Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Squeaky Wheels

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

This blog has paid a lot of attention to the debate over high speed rail on the Peninsula here in 2009. So much so that I'm sure folks sometimes wonder whether this is actually the Peninsula HSR blog or whether Clem's is. (In case anyone was wondering - Clem's blog is still the best place for Peninsula HSR discussion by quite a distance.)

That is a function of two basic factors. The first is that I simply don't have as much time to do HSR research as I did in 2008. While I'd like to have had time to develop a new platform for the blog, do some original research, and generate more original discussions, that time simply hasn't existed for me. That's the story of work in 2009 - one is either overwhelmed with it or has none and is desperate to get it. So I remain dependent on other news sources to generate posts here at the blog, with occasional help from folks who send in tips and story ideas (and thanks to you who do that!).

And that leads into the second factor: what remains of the state's media has spent more time on the Peninsula HSR battle than on any other aspect of the project. And that's because squeaky wheels get the grease. Peninsula NIMBYs have worked their media contacts quite well, aided by the existence of several online news outlets in the Menlo Park and Palo Alto communities. Whereas the Innovation Place project struggles to get public attention, the folks filing absurdist lawsuits get plenty of coverage. (And am I the only one who has noticed how these people are working at cross-purposes? If you succeed in giving Union Pacific veto power over the corridor, then a tunnel will never happen.)

Some of this is due to the ingrown bias of the media in this state. Having become familiar with NIMBYism over the decades, they are willing to make it sound as if the only thing that is newsworthy about the HSR project is the folks on the Peninsula who are flipping out about it.

Don't get me wrong - those NIMBYs do have very real power. They represent, alongside State Senator Alan Lowenthal, one of the primary threats to the project's viability. They have the money, skills, and tactics needed to block the project.

But we should not mistake that as a sign of their relevance to the overall project, the mistake John Horgan made in yesterday's Mercury News in his assessment of Quentin Kopp's recent op-ed:

Local folks foresee high-speed rail and Caltrain combining to produce precisely that sort of devastating and grim scenario here, particularly in vital downtown areas, although Kopp and other HSR types have stated that four tracks, not six, would be used on the Peninsula. But even that remains to be seen...

Kopp concluded his essay in a conciliatory tone, noting that engineering and design solutions are "achievable and can be adopted here at home to preserve the character and healthy environment of our communities while supplying California with a sustainable transportation alternative to gridlock."

Let's hope he's right. There is no area of the Golden State with more at stake than this one.

It's that last line which I find so stunning. There are plenty of areas of California with more at stake than the Peninsula. The Transbay Terminal is a key element of downtown San Francisco's transportation plans. San Jose will experience significant new growth - of the desirable centrally located urban in-fill sort. Southern California will have a revolutionized transportation network that will help ease congestion and fuel the growth of more mass transit options.

But if you want to find a part of the state with more at stake than any other when it comes to high speed rail, you need to look not amidst the wealth of the Peninsula. You need to look in the Central Valley. Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield will be utterly transformed by high speed rail. Cities that are struggling with some of the state's highest unemployment rates and some of the world's highest foreclosure rates will have the opportunity to enjoy major and sustained economic growth. HSR will take these cities, currently and unfairly seen as backwaters in a state focused on the two coastal megalopolises, and give them the chance to participate in the 21st century economy. Fresno and Bakersfield will be less than 2 hours away from downtown SF and downtown LA. That's a reasonable commute time, meaning workers in the SF and LA areas can afford to live in the Central Valley, where housing is currently quite affordable. That will in turn bring new jobs and other opportunities to those cities that at present lack other options.

Ultimately, of course, it is the state as a whole that has an enormous amount at stake with the HSR project. It is essential to our future economic security, our energy independence, our strategies to reduce pollution and address global warming, and to our efforts to seed and support urban infill density that we build the high speed rail project as laid out in the voter-approved Proposition 1A.

Squeaky wheels may get all the attention, but it should not lead us to ignore the rest of the train.


