population of 50 million by 2030, that still a stupendously large number for intercity travel - even on Thanksgiving.

Side note: SNCF achieves 75% average seat capacity utilization on its TGV network and, tries to avoid letting any one line reach more than 85% to avoid customer satisfaction problems. Of course, individual trains are often sold out on peak travel dates.

Also, keep in mind that SF is not Paris and trains are not short-hop flights. Not every passenger will board at SFTT, there are other stations along the route to LA (at least San Jose Diridon). Therefore, the number of passengers alighting and boarding any given train at SFTT will generally be significantly less than the full complement of seats. Alternatively, it might make a lot of sense to terminate some northbound trains in San Jose on predictable peak traffic days. That would keep tph count at SFTT manageable, giving staff there more time to turn trains around. Some trains departing from SF would then run non-stop to the Central Valley and SoCal.

That means CHSRA's 12tph scenario and the strict turnaround procedure outlined above may not be all that realistic to begin with, even for peak traffic days in 2030. There's really no need to over-engineer the SFTT.

Nevertheless, CHSRA was right to express concerns now, rather than punt the problem to a future generation of planners and engineers. It's also worth pointing out that 12tph for HSR plus Caltrain traffic all day long would severely tax both the DTX tunnel capacity and the patience of peninsula residents whose property abuts the Caltrain right of way. Even if some cities did decide to retain some hardened grade crossings for now, they would have to close or grade separate them at a later date. If ridership on the two railroads really does reach such high levels, any above-ground solution would have to feature very effective sound and vibration damping to avoid real estate blight.

On the other hand, spending additional billions on a tunnel alignment through at least Atherton, Menlo Park and north Palo Alto up front - regardless of who pays for it - would be overkill if ridership grows much more slowly than CHSRA is projecting. Food for thought but again, there's a risk of very expensive over-engineering.

On the other hand: if the state's population really does keep growing as predicted and, HSR really does prove so wildly popular that SFTT introduces brittle logistics, there will be knock-on effects for transportation within the SF-Oakland region (and elsewhere). In particular, capacity and earthquake resilience considerations alone combined may prompt the construction of a second transbay tube after the HSR starter line is becomes operational in the 2018-2020 time frame (assuming no construction delays). CHSRA has already explored the option of running tracks up to Oakland, terminating in an intermodal station with West Oakland BART, to prepare for that possibility.

Unfortunately, like it or not, West Oakland isn't a significant draw for passengers and BART already occupies the available rights of way in downtown Oakland. However, a much more interesting option is emerging: the US Navy has turned over the former Alameda NAS to the city of Alameda, which has re-named it Point Alameda. Granted, the clean-up of this superfund site is ongoing. Meanwhile, most of the area has been designated a wildlife refuge for a little-known but endangered species of grey bird (the Least Tern) that has taken a shine to the old runways, because they help to hide nesting sites from predators.

For argument's sake, let's suppose the superfund cleanup can be completed in the next decade and the Least Tern colony recovers sufficiently to permit relocation to a permanent, perhaps smaller, refuge elsewhere in the Bay Area. I'm no ornithologist, but perhaps the uninhabited island just south of Richmond Harbor might be suitable. The issue would definitely require close scrutiny.

With these provisos, the city of Alameda could then consider careful, strictly transit-oriented development of the old Navy base, which is the largest patch of contiguous land available in the region. Readers may want to compare the suggestion below to what the existing community near Point Alameda is already working towards. Again, what type - if any - development happens at the point is up to the city (h/t to commenter Alameda?).

What I have in mind is primarily a large urban park / open space preserve, in addition to the already planned golf course across from Oakland harbor. Historic buildings worth preserving would be re-purposed, new construction would be limited to the southern and eastern edges of the area occupied by the old runways, plus the area just north of Seaplane Lagoon. Since virtually all of that is landfill (cp. Marina district in SF and Treasure Island), the focus would be on few high-rises separated by low-rise with green roofs. The model for the development in downtown Vancouver (BC) and its beautiful Stanley Park. On Point Alameda, trees and meadows (plus the golf course) would be irrigated with recycled water from the city of Alameda.

The catalyst for this effort could be a successful bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympics in the Bay Area.

Perhaps most importantly, motor vehicle access to the entire area occupied by the former Naval base would be restricted to permit holders. Alameda is famously averse to traffic, especially through the Webster and Posey street tubes across to Oakland. Therefore, the primary ways of getting to this new regional park and the new districts would be public transit. Local streetcars, buses, rental bikes (cp. Velib' in Paris), personal folding bicycles and bicycle rikshas (plus plain old walking) would all supplement heavy rail service.

Specifically, BART would be extended from downtown Oakland via a tube and run mostly underground out to the Point. The much longer second transbay tube would extend the SFTT tail tracks to new Caltrain/HSR stations on the Point, with an at-grade terminus/yard at Atlantic Ave. If desired, a parking lot there could be restricted to Alameda residents.

Here's a map of what the end result might look like:

View Larger Map

This concept of extending both broad and standard gauge systems into Point Alameda would give millions on both sides of the bay convenient access to a beautiful new urban park, open space preserve and golf course as well as new housing, office and commercial/nightlife facilities, including a large urban beach. Conveniently, it would also reduce the capacity constraints at SFTT, which would become a through station. Many passengers hailing from or destined for the East Bay would transfer to BART there rather than to buses or BART in SF. This would free up bus terminal capacity at SFTT for beefing up service to Marin county, connecting to SMART trains bound for Santa Rosa in San Rafael.

An optional feature would be an underground gauge change station for BART rolling stock retrofitted with variable gauge trucks. A regular standard-gauge locomotive operated by Caltrain would tow the BART train - possibly without any BART staff on board - across to SFTT and if desired, out to Millbrae/SFO on Caltrain tracks. It may sound a little funky, but variable gauge technology has been in commercial service in Europe for 40 years. FRA would have to approve the arrangement.


