Thursday, June 4, 2009

June CHSRA Board Meeting Today 10AM

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

The monthly California High Speed Rail Authority board meeting will be held today at 10AM at Sacramento City Hall. The agenda can be found here and includes the following items:

  1. Swearing in of new board members Richard Katz (Governor’s appointee) and Russell Burns (Assembly Speaker's appointee) and reappointed board member David Crane (Governor's appointee).

  2. A staff presentation regarding coordination with Caltrans on the application for a major share of federal stimulus funding.

  3. An update on bills being considered by the Legislature for board discussion and possible action.

  4. Selection of a Program Management Oversight contractor.

  5. A presentation on the alternatives to be analyzed under the Environmental Impact Report and Statement in the Anaheim to Los Angeles Union Station Section, preliminary alternatives extending north from Union Station to State Route 134, and the schedule for completion of the Anaheim to Los Angeles Project EIR/EIS.

Can't make it to Sacramento for the meeting? Neither can I (I'm still in DC). But the CHSRA has promised to webcast the meeting at this link. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

rats i couldn't watch this because i'm deaf. it did have CC button but i guess it isn't available. :/

Robert Cruickshank said...

Sorry to hear that, anon. I hope they'll resolve that issue for the next meeting.

bossyman15 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bossyman15 said...

huh oh i erased my comment by mistake. yeah that anon was me.

Was anything interesting said? anything new?

Anonymous said...

i watched a video therre but I don't think it was from today - they were talking about the LA section. By the way over on PA Online, they are still convinced that "the days of california's economic engine are over" and that this HSR is nothing more than a "system of convenience" gasp!

Morris Brown said...

The majority of the meeting was consumed by a very detailed presentation of what's going on down south. This was complete with slides and showed in short sections the options and routes being chosen from Anahiem to Union Station to further north --- although not all the way to Palmdale.

The resolution of the webcast video is quite limited, so it is hard to make out what was on some of the slides, but interweaving with metro and other rail etc., seems like a nightmare.

They are obviously way ahead down south compared to what has been going on up here, and it was stated they were into project level EIR stuff in 2007.

I noticed in every instance where a deep bore tunnel was an option, it was rejected. There were some stretched of trench and partial cover and plenty of flyways, over freeways, over railways etc. Lots of curves, and at some points they were talking about speeds of only 30 - 60 miles per hour.

I don't know who they think they are kidding, but Morshed talks about $3 billion from Union Station to Anaheim; that number is crazy low.

Spokker said...

I'm currently reading the Anaheim-LA stuff.

Fullerton has a curve just east of the station that will limit speeds. There's nothing to be done about that whether Fullerton becomes a station or not. A deep-bore tunnel at Fullerton has indeed been eliminated. Aerial station and no station at-grade options are moving forward.

The other concern was in Norwalk. Building a station east of the existing Metrolink station would result in reduced speeds to approximately 60 MPH. That alternative was eliminated. The other two alternatives, no station and HST station north of existing station have no foreseen operation issues (i.e. slowdowns) and are being carried forward.

Spokker said...

There will be significant land takings in Anaheim if the at-grade option is chosen. Between Vermont Ave. in the south and North St. in the north, the ROW is 50 feet wide. It must be widened to 35 feet for the at-grade option. They are estimating 1.5 miles of industrial property takes, .7 miles of residential, and .2 miles of park takes.

That information is on page 51 here.

For the stretch in Anaheim between Fullerton and Anaheim ARTIC station, aerial and cut-and-cover tunnel were eliminated. At-grade and deep-bore tunnel is being carried forward.

It would be funny if Anaheim gets a tunnel and the Peninsula doesn't.

Spokker said...

Their justification for throwing out the aerial option.

" Aerial
The aerial option can be built at the lowest cost of any of the four options, but has impacts in several
areas. There is potential for visual impacts from the aerial guideway to residential communities (including
the Anaheim Colony Historical District), which will require mitigation. The more significant issue is
constructability. To build a two track aerial structure in the middle of a busy and constrained two-track
railroad is extremely difficult and disruptive to the approximately 100 passenger trains that would be using
the corridor per day during the construction period. The additional ROW that would be needed to mitigate
operational impacts during construction would be similar to the ROW needs of the At-Grade option, so the
alternative does not reduce or avoid the adverse environmental impacts of the at-grade option.