Anonymous said...

The central valley does have the most to gain and rightly so as they have been left out of the loop for so long. Southern California sucks up most of the transportation budget... and everything else, in this state. One thing that hsr will do, is to disperse and equalize the state's population by making the middle of the state more viable. With a built out hsr system in place, someone living in fresno will have better access to more of the state than anyone else.
Yesterday I read through a so called rail supporter newspaper for california and it was about 4 pages of anti hsr sentiment. I couldn't believe it. and these people are suppose to be supporting rail. One article made a reference that sounded like they are upset because this is somehow a northern california project and they need to fonally turn it into a southern california porject. wtf?

Anonymous said...

wow, you gotta see this apparently the city of tomorrow is all about more and better cars and hsr is nowhere in the picture.

mike said...

I wouldn't really call "less than 2 hours" a reasonable commute. However, 1 hour (Fresno-SJ) and 55 minutes (Bakersfield-LA) are. (For reference, there are thousands who commute from Pittsburg/Bay Point to SF every day, and that is 52 minutes.)

Anonymous said...

What did you expect? Take the cheapest and ugliest scheme Bechtel can devise and try to ram it down the throats of affluent suburbs. BART can only get away with that crap in a ghetto or a rundown industrial area.

Everything about the CHSRA is a backroom concoction now declared to be sacrosanct and cast in ooncrete.

The whole concept has been dumbed down to suit developers. Let California decide whether it wants I-5 Grapevine or 99 Tehachapis. Prop 1A was passed thru fraudulent advertising. I wish some Jarvis-Gann types would file an official election complaint about those commercials depicting trenches all the while Bechtel was only planning elevateds.

Anonymous said...

some on this blog might like to check out this contest reburbia

observer said...

"One thing that hsr will do, is to disperse and equalize the state's population by making the middle of the state more viable."

You're talking about sprawl. Period. HSR induced sprawl. (Gee, Maybe there's a physical reason that the central valley is not 'as viable' as other parts of california?)

Maybe you should go look at the measure 1A propoganda, or the TOD developer propoganda. You really out to get on message.

We're circling around getting to the truth here - which is that HSR is a vehicle for cashing in on real estate development across california, NOT for encouragement of TOD, nor for eliminating dependence of foriegn oil, or global warming, or reducing auto or air traffic, or any other such thing. Its about increasing the populuation of California at an accelerated rate, and increasing the amount of travel across the state, solely for the benefit of developer interests. What about water? Any money in teh HSR plans for more dams or resevoirs? What about energy production? Any money in the HSR plans for new power plants? What about schools and roads, any money in the plan for that. Hell no. That's all someone elses problem. Developers say, we're just about building the houses, and the rail line to get them there.

I'd at least like to see HSR supporters be honest about what they're about here. Lets stop trying to credit HSR with saving the world. Get real, its a train in a straight line. If trains in straight lines would have proven to be economically superior, we'd have trains all over place today. No, they went under. They don't make any sense. The government mostly stopped subsidizing them, and the more efficient methods of door to door transportation took over. Shipping is the only thing trains are actually economically viable for anymore.

Now, show us a train system that promises to take big rigs/shipping industry off the roads between SoCal and NoCal, and we'll talk about environmental beneifts, reduction of sprawl, etc.

Moving people around that don't really need to be moved around - thats a losing proposition. The only 'investors' you'll ever attract are people who want trains for the sake of trains (ie; train equipment mfg's and train builders) Its a losers vicious circle.

jd said...

@ anon 9:39am

"OMG!! I did absolutly no research into what i voted for in November and now I feel defrauded!"

Please show us exactly where Bechtel (who hasn't been awarded a single contract yet) decived you into thinking anyone was building a trench on the peninsula.

Also, by "ram it down the throats of affluent suburbs" are you refering to the peninsula suburbs who (with the exception of Atherton) overwhelmingly voted for building a high speed train through their towns, or are you talking about some other affluent suburbs that we should know about?