Anonymous said...


Robert Cruickshank said...

I'd also add that if the CHSRA were the evil and villainous Death Star government body that some on the Peninsula claimed they were, they'd have kept silent on the issue instead of potentially opening them up to criticism by going public on this. They could have easily let someone else deal with the problem 20 years down the line.

Instead they did the right thing - spoke up to make sure it gets built the right way.

Clem said...

Rafael, did you throw Caltrain into the mix? Caltrain plans to go to SFTT as well. Traffic levels will almost certainly exceed 12 tph on a routine basis.

BruceMcF said...

@ Rafeal, One way to add four minutes of slack to that schedule would be to cut the debarking time to 7 minutes, and the embarking time to 7 minutes.

Disembarking passengers quickly is a matter of letting the ones who want to be in front of the line get up and get there, the aisle forms the orderly enough queue, and the passengers disembark.

Embarking passengers quickly is, of course, trickier, with zones of four rows of seats each painted onto the platform, and zones printed on the ticket, and, in holiday crush, roving sorter-outers directing people to get into their proper zone. When the empty train pulls up, the zone are queues, with the central aisles in the train in the front of the queue and the aisles closest to the doors at the back.

And for the sanity of the platform staff, don't schedule full, full length, bi-level trains back to back.

Its a terminal station, so the train won't be filled to capacity, either in disembarking or embarking, and if the empty seats are spread across the train, that creates free space to sort out little issues.

More critical is the question of lack of slack in the turn-around of the trains, since there is no way to ensure that all issues that need fixing can be fixed inside 9 minutes. One of the main benefits of twin tail track is the ability to be a train ahead when something crops up that is going to take half an hour to fix.

@ Clem, there are six platforms in the train box, four for the HSR and two for Caltrain.

TomW said...

I did a quick look at turnaround times at inter-city trains at London Paddington, and found they ranged from 14 to 34 mins, with 30 being the normal upper limit. That's arrive-alight-clean-board-depart in 30 minutes.

If you have tweleve trains per hour in and out, and each trains departs half an hour after it arrives, then you would need six tracks, rather than the four proposed - assumeing the trains were cleaned in situ.

If you have only four tracks, then you need arrive-alight-clean-board-depart to take place inside twenty minutes. If boarding and alighting take up five mins each, then you only really have around ten minutes to clean up.
However, the cleaning at stations own't be a deep clean, polish-every-table affair. That will take place outside normal service.

Conclusion: twelve trains per hour would be right at the limit of what you can do with four platforms, as Rafael pointed out (useing a different methodology). So, much better to add in a couple of extra tracks now (or ensure there's space for them), while it's easy.

Rafael said...

@ Alameda? -

updated, thx for the link.

@ Clem -

I was considering only 12tph for HSR inside the SFTT. The corridor as a whole and especially, the DTX tunnel, would have to support Caltrain traffic as well. As stated, two of the six platforms (but no tail tracks) are reserved for commuter rail.

Afaik, the tunnel is currently designed as a three-track structure, though that presents some problems with the curve radii. A two-track solution would be cheaper but could itself become a bottleneck.

Note that Caltrain will retain its existing terminus at 4th & King even after electrification and terminate some fraction of its trains there. If SF Muni ends up building the crosstown subway along 4th and up into Chinatown, that may be much less of a handicap than it sounds.

@ BruceMcF -

you're not really adding slack, just setting an even more aggressive targets for the alighting and boarding intervals. Total turnaround time and dwell times at each station are defined by tph, platform track and tail track count. I played around with this and discovered that using fewer, shorter trains does not help matters.

Rafael said...

@ TomW -

good to know that a 30 min turnaround is not completely out of the realm of possibility.

At SFTT, adding platform tracks would be extremely expensive because of land and real estate prices, local geology and seismic risk. Looping back under Clementina St. has been suggested, but additional platforms there would be quite far from the existing downtown/financial district north of Market Street, so you'd also have to extend the pedestrian passage underneath Fremont St and install a series of moving walkways.

Besides, if a loop solution were to eliminate the tail tracks, trains would have to be cleaned and provisioned at the platform. That would ease the capacity problem since passengers could begin boarding while staff were cleaning the restrooms etc.

However, for the incremental cost (perhaps several hundred million dollars), you might well be able to construct a second transbay tube - though not the additional infrastructure on Alameda Island. Still, iff Point Alameda becomes a mass transit destination, that would arguably deliver more bang for the buck.

But alright, there might be some value in constructing the DTX tunnel and tail tracks such that geometric interfaces for a future expansion of the SFTT via additional platforms under Clementina St. already exist. Who knows, by then SoMa (south of market) may rival the financial district as a commute destination.

I don't want to advocate adding more platform tracks to SFTT up front, because ridership predictions 20 years out are always risky bets. It makes more financial sense to me to anticipate multiple scenarios and ensure that multiple response options are available decades from now.

Unknown said...

In London they run as many as 20 peak tph into and out of Fenchurch Street station, which has only 4 platform faces (and no tail tracks).

Granted, these are mostly fairly short commuter trains, and it does get pretty crowded.

Unknown said...

However, for the incremental cost (perhaps several hundred million dollars), you might well be able to construct a second transbay tube

Even by the usual CHSRA blog standards for hilariously half-assed math, this is pretty funny.

Citizen of Contra Costa said...

I would take exception to the statement that "West Oakland is not a significant draw for passengers".

While West Oakland may not be the final destination for most people traveling to the Bay Area; the fact is that neither the area around SFO nor OAK is very desirable either. People still use those airports because of their proximity to the more desirable locations. God forbid if someone had to take a taxi after arriving on an HSR.