Constructing the aerial option within the existing ROW is impractical due to the potential adverse
disruptions to existing and future railroad operations. To be able to construct the HST Project without
these operational impacts, large areas of additional ROW would be needed. These ROW takes would be
similar to the at-grade option, so alternative construction methods needed to allow for adequate railroad
operations during construction of the aerial option would not eliminate or reduce the adverse ROW
impacts of the at-grade option. The aerial option does not eliminate or reduce the ROW impacts of the atgrade
option, and configurations that do reduce the at-grade ROW impacts are not constructible,
therefore the aerial option should be eliminated from further consideration."

So I guess Anaheim won't have a "Berlin Wall," haha.

Aaron said...

@Spokker: I'm not familiar with that part of OC, but if there are going to be significant costly land takings associated with an at-grade option, then a tunnel may well appropriate. Not sure what the cost differentials will be, but it's worthy of study.

Spokker said...

"@Spokker: I'm not familiar with that part of OC, but if there are going to be significant costly land takings associated with an at-grade option, then a tunnel may well appropriate."

The zip code for the area being studied is 92805. I would say it's a middle class neighborhood.

Spokker said...

Here are some satellite views of the 1.5 Anaheim stretch from Google Maps. This is based on the at-grade option which is being carried forward.

This is the north end of the 1.5 mile stretch at North St. North St. is already closed. You can see that the right of way narrows to 50 feet here. ROW taking will happen on the west side of the track. You can see the RV storage facility here as well. It will be the first to go.

Here is the long storage facility between Sycamore St. and Wilhelmina St. I hope the owner isn't too attached to it.

The next area on this tour makes me cringe. Green grass. Little children's park. I've been through the area many times and those homes don't look too shabby. If they keep their houses, they will definitely lose their backyards according to the study.

Here's the old Santa Fe Depot. Citrus park is just south of it.

The rest is industrial. The ROW widens again here at Vermont Ave.

Let the good times roll.

Spokker said...

I've said in the past that NIMBY opposition in this area may be fierce. In this short 1.5 mile stretch it will be mostly industrial buildings that will be taken, but residences on both sides of the track are opportunities for revolt.

The study, however, claims that an at-grade train traveling at 125 MPH is 3db quieter than an at-grade diesel train at 79 MPH.

I think this stretch will be built at-grade after a couple lawsuits. It'll be Anaheim's own little version of the Peninsula drama.

Spokker said...

ANYWAY... here is the conclusion they have reached as a whole at this stage in the game regarding the Anaheim-LA segment.

"The Dedicated HST Alternative was identified as the only alternative capable of accommodating the peak
demand forecast for all classes of train service at acceptable levels of reliability and on-time performance.

The Program Level Shared Track and Expanded Shared Track Alternatives were screened from further
consideration after it was determined that the shared use configuration assumed in these scenarios did not adequately meet the need for HST service and could not support the assumed future volume of freight or passenger trains (including HST) at an acceptable level of performance.

The Dedicated HST Alternative to be carried forward consists of two main HST tracks. This scenario was
modeled with four conventional tracks to confirm future capacity between Fullerton and Redondo
Junctions, and was able to accommodate the forecast train volumes in the corridor at an acceptable performance level.

Given that the fourth conventional track and 30 Minute Metrolink service to Los
Angeles are not currently funded and are not included in the No Project Alternative, the Dedicated HST Alternative assumes maintenance of three main conventional tracks between Fullerton and Redondo
Junctions. Space will also be identified that can be preserved for a fourth main track, which could be added by others in the future as conventional train volumes require."

So here is what they are planning moving forward.

Four mainline tracks from Anaheim to Fullerton. Two for HSR and two for Metrolink/Surfliner/freight (it should be noted that freight on this Metrolink owned ROW consist of 5-10 short locals per day.).