Or are you just pulling everything you say out of you-know-where in order to feign rightious indignation?

jd said...

@ Observer

Wow, amazing what you folks can come up with.

Please fill me in on the history of government subsidies for private railroads and how their demise lead to the decline of railroads in the second half of the 20th century. Sounds like quite a thesis. I'm sure you have sources and such which informed your deft analysis. Perhapse you would like to share so that we can all learn what chumps we are?

I always thought that rail was a profitable private enterprize until the Federal governemnt decided to spent $450 Billion on the Interstate Highway system, providing cars with (seemingly free) infrastructure that could compete with an antiquated and federally unfunded rail system.

Do you know how long it took to drive to LA before there was I-5? How about before hwy 101? I bet the Coast Starlight was competative with driving until the big-bad gov'nament decided it wanted you to buy a car.

Anonymous said...

I assure that if 1A were voted on today it would lose.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:34 - I assume you have some polls to back up that "assurance" that you made? No? There were plenty of people that "assured" me that prop 1A would fail last November. It didn't. This isn't a best-of-seven series.

Anonymous said...


but it isn't being voted on today it was voted onlast year on won. and rest assured that when the economy recovers and people are working and traveling, they will say "where is the high speed rail we voted on?" oh the deniers stopped it. You people act like we will be in a permanent state of recession for all of eternity.

@observer -- growth, which is coming to california now matter what - does not equal sprawl. ( except in your simple mind)

Anonymous said...

hsr will bring economic benefit to the part of the state that needs it most. California's population will continue to grow. The new people have to live somewhere. Most tof them can't afford to live in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, not too mention those places are packed full already. so they will have to live somewhere. The three areas of the state that have affordable housing and lots of potential are the inland empire, the high desert and the central valley. That is where the new people will be. In addition to giving the new people access to the whole state, hsr will give all of us acces to the whole state thus equalizing the state's population. If (excluding the rural far north) all californians gain equal access to all job centers, affordable housing, urban amenities, natural wonders, recreation and friends and family, we can finally pull the state together as one, with a unified sense of place, and an unstoppable economic force.

California is essentially a small nation. California could easily ( probably more easily) function without the Umbrella of the US government. Oour economy and lifestyle should be dealt with in the same way an economy such as japan, france, or spain would be. Hsr will serve as the premier transportation backbone. One which can be built upon by future generations just as the original freeways were. our transportation system consists of road, rail, air, and ports. Three of those four have received heavy investment. hsr brings rail up to par.

Rafael said...

@ observer, anon -

it must be soooo liberating to live in a fact-free bubble where you can constantly rail against everything and everyone on the basis of your own preconceived notions. Who needs truth when you can have truthiness and blind rage against "them"?

Faux News at 11.

Matt said...

@ Jim

That reburbia site is fun. Check out this one. Some guy put a bunch of work in to it. Mega Fail.

jd said...

@ Anon 10:34am

Well it is unfortunate for you then that the election in the real world was held on November 4th, 2008 and Prop 1A won with somthing-like 53%.

Maybe in bizzaroland the propostion would fail today, maybe in bizarroland red is blue, up is the number 42, and houses are made of ginger bread...

I wouldn't know 'cause I'm stuck living in actual reality where we had an election last November, prop 1A won, and we are building a railroad. Welcome!

Unknown said...

@matt "In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics, young lady!"

Sick of NIMBYs said...

Is there a tool to ignore anonymous comments? They don't seem to add anything.

BruceMcF said...

To "by making the middle of the state more viable."

observer lied, saying: "You're talking about sprawl. Period. HSR induced sprawl."

People living somewhere is not sprawl. People living an hour travel from where they work is not sprawl.

Classical sprawl development is people living at low densities with retail, commercial, professional and industrial uses each in a distinct zone requiring a distinct (and therefore, normally car) trip to get to.

If a person lives 120 miles and one hour travel from where they work, and where they work is a fairly dense multi-use urban core, and where they live is a multi-use transit-oriented development at urban density (and that is the typical "HSR commute" niche), that is less sprawl than living 60 miles away by car in a suburban cul-de-sac.