The fact is that West Oakland is probably a better location than even the Transbay Terminal for those coming to the Bay Area and those leaving the Bay Area. It would be ideally located near the center of the BART system, ferry service and three major freeways to take you anywhere you need to be within 20 minutes.

This alternative would also not require the costly extension of BART to Alameda.

Anonymous said...

Would every train have to go all the way to the SSTT? If you had half the trains start/end at 4th, you would double the turn around window at both locations.

On the other hand, there maybe something I'm missing. I found this blog a couple days ago, so I'm trying to catch up.

Rafael said...

@ a realist -

just fyi, on this blog we try to avoid ad-hominem attacks, especially unproven insinuations of criminal intent or actions against officials - elected or otherwise. If you have hard evidence, please provide it to the authorities. Otherwise, kindly be more circumspect in your assertions in this public forum.

Rafael said...

@ Eric -

actually, the original transbay tube - just the tube, mind you - cost $180 million. Granted, that was in 1970 and there have been almost 40 years of inflation and the seismic construction codes have been tightened.

In 2007 dollars, that sum is closer to $1 billion. Then again, the loop segment + extra platform tracks + pedestrian tunnel to SFTT might well come in at more than a few hundred million as well. All I was trying to point out is that construction costs for the two concepts might well be on the same order of magnitude.

Actually getting as far as downtown Oakland via a redundant alignment would of course cost additional billions. No argument there.

Peter said...

As I noted when I first proposed the pipelining scheme (3-stage pipeline with unload, tail track clean and load) over at caltrain-hsr, the current tail track arrangement will have to be changed to support it.

The current design only has 2 tail tracks, and they come from the middle pairs of tracks (that don't share platforms). The outside 2 tracks don't connect to the tails at all.

To do the pipelining properly you need 3 tail tracks, and the tail tracks to connect the 2 sides of a platform. With that you can have one side of the platform always be arriving and the other side always be departing.

BruceMcF said...

"you're not really adding slack, just setting an even more aggressive targets for the alighting and boarding intervals."

The 9 minutes to board is not all that aggressive ... its a train, not an airplane. The question is not how many passengers total, but how many passengers per door. Adding a second trainset of the same kind does not change that number.

You are saying that a single, single level set of 400 seats is 50 seats per car or 25 seats per door. Scaling the Japanese bi-level back to four seats across, a bi-level set of around 650 seats is 40 seats per door. Even if 80% of seats arrive full and leave full, that is 36 people to get through a door on the train ... surely that can be done in 7 minutes.

The point was that the lack of slack on embarking and disembarking was due to the decision to label 9 minutes as an aggressive embarkation / disembarkation target. On my experience disembarking from almost full Cityrail bi-level V-sets with narrow doors, people will not all wait to start getting ready to disembark until the train arrives at the station.

Where there's no slack is if a trainset needs more than ten minutes between taken off the disembarkation platform and put on the embarkation platform. Twinning the tail tracks would be one way to address that bottleneck.

OTOH, is there some California-specific reason there can't be two minute headways in the tunnel into the Transbay? ... Cityrail, the heavy rail system in Sydney, had old signalling and 3 minute headways, and was talking about upgrading their signalling in support of 2 minute headways. Two tracks with 3 minute headways is 20 train movements per hour, with 2 minute headways is 30, so even under crush conditions would have ample spare running slots to bring some trains out for service and replacement trains in.

Anonymous said...

First, forget doing all that in that amount of time. It's not going to happen. That would require a level of organization and speed that you are not going to get from employees making what that railraod is going to be paying them I promise you that. However.... the train does not have to be cleaned in SF. These trains can easily make the 5 hour round trip without being cleaned half way through. As for provisions. Locate the commissary in LA and stock the train for a round trip. This is done already. In addtion to that , light upkeep throughout the trip will be done by on board staff.,, ie. train attendants. They fluff the lillows and spritz the bathrooms and so forth during the journey. The thorough cleaning need only be done once per day or at most, once per round trip. An amtrak train makes a 6 day round trip from LA to Chicago with only one cleaning in CHI. and one restock of commissary items at CHI. And that's doing full service with sleepers and linens and dishes and towels and a full kitchen staff serving 3 full meals a day. All the HSR trains will need in SF is to get people on and off.

CComMack said...

@Rafael, while I like an eventual East Bay Extension of the DTX tunnel, and the Alameda alignment looks good, remember to account for the market that HSR serves; primarily, intercity traffic. That argues against stopping HSR trains anywhere on Alameda Island (sorry) and for an East Bay HSR stop that integrates with the existing East Bay transit infrastructure, preferably in or near Downtown Oakland. The lack of a common station site for BART and the Capitol Corridor south of Richmond hurts; Amtrak's Oakland/Jack London Square qould be an obvious location, were the nearest BART station not 8 blocks away on the other side of I-880. That said, an EBX can include local Caltrain-only stations, including Alameda Point.

That said, we're getting ahead of ourselves, and the easiest way to solve the problem at hand is to design expandability into SFTT so that it can handle projected traffic. Even if the option to expand is never exercised because of the operational pattern of an EBX, it would be money well invested. Something very similar happened with Suburban Station in Philadelphia, and nobody faults the Pennsylvania Railroad for being forward-looking enough to provide for expansion; quite the contrary, we regret that they did not do the same thing 30 years earlier when designing Penn Station New York.

BruceMcF said...

Peter, I'm having trouble reading that floor plan in the pdf file. Calling the platform tracks P1 at the "top" of the floor plan through to P6 at the bottom of the platform, and the tail tracks T1 and T2 from top to bottom on the floor plan, which platform tracks connect to which tail track?

Anonymous said...