Between LA and Fullerton, they are planning six mainline tracks. Four for Metrolink/Surfliner/freight and two for HSR. They call it one two track system and one four track system that are physically separated.

I really doubt a Fullerton aerial station is going to happen. I don't even think I want it to happen. Norwalk and Anaheim are fine in my opinion.

"Based on the results of the operations modeling and the uncertainty of obtaining an FRA waiver to allow shared track HST operations, and due to superior operating characteristics, only the Dedicated HST Alternative meets the project purpose and need. Furthermore, the potential impacts of the Dedicated HST Alternatives are similar to the Expanded Shared Track Alternative. Both the Program Level Shared Track and Expanded Shared Track Alternatives fail to meet the Project purpose and objectives and are not reasonable. The Program Level Shared Track and Expanded Shared Track are eliminated from
further consideration and the Dedicated HST Alternative is carried forward into preliminary design and environmental review."

No shared track. Dedicated HSR tracks are going forward. Hooray.

Anonymous said...

Of the six streets that cross this stretch, only one is currently grade separated.

They are planning to grade separate two of them and just close three of them.

In the program EIR, they did not have any proposed street closings.

The neighborhood association down there has been completely out of the loop - this proposal has come as a total shock.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you want a Fullerton aerial? The document seems to make that almost a fait accompli.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that HSR all of sudden changed operational requirements, a la Transbay. They went from 3 trains an hour to 6 in 2008.

Spokker said...

"Why don't you want a Fullerton aerial? The document seems to make that almost a fait accompli."

Because Fullerton is a historic station and there is already going to be a station 5 miles to the south at Anaheim, where there is more room for a monster multi-modal facility.

Clem said...

Based on the results of the operations modeling and the uncertainty of obtaining an FRA waiver to allow shared track HST operations, and due to superior operating characteristics, only the Dedicated HST Alternative meets the project purpose and need ...

That should have ominous implications for the SF peninsula!

Morris Brown said...


Just what does your statement

That should have ominous implications for the SF peninsula!

with regards shared tracks mean. They aren't proposing anything but dedicated tracks up here are they?

Spokker said...

Is there is a place to watch an archived recording of the meeting?

crzwdjk said...

Did anyone notice that HSR all of sudden changed operational requirements, a la Transbay. They went from 3 trains an hour to 6 in 2008.

Yeah, I noticed that. 6 trains per hour is not an HSR service, it's rapid transit. Which I suppose justifies the rapid transit level of investment for a 100% separate and mostly elevated line, but I have very serious doubts that this level of service is in any way jusitified by demand. A mere 10 trains a day (for example in an 11 car AGV configuration) would cover all of the air travel demand between SNA and the three Bay Area airports. HSRA's projections of an order of magnitude more ridership seem a bit... implausible. Bakersfield and Fresno just aren't going to be huge destinations, the commuter market to LA is best left to Metrolink (and why would HSRA profit from it, when Metrolink can't?) It just doesn't add up. And if you look at everyone's favorite comparable HSR line, Madrid-Barcelona, you'll see that scheduled through service is 1 or 2 trains per hour.

Spokker said...

Based on the report, Fullerton and Norwalk are now going to have to duke it out to see which one becomes an HSR station.

In Norwalk, no HSR platforms can be built at the existing Metrolink station because it's on a curve and HSR stations need to be straight for level boarding. The option being carried forward, an HSR station north of Norwalk suffers from long walks for riders connecting to/from Metrolink/buses. If the Green Line is ever extended to Norwalk, it could be a stronger contender for a station.

I think it should be Norwalk because Anaheim is just too close to Fullerton. But it would be really nice to take a Metrolink train on the Inland-Empire/OC line to Fullerton to transfer to HSR.

Damn. I can't decide.

Spokker said...

"the commuter market to LA is best left to Metrolink (and why would HSRA profit from it, when Metrolink can't?)"

Wouldn't some commuters will dole out a premium for a 20 minute ride from Anaheim to LA or less from Fullerton or Norwalk.

Hell, I'd love to see something offered where you can pay for an add-on on your Metrolink monthly pass for the privilege of riding HSR trains between ANA-LA or FUL-LA or Norwalk-LA. If one of the goals is to reduce traffic, subsidizing a portion of the add-on pass might work.