BTW, Ryan Avent would have eviscerated Ed Glaeser's latest piece, if there was anything there, so instead he shows how empty it really is

BruceMcF said...

Sick of NIMBYs said...
"Is there a tool to ignore anonymous comments? They don't seem to add anything."

Scroll bar?

Anonymous said...

We keep hearing from posters, ignore Anonymous comments.

What is the difference between posting anonymous than posting with a pseudonym.

Rafael is one of the most prolific and knowledgeable posters, yet we don't know who he is. I guess maybe Robert knows, but we don't.

Does he work for the Authority or one of the other groups involved in the project?

We sure don't know who Sick of Nimbys is, yet he does this complaining all the time.

YESonHSR said...

The nimbys that visit this board are the same ones screaming on the PaloAlto online..and usually about more than just HSR..YES WAAAAAA to much coverage is given to them.. ..most people are busy and go about there busy day and DO want this project to move forward.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 3:19pm -

the issue isn't really who you are, it's how easily other commenters can reply to or reference something that you wrote.

Note that Blogger lets you get an arbitrary unique handle with a made-up email address. I'm pretty sure that none of "spokker", "rail>auto", "flowmotion" and "adirondacker12800" appear on anyone's birth certificate.

Therefore, you don't have to give up any of your privacy to emerge from the shadows of anonymity just enough for us to have a more civilized discussion. You may have noticed that those who choose a handle tend to be treated more respectfully by other commenters, even if they disagree on the substance of the argument.

Bianca said...

Anonymous @3:19-

So far there have been four posts from "Anonymous" in this thread. There is no way for others to know how many different authors are behind those comments. It makes it hard to distinguish among these comments.

The people who post with pseudonyms over time acquire a personality; I grow to understand their positions, and while I don't always agree, at least I can keep who is who straight in my head.

Anonymous posts don't contribute to that. Instead, I tend to discount much of what anonymous posters say, because I figure if they really cared, they would bother to create a pseudonym of one sort or another.

Brandon in California said...

As mentioned by myself before, I have felt too much attention on this blog has been devoted to the peninsula.

This has particularly been the case with the itsy bitsy tiny and free daily or weekly rags.

That said, the op'd piece in the Mercury is an example of articles meriting attention; however, this one should be kept in perspective that the piece is an opinion piece and not a news article.

Which, the writer and tries to undermine planning assumptions and necessary ROW width when speaking to the uncertainty with necessary trackwork.

Granted, on one hand the CHSRA says 4 tracks are needed on the peninsula and then on the other hand say 6-tracks in the East Bay.

That said, it would behoove the writer to do a little more research, particularly if they are staffed with a legitimate paper. A little research would have properly conveyed the context for the added necessary width; and which I suspect there is a logical explanation.

And I can think of at least one....

... Altamont includes a junction. Once northbound trains get to the Fremont area, trains will need to be directed north to Oakland or south to San Jose. It's probable that additional connections may be included to provide a San Jose to Oakland connection.

This junction will almost nessitate the need for special trackwork to temporarily stop/layover trains on each side of the junction... so that other tains are not blocked while making a conflicting maneuver. Of course, this may only be needed when trains are off schedule. But, because of the speeds involved the approach distance could be quite far; but, I would not expect that to be more than a mile.

No one spoke to how long the 6-track segments would be... did they?

flowmotion said...

While certainly not in the NIMBY camp, I am somewhat sympathetic to this argument:

"Take the cheapest and ugliest scheme [consultant] can devise and try to ram it down the throats of affluent suburbs."

CAHSRA has been working the legal side of this, but they certainly didn't get out in front of the issue politically.

As Robert C reminds us, support for HSR was quite strong in Palo Alto. But the "YIMBYs" haven't been given anything specific to advocate, and as a result FUD has filled the vacuum. It's a shame there wasn't a meeting point halfway, before the battle lines hardened and the lawsuits dropped.