Take a typical 10 car train from la to sf in the morning with a manifest showing 400 ( on and off max for the trip) with 100 in first class and 300 in coach. theres one first class car one cafe/ lounge and 8 coaches. The train was cleaned over night in the la yards. The commissary has loaded the train with provision to make at least two to four round trips with out restocking. The first class meals are pre prepared tray meals and the lounge/cafe is stocked with the booze snacks bevs, hot and cold prepacked entrees and so forth. The on board staff consists of one person working the cafe lounge two train attends with four cars each, and one first class attendant. they keep the train cleaned and fluffed and work - per FRA rules up to but not exceeding a 20 hour shift. Thats four round trips, but likely they'd be scheduled for only two or three. at the end of the third round trip the equipment is done/ heavy cleaning and shift change at LA crew base, and then goes back out again for another 15 hours. total service 15 hours, one restocking and one recleaning. That is how it would work. I know cuz Ive done it so many times.

Anonymous said...

and these ideas about going to the east bay arent going to happen until the whole system is built out plus some - maybe in 50 years from now minimum and probably 75.

Anonymous said...

that should say " 30 hours total in service for the equipment with one cleaning and stocking after 15 hours.

Rafael said...

@ citizen of Contra Costa county -

I see your point, but let me try to elaborate on mine:

HSR trains are only time-competitive with short-hop flights if they can deliver most - by no means all - passengers directly to their final destination, typically a city center. The whole point is that HSR is not analogous to air travel but superior to it over medium distances.

BART does run frequently and has both high capacity and excellent conectivity, which is why CHSRA considered an aerial station in West Oakland as a terminus, in spite of all the issues with turnaround time and pedestrian flow capacity that entails. However, given the choice, more people from SoCal and more tourists will want to go to SF than to West Oakland, so it makes sense to deliver them to SF.

Of course, Contra Costa county ended up with the short end of the stick when the HSR network was drafted. For the longest time, there was only one ROW there and BART used it. However, the inland portion of the former Naval Weapons Center had tracks right next to BART North Concord and a rail underpass out to Port Chicago.

Now that the old NWC is being developed as a transit-oriented new district, there might be value in considering a branch off the future HSR spur to Sacramento at south Stockton. The tricky part would be persuading UPRR to sell some of its nice and straight ROW or else, to permit the construction of dedicated HSR tracks above it out to Oakley, where the alignment would cut across to the straight BNSF ROW. Of course, the US Army would have to agree to HSR service through its new base in Port Chicago as well.

Note that there is a legacy rail yard in the NWC, a big plus for the end of a phase II/III extension that would sharply cut travel times from CC county to Sacramento, towns in the CV and SoCal.

crzwdjk said...

Boarding and emptying a train are embarrassingly parallel processes, since there are so many doors, and it's perfectly fine and safe to close the doors and start moving before everyone sits down. One thing you really don't want is a single waiting area for a train, which tends to imply a single door that everyone has to pass through to get to that train. You want a common waiting area, with as many access paths to each platform as possible, preferably at least three pairs of stairways.

If you look at real operations, most Northeast Regional trains are timetabled for 20 minutes at Penn Station, which includes schedule recovery time, and Acelas are timetabled for 15 minutes. I'd say something like 50-60% of the train gets off in NYC, and despite the fact that most boarding is via a single escalator, there's still a bit of slack even with the Acela between the time people get off and when they get on. Which means that your 9 minutes for boarding/alighting may be a bit too generous.

Peter said...

Peter, I'm having trouble reading that floor plan in the pdf file. Calling the platform tracks P1 at the "top" of the floor plan through to P6 at the bottom of the platform, and the tail tracks T1 and T2 from top to bottom on the floor plan, which platform tracks connect to which tail track?

Bruce, I agree that the floorplan isn't too easy to read, but I haven't found a better one. From what I can tell the layout is:

P1 - deadend
P2 - deadend, with a connection to T1 towards the end of the platform (a train might have to reverse to get onto the tail)
P3 - directly feeds T1
P4 - directly feeds T2
p5 - connection to T2 at end of platform
p6 - deadend

I'm not certain of those connections, that's just my interpretation from the floorplan.

Anonymous said...

and the acela from BOS via NYP to WAS is not cleaned and restocked at NYP after only 3 hours in service. It stops. It goes. Barring mechanical issues, the hsr would be in and out of sf just as quickly.

Rafael said...

@ Jim in SCruz -

some fraction of all Caltrains will continue to terminate at 4th & King. In particular, all legacy diesel trains, assuming the Caltrain/HSR implementation in the peninsula still permits their use.

@ Peter -

actually, there's no need to connect the outer two platform tracks to the tail tracks because those are the most curved and there most likely the ones reserved for Caltrain use. Those trains would be cleaned in either San Jose or Gilroy, not at SFTT - though staff may walk through to do some minimal tidying up.

Two tail tracks is actually enough as long as one is cleared before the next train in need of a scrub can disappear down Main St. That little pas-de-deux does need to be executed quickly, though.

@ CComMack -

if the desire is to extend Caltrain/HSR into downtown Oakland, forget Alameda Atlantic Ave., forget extending BART to Alameda and just run standard gauge tracks through a tunnel up Franklin St. running under the existing BART line south to Fremont. That would put the terminal one block east of the BART station.

HSR would then not stop on Alameda Island, but Caltrain would. The tricky part is that Franklin is a narrow street with very large buildings to either side. Securing more than 2 platform tracks would require some demolition or else special tunneling techniques deep underground - which poses its own logistical problems.

Rafael said...

@ Peter, BruceMcF -

P2 + P3 -> T1
P4 + P5 -> T2

would be good enough. Doubling back to reach the tail track should not be necessary. If it is, the design should be changed.

@ arcady -

agreed, there might be more than one waiting area for each platform track on the concourse level. After all, the platforms are 1/4 mile long, so you'd want 2 (perhaps 4) stairs plus an elevator in the middle for the disabled or else, moving walkways on a slope (handy when traveling with suitcases).