Brandon in California said...

It's been said before, many times in fact, that metropolitan areas may pursue a commuter overlay on top of regular intercity HSR service. There is no commitment to it now, however the option is already streamed in the planning and environmental review efforts.

If you follow this line of thought you can see that there are many implications to the design of the system that extend beyond the statewide intercity model of service.

What it means is additional intermediate stations (like for commuters), bypass tracks, and other stuff.

A bit off topic for this blog post; however, in my opinion it should be assumed that CHSRA would operate those trains per pre-arranged contract outlining services to be provided and financial commitments. If and when those things happen, we can see service for Metrolink possible decline, particularly where they compete for the same riders. No, this is not a bad thing. It's not near term.... but long term.

Back to topic... it makes sense for CHSRA to explore stations in Orange County with the long term vision in mind. It's also better to identify the necessary infrastructure to accomodate those things now, rather than latter when it could be too late.

The same line of thought applies to the Transbay Terminal design. 12 trains per hour may not be run from SF to points in Southern California; however, could include a bunch more at peak times to San Jose, or to the Valley and Sacramento. Again, maybe not on Day #1 of operations, but at some point in the future.

Anonymous said...

From Brandon:

"The same line of thought applies to the Transbay Terminal design. 12 trains per hour may not be run from SF to points in Southern California; however, could include a bunch more at peak times to San Jose,...."

Just talk a lot more about that kind of activity, and just maybe CalTrain will begin to understand they are partnering with an enemy who in the long run, will drive them out of business.

Alon Levy said...

Arcady: LA County has more people than Madrid and Barcelona's metro areas combined, by a comfortable margin. It's likely HSR demand will be far greater. In light of the low projected price, $55 from LA to SF compared with $145 from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka, and the high population of the endpoints, 6 tph is very reasonable. It's on a par with the Sanyo Shinkansen, which serves metro areas of slightly smaller size but has a modicum of connection to Tokyo and Nagoya to compensate.

Brandon in California said...

Anon at 7:25pm:

You write like that is a bad thing, but the reality is... is that Caltrain is aware of that possibility. But, don't interprete that as a hostile take-over or anything. Or, that current efforts are not afoot to keep Caltrain viable. A takeover as a takeover would not occur.

The fact is, is that CHSRA's mission is to provide statewide intercity service. Their primary market will not be local/regional commuters; however, their ridership modeling includes those markets.

They may provide short line tripper service to assure necessary capacity is provided for the statewide trips; however, I cannot imagine they'll get into the commuter market alone by themselves. I can see them only getting into that market as a result of working with local entities to fund those services. If that happened, a transition of services wold occur over a long period of time and not over night.

My earlier main point was that CHSRA planning and environmental efforts must plan for all types of services so that the necessary infrastructure is identified up front. It becomes much more costly to do that later.

But back to Caltrain, they are funded by Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties... and staffed Samtrans.

Spokker said...

"Just talk a lot more about that kind of activity, and just maybe CalTrain will begin to understand they are partnering with an enemy who in the long run, will drive them out of business."

Then how will people travel from stations like San Bruno, Santa Clara or Menlo Park to anywhere else?

Caltrain is not being "driven out of business." They offer two different services.

What I'm saying is that if you're traveling from a major station, you can choose Caltrain or HSR. Or Metrolink, Surfliner, or HSR. I usually take Metrolink for my trip out of Anaheim or Fullerton because it's cheaper and offers free transfers to Metro Bus and Rail. I often take Amtrak home, however, because it runs later in the evening and has comfier seats. Indeed, Amtrak and Metrolink have developed a program where monthly passholders can ride Surfliners for no additional charge.

I can see people doing that with high speed rail. It's very important to integrate all schedules. I have a pamphlet that has Metrolink and Surfliner departures/arrivals all in one complete schedule. I would like to see HSR added to that in ten years. I would like to see the HSR reservation system sell Amtrak and Metrolink tickets for easy transfers to and from HSR stations. There's no reason it can't be done.

crzwdjk said...