(Or perhaps CAHSRA is treating this as an object example, so when every other NIMBY in California comes after them, they can argue that they're getting the same thing as Palo Alto.)

Rafael said...

@ Brandon -

it's true that we have published more posts on the peninsula and the TTC up in SF than on other segments of the line. That's because that's where most of the problems are right now, technically, legally and politically.

However, I don't think we haven't ignored the other segments. There have been posts on Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Palmdale, LA, Anaheim, Riverside, several on San Diego and several more on tying in Lost Wages. In fact, we're close to 500 posts total on this blog now - most of them Robert's.

I will accept that we haven't published one on the nitty gritty of getting from San Jose to Gilroy yet, other than touch on UPRR's lack of interest in selling any of its ROW or air rights above it.

@ flowmotion -

the rules for the EIR/EIS process mean CHSRA must not advocate a specific implementation proposal until after it has studied all of the options submitted during the project-level scoping process. The program level was essentially about selecting the route and where possible, the ROW. The project level is about the vertical alignment, straightening curves, details of secondary stations etc.

CHSRA did put together a first cut for rough cost estimation, see its Google map of the route and the Caltrain corridor section of Appendix 2-D of the Final Bay Area to Central Valley Program EIR/EIS. A dollar figure for total network construction cost was needed to justify the $9.95 billion volume of the prop 1A(2008) bond authorization.

That said, any locally preferred alternative on any segment that ends up (substantially) more expensive than this first cut will raise a red flag on funding.

As for lawsuits, this is California. Someone somewhere is guaranteed to sue, since that is really the only mechanism the EIR/EIS process provides to resolve conflicts. The most substantial complaint to date relates to Altamont vs. Pacheco.

In that context, you mentioned 6 lanes in Fremont vs. 4 in the peninsula. The reason for that is very simple: BART is a broad gauge system that can't share track with UPRR between Niles and Milpitas. Also, UPRR could not share track with HSR through its Fremont yard.

In the Caltrain corridor, Caltrain can and does share track with UPRR. The primary argument for 4 instead of 2 (or 3) tracks is the speed mismatch between Caltrain locals and HSR express trains.

Some commenters - notably Richard Mlynarik over at the Caltrain-HSR compatibility blog - claim quad tracks all the way down the peninsula is expensive overkill, but he's hazy on the line haul times HSR could achieve without dedicated tracks. Relaxing the requirement for SF-SJ from 30 to 40 minutes would reduce average speed from 100 to 75mph (and cruise speed from 125 to 100mph), but that's 10 minutes AB3034 doesn't allow CHSRA to give away. They would be hard to make up anywhere else, because 2h42m for SF-SJ is aggressive as it is.

Besides, as long as Caltrain insists on running all-stop locals (as opposed to two interlocking leapfrog services), it has no hope of getting anywhere close to 75mph average speed.

Six tracks for passenger traffic should not be required anywhere in the SF peninsula, it's just an option the lawyers are keeping open because Caltrain hasn't figured out if/how HSR will affect its existing baby bullet service.

Rafael said...

@ Brandon, flowmotion -

sorry, I got mixed up on who asked the 4 vs. 6 track question.

Anonymous said...

Rafael - to be fair, Richard only said four tracks would be overkill if Altamont had been selected, but has said that four tracks are needed with Pacheco.

looking on said...

Rafael writes:

"but that's 10 minutes AB3034 doesn't allow CHSRA to give away."

A very weak argument to say the least. AB-3034 had other provisions that are being ignored, most obvious being the Authority didn't produce a business plan. You wonder if any of the provisions would be enforced, and who is going to do the enforcing.

There is to be an audit of the Authority starting in September, looking at the whole life time span of the Authority and trying to expose any miss-deeds that have taken place.

Surely they will expose the now forbidden Los Banos station, and bring to light any other rumored schemes that were hatched.