@ Jim -

if what you're saying is correct, then far fewer staff would be needed at SFTT to perform cleaning and provisioning duties than I had bargained for. Indeed, they might just decide to let trains dwell at their platforms for 19 minutes and allow light housekeeping during alighting and boarding.

That would mean that four full-length tracks for HSR would be definitely be sufficient to support 12tph each way.

Anonymous said...

@Rafael. There would only need to be one crew base and LA has the room for it. The on board staffing would be based down there and start and end their trips down there. Even the operators/enginers/condutors who are limited to 8 or 10 hours of serivce, could be based solely at one end of the line. The only staff needed at SF would be ticketing and stand by mechanical. Again the onboard staff maintains the cleanliness en route. A typical san joaquin train f goes from OKJ to BFD to SAC in one 20 hour day with only one cleaning. and one on board service staff member who works a 20 hour day and serves over 1000 people alone.

BruceMcF said...

Thanks Peter, that's more or less as I was reading it. So a slight revision of my "Platform Track 2" (P2) to allow it to switch directly through to "Trail Track 1", and crossover switches between trail track 1 and 2, and P2, P3, P4, and P5 would each be connected to T1 and T2, which would be maximum operational flexibility.

If the platforms were used in the shuttle system, P2 and P5 would be arrival platforms, P3/P4 would be the departure platform.

Anonymous said...

The Rail concourse is too narrow
as it fits only into the footprint of the terminal.I dont know if it can be enlarged ..I hope or maby a true loop track ,dont know what will be cheaper to build

Anonymous said...

Sorry just read read Rafaels post..looks like it will be a tuff choice..OK maby it is 4TH and King after all

Rafael said...

@ yeson1a -

do you mean that the concourse level is too narrow? Keep in mind that it will be 1/4 mile long.

Rafael said...

@ yeson1A -

there have been a lot of good comments on this, I encourage you to read them as well.

I think 4 platform tracks for HSR will be enough, even when the line saturates. Caltrain only gets two, so it will need to keep using 4th & King as well.

Aaron said...

I have imagine that the TBT is not going to be boarding full HSR trains. Like with Acela, a lot of people will be boarding in the suburbs or also in San José. Also, I've always been suspicious of the 12tph number.

For the fun of it, I pulled up the Tokaido Shinkansen schedule, and it only has a handful of hours with 12 trains running out of Tokyo, and Tokyo-Eki is built for much more capacity than US rail stations and is also much more centralized. Tokyo is the largest city in the world. To wit, from Wikipedia:

It is the most heavily travelled high-speed rail route in the world, with about 4.5 billion cumulative passengers, more than all other high-speed lines in the world combined.

I'm sorry. CAHSR is a great program that needs to be a high priority in California, and it certainly has similarities to the Tokaido Shinkansen, and it will probably let most airlines that aren't named Southwest largely out of the LA-SF short-haul market, but it's not the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Population of Southland: 14 Million
Population of SF Bay Area: 7 Million

Population of Tokyo/Kanto Region: 36 million.
Population of Kansai Region: 24 million.

The CAHSRA needs to take a look at the 12tph number, see how realistic it is, and see if it needs to be re-assessed downwards. Once that happens, then ask if the new TPH requires more trackage than they already have.

(On a side note: 2 tracks for Caltrain? If I were Caltrain, I'd be screaming a whole lot louder than the CAHSRA, they seem to be in line for more long-term capacity problems than CAHSR)

Aaron said...

By the way, I know nothing about the potential capacity of CAHSR trains vs. a full Tokaido Series 700 Shinkansen, but my point still stands - CAHSR can run higher-capacity trainsets before they need to run that volume of trains.

We're talking about the number of platforms at the TBT - I'd be more worried about the length of the platforms, so that you don't have to go in every 10 years and extend the platforms, or have a problem like in a handful of NYC subway stations where you have to ride in a certain car to exit at certain stations (I think most or all of those stations are slated for elimination or consolidation, for obvious reasons). That needs to be future-proofed, and I haven't seen those numbers yet. If you have a 10-car train, and only the first 8 cars can alight or deboard in San Francisco, you have a problem. Boston's MBCR has that a handful of stations, and even seasoned riders who aren't paying close attention may forget that and get on the wrong car.

Rafael said...

@ Aaron -

Caltrain is funded by the counties it serves, so it more or less has to beg, steal and borrow to operate and gradually upgrade its service.

In countries that manage their railways at the national level, even commuter rail, the whole notion of allocating platforms to just one type of service wouldn't even come up because it's inefficient. JR and SNCF don't have platforms that may only be used for long-distance trains.

In the specific case of the SFTT, Caltrain knows it would never get grade separation and a downtown SF station without HSR. Santa Clara county still hasn't chipped in for electrification, because all their money is going into the BART extension. So if it can get two platforms at SFTT, it'll take them.

However, since HSR won't run 12tph for quite a while yet (if ever), commuters will notice that HSR trains will occupy platform tracks for an hour or more, with very little boarding activity, while they're stuck with crowded platforms and short dwell times.

The appropriate response to that is to let Caltrain use more than two platforms whenever HSR doesn't really need its full complement of four. Since that will boost Caltrain's ridership, it will get more funding to first raise and then lengthen the platforms at all of its stations, starting with those already served by baby bullets.

That will allow it to operated longer trains for those, reducing the need to use more than two platform tracks at SFTT. Eventually, even local stops will have long platforms, though some may be curved. I'll get to how TJPA intends to address that issue below. The upshot is that as Caltrain upgrades its own local stations, it will free up platforms for HSR, just as that system grows its own ridership.

The Long Island Railroad in NY state runs commuter trains that are 300m (~12 cars) long. The platforms tracks at SFTT will be 400m (~16 cars) long, though the outer ones in particular will be curved at the ends. That means the level boarding platform has to be recessed to avoid contact with the middle of the train cars as they pass.