Alon: in light of the project price of $55 per one way ticket, how exactly are they aiming to cover the costs of operation? And, since you're comparing to the Sanyo Shinkansen, keep in mind that the toll on the parallel expressway is $130. Not $1.30, not $13, but one hundred and thirty dollars each way. If and when the freeways of California become tollways with a 40 cents per mile toll, then it would be reasonable to expect 6 tph worth of demand.

Spokker said...

If there are ever to be 6 trains per hour I would think that it would be only during the busiest hour of the day. It's not like there will be six trains in the 11 o'clock hour.

Anonymous said...

apropos of nothing...

Alon Levy said...

Arcady: CAHSR has a greater bonus relative to cars than the Sanyo Shinkansen, due to its longer distance and its higher top speed. It also connects continuously congested metro areas; this is ironically one of the benefits of California's paltry transit choices, clogging the freeways with local traffic. These jammed freeways block access to airports, which at any case are notoriously inconvenient.

And finally, CAHSR connects larger metro areas - the Bay Area is the size of Fukuoka, Kokura, and Hiroshima combined, while Greater LA is about the same size as Greater Osaka and will be larger by 2018. And this doesn't include traffic to Sacramento or San Diego.

Of course, Osaka still has better transit, which is overall a net positive, but it's not as necessary as you may think, and it's balanced by California's other advantages.

Spokker said...

It's still beating the hell out of airlines, anon @ 8:58pm.

"Since the high-speed railway service began, half of the air routes between Taipei City and the country's western cities have been discontinued, with those from the capital to Taichung and Chiayi closed last year and the one to Tainan ended in August."

Taiwan High Speed Rail is still a relatively new service and it will take some time to reach its full potential.

Spokker said...

Taiwan HSR opened in 2007. That means nearly half of its existence has been plagued by a global financial meltdown and will be for a little while longer.

Eric M said...


How does Southwest Airlines do so well at the cheap prices they sell tickets at? It's called volume, because low prices attract a lot more riders. Plain and simple. $55 tickects add up with volume. If you run some numbers, it doesn't take as many riders as you think to bring in billions of dollars in revenue.

Spokker said...

Southwest also has oil hedges which won't last forever, by the way.

Matt said...

Southwest is also bleeding money because they refuse to raise fares. They are trying to secure a large market share and then hoping that the customers are loyal.

The big problem air travel will face is not now when the economy is down and everyone is struggling, but when it is up and fuel prices cause people to seek cheaper options. When the economy does recover, expect the Taiwan HSR to dominate the market, even more so than we have seen in Spain.

Anonymous said...

Been on that Pa blog, those people are as exhausting as the prop 8 folks.. They make me dizzy. Doesn't there only really need to be only one station between ANA and LAX at FUL ? As for caltrain, you know, right now I have people who take amtrak from SFC to SJC instead taking caltrain. It hasn't put anyone out of business. I usally steer them to caltrain as an option that makes more sense even though we need to money too, still caltrain is run with amtrak employees. Any of you who may be from back east - correct me if Im wrong but aren't there like 1000 ways to get around the NJ NY long island area? do all those overlapping choices put each other out of business? For that matter, southwest hasn't put jet blue or united out of business either. The more the merrier I guess. As for "operations" profits of hsr, There's a way around that for instance if the chosen operator wasn't one who needed to make a profit to survive but instead actually brought with it, additional federal dollars political back up to help with rough spots.

Spokker said...

"As for caltrain, you know, right now I have people who take amtrak from SFC to SJC instead taking caltrain."

What. Come on jim. Sober up before you post!

Anonymous said...

Look I just got home from work and yes its true. and some of them even prefer to take amtrak from sfc to sjc even after I suggest caltrain as an option! ( and at twice the price.

Anonymous said...

of course I also have many who take amtrak from SFC to BKY instead of BART. People like us. They really like us!

Anonymous said...

and don't even ask me about the ones who take amtrak from SFC to SRC vis MTZ (bus train bus) when they can take the GGtransit number 80.

Spokker said...