So, I would think that adding just 10 minutes to the SJ to SF route is no big problem. And as Rafael has pointed out, the 2 hr. 42 minutes, is a time that will never be met anyway, except in some kind of demo for show run, since there are not planned any non-stop SF to LA trains, when in regular service.

Anonymous said...

since there are not planned any non-stop SF to LA trains, when in regular service.

Nice canard. No official timetable has been released, so no "plan" is available. That's like saying that CHSRA doesn't plan on having seats in the train, because they haven't officially shown us what the seats will look like.

Unknown said...

@Looking on: And as Rafael has pointed out, the 2 hr. 42 minutes, is a time that will never be met anyway, except in some kind of demo for show run, since there are not planned any non-stop SF to LA trains, when in regular service.

Well, the most recent draft timetable from the powerpoint presentation shown in the board meeting video we were talking about in another thread, shows one non-stop train per-hour from SF to LA (no stop at SJ) making the trip in 2:38. In the meeting, Tony Daniels states that the schedule is based on simulated run-times using the AGV trainsets along their currently planned route. When the board members tried to state that the route times, speeds and schedule were "just drafts, and could be changed dramatically", Daniels pushed back and said "No, they're actually very, close" (I forget the wording exactly).

Also on that time table is a "limited express" making the SF-LA trip in 2:47 minutes, running twice an hour and stopping in Redwood City, San Jose, and Gilroy. If you figure that means 3-minutes per stop (probably only 1-2 minutes of dwell and 1-2 minutes of acceleration/deceleration), you could put a San Jose stop in there and still make the SF-SJ-LA trip in under the 2:42 required by 1A.

Anonymous said...

-Well the speed thing then, bodes well for agv. yay.

-if too much focus has been on the bay area then how bout some research on what the various cities are doing in their planning departments around hsr. - fresno- bakerfield- etc.

-could the reason for 6 tracks on the altamont route be die to the fact that unlike the peninsula, it is a busy freight row, plus ACE, plus hsr.? I haven't looked at it that closely.

-as for schedules, the schedules will be adjusted per demand anyway so speculation is meaningless.

Unknown said...

@jim: Well the speed thing then, bodes well for agv. yay.

And their run simulations assume a 350kph top speed, not the 360kph top speed targeted for the AGV, so technically the Velaro should be able to achieve similar times, and the AGV should be able to make the run slightly faster.

Unknown said...

@AndyDuncan running twice an hour the limited express runs once per hour on the schedule, sorry. So you have an express or limited express on the top and bottom of the hour. Not bad, hopefully that's accurate.

Anonymous said...

velaro schmelaro ...Where can I find the latest "sample schedule"?

Tis is how Id do it


express on the hour
local at :15
semi on the half hour
local at :45
express on the hour.

easy to remember. and plenty of capacity for at least the first few years.

Unknown said...

@jim slide 14 of this presentation.

I can't find the more detailed ones, thought I had them somewhere.

Anonymous said...

omg. what politician's intern came up with that schedule? and those ridiculous train numbers. ugh.
we're doomed.

Unknown said...

@Jim omg. what politician's intern came up with that schedule? and those ridiculous train numbers. ugh.
we're doomed.

Hey, just be glad it wasn't the LA MTA. You'd have the the Green train, the Blue Train, the Baby Blue train, the Aqua train, the Sea-Foam train, the Chartreuse train the Yellow, Gold, Orange, Burnt Orange, Sunset Orange, Orange-Red, Red and Infra-Red Trains. The Pink, Purple, Violet, Ultra Violet (express, natch), and X-Ray trains.

And last, but certainly not least, the Cosmic Ray train, though that one isn't listed on the schedule and makes no stops. ever.

Anonymous said...

lol which one gets me to burbank.. the marigold line?

eveyone knows that train numbers run in series and odd numbers are opposite direction than even number

single numbers east and west double number north and south -- similar to interstate numbers.

corridors with three numbers specials with four.
but the train numbers on that hsr sked...
s123857308080 WTF?