However, with automatic train control, a train will reliably stop within a couple of inches of the designated location. As soon as it comes to a full stop, short cantilevered bridges can be extended from the platforms to ensure safe alighting and boarding. The bridges are retracted again before the train leaves the platform.

The one fly in the ointment is that Caltrain will at some point have to start sacrificing bicycle parking slots on its trains to accommodate ridership growth, or at least charge a fee for the service. That won't be popular with loyal customers who simply don't have useful connecting transit from the station closest to their home.

A useful compromise would be for Caltrain to promote a switch to folding bikes that can be stowed under the seats, perhaps even models with electric assist motors. One option worth exploring is to partner with a reputable dealer, pre-qualify a few models and offer discount coupons or combo packages for customers that purchase annual passes for Caltrain service.

BruceMcF said...

Aaron ... Tokyo also has lines extending in more directions than San Francisco ... peak 12 tph could easily be 4 SoCal Express, 4 Central Valley Local, 2 Central Valley Semi-Express and 2 SF / Sacramento ... (or 2 CV local, 2 CV Semi-Express, 2 Sacramento, and 2 Las Vegas) ... they all would end up on the same platforms.

Of course, that mix of destinations makes the "12 sixteen car bi-level five seats per row trainsets per hour" implausible.

Unknown said...

I really can't see something of that scale being done in Alameda. Aside from the geological limitations and the desired preservation of some historic sites at Alameda Point, Alameda arguable has the strongest anti-growth culture in the East Bay (yes, even worse than Berkeley). As of now, new apartments cannot even be built due to density limitations to "limit traffic" (ironically, Alameda could be one of the best biking cities in the Bay Area if it tried). Getting medium-density apartments in the Alameda Point project is already being met with huge amounts of opposition, so this proposal seems way too out there for me. When the second Transbay Tube is built, I do think it should go through Alameda Point-Jack London, but it's hard for me to expect much density out of it.

Anonymous said...

Rafael -

Fantastic post. My cynicism tells me such a development will never happen, but I never thought we'd be honestly talking about high speed rail in CA, either.

But back to the topic at hand, doesn't it make sense to "overbuild" to a reasonable (although not excessive) degree, given how much more expensive re-developing that terminal will be in 2030 compared to doing it "right" now. At the very least, Caltrain can use those extra tracks. I can't imagine many people would prefer to take CT to 4th and king when they have the option of getting to TBT (Giants games excepted)

So Rafael, when are you running for CA transit secretary?

Alon Levy said...

Aaron: you're lowballing the populations in California. Using the same method they use to compute Japanese metro areas, the Bay Area has 9 million people and extends to Stockton, Modesto, and Merced. The LA metro area includes the Inland Empire, and has about 18 million people, plus 3 million if you include San Diego. Both metro areas are growing more quickly than Tokyo and Osaka, so the situation will look even more favorable to them in 2030.

Even so, California isn't expecting Japanese ridership levels. The Tokaido Shinkansen gets 130 million riders per year. CAHSR expects about 90. It's fairly close, but then again LA is going to be the second largest city in the world connected to HSR, after Tokyo, and SF is going to be the third largest second-city on an HSR system, after Osaka and London.

Aaron said...

Ah, I didn't lowball CA population intentionally, frankly I just referenced Wikipedia ;p.

I don't know with any certainty, I'm no engineer nor urban planner, but no matter how much I support HSR, I can't but think that the ridership numbers are optimistic. It's still obviously a viable system when you consider the volume of air traffic between the SF Bay and SoCal, but...

I guess my feeling is that if the Authority wants the TBT expanded for their purposes, they ought to be willing to chip in for that. I know that they oughtn't pay the full cost of the TBT, as SF has wanted them to do (nobody wants to own a project this big), but an expansion of the train box needs to be funded by CHSRA and/or the state, not out of the Bay Area's purse.

Rafael said...

@ davids -

thx, but all any of us here are trying to do is help make sure HSR actually gets built. Sometimes, that means thinking out of the (train)box.

Wrt to overbuilding, the comments I've received suggest that 12tph would feasible with 4 platform tracks. Still, I think it'll be long while before that is ever tested, because a rational train operator would modify his service to avoid stress-testing any part of the infrastructure to the limit of its capacity.

CHSRA doesn't have any engineers with railroad operations experience on its staff, so they - like myself - sometimes some assumptions that may be too pessimistic.

I think Caltrain will make very good use of its two platform tracks, but they will force that railroad to gradually shift to operating longer trains. The Long Island RR runs 12-car commuter trains (300m) because it is similarly constrained at Penn Station. During the transition, HSR won't have built up really high ridership yet, so it could afford to let Caltrain "borrow" one or even two of its tracks at SFTT for a while, especially during rush hour. As HSR demand picks up, Caltrain would have to scale back down to two platforms.

Longer trains means longer and level boarding platforms on stations all down the peninsula, starting with the ones for the baby bullets. The HSR project will anyhow force remodeling at many stations. The choice of side vs. island platform will depend on whether the HSR trains use the inside or the outside tracks. There are good reasons for preferring the latter - especially if Caltrain will need longer platforms.


As for Alameda, who knows? My brother actually moved to the smaller, southern island with his family several years ago. Lots of people who live there used to work at the NAS, there's an amazing collection of classic cars there as well. There's a strong sense of history and of being an island community, even if there's not a whole lot of water between them and Oakland.

One reason they are more than a little paranoid about additional traffic and transit connections to Oakland is that it would water down their island status. Psychologically, perhaps a little similar to how many Britons felt (and some still do) about themselves vs. continental Europe.

The other is that they are an affluent middle-class community right next to south Oakland, one of the poorest in the Bay Area. I can't tell if racial makeup as such is a factor, my impression is that its primarily about the wealth differential. Palo Alto and East Palo Alto used to be a similar divide, but the latter has become increasingly gentrified. Not so south Oakland.