You cannot take Amtrak from SFC to SJC unless you are booking it with a train as part as your overall trip.

If you're connecting with an Amtrak train in San Jose anyway, you might as well take the Amtrak bus.

Anonymous said...

Okay, well, yes you can. the bus takes you from SFC to EMY then the next capitol train takes you from EMY to SJC. and yes they travel that way. believe it or not. My fingers have been typing on the big train ticket producing device for many years. i can get you from Nacogdoches to Niagara Falls too.

Anonymous said...

as for that train requirement. I know all tricks of how to do it from home without the help of an agent who knows all the tricks.

Anonymous said...

It is but who am to tell them what to do. A lot of them say they like amtrak better. (sometimes I'm surprised at how much people like us ...i'm like "really?" but that's why I know that the hsr is going to be successful. the nimby's are underestimating how much people actually enjoy train travel once they get a taste.)

Anonymous said...

It also never ceases to amaze me how many people take the variety of bus train bus combinations hither and yon, likes its nothing, including that hellish las vegas trip. 13 hours including the five hour bus ride through death valley adjacent. You know what else is screaming success..... our yosemite service.

Anonymous said...

( now, if amtrak were to get the operating contract for hsr we would bring aalllllll those loyal customers with us starting day one - built in success right off the bat!.. I'm just sayin'....)

Spokker said...

It's not even like Amtrak is cheap. It's not terribly overpriced but it ain't a bargain either.

Anonymous said...

you know you can use your metrolink and surfliner tickets interhcangeably

Spokker said...

Only if you have a monthly pass.

Surfliner tickets can be used on any Metrolink train, but why would you want to? There were once some foreign tourists I saw who got on a Metrolink train with Amtrak tickets. The conductor didn't even take their tickets and told them to keep them and have a nice time in America.

Anonymous said...

I've only ridden metrolink once. from burbank airport. I wish they'd get it out to palm springs. I wish someone would bring a train ( besides the sunset 3 days a week) to palm springs. I did here that amtrak told coachella valley if they build their multi modal that we will bring them more trains. until I get some high spped though Ill have to keep flying. Watch out for the nazi tsa at palm springs airport though. * billion dollars worth of high tech security machines and just dying to find an excuse to use them.

Spokker said...

Metrolink is close to being extended to Redlands and Perris.

Redlands really wants it but the Perris extension is running into some NIMBY bullshit.

Adirondacker said...

Any of you who may be from back east - correct me if Im wrong but aren't there like 1000 ways to get around the NJ NY long island area?

Yes and no, it depends on where you are going, how much you want to spend, how much time you have to fritter away and if you want to game the system.

You are in Macy's Herald Square Store and you want to get to Jamaica. You can take the F train, if your objective is to get to the LIRR station it's a bit of hike from the F train station. Or you could take the E train which does go to the Jamaica LIRR station. Or change from the F to the E out in Queens. Or you could take the LIRR. After that you start getting into railfan trips that use the J or the Z train to get to Jamaica. There's very likely a way to do it by bus, with lots of transfers. E and the F train don't go to Flushing but the 7 train does. So does the LIRR. . .

You are in Macy's Herald Square and you want to get to Newark. You could take PATH to Journal Square and change to the train going to Newark. Or you could get on NJ Transit. Amtrak goes there but they won't sell you a ticket. There's a bus from the Port Authority. Just like Jamaica there's many ways to get there by bus but it takes a lot of transfers. There is a bus from Journal Square to the far end of Newark that passes through Penn Station Newark. It might make sense if you were pinching pennies and wanted to get from Newark to Journal Square. All of those options are at Penn Station, which is on the East Side of downtown Newark. If you want to get to the North Side of downtown Newark, Midtown Direct trains take you to the Broad Street Station. As does the bus from the Port Authority.

You are in Macy's Herald Square and you want to go to Yonkers. You could take Metro North from Grand Central but the walk from Herald Square to Grand Cenral is a long one, so you would probably use the subway to get to Grand Central. If you wanted to save money on the Metro North fare you could take the 1 train all the way up to the Bronx and change to Metro North at Marble Hill. Buses from Yonkers go the end of the subway line. Amtrak serves Yonkers but they won't sell you a ticket for Penn. Station to Yonkers. . .