One of the biggest sticking points in getting poeple on the trains in time is schedule. If you don't make a schedule that a 1st grader can read, people will be unable to read it, remember it, and make their trains.

you could number them

express southbound
1011 etc

northbound express

southbound locals
023 etc
northbound locals

southbound limiteds

Anonymous said...

700a 1001
715a 011
730a 311
745a 013
800a 1003
815a 015
830a 313
845a 017
900a 1005

Unknown said...

@Jim, I'm surprised you didn't say anything about their six-southbound trains stopping at Palmdale each hour.

Who, exactly is going to be on those trains? They MUST be figuring on a DX connection, that's the only thing to justify that kind of service level.

Alon Levy said...

Meanwhile, Sylmar, projected to be the busiest station between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is only getting 4 tph...

Here's a better plan: start by running two classes of train, one making all stops, and one running super-express, stopping only at SF, SJ, and LA and the stations to its south. You could even skip Sylmar. Call one of them Echo, since it will finally allow an LA-SF return trip in one day, and the other Light, because light is fast and this service may be the fastest non-maglev train in the world. If there's very high demand on some intermediate stops, such as Sylmar or PA/RWC, then have the Light trains stop there too; you can expect stops to be added to both services as technological improvements increase both top speed and acceleration rates.

Unknown said...

@Alon Levy: It might be the busiest, but 4 TPH is still a lot for Sylmar, Metrolink makes 11 southbound stops there per day currently.

I'm also a bit incredulous that it will be busier than San Jose, where did you see those ridership numbers?

Devil's Advocate said...

Does any of you how many people fly daily on average from the Bay Area to LA area airports? and viceversa?

Matt said...


There numbering is not totally random.

They have it as DPPHHMM
D is direction (N or S)
PP is pattern number. (see the timetable headers)
HH is hour it left TBT
MM is minute it left TBT

However the la-sf express has an error, and the all-stop originating in Merced never was at SFT

I like your style numbering pattern better. With one quick glance you can see the pattern and direction. (although so can theirs) But you drop quite a few digits. Time it left SFT is really unless you are departing SFT. But it is much easier to refer to a train by 3 or 4 digits than 7.

Andre Peretti said...

@AndyDuncan, Jim
Speed apart, AGV and Velaro are very different. Alstom trainsets are articulated and don't jacknife if they derail. But this safety feature also has its drawback: an AGV train has to have 7, 11 or 14 cars. Velaro trainsets can have any number of cars, which may make them cheaper to run. So, the choice is between more safety or more flexibility.

lyqwyd said...

Don't forget the Gamma ray line... but that's a private train only used by the Fantastic Four ;)

Alon Levy said...

I'm also a bit incredulous that it will be busier than San Jose, where did you see those ridership numbers?

On CHSRA's website. Look under "Routes" and check the ridership at each station. The implication is that residents of the Valley will ride HSR to NorCal via Sylmar, not LAUS.

Unknown said...

The implication is that residents of the Valley will ride HSR to NorCal via Sylmar, not LAUS.

Makes sense.

Brandon in California said...

Andt Duncan
- To be fair, LA MTA only has the Red, Purple, Gold, Green and Blue lines. Of course, the Red & Purple lines are a subway... and are often combined and just refferred to as the Red Line.

Not sure why you responded the way you did. Mis-communication? Anyway, I am saying that this blog has been to responsive to the little rags... and has elevated the credibility of their arguments beyond what they should be. Their arguments are not in perspective with the whole.

Thanks for the clarity on why there are 6 tracks in the East Bay. But, that is hard to digest ... assuming the info came from Kopp.