That said, Alamedans recognize that they need to put the old NAS to some good use after its finally cleaned up. This idea of turning it into a Bay Area version of Vancouver (BC), where I lived for a year, would be a radical departure from the low-rise small town/suburban feel of the rest of the island.

However, Vancouver is consistently rated as one of the world's most livable cities and I know first-hand why that is the case: the downtown area is bounded by water on three sides and adjacent to a really large park with old growth forest. There are urban beaches, a marina, a cruise ship terminal, a fantastic covered market, excellent restaurants and a very walkable downtown full of little neighborhoods with their own character.

Unfortunately, vehicle traffic into downtown has increased in recent years, so now they've built themselves the Canada Line, a light rail line out to the airport and the suburb of Richmond. Several tunnels, bridges and aerial sections were required. On time and on budget and, properly documented. CHSRA could learn a thing or two from how that web site is put together.

Anyhow, I figured Alamedans would be amenable to a connection across to SF featuring Caltrain and HSR. And as long as the new district is hard to get to by car (except Alameda residents), the entire point could be a very different but also very livable side of Alameda.

The BART connection would be an extra that the rest of the Bay Area would insist on to fund the Caltrain/HSR link. And yes, the urban parks, nightlife venues and beach would attract a more diverse crowd, but that's actually no bad thing. Alamedans are a breed apart, but they're not posh.

But I admit, suggesting that Alameda of all places should strive to become a microcosm of the Bay Area where people from all around not only work but socialize and spend leisure time is a bit cheeky.

And no, I won't be running for office any time soon :^X

Anonymous said...

The issue of capacity is certainly important to consider. However, what is missing from this conversation is the timing of the request for additional capacity from the CAHSR Authority and politics that are swirling around this issue.

1) The Chair of CAHSR Authority, Judge Quentin Kopp publically revealed late last year he is ok with a San Francisco terminal at the current Caltrain terminal at 4th and Townsend.

Excerpt from a SF Examiner article dated Nov. 12:
"We do not need First and Mission. I am satisfied with Fourth and Townsend," said Judge Quentin Kopp, chairman of the High Speed Rail Authority. "We are not going to pay an extra billion-plus dollars to take the high-speed rail an extra 1.4 miles."….The extension will have to be resolved -- and funded -- by The City and Caltrain, he said.
Link to entire article - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/39911

A November 19th Bay Guardian article also quotes Kopp about the issue of Transbay Terminal - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/39996

2) The CAHSR Authority has known about the 6-track configuration for years and has not expressed any concerns about the design until now, right before Transbay Terminal is due to begin final design. Also, this request for doubling the capacity of the Transbay Terminal immediately follows Mayor Newsom’s effort to get the Transbay Box built now, along the with bus terminal above. The Authority’s 11th hour request to double the capacity of Transbay Terminal will also double the cost of the train box from 400M to 800M. This is likely not fundable in the near term, which means the construction of the Transbay box will have to be delayed until the 2nd phase of the project. This means that the double-level box will have to take place under an operating transbay bus terminal. Such a massive excavation will be deeply disruptive the operating terminal. Many transbay advocates feel without the down payment of the train box in Phase 1 of the project, it will be all too easy to settle for a Terminal at 4th and King.

Folks outside of the Bay Area need to understand that the Transbay project has been set back for years. In 1997, an EIR underway was just thrown in the trash by Willie Brown. It has taken 12 years of painstaking effort to fight off the enemies of Transbay to get the project on track and to the point where it is now. It is most unfortunate, but the project has had very little support from the region. SF has had to create funding package based on almost all local City funds. Several times Transbay advocates have had to mobilize to save the Transbay project at hearings at SF City Hall deep into the night. The 11th hour request by the Authority, which follows the statements by Chairman Kopp, really makes one wonder about their intentions. The question must be asked, Does the Authority really want to follow their commitment to bring HSR to the Transbay Terminal?

I am certainly one who believes in planning things well. If the CAHSR Authority has a true interest in making sure the Transbay design is the best one, they should be leading the charge to obtain the $800M in funding necessary to build the larger 2-level train box that they are suddenly requesting. Or they should be creatively figuring out how build a one-level box now and expanding capacity in some other way. They should be standing along side with Mayor Newsom to make sure that a down payment for the rail component of the Transbay Terminal project is included in Phase 1 of the project. To-date however, the Authority has not shown that they are interested in seeking funding for the train box. First in a letter to Senator Feinstein and then in press release, the Authority has listed many projects they are interested in seeking HSR stimulus funds, but none of them include the Transbay box.

The evidence so far seems to indicate that the Authority is doing more to put roadblocks in the way of the Transbay project rather than truly being an advocate for it.

Anonymous said...

That won't be popular with loyal customers who simply don't have useful connecting transit from the station closest to their home.

Why can't they leave the bike at the station? No one expects to bring the automobile along with them. Bike lockers or at least someplace to lock up the bike at the station gets them off the train. And unless someone is expecting to bicycle from the SF station to North Beach why do they need a bike in SF anyway. There's mass transit connections to most places in the city.

Anonymous said...

I know this has been kicked around here for the last 10 years and I would like to know how they decided that a 3platform train station would be enough..I really think that when the options were thought up HSR was really just a far off dream.Well now guess what
its coming on kinda fast with this start by 2012 deadline. This place was drawn up for Caltrain..and even then we are going from a 6 paltform station to 3? Guess I will need to run and move fast to board ..hope everyone else does

BruceMcF said...

@ Adirondacker, a folding bike like a Dakon Mariner with a Bolsa Bag is more useful for personal transport in an urban area when also hopping on and off public transport.

For a train ride (slow rail) in New South Wales, unlike a full sized bike, a folding bike was just luggage. I can't believe that HSR would be any different for a 20" folder.

Anonymous said...