Once you get past the end of the subway things get slow. For instance you can get to the Summit NJ train station from Manhattan without getting on a NJ Transit train. Three seat ride from Herald Square. It would be cheap but it would take hours. A four seat ride, changing buses in Irvington Center, would save ten minutes. A Midtown Direct train gets you there in 50 minutes on a local and 40 on an express.

You can game the system. Amtrak won't sell you a ticket between Penn Station and Yonkers. They will sell you a very expensive ticket from Newark to Yonkers. A LIRR ticket between Penn Station and Woodside is probably good for three or four rides, the conductors don't get around fast enough to collect the ticket...

You can have fast, you can have cheap, you can have good ( one seat ride ) but rarely does it all come together.

Anonymous said...

If you take Amtrak from SF to SJ, you are entitled to a $2 discount on a $10 BART ticket, plus two free $1.75-value two-day transfers for AC transit or VTA (which amount to a pass for light rail as they never get taken), and 200+ AGR points (1000 of which will get you a free trip anywhere in the state). Add it all up and it can be cheaper than Caltrain.

無名 - wu ming said...

the economic crisis punched a hole in the taiwan HSR ridership. it's nowhere near as bad as california right now, but i suspect the general arc matches the american drop in airplane ridership and vehicle miles driven during the same period.

the difference is that the taiwan HSR sucked up nearly all the inter-island plane travel and a significant chunk of the long-distance buses. people just aren't traveling as much, or else they're riding the slow train (which is itself way faster and better maintained than amtrak - no fault to amtrak, taiwan's government is just willing to pay to have a first-world train system - and increasingly electrified as well). so any drop in travel overall is going to manifest itself as a drop in HSR.

Anonymous said...

@Adiron- Wow , I'm going to print that and save it in case I ever get around to making that trip to new york I want to take.

Anonymous said...

@Anon- I never considered al of that - especially the those fre transfers ( we don't have them in sf cuz muni isn't in our loop - dont ask me why) and yes the gw points and actually i lot of people on all the routes just really like our "california cars" for comfort. A lot of more unfamiliar travelers also seem to like the idea that they feel less "on thier own" using amtrak than some other agencies.

Its very strange to watch that meeting with all the details and plans and such and compare it to the nimby's in PA version of "the project is already dead" I mean are we talking about the same project?

crzwdjk said...

As someone from back east, I can tell you that while Amtrak is generally an option, it's often significantly more expensive (by a factor of 2 or 3) compared to local commuter rail. If you really want to take Amtrak from New York to Yonkers, you can, but it would cost you $20-27, rather $6-7.75 on Metro North, specifically to discourage commuters. There are some places where that's not the case though, notably Boston-Providence, where Amtrak and commuter rail fares are not so far apart (CR is 7.75, Amtrak can be as low as 9.60 with discounts), and the Amtrak is both much faster (40 minutes instead of 70) and much more comfortable (the train doors close! all by themselves!) and a significant number of people do take Amtrak.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Couple of thoughts on all this:

1. As I have repeatedly said on this site over the last year, do not count on a $55 ticket. What we have every reason to expect is that HSR fares will be competitive with airlines and affordable to the masses, just as they are around the world.

2. We've always expected that HSR would have commuter aspects. It makes sense for the system to have that functionality. However, we need to guard against the state legislature's efforts to gut HSR and turn it into a strictly commuter system (I'm looking at you, Alan Lowenthal).

3. Spokker is making some good points about the potential difficulties in Anaheim. I can envision that being a nasty battle since it's totally unlike the Peninsula - up north they have ample ROW and very few takings will be needed; down south there's barely any ROW.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the $55 fare-

HSR actually proves in its 2008 business plan that a $77 fare will be much more profitable so this is probably the fare structure to expect.

Alon Levy said...

To add to what Adirondacker and Arcady said, I'll note that Amtrak is often not any faster than express trains on commuter rail.