Anonymous said...


currently at amtrak we use numbers such as 3,4 5,6 48,49 8,9 for long distance routes

four digits for acela 2280 etc

and three numbers for corridors.
again odd and even alternate per direction - the san joaquins are an annoying anomaly though, not quite a long distance and not quite a corridor,
the odd evens are opposite. normally even numbers are northbound and eastbound odd numbers are south and west
SJQ train are even south or east depending on what you call it and odd north or west.

before cahsr spoke of limiteds, they were going to cal them suburban express - they would pick up and drop off at several of each of the ends of the line and skip the whole central valley. ( this would give more service to slymar)

In all honesty, There needn't be more than hourly express, (sfc-sjc-lax-ana )and twice hourly limited (sfc-sjc-fno-bfd-syl-lax and twice hour locals (all stops) That gives the major cities 6 per hour, and the intermediates 4 per hour.
- at least for the first 5 years that will do unless we hit an economic boom period similar to (god help us all - if it happens again socal is gonna have to take one for the team cuz sf can't go through it again)

Anonymous said...

oh and antoher important factor is that inorde to make maximum use of equipment, and crew, they turn trains on schedules that don't seem to be a clean as we'd like. that bugs me.

So called "memory schedules" in my opinion would do more to build ridership than anything since the bar car.

californians in particular are simply baffled by printed schedules and I don't see that changing. Its going to take two generations of young people before californians catch up the east coasters in grasping the concept. ( its never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to explain departures arrivals and transfer to europeans - even with a language barrier, and nearly impossible to get these stoned and stupid kids to find their way to the bus stop. I'' never foget the time I was standing in front of the train in sac and the woman asked me "but where is the train"?
or our other favorite...
"is the train here" (do you see a train?)
its going to be a long road folks. but we'll get there.

Anonymous said...

...actually the train really is here but we are hiding it in the coat closet cuz we don't want you to see it yet)

Rafael said...

@ Brandon -

before the HSR project, Quentin Kopp was in charge of planning the BART extension to SFO and the new east span of the SF Bay Bridge.

He's a major BART aficionado and never wanted HSR to be in direct competition with it for any right of way. That includes the Niles-Milpitas section of the WPML, which runs immediately east of UPRR's Milpitas line. North of 101, the latter is still used for heavy freight trains.

Unknown said...

@Brandon: Don't forget the Orange line busway (and don't confuse that with the Gold line), also, the Exposition line is slated to be called the Aqua line, and the connection between the Red and Purple lines down Santa Monica Blvd is being referred to as the Pink Line on most Metro maps and discussions.

So no, we don't quite have an "infra red" line yet, but we have built or in planning:

Gold, Orange, Red, Purple, Pink, Blue, Aqua, Green

Hope you're not color blind.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the line to the beach be the tan line?

Unknown said...

@Jim: Clever, but oh god, I can't even imagine the hoopla surrounding that the moment they put up the maps where the line to predominantly white santa monica is beige-colored. I don't know if you've been following the "environmental racism" attacks that are going on down here due to who gets heavy subway, who gets grade separated LRT, who gets at-grade LRT, and who gets BRT.

People would lose their minds.

Unknown said...

@Jim, although calling the line from Hollywood through WeHo and down to wilshire the "white line" might be incredibly accurate regardless of the ethnicity of it's patrons. *sniff*

Unknown said...

On a note more related to this article, I was talking to my friends last night who live only a few blocks away from the metrolink lines in Orange county about the alternatives analyisis and the options they had for the 50' ROW between Fullerton and Anaheim, they seemed unanimous in their "Screw the tunnel, I don't want to pay for that, use eminent domain to take people's houses. Heck, if they're willing to pay off my loan, take my house, I'm underwater on it." opinions.

They also flatly said "I don't care about the train noise or more trains, I just want them to not blow the fucking horn".

These are people who live less than four blocks from the tracks along which the HSR is planned to go (one of them lives in a complex along the tracks).

This is, of course, anecdotal, but not everyone is an irrational NIMBY.

Anonymous said...

or just call it "the line".

Anonymous said...

The line out to simi valley could be the adolf line, the line to east la could be the caesar chavez line, the blue line count be the martin luther king jr line and sta ma line could be the harvey milk line, wilsire could be the ann frank line. 9 the barbara streisand line?) and so forth.

that should keep everyone happy

Alon Levy said...

I think the Adolf Line would make everyone smile except those who live in Simi Valley.