Highly humorous. The easiest way to deal with this "problem: is to simply use the Altamont Pass.

That way the cars caring passengers going to the South Bay can be cleaned at Diridon. Cars caring SG bound passengers are serviced in San Jose.

Two anchor stations. A route that results in 60 miles less of track being constructed. Results in service to the East Bay.

Nothing like creating a unnecessary problem and then creating an over-engineered solution to that unnecessary problem.

Aaron said...

Ignoring the fact that your post is totally off topic, Altamont is dead. You're re-arguing the cold war.

I think you've seen from most of the psots here that the concerns are probably not as critical as originally thought.

Rafael said...

@ adirondacker -

4th & King in SF is served by buses and three Muni Subway lines (N/K, T). There are streetcar line along the Embarcadero, but none that connect 4th & King directly to the SF Ferry Terminal and Pier 39 + Pier 41 ferries.

An expensive new crosstown Muni Subway line up 4th and on to Chinatown (Stockton/Broadway) is planned to connect the station and the China Basin parking lots to employers further from Market St.

In addition, Caltrain customers commuting to employers located south of SF often have no connecting transit at all.

Caltrain bike info + improvement plan

SF metro transit map - regional bus lines to Marin and Alameda counties serving existing Transbay Terminal not shown

@ BruceMcF -

Video of a suitcase bike

Rafael said...

@ Daniel K -

yup, CHSRA is making friends up and down the peninsula these days.

I can't altogether blame TJPA for ignoring CHSRA and asking for a slice of the stimulus bill. My reading of the tea leaves is that CHSRA wants full control over any federal HSR funds, in part because it needs them to get the state to release prop 1A funds when the bond market recovers. Kopp thinks TJPA has structured its financing such that HSR is being overcharged, at least relative to the sum he had pencilled in on his own budget. I'm sure he would have much preferred the TJPA apply for a slice of the block development grants in the stimulus to avoid competing over the same pot of money.

However, for whatever reason, Kopp feels he cannot state any of this publicly, so the old argument about a supposed lack of capacity is dusted off instead. Having looked at it and, after the comments I've received, I've come to the conclusion that the four HSR platform tracks at SFTT will not saturate before the line.

In any case, operators would likely deploy full-length bi-level trains and terminate some of them short of SF TT, e.g. in SJ or else at Millbrae/SFO (assuming there will be a yard/high peed cargo transshipment terminal in Brisbane), long before SFTT gets anywhere near capacity. On peak travel days, e.g. busy holiday weekends, it may simply be more practical to allow trains to fill up and then proceed non-stop to the CV and SoCal (and vice versa).

CHSRA, like Caltrain, will just learn to make do with what's on offer. Of course, if Palo Alto nixes the use of the Caltrain ROW for HSR by insisting on solution that would break the budget, there may be no HSR to SFTT at all. I'm sure Caltrain would love to have six platforms tracks, but the JPB counties don't have enough money to pay for the DTX tunnel and the whole trainbox by themselves.

Alex M. said...

Rafael -

Is the plan for the HSR platforms in the SFTT to be long enough for 16-car trains, should the capacity need to be expanded? Also, will all of the tunnels along the HSR route (including the DTX tunnel) be big enough for bi-level cars (like a TGV Duplex)? If the capacity is available for these trains to serve the SFTT, I'm skeptical they will run out out of space for a long time.

spence said...

@ David K,

It's nice to see that not everyone here is buying Kopp's POV hook, line and sinker.

The very TTC (Transbay Terminal Center) & DTX line which Quentin Kopp said in November is unnecessary and refuses to help pay for or support receiving federal funds, also isn't going to be good enough for him and his trains. What?!

Once again, it sure is funny how he waited until after Prop 1a passed before breathing a word of this to anyone. The CHSRA paid for fancy computer-generated animations of HSTs arriving at the new TTC and prominently feature them to this day on their website. This represents the CHSRA's public position that was presented to the voters both in their marketting materials as well as in the text of the proposition itself as their vision for HSR, but right now it looks like it was a big lie.

Kopp can only throw mud at SF and the TJPA, and refuses to acknowledge that any of these plans would be worthy for stimulus funds, and now on top of not paying a dime for any of this he wants the capacity to be doubled which would of course make it much more expensive. What a complete ass.

@ Robert Cruickshank,

You seem to think that we should all give the CHSRA a round of applause for doing some engineering analysis of the design plans for one of the key nodes of the proposed HSR line. Isn't that their job? Isn't that what we pay them to do? Should we send them a care package now?

I'm not calling CHSRA evil, maybe some folks are, but you are far too astute of a political animal not to know that Kopp is up to his usual tricks, so why you seem to choose to side with him on this debate continues to surprise me.

The folks who are looking like idiots here are the CHSRA and one Quentin Kopp. SF is working to bring transportation into the 21st century and we are getting no help from Kopp, apparently no money from the CHSRA, no assistance with gettign federal stimulus funds, and on top of that they are making demands about the number of platforms that they apparently expect to use for free.

For someone who just titled a blog post "Why does media feed the trolls" I find that this blog is feeding a huge troll in one Quentin Kopp. The "right way of dealing with this issue" (your words Robert) would be for the CHSRA to come to the table as a constructive partner and not throw bombs at the one jurisdiction that is farther ahead in planning for HSR than any other in the state.

Right now we are not seeing that.

Anonymous said...

@Aaron --

1) Altamont is not "dead". CHSRA has been trying for close to a decade now to perpetuate the myth that the "final" decision has been made. No it hasn't. And pardon me if activists (like myself) are not going to roll over and play dead just because it would be convenient if we did.

2) Altamont is completely relevant to the topic. If San Jose was a terminus and San Francisco was a separate terminus then the trains/hour count at SF would drop, the congestion along the Caltrain corridor would drop and the many problems that Rafael is inventing complex engineering solutions to solve would never need to be solved.