From New York to Croton-Harmon, both Amtrak and the Metro-North's express trains take 43 minutes, because Amtrak isn't electrified and the Metro-North is. Off-peak, this trip costs $30 on Amtrak, and $7.50 on Metro-North. From New York to New Haven, where both services are electrified but limited in speed due to curves, the Regional takes 1:34 and costs $65, or $34 if you're lucky enough to find the cheap trains; Metro-North takes 1:40 and costs $14 off-peak. Even from New York to Trenton, where straight tracks enable Amtrak to go fast, Keystone trains take 50 minutes, compared with 71 for the New Jersey Transit; the Keystone costs $51, the NJT $12.50.

Anonymous said...

The fare structure will be very flexible just as it is now. It won't be "the fare" it will be "fares based on availability" Rail fares - with the exception of the upgrades are just like airfares. I know I've been over this before.... there are "fare buckets" generally there is a "y" fare in both rail and air and this is the "regular fare - not discounted and no restriction, fully refundable. then you have the discounted fares A, B, and D fare buckets based on first come first served, the seats are the same - coach - stop me if you already know this but --- say theres 100 seats they may price 25 at D 25 at B 25 at A and 25 at Y - D is the lowest, early birds get the worm. If there is no demand, the fare stays low to entice buyers, if there is high demand the fare buckets sell out and go up to the next highest. high demand High price. Desperate at the last minute, High price. Smart and on top of things, plan ahead ( you have your shit together) you get the deals. Then you have classes of service - upgrades- business and first - which are charged as an "accommodation" Generally you get the lowest coach fare when you upgrade D+ accom charge. On longer haul services, accoms also have their won fare buckets. On local trains its a flat fee on top of the coach fare. The exception to fare buckets is on commuter and regional ( think capital corridor and surfliner. Those use a different structure. San Joaquins use the long distance fare structure and a HSR system is likely going to use the fare bucket system just like the airlines. and three classes of service. plus there's the california rail pass, the usa rail pass, monthlies and multi ride tickets and HSR will need to be integrated into these as well. I would not worry about fares. FAres are the least of hsr's problems. I promise you the fares will be competitive. Fares are also subject to taking into account the local market. Why does it cost 26 dollars to go from sf to sac but only 10 dollars to go from sf to stockton? the sac crowd is a more upscale (choke) crowd and the people we service to stockton are more, how can I say it... Have you eve been to one of those check cashing places on market street? So all that will be taken into account. Fares will be very competitive needless to say.

Spokker said...

Amtrak's mission is to provide intercity rail. You get a better deal the longer you ride. Prices are high for short trips to discourage commuters from taking seats away from long-distance travelers.

It works the same way here in Southern California. My first choice for a trip between Anaheim and Los Angeles is always Metrolink. It's about 7-8 bucks one way on weekdays and 5-6 bucks one-way on weekends. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner is $10 during the slow season, $12 during the peak season, and $15 during holidays.

The only reason I take the Surfliner is when Metrolink isn't running during the midday or evening hours.

But the Surfliner is really for people going to San Diego or Santa Barbara. Your per mile cost is going to be less on those longer trips than shorter trips.

Anonymous said...

all I know is i have to be at san pedro for a cruise in november and once again, I have to schlepp out to the airport and waste 2 hours just to get on a one hour flight - not to mention risking my life- ( always love those jumbo jet disintegrates over the atlantic stories) then I have to get ground transport to san pedro. If we had HSR I could walk down the street 15 minutes prior to dep. and be in ANA or IRV a couple hours later. Id still ahve to get ground transport but the overall trip would be faster, safer, FAR more COMFY and more pleasant. Why can't the deniers see this? I don't understand it.

YESONHSR said...

Well outside of the nimby types they DO understand it...And thats why they are trying like hell to stop it..They want you to use more oil..Thank the ReasonFoundation and the other rightlobby types as to why you cannot buy that HSR ticket for your Nov trip.

Aaron said...

@Jim: That's why Robert uses "denier," they're in denial.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh... there's always that population that's prone to doing things like listening to rush limbaugh and taking him seriously among other things. I call them "stupid people" there's a lot of them. It's unfortunate they are allowed to vote and reproduce at